Monday, January 13, 2014

Old New Year

Maybe it might help to paint the picture of a few characters to be encountered on the path of a Saratov missionary. 
After passing the aparment dumpsters and peering out on to Prospect Ctroitelli, it's not uncommon to find little Larissa, busy about her sidewalk sweeping. Always with an orange vest, latex gloves, and a whimsical mood equivilent to Amy Adams's "Giselle." Over age 55, Larissa never married and works hard for her living,l never allowing wordly cares to rob her, or those she greets, of teh happy magic to be found in each day. Sometimes I think she might float away when she cheerfully assures us she hasn't time to meet:)

Ever-loyal Andrei, ready to lend a missionary hand-- requires no less than  4 already existing movie characters to do his own justice. Take the eccentircity of "A Series of Misfortunate Events's" Count Oloff, the temping peculiarity of the Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter combined--the chilling long-limbed mysertery of Jack from "Nightmare Before Christmas," and confusing splendour or Willy Wonka, right after he slapstick tumbles on to the Chocolate Favorty's red carpet premiere. 

And then, irreplaceable President Yemsove-- with his quiet magic touch to any sacrament meeting he presides at. Little hair on the head, perfectly round glasses, and a sensibly humble voice that could narrarate any documentary worth recommending to someone else. He fell in love with his current happy wife in the temple a year ago-- and still at age 60, has a happy sense of charm left in him as he holds her hand, and winks at the greeting sister missionaries. Haha. Yesterday he bore testimony about how, although many claim across the pulpit, "I love you" to all in the congregation, it would be ever more fitting to say "Brothers and sisters, it seems to me that I love you." And then when in to vivid detail about what it means to truly love a person-- to know him, personally, to an extent--and then, to help him and serve him. He talked about Christ, the love He has for others. And then, at the climactic part of his talk, when the room became more reverent than already 'twas, President Yemsove said, addressing each one of us, "Brothers and Sisters....." and we all waiting--- "it seems, to me, that I love you." 
With beautiful, trusted sincerity in each and every word. Smiles of happy satisfaction spread across the chapel. Haha, a choice moment indeed. 

We are still working with Dasha and Nadya with regard to upcoming baptismal dates. They are younger girls--both 14 and thereof probably perfectly suitable for Philip and Henry. You've got 2 years to learn and understand Russian in time for birthday #16:) It's clear that they are still young and a little fearful of a lifelong commitment. But, we had a wonderful lesson with Dasha on saturday at her house--where she and her funny brother Grisha had arranged, in a heap of a panic, four cups of poured and sugared- tea, along with a small plate of neatly arranged Russian pryianniki cookies. hahah, quite quaint to find it neatly arranged on the table. We simply read from the Book of Mormon, discussed the prinicples in first Nephi, read a verse about baptism-and closed, instead of pressuring her by re-extending the commitment. I think she was pleasantly surprised-- as she looked at my family photo album, and asked for quick help on her English homework. We couldn't help laughign at the rather pessimistic phrases in need of correction, all along the lines of.
1. I don't trust those who lie to me more than once.
2. He avoided caring about those who didn't care for him. 
3. She stopped visiting him after he stole her pocket change.
Hahahah, why the Russian gloom in foreign language learning?? 

Great lesson in the park yesterday-- mind you, freezing!!!! since this here Nikolai still turns down invitations to meet at our prayer house. Well, he brought a friend, names BORIS. Properly pronounced in Russian, Bahreese, sorry to disappoint family. Anyway-- Boris was pretty excited as he listtened to the story of the Restoration, and read the promise in the BOM--before digging in and actually looking up the references!! It was so neat and refreshing as it was clear he trusted in the promise. We hope to meet with him again!!

So my coat nametag busted again. Sister Hancock and I have tried to come up with all the creative alternatives we could muster. Hmm. One of them, her idea-- to duct tape russian coins to the back of the nametag, and continue using the other half of an extra tag magnet, hoping the force might be strong enough through the fabric. Ehh Ehh. We did it in a frenzy right before church, while I held the tape and she arranged the money on the tag. "This is resourceful," she optimistically observed," before Sister Clyde added in similar tone, "This is ree----diculous:)" Hahaha, photos attached. 

Wow, reading today in Matthew 10:28, about how Christ admonishes his apostles to not fear those who might hurt them, causing them physical harm, but he who might cause harm to their body AND soul. It was so clear and interesting, that he warned them of the many tactics and motives of the adversary-- who might so fully, and capably, try to bother, stop, inhibit the Lord's servants. Discouragement, contention between companions--also family, friends, investigators-- temptation to question our testimonies and doubt our faith. It's been interesting to understand more how real the adversary's power can be-- and how noble and more powerful God and the power of His spirit really are. 

Hey!! Keep going with member missionary work!! Make your "game plans" as Elder Nielsen referred to in last General Conference. And DO it!! Thanks for everything, hope you're all safe, happy, and ever-learning.
Sister Clyde

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