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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Church members in Nizhny Novgorod

First of all, Happy St Patrick's Day! I wore green today - and I think I was the only person in Russia to make a conscious effort in doing so. Last night we went to the game night at the church. We decided to walk there from the hotel which took 25 minutes...the ground is snowy and icy and I frequently feel like I will slip and fall. Thankfully I did not, but we called a taxi to drive us home afterwards.

We have no fridge in the hotel so we keep our milk outside the windows on the ledge. So far, no birds have stolen it.

Today was a lazy morning and afternoon, with a fun evening with church members here. Andre picked Tyler and I up around 3pm and we drove to the lower NN church building to celebrate the Relief Society's birthday. The Relief Society is a women's organization designed to serve others. It is the single largest women's organization in the world. The idea began to have a cake to celebrate and then it blossomed into a full fledge barbecue with both wards invited to attend.

People next door to the church who were beating their rugs outside.

I helped Daria and another girl to slice tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green onions, and dill - the favorite Russian herb. We listened to Adele on my phone and they said that I sing better than Adele. They are sweet girls.

RS Ladies.

The spread. I think every salad contained mayonnaise - another Russian staple.

Okay, when you go down a buffet line in the US, you start at one end of the table and work your way down. Here the people just walk up to what they what and generally just stand there eating it by the table. It took some doing to get some food and sit down. Ha ha.

Natasha and I. Isn't she gorgeous? Seriously. She looks like a model. She is such a sweetheart. I am so glad to have met her during our trips to Russia.

Sister Foutz! What would I have done without this generous, kind woman? She has helped me in so many ways and was my mom away from home here in Russia.

Above is Sister Rosenbladt, whom I met on our first trip to Russia, me, and Malina. I met Malina today for the first time. The RS had us split up into pairs and had us write a letter to the other person. Since I don't know how to speak, let alone write Russian, I had Dima write it for me. I gave it to Malina and found that she had had someone write for her in English.

The card said: I love you Jill. You a wonderful, amazing woman. You have such optimism and light. You are beautiful and it is easy to see how special you are. Love, Malina

How nice is that?! I told her that I should take her home with me and whenever I feel discouraged she can tell me all these nice things. She commented on how nice my earrings are. Back story: I have already lost one of my earrings since being here in Russia. Then this morning one of my other earrings broke. When I saw her admiring my earrings, I decided that I wasn't meant to hang on to my jewelry here in Russia, so I took out my earrings and gave them to her. She resisted, but I came off conqueror. She was happy and felt great. From that moment on, Malina was all over me! She was holding my hand, hugging me, and kissing my cheek. Tyler says the perhaps I was what she was needing today. She said I was sunshine for her.

This is Anastasia. I went to her house to paint during the second trip. She is about to take a month long trip to the USA. I am excited for her to see missionaries and visit church sites in UT.

This is Dima. He is the bishop's son. He is a high quality young man. He is getting his degree in linguistics. He speaks Russian, English, and is learning German and Mandarin Chinese. He's the one who wrote Malina's card for me. Great kid.

After the activities, we sang a hymn and closed with a prayer. Afterwards, two sisters (including Malina) came up to ask me about my singing voice. Soon I was being invited to go up and sing for everyone. Back story: when I was in Ukraine, I was given the opportunity to sing for the ward AND give a small recital at the local university in Mariupol. It was a great experience and I loved it. But, since then, I haven't had as many opportunities to sing classical music as I would like. So I prayed for an opportunity shortly before we left for Russia. And then out of the blue - here it was. As soon as I stood up and began to sing two songs, I felt the Holy Spirit with me and knew that God had answered my prayer. It was wonderful and I sang an italian piece and my favorite Rachmaninov piece. I think they enjoyed hearing the Russian. It was a great day. :)

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Leisha Tompkins said...

Wow! It is so nice that you are meeting people, making old friends, and visiting with new friends. God is good!

Amy said...

You're beautiful heart amazes me! I LOVE the story of your earrings! Instead of being upset and frustrated that your jewelry was broken/lost, you gave your remaining ones to someone else! I love that!!

I want to hear you sing sometime!!

Sarah C said...

I am happy you have wonderful friends there! That is great. It looks like you have a lot of fun with them. They are lucky they were able to hear you sing. You do have a beautiful voice.

Trent and Meg said...

Yea!!! So glad for happy days and extra special time with members :D Can't wait to hear more! :)

Carina said...

I love that you have such an amazing talent and are able to share it all over the world. Much love to you over in Russia!!!