Monday, October 13, 2008

Conference and Red Square

Sunday a great day. We got to go to the central church building in Moscow to watch General Conference. For any non-lds readers, General Conference is held twice a year in Salt Lake, and is broadcast around the world. There are four main sessions, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. It’s a very big deal to us because that’s when the world has the chance to listen to the prophet and his 12 apostles speak to us. You can check it out here (http://www.lds.org/conference/sessions/display/0,5239,23-1-947,00.html). At home it’s no problem to get because it’s available on cable, the radio and the internet. Well, here in Russia it’s also readily available, but the frustrating part is that because we’re about 11 hours ahead, we can’t get it the weekend it’s actually being broadcast (obviously, because it hasn’t taken place yet). So, we had to wait until the following week to go watch it in the church building with everyone else. It was great though. It was fun to meet at the same time as the Russian members. They watched it in the chapel and we had a smaller room in the back with the broadcast in English. I’ll admit I snuck out during a hymn so I could hear them sing in Russian—I just couldn’t resist. I really enjoyed President Monson’s (our prophet) talk about enjoying the journey of life. He said “This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.” I just enjoyed hearing such positive messages from all the speakers. That’s not what you normally get from the radio or TV these days…

After conference we took a Sunday stroll through Red Square. It’s just so majestic and beautiful. At one point we were standing outside of one of the smaller cathedrals listening to Gregorian chant while taking in the scene of the square around us. And I couldn’t help but think about how my time in Russia is so short. Of course I miss friends and family back home, but I’m just so grateful for every day I get to be here. I think I put too much pressure on myself, but I feel like I just want to take in as much as I can from this experience. Yet, trying to take in this people and culture without speaking the language I feel is like trying to taste cake through a straw. I’m using all the wrong tools. I’m observing the culture from the outside. How do I swim with the fish rather than just squish my nose against the fishbowl while peering in? But alas, I will take Pres. Monson’s wise counsel and just enjoy every moment I can!


This is the church building. Nice, huh?!


And our Sunday stroll through Red Square...



2 comments:

Candace said...

I'm loving the architecture!!

Michal said...

okay, i have been so bad about blog reading lately. there are over 100 unread posts in my google reader. so i'm sorry that i haven't been over to comment.
that church building is breathtaking! i went to church in st. petersburg 9 years ago and it was in a regular apartment building--one whole floor of apartments have been remodeled into one big "apartment" with a chapel and a few classrooms. when i was a missionary, we just rented out movie theaters and schools for our sunday services. i wonder if yeakerinburg has a church building now?