Thursday, October 15, 2015

10/11/2015 Walking the Bridge, Snow/Cold, Hair, Shoes, Flames

Tuesday 10.6.15  - 72 Degrees and Sunny
 Wednesday 10.7.15 - 43 Degrees and not so Sunny and it looks like it is here to stay.  It was a late winter last year but the locals think it will make that up this year.
At least we checked off one of our bucket-list items Tuesday before the cold set in.  We took the bus to Engels, across the Volga, but got off  half way across where you can walk down the steps to a kind of island out in the middle of the river.  This is "the place" during the summer for swimming, boating, sunbathing, picnics, etc.  Although it was 72 degrees, the place was deserted.  (Did we just say "although" as if 72 degrees was warm enough to be doing those kinds of activities.  Certainly the last year has changed our perspective on what degrees it takes to be warm or cold.)
 a view of the underside of the bridge
 We do not have any idea what these are - there were probably at least fifty or more scattered along the shore.   Couldn't help but be reminded of the book "Holes."
 This is the pavilion, which, we suspect, has seen many more exciting things than two missionaries
 Everyone loves a swing, and this is the typical swing you see over here -- usually not more than one swing per frame, wide seat, and sturdy with plenty of room on either side between the frame, plenty of room for kids to go back and forth without getting hit by the swing.
The stairs going up from the Volga to the Volga Bridge
 You can set up individual "picnic" areas but tables aren't provided as they are often at home.  The weather here is so harsh during the winter it would be very hard to keep anything from being ruined unless it was very strong metal - and they do keep the metal things painted to protect them.
View of Saratov from the steps going down to the river.
 At least not the angry waves like Carol & Ceil had
You can easily see where the drop off is so wading out very far isn't safe unless you are a good swimming and know what is coming.
View from the bridge - the building on the left with the green roof is one of the many buildings the church has met in over the years.  
No matter where you are, seems that often you will have a very beautiful sky..  Amelia McConkie (Bruce R. McConkie's wife) took up painting in her early sixty's and it turned out that she had a real talent.  Often her paintings would include different kinds of  skies.  She said she always wondered what the sky would be like when Christ returned.
This building is at the right just as you come off the bridge and it looks like a big office building
but when you get past it and look back - looks like a children's playground, so maybe it is an apartment building because the part underneath the playground looks like a huge parking garage.  
The couple in the middle posted this on their facebook page.  They kind of knew each other but both started coming when the SIngle Adult class was started and were instrumental in getting it going - and are now married.  She introduced a friend from work to the church who came with them to the class, has been baptized and is now married to the other one in the picture.who also regularly attended the weekly class.  It says:  "Welcome to visit the Institute of Religion. Strengthen your faith. Acquire true friends."  
  It is true, we have had the blessing of both.
We were visiting a family the other day and their daughter unbraided her hair, and she had just had some cut off the bottom - makes you think of Rapunzel.
 Look closely to see if you can tell what is wrong with this measuring cup - - -
 do you think this elder needs new shoes??
 Our stove has become a good friend.  We're always grateful it does a good job for us on treats for dinners.  This little burner, and you can only get a very low flame, is great for heating or rewarming.  It is steady and slow, but doesn't burn.  You can see the size of the other.  A lesson in that I'm sure.
This will forever be one of our heart-warming memories of Saratov - Mike, in the shade of the big trees behind the soccer fields, teaching the English Gospel Study class to a couple of amazing young people we enjoy and have have grown to love.
Thought from General Conference, Elder Andersen: Faith is Not By Chance but by Choice which goes along with President Uchtdorf's Doubt your Doubts before you Doubt your Faith:  
 Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance … , the evidence of things not seen.”5 Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible.6 Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe7 and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil.8 By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name.9 The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.....How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. Prayer, obedience, honesty, purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase faith. Without these, faith diminishes. Why did the Savior say to Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not”?   Because there is an adversary who delights in destroying our faith! Be relentless in protecting your faith.

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