Every Relief Society in East Europe Area celebrated the 170 year birthday party at the same time in our own buildings. We all watched 3 talks given by the General Primary President, YW President and RS President that were for our area. Then we had a luncheon done by the Priesthood. The talks were excellent, but the highlight was walking in the room with tables all set and waiting for them. They thought it was beautiful and they were overwhelmed that the men did this for them! It was a lovely afternoon. Sis South (visiting from Moscow) Mari and Jamima (from Tonga)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
It's been almost 13 years since the Country of Georgia was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel. Today our Zone Leaders invited us to meet at the statue of Vaktang Gorgasali and we read the 'Dedication of Georgia' by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Many were moved to tears as we contemplated the blessings given - especially the phrase 'including all who will one day serve here as missionaries.' That's us! We are 10 young Elders and 1 senior couple serving, teaching, and loving the great people of Georgia.
We are often asked if we get lonely here in Tbilisi all by ourselves. We have to laugh - because we get a lot of wonderful visitors! This last weekend Uldis and Maya from Batumi (ok - he's from Latvia and she's from Indonisa) came to stay with us so she could apply for a visa. There is no Branch in Batumi so they really wanted to come for church. They are a delightful couple. We are playing a tough game of Mexican Trains using Reese's candy for markers. Every 3 months some missionaries have to leave their countries for a visa renewal. The Souths are serving in Moscow (they are our boss!) and she was from Georgia (in the US) and wanted to see Georgia here. We had fun showing them all around - but the wind was AWFUL - we were literally blown away!!!
It's a small world - especially in the church. The Loveridges have a son in Elk Grove and have been there many times. Susan and Brad are good friends with the son. Anyway, they are the new auditors for this area and they came to Georgia to audit the branch. Again we got to do some sightseeing and lots of walking. Ruben, the mission driver and good friend is sitting next to Sis. Reese. Back row Pres. Hovac, mission aditor, Alex L our branch financial person, and the Loveridges.
Our lives have truely been enriched by all the amazing people we have been able to associate with here in Georgia. I am alway surprised by the close bond I feel with them.
People here in Georgia drive crazy. The pedestrian does not have the right of way - ever. When you cross the street, you really take your life in your hands. Even crossing in the crosswalks is done with great caution. Red lights get run, lines are merely a suggestion - it's crazy. E. Reese would love to drive here! That being said, below is a picture of the road we walk on uphill to church almost every day. Please notice how the cars are parked on the sidewalk and we have to walk into the street to get around them. Cars also drive on the sidewalks and I have been honked at several times to move out of their way!
Monday, March 5, 2012
We were lucky to find Charlotte, a member of the church in Batumi - 6 hours away on the coast of the Black Sea. She teaches at the University there. We have been emailing and skyping with her and last Tuesday she came for a visit. We did some touring in Tbilisi which happened to go by my favorite ice cream store. Hi Charlotte - come see us again! We were blessed to have Patriarch Rogers come from Utah to give blessings. We enjoyed a day with him - this was taken as we were walking to the car during the middle of our coldest week! He gave us an autographed copy of his book 'A Call to Russia'.
We have been working with Bidzina for over 8 months. When we started he spoke only Georgian and we barely knew him. Now after filling out mission papers, visa applications, shopping for everything a missionary needs, and starting the MTC so he could learn English, we feel like we're saying goodbye to a son! He is a fine young man, will make a marvelous missionary and a future Branch President for Georgia. This was his setting apart - he has his arm around George, whose papers we are preparing now!