Now, I have to tell you that the weeks approaching our furlough were a whirlwind. We had so much work we wanted to get done on our house to make it more "user-friendly" for the new missionary couple that would be moving in and taking care of our house, pets, and church family. So, to say that we were physically and mentally ready for a furlough is an understatement!
However, this was the first furlough for us to where we have had to leave so many new converts, as well as, people we were establishing relationships with and witnessing to on a regular basis. Therefore, we had a difficult time leaving! There were tears shed by all as we had our last services before our departure.
We were so touched by people who came to our house to say goodbye and take pictures with us reminding us to not forget them and to return "home" to Russia! How could we forget!? We will miss them terribly!
We met Amber during a survey trip they took here to Krasnoyarsk a few years ago. This time however they have brought their little son, Jacob, along with them and he is definitely a popular little "item" around the village!
|This photo is dark but I love it as the girls gathered around little Jacob Pranger to take pics together!|
Once our departure date arrived, the kids were all excited to be traveling somewhere, to fly again on an airplane, and to see their extended family. So, our adventure begins with a five hour flight to Moscow. We also had a twelve hour layover in Moscow but us parents had no desire to spend all that time getting across town to Red Square so we decided to take a shorter trip... and just find the "golden arches"!
|Waiting for the AeroExpress train to head to another station.|
|Sleep deprivation is only slightly obvious at this point.|
Moscow is overwhelming to me. The streets are very wide and getting from point A to point B requires a lot of walking or if you are in a car, sitting in traffic for hours. It is such a busy city full of people!
The McDonald's restaurants are so nice and, in our opinion, the food is much more fresh and yummy in Moscow than in the US!
|We can almost taste the Big Macs now!|
McDonald's here are often two story buildings, very clean...
...and very busy!!
As we sat and enjoyed our unhealthy, yet delicious meal, we had a nice window seat view of a huge shopping mall across the street. There are many shopping malls in Russia like this one but in Moscow they are even larger and several stories tall.
Often they are ornately decorated and seem almost like cities within themselves.
After our long stop in Moscow it was time for us to continue our adventure with a two and a half hour flight on to Germany. We arrived late in the evening.When we fly back to the States we do our best to spend one night sleeping in a hotel either in Moscow or the next country stop. The jet lag seems to really get you when the whole time you've been flying it is daylight outside! After finally finding a taxi from the airport, we were driven to our hotel. It was a bit interesting as the driver didn't know where the hotel was so we took a little longer to get there. On the way we all enjoyed listening to him yell the name of the hotel in German into his phone so that it would give him correct directions only to finally give in and pull off the road to type it in. Eventually, we arrived.
Never a dull moment!
Welcome to the Hotel Kesterbach!
We had thought we had rooms reserved through an online booking site but as we gave our information to the clerk at the desk, we found out that there were no rooms reserved for us. Thankfully, they weren't so full that we couldn't stay there that night and they gave us the rooms for the same rate we were quoted online!
I love visiting Germany!
Ryan saw this sign on the door the next morning and at first glance thought it said "Drunken". As you can see he was shocked.
As we prepared to board our flight to the US David and I walked around a little by our gate and couldn't resist buying some sort of pastry before we left the country. After all, what else do you do with those leftover Euro coins besides buy pastries, right?!
Let me introduce you to our extremely yummy doughnut pretzel.
Wow, did this thing melt in your mouth!
Ten and a half hours later we arrive in Seattle.
We are here! What's next on the agenda you ask?
Showers for all?
Not until after we rush to our home church to unload our luggage so that we can repack one bag and send our daughter off to attend Teen Winter Conference.
The bus left 30 minutes after we arrived at the church.
|Our teens ready for a great conference!|
Yes, never a dull moment!