Saturday, March 26, 2011

On Monday, March 21st, E. Reese and I flew to Kiev. After many discussions and debates it was decided that Kiev was the best spot for dealing with the bump on my nose! The mission doctor lived here and was able to be with me the entire time as we visited the dermatologist and had the bump cut out. (It is being biopsied - we'll know more in 10 days) This is our lovely room (check out the classy slippers!) and my 'before' picture!
This is my 'after' picture. I am recuperating after my traumatic ordeal - with my favorite comfort food - Popcorn!!!
Here it is without the band aid - wife of Frankenstein!
One bonus for coming to Kiev was being able to go to the new Kiev Temple. It was beautiful!
Another bonus for coming to Kiev - Lane Stienagel is the Mission President! He met us at the mission office right next to the temple and we were able to visit with him for awhile. FUN!
After visiting with Pres. Stienagel, we met up again with Dr. Mayberry and his wife. They are a great couple and have taken good care of us while we were here. They have only been here a few months and wanted to look around the city with us.
We started our sight seeing adventure at a memorial statue called Babyn Yar, which was dedicated to 100,000 Ukraines who were killed at this sight by the Natzis in WWII. It is a massive rock statue that shows people dying and mourning (on the top is a mother holding her child). It was very moving - an emotional and thought provoking experience.
Closer shot - very expressive - very sad.
Next we headed to downtown where we walked down the best known historic street -Andriyivskyy Descent, a cobblestone street with old buildings - I'm in front of St Andrews church and E. Reese is shown with a building he thought looked cool! We then went to a center square - more great buildings, including St. Sophia Cathedral and a men on horse statue.

Davids favorite part is always trying the new kinds of food. For lunch we went to a 'buffet' of Ukraine foods. You picked the items you wanted and then paid for them. We picked lots of different ones and then split them in half. The dumpling turned out to be cherries - a dessert instead of meat! Potato soup was good & E. Reese loved the beets. The plate closest to my belly has a little round cheesecake type dessert (thought of Ben!) and the triangle had apple inside - yummy! It did give our Georgian food a run for it's money!
We enjoyed most of our visit to Kiev - but as we were landing in Tbilisi - I thought - 'It's so nice to be home!'

Friday, March 25, 2011

On March 16th we had the Young Single Adult (YSA) Leaders from Yerevan come a visit our Young Adults. We had a planning meeting first to share ideas on the big summer activity. Then Sis. Southwick taught the Institute class. It was a great lesson and we had about 8 young adults (several investigators) and all our missionaries. This was a great turn out!

We were asked to provide the refreshments - so - we went with the Southwicks to the bazaar, where they showed us the shops that sold boxes of sweets and cookies. Needless to say, Elder Reese really liked this. We each picked out a box of cookies and I thought they looked really good together!

We played several fun games - electricity and winkem. I remember playing these when I was a teenager! Everyone seemed to have a fun time. It was a great evening.

I am really going to miss the Southwicks when they leave!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NRT - Neonatal Resuscitation Training
Last week we were involved in our first major humanitarian project and it was amazing! 10% of newborns die (or are left handicapped) because they do not start breathing right away. The Church's goal is to train as many doctors as possible on life saving techniques to save these babies and then give the doctors the equipment needed to do it! There are short-term specialists who help the senior couples set up and conduct these training sessions. We were not in on the planning , but here are some pictures from the event.

On the day before the training began, we went to the university to check out the facility. We were pleased to find a big, beautiful room - perfect! Elder Reese & Southwick are setting up the equipment to be used during the training.

There were 6 tables with the baby & supplies to be used for the practical training.

Here is the lead Doctor giving last minute training tips to the other 5 doctors who will be teaching.

Opening ceremonies brought 3 important local officials.

There were 6 different training sessions. First one of the Doctors (there were 2 from Utah and 4 from Georgia) would lecture on a certain topic. Then they would take a short test on the lecture. (I helped pass out and collect tests!)
Followed by the hands on practice that was definitely the best part. They tried what had just been taught on the plastic babies. The equipment is authentic and will be used in their hospitals and the babies are equiped to react to what they do to them. There is 1 doctor and 4 students at each table working on mastering the techniques of getting the newborn to breath. The blue bag is the most important piece of equipment - 90% of newborns that aren't breathing can be saved by just giving them air with this bag! This first picture is E. Reese's favorite - she really wants to save the baby!

The brown diamond shape bar was the best baclava that we have ever tasted - we ate quite a few of these over the 4 day course!

It's eggplant in a heavy shell - they said it was good - I did not try it - but it looked pretty!

The food was really yummy. The Christian Orthodox Church has a 40 day fast right before Easter - it started last week. They don't eat any meats or meat by products, such as eggs, dairy or oils. So the food for our class had to meet these requirements.

Elder Reese was the concluding speaker in the closing ceremony. He had them laughing and then told then all the things the Church's humanitarian program had done in Georgia. He did an impressive job!
When they finish the course - the church gives them the equipment they will need to be able to go back to their hosipital and teach others these life saving skills. This man has a baby in the box, all the equipment in the blue bag and the poster goes on the wall to remind them what to do.

Our first graduating class - we're so proud!

Dima is the Area Welfare Manager, he works for the church and lives in Moscow. He is our boss! It was great to spend the week with him and getting all our questions answered. He is great!

Marcia was the short-term specialist from Utah that set everything up. She shipped all the equipment from Utah and has been working on our project for months with the Georgian doctors and the Southwicks. I really enjoyed visiting with her - we shared lots of fun stories (and some serious ones too!)

This is the Church's humanatarian banner that Elder Reese taped on the front table - it reads "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" in Georgian!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two of our Elders have been teaching a young woman that they met at a resturant - she was the waitress! We have met her several times, so we had the Elders take us to dinner at the resturant while Tata was working. We had a fun time seeing her and we had the Elders order all Georgian food for us. The food was great - next time we will take pics of the food!

Iza is a delightful young woman who has her missionary call to Scotland. She is waiting for her visa so she can go to the London MTC. On Friday we took her out shopping for some "missionary clothes". We started in the bazaar where there are lots of small booths full of clothes. Here is Iza and Sis. Southwick in the isle at the bazaar.

Next we have Iza trying on a black skirt over her head - very entertaining! It was a very cold day, poor Iza had to keep taking off her coat to try things on. We love Iza - she is going to be a great missionary and now she is going to look good too!

Shopping is exhauting work - so we took a break for lunch. Great sandwiches and notice the pinapple juice - small box - very yummy!

My phone didn't work for a few days, you have to go to an ATM type of machine, type in your phone number and then insert money to keep your phone active. I had tried to do that and it didn't work. (Funny thing is that even though you can't call out you can still receive calls.) I kept trying at different machines with no results. Then once as I was trying, a nice girl, who couldn't speak English, must have seen me trying, came up and took over, and somehow typed in the number different and presto! I am able to call again. Such nice people here!

Friday, March 4, 2011

We are finally settling into our life here in T'bilisi. Our apartment is comfortable and we stay warm even in the snow! We have learned so much these past 2 weeks. Elder Reese has learned how to fill out all the forms needed for our work and I have learned to cook without a microwave!
The BEST thing that we get to do is go out with the young missionaries to help teach discussions. When someone is interested in learning more about our church, the missionaries meet with them 2 or 3 times a week to teach them. We call the person an investigator and we call the teaching part 'discussions', because we really like them to be involved in the teaching. Usually the investigator speaks Georgian, so as one missionary is teaching - the other one is telling us what's being said. When there is a pause, we get to bare our testimony about the truthfulness of what is being taught. Because of the language barrier, we have to really listen to the spirit to know what to say. Last week we visited a lady our age who lives with her 15 month old adopted son in a single room. There were 2 twin beds against a wall, a small kitchen table with 2 chairs, another table with a small camp type stove that provided the only heat and another table with kitchen things on it. The room was neat and clean and she had invited 3 other women to come listen. The missionaries taught her about the Holy Ghost and how you can know what is right and true by the spirit. Elder Reese & I were able to share how having the gift of the Holy Ghost brought joy to our lives and helped us to do what is right. There was a sweet spirit in the room. I am grateful for the opportunities I have to visit with the Georgian people and to share with them the love their Heavenly Father has for them.

Another time we met at the church for a discussion with a man who wanted to be baptized. He is Georgian, but went to school in Russia and then did some Chemistry work at a University in Florida - so he spoke fairly good English! The missionaries taught about Christ and his baptism of water and of fire - being the gift of the Holy Ghost. We shared the importance of baptism and then he talked about how he had been praying and reading the Book of Mormon (in Russian) and that he knew that baptism was the right thing for him. He is anxious to be baptized - so the missionaries set the date for March 12. We are excited to go - it will be our 1st baptism to attend here in T'bilisi.