Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Comes Twice a Year

Greetings all,
In Eastern Europe, the regular Christmas Holiday is 7 January based upon the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox religions. So we get to celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December as well as the 7th of January. But the 25th was pretty much a regular day in our life. We are starting to see lots of evergreens for sale as Christmas trees, and a lot of artificial ones as well. We have a 1 meter tall tree in our apartment all decorated. It will have to stay there until about the 10th of January. They also celebrate New Year's a little differently, since they have two calendars. The common one used is what we are used to, but the New Year's holiday goes until after the 10th of January. So we are looking forward to people on holiday for a couple of weeks. This is the card (in English) that we prepared for the Church to send out.

We attended a small Branch in Zhutomyr, which takes us about 3 hours to get to each way. First by metro to the Vaxhall, then Martruska for 2 hours to Zhutomyr, then a 2o minute walk to the house they use as the church. All the young kids belong to the Branch President. There are some young men and women, but attendance is kind of scarce. They held a Christmas program on the 25th and had 40 people attend. So there is potential for a larger attendance. The Branch President used to be a rock star, and his family is very talented.

We are keeping very busy with Public Affairs training. We leave early in the morning to go to the Crimea for a couple of days. We hope to take a few hours and go to the Black Sea, near Yalta. I have always wanted to go there, and this may be our only chance. We chose to fly instead of the 18 hour train ride. We will see how it goes. We previoulsy went to the Black Sea at Odessa, but it was so foggy that you could not see across the pier let alone into the sea.
The Kyiv temple has been very busy since it opened. They say it is too small for the number of patrons using it. That is a great problem to have. They are trying to organize a stake in Moscow, so if that happens then maybe they will announce another temple in Eastern Europe. From expereience we know that it will take awhile to build, however.
We wish all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

Tom and Shauna

1 comment:

Cliff said...

I confess to being a "lurker" and reading your blog--I hope you don't mind! I served in the Donetsk mission 10 years ago and spent some time in Kiev as a student, and I love to read about news from Ukraine.

I knew the Verkhovsky family when they lived in Dneprpetrovsk--they are great. I got to see them at the temple dedication, which was fun.

It is great to hear that the temple is busy!

S Novym Godom!