June 28, 2008


I want to share a story with you that begins with a 200
 griven bill and ends with homemade breads and candied walnuts.

The goodness of people everywhere is so touching.I want to share a story with you that really touched me.
There is a little outdoor bizarre by our home. It is called a Reenik. There are little booths set up where people sell things. There is one area that looks like a farmers market with about 30 vendors selling fruits and vegetables. There is another area where you can buy basic staples like dairy products, pastas, rice, breads, spices, and teas. Then there are some booths where you can buy office supplies, light bulbs, batteries, brooms, and electrical outlets. You get the picture.

Well one day I had to buy some notebooks for the Strengthening Families class we are teaching. I went to a little booth that sold office supplies. I bought about 15 notebooks and some pens and went on my way. A few weeks later I found myself back at this booth looking for something like glue sticks. When the lady saw me she recognized me and picked up a stack of notebooks to signal to me that she remembered I had bought notebooks from her. She didn't speak English and I still don't speak Russian. So we were communicating with some simple gestures. She then reached under the counter and brought out a 200 griven bill which is 40 American dollars. She told me I had dropped it when I bought the notebooks over 2 weeks ago. I couldn't believe it. She had been saving it for me. This was so touching because I know how much 200 griven would mean to anyone here in Ukraine. That is alot of money. I thanked her and walked away in shock. I couldn't stop thinking of her and every time I would walk through the Reenik I would think about how I could show my appreciation. So today I had the chance. I got up and made zucchini bread, banana bread, candied walnuts, and packaged up some dark chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels from America and put them all in a basket. I lined the basket with a beautiful white linen cloth I purchased at Slovajorsk. I wrote a little thank you card in Russian and we headed for the Reenik. The whole way there I was praying she would be there. It is Saturday and I was afraid she may have the day off. When I approached her with the basket I think she thought I was selling something. She raised her hands and started shaking her head no,no. I said as slow as I could "this is for you, you returned my money to me, I want to thank you. She stopped shaking her head and said in broken English, " Yes, I remember" I then handed her the basket. I think she was surprised the whole basket was for her. She seemed to think I wanted her to take something out it. She thanked me and I left her standing there looking just as stunned as I was to get my money back. Anyway, the point is. I was so impressed by her honesty and by the fact that she held on to my 200 griven for almost 3 weeks hoping I would come by again. The other reason I share this with you is to tell you how fun it was to show my appreciation this way. I really enjoyed baking knowing that I would be sharing it with this nice lady. I know when we loose ourselves in service it brings us joy. It takes us out of our own struggles or worries and helps us focus on someone else. I want to thank all of our friends and family who have taken the time to write and send their love. I know you are busy and I appreciate you taking the time to let us know you are thinking and most importantly praying for us. We have such wonderful friends. Thank-you so much.

4 messages from friends and family:

dixiewhitehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

What a wonderful story. It is a great reminder that there are people all around the world who are good and honest. Stories like these are so good to share. What a great way to thank her for what she did for you.

Mike said...

We went to a Renik in Donetsk in 2004, while picking up our son at the end of his mission. My wife waited outside the restrooms for my son and I, and when we came out, there were 2 policeman sternly trying to communicate with her, and she was just smiling nicely at them. My son, who by now was very pale, asked them what was wrong. They said that she had taken a picture of a building that was military in nature (the bathrooms) and they should probably arrest the 3 of us. My son carefully outlined that we were visiting Americans and didn't understand that it was wrong. As my wife continued to smile nicely at them, they finally said that we should never do it again, but since they were such nice policemen, they wouldn't do anything, and we went on our way.

The picture she took was of the vegetable vendors and their huge sacks of radishes, etc.

Your stories are fun to read, as they bring back good memories.

dixiewhitehead said...

I loved reading your sweet story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I shed a few tears thinking about that sweet woman's honesty and your desire to show her how much that meant to you. Charity never faileth, and was clearly displayed by two of God's children.

I enjoyed seeing the transfer missionaries. Elder Barnum is from St. George and it was fun to see his happy smiling face in Ukraine. I'll make sure his mom knows about this wonderful blog. Thank you again, Sister Kinghorn for all your effort in writing this blog. Please give the Frys a hug from the Whiteheads.

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