Saturday, April 4, 2009

Meet Tatyana & Yana 4/4/09

Meet Tatyana & Yana 
Wind 1-2 mph westerly
High clouds but generally clear

Tatyana (the mom) and Yana (8 years old) were baptized last Saturday in a wonderful service (pictured here with Elder Ditto on the right and Elder Kolpakov), but the story doesn't start there. Before I get into their story, let me point out the lady in gray in the center of the picture at left. She was baptized about 5 months ago with her friend who is about the same age. One of them, I don't remember which one, had not been out of her apartment for 5 years and the other was also tied closely to her home. It was a miracle that they could get to the church to be baptized. Now look at her, attending a baptism and mixing with the Saints. What a turn around.

Tatyana's story started months ago when I heard the Snegeri Elders report that they had a couple who were wanting to get baptized, but could not because of some legal problems with their marriage.

I didn't think much about that until I saw Tatyana and Yana in church several weeks ago. Tatyana was obviously very intent about everything at church and looked very strong. I met both of them and felt good, strong spirits there so when she had a baptism date, Cindy and I wanted to be there. At dinner recently we learned more about their situation.

According to her, the "husband" had left suddenly over a month ago and no one knows where he was. In doing so, he had left Tatyana, Yana, an older (18 year old) brother and a granddaughter "Lena" without any means of support. They were to lose their apartment and be quite homeless when Elder Kravchenko told her to pray for a job and a place to live. They all prayed and the next day she was offered a position cleaning an apartment building. The job included a small (10x12) one room apartment. With the common-law husband out of the picture, she was then eligible to be baptized

These large apartment buildings each have such a job for a person or a family to clean the public areas of the interior (stairs, elevator, entry) and to care for the exterior by picking up trash, shoveling snow, chipping ice, etc. The living quarters are usually one room in a half-basement near the entry. I have seen the door on our building and thanked the lady that performs these duties for our building. She usually smiles when we meet and I think she knows we appreciate her work.

Listening to Tatyana talk about her situation, I saw that she was grateful to have work, a place to live, and to be in the Church. It is hard to imagine being in her place and living in those close quarters with a toddler, teenager, and 8 year-old. Just finding room for the four of them to sleep must be a real trick. Never-the-less, she is grateful to be there. She did say that occasionally she speaks to people who park across the walk-way or block access and sometimes they are not kind to her. They have even complained to the building manager about her speaking to them and she has lost some of her pay as a result. To hear her tell her story is heartrending.

Yana is a bright, intelligent child with a quick smile and a gentle manner, and when you look into her eyes you see that someone special is in there. She answers gospel questions quickly and accurately as the missionaries talk to her. She seems to genuinely understand the concepts and is anxious to talk about God and Jesus. Underlying it all is a deep sadness born of things she does not fully understand. We hope to spend more time with this family and be of some emotional and spiritual support to them.

Here is another bright spot on the baptism day. The man in the picture to the left was just baptized about a month ago. His wife has been less-active for some time before his baptism. Here he is with her (on the right) with their child and a friend. He was so pleased to be able to baptize her as a newly ordained priest. Isn't the Gospel wonderful? It gives us hope and a place to belong. In this case, a previously less-active sister is supporting a newly baptized husband doing his priesthood duty and establishing his position with his family in a righteous way. She gets a stronger family, he gets the love and respect of his family, and the daughter gets her daddy's love as he baptizes her.

What a Church. What a country.


Trisha said...

Truely what a country. We would love to have Yana as a pen pal. She is right close to Maks age. They can talk about their baptism to each other. I think it would be a great thing for Mak. Love you guys. What parents I have.

Shannon Simmons said...

I love being a blog follower. I love reading these posts. It IS exciting to hear about the great miracles going on half-way around the world. Keep up the great work!!!