Thursday, October 29, 2009

It has finally happened 10/29/03

It has finally happened 
Overcast, cold, foggy, lots of ice
Temp high 10F / low 5F Wind 3-5 mph

Someone has fallen in the storm drain in the street in front of our house, next to the drive way; Sister Woodhouse! Here she is on the far right with her companion, Sister Boggs.

The right bank sisters, Sister Woodhouse and Sister Boggs, brought one of their investigators, Anna, to dinner tonight before English Club. We had a great meeting during dinner and Anna felt the Holy Ghost as we bore our testimonies of God's love for her and the truth that the sisters were teaching her. Here she is with Anna at a Family Home Evening a few weeks ago.

Deep background:
From the first day we moved into this apartment, I have been expecting someone to fall into an uncovered storm drain in front of our house. It is located in the gutter on our side of the street about 10 yards from the driveway. The picture below shows it during the spring thaw last April, looking at our building from the opposite side of the street. The open storm drain is the first in a series of four, end to end, with this second one missing the grating so that it is about a 18 x 36 inch hole in the gutter. The picture at the right shows it during the thaw with a hole in the center, probably made by some "newby" that stepped on it just at the right time to go through. Earlier in the winter the ice was a foot thick and able to bear even the weight of cars passing over it.
The picture below is just another of the winter hazards. Here is the uncovered maintenance entry to the heating pipes buried in the ground in front of the houses between them and the street. Someone tried to cover it with an old door, but here it is eschew. During the deep winter these are covered with ice and snow with only the covers, or in this case the collar, showing because they stay warm even when it is 40 below. At night they are all but invisible as you walk past them to our building. With that as background, here is the story.

The three ladies, Sisters Woodhouse and Boggs with Anna, left our apartment in a hurry to get to English Club; they were late of course. From our front door, they could either go through the "woods", the thicket of trees between our building and the street, or right, through the parking lot and then left across the street toward the office and the Oktyabrskaya Metro station on Kirova, right in front of the office.

They chose the latter and headed out almost at a gallop. As they hurried across the parking lot, they missed the driveway and decided to cross the dirt area between the parking lot and street (now covered with snow and ice) just at the right place. Sister Woodhouse was in the lead and stepping off the curb plunged chest-deep into the afore mentioned open storm drain. She describes it this way:

"There were two cars coming from the right and two from the left. We were in a hurry, so we (I) decided we could cross before they got to us if we hurried. I was focused on the cars and making sure the three of us got across the road before they arrived and just didn't see what was there in darkness along the curb of the street.

As I stepped into the hole, my book bag hit the ground and scattered its contents of books, English Club invitations, calendar book, and the usual miscellaneous purse items; across the entire width of the street. As I hit bottom, between four and five feet down, and the purse went flying, the cars stopped with their headlights shining right on me with just my shoulders, arms and head showing. I am sure the occupants got a good laugh as I did my little trick. You can bet that none of them rushed to my aid.

As Anna and Sister Boggs hurried to pick up my bag's contents in the glare of the four cars' headlights, I stood very still in the storm drain, assessing my physical condition. Finding no pain and everything intact, except for a bump on one knee, I struggled to get out of the hole, but with my dress and coat wedged into it with my legs and torso, I couldn't get out. I could not even try to get a leg out of the hole for lack of space. Of course, I started to laugh.

Seeing my struggles, Sister Boggs came over to me and tried to pull me out of the drain by the arm; no good. We were all laughing so hard that it was just impossible. I was wedged in pretty tight and could give no assistance to any attempt to pull me out as well as laughing uncontrollably. I couldn't even jump up to clear the hole because I couldn't bend my legs. I finally had to press myself up enough to bend at the waist and lay on the street. Rolling over, I cleared the hole with as much grace as possible, being on stage and under the spotlight as I was, and got to my feet.

Finally, free of the hole and collecting my things, we waved to the cars and got across the street, again headed for the office and the Metro station beyond. We took a short-cut across the big parking lot next to our building, still laughing so hard it made it difficult to walk straight, when suddenly Sister Boggs disappeared. She had slipped on the ice and landed in a heap of sheepskin leather coat, bag, hat and scarf laughing too hard to get up. That caused another seizure of hysteria in all of us as we helped her up and tried again to hurry to the Metro. We were now hopelessly late and out of breath with laughter."

As you can see, the sisters enjoy each other and Anna was right in the thick of it. Laughter is the cure for almost everything in life and these sisters are abundantly blessed with it. Especially when things happen that you didn't expect and could not control laughter is the remedy, even here in Russia.

We first heard this story from the sisters themselves as they reported in to Sister Cindy after English Club. Thank you sisters for that story and for being such wonderful example of how to handle life's little surprises and bumps. We love you and hope your knees heal up quickly.

What a pair of great missionaries. What a country.


Shannon said...

this made me smile today! I love that the sisters laughed the whole time through. that is fantastic!

Mom/Cindy said...

These sisters are a great example of the great sisters(and elders)we have in this mission. We are all still laughing about this amazing experience. Thank you Heavenly Father once again for taking care of us all.