It is a really cool thing here. After sacrament meeting, the rest of the sacrament bread is put in the kitchen for people to eat. There are people at church who don't have enough to eat. Doesn't make sense to throw food away. This is certainly what our Father would want.
While we were waiting to clean up after an activity, Mike and the elders were entertaining themselves with a large jar like they use for pickles and a ping-pong ball. Mike was the only one who got in in from the fair distance.
When Mike started doing pancakes, his one culinary skill (not complaining, just stating) not long after we came and the Elders started "one-upping" each other to see who could eat the most. We have USA maple flavoring and are able to make good homemade maple syrup. Elder Peterson beat Elder Harrison's record of 15 with 15 1/2, and that has stood for 6 months. Last Saturday after our District Conference, Elder Parker and Elder Farmer each ate 17.
In the two free-standing buildings the church owns - Engels and Solnechney - they have regular baptism fonts which is where all the branches around here have baptisms. We have a family, farmers, that you can get to by car in about an hour. But if you use the walk/bus system, their village is about 2 1/2 miles from the bus stop, so when they come in to church they have to walk to where the buses come and catch a bus for another hour or better, then about a five minute walk to the church. They make it to church as often as they can. There are two girls maybe 14 and 12 and a boy, 9, who was baptized by his father last Saturday. They are a close family and very faithful. It was pretty touching to watch the tenderness they show to each other. The mother and daughters were just a little late because of the bus, but when they came in, her son gave her a great big smile and she responded with a wink and a smile. After Dima had baptized his son, Dima, he wrapped him in his arms and they just held on to each other.
The missionaries come to our apartment on Mondays to write home on the computers. This is a thought one of the Elder's dads sent him:
When you drive home today you've got a big windshield on the front of your car and you have a little rear view mirror and the reason the windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small is because what has happened in your past is not nearly as important as what is in your future.
Patience has been a topic at church of late as they work toward the goal of becoming a stake, so some thoughts:
Robert C. Oaks - Presidency of the Seventy .....there are seldom-reported but marvelous-to-consider stories of great patience. Recently I attended the funeral of a lifelong friend. His son told a beautiful story of parental patience. When the son was in his youth, his dad owned a motorcycle dealership. One day they received a shipment of shiny new motorcycles, and they lined them all up in the store. The boy did what every boy would like to do, and he climbed up on the closest one. He even started it up. Then, when he figured he had pushed his luck far enough, he jumped off. To his dismay, his dismount knocked the first bike down. Then, like a string of dominoes, they all went down, one after another. His dad heard the commotion and looked out from behind the partition where he was working. Slowly, smiling, he said, “Well, son, we had better fix one up and sell it, so we can pay for the rest of them.”
We are doing well - happy to be here and able to serve.