Saturday, July 02, 2005

Email #6 - 7/2

Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 06:42:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"
Subject: VIM Russia 2005 E-mail #7
To: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"

VIM Russia 2005 E-mail #7

Dear Friends,

Below is newsletter #7.

Here is the note from my friend in Russia.

Dear Gerry:
This is attached final Newsletter #7 from VIM as they left this morning for Moscowto proceed on train to St. Petersburg. All left in high spirits and good health.

Blessings to all of you. Have a safe and pleasant weekend and 4th of July.


VIM Russia # 7

July 1, 2005- Newsletter from Pyatigorsk

One of the highlights of this trip for many has been the opportunity to visit in the homes of our Russian friends for one night. The hosts picked up ones or twos at the Boarding School at 7:00 p.m. and took them away for the night. They all returned after breakfast this morning in time to finish up our work projects and the final day of Day Camp. Below, you will find why this was such a special experience.

Jerry Tussing and Dave Williams met with three generations of a well-to-do Russian family. We experienced traditional Russian hospitality, food, drink, gifts, and great conversations, although English was difficult, we were able to discuss similarities and differences, and experiences with each other’s countries. The wife is Vice Regent of the Computer Information Department at the University; the husband works at a computer sales company. The daughter works at the Computer Center and has a very cute and precocious 5 year-old daughter. They expected that we would have negative feelings about our Russian experience, however, we assured them that our time here has truly been a blessing. It was a wonderful experience with a loving family in a warm and inviting home worthy of any in Europe or America.

Nancy Haines: I was with Pastor Alexander and his wife. The discussions we had, and their loving hospitality made this a highlight for me.

Gladyne Swartz: It was wonderful to be in the home of Tanya who I met last year and have written to since. Our friend Lydia made home-made sausage for us…. The communication and the recocnition that we are sisters in faith made this a highlight of my trip.

Bill Wynn: It was so important because I had an opportunity to celebrate my birthday in the home of a Russian family who could not speak English, and at the same time we were able to communicate continuously for over two hours! I was not aware that they knew it was my birthday, and they presented me with a cake and gift! Both are members of the Methodist Church of Pyatigorsk.

Sandra Carter: After having Vova at my house for one week, I spent the night with his Mom and Dad. They don’t know much English, but with the help of their grandson, we managed to communicate. I am so glad my husband and I changed the life of one young man, hopefully for the best.

Charlotte Croll: I just liked being there and seeing how they live. My host was a head chef in a restaurant, so you know the meal was wonderful! I slept in a nice comfortable bed… Since they could speak no English, and I no Russian, we communicated by computer! I wrote in English, and the computer translated to Russian. They wrote in Russian and the computer translated to English. They were true Russians. They were wonderful hosts, and have become great friends.

The Lewis Family, Andrew, Deanna, Christine, and Nathan: We were fortunate to be able to go together to one house. The family we visited were wealthy, had a nice home. The Grandparents, Mother and Father, and two sons of college age all live together. We had a typical Russian dinner with other relatives and neighbors included. During the meal, there were several toasts. At one point the Father made a toast to all Russian and American Women. At this toast, all men must stand to honor their women. Deanna decided that we should continue this tradition in America! It was a highlight because our hosts were so happy that we were there, and wanted to learn so much about us. They also wanted to share themselves with us. We feel very blessed to have spent time with this family and know that they feel the same way.

Pat Jones: For me, this was an opportunity to really experience Russian culture. Also, it showed me how much we are all alike. We all need the basic necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter. The family I visited showed me much love, for this I am grateful.

Andrew Conard: The hospitality of the family was a blessing to me. It was very good to get a small taste of a Russian home.

Martha Clement: The generous spirit, abundant food, constant affection, a chance to see real life people in their own home is what I liked best.

Lyn Conley: Nadia and Peter Bely graciously opened their small home to us. Our evening began with a feast fit for kings, including shashlik (Russian barbecue) cooked by Peter on swords on an open fire. YUM!! Peter and Nadia gave up their beds for us. Peter slept in the loft over the summer kitchen, and fought the mosquitoes bravely. Their kitchen area is approximately 6’ x 12’, and Nadia served 11 people dinner, and had enough left over to feed an army. Nadia’s Russian name is Nadezhda, which means “Hope”, and she embodies the spirit of all the Russians that we have encountered.

Cheryl Hall: My good friend, Olga Litvisko and I finally had an opportunity to sit and relax and just share what has been going on in our lives. Her husband Sergei and his friend Max were very polite and interested in discussing our culture versus Russia’s.

As usual the Russian food was excellent and the hospitality was over the top. I cherish our friendship and look forward to Olga residing in the United States next year.

Beth Breeding- My family was very welcoming and showed me the greatest hospitality. They served wonderful food and we had a lovely time. I watched the movie Shrek twice in Russian with their young two-year-old son. I am grateful for the experience.

UMVIM-Russia 2005 Team, Jean Taylor reporting

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