Tuesday, November 3, 2015

10/1/2015 Pumpkins, VT Report, Elder Bednar, Halloween Party

     Another first.  We did the Halloween pumpkin carving again, this time with the missionaries for game night on Friday.  They have a very short lesson or spiritual thought at first, then the activity. The pumpkins don't look like the ones at home.  Instead of being mostly round and orange, they are tall, different shapes and orangish brown and green, But they work and everyone had fun.  Our "first" is not the pumpkin carving, but because we took our pumpkin home and baked it so we could have pumpkin for pumpkin pie. After it had baked, we were scraping the soft pumpkin off the rind.  It looks good, is smooth and non-stringy, but we had to laugh. Who would ever have thought we'd be in Russia getting pumpkin ready from "scratch" so to speak so we could have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  Now to find a pie crust recipe that works.  I've tried a couple of times, in fact I think we posted one of the efforts showing you could hold up the pie by the crust without the crust breaking.  

 Alex is the one who often posts pictures to our facebook, he is sampling the raw pumpkin.  Neither of us remembered anyone at home eating pumpkin like that, but we tried it, and it isn't that bad ..
Alex carving his pumpkin .. 
 Another one of the youth sampling one of the eyes he has just carved out of the pumpkin:
 The finished product.  
 This couple you've seen before .. long time investigators who always come to English Club and Game Night.  They are always very good to the young missionaries and the ones who took us to the Russian music concert several weeks ago.  He is very creative and always does a great pumpkin, also speaks some English.
His from last year
We visited Marina, a long time member, last week.  She was baptized the same day as our District President and his wife - the Reshetnikovs - in 1993, the church came in 1992.  She also was in the first group to make the trip to the Stockholm temple in the spring of 1995.  Her husband joined in 2007 and remained active for only about a year, but she has held on.   She has served in the Relief Society and had this paper showing the visiting teaching report for 2009-10.  It is interesting to see the church is the same wherever we are, regardless of country or language. Her son is a counselor in our branch presidency. 
 Her mother, baptized not long after she was, often is the pianist in Sacrament meeting.  She reminds us of Ethel Leavitt in size and spunk when she gets to an enthusiastic song; at some time in her life, she must have played in a dance band.  She's great.  Also, she must be a kindred spirit to Lynn Anderson because she is always adding extra notes and chords and runs here and there that make everything sound better.
This is the apartment building Marina and her husband live in .. very old and very ornate, but well taken care of inside.  You can barely see the carvings at the top.  They live on the top floor and there is no "lift" (elevator.)  We were surprised to learn that she sells Mary Kay, which we didn't expect to see over here.  But, the Volga swimmer in our branch sells Nature's Sunshine and both seem to sell quite well, especially Mary Kay.
Sister Howe, Sister Waite, Sister Leavitt.  As you've probably noticed before, there are almost always businesses on the ground floor of the apartment buildings.
Another thing Marina still had was this announcement of Elder Bednar's visit to Saratov on November 13, 2007; 6:30 p.m.  She said early that morning an unexpected storm rolled in quickly and furiously and continued throughout the day until the snow was 3-4 feet deep and still coming.  (President Reshetnikov told us later that the next day, the sun was shining and the snow completely melted.) The storm was so bad that no flights were allowed in or out of Saratov.  The members here were fervently praying and they feel they were answered with a miracle.  Elder Bednar's plane made it in safely, the only one that came in that day.  Ground transportation was at a standstill, not even buses or trams running, so many faithful saints who were at all able, old, mid and young, walked, some as much as 2-3 hours in the snow with snow still falling, to be at the meeting to hear from an apostle of the church.  And many came without even being sure he would be able to be there.  It is tender and testimony building to hear their stories which they tell with humility and gratitude.
The Institute had their Halloween party Saturday.  There were mostly youth but a few adults who have just as much fun as the kids.  They always have plenty of food, colorful and well arranged.  Their parties are always fun with games here and there scattered through the dancing; and although it was mostly disco we found a few we could dance to.  We stayed after with the Institute Council presidency to clean up, which always seems to be a friendship building time.  We have really come to love these young adults and the other saints we are privileged to associate with here.
This is one of the games .. they have one toliet paper here that doesn't easily pull apart, so they break into groups of two, each group has a couple of rolls of toliet paper and one wraps the other to make a mummy -- the results::::
Another game - they are given step by step instructions as they draw on a paper on the back of the person in front of them, then check to see who is closest to what it is supposed to be.
Posting this picture,  although it goes better with last weeks, but we could see another crane out our window and you can better see the cubicle the guy that is directing is in, he is up about 14 stories.
Have we said before what an amazing experience this is.  It is hard sometimes to be so far away from home and family especially after being used to seeing them all much and often, and for that too we are grateful.  But it is right, it is good and we and they have been greatly blessed.  We remember President Hinckley's father's reply to him .. 
"Forget yourself and go to work."  And that is what we have tried to do.
Our Father has taken good care of our family and of us and we are grateful beyond words.  Also we are grateful to all of you for your love, friendship and support and hope all is going well in your lives.

Good Scripture:   D&C 58:1 - Hearken, O ye elders (and sisters) of the church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me what I will concerning you 
and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.



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