Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sunday is my favorite day of the week. They had daylight savings here last night so we jumped ahead an hour. I’m all for jumping ahead in time right now. We walked to church today. It was a 45 minute walk downhill to get there, and, it was very cold this morning. We met one other couple and we walked together. I may have mentioned this before but there is a bridge (or overpass) that is very long that separates one side of Zap from the other. The bridge was built many years ago by children with little or next to no tools. Our old apartment was on the other side, in fact, right by church and our new apartment is way down on the other side. We walked down the street, toward the bridge, across the bridge, down several blocks, turn right for four or so blocks, turn left and enter at the door with the very large “Tide” box sign sticking out of the wall. The sidewalks are very wide but in very bad condition so every step is taken with caution, especially in heels, so you don’t fall and break your ankle. Some of the sidewalks are asphalt with many, many potholes and other parts are made with brick or cobble stone. It rained last night so there were a lot of puddles.
When we got there we met the other family that brought their two children, I will call them the “F” family. We walked with the “S” couple and met one other man Mr. “D” with his adopted son. They are waiting to finish paperwork so he and his son can go home. There were three Elder missionaries there, two from Utah and one from southern California. They sat strategically around us and interpreted the meeting. On my way to Church I was thinking that I wouldn’t have much to say about today in the blog because we were just going to Church, but there is a lot to tell. The first wonderful thing I saw, of course after the large Tide box, was a picture of Christ at the top of the stairs. Now there are many pictures of Christ I have seen here but this was a familiar picture of Christ surrounded by children that I have seen in many ward buildings and in the distribution center. It was a welcomed sight, like coming home to something so familiar. The meeting of course started with an opening song, “Teach Me To Walk In The Light”. The words may have been different but the song meant so much to me to hear. The Branch President’s announcements included an upcoming service project and just the normal things you would hear. One man turned around when hearing the translations going on, smiled and gave us a thumbs up! I thought that was cool.
The first talk was by a Sister Missionary who is going home soon. She talked about going forward with faith and not fearing or doubting but trusting. The second speaker was one of the Elder missionaries from Murray who is going home in two months. He talked about love and faith. One thing he said that stood out to me, and I wrote it down, was that there is always room set aside in everyone’s heart where God is meant to reside. I just loved that. Three sister missionaries got up next and sang a hymn. I can’t remember which one but every hymn brought tears to my eyes. Of course before the talks the Sacrament was passed. As they recited the Sacrament prayers in Russian, I repeated it in English in my head. I thought that was a neat experience. A Branch member gave the next talk and he talked about how we must stay focused on the gospel, the scriptures and the good things and not let the distractions of the world pull us away from those things that keep us focused on our responsibilities to Heavenly Father’s gospel. They closed the meeting with another beautiful hymn. One member came up and gave us hugs and talked to us in Russian.
We were going to go to the other classes but instead we stayed in the “foyer” area and visited with the missionaries and had basically our own testimony meeting. The “S” couple and Mr. “D” had to leave so it was the “F” family and us and the missionaries. I love the Spirit of the missionaries. They were amazing to talk with. The Elders are actually in our building or the one next door so we may try to see them tomorrow on their Preparation Day.
We walked the 45 minutes home, although it didn’t seem long, and talked about our life together with our family and children. It is a blessing to us to know how many of the people we care so much about are reading about our adventure here. We talked about our future together with our new family members and about how we need to do this, that and the other to make everything work out right. I feel very well aware right now of the challenges we will have in our future but I am optimistic of how things will work out. After all, I never thought we were capable of what we are doing right now and I know the Savior is our stability as we face each day here. I feel confident that if we stay focused, His strength, love and support will continue to be the stability that gets us through the next challenge. We love our family and friends so much. I love the gospel and I am grateful that I can be 5800 miles from all that I love and is comfortable to me and find the comfort of home at the doors of Tide box!
Love you all so much and love your support and prayers. The place in my heart that is reserved for the love of God to reside is overflowing with gratitude for each of you!!!