Friday, April 24, 2009

Apartment Checks 4/24/09

Apartment Checks 

Temp 65F high, 43F now
Wind 12-15 mph westerly
Clear, high cumulonimbus clouds

We are supposed to do apartment checks the beginning of transfer week to be sure that the departing missionaries leave a clean, stocked apartment for the next inhabitants. It is always interesting to figure out the domaphone (doorbell and speaker system) that you use to get a resident to open the electrically locked door. In some, you just punch in the apartment number. Some you follow that with either the * or #. In some there is a button with a phone icon that you push to ring the apartment. Once you figure out the code and the resident releases the latch, you enter these building through the palatial gated (locked) entry and go up the graceful, artistically decorated stairways to the inviting doors of a missionary's apartment.

Inside you are sometimes greeted by the day's laundry, while other times it is just a line of shoes, umbrellas, book bags, or other personal gear awaiting their turn to serve. It is always heartening to find wet laundry in the entry because that means it was washed recently, not still hanging from last week. Most of these apartments are pretty stark, although tastefully decorated. Linoleum is the floor covering of choice and preferably not glued down or cut too close to the wall. A little edge of concrete showing there gives it an industrial flair. On the other hand, the sisters' apartments seem to always have that extra something that women bring to a residence. Whether it is a tent in the woods, a cave in the hill or an apartment in Novosibirsk, theirs always look more inviting and comfortable. Is it genetics? Is it something about just being female? I don't know, but you put two sisters in a cardboard box for a week and it will have curtains and carpeting.

The Zone Leaders live in a new building that contains at least one unfinished apartment (concrete walls and nothing else) so you would expect that their apartment would be the absolute best, right? On the right is their entry and living room. A little bare? Well, they have nice linoleum, but that's about all. What is installed is not finished and what was promised is not all installed. It is the second biggest apartment (after the Palace) but has the least in it. It will be interesting to see just how long it takes to get their phone installed. At District Meeting yesterday they announced that their land-line would be operational Monday; we'll see.

The sisters' kitchen comes with everything possible and in perfect condition, probably because the landlady lived there just before the sisters moved in. The elder's apartment on the other hand, is full of promises and not much else. Their kitchen is quite different and you can see. Somehow the stove either shrank or the counters have disappeared.

In either case, it is quite different, but it does have a couch. I'm not sure if it was originally placed there, or if the elders moved it to the kitchen because they spend more time there. Oh, I remember, it was because they have no chairs (only one stool) for their kitchen table so they moved the couch there for seating. Now that's a guy thing. If it works, why not!

The sisters' sleeping room is a little crowded since the landlady lived alone and left only one twin bed, but the queen size sleeper-sofa is working fine for one of them. I didn't get a picture of the Elders' sleeping room, but it is roomy, about the size of our living room, with just two beds in it. Nothing else, just two beds. It looks like a warehouse that has just had a fire sale and this was all that's left.

Refrigerators and cupboards were another item we checked. Several months ago each companionship was given money to establish a stock of food so that they would be supplied in case of lock-down or other problems getting food for a few days. A food list was given to each companionship and most did a good job getting stocked up. In our inspection we found that most of them were keeping the stock up, but holes were beginning to appear where things were eaten, but not replaced. They need to work on that replacement issue. In their defense, they have a lot to do and shopping is not high on any of the missionary's lists. It is just one of those things that needs to be done and is a bother.

The sisters' refrigerator had a covered casserole and lots of veggies to hold them for a week. Their cupboard was full of the correct stuff except for a couple of holes. The Elders were also pretty good on this, but the refrigerator looks a bit different. I don't know exactly what the difference is, but it IS different.

The bathrooms were surprisingly clean and cared for. That is usually the place males just use and shut the door, but these Elders did a creditable job keeping their bathrooms and water closets clean and smelling good.

Considering the schedule that these missionaries have to keep, it is a wonder that they have time to keep their apartments as clean as they are. I'm sure that their mothers would be surprised and pleased at how well they maintain themselves here in Siberia. We will be around again in a few weeks to check their progress on the "to do" list we left with each companionship and we hope to see some progress.
If you are the parent of any of these missionaries, you can be assured that they are staying healthy (for the most part) and living in respectable, clean apartments. There are a few anomalies, but we are pleased and proud of them overall. In that light, I must say, I'm sure for the umtiump time that we love these missionaries and forget how young they are as we listen to them teach, plan, contact, bear testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel. These are the best of the best.

Missionaries in general are top-notch young men and women, but these is Siberia are a cut above; they have to be. They don't face simple disinterest or rejection. Each approach they make to someone on the street or at a door is as likely to be met with active hostility or even aggression as a simple "No". They have to be prepared for anything and that takes missionaries with iron testimonies and wills. They are as the Lord said to Jeremiah, in chapter 1 verse 8, "Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." and in verse 17, "Thou therefore gird up they loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee be not dismayed at their faces . . .". If you have ever wondered if the Church can survive the next generation, look to Siberia.

These are your hope, both the American and the native Russians. These are the next generation of apostles, stake presidents, and bishops. These are our future and I for one am satisfied that the Church will be in good hands.

What a future. What a country.

1 comment:

Shannon Simmons said...

Way to go! i love you, keep up the great work. Missionaries are the best!