The traditions of sisterhood in Russia are young and immature, said a Women's Conference speaker, but from accounts she shared during a devotional address May 3, it's obvious that sisterhood is growing.
Nina Bazarskaya, from Voronezh in central Russia, spoke of sisterhood in her area. "When missionaries first came to open the city in January 1993, they found only three members there. Now we have two branches and about 100 members. Isn't it a wonderful work of our Heavenly Father?"Sister Bazarskaya quoted the words of Christ in John 13:34-35, which she said are guidelines for the sisters in her area: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Continuing, she said: "Following these words, we try to use the modest opportunities of our branch to support those members who are in need, to make Christmas gifts for our kids, to take them to the puppet theater, to arrange parties for our young members, to sponsor mini-missions for our members, to visit the wounded soldiers in the hospitals, to cook the Easter food for the soldiers in the hospitals."
Sister Bazarskaya related one touching account exemplifying the moral support members in her area offer each other. "It happened to one of our young sisters. She is only 29 and she is badly ill with tuberculosis. Her husband divorced her. The illness and divorce broke her down completely.
"The doctors sent her to a resort for four months. She felt very lonely and homesick, separated from her family and her friends. One day she wrote to the Relief Society and shared her concerns. The response was very quick; the letters kept coming regularly. Nobody else in the resort received so many letters. The sisters wrote to her about the branch news and city life, and she didn't feel lonely any longer. We fasted to strengthen her and to share with her our love and spirit.
"It's true, the importance of spiritual support of the sisters may be invaluable at times."
Sister Bazarskaya explained: "Our branch is young, it is not large, but we don't feel lost or lonely in this world. Through the international sisterhood we are connected with the sisters in different parts of the world."