The things we have been reminded of this week:
1. Temperature is very relative! As the week progressed the temperatures increased. By Thursday we were up to 18°F. I had the window in the lobby at the office open most of the day. Any of the Elders and Sisters that dropped by commented on how warm the weather was and how they were enjoying the change. In WA we would think we were freezing if the temperature was 18°. In fact, we would be freezing if it were 18°. After -22° that is a 40° increase and it felt warm.
2. With Skype, family can feel very near even when they are very far away! We so enjoy the opportunities to chat with family on Skype. Grandchildren can show us their accomplishments and new treasures. They can act silly and play with us just as they did when we were there (just no hugs!).
3. Small treats are huge when you are far from home. My favorite sister sent us a package that we received this week. The postage probably cost more than the contents, but the thought was the best! Thanks Sis! I will be warm from my heart to my toes as we munch on the treats! Fuzzy socks and candy, what more could you want?
4. It is possible to enjoy dinner with no drink (or dessert), when the young Elders arrange a dinner for the zone at a near-by restaurant for 2 lats a plate. That is just under $4.00. The restaurant had a lot of charm and good food. We had a room to ourselves and enjoyed the opportunity to visit. Since tap water is not an option in this part of the world even having water for 40 people might have equaled the price of the food. This was in conjunction with a two day leadership conference. We were fortunate enough to be invited to dinner even though we had to hold the fort down and man (and woman) the office during the conference.
5. You can feel the Spirit even when you can’t understand the words. On Sunday we had an exchange with a sweet gentleman at church who can speak no English and we are limited on our Russian. However, we could feel his sweet spirit and his love. Also, as we sang one of the hymns I could feel the Spirit even though I was doing all I could to keep up singing in Russian and not really thinking about what the words were in English. It was a sweet feeling.
6. A woman does not have to have a Crest smile to look beautiful when her face is beaming about her baptism! We attended a baptism on Saturday evening where Irena was baptized after several months of working with the missionaries in our branch. I have noticed during the past couple of weeks that she has had a special glow. On Saturday she was beaming, although a little nervous. She was wearing a new skirt and sweater. I am not sure she has ever worn anything but jeans before. But she said it was “only fitting!” A young Nepali fellow was baptized as well and had the same glow! It is exciting to see and fun to participate in these special events. As the Branch Presidency finished confirming her a member, she gave Elder Segeberg a kiss on the cheek. He said that he was thinking, "I bet a year ago she never would have thought she would be kissing an elderly American man someday" I guess life is unpredictable sometimes. :)
Elder Stookey, President Sasha, Irena & Elder Grover