We had a little difficulty in finding the church building, but I prayed for help and we saw some other people in dress clothes and followed them to the church. It took us a full hour to get from our apartment to the church building. It certainly made me think of how many people have to sacrifice to go to church, whereas it takes us 12 minutes by car back home in FL, certainly not the same as walking with two boys for over half an hour in the snow. Did I mention it snowed nonstop?
We sat next to a sister missionary in the ward - it was a Russian ward - and she translated for me. The second hour we took Silas to nursery and he did great there. Calvin was a whole other story in primary. Tyler went with him and stayed for a while. I thought that Calvin would enjoy being with other children who spoke Russian, but he began to sob and didn't stop until Tyler brought him to me. He was even calling for his mama, poor baby. I can only assume that he thought we were leaving him there, like it was another orphanage or something. I knew that it was important that Calvin understood that he is safe with us and that we will never leave him, so I asked the same sister missionary to translate that for me. He seemed to understand, but I imagine it will take time for him to realize that he is part of the Pierce family now and that we are a forever family.
The second hour is Sunday School and we just kept Calvin with us. The topic was on the atonement of Jesus Christ. We split up into groups and talked about some scriptures and about the life of Christ. One senior missionary made a point that really struck me. In the LDS church, we believe that before we were born, we lived in heaven with Heavenly Father. When we came to earth, a veil was placed over our minds such that we do not remember our lives and events that happened in heaven. On the earth we have scriptures and prophets as well as personal revelation to help us learn about God's plan and develop a personal relationship with Him. Because of the important role that Jesus plays in God's plan, I somehow thought that the veil was not placed over His mind, that to be our Savior He would need to know who He was from the beginning. However, He was born as a baby and had to learn and grow in His knowledge of God's plan and His role in that plan. We know from the Bible that He was aware of His calling to be about His Father's business by the time that He was 12. So what happened between birth and 12 years old? We don't really know, but we can only assume that His mother, Mary, played an important part in teaching Him about God, the scriptures, and the divine calling that He had been given. Surely she taught Him to pray. Through prayer He would communicate with His Father and receive revelations expanding His understanding of His incredible mission. Whereas I am not the mother of the Savior of the world, my children do have amazing potential, and I am humbled by the responsibility to teach them about God's plan and the roles that they may play. Additionally, I need to teach them that through scripture study and prayer they can develop their own relationship with Heavenly Father and learn through revelation the specific roles that He has planned for their lives. And the same applies to me - I can learn God's plan for me through my own personal revelation. What a blessing that is!
After church, we took our hour long trek back to the apartment, followed by a quick lunch and a nap. I have been taking naps when the boys do for the past three days. I need it! I made a nice meal for dinner of chicken strips and macaroni and cheese with peas. It sure does take longer to cook here in Russia, but everyone enjoyed the meal, so it's worth it. Tomorrow we are going to get the visas at the US Embassy and then we are completely done with everything we have to do before we leave in a few days.
A video of the boys. Silas is so adorable when he raises his eyebrows.
Silas crying on the taxi from Nizhny Novgorod. Breaks my heart.
The boys playing together. How cute is this???
The super long escalator by the metro.
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