More notes of our daily travails!
One thing I hadn't posted is that one of the many different cultural differences here then in America is that newly married couples may spend a week together after being married but then one spouse lives in Moscow (or another city) and the other here in St. Petersburg. They need to keep their jobs and figure out how to live together when a job can be found for them to live together the same city.
The law states that couples that are members of the church have to be married civilly in Russia before they can go to the temple in Helsinki and be sealed for time and all eternity. Elsewhere church members go to the temple and are married (sealed) and they don't have to go through any other legal formalities for their union to be recognized by the state.
Whenever anyone leaves the city for one day and return they have to register with the city that they are back (and pay a small fee of course.) We have found Russia has quite the tracking (and fee based system) to keep track of residents and visitors. Even visiting the city requires you to be registered. So if you are wanting to tour make sure your travel agency has that procedure included.
We've also noticed that when members are meeting in church or activities they are affectionate to each other. They sincerely show love and interest towards each other by putting an arm around someone when walking down the hall, or sisters will hold hands. In church services as well there is just an overwhelming sense of love towards each other.
It's common for women to hold hands or walk arm and arm in public, whereas, in America it would mean they are a "couple" not just friends or relatives.
In compiling the baptisms year to date we have a total of 43 so far for the year compared to 29 for all of 2009.
We attended a satellite broadcast of the Kyiv, Ukraine temple dedication Sunday, August 29th in our church building. We all brought our white handkerchiefs to complete the dedication with the hosana shout. It was a beautiful dedication with President Thomas S. Monson giving the dedicatory prayer. More interesting facts about the process to build the temple can be found on the web. One fact was that the announcement of the temple to be built was July 20, 1998 and the groundbreaking and site dedication was 23 June 2007 by Paul B. Pieper.
East Europe Area President Schwitzer spoke and mentioned how Heavenly Father had this land pre-destined for his work as one of the princes of a previous king claimed the religious base for the city of Kiev would be Christian. Also, a major street that runs through Kiev has a root word in it meaning baptism. (He didn't say what the street name was.)
He continued that the east no longer is being held back from receiving the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or be blinded by the craftiness of men. President Schwitzer concluded that for the people to show their love and gratitude to the Lord is to prepare their lives to use the temple for the works of righteousness in performing the saving ordiances for those past on and for the living.
It was a very special meeting and Joe and I were grateful to be able to attend the dedication because we were not at home to participate in the Vancouver, British Columbia temple dedication which is in our stake district.
We have two new missionaries arriving Tuesday August 31 and several missionaries will be transferred on transfer day Wednesday, Sept. 1. One thing the church has changed is that zone conferences will be held every 3 months instead of every 6 weeks. Therefore, our next zone conference will be after the next transfer and new missionaries arrive in November.