Saturday, July 14, 2007

Almost Home

We arrived back in Moscow this afternoon after a hard week at a Christian camp near Istra. At the camp, the girls traded off, working in the kitchen (mostly peeling potatoes) while the entire team stained an 8-foot fence around the camp's perimeter. Staining the fence required that we cut down trees, clear away millions of stinging nettles, and balance on steep rises of ground for three days as we raced to finish a task that included nearly 3 miles of fence. From start to finish, walking the fence line took almost an hour.

I'm in an internet cafe with J.J., Della, Lisby, and Garett, and my computer has just notified me that I have only 3 minutes remaining on my account. Tomorrow, we visit the circus and prepare for an early morning (2 a.m.) trip to the airport. We miss you. We love you. We appreciate all your prayers for our safety. God has been present and active in our trip and in our relationships. We have many amazing stories to tell. I'm down to 1 minute left. See you soon.

Friday, July 6, 2007

St. Petersburg was great. We had lots of fun visiting the Hermitage, a tour of the city and Pushkin's college. (Pushkin is the most famous Russian Poet). The night trains to and from St. Petersburg were hard to sleep on, but it was a new experience for many of us. We met some kids from School 42 (in a Siberian city) who taught us some new games, including one that translates to English as "Stupid." Della was very good at this game. Dani had a good conversation with a family who lived in Kamchatka, the far east of Russia (right picture). We're in Elektrostal, taking showers and repacking. As soon as we're done, we'll be headed back to Moscow and from there to the camp at Istra. Should be back in Moscow by July 14.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Doughnuts and Goodbye

It was dim and stormy this morning when Bethany and I arrived at Liz's apartment, everyone (Liz, Adam, and Brook) were still sleeping, so we put our things in the appartment and went out on an adventure.

We walked across the street to the market Spar, and bought water and chocolate. We then walked a few blocks to a small doughnut street vendor and bought 10 doughnuts. We tried to use the word for "10" in Russian, but the lady just looked at us funny so we resorted to using our fingers and pointing. When we got our doughnuts we walked back to the apartment and were tempted by the smell of the hot fresh slightly powdered doughnuts, but we didn't eat them.

Once we got to the appartment we woke the adults up with hot doughnuts, and they were pretty happy, you would be too!

NOTE: We will be gone in St. Petersburg and then off to the summer camp where we will be working for the next 10ish days, and will not have access to a computer. This will most likely be the last entry for the trip. Please keep checking in just in case we find a computer, and please keep praying.

Peace and Love all


Monday, July 2, 2007

A Russian Picnic

The last week in Elektrostal has been full. Right now, I'm sitting at a table in Liz's apartment as Brook cleans up some water she dropped on the floor and Bethany takes a bit of orange juice while Lisby snacks on thin ginger snaps. She and Bethany are making plans to stop at a little doughnut stand that Patrick and I visited this morning. The doughnuts come out so hot that they're painful to the touch, dusted with powdered sugar, and they cost 5 rubles each, which comes to about 20 cents. Later tonight, Liz, Brook, Adam, and I are going over to Della's host home for dinner. The youth with whom Della is staying (pronounced eera [roll the R]) is originally from Azerbaijan, and her aunt (the city's AIDS prevention/treatment director) is a fantastic cook.

Earlier this afternoon, we hosted a picnic at the lake (just outside of the city) for the host home families. Because today is a work day, many of the youth joined us, but most of the parents were unable to come. JJ's host, Sergei, brought layered pastries with poppy seeds as well as Russian tea cakes. They call them "pryaneki." We also had hot dogs (actually a kind of pork sausage that two of the Russians told us not to eat [because of the poor quality]). We also grilled chicken and had fresh sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and apples, with thick slices of rye bread. For dessert, Adam and Lisby directed us in making banana boats. We sliced open bananas and inserted squares of chocolate, wrapped the concoctions in aluminum foil, and cooked them on the grill. Sergei and Dima (Garret's host) each had just one bite, declaring the food edible but making it clear that they preferred their bananas and chocolate separately. Anya (Amanda and Shelby's host) declared them delicious.

We also tossed a football, sat around a campfire, huddled under the four umbrellas we'd brought (when it started raining), and had long discussions about the differences in Russian and American wordplay (Sergei and I).

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Another day...

Today we went to the Bible study at the Neiferts and had worship there. Then we went to the Moscow Monthly Meeting where we spent the hour in silent worship and then had a time of fellowship afterwards. It was a wonderrful time filled with God's spirit!

Brock, Batman does fly in Russia because he can fly anywhere he wants. I saw him myself!!! (If you don't believe me, you can ask anyone on my team.) And Dad, they had no shovels, but there was a lake. All turned out well, and we had so much fun!!! Love you all.

Friday, June 29, 2007

God is an Artist

As we (Beth and I) were in the car with our hosts, driving back from playing volleyball with some friends last night, I saw something that really made me think. It was a BEAUTIFUL sunset, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and I have seen many. I realized that the reason it was soooo gorgeous was because of all the pollution in Elektrostal. That made me realize how amazing God is, not that I didn't know this before, but it's just another God sighting. God can make the grossest, worst things BEAUTIFUL! He made smog look like a masterpiece painting in a broken town, how FREAKING cool is that! I guess what I'm trying to say is that God is good, and God is HERE with us!

Thank you for your prayers and God bless.

Elizabeth Rogers

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Pictures!

First: Group photo taken after language school. Three girls on left (your right) were our teachers attempting to teach us Russian. Some caught on faster than others! Second: Group photo in front of the Elektrostal sign. Third: An artistic shot of the war memorial in Elektrostal. Each town has a war memorial, which commemorates War World II vets. A very important part of any Russian town. Fourth: McDonalds in Elektrostal. Look closely and you can see Patrick Neifert standing up in the middle and our group just to the right sitting down.

Orphanage and McDonalds on Liz's Birthday!

In an attempt to get something nice for Liz on her birthday, JJ Lisby and I were sent to the store this morning to buy one of her favorite snacks. Unfortunately, none of the three of us had ever eaten or seen the snack before and so we wound up getting something much different. It tasted good though and she liked them so... all's well that ends well.
Today it rained, spoiling our plans of cleaning up Elektrostal. We were all ready with garbage bags in hand, standing in the deluge of rain when someone said ... "This is crazy." Those of us who did not bring jackets were relieved when the decision was made to postpone picking up garbage in Elektrostal until after the rainfall.
Instead, we stayed in Liz's apartment for a few hours and watched a film about the Boris Yeltsin's '96 election. (It was fun to see shots of Moscow and be able to say that we had been there.)
When the sun finally came out, we walked the tenth of a tenth of a mile (across the street) from Liz's apartment, to McDonalds. It was interesting because most Russian people assume that every American person eats at McDonalds almost every day... or that they at least love it... but for most us, it was the first McDonalds stop in a long time!
After lunch we loaded up our toys and headed over to the orphanage. Much to our disappointment, the children weren't there. During the summer, the kids in the orphanage go to camps in the countryside that are government subsidized, which give them the oppurtunity to "grow and be healthy."
We did, however, get a tour from the orphanage director. She is a very enthusiatic and warm lady who gladly opened up the doors and made us feel very comfortable. We have many pictures and stories to share!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! oh food is soo good! I had Borscht for the first time last night, oh it was soo good! Beth and I also had crab flavored Lays chips, those were.......interesting. We had Pepsi Fresh, which is a "blue-raspberry jolly rancher" flavored soda drink thing, it's awesome!

We went on a prayer walk around Elektrostal as well.

An Update from Garett!

So, some questions have been asked referring to the food that we have been eating. I am glad to inform you that we have been enjoying the food that we are being served. It is a meat and potatoes diet, like in America, except the food here is a bit more filling, which has created problems for some kids who are "encouraged" to eat more. Last night, I was served a chicken and vegetable soup that reminded me of home (almost beat your soup mom!). As well, in the picture of me sleeping, I am cradling a mandolin I bought at the souvenir mart, not my luggage, which I will probably get tomorrow night. Finally, the last bag!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Luggage & Photos

At 3:45 am this morning, British Airways delivered 13 bags to our door! How exciting for our group; clean underwear! We are still missing two bags. One of them has been sent on a flight that landed at 5:00 am this morning and should be here later this morning, and the second will probably be on a flight sometime today (please continue praying).

All students are off at their homestays. We have already heard from Amanda, as she was unsure if it was "normal" to be taken to the woods for a picnic. Liz assured her that this was perfectly normal, so we know that Shelby and Amanda are eating in the woods. I cannot vouch for the rest of their experiences yet, but us leaders had a wonderful evening with the Comforts, Liz, and the Neiferts. Christina Neifert prepared a wonderful meal and Meghan (their 8 year old daughter) punished me badly at their Nintendo Wii. The entire town is in the midst of their annual hot water cleaning. Therefore no house has hot water. I can't speak for the rest, but I am looking forward to my cold shower this morning.

Eric is hard at work preparing breakfast for Liz, Brook and I. He spent yesterday late evening organizing Liz's kitchen in preparation for his grand adventure cooking this morning. Our team should be arriving around 10:00 am this morning. In the works for today is language school.

As Eric said yesterday, God is good! We continue to see this over and over again and appreciate the continued prayers.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Baggage Update

Several of you have individually e-mailed your concerns about our lack of baggage or that you are keeping us in your prayers, so we wanted to offer a full update.

1) God has been good. In spite of the lack of baggage, we've been able to shower daily, and we have a washing machine in our Moscow apartment. Liz and Brook stayed up very late the night before last, making sure everyone had something clean to wear.

2) God has been good. The hotel/apartment in which we've been staying has soap and a number of other personal hygiene items. I discovered shaving cream and a razor (as well as an extra toothbrush). We were also able to purchase shampoo/conditioner at a market just down the block from where we're staying.

3) God has been good. Amanda's luggage arrived on Friday evening, and Dani's bag came yesterday. Adam found that we can track our luggage on the British Airways site, and it looks as though all but four of our bags are scheduled to arrive in Russia this afternoon. We've already made arrangements to have them delivered.

4) God has been good. Both Paul Bock and Adam's dad contacted British Airways from the States to see if they could find out exactly what's been happening in London. The report back was that British Airways suffered a major breakdown in their luggage processing system, resulting in at least 6,000 lost bags. Our bags were found. Some have arrived. More are on their way.

5) God is good. We've been blessed by beautiful architecture, new friends, incredible food, perfect weather, quality time with the Comforts and Maurers, chocolate, and plenty of time for afternoon naps.

Thank you all for your continued prayer. We have felt the effects of your faithfulness.

Off to Elecktrostal

We had our first taste of Russian (I will say "bubble") chocolate last night as Liz shared with us the customs of the Russian home. We were warned of the smallness of an apartment; one usually has only two rooms for an entire family. There is usually only one child per family. Most Russians are rather paranoid about dirt. Liz mentioned the possibility of changing upon entering the street from the house, take off your shoes no matter what, sitting on the floor or stairs is strange, and no street-clothes on the bedding unless they say that it's fine. Russians are also generally very hospitable and may want to show off their American friends to their neighbors. She also mentioned that one of the first questions we may be asked is about black people in America. That is what surprised me the most.
Today is the day that we will be experiencing those things first-hand. After attending a church service at a local Orthodox church, we will be travelling to Elecktrostal to meet our host families. We will be paired with students who we are told speak English very well. I am excited to go and meet who Lisby and I will be staying with. The homestays are what I am looking forward to most.

With love from Russia,

day 2 in Moscow!

So our last two days in Moscow have been very busy. First of all, mom and dad you will be sooooo proud of me! In the last 2 days I have stepped on mass amounts of GUM!!! Only because in some places it is virtually unavoidable, and another reason is that I can not look at all the amazing sights and watch where i am walking at the same time. At first it was extremely difficult for me, but it has become easier.
Second, we went to the market today. It was so much fun! There were people everywhere. it was interesting trying to barter, and JJ became frustrated when Shelby and I did not barter enough. The shops were small and close together. Some of the shopkeepers were fun to talk to and joke around with and others were stern. In general the hat sellers were the most fun! We also made a brief visit to the BIG MARKET which was a madhouse. It was a good experience, but i don't think that i would go there again. Most of us went to the market , but Dani was feeling ill and stayed home to sleep. but now she is feeling much better thanks to the excellent care of our leaders.
Third, we are expecting the rest of our luggage sometine tomorrow. Praise God that it has come so fast! (and that we will finally have clean clothes!).
Finally, we will be meeting our host families tomorrow. Thank you all for your payers! We are grateful.

Amanda (and the rest of YCEW)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Luggage update

We ran into a friend (a Quaker from England) we made on our flight from London in the Red Square this afternoon. She received her luggage this morning. With high hopes we contacted the airlines and were informed that our luggage has been located and will be arriving today, tomorrow and maybe even the following day. We are praying that most will arrive this evening.

However, we are making do and having a great time. We toured the city today with a guide that Liz hired. We learned all sorts of history and fun facts about the city. It was evident that most of us began to hit the wall around 5:00 or so this evening. We have returned to our apartment and are relaxing until dinner.

On tap for tomorrow is sightseeing of Lenin's tomb or possibly the Kremlin in the morning, followed by an afternoon of fun at the flea market (I'm not going to attempt to spell the actual name). We will try to get some pictures up in the coming days!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Breakfast Number 1

Most of us woke up around 8 this morning, meaning that we only had apprx. four or five hours of sleep, yet we all feel rested and ready to go.
Breakfast was very good, and not harmful at all. We had a selection of about seven cereals and some very good yogurt. The cereal was good, but interesting random bear shaped objects floating in milk tasts better than you might think at first.
Some of us had some Lipton Yellow Label tea, and we are covinced that it is better than most tea in America, but that could just be that we haven't had tea in a long time.
Today we plan to head to Red Square as a group and have some fun exploring Moscow, we are all very excited!

Peace and Love Friends

We're Here!

Wanted to let you all know that we made it to Russia. More details to follow, but here are a few quick facts of our trip: 1) Made it to the Seattle/Tacoma airport with time to spare. 2) Flew to London's Heathrow Airport, where we only had 55 minutes to make our connecting flight. Unfortunately, long security lines kept us from getting to the right terminal until about 15 minutes after we were supposed to have left. Fortunately, they held the plane for us. 3) Flew to Moscow. Unfortunately, our luggage didn't make it. Fortunately, this meant an incredibly speedy trip through customs (and airport officials promised our luggage would follow (even helped us with all the paperwork). 4) Patrick Neifert picked us up from the airport at about 1 in the morning. He would have been earlier except for a random run-in with police and a trip to the wrong airport. 5) We made it, here, to an apartment/hotel in downtown Moscow. Liz Sugden is hosting (and helping to pick up extra supplies to tide us over until our luggage arrives.

Next adventure: riding Moscow's Metro system.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Getting to Face Reality

It's weird to think that in 2 and 1/2 days our group will be getting on a plane at SeaTac airport and leaving for Russia. But every day the reality gets closer. Today, we learned many common
Russian phrases and words with much help and patience from Della Anderson. People are joking and having fun, but eventually we will have to realize just how serious this is and that because of a simple process of filling out an application a little less than a yeart ago, this group of amazing guys and gals will be in Russia. Hard to think about. As the trip gets nearer, the clock ticks slower, and the world and life as we know it comes to an end.


Yesterday our families came to drop us off at West Chehalem Friends church where we started our orientation. After dinner and a prayer our families left and we spent time bonding as a group. Today we had a devotional and solo time before lunch and after talked about our pet-peeves.

Our Shirts Have Arrived!!!!!
Our Visas Have Arrived!!!!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In-Flight Comfort

We have something like 14 hours of travel time in planes in order to get to Russia. Even in a 747 jet, that's a long time in a confined space. Here are some ways you can improve your comfort level during the flight.

1) If you are prone to earache during ascent and descent of an airplane, try these tips: (1) keeping your lips closed, gently blow to relieve the pressure in your eustachian tubes; (2) try swallowing several times; (3) chew gum or suck on a lozenge or hard candy during takeoff and landing. If you have a cold, or if the above methods do not work, use a nasal spray or take a decongestant an hour before takeoff and an hour before landing.

2) If you are prone to motion sickness, you should take products such as Dramamine one hour before takeoff (we have a bottle of don't worry about getting any). A follow-up dose may be required for long flights. Unique bands that put acupressure on the wrists are effective in eliminating motion sickness for many people and can be used repeatedly. These can be found at almost any sort of drug store like Wal-Greens or Rite-Aid.

3) Airplanes are hollow tubes filled with people of disparate origin, many of whom are afflicted with coughs, colds, and worse. The germs the exhale are recirculated and inhaled by the other passengers repeatedly for hours on end. Taking large doses of Vitamin C for three days before and after a flight can help build your immunity to the common ailments of others. Also, it is not recommended to use the pillow airplanes provide unless you know for certain that it hasn't been used before.

4) An airplane's cabin air is drier than that over a desert. To help your general feeling of well-being, use a moisturizer and saline eye drops several times during the flight. Drinking a glass of water or juice once each hour can restore moisture to your body and reduce travel fatigue.

5) Remove your shoes and elevate your legs if possible. Make a point to walk around the cabin once an hour or so to improve circulation. Wear loose or tieable shoes or you could discover that your shoes will not fit when you go to put them on after landing.

Dealing With Jet Lag

Hey folks, we are going to be traveling across many time zones as we head to Russia. Here are a couple of tips to start thinking about in order that we can keep jet lag to a minimum.

1) Start the journey well-rested. An extra couple of hours sleep for two or three days before our trip will be a great investment. We will make sure that we are getting good amounts of sleep during orientation!

2) Set your watch ahead to the current time zone for Russia (11 hours ahead). The fact that you start thinking it is that time helps your mind and body to adjust.

3) Avoid drinking caffeine during the flight.

4) On night flights, try to sleep as much as possible. On flights that arrive late at night, try to stay awake so that you will be tired and then sleep when you arrive, during Russia's nighttime. I believe we arrive to Russia in the evening. So by time we get to our hotel, it should be bedtime.

5) When we arrive, try to conform with the local times as much as possible.

6) For the first couple days after traveling, eat lost of proteins for breakfast and lunch, and carbohydrates for dinner.

Trip Itinerary

Wednesday June 20th - Travel, fly out of SeaTac Airport

Thursday June 21st – Travel, arrive in Moscow

Friday June 22nd – Orientation, Kremlin Tour, Red Square

Saturday June 23rd – Izmailovsky Souvenir Market

Orientation for Homestays

Sunday June 24th – Orthodox Church Service,

Travel to Elektrostal, Meet Homestay

Monday June 25th – Group Meeting & Check-in

Russian Language School

Tuesday June 26th – Day with Homestays

Wednesday June 27th – Day trip to Suzdale

Thursday June 28th – Visit Orphanage, worship at Liz’s

Friday June 29th – Unplanned (be flexible!)

Saturday June 30th – Family Day with Homestays

Sunday July 1st – Home church worship,

Friends Meeting, Moscow

Monday July 2nd – Unplanned

Tuesday July 3rd – Goodbye Picnic with Homestays

Night Train to St. Petersburg

Wednesday July 4th – Tour of St. Petersburg (Happy 4th!)

Thursday July 5th – Hermitage Museum

Friday July 6th – Boat trip to Peterhof

Night train back to Moscow

Saturday July 7th – Travel to camp at Istra

Sunday July 8th – Baptist Church with our buddy Vlad

Monday July 9th – Work Projects

Tuesday July 10th – Tour of New Jerusalem Monastary

Wednesday July 11th – Work Projects

Thursday July 12th – Work Projects

Horseback riding??

Friday July 13th – Work Projects, Campfire

Saturday July 14th – Return to Moscow, Circus

Sunday July 15th – Free Day

Monday July 16th – Travel to U.S.A. Home!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Barbecue and Final Phone Calls

Hi Friends,

We’re getting incredibly close to you folks flying out of here for RUSSIA!!.

Tonight Julie or Haley will be calling your parents with some final trip information. Here’s what they’re going to be contacting them about.

They will be letting them know about the Barbeque/Potluck on Sunday night. This Sunday night. On Father’s Day. We’re gathering is this coming Sunday….NOT Monday…Lisby. THIS SUNDAY. We’ll be meeting at 5pm at West Chehalem Friends Church. Julie and Haley will be letting your parents know what they can bring for the meal, either a salad or a side dish.

Here are the directions to West Chehalem:

Coming into Newberg on 99W. Turn right on College St. Go about two miles until you get to North Valley Rd. You’ll know you’re about at North Valley Rd. when you pass North Valley Friends Church. Turn left onto North Valley Rd. and go about 4 miles until you get to the church on your left. You’ll know you’re getting close when you pass the elementary school that is at the four-way stop at Dopp Rd.

When you come to the barbeque on Sunday night, you should be coming packed for your entire trip. This includes your time of the orientation before and debriefing afterwards. So you need to bring a sleeping bag and pillow. Those of you not able to get home after the trip, but will be staying in the area until Yearly Meeting, you will need to also pack for Yearly Meeting. We will store your stuff in Newberg while your in Russia.

Julie and Haley will also be asking for your shirt size for the YCEW t-shirt.

Julie and Haley will also be checking in about shots, reminding your parents to bring the notarize minor travel consent form, and seeing if your folks have any other questions.

Are there questions that you have that are still hanging out there?


Moscow Metro

Adam sent out an e-mail, earlier today, with a link to an interactive map and photos of Moscow's metro system. Take a look.

Update on Visa Applications

Sent from Paul:

Things are looking really good on the visa applications. They were delivered to the Russian consulate this morning. The folks who delivered them were told initially that they looked in order and that they should have the visas ready on Friday. We should receive them on Monday.

God is good. You’re going to Russia.

Flight Details

Adam sent this out earlier today:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Flight Number: BA 48

Operated by: British Airways

Depart: Seattle at 18:40 (6:40 pm)

Arrive: Heathrow (London) on Thursday June 21 at 11:45 am.

Stops: 0

Total Journey Time: 9 hours 05 minutes

Aircraft Type: Boeing 747 jet

Thursday, July 21, 2007

Flight Number: SU242

Operated by: Aeroflot Russian Airlines

Depart: Heathrow (London) at 13:30 (1:30 pm)

Arrive: Sheremetyevo, Moscow at 20:25 (8:25 pm)

Stops: 0

Total Journey Time: 3 hours 55 minutes

Aircraft Type: A-321

Monday, July 16, 2007

Flight Number: SU241

Operated By: Aeroflot Russian Airlines

Depart: Sheremetyevo, Moscow at 11:05 am

Arrive: Heathrow (London) at 12:10 pm

Stops: 0

Total Journey Time: 4 hours 5 minutes

Aircraft Type: A-321

Monday, July 16, 2007

Flight Number: BA 49

Operated by: British Airways

Depart: Heathrow (London) at 15:05 (3:05 pm)

Arrive: Seattle on Monday, July 16 at 16:35 (4:35 pm)

Stops: 0

Total Journey Time: 9 hours 30 minutes

Aircraft Type: Boeing 747 jet

Summer Visitor's Guide

Christy Neifert forwarded these tips:

1. Visa Requirements

* Visas are required for all visitors from the United States. These visas must be obtained from the Russian Embassy or consulate before your visit. We recommend using a company that helps through this process. Two choices are and Travel Document Services.

Note: It can take as much as one month to process a visa application.

2. Passports

* Please bring your passport as well as a photocopy of your passport. The photocopy should be kept in a separate place from your original. You will need this if your passport is lost or stolen. It is also recommended to leave a photocopy of your passport and Russian visa at home.

3. Vaccinations/Inoculations

* Please consult with your physician or travel clinic as to what vaccinations and inoculations are recommended for both Moscow and rural areas in the Moscow region.

4. Medical Insurance

* Make sure you have insurance coverage overseas and bring your valid insurance information with you. If you are not covered outside the United States with your regular insurance provider, traveler’s insurance may be purchased for your trip.

5. Migration Card

* On the airplane in transit to Russia you will be asked to fill out a migration card for non-citizens of Russia. You will be asked your name, visa number, passport number, the name of the person you are staying with as well as the length of your stay. You will write this information twice on the same page, but do not tear the sheet in half along the perforation. This will be done by the passport control.

6. Security Considerations

The last twenty years have been very turbulent in Russia. The negative effects of this can be seen in many areas of society.

* Alcoholism is a great problem within Russia. It is very common to see people who are intoxicated walking down the street, riding public transportation, etc. It is very important to always be aware of your environment and avoid any interaction with them if possible.

* Pick-pocketing is prevalent. Make sure that your money and documents are in a safe place. For women, always make sure you are holding tightly to your purse or using a purse that has a strap that crosses over your body.

* Nationalism and as well as “skinhead” groups are becoming more prevalent among the male youth. It is important not to advertise that you are a foreigner by speaking English loudly in public places outside of tourist areas or drawing attention to yourself unnecessarily.

Note: Russia is filled with wonderful people who are kind and hospitable. Just always remember to be aware of your surroundings and keep security in mind.

7. Weather

* The weather in the summer months often fluctuates. It can get as high as the upper 90s, but can also be in the 60s on a rainy day.

* The average temperatures are as follows:

June- 79°

July- 81°

August- 83°

8. Clothing

* We ask all of our visitors to be sensible in their dress. It is common to see both men and women dressed in revealing or tight clothing, but in order to set an example and respect the more religious, we ask that you dress modestly.

* Shorts can be worn, but we discourage “short” shorts.

Note: You can not enter religious buildings if you are wearing shorts.

* Casual, breathable clothing is best for most activities; however, Russians do dress up for the theater, going out to eat at restaurants, religious services, etc.

* Make sure you bring good walking shoes and a rain coat or umbrella.

9. General Conduct

* You will need to be flexible and have patience. Things work differently in Russia, and because of this activities will inevitably not work out as planned. So, if you plan on anything, plan on the unexpected and you will be fine.

* NWYM has a policy of no drinking or smoking on the field.

* Russians are very hospitable and they will bend over backwards to entertain and feed you. If you are in a Russian’s home, graciously accept what is offered to you and thank them for their hospitality. It is also cultural to give them a small gift.

* Technically, it is not illegal to openly share your faith or to be a missionary in Russia. However, any religion that is not a part of the Russian Orthodox Church is considered to be a sect by the authorities and most of the population. If you are questioned at the airport or by police on the street as to why you are visiting Russia, simply say that you are a tourist. Also, do not mention the word “missionary” if they ask who you are staying with.

10. Drinking Water

* Do not drink the water from the tap while in Russia. Bottled water can be found almost anywhere so always have a good supply and drink a lot of it! It is easy to get dehydrated during your stay.

11. Currency, Banks, ATMs and Credit Cards

* The currency used in Russia is the ruble. It is illegal in Russia to use any other kind of currency although in some places such as tourist markets it is still done.

* You can change your cash into rubles at exchange houses and banks located throughout Elektrostal and Moscow, however, you must have clean, new bills or they will not be accepted. We suggest getting new bills from your local bank before coming.

* ATMs are very common and can be used to take out either dollars or rubles. There may be a service charge of 3-5 dollars for each transaction. Also, many ATMs have a $250 limit (or the ruble equivalent) per transaction. You should let your bank know you will be using your card in Russia so it will not be blocked.

* Credit Cards are not that common in Russia, but they are growing in popularity. They are accepted at many restaurants, hotels and major stores.

* Traveler’s cheques are difficult to change and we recommend that you do not bring them.

12. What to Bring (a checklist)

* Bible
* Passport, visa and copy of important pages of passport
* Airline ticket
* Clothing- casual, cool clothes (in summer), light raincoat or umbrella, good walking shoes, one nice outfit for special occasions
* Hat or cap for sun protection
* Toiletry items
* First-Aid- band-aids, anti-biotic cream, etc
* Personal medicine- Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol, prescription medication, etc
* Insect repellant
* Sunscreen and lip balm
* Toilet tissue- It is not common to have tissue in public bathrooms. Always have something with you at all times.
* Towel/Washcloth-
* Camera
* Snack Foods- Inevitably, you will be offered food that is not appetizing at the time or we will not eat on time. Have a little something to snack on such as trail mix, energy bars, etc.


the new group web log for YCEW 2007!