Monday, August 24, 2015

8/23/15 Liza, YW & YM, Temple Trip

Good news update on Liza from his mom  - For those who may be following Liza's and Josh's story, we have an update. Josh was offered a job in Russia, and received his visa today. He is very soon headed to join his sweet wife and they will work on her visa together. Thank you for your prayers and kind wishes. While their situation has not been completely resolved, they will at least be reunited.  We might mention that she is a very happy and very grateful young lady.  He will get here tomorrow and will be teaching English at one of the schools and will be provided with an apartment as part of his salary package.

Here is a random post.  In looking for youth information, we came across some interesting information from "the olden days."  Kind of fun.
          The purpose of the YMMIA - Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association" was to "help young men develop their gifts, to stand up and speak, and to bear testimony".In 1911 the YM organization adopted a Scouting Program which stressed virtues and physical skills.  By 1913 the Church became officially affiliated with the BSA and lowered the age of entry into the YMMIA to 12. 
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    For the girls, Primary was called “Home Builders” (and the subcategories of Larks, Bluebirds, and Seagulls) and was established as the program for 9–11 year old girls.  The motto for the nine year old Larks was "Love Lights the Way;" for the bluebirds, 10-11,  “The World Needs Happiness Makers.”
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 And in 1915 these were some of the requirements the girls had to pass off:
Image result for old time picture of beehive
  • Care successfully for a hive of bees for one season and know their habits.
  • During two weeks, keep the house free from flies, or destroy at least 25 flies daily.
  • Each day for one month, commit to memory a quotation from either Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants.
  • During three consecutive months abstain, between meals, from candy, ice cream, sundaes, sodas, commercially manufactured beverages, and chewing gum.
  • Mend six pairs of stockings, two knitted undergarments, and hem six dish-towels.
  • During three months, assist the Relief Society in their work of caring for the poor and sick.
  • Without help or advice, care for and harness a team at least five times [and] drive 50 miles during one season.
  • Clear sagebrush off of one-half acre of land  (for anyone who reads this from Snowflake, Arizona - this reminded me and my siblings of the half-acre across the creek we named Hell's Half Acre because it was always full of tumble-weeds and we always had to clean it a couple of times a year,  Our parents must have seen this requirement sometime in their early years.)   
  • )Work Horses Stock Photography
Now - back to a report from Saratov.  When we worked at the St. George Temple, it was almost exactly 45 minutes from door to door (that is at 4:00 a.m however) and other days we could decide to go up and do a session within a very short time of going. Here, the Kiev Temple is the closest and is 22-24 hours away.  There is always a concern about crossing the border from Russia into the Ukraine although those who can go in cars have fewer problems, but a group by bus is more often delayed for some reason or another.  Also by car it is much less, about 2500 rubles but most don't have access to cars; those going by bus per person with travel and everything this last time was 8000 rubles which is about $153 right now so they have to save up to go. Then they have to have a current visa.  So much for quick trips to the temple.  
      This time the group hired a member from Engels that drove an old yellow school bus, no AC and just the regular uncomfortable school bus seats, but there were no complaints, they were all happy just to be able to go.  (Tom Leavitt would have been excited to see this bus - he had an old handicapped school bus he bought when they went to Utah that he would take his grandkids around in.) When they got to the border and all the papers were checked, the guards wouldn't let the bus across because it didn't have the right license to be in the Ukraine - or something,  they didn't know for sure, but the bus was not allowed to cross.  It was hot and they were pretty much worn out, but

the group talked and prayed, wondering if they should come home, but the unanimous decision was to walk the distance and cross with all their luggage and whatever else they needed to carry and find transportation on the other side to take them on.  The problem then was that nobody really had any extra money.  So they called our District President who scraped up some emergency funds and the group found someone to take them.  Through a series of miracles and a lot of prayers they got him from 20,000 rubles per person to 10,000  and made it to the temple later than planned but excited to be there.  Once they get there, the church has a large apartment building they can stay in. 
              Two from our district went through for the first time - Renat who is going to the Moscow Mission, and will go into the Spain MTC on September 29, the day we went in ten months ago. -
Maxim, young man in our English Gospel Study class,   
And one couple was sealed.
Between the bus and the cars, there were 40 people.  They spent the rest of the week at the Ukraine Temple doing temple work for ancestors they have researched.  They do baptisms, initiatory, sessions, sealings and would willingly take their turn to help clean if it was needed.  On the way back to the border, their bus was stopped by an armed guard who asked the driver the nationality of the people he was transporting ..He smiled and answered -  "Ukrainians."  They didn't even check, just let them go on.  Another tender mercy/miracle. 
So we will close this week with the story of their miracle - from the Elders in Zavadskoy.  They found the name of a less active family and decided to attempt to locate them.  They found the apartment building, but couldn't get in because they didn't have the code.  As they were standing there, "it just happened" that the people in one of the apartments opened the window and asked who they were looking for.  They didn't know the people the elders were looking for, but buzzed them into the building.  (Explanation - you have a keypad outside the building where you enter the apartment number.  It rings in that apartment and the residents there hit another button that releases the door - a very big heavy door by the way.)  They went up and "it just happened" as they got to the apartment, the kids were coming out, the mom saw them and was excited to see them, 
said they hadn't seen the missionaries for a long time, invited them in.  They talked and had a lesson, and actually she came yesterday to church and gave a talk about how they had been baptized 12 years ago and were very active, but moved to Sochi where they didn't know many people and eventually quit going to church.  They are back now and had been coming off and on, but the missionaries coming had made them feel welcome and they want to return to activity and friendship with the people here.  She was pretty teary.  After a lot of people went up and welcomed them.  They have a son who was able to meet the institute president, and their young daughter went to primary.  We're amazed and touched at the little miracles that add up until something good is brought about.  
Closing with this thought from Alan Packer, August 2015
: God created us in His own image. The plan for us on this earth is to obtain a body, have experience, receive ordinances, and endure to the end. Standards have been established and tolerances set that we need to live to qualify for exaltation. God has promised that we can be exalted, but He has also said, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10).  In God’s plan of salvation, we are being molded, shaped, and polished to become like Him. It is something each of us has to experience individually.  “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
God has established what we must do and the standards we must meet. Something quite remarkable is that He gives us the moral agency to decide whether to accept and meet those standards. However, there are consequences to our decisions. He gave us agency, but He does not give us the authority to change the standards or the consequences of our decisions.
Because there are standards and because we have agency to choose, there is a Final Judgment, at which time each of us will be reviewed to see if we meet the standards—in other words, to see if we have lived within the standards and tolerances God has defined. His judgment will be final.   
The doctrine of repentance allows us to correct or fix defects, but it is better to focus on meeting God’s standards than to plan on invoking the principle of repentance before the Judgment. 
We are grateful to be here and associate with these Saints who continually try to improve and who change their lives.  (As a final note, I have no idea why some things are highlighted nor why the fonts change .. but at least we are happy we can get it sent.)

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