Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Greenies Arrived

The Greenies Arrived, March 18, 2010
Weather--Heavy snow, blustery, blowing & drifting snow
Temp--plus 26F Wind--25 to 50 mph

The weather turned nasty last night and today. Very strong winds from the west, horizontal snow, drifts knee-deep, melting ice mixed with wet snow, and cars crashing into one another all over town. It's like these people don't know how to drive in the snow. When the Zone Leaders called tonight, they said that walking on the street was like doing Michael Jackson's moon-walk. They were stepping forward, but actually being pushed backwards because the wind cleared off the snow exposing the foot of ice beneath. During a big gust, one lady grabbed a sign post and just hung on until it stopped so as to not be driven back on the ice.

The good news is that our four new elders arrived yesterday morning in good shape and great spirits. They were greeted at the airport by President Trejo and brought, with their luggage, to the mission home where they were put to bed for the rest of the morning.  That afternoon they were fed and introduced to the mission by the Trejos and the Assistants to the President, followed by dinner at the mission home and more orientation. Here we see them at the table with Sister Trejo while president took the picture. Here we see elders Drasso, Capps, Eborn,  Septon, and the Assistants (Elders Antuna and Rainsden.

After dinner they took a formal picture and got into bed again for some much needed sleep to reset their "clocks".

Today it was up for breakfast, more orientation by the Assistants, lunch at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken store called "Rostiks", a brief tour of the central area of Novosibirsk (the opera house and "Center of Russia" chapel) and finally delivered to the mission office where the office staff gave their instructions.

Olga, the visa clerk, told them about registration and the need to keep their documents in order. I instructed them on the ATM card use, cell phone protocols, and the luggage policy. Sister Simmons gave them the general do's and don'ts and we introduced them to their new senior companions.

During my time I asked them about the trip in and if they had any challenges. The report was that everything went as they had been told. They paid the Delta luggage fee, got on the plane in SLC and transferred to the international flight with no problems. They were traveling with a group of missionaries destined for Rostov (in the banana belt of southern Russia) so they had company all the way to Moscow.

In Moscow they were met by Sister Stapley, the Director of Temporal Affairs' wife who guided them through the second passport process at the US Embassy and delivered them to the domestic airport for their flight to Novo. Everything went smoothly for them except Elder Septon would have liked more sleep.

Later throughout the afternoon and evening they were taken to their various trains and sent off on the last leg to their first cities of assignment. We are glad to see them here and look forward to seeing them prosper in their new surroundings. The weather was quite an introduction to Siberia, but they were all up for it. A strong group of Greenies.

What a group. What a country.


Emily said...

Welcome, greenies!

Rene Weston-Eborn said...

Elder Simmons, thank you so much for this update. I do have faith, and know that you all do your best for the missionaries. Bless you.

I am so glad to hear Elder Eborn (and his friends) made it safely to you all.

Our prayers are with all of you.

Sister Eborn

Shannon said...

Welcome stouthearts! And welcome new blog header....

Karin Antuna said...

Elder Simmons,
I was told about your blog just recently by someone in the online missionary moms group of which I am a member. I wish I had known about it the whole time our son, Elder Antuna, has been in Siberia. The first time I visited your blog I saw a picture of him guzzling juice out of a carton in his usual manner. What a surprise!
I love reading your blog. It gives so much insight into missionary work and everything that comes with it. Thank you for all you and Sister Simmons do for the young men and women serving the Lord.

Karin Antuna

Trisha said...

I think we all would like a little more sleep. Thanks for the updates. I thought it was about spring, maybe it is true in like a lion out like a lamb.