Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Tbilisi they have a bakery on every block. E. Reese's favorite is the one that makes sweets. Mine is the Tonispuri guy! He has a big round cement oven that sits on the floor. He takes his dough, puts it on a board and slaps it on the side of the oven. Can you see them cooking inside? When they are done, he has a long stick that he pulls it off with. He hands it to you hot and you get to nibble on it all the way home!

This is the finished product. Georgians put it in the middle of the table and you just yank a piece off and eat it with any meal. It makes good sandwiches and toast. It only costs 50 cents. Because it's made fresh - it only lasts a few days. (It is pronounced Tony's Puri - so I think of Tony every time I buy it!)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Missionaries thought it would be fun to go to the Jvari Monestary on their P-day. They were going to hike up the hill - so I decided I would stay home because I have been there several times and I did not want to slow them down on their hike. They convinced me to go - I should have stayed home! We all climbed into the Marshutka for the 20 minute drive to Mskheta. We were having fun when E. Reese realized we had passed the bridge that went to the Monestary. He told the missonaries, who asked the other people on the marshutka and we had the van pull over and drop us off on the side of the road. We walked along the road about a mile back to the bridge. We hiked up the side of the bridge. Here is the view - the monestary is that small outcropping on the hill in the middle of the picture. We walked over the bridge, down the other side and then decided to follow the cow trails up and around the hills. It was an adventure. Luckily the missionaries were good sports about waiting for Sis. Reese!

WE MADE IT!!! My pants from my knees down were covered with burrs!

The view was spectacular!

We were so happy - some of us jumped for joy! It's ok - they are allowed to have fun on their P-day!

Then came the debate about going back. The taxi driver there wanted way to many Lari and he couldn't fit us all in. The road back down was long and winding and we didn't have a lot of time to get home. So we took a path that headed straight down the front of the mountain to the road. Oh my - I'm still alive - but it was a little scary!

I was so happy to make it to the freeway! We waited maybe 10 minutes before a marshutka stopped and we all crowded in.

Yes - there are a bunch of missionaries stacked in there somewhere! It really was a memorable outing!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We got our Ultra Sound for the IDP clinic! Here are pictures from our closing - there were 2 news crews there filming everything. This is the Chairman of the Municipality Council taking the box from the car into the clinic. Pres. Reese took out his pocket knife and opened the box. We took out the Ultra Sound and everyone oooded and ahhhhed. Then they interviewed E. Reese and the doctor that will be using the machine. This is his third time on the news and people are telling us they have seen him on TV. He's a celebrity!

They had brought in a technician that set up the machine and showed the doctor how to use it.

We then drove 15 minutes into the mountains to a beautiful spot where there was a new resturant and had a wonderful dinner. They kept making toasts to us and our family and world peace!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We have had 2 great baptisms! Leila and Susanne are sisters and they were baptized a week apart (Susanne wanted to be baptized by E. Johnson and he was leaving to go home - Leila had to work - so - different baptism days!) These 2 sisters are amazing. They are fun and energetic - I really enjoy spending time with them. (we went to their Babushka's b-day a few posts ogo!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For months now I have been faithfully watering and caring for our 3 tomato plants on the balcony. Finally it is time! To pick....

and eat our beautiful tomatoes!!!!

Another sad day. 2 more of our excellent missionaries are headed home. We will miss them and wish them the best! We have a farewell dinner with them - I love asking them about their favorite memories.

There were a lot of changes that needed to be made to our branch directory and E. Reese wanted to make them himself - so - ROAD TRIP!!! We took a taxi to Yerevan, Armania, about 6 hours away. It was a hot miserable trip - taxi drivers do not use their air conditioners. Our driver had never been to Yerevan before and kept pulling over and asking people for directions. When we finally got there, we got out our phones to call for directions to the mission office - they did not work! We started asking people if they knew the street and one guy told us to follow him a couple of blocks to a bus stop where they had a map. He borrowed E. Reese's glasses to look! Another man got involved and finally said 'Get in the car' which we did and he got in too. He told the driver which way to go and we made it there just as the Jones' were walking out. This is our mini-miracle for the day. The Lord puts people in our path to help us out. We are so thankful for his watchful care and for the helpful people of Armania! We had a wonderful dinner that night with the senior couples in Yerevan - what a fun group they are. The next night we went to the water show in Freedom Square.

On the last day we went sight seeing to the mountains. Here is the castle of Armed with the church just down the hill.

This is our group in front of the church

E. Reese and I climbed the hill to the castle - no easy feat in a skirt! I'm Sara the Lamanite!

We stopped at a small lake. The weather was cool and refreshing here. E. Reese is teaching the local boys how to skip stones on the water.

Driving in the hills we passed many nomadic people who live in tents and raise cattle or sheep. This was my favorite shot of a modern 'sheppard'.

The last stop was alphabet park - dedicated to the man who invented the Armaian alphabet. They made big stone sculptures of each of the letters. It was fun to find our letter R!

We finished the day with a traditional Armanian meal - we were stuffed full of good food! Our trip home was a lot cheaper - we went in a marshutka with 10 other people. At one stop I had my first experience with a hole in the floor toilet. It was bound to happen.

Christy and Marcy were able to go to Arizona to visit Tony and attend Alex's baptism. I love this picture that they took while visiting the Temple there. Here are all my grandkids except Karly.

Our Grandson, Alex, was baptized on July 29 by his dad, our son, Tony. Here is a shot of the whole family. Tony and Connie, Alex and his 3 sisters. We were able to "be there" thanks to Skype and Davey's phone. Here we are telling Alex how proud we are of him and his decision to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

One of our Zone Leaders got a brilliant idea to make tri-folds to display gospel messages. He wanted to be able to put them in the church for investigators and members to learn more about the gospel. E. Reese thought it was a great idea and so began the project. We had him make up a mock display to get an idea of size and shape. Next we had to get the proposal on paper - ok - computer! He had to look up prices and submitt a plan with a product sheet and price sheet. This took a lot of work and going to different stores to find all the necessary parts and pieces.

The project as approved and funds were provided. Next - the work begins. Here they are painting the pieces of wood - a challenge because paint suppies are not the same in Georgia!

The sencond phase was putting them together.

Yes!! The tri-fold stands!

They spent hours finding pictures and quotes for each board - 8 were made. They then placed them through out the building.

Here is rightfuly proud Zone Leader and he finished 3 days before he left to go home. They are a wonderful addition to our building. They bring a great spirit into the rooms and are very thought provoking. We are so excited to have them and we are grateful for all the work that went into them!

Friday, August 12, 2011

We love going to wheelchair closings! This one was in Mstkheta and they had the news cameras there. Luckily E. Reese had worked on his speech and he was ready for them. They sent us a CD of the news and we were impressed. We also heard from several investegators that they had seen us on TV! Of course the best part is actually meeting the people who get the chairs - they are so excited! I am grateful for a job that allows me to be a part of touching peoples lives for good.

The man standing next to E. Reese is Gia. He is amazing. He has done more for the poor and needy in Georgia than most. He is always taking us somewhere and introducing us to someone in need. We really enjoy working with him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We had our Branch Primary Activity Day at the ZOO!!! We had a great turnout - 12 adults and 14 kids and 2 missionaries! The zoo had a pretty good selection of animals. Here's the peacock showing off. There were zebras, elephants, snakes, bears, monkeys, crocidile and much more. I was impressed. The kids were really good.

Towards the end we gave each of them 2 tickets to ride the rides. Bumper cars were by far the favorite.

We left the zoo and headed down the street to a small resturant for some khachapuri (cheese bread) and soda. A wonderful time was had by all!

Monday, August 8, 2011

As Humanitarian Missionaries we were visiting some 'kindergarden' schools. It is like our pre-school - ages 3-6. Aren't they cute? We were checking to see what we could do to help them.

A very sad thing happened. 2 of our Georgian missionaries finished their 2 year missions and had to go back home. We are really going to miss these great young men and wish them the best in their lives! This is our farewell dinner with them.

One of the first things Pres. Reese did as the new Branch President was to start going through all the files and paper work. Everyweek he would work on getting rid of more outdated files. He had a pile (well, 2 piles) of paper over 3 feet tall at one point - to shred. His shredder was old and would only take 2 papers at a time and would overheat easily - until it finally died. Here he is with his new supper delux shredder - 6 papers at a time! Beside him are the bags of shredded paper. He is going to take them to a home for the handicapped that use the paper to make crafts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In 2008 there was a war with Russia that left many Georgians homeless. They are called IDPs - internally displaced persons. The government put up thousands of small (600 sq. ft) homes for them to live in. One of the homes was designated as a clinic to care for the sick. Fortunately there are doctors and nurses that are IDPs that work at the clinic.

Unfortunately there is next to nothing in the clinic to help them. So we are going to be getting them an ultra sound machine. They are so excited to be getting some equipment! We'll probably request some lab equipment for them in another month or 2.

As we were leaving the clinic, we saw the next door neighbor in a wheel chair - it was one of ours! We asked her how it was going - she was very grateful for the wheel chair - but could we get her a prosthetic leg? It was fun to see our wheel chair in action! (and no, we do not do prosthetic legs!)

Her nephew took care of her. The IDPs are very poor, they have lost everything in the war and unemployment here is off the charts. We were impressed to see that her nephew was raising rabbits to help make ends meet.

We also noticed that many of the homes had planted gardens. It is so important to be self reliant - especially in hard times. We all need to develop skills that can help us survive during difficulties!