Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 6, 2008 Sergey's Baptism

Sergey"s Baptism
Saturday, July 6,2008 
Sergey was baptized in the "left-bank" chapel. It is located past the end of the Metro's last stop on the western end of the city. We left the office in the company of Elders Hoops & Bressler and got on the Metro in front of the mission office headed west. Riding to the end of the line, not hard to figure since everyone got off the train, and headed for open air.

At the exit we crossed a field of dirt and weeds, over the tram tracks and across a 4 lane street at the light. Then left a hundred yards and right about 1/4 mile entering a park at the center gate. We walked the wide path through trees and beside uncut grass to your ankles, turned obliquely left and followed another path through housing units for about 1/2 mile.

An aside. During the Khrushchev period, apartment buildings were build five stories high and of uniform floor plans. They held about 25 units each of two and three rooms (counting bedrooms and livingrooms only) and had a small play yard in front. These were clustered around drives that wandered through these neighborhoods seemingly without thought. The idea was that anyone could climb 5 floors and no elevators were needed in these buildings.

During the Brezhnev era all apartment buildings were built 9 stories high, like ours, containing about 40 units and having an elevator starting on the third floor. I don't know the reason for the change except that the need for housing was growing faster than the buildings and higher units were more efficient than the shorter ones. Prior to the 1950's, people were living in the pre-WWII wooden houses that survived the war like the one above.

After the housing units, we headed due south, crossed a 2 lane street and the tram tracks going east & west and headed through another neighborhood of 1950's housing. Another 1/3 mile we turned right between some buildings, walked further, turned slightly left and saw an '80's era housing unit with a large structure attached to the far south end. This was our goal.

The church had purchased this large attachment to a housing unit that used to be a bank. For the life of me I cannot understand why they would put a bank in a cluster of housing units and that is probably why it was available to purchase.

The first floor houses the baptistry, the second has the chapel, the third is the Seminary/Institute rooms, and the 4th is the Physical Facilities office for the mission.

The font, seen above, is at floor level with the sides built up about 30 inches. With about 2 feet of water in it, the baptizer (Misha, the tall one) has to be careful to get the candidate all the way under. Sergey is a friend of Misha's and has a lot of youhg friends in Second Branch where he will attend.

To promote zone unity, all the missionaries in Novosibirsk city attended the baptism. With the youth and missionaries, it made a good sized congregation. There were talks about baptism and the Holy Ghost that one would expect.

The only unusual part of the service, other than seeing the font's occupants standing in less than knee-deep water was the singing of 7 or 8 hymns just before the actual baptism. I finally figured it out when a young lady came into the room and sat by Misha and said, "Thank you. I love you." This turned out to be Misha's girl friend and friend of Sergey. We were singing songs waiting for her arrival. That's loyalty, I guess.

The refreshments were store-bought cookies and orange soda, neither of which lasted too long. Sergey was surrounded by mostly female members of the two Branches and seemed to enjoy the attention.

As we left, we had our picture taken in front of the entry. I'd hoped to get more of the building in the picture, but at least you can see the storm-entry that will keep the -30 degree air out of the building this winter.

Our trip home was in the company of 6 elders clad in shorts and t-shirts for the sports night that occures every Saturday in the field across from the Mission Office.

We enjoyed our first baptism and have seen Sergey now several times at Branch events. He is a pleasant young man and will surely be an addition to the Branch.


Phil Ronzone said...

Wish we had a floor like that at the Eastern Building Baptistery. Very nice. From your directions you could be the local Tom Tom for visitors. :) It's just great to see all those Saints in another land doing the same thing we do here. Just amazing and shows how well organized the Church is and how one can feel at home anywhere in the world.

Keep up the good work and in no time at all you'll be back amongst family and friends.


Trisha said...

What a walk. How cool for every one to come to the baptism. Love to hear the stories. Also love the detail. I can see it in my head. I love it.

Shannon Simmons said...

So great! Way to be a walker. Love to read your blogs dad. I feel like I am there!