Saturday sports time - this is the room the wards rent for two-three hours on Saturday. It isn't large, and it is old with an old floor, but they are pleased with the accommodations and make it fun. Anyone can come; they split in teams to play. They play steady and hard and rough...like church basketball games at home. It reminded us of the saying on a T-shirt Danny Brotherson gave our Stephen when they were in high school - The Meek May Inherit the Earth, but They Don't Get the Ball. If someone doesn't get the ball here, it isn't because he didn't try. A couple of referees would have had their hands full. Within fifteen or twenty minutes there might have been more out on fouls than still playing. Sorry for blurry, but you can see what the building is like.
The young man in the yellow below has been in the pictures of the football (soccer) games. He is quite a ball handler and fun to watch. He has been a member of the church about a year and a half. Since he was baptized, his mother and younger brother have joined. Families are so important. Maxim is in the black at the back. He does well at any sport he plays.
This is the bleacher section, also part of the playing floor. Walls are the out-of-bounds.
One of our new Bishops, former member of the Stake Presidency, and a ball player when he was in school. He is fun to watch, especially taking the ball down the floor and making a layup. His wife is the one who teaches the deaf students.
Maxim again - shooting this time.
Winter has begun with the snow and ice - the Russians just shrug -- it will be gone in a few months. A side note -- whoever wrote the Christmas song .. It's a Marshmallow World had most likely only fallen in the snow instead of falling on ice -- nothing marshmallow-y about ice.
Someone left these Yaxtrax in our apartment so I tried them on my boots yesterday. It does help on the snow, but can be a little slick on the tile. That would be ironic, to wear them not to slip and then break a leg slipping on the tile at bottom of our stairs.
We have mentioned that on Wednesday evening before the Young Adult Institute class we serve soup (or something). On pancake night, Mike is the cook and we serve those with homemade maple syrup. That and Taco soup are the favorites. Except for the pancakes, which he does on an electric grill, we fix everything at home and just bring it down since there is no stove. There is a small fridge and microwave and we can do the dishes with hot water from the bathroom sink.
Who said we didn't have a dryer at our apartment -- a drying rack and three fans
Remember when we picked up jelly rolls thinking they were hamburger buns. When we were coming home on the bus the other day, a couple of young ladies got on, settled in and then pulled those very same buns out of their bag for a treat.
The Zadvaskoy Elders had a baptism Saturday afternoon in Engels. It had been snowing most of the day so there was a lot of snow on the ground, which turned out to be a blessing. When they fill the font, they can't always regulate the temperature, and it was way too hot for a baptism.
The Bishop and Elder's Quorum president came up with a quick solution. From the small back yard of the church, they brought in 30+ big buckets of snow plus some shovels full which made it bearable. The irony is that Mikael - the man being baptized - originally wanted to be baptized in the Volga; but since it is starting to freeze, the Elders convinced him this would be better.
Just learned something kind of fun, which a lot of you probably already know. Question first - is Noah the only one God made a covenant with to not flood the earth again? I always thought so. Genesis 9: After the flood, God established his covenant with Noah that the earth will not again be destroyed by flood: vs. 15 -17 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow (rainbow) shall be in the cloud ...This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Laie, Hawaii Temple.
Moses 7:49 - 51 And when Enoch (Noah's great-grandfather) heard the earth mourn, he wept and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah? And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying: I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might nevermore be covered by the floods. And the Lord...covenanted with Enoch..that he would stay the floods...
so --- many years before the voyage of the ark and the token of the rainbow with Enoch's great-grandson, Noah, the Lord covenanted with Enoch. How cool is that!!!
Closing with a quote from Bruce R. McConkie in the April, 1972 conference (just a couple of months after we were married). We liked it then, and like it even more now and to it add our testimonies:
"Now the glorious thing that has happened in this day is that the heavens have been opened; that God has spoken again; that he has called living oracles, men who are apostles and prophets, to be his mouthpiece, to declare his mind and his purpose and his will to the world; and his message is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ; and it is administered in the Church which bears his name....And if there is one wondrous thing about this work, it is that it is true; that there is saving efficacy and virtue and force in the gospel of Jesus Christ; and that the power of God unto salvation is found here in the tops of these everlasting hills; and this glorious truth is spreading out to all the nations of the earth as rapidly as people in them accept the testimony and witness that is borne and believe the truths that our fellow representatives proclaim."
Merry Christmas to you all!!!