Monday, May 18, 2015

5/17/15 Spring, Clouds, Poem, More Victory Park

The sisters brought us the tulips, and a friend the cherry blossoms.
Look at the design when a tulip opens, we have a pretty impressive world.
Beautiful Blue Skies and White Clouds - this is the parking lot at Metro, kind of like Costco, but there never are many cars, even now that ice is all gone.  This is the only place we can get some of the things we like to have, including lettuce, the Heinz cream of chicken and tomato soup - the consistency is different, but the taste is the same and with a few adjustments works well in cooking.  The tomato soup may even be better than home.  And they have a candy bar that is like the chocolate covered peanuts.  They had cheddar cheese for about six months, but that has gone the way of salted butter.  Oh well, it was nice to have it while we did.
Mike really looks forward to this shopping trip in particular because it takes thirty to forty minutes on the bus, then across a street, another wide area and finally through this large unbusy parking lot which, in this picture, we are already part way into - so just getting to Metro's front door can easily be an hour.  We get our supplies.  Then we take our bags - he carries the two heaviest, I have the lightest (one of the many reasons I've never been for equal rights for women) and we carry them back to the bus, and from tbus back to our apartment.  That is life for the majority of the people here.  But he does use part of the bus time for study time
 You've seen this church in other pictures -- but now with a beautiful sky instead of snow.  I had a roommate in college who used to say that one of the ways she knew Heavenly Father loved her was because he didn't make the world all black and white.  Which reminds me of the story when Ben Leavitt was little and we would all watch those old movies with Grandma Waite.  After watching one of those old movies, he went home and asked Carol .. "Mom, were you alive when the world was black and white?"
Flower beds are planted anywhere there is a place to plant and everything grows, as the grass in the picture above, without having to be watered.  
Nothing like children in the play areas as evidence of spring .. we liked the girl with her arms out, soaking in the sun, like she is just loving everything.  That is how we feel about our breathtakingly incredible world.
Our Institute Council President's fix for his computer -- it won't boot without the weight on the end. We're trying to figure how he uses all the letters.  He is planning a mission soon.  I had the picture with the face blocked out, but Renat saw it and gave us permission to post his picture.  He is a good kid - and happy most of the time.

Hey - we found a fabric store -- thanks to a friend and his GPS -- he is a translator - Russian to German - but he was selling sunglasses for one of his friends on the walking street where all the little stores are.  They do a lot of sewing and knitting here.  The sweaters, the ones you wear just as tops that are a finer knit and the heavier ones used for jackets are as good or better than those in the stores.   One of the girls in English club that sews told us about the fabric store and where it was.  We thought we could see in the windows to find it, but it was through a door, past another little shop inside and then upstairs.  The bag - at the top says Fabric, then Always Soft or The Best Soft.  You find the fabric you want, get it's  number and go to the cutting board to tell them - they go in the back and get the fabric and cut what you want.  It was good that Maxim was with us because I would have just taken the fabric off the hangar.  


      We have a semi-active sister that comes occasionally on Monday night.  We read, sometimes Book of Mormon and sometimes Pushkin - great Russian writer who writes books and also children's stories or poems and she and Mike take turns with him reading Russian and she English and they correct each other's pronunciation.  Her recently baptized 8-year old son often comes with her and is learning English at school so likes to read too.  Mike gave them Cat In The Hat.  After she read it she wasn't sure she wanted her son to read it because she thought it might give him too many ideas.  Never thought about that.  All that to say, here is a fun poem that he has used:

(I'm not sure why some things highlight in the white .. but we can't get it to change ..

Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face - Jack Prelutsky
images (3)
Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.
Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.
Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.
Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.
Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–          
be glad your nose is on your face!
                           *          *          *
        For those of you who like history, here is more on the Cranes Monument at Victory Park and Russia's staggering losses in WW II.   "Cranes Monument is a majestic monument comprised of three 40 meter tall metal pylons, and can be seen from many parts of the city. Twelve silver and white cranes are depicted on the monument representing the country's fallen soldiers."  
       Mike looked up World War II casualties and, including all countries on both sides, over 60 million people - military and civilian included - were killed.  The Germans lost 12 million, the Allies lost 48 million - 21 million military and 27 million civilian.  Of that number, Russia lost 10 million military and 10 million civilian, so their losses were just a little less than half of the total Allied losses and are said to be 6% of their population at the time. In the Siege of Leningrad alone 641,803 civilians died of starvation.  
More on this from Mike's writing:       
        Saturday, as we pressed our way through the crowds at the beautiful Victory Park placed on a hill overlooking the Volga River and the stretching city of Saratov bordered by neighboring green hills, we had reconfirmed that the Russians have that same emotional pride for their home that we have for ours.  We threaded our way through thousands of patriotic citizens at the park to celebrate the Russian victory over Germany in that war that claimed the lives of twenty million of their people—that compared to the still tragic 400,000 of American lives in the same war. 
      What is considered the turning point of the war was the nearly six month battle fought at Stalingrad where the Russians refused to let Hitler’s forces override their homeland.  Saturday there were soldiers in their green uniforms symbolically standing as guardians of each of the monuments and statues. They were in uniform distance  up the steps to the high point of the park where a 40 meter monument with white and silver cranes representing the many who had fallen in that devastating war, is the high point of the park
      It was for us an educational and emotional afternoon as we moved with young members of the Church and their leaders from the branches around the park, looking at the planes and tanks, but also at the visitors who with reverential respect visited the park to honor those who had fallen for Russia.  
     Then this evening our District celebrated their history from 1941-1945 with song and readings.  The oldest folks there are of the generation one step away from those who died in the war, but all of that generation knew of uncles or grandfathers who had lost their lives in the great war.  The Second Counselor in our District Presidency told us there was no family untouched by that bloody and destructive war.  One of the members had posted on the board the promise recognized by everyone here: 
             Никто не забыт ; Ничто не забыто: No one is forgotten; Nothing is forgotten. 
     It was another emotional education for us as we felt the sincere respect these saints have for their fathers and their deep love for this their country.  And our love has grown for these people and their land and for our own.
                                               *                        *                   *                        *
And we'll close today's with another thought from Mike's writing:
Image result for picture of lds missionaries
  I marvel at these missionaries, some as young as 18, graduating from high school only six months ago, and we see easily discernable vestiges of that youthfulness, but still they bear the burden as the fisher and hunters of the Lord in the gathering process, and it’s a wonder to watch.  The members love them and they become the authority, like it or not, on points of doctrine and Church procedures.  In the quiet of the night they are boys, homesick for the authority of their dads and the consoling reassurance of their moms, but then morning comes and they slip on their well-worn shoes and dusty suits and return to the streets as the emissaries of God, spokesmen of truth, messengers with the promise of that unspeakable gift.  It’s a phenomenon seen at home of course, but more pronounced here in a place where there are so few saints and the missionaries lead the way in bearing the candle on the hill.  
And it is an unspeakable gift: John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment