Sunday, June 28, 2015

6/28/2015 Temple, Books, Shoes, Etc

     We have a sister in our branch who lost her parents when she was eight years old.  As she grew up she always wondered if they were somewhere, and if they were, where was that somewhere and just what happened to them after they died, nothing seemed to be settled.  As a young woman she met the missionaries and heard about the plan of salvation and that families could be together forever.  It awakened feelings that seemed to always have been there.  She felt the truth very soon, was baptized and has remained faithful and serves happily and well wherever she is needed.  Quite a few years later, she was finally able to go to the temple in Finland and get her own endowments.  She also got her parents work done, had them sealed to each other and then her to them.  She said she knew then where they were and that they were doing well and she would be able to be with them again.  She said when she walked away from the temple there was an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy that enveloped her whole being that she didn't have words to describe. We wish you all could have been there as she told her story - to hear her words and feel her feelings.  
                                              *     *     *     *    *     *     *    *        
 Does this have a familiar look - Mike organizing the books at the Institute and those in our apartment.  Out Institute director has been too busy to get to it, so he turned it to Elder Waite. Between the office and the apartment we have - whoops, had - quite a few English copies of some of the classroom manuals that were outdated and not used.  We now have one or two of each manual, they are in the cupboards in both places and in order.  The members learning English took a few, the rest will become recycle.  There are other old and unusable items that nobody seemed to dare get rid of.  But things are getting cleared out.  (This might remind Kenyon and Bishop Brotherson just a little of when they served with Stephen Douglas.)
 One of the recent blogs had a picture of some of us getting ice cream cones at an outdoor stand - this young lady is the one who always scoops the ice cream - this time flavors of watermelon, apple, creme brulee, chocolate chip, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, banana that actually tastes like banana.  The flavors are all good.  She is so nice and is always glad to see Mike coming. 
 Because of the snow and mud in the winter and the dirt in the spring and summer, everyone takes off their shoes when they come in - so they have to put them on when they go out.  All the homes have different kinds of shoe horns -- we have two of the ones that are considered top of the line.  You can see in the top picture it is kind of like a cobra head.  They work well and everyone likes them.
This is a normal day -- you should see the shoes on a busy one.
We walked down to the Volga again last week.  The ship behind Mike is the one you saw frozen in the ice all winter.  You can see boats docked by the side and on top.  The bar thing that runs across is a huge crane that can pick a boat up from the deck, swing it out and set it in the water.
 An old ship anchor
 Couldn't resist including a picture of the decorative "bathroom tissue."  It is much like the
 "Don't Squeeze the Charmin."  Kind of fun pattern.
For those of you who didn't see this - look what we found at the little Magneet  (like a 7-11) we shop at that is close to our apartment.  You don't have to read the language to understand the stories.
 The people here are rightfully proud of those who have defended their country and the fighter planes are used a lot in statues and signs throughout the cities, most often shown taking off.  This one is by a larger indoor shopping center you can see on the left and behind it, that also has the large market Ashan where we can often find a kind of powdered sugar and the bread we like.  The bus stop we take back home is the glass building on the right.
Last week we went with one of the Institute students when he defended his final paper for his Bachelor's degree.  Of the seven students and four on the examination board plus a couple of professors - he was the only male.  The board was smiling and easy on the girls, but seemed to give him kind of a hard time - judging from tone and expression, not from words.  However, he did very well and ended up with a 5 (A).   They might just expect more from him.  He is now waiting for his mission call.  Below is the front of his school, but it is huge, wraps in and out around the block.  The bottom word says University and a variation of Saratov is the first word.  
After we left he had some questions as to who we were and why we were there ...Ranat just said - "Because they like me!"  And we do.  
We went with the Elders to visit some members - this is their post office box area.  The people really do well with what they have to work with.  Some of the buildings don't even have elevators - so groceries or anything else they buy has to be carried up however many floors.  
A common subject here is the why and how of conversion.  Thought you all might enjoy these thoughts on that.

From Gospel Topics - (Whether investigators or members strengthening their testimonies) Conversion is a process, not an event. Conversion comes as a result of righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith.  Conversion includes a change in behavior, but it goes beyond behavior; it is a change in our very nature. It is such a significant change that the Lord and His prophets refer to it as a rebirth, a change of heart, and a baptism of fire. 
Although conversion is miraculous and life changing, it is most often a quiet miracle.  Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion.  Even Alma, who saw an angel, became converted only after he "fasted and prayed many days" for a witness of the truth  (Alma 5:46).  And Paul, who saw the resurrected Savior, taught that "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 12:3). 

We have found that our conversion continues.  We have learned much here and are daily grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves us all and always has a hand out to lift us if we will let him.

Thanks again to all of you for your interest and support.  

No comments:

Post a Comment