We went to the Veteran's Day parade on Tuesday. The parade was really nice this year. Drew loves all of the tanks and hummers and other huge army trucks. My heart was so full of appreciation for those who sacrifice their time and talents to provide me and my family with freedom and safety, and when I thought I couldn't be any more grateful for this beautiful country that we live in, I got a letter from my brother Michael. He is still serving in West Russia, and decided to share one of the many humbling experiences he's had. I tend to get caught up in the woes of politics and the frantics of the economy, but my sweet brother has reminded me of how truly privileged we are.
"As you might know, we have been trying to teach a family with five kids. It was such a strange sight to see a mother with five children on the street, I couldn´t help but talk to them. We also found out that we live in the same building, she knows a church member, and her son had already gone to our English club several times a couple of years ago. The mother´s name is Oksana, husband is Michael, and the children are Slava, jenya, katya, and I think the youngest two are Olga and Masha or something. But, I just recently found out all of these connections after meeting with them for a while. The story I´m going to tell is about the first time I went over to their house. Keep in mind that we had only talked to them on the street for about ten minutes, and we had only seen a glimpse or two of Michael. We had scheduled the meeting for Saturday evening at about sevenish. We had finished doing our contacting for the day, and we were already back in our apartment to go to theirs when we realized that we needed to run back to our branch building to grab some literature that we wanted to give them. When the elevator door opened, there was Michael, holding a double cheeseburger from McDonald´s. We didn´t really think anything of it, figuring that he just got back from worked, and had grabbed his dinner on the way. So, we said, ¨Hey, we´ll be there in ten!¨ and ran to the branch building to grab the pamphlets. We made it back and they politely invited us into their humble home. Their entire house is about the size of my normal sized bedroom at home, along with small bathroom. So, needless to say, each member of their family has quite the close relationship. After taking our shoes off and walking into their kitchen, I saw something that immediately touched my heart, basically to tears. There, on their tiny kitchen table, were two glasses of water; some bread and cheese; and two plates, each having a neatly cut half of a double-cheeseburger. Now, let me explain the circumstances a little more, as to why20this is so touching. Obviously, money is something they are always in need of. Eating at McDonald´s is probably something they consider a special occasion. This man, Michael, had never really even met us, but only knew what his wife had told him. Because of this, he decides to walk the forty minute walk to McDonald´s, stand the minimum thirty minute wait, order and pay for something that he knew he would not eat, and then carry this food all the way back with it´s temptuous smell another forty minutes back to his home.I had never had a harder time taking a bite of food in my entire life. Honestly, I wouldn´t have done it, if it where not for Oksana´s stern invitations to do so. Needless to say, I have quite the desire to bring this family into the gospel. This experience was quite the unique one, and was one I hardly felt I deserved. "