Before I tell you about the wonderful things they shared with us, you should read this article in the February Ensign about the growth of the church in Russia. Go and do that now......it won't take you long. Go, go!! (Remember to change those last three letters at the end of the link so you can read it in your language!)
Then in the article, it says, "[Elder Lyman] offered prayers in St. Petersburg and in Moscow on August 6 and 9, asking the Lord to bless the rulers of the land and the many peoples of the empire, 'in whose veins the blood of Israel flows generously.'" Elder and Sister Childers told us their mission president told his missionaries, to go and find the blood of Israel because it is out there!! The ten tribes who 'went North', he indicated, were there in the land of Russia.
Here is a tid-bit I came across yesterday: The World Congress of Families that I follow because I love all things family, was suppose to be held next month in Moscow. Because of the unrest in Ukraine and Crimea, the Congress was suspended. In 2010, the Church built a temple in Kyiv, Ukraine, making it one of the closest temples for the Russian saints to attend. I do not think it is an accident that there is so much tension in the area. I do not think the adversary wants the Russian people to experience the blessings of the temple and the gospel. And he probably does not want them to hear of the amazing blessing of the traditional family by listening to scholars around the world proclaim how strong, traditional families strengthen communities and economies.
Elder and Sister Childers told us that they needed two stakes in their area to be considered for a temple. She said they are 24 more Melchizedek priesthood holders in the stake where they were serving to become a stake. When they are a stake, then they have access to local priesthood authorities, other keys of the priesthood, and they will be able to have their own patriarch. Currently, the patriarch comes only once a year. During that time, he gives patriarchal blessings to only the very, very old and the very young who are preparing to serve missions. If your age falls in between those two groups, then you have to wait. One of their friends had been waiting for 20 years before she received her blessing. Can you imagine waiting that long? Or having to get a passport so you could attend the temple? We have to drive four hours and I complain! I think I had better shape up!! The other thing they told us was that the patriarch in their area had given blessings to a member of each of the tribes of Israel. How would you like to have his calling? (That blew me away too!!)
Elder and Sister Childers told us of the severe persecution some of the saints there receive. One of them had been fired from three different jobs because of his faith. Sometimes the missionaries are followed or have 'incidents' where people try to rob them or beat them up. Elder Childers said those young missionaries have to proselyte every day out in the ice and snow (in the winter) because the buildings are locked and in order to proselyte there, someone in the building would have to let them in. So most of their contacts are street contacting in the weather. I just cannot imagine that. What faith! What dedication! What devotion!!
|ldschurchnewsarchive.com (How does that look!!? Brrrr!)|
One of the requests the Childers asked of us was to add the Russian saints to our prayers. To pray that they would remain strong and faithful (apparently as the Russian saints are released from a major calling, it is not atypical for that member to then go inactive---they said it was a cultural thing). So even though they are only 24 Melchizedek priesthood holders away from becoming a stake, they have to fight the cultural norm of attrition.
One other note, I remember reading from last year's World Congress of Families, that the younger generation of Russian citizens had lived through their parents divorces, and alcohol and drug addictions and negative patterns of behavior. They didn't want those things for their families. They were much more open to the traditional family and laws and morals that protect that institution. They want something better for their children than they had. The Childers validated those statements. That makes those amazing Russian peoples prepared and ready to open their hearts to the messages of the gospel.
I think if we would all be willing to add them to our prayers, maybe we could help the Russian saints realize the miracles they are hoping and praying for. What do you think? Is that something we can do for them? You know, I for one, can be just a little more faithful knowing some of the issues they are struggling with. My heart and prayers are with you!! And I will send you my love too! :-)