November 16, 2007

Last day of training we were wiped out!
Tode and Brad Hafen who went to AfricaElder Kinghorn at Welfare Square pointing to Ukraine on the map
Welfare Square all these bundles of clothes get distributed all over the world on the containers along with Hygiene Kits, School Kits, Newborn kits, Medical Modules, Health Modules, and Orphanage Modules

Hello friends, Well, it's Friday night. We finished our training yesterday. It has been such an awesome experience. I wanted to share with you some things we have learned about the Humanitarian Aide that the church provides. Some of you members may already know this but I'd like to share some interesting things I learned this week. First, the money that is used is from fast offerings of the members of the church. For our non LDS friends, once a month we fast and skip 2 meals. We take the money that we would usually use for those two meals and donate it to the church. This money is used for several purposes. First when there is a natural disaster the church is a first responder and tries to provide immediate aide. We were involved in helping with a large boat building project during the Tsunami. The volunteers during the disasters are usually local missionaries and church members. Second, the church will go into countries and organize larger projects. Some of these projects are; Clean Water Projects, where we go in and help build wells, a Vision program, where volunteer Ophthalmologist go in and provide their services, they are short term missionaries, and a Neonatal Resuscitation Program, which involves training to medical personnel in Countries that have a high morbidity rate in newborns. The church also distributes wheelchairs to the needy. They have started a new Career Development Program as a follow-up to the Vision program and the wheelchair program so that these people who finally have mobility can have assistance finding work. The other type of projects are smaller scale and we will probably be more involved in these types of projects. Some of the above projects can take quite a long time from start to finish. There is a Health Fair program that is taken into the schools by the missionaries that teaches about drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, as well as eating well. We may also try to find a way to bring the church's 12 step Addiction Recovery Program to Ukraine if it isn't already there. I'm sure we will be involved in both Orphanages, and schools. We are meeting with a couple Sunday afternoon and Monday and Tuesday who came home from Ukraine a month ago after completing an 18 month mission and are taking a 4 month break and then returning for a 12 month mission. They will let us know more details of what projects they have been involved in. They lived in Kieve. They said there is quite a need for assistance in Ukraine. We were told that the help is not meant to be a handout. It is based on the theory " If you give a man a fish he is fed for a day, if you teach a man to fish he is fed for a lifetime." So these projects are designed to involve the locals and hopefully train them to continue to maintain the projects that are designed to help their village, community, or organization prosper. I think it will take more work and certainly more creativity to come up with ways to help that are more than a hand out. It's easy to give clothing, or supplies but those are just temporary helps. I can finally say "I am excited about my mission". For a long time we were so anxious that we couldn't say we were exactly excited. It will be interesting to see what we get involved in. I'm beginning to see how Bruce's background and mine will be a great match for the type of work we will be doing. Wednesday 700 young men and women came to the Missionary Training Center to prepare for their missions. It was so fun to see them in the dining room that night they were so excited. There were still about 2300 missionaries here. I almost forgot to mention last Tuesday we had a devotional and the speaker was Russel M. Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was so special to be in his presence. It took place in the large auditorium with all the missionaries, which was about 3,000. The music was so beautiful. My heart swells when I hear the sounds echo through the room of all of these young missionaries as they sing the hymns. We have had so many wonderful experiences that have brought us closer together. We have met so many nice people. Almost all the couples we started with have left for destinations all over the world. We plan on keeping in touch with most of them. I want you all to know that I wish I had time to write you personally, but it is just impossible. I do appreciate your notes back to us it gives us something to look forward to at the end of a long day. Well, I may not have time to write before we leave this Wednesday, so I will say,
"Happy Thanksgiving"

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Saints in Ukraine (put music on pause)

My music

click on the photo to see the captions

Armenia Trip

Our last Zone Conference

Some of the faces we will miss

Our trip to Mariupol

March Zone Conference in Donetsk(click on photo to view a larger version)

Missionaries helping the International Relief Development unload a container from America

Health Fair click on the photo to see what is coming up

To listen to this talk you will need to put the music on pause first

Sometimes we forget what divine gifts we have been given. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Look at the fun equipment we got to deliver to this internat for Special Needs children

Europe East Area District Meeting


OUR APARTMENT (this is not an average missionary apartment)




Click on photo to see more photos of the Open House at the Kalininsky blg