Monday, July 30, 2012

More Kiev

Saint Andrew's Cathedral is as blue as the sky.

This is a huge statue of Mother Russia, like our Statue of Liberty.  Our driver Victor, told us that in the original design the sword was much bigger.  Then it was discovered that the sword would be higher than the cathedral, so they made it smaller.  (Like a knife, he said.)

This is a memorial to those who fought in the Great Patriotic War (World War II.)  The museum here was very interesting.  It told of all the suffering endured by the Ukrainian people during the war.  They said that Germany took tons of their rich topsoil back to Germany, resulting in a famine and starvation for the Ukraine.

This is the Lavra Monestary and caves.  The decoration in the front is made of decorated wooden eggs.

Monument to those lost in the famines.


This is just outside of our entrance way into our apartment stairwell.  As you can see the tiles are held on by 4 clips.  The clips are a part of the vertical metal strips.  Under the metal strips is about 3 inches of insulation.

This is a picture of an apartment building that is going up in our neighborhood.  You can see all phases of construction.  The floors are all poured concrete.  The walls between the floors is brick or glass.  The insulation is installed then the metal vertical strips are installed.  Then the tiles are secured by the clips.  I think they are held in place that way because of the temperature extremes here.  There is also a plaster layer on the inside of the wall before it is complete.

Same building as the previous picture, except you can see a worker (orange shirt) sitting on the scaffolding waiting for the next tile to be cut so he can install it.

I took a great picture of a old building that had some issues in Kiev.  But now I can not find it.  It showed a building where the outside brick and mortar had fallen off.  It exposed horizontal logs forming the base of the wall until the windows.  There the logs were installed vertically between the windows.  A thin 2 inch wide board was attached to the outside logs at about a 60 degree angle to help hold on the mortar.  It was interesting to me to see the building processes used.

When we were in Kiev we went to the Museum of Ukraine, and it made me realize how blessed we are in America.  We have had our problems but in Kiev and Kazakhstan, they have been conquered or at war throughout their entire histories.

English Club / Monsoon

Playing games after English Club
We were able to start up English Club again after not having it for a while.  The elders found some nice people who want to practice English and they like to play games too.  We're hoping that they will begin asking questions about us and why we are in Kazakhstan.  We have to put all church materials away so it does not appear that we are proselyting.

The heating pipes across the street from the church.  They use water to heat everyone's homes and these pipes are connected to all the buildings.  In the newer part of town, they put them underground.  The higher parts are so cars can drive under them.

We had a monsoon rain storm here too.  Unfortunately, the elders forgot where they were supposed to meet us, so they got to run through the storm.  They had squishy socks and shoes (and pretty much everything else too!)

Monday, July 23, 2012


While we were waiting for our visas to be processed, we spent some time with the humanitarian couple in the Ukraine, Elder and Sister Cullum.  This is their third mission, after Laos and then to the temple in South Africa, so they have a lot of experience to learn from.  They showed us around the city and we explored some on our own.  It is a beautiful city.

This statue is in Independence Square.  The city recently hosted the World Cup Soccer and there are still signs of that all around the city.

Interesting items at the tourist vendors.

Kiev Temple

We were able to spend a little time in Kiev (or Kyev) this week.  We had to leave Kazakhstan to get a new 30 day visa.  Being at the temple is a good way to spend some time.  The temple grounds are beautiful and very well kept.  We were able to meet a brother and his wife who is an attorney for the church in Moscow.  He had been in Kazakhstan for our registration meetings.  Small world in the church!  He and his wife drove two days to be able to spend sometime in the temple.

There is a church right there and the housing for the missionary couples and patrons who come to the temple.

This is the Posad hotel where we stayed.  It is about a 30 minute walk from the temple.  Luckily the weather was nice to us.  This is a view from our room.  Lovely homes in this area.

We also were able to spend some time with some friends we had met at the MTC.  We were invited to a birthday party for the Ukraine mission president's wife's birthday.  We seem to be good at getting ourselves invited to parties!  And this couple is from our home stake in Tucson!  This is Elder and Sister Colbert.  We never expected to cross paths with them since we are in different missions.  They are serving as CES missionaries in Odessa, Ukraine.

Pyramid / Mosque

At the far end of the Astana Mall is a cave which is the entrance into the pyramid area.

They call it the Temple of Peace and Reconciliation.  Every three years, the country of Kazakhstan invites leaders from all the world religions to a conference.

The doves are part of the design at the top of the pyramid.

As part of Astana Days, a new mosque was dedicated.  It is across from the pyramid.  The design is inspired by the Taj Mahal.  The man speaking at the dedication ceremony is the president of Kazakhstan.

The family is the Craigs.  Brother Craig is teaching at the English university here.

Random adventures

We see some darling kids around town.  This boy was pushing his brother in his little stroller.  We see these all over town in various animal shapes.

I could not resist getting a photo of this little boy with his Atlanta Braves cap.  I don't know how they get their kids to keep their caps on!

A few views of the markets here.  Alina (our translator) is giving us a tour of the meat market.  There are also modern supermarkets, but most of the local folks shop in the markets.

We were invited to a dinner for the Maxwell's at the kindergarten for disabled children.  The managers of this school have worked closely with the church for many years.  The meat is a sausage made of horse meat.  It was actually quite good.

Astana Days' Festival

Here are some shots from Astana Days.  It is a week long celebration of Astana becoming the capitol of Kazakhstan.  This year was the 14th year since it became the capitol.  There were events all over the city and fireworks and concerts every night.  The Kazak people are very proud of their beautiful city.

The street fair had traditional folk dancing.  The man in the red must be a celebrity because a lot of people wanted to take pictures with him and he was being interviewed by a TV crew.

There were lots of food booths, many of them honey.  Also mare's milk.  Who knew this was the land of milk & honey?

Proof we were there.

Our friends Janara and Alina with Elders Romero (from Casa Grande) and Harrison (Utah).  We went to watch the hip hop contests.