Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home at last!

After being up for 50 hours we finally made it to the Sacramento airport.  This is what we saw as we came down the escalator - what a glorious sight!!!  We hugged and cried and laughed with joy - so good to be home with family and friends.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


We drove to Yerevan where we had an interview with Pres. and Sister Carter.  They thanked us for all we had done and we talked about our mission.  Then Pres. Carter gave each of us a blessing - it was a teary time.  Then we went to dinner with the other missionaries that were going home.  We started with a little Christmas celebration with the Elders  
AND the Sisters!

 Then we went to the Eyre's apartment where we had a little party with the other senior couples - Eyres, Reeses, Stones and Readings.  Ruben was picking us up at 2:30 am - so we really thought there was no point in going to sleep.  We played Jenga and talked with the Eyres!
We said our goodbyes at the airport and headed out.  Here is Ruben and Elder Reese eating the last 2 chocolate chip cookies.  They were waiting at the airport to pick up the 14 new missionaries that were coming in on the plane that we were leaving on - and so it goes!

Time to go

On Monday we had our bags all packed and ready to go.
 Alexandria came over to say goodbye and I gave her the journal that we had put some pictures in.
We then went to the Pratts apartment to meet the Loveridges who are going to stay in Tbilisi because the Pratts went back to Canada for a medical emergency.  We showed them around Ortachella.  Then we got together with the Eyres and we went on a McDonalds progressive dinner.  Tbilisi has 4 McD's and Yerevan has none - so we went to each of them.  We had salad at the first, chicken nuggets at the second, hamburger and fries at the third and ice cream at the last.  Ruben met us there and we drove slowly down Rustavelli to see all the Christmas lights.
Ruben picked us up at 7:30 Tuesday morning ( Alexandria was there!) and when we went to get the other Elders we found ALL our missionaries had come to say goodbye - OK - this is where we lost it.  It was really hard to go!

We served with the BEST missionaries - the STARS of the mission as Pres. Reese always called them.  We have been truly blessed.

Last Sunday

It was our last Sunday in Georgia.  Elder Reese, Elder Steggell, Elder Offutt and I spoke.  After the meeting Zurra took pictures of the group and then went across the street and made copies for everyone.  He is a great advocate for the church in Rustavi.  He drives a marshutka and is always happy.

This was the group shot.

It was a sad time for all of us - it's hard to leave Rustavi and all our friends there.  It has been a unique experience to have church in our apartment!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


This is what we saw out our window this morning!  We were really hoping that the snow would hold off till after we left.  I guess it's fitting - we woke up to the first big snow fall almost 2 years ago on our first day in Georgia.

Christmas Party

Saturday was the Avlabari Branch Christmas party.  I think they had it early so that all the members could spend one last day with us.  Elder Offutt came in his full Georgian costume and everyone wanted to have their picture taken with him!  Elder Offutt and Elder Steggell will also be going home.
We visited for the first hour while the primary was getting ready for the nativity program and the Relief Society was getting the food ready in the kitchen.  Here is the final shot of Mary, Joseph, the Star, Angel and 3 wise men. 
 Two of our Elders were the Shepherds and then they all sang Silent Night.  The program went well - love to see the Primary kids!
 There was a great turn out and we got to say goodbye to so many good friends.  Of course there's Mzia our interpreter.
 and the Pratts.  I know we've only been with them for 4 months - but we feel like we've known them all our lives!
There were many other people there and we are so thankful that we had these 2 years to become friends with so many wonderful people.  THANK YOU for having the party before we left.  At the end we passed out Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - most had never tasted them before.

Where were you on 12-12-12-12-12-12?

On the 12th of December at 12:12 and 12 seconds - we were in a District Meeting in our apartment in Rustavi Georgia.  Here's the picture to prove the once in a lifetime event!

Alexandria's Baptism!

On December 7th  Alexandria was baptized a  member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The spirit at her baptism was amazing. Pres. Carter came from Yerevan to be here for the first baptism from Rustavi.   E. May baptized her and E Fullmer confirmed her on Sunday.  They are the Elders that taught her here in Rustavi.
We have become very good friends with Alexandria - we will miss her!
Her mother was able to come to the baptism - a wonderful lady.
Alexandria with all the missionaries from Rustavi.  She will truly be an anchor for the Saints in Rustavi.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Elder Reese asks "What is this?"
It is a Kindergarten School!
A person bought the plane and somehow had it set in the yard. Part of the wall and building were damaged so it looks like it must have been dropped in place. They took all the seats out and put in little tables and chairs.  The kids can go to the pilot seats and turn on lights and move the rudder.  He patented the idea in Georgia.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Odds and Ends

I was going through my pictures and found some interesting fotos that I wanted to add - no real order or theme - just fun pictures!
 They were having a meeting in Yerevan and wanted our opinion - so they skyped us and we joined in!
E Reese loved the chocolate sign in the store.

 This is out our study window - the man and his cat were both sleeping on the chairs!
 Making churchillas right outside the metro!
 Random add with Obama's picture on it.
 Dinner with the New branch presidency - The Carters, the Pratts, Alex, Mari, Taco, Elguja, and Dinara.
 Lunch - salad in a Georgian bread bowl.
 Our living room on Sunday - the chapel!
 Those cute M&M guys are everywhere!
 Check out the tongue!
Oldest and youngest grand kids!


I love my birthdays - every one!  This year I wanted to go to the new Tbilisi Mall.  So we met with the Pratts at Didube and got the bus to the Mall (about 1 hour 15 min total travel time)  The place was HUGE - very out of place for Georgia!  There were 3 stories with lots of high end stores.  AMAZING!  This was my favorite window display - they were all dressed in red!
 I'm standing under the Gap sign in Georgian.
 There was a really big store like Walmart there - here is E Reese by the chocolate sign.
 The Pratts took us out to the best lunch - chicken Caesar salad and tender steak!  I wish I had taken a picture!  We finally headed home and I walked into the quiet house - out from behind the couches jumped my good friends - a surprise party!!!  They were lighting sparklers and laughing and shouting Happy Birthday - SO MUCH FUN!!!
 I am opening a box of decadent candy with Edzita, Leanna, Alexandria and Mzia. 
I had a great day!!!


This year we had Thanksgiving in the Pratt's apartment.  It was nice to just be able to go and not have to worry about setting things up!  We did go the day before to bake the pies because we knew we could not get them there in one piece on a marshutka!  We had great helpers in the kitchen.  E Reese is showing them how to cut up the 'Holiday Bird'.  (no turkeys for sale in Georgie - so Sis Pratt cooked 6 chickens!)

 The official group shot!
 E Mejia had his birthday 3 days earlier and his mom surprised him with a painting by Alex (like ours) only with 10 missionaries working in the city!  Here are the missionaries checking it out!
We ended the party sharing what we were thankful for, watching some Georgian Dancers and playing a fun game of charades.  It was a lovely Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Graffiti in Georgia

Georgia has very little graffiti, maybe it's the cost of the paint?  They do love to write in English, they think it is cool to do so.


The lights had been flickering a little more than usual - but we really didn't worry about it - "We're in Georgia!"  So I was home alone on a Sunday night when the electricity turns off.  No problem - I have candles.  Luckily it was not a cold night.  E. Reese checked to make sure we had paid our bill. We were surprised that it was not on in the morning and finally around 11 we called our landlord.   The landlord brought an electrician who checked all the lines and found the problem.  10 minutes later we were back in business!  This is the electrical wiring he fixed outside our apartment door - we have seen much worse!

Pres. Lawrence is the President of Europe East Area.  He came to visit our mission and spent a day in Georgia.  They are from Fresno, CA and I have been to their home there!  We had a lovely dinner with them, the Carters and the Pratts and then a fireside with the branch.
 The next day was spent with the missionaries in a zone conference.  Sis. Lawrence talked about the house of Israel - she is very inspiring and informative.

Halloween in November

Sister Mzia learned about Halloween many years ago from the missionaries.  When she became Primary President and I was her councilor, she wanted to have a Halloween party for the kids.  Well, we were too late for October 31 - but the kids don't know when Halloween is - so we had our party in November!  I was asked to do the games and crafts.  I had so much fun getting ready for this party and we had a great time.  We started with making plastic plate ghosts.  E. Reese did the lovely artwork!
 Then a game of pin the nose on the pumpkin.
 I love the donut on a string game but had to substitute cookies because they don't have donuts here!

 We played a cupcake walk game to music and then we just had fun doing FREEZE dancing!  I had the Monster Mash song taped - it was perfect.
 Lots of games of Halloween Bingo

 I had taken about 10 pieces of 12 foot yarn and had it going all around the room.  It went under and over and through chairs and tables.  It was our spiderweb.  Each child took one end of a string and had to wind it back up - going over and under and through!
 We finished with some cute witches - I think the moms had more fun with this one!

When we were done with the fun upstairs, Sis Pratt and Mzia had soup and sandwiches for dinner downstairs.  Each child also got a goodie bag full of candy.  It was a great party!