Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cindy's Birthday in Russia 10/6/09

Cindy's Birthday in Russia 10/6/09

Getting colder--36F at 9 AM High 55F low tonight 28F
Wind gusting to 8 MPH
Scattered clouds and partly sunny

Today is Sister Cindy's birthday.
Trisha, Chris and the girls called this morning to sing to her and wish her a happy birthday. We attended Zone Leaders' Council where they spontaneously greeted her with "Happy Birthday". After ZLC we stopped by the office to pick up some things and found 3 roses on Sister Cindy's desk, candy, and a card. The office staff; Olga, Yulia, and Pyotr; Elders Kolpakov & Young, and the Assistants all sang a slightly international version of "Happy Birthday" and wished her a sincere wish for a happy birthday. At home we fed some of the Zone Leaders who were waiting for their buses or trains to go home to their cities and Elder Bendixsen brought her flowers in the name of the group of ZL's still in the city.

Tonight after the dust had settled, Sanya Drachyov, the CES Director in our mission, called and sang "Happy Birthday" in his best, if slightly stretched, English. Sasha and Lenna Ozherelev called by conference call from different cities, he's in Omsk and she's in Novosibirsk, to also sing "Happy Birthday" in English, which was quite a feat for them. Later the Elders from Snigeri and the sisters called and did the same.

By 10:00 we had heard from just about everyone we know wishing Sister Cindy a very Happy Birthday. Together with the e-cards and wishes from our friends at home, she is getting it from all sides. Here she is accepting one of those greetings in the shadow of the rather ponderous flower arrangement from Elder Bendixsen while checking her list of things to do tomorrow.

So what do you think? Is she loved here; yep, you bet! This is the girl who still does not know why she is here and what she is supposed to do here. So what do you think? Is she missing something here? Yep, I think she is not seeing that she IS doing what she is here for. No, it is not some grand event, some great effort, some stupendously difficult feat that would call for her to crawl across some trackless waste. She is here to listen to the Holy Ghost, act on the promptings, and show God's love to the people within her sphere of influence here in Siberia as well as at home.

So what's new? She has been doing this all of my life with her and I suppose before I even met her. Sister Cindy is everyone's mom, everyone's sister, everyone's friend, and it's not an act; this is who she is. Without the language to fully express it, she goes around showing love to everyone, whether to our friends like Olga or to a stranger like this flower lady in Riga, she is radiating God's love on everyone she meets. Is that missionary work? Is that God's work? You bet it is. Even to new friends around the world like this group of missionaries we went around Kiev with one evening; everyone is her friend because she is everyone's friend.

This is even shown brightly on the 19th anniversary of our first trip to Russia in 1990 as a result of her listening to the Holy Ghost about going to the USSR to spread the Gospel even before we knew it was legal to do so. As she wrote in her journal that October 6th, 1990, paraphrased, "Here I am sitting in this little plane on my birthday going to Russia and I still don't know why." Well, we all know that it was for the same reason she does everything, to show God's love to His kids.

Well, here it is Sister Cindy, my honorarium to you, my Ebenezer to honor you on your 67th birthday. No, you aren't perfect and, yes, we lock horns occasionally, but I am one of your greatest admirers and hopefully your best friend. I love you for who you are, for what you do, and most of all, what I am when I'm with you. I thank God for our life together, I look forward to serving Him with you on other missions to places and people who need you, and I count it a great honor to have the prospect of eternity with you. I love you.

What a girl. What a country.


samnarene said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful sister in the Gospel. Happy Birthday from the Irelands in South Dakota (formerly in Moscow).

Trisha said...

What a beautiful memory. She truely is evry ones friend. The best thing is that she has taught others to be that same friend. To show love to all of God's children. I am greatful for those lessons and I hope that I can be that kind of woman too. I love you Mom. Thanks for choosing me. Thanks Dad for the words I have felt my whole life. Happy Birthday.

Shannon said...

I love you mom. You are wonderful. Thank you for leading the way and sharing your light & love.

Bob said...

Wow. Amen.