Tuesday, December 8, 2015

12/6/15 Movings, More Yeva, Kopek "Parable", Not Lost, Mikkelsens

        We had two major missionary moves from Saratov this week.  Saturday Sister Hannah Kathryn Leavitt,  David's daughter, Dixie & Anne's granddaughter, is headed home to State College, Pennsylvania, then to BYU for school.  (one of their grandsons, Eric's son, also served in the Russia Samara Mission several years ago.)  Anyway, the lift (elevator) in their apartment building took this inopportune time to go on one of its non-working sprees, so it meant bringing all the luggage down 9 floors, one of the many reasons I'm against "equality" for women...being perfectly content to stand at the bottom and take pictures while Mike helped bring the fully packed suitcases down.
Note the two tracks in the picture below - they are on the sides of most stairs so that strollers (which are well made and solid with wide-heavy tires) have a place to go up.  For winter, some of the strollers even have sled blades that fold down and snap in below the tires.  I think we posted a couple of those last winter.
We were able - suitcases and all four of us - to scrunch into one taxi which was fun.
Despite the cold, a group gathered to see her off.  She was an exceptional missionary and a great support to us.  She is obedient, hard working and pleasant.  We will miss her, as will everyone here. She has been in our Saratov district since March, and along with her regular missionary work, has translated for Mike at the District Council meetings and often at our Single Adult Meetings and Institute Council if they didn't have a teaching appointment.  

And Monday night, our Indiana elder, one of the Zone Leaders,  Elder Farmer, who has been here for all of our mission was transferred to Izhevsk, the furthermost north city in the mission. He is on the left in the picture below with Elder Plettig, our other Zone leader. The missionaries teasingly called him the Mayor of Saratov because he had been here 15 months.  He has done much good, works hard, has a good solid testimony, is good at teaching and livens up activities.  Another very cold night, but worth it to be at the train station with those being transferred or going on Visa trips.
Elder Farmer is in the white Saratov cap, a going away gift from a long-time friend, Vova, on the left,  a member about a year and a half and just sustained as his ward's mission leader.
We've known only one bus number we could take home from the train station, so it was nice to have Vova with us because he showed us another, so we made it home in time that our he could come up to the apartment with us for some turkey stew before FHE at the Institute building.
This was a welcome sight.  It is in front of a business close to our apartment.  The magneet (small grocery store) we shop at is behind it with the long lighted sign. 
More on our friend Yeva from Astrahan, Russia.

After she joined the church and started working in family search on her genealogy, she found ancestral names she could do the work for.  The next time they went to the Kiev temple, she went to the desk to have the cards printed and was told that they were reserved.  She didn't even know what that meant, and they told her they had been reserved by a Greg Kellogg in the United States.  She emailed him and he forwarded the email to his mother, Gloria Repin Kellogg.  This is Gloria's email:
      My dear Yeva, My son just forwarded me your email.  My father is Ivan.  You have no idea how long  I have tried to find my family.  And to find you are a member of the church is just amazing.  As far as I know my dad was the only one of my family to come to the US.  So exciting.  He died at 48 years so didn’t have a lot of information.
           Gloria's father, Ivan, was Yeva's grandmother's uncle (ok - figure that one out.) He was 14 at the time of the Russian revolution in 1917 and was against Communism.  Friends helped him escape to the United States where he later became one of the directors of the American/Russian immigration.  In order to be sure his family left in Russia was protected, he never mentioned them.  Gloria sent many pictures of her father and mother and two brothers to Yeva.  When Yeva showed them to her Grandmother, her grandmother cried and cried, said she never knew what happened to her Uncle Ivan or any of the family.  She asked Yeva where she found out all of this information and Yeva told her at the Kiev temple.  Her grandmother wanted to know more about the church and now also is a member and attending the same small branch Yeva and her family attend. And they have done more on family search - Yeva took almost 100 names when she went to the temple last month.

        A good object lesson if I can tell it right from the translation I got.  First some background. In their money system a ruble is less than two cents, it takes 100  of the "10" kopecks to make a ruble, so a kopeck is less than 1/50th of a penny and size wise, about 2/3, if that much, of a dime. People don't even keep them and if one is on the sidewalk, nobody bothers to pick it up so they are pretty much not very important.
                                      Image result for picture of a kopeck
So, talking about looking at the faults in others, close one eye and then hold a kopeck as close as possible to the other eye.  Although you may be able to see just a little around the edges, everything else is blocked out, whether it is important or not, and you lose focus making it is impossible to view the whole picture.  And the longer you hold it there, the more convinced you become that what you are seeing is all there is.
       But, if you make yourself move the kopeck away from your eye, the further away it gets, the harder it becomes to focus on it completely because you are awakened to the many other things that are there.  And if then you also open your other eye, the kopeck, now surrounded  by everything else seems smaller and you can see with even more depth and broader vision.
​      (At least with scriptures used we know the translation is correct) - 
Matthew 7:8 - "first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."  and D&C 64:9 "for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord for there remaineth in him the greater sin."                                        *                   *                    *                 *
One of things Mike has tried to do as assistant ward clerk is to clear up the membership list.  His letter below will explain.  Brother Kazakov's answer is one of the great and comforting truths of this world.  It made us smile, and warmed our hearts.  (I bolded the words, they didn't. )        
Brother Kazakov, 
In every ward and branch in the new Saratov Stake, there are many members listed who no longer live in Saratov. And we don't know where they have gone. Many to Moscow, but where in Moscow we don't know.  
So, the bishops, elders quorum presidents and Relief Society presidents, as they organize home teaching and visiting teaching, as well as making up class lists and activation assignments, must work around the names that are just cluttering the membership list. What is to be done with them? 
We obviously can send the membership for each to the lost record file, but I'm not sure what happens then. Are there missionaries who go looking for the lost members? 
Please help us understand how we can help find those lost saints, but also make available clear and accurate membership lists for the bishops and branch presidents. 

Thank you for your service. 
Elder M Waite

Igor Kazakov
Hello, Elder M Waite!
They lost for the Saratov, but not for the God!
                                        *                  *                 *
    We just completed the mission's 65 day challenge to read the Book of Mormon.  Although it was fast and didn't permit much - not any in fact - pondering or discussing time, still there are unexplainable good feelings that come with the reading.  We're grateful for the truthfulness of it and the effect it has on people.  When asked, we tell people here that if we didn't know for sure of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the value of those truths to the lives of everyone in the world, there is no way we would leave those we love so dearly to come so far for this long.  We are grateful for this experience.
A young man reading the Book of Mormon during a youth study group.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A note for those of you who don't always see the Mikkelsen's Blog - their mission president is moving them to Odessa in South Ukraine by the Black Sea to work with the five branches there. They served exceptionally well and accomplished much in the area they were in and now move on to bless the lives of those in the new area.    This is from their blog:
 President Packer has informed us that he is moving us this next week.  We are being transferred to Odessa.  It is home to over 1,000,000 people  the fifth largest city in Ukraine and is in the south right against the Black sea.

This is where we will be next week
 Our apartment will be about four blocks from the sea. The couple that was there just left for home and he feels like we need to go down and continue to work with the five branches that are located in that area.  This will be quite a change from our current assignment and I just hope that our light is bright enough to make a difference down there.  Moving from this wonderful town is very difficult.  We have grown to love and respect the people here.  They are true pioneer saints of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will miss them dearly. 


No comments:

Post a Comment