We saw a moving light out of our bedroom window - and discovered this ...
It is Father Frost, waving from the top of a day-care center that is close to our apartment. You can see our window - across from and just under his bent elbow.
Service in the mission field - this is one of our elders hand sewing up the hole in one of the sister's coat pockets. She splashed hot grease on her hand a week ago and it is still bandaged, so he fixed it when they were here using our oven - they don't have one - and the sisters were using the computers in the other room to write home.
He and his companion are the ones who made cinnamon rolls here a few Mondays (P-Day) ago. The picture below tells the story of their frosting. Both bags are blue, both have similar pictures, kind of. The one on the left is powdered sugar, but the one on the right just happens to be potato starch which they use here like we use corn starch (except it really doesn't work the same.) Anyway, when they tasted it, it didn't seem quite sweet enough (small wonder) so they added some of the cinnamon sugar I had. It was interesting, but edible to the missionaries. The next week, with different and better results, they tried cinnamon rolls with real powdered sugar frosting -- this is another one of those stories that has a Sunday School lesson in it.
This week we went with the Sisters Howe and Mateykina (our Russian sister - in the center) to make a Christmas visit to a member who lives almost an hour by bus from where we live. We are in the time of year where the high is from 10 degrees F above to whatever below zero. We prefer thinking in Fahrenheit rather than Centigrade because even if it doesn't make any difference, the C temperature makes it seem colder. However, we have learned that several layers definitely helps. although you have to allow more time to get ready -
like getting a child ready for a day in the snow.
The sister we went to see has crippled legs from being pushed out in front of a car a few years ago, but insisted, even with the cold, that she meet us the bus stop to walk back to her apartment which is tucked back in and kind of hard to find. Her example makes it difficult for anyone find an excuse for missing anything. She very rarely misses church or activities, makes no excuses for the cold or ice or the long trip or her slow and painful walk. She does a lot of reading and memorization and is always a favorite at programs with her dramatic readings, which we really enjoy even if we don't understand.
Her apartment building - the picture doesn't show how old it is and going into it is a jolting recognition of how much we have at home.
These are the steps into the building to her apartment, fortunately on the first floor. There is no hand rail or support to help you balance which you need most going down unless you have Mike to hold on to. She rents one room, and shares a bathroom and kitchen with 4 or 5 apartments in her area. She doesn't have a sink but does have a microwave and hot plate in her room. We have been impressed also with the way the Russian people take care of each other, even if they aren't friends.
This is looking back at the landing after you step into the kind of hall leading to her apartment
But, as soon as you step inside her own tidy little apartment with pictures on the walls from the Liahona, the awareness of its oldness and uneven floors and chipped, uneven walls quickly fades as you are engulfed by her happy spirit of love and charity; and genuine gratitude for those things she does have. She makes her own blend of chai (tea - herbal) from herbs and berries she gathers, that all the missionaries and members like and had baked us a sweetbread with apples and tiny bits of carrots from a recipe she made up from what she had. We do love these people, so many lessons to learn from them. (As a side note - the government has certified her as an invalid so is in the process of finding her another apartment, plus she will get a small pension. It is difficult, they have many who need to be taken care of.)
She walked back with us, taking us another direction through a snow covered park - this is another statue .. they have many and we like them.
- Verse 1 - Prayer - did cry much unto the Lord my God.
- Verse 6 - Family - did take my family ...
- Verse 10 - Keep Commandments - And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things
- Verse 16 - Temple - did build a temple
- Verse 17 - Work - did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands
- Verse 27 - Happiness - lived after the manner of happiness
- Verse 31 - Obedient - obedient to the commandments of the Lord
That last reminds us of a quote we have used before from President Benson: "When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest, God will endow us with power."