Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The first Monday in January we had all the missionaries, Wayne, Amalia and the Budd family (an American family from Yerevan that were visiting) come over to make kinghalis. Everyone gave it a try. Here's E.Steggell admiring his perfect kinghali! We also had bread, hatchepuri and lots of cookies and candy. Hopefully I will be better at making these when I get home! After eating I played Janga with the Budd kids - almost like grandkids! We had a good time with everyone and they all spoke english!

New Missionaries

On January 26, we had 5 new missionaries come to Georgia. They have had 2 months of language training in the MTC. We had 5 missionaries here, so they all became trainers - one of them has only been out for less than 3 months. It makes for exciting times here. Everyone is enthusiastic and we are planning on great things!

Christmas Lights

Tbilisi has beautiful Christmas lights. They are all over the town and each street is different. This is Rusteveli one of the main streets. This is the tree in front of a government building along with some booths set up that sold fun toys and costumes.

Here we are with the Georgian Santa Claus right next to the above tree.

This is the tree that they made out of lights in the middle of Freedom Square.

OK - this is one of the balloons they sold during December and January. E. Reese thought it was really an interesting choice!

They took the lights down after their 2nd New year towards the end of January - we really enjoyed them!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bathroom Tragedy

OK we just had our scariest experience in Georgia! We were both in the bathroom at the same time, a rare occurrence. Sister Reese was doing makeup and I was just out of the shower dressed in only my underwear. (My clothes were in the other room where I get dressed.) I went to try the door handle only to find it didn’t work. “Sister Reese, why did you lock the door?” First thing, oh it must just be stuck a little. Several hard yanks proved that it was not just stuck but it was locked! I fiddled with the handle, pulled, tugged and started to panic. We are stuck in the bathroom! We have no phone! We are in an apartment that is locked and cannot be opened from the outside. How long would it take before anybody would wonder why we don’t answer the phone, don’t answer the door? We have no food. I’m standing in my underwear! ! We do have water and heat. OK try to remain calm. I examined the door handle and realized although the handle was turning the bolt was not moving. Further examination showed that all the screws on the handle were star hex type. Hmm? Hinges! Nope they are not like US not even anything can be done there. Tools? Ok Sister Reese was working on that. What do we have to work with? Here is what she came up with; bobby pin, large plastic hair clip, small metal hair clip, metal hair band, hair brush, and tweezers. I tried everything on the door handle screws, nothing worked. Little more panic and claustrophobic thoughts are coming on and I’m trying to push them back. OK what next? At this point Sister Reese is sitting on the toilet praying. One thing about doors in Georgia is that they are made very safe and very secure in construction. We are in a concrete block room. OK the glass in the door. If we can break it can we get through? I put my head up and realize maybe, but it would be very tight, but hips are not going through. Could Sister Reese fit? What about glass shards and edges, we would be cut to shreds. But maybe someone could at least hear us at that point. What do we have to even break the glass? I look around and see the metal bath scales. OK that will work. Think. Think. Think! OK, what about trying to remove the glass intact? The glass is held in place by a wood frame. Can I get the frame off and then remove the glass? I started working on the frame using the hair band, tweezers, and the brush and was finally able to remove all four pieces. The glass is not imbedded in the solid wood door but is now held in place by silicone glue to the frame on the other side. Luckily only in about six places! That was a blessing! I scraped the glue around the glass with the small metal hair clip and was able to push the glass a little to one side and with the now bent hair pin was able to slide it under the glass and pull it toward me enough that I could get the hair brush behind and carefully pull it out. Yea! This was somehow a tremendous relief and the thought was maybe we have hope now, at least someone might be able to hear us yell. Sister Reese was going to try to fit through but I reached around to see if the other handle would work…FREE! Oh what a feeling that was when that door opened. Just another day in the life of a Senior Missionary?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chicken or Pork?

Cooking a pig is the traditional food for New Years Day - this little guy is ready to go!


Bidzina did not get his visa to go to the MTC at Provo - so - we decided to start our own MTC here in Georgia! We hired Alex to teach English for 3 hours and Amalia to teach Preach My Gospel for 2 hours. Our goal is to have Bidzina speaking English by Feb. 9th, when he reports to the England MTC. (they do not teach languages there) We thought as long as we were having the class, we would invite other young people to come and learn English and/or prepare for a mission. Here is our class: Akaki, Keti, Amalia, Marie, Alex, Amshel, Bidzina and David.

Last Baptism of the year

Jeff chose to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Dec. 17th. He is here from Nigeria going to school. He is very polite - calls me Mam - yes mam - thank you mam. I like it!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012


I just want to say: I LOVE SKYPE!!! I have no pictures, but I want it on record, that I love being able to skype my family and friends. I love seeing their faces as we talk. I love seeing how the kids are growing and sharing their stories with us. I almost feel like I am there with them. This Christmas we had the missionaries come to our apartment to skype with their families and it was so cool to see them sharing their mission with them. It was fun to hear them laughing and talking. They just glowed with happiness when they were done. They also ate a lot of E. Reese's pancakes while they waited for their turn!

Christmas Trees

This was our little Christmas tree - it was left here from a previous couple. If you look close you can see my little Georgian couple dressed in traditional clothes with the girl holding a plate of Kinghalis! I also made the snowflake on the top! This was our traditional Georgian Christmas Tree - also left from a previous couple. They take a stick and shave up the wood curls. I really like these trees. They start selling them on Dec. 24th and you can find them all over the Bazaar.

Sister Carter, our misson presidents wife, recieved on last year and she loved it. So she asked us if we would get a few for her this year. We really had fun shopping for these!

She is going to give them to her kids as little families of trees - all the curls on the trees reminded me of Marcy and her girls with all their ringlets. So here is Marcy with Courtney, Meghan and Brooklyn!

Had to take a picture, because we are not bringing these home!

Avlabari Branch Christmas Party

This year Christmas was on a Sunday and the Branch Committee decided they would like to have their Christmas Party after church. So we had a nice Sacrament Meeting - Pres. Reese spoke and quoted from the Christmas Fireside. Then we had the Nativity presented by our primary - they were so good! I loved seeing them dressed up a listening quietly to the story. I got to narrate the English version - followed by the Georgian and then the Russian.

Following the Nativity, the Young Adults had some games for everyone to play while the dinner was fixed. Then we had a small feast of salads, bread, lobiani, hatchipuri and lemonade. We had gifts for the children and everyone seemed to have a nice time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dried Fruit

Sometimes in order to cross a really busy street, they have an underpass. You take the stairs down, walk through a tunnel to the other side and back up the stairs. We often see people with wares to sell in these underpasses. On this day we found a regular fruit and veggie market! Because they only have fresh fruit in season - they dry a lot of their fruit and hang it up. The next 2 pictures show a great collection of dried fruits. There are apples, persimmons, cherries and lots of different colored churchilas.

Georgian Feast

Quiet often after we have donated an item, the recipeints will serve us a traditional Georgian meal. They have one long table and you are given a small plate, glass, fork and knife. Georgians think it's rude to ask you to pass something - so they put the food on 5 or 6 plates on the table so everyone can reach one of them - it is not considered rude for them to reach in front of you with their fork and stab something on a serving dish. This is how the table looks when we first sit down. They start with plates of cheese, relishes, bread and fish. Then they start bringing more dishes - beet salad, russian salad, boiled meat ..... and the table starts to look like this. There isn't room for more plates, so they start piling them on top of each other! There is too much food to eat - so they can't take away any plates. It becomes very entertaining to see where they are going to put the next dish! All the while you are eating they are making toasts to you and to each other and then to life in general.