Monday, January 6, 2014


We four sister missionares gathered in the Penza apartment kitchen with bowls of cereal and freshly sliced oranges in hand. Taking the lead on exchanges, I raised the ever-familiar question--who would like to offer the prayer?" --trusting that one of the younger sisters would chime in---silence. Well, might as well take the initiative and save the waiting cornflakes from getting any more soggy. So, I prayed in Russian. Asked for protection on the sisters, the apartment, a few more requests, before a blessing on the food. At the sound of the closing and "amen," a feeling of uneasiness began to seep in, as the reality of a three-person audience was deduced to an embarrassing one. My tired eyes opened to the commonplace of our dark Saratov bedroom, my ears to the humbling laughs of newly awakened companion, probably taken aback by the impromptu 4am prayer. I groaned and humbly asked, "what do the scriptures say about vain repetitions??" before Sis. Hancock laughed and revealed that she had subconsciously, exhaustedly folded her arms in lying position at the sound of it. 

I am so grateful for a mother who encouraged me to be good and attend all youth activities-- even when senioritis and sticking it to the man dominated the twin daughter and world through them. Who drove us to school all those years before we got licenses-- the triple whammy with 2 to the high school and cherry on top Salt Brook excursion.  haha I am so grateful for a dad who  taught and encouraged us once upon an NYC orchestra performance--to close our eyes in order to drink in the music with our ears, void of distraction and fully able to taste the richness of sound. He who also did late-night gymnastic stretches in the living room. Thanks for everything parents.

Last week a woman came hobbling up to us in the park on New Year's Eve. The magic in the air, as this holiday is 100% more anticipated in Russia than Christmas ever will be. Weird, huh?? We just finished up a really neat conversation with a younger cute girl named Aleyona, who decided to linger longer than planned as we talked with her about baptism, and she gave us her number in order to call her. We turned and were thinking about heading back for dinner, when the sound of her passing words, "FREE CHRISTMAS TREES, get 'em while they be hot...." echoed in our ears. Our feet  made the sharp turn in direction towards the spot behind the building that she'd explained. All missionary task went out the window as our dinner hour would now be used for something beyond pressing. 
The new addition leaves the new livingroom count at now an impressive 3. 

I was asked to teach training for district meeting. The Holy Ghost, Spirit, and the role he has has consumed my thoughts as of late. Understanding what he does. John14:26-- and then tapped in to neat thoughts from a talk I heard in RS during the MTC. How we, as missionaries, have this indescribable opportunity to introduce these people to the third member of the Godhead. They may close every written read prayer in teh name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost---by that in no ways guarantees that they understand his literal purpose to testify of the reality of Christ as our Savior-- to bring all things to our remembrance, to confirm answers to prayers--to suffice as the peace as a gift that the Father sends His children, when His Son isn't physically present to do so (John 14:15-27). We talked about Rosemary Wixom's fantastic talk from the 1st presidency devotional-- about John, the little boy who with awe asked the teacher, who had just told the story of Christ's life, "really??? He did that for me???"  We talked of  the little Russian boy Makceem, with his grandmother Anastacia-- who was shown the pictures of the prophets in the Book of Mormon by the two american girls-- before the one of Christ appearing to those in the Americas--- and him quietly commenting "зто хорошо-- зто очень хорошо."  "That is good. That is very very good."  Ugh, how missionary hearts sang as this little 6 year old felt the spirit, unknowingly on the snowy russian street. Talking about how we don't always follow up on our commitment as missionaries to not only aid people in FEELING the spirit, but also RECOGNIZING it.

Anyway, pay attention to the spirit this week-- and what Heavenly Father is trying to tell you.
I love you all, merry merry RUsisan Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
Sister Cyde

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