Looked out the window and what did we see?? Enough snow to cancel the next 3 minutes of companion study. FIRST REAL SNOW!!! I told Arizonian companion Sister Hancock of the Salt Brook (and NPHS) (and BYU Grad School) dream come true, should the lifetime chance through the grapevine rumor spread like wildfire through town and society, to any and every child's anticipating ear of the smallest percentage of a chance of any given second of the academic work day being annulled due to "inclement weather." I think they meant possibly the most CLEMENT weather that ever graced the face of this and any other side of the world **except Arizona.** haha, oh the fondest of memories I have and always will of the Acorn drive inhabitants, 14 years of age and under, coming together as a mighty force of snow- sledding comrades and Stick it to the Snowplow champions.
Evgennia- aladdin narrator with the Sorceror robes, silver teeth, and internal wisdom that could change the world- got up to bear her testimony yesterday. Smiles were adeptly masked. As pressing as the words were, the one thing that made lasting-effect might perhaps be the climactic bow she simultaneously bowed with her grand "AH-MEN." hahah
Women here of all ages pay copious attention to hair maintenance and color experimentation. Something's getting in to the senior ladies, judging by the more daring side of their violot-purple tints.
So President Schwabb and his wife were just in America, for a minor surgery. They also got to see their youngest daughter go through the temple since she's recently been called on a mission to not-so-far away Estonia!!! How neat. They got back in townnight. Their absence was kept on the downlow--and it's a good thing Sister Hancock pocket-dialed him night, otherwise we wouldn't have had a chance to hear from someone sitting in the Salt Lake Airport on their way here for the whole 18 months!!!
We finally accepted an invitation to dine with our best friend, another spicy ward grandma--babyshka doesn't to justice-- named Tamara. She's a ward mission leader who can't hear half the things we say until she puts in her hearing aid and it's upgraded to a nice 25 percent. She made us wait and help feed the neighborhood cats, as she told us" people around here do things for other people--and if I'm not here to do this, who's gonna do anything for the animals??" haha, it was indeed sweet as we helped pour the milk and summon the kittens to the kibble. We ate a great meal, and then offered to sing Christmas hymns, in English as a foreign treat. And flop. Haha--looks like lyrics fade fast when not tapped in to with pre-mission frequency. Sister Hancocks and my voices would simultenously taper off in to confused laughter come every third bar of each and every verse for Silent Night and all other season favorites. Gimme that russian hymnbook.
Nikita is for sure, getting baptized on the fourteenth. We finally found the source of the quiet trouble--no, not Nikita. Not even suspected mother Lena, who voiced concerns from time to time--but indeed, the snow-white fair aunt with ebony hair and hushed opinions that when voiced, GO. Hahah, kind of creepy and exciting to stumble in to her icy presence randomly late one night heading home in the dark. But, all is well. We're making desserts, and Anaitt should be back!!!
Amazing exchange we got to do up in Samara this week! Sister Walker is an amazing missionary. Lots of craziness, heading off on the four-plane process of visa renewal in KIEV!! Very exciting--and so great to stumble in to a random man in the airport, who stopped us as we passed and said, "wait-you missionaries??? I wanna be baptized." We all gulped in disbelief, before his Russian face broke in to a smile and we became instant friends, finding out he was a member who'd served his mission in Moscow 8 years prior, now heading home from a business trip to his wife and kids. It's so great to find them, and no matter who they are, become fast and sure friends. We swapped funny stories and experiences about mission life before hopping on our flight back to moscow.
So call me crazy, but I was back in the JS Doctrine book again. And felt impressed to type the whole section home today. Right now the topic is on apostasy--and how in modern days, anyone who apostasizes usually has an issue or two with church leaders down the road. It was so interesting to read about the men who not only abandoned the faith after finding, erroneously, fault with Joseph Smith, but rose up in anger and rebellion against him and all church members. I've had thoughts before that should I ever choose to go astray--why not do so peacefully, and leave everyone else be??
----And then I read this.
Daniel Tyler recounted, "soon after the prophet's arrival in Commerce from Missouri prison, Brother Benhunin and myself made him a visit at his residence. His persectuions were teh topic of conversation. He repeated every false, inconsistent and contraditcotry statement made by apostates, heightened members of the churhc, and outsiders. He also told of how most of the officials who would fain have taken his life when he was arrested, turned in his favor on forming his acquaintance. He laid the burden of teh blame on false brethren.
"When the prophet had ended telling how he had been treated, Brother Benhunin remarked: "If I should leave this Church I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Mormonism had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it."
And then, this.
"The great Seer immediately replied: "Brother Benhunin, you don't know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church you enlisted enlsited to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can g et back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant."
Reminds of everything I've ever learned about the gospel, everything I have yet to learn and share, and how falling away from the truth would never ever happen.
I can't believe the good the gospel does, the joy that sharing it brings. Merry Christmas!!!