Monday, April 27, 2015

4/26/15 Second Post - Quilts, MTC and Pictures

   The sisters in the other branch - two branches meet in our building - made a quilt today during their Relief Society for a couple getting married next Saturday.  As mentioned before, we are members in one branch, but Mike is the Branch Clerk in the other branch so we go to both.   It was fun to see them accomplish this with no frames or clamps, standing around the small table in the small kitchen. We haven't seen batting here.  They take a blanket and put it inside a duvet cover, then do a long running stitch about 4 inches in all the way around to hold the blanket in place.  Grandma Waite would be impressed at how even those stitches are.  You can see it best where it runs across the blue at the middle bottom in the picture below.
For the rest of it they do ties hidden by bows of the yarn - one in the upper left above and in the pictures below.
 And this is the finished

              The next might not be a very exciting story, but we are putting it in because it is an example of what good care our Father has taken of us over here in little and big things (and, gratefully this has been true everywhere else we have been.)  Whether at home, or here or anywhere else in the world, he knows and teaches everyone individually in those things they need. The youth are the future of the church here and we see his hand in the lives of the young saints in these small branches who are trying to grow in the gospel.                                                                                                                      It is only through him any successes come.  
 For the activity this month, the Institute Council planned an MTC day Saturday.  It was just an afternoon activity, but important in what it could do and possibly caused me more angst than it should have.  They chose the German missions to be called to.  Last year it was Mexico and since I were over food, that would have been considerably easier,                                                            although maybe not as faith promoting. 
       I am not exactly this country's answer to Rachel Ray and although I have been blessed with many tender mercies in the cooking area since we have been here, this still was a bit of a daunting task.  It was to be a memorable day for the kids, fun and testimony strengthening.  We planned on about thirty attending, wanted it to be good food.  It adds to have everything look nice, so that was important to me too, the way the table looked and how the food looked on the plate - not something I'm particularly good at.  For some reason Mike wasn't a bit worried about any of that but he was kind enough to let it be important to me and help all he could while he took care of working with the
 Institute council on the organization and setup - how long each section would be, 
who would man the work stations, what things would be needed, etc. etc. etc. 
The first and a huge tender mercy came when I determined to follow Mike's suggestion to ask for help.  A couple of weeks ago, one of the Single Adults we know well - in fact, it is the one getting married next Saturday -  "just happened" to drop by to bring an investigator to Institute..  She is the Rachel Ray of Saratov.  I explained what was going on - through a missionary - and she volunteered to make a German potato salad and chicken meat dish and we would only have to pay for the "producti".  Then, I was going to make German Chocolate cake - but, despite all the prayers, there was no coconut to be found anywhere.   But, another tender mercy,  a German Lemon Bar recipe that turned out to be very good and was easier to make.   
    Now to the serving of everything so it looked nice - another tender mercy - we did find plates, cups and napkins that were colorful and coordinated, which is not always easy to find here. (You will be glad to see that I worry about very important things.)  The brown plastic cups we have only seen here. They are a good size and have a fun little handle that make them easy to manage.
Plates below are before we added the meat, not sure there is a picture with the meat on it.  The German potato salad was good - not the same as home, but still good - and they loved the chicken dish Galena made where she makes her chicken mix, then breads it and deep fries it.  In fact a good clue to the quality and taste of the food is that all the plates came to the trash empty.
             We had yellow dessert plates since originally the plan was German Chocolate Cupcakes, but with the switch, when I tried them out on the plates - the lemon bars made it too much yellow.  Just going to the store to get other plates can be 30 minutes each way on the bus and we didn't have time, so Saturday morning we made a pan of brownies figuring no one would care whether they were German or not, then added white and brown m&m's.  My good friend, Dian Thomas, the cooking and outdoor cooking expert, who can arrange anything on a plate and make it look good, would appreciate my kindergarten efforts, but will probably not offer me a job when we get home.  All went well when dinner time came; and we recognize and are grateful for the help even in seemingly little things.  
The young people came impressingly well prepared for their assignments which included German history, questions they might get on the street as missionaries and a little German language training.  At the end of this section they sang Called to Serve in German, amazing spirit.  Then they moved into the stations - sewing on a button, ironing a shirt, tying a tie - then finished everything with a bit of German dancing.  A major highlight was that our mission president,  President Schwab was here because there was a zone conference the next day so he welcomed the "missionaries" as he would welcome those coming into our mission, counseled them, bore his testimony in English - then in German since that was where he served.  His wife brought some German chocolate. The Seminary/Institute Director for our mission and who teaches at the Saratov Institute was also there.  He also translates for the Mission President.
So - with all that we will close.  As we've said before, this is an ongoing amazing experience.  And, to use an old, overused cliche, but which we find here is so true - "it isn't easy .. but it is worth it." 

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