June 21, 2008

We are back from our trip to Kharkov. We took the train there and back with Olga our interpreter. It was about a 7 hour train ride but the time went by quickly. We had a sleeping compartment so we could relax comfortably. We arrived Saturday night and went to the church on Sunday. It was a really special day. The President of our mission, President Andersen and his wife will be going home to America in a week and will not be seeing the members or the missionaries in Kharkov again. They have been in Ukraine for 3 years and have come to really love the people here. There was a special meeting on Sunday night (a fireside) and the Andersen's each spoke and told the members how much they love them and will miss them. It was very heartfelt. About 7 men and women members of the church sang a beautiful song accompanied by the guitar. When the talks were over the whole group of missionaries about 25 of them stood in the front of the room and sang a hymn. It was very touching. Once again, I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be able to hear them sing of Christ, testify of Christ and live their lives worthy enough to represent him here in Ukraine. I have mentioned before what a sweet experience it is to hear these young men sing. I can only imagine what it was like for the members who have probably never been blessed to hear the combined voices of 25 valiant young men singing hymns. It was an emotional 2 days watching President and Sister Andersen have to say good-bye to members and missionaries that they may never see again. They had one last stop before they left Kharkov and that was to say good-bye to their siblings, the Jacob's who are serving a mission in Kharkov. Elder Jacob is Sister Andersen's brother and Sister Jacob is President Anderson's sister. The Jacob's will be in Kharkov another 10 months or so until they return to America.

The Jacob's joined us for the three day training on Strengthening Families that our Country Directors, The Lee's were presenting. It was an awesome 3 days. The participants were Social Workers, Psychologist, Educators, and Foster Parents. They absolutely loved the training. When it was over they all went around the room and commenting on what they liked about the training. Sister Lee said that she felt like they "were family" by the time the training was over. I have to say we all felt the same way. They hugged Sister Lee and asked her to come back and teach "Strengthening Marriage" classes. They were so excited about the content of the presentation and were so eager to use the skills and techniques in their homes.

Before we left we visited some of the missionaries who have recently transferred from Donetsk to Kharkov. Olga and I even went to the English lessons. We had a very busy week. Monday before the training started the Jacob's took us to a homeless shelter as a possible location to do a project. Sunday we had a nice dinner with the Jacob's and the Crittendon's who are another missionary couple in Kharkov. It was Fathers Day so we all went around the table and shared a little about our fathers. They don't celebrate Fathers Day here so most of the missionaries didn't even know it was Father's Day. We finished the trainings on Thursday and went to dinner with the Lee's and our Interpreters, Olga and Valentina and then boarded the train back to Donetsk. We arrived in Donetsk at 7 am and Olga put us in a cab and sent us home. She is so sweet she told me to call her and let her know we arrived safely. Remember, we still don't speak Russian so we are not ever sure if the taxi will actually get us to the right location so I appreciate her concern.

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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

Thanksgiving

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

Europe East Area District Meeting

I LOVE THESE MISSIONARIES

OUR APARTMENT (this is not an average missionary apartment)

THIS IS WHAT MISSIONARY APARTMENTS LOOK LIKE ON INSPECTION DAY

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE A MORE COMPLETE VIEW

LEADERSHIP TRAINING IN THE KALINSKY BUILDING

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