October 31, 2008

COUPLE MISSIONARIES









My friend Robin asked me what we do as Couple Missionaries so I thought I would write a little about that. Couples who go on missions with the LDS church need to be able to pay for their own expenses. So usually people do not serve missions as a couple until they are retired and are no longer supporting children. There are 12 month missions which are only in the United States and 18 and 24 month missions which can be in the States or out of the Country. The church post a list of mission opportunities here. There are so many opportunities throughout the world to serve missions as Senior Couples. We are serving a Humanitarian Mission. There are other 3 other couples in our mission who work as 1) the office couple, coordinating the affairs of the mission, 2)Proselyting missionaries, they visit members who are less active, they hold Family Home Evenings at their home, they teach English Classes at the Branch and they also teach Strengthening Families classes at the Branch, and teach piano lessons, the third couple is the CES couple. CES is the Church Educational System. They work with the Young Adults who are members of the Church. Sister Fry has a much more detailed description in her blog of what each of the couples in our mission do. You can go here to read more about that.
As Humanitarian Missionaries we meet with organizations who are supporting the poor and needy in this country. Organizations like orphanages, schools, hospitals. boarding schools, homes for special needs children, and shelters. We have a Country Budget that allows us to use a small amount of money to try to assist the organization in their efforts to support the poor and needy. This money comes from members of the church who donate to the Humanitarian Fund.
One of the things we were told when we first arrived here was....

"you will make your own mission"

We didn't really understand what that meant until we were here a few months. There are certain things that we do each week as part of our Humanitarian Work but there are additional things we do for other reasons. We have chosen to be involved with the younger missionaries because we love to be in their presence. They are so inspiring. I have learned so much from their examples. We meet with the missionaries (4 Elders and 2 Sisters) in our home once a week as part of their District for District meetings. This is just something we chose to do because we wanted to be more involved with the missionaries. We attend their Zone Conferences and Transfer Days for the same reason. During these meetings we usually help prepare or serve the food for the missionaries. We are involved with other mission events like Baptisms and sometimes we have the younger missionaries to our home to teach someone who is investigating the church. We attend a Branch on Sunday for Church Services and we also try to attend all of the Branch Social Functions. We are now teaching classes for the Branch on "Strengthening Marriage." We may start teaching English Classes to young children on Saturday mornings. So you see, when people say, "you will make your mission" that is what they mean. We have really decided how we would like to spend our time. We have many opportunities to serve in so many different ways and have found it to be so rewarding.

Our mission is a little different then the younger missionaries in that we make our own schedule.

We have a little more flexibility then they do. They are told what time to rise, and how their day should be structured. Unlike the younger missionaries we don't go out looking for people to teach the Gospel to although there have been days that I have had the opportunity to teach someone about our beliefs. We work as missionaries 6 days a week and take one day off. So most of the time when we leave our apartment we are representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We wear our missionary clothing and our name tags and carry church literature so that we will be prepared if we are asked about what we are doing here in Ukraine. We do not report to the Mission President we report to the Humanitarian Department of the Church. The Humanitarian Couple who is the Country Directors live in Kiev. We speak to them on the phone or use e-mail to correspond.
Each week we decide which organizations we will visit and when. Some weeks we go to two or three organizations and some weeks only one. We have an office in our home and some days we just work at home because we have to do a considerable amount of paperwork in order to get the projects submitted and approved. Once a project is approved and the items have been delivered to an organization we get to go and visit the organization again to see that everything has arrived and is being used as was agreed on. It is definitely true we really have made our mission to fit our interest. Bruce an I both love to teach so we have enjoyed teaching the "Strengthening Families Classes". We love children and have so enjoyed our visits to the children's organizations and we will soon be taking a Health Fair (puppet show) into the schools which we are looking forward to. If we teach English to children that will be another great opportunity to teach and to work with children. We love young people. All of the great opportunities we have to be around the younger missionaries is so fun for us. And most of all ...........
we love service. This mission has provided so many opportunities to serve our Heavenly Father. We are so grateful for the wonderful blessings we have received as we have served as missionaries here in Ukraine.

I am so grateful for the people who have commented on the blog that they are now considering serving a mission. I hope you will. The mission field needs you.
"Along with the need for young elders and sisters, there is a growing need for couples in the mission field. Older married couples are doing a wonderful work in the missions. Many more are needed. . . . With an increasing number of people retiring while they are still possessed of health and vitality, there are many who can fill a tremendous need in the work of the Lord."
—President Gordon
B. Hinckley


If you know anyone who is ready to serve now and would like to come to Ukraine please contact the Fry's here

3 messages from friends and family:

dixiewhitehead said...

I thought I knew a lot about what couple missionaries do, but I learned many things. Thanks for sharing.

I also am on the look out for couples who express an interest in serving a mission. Then I will do my best to steer them to the Ukraine, Donetsk Mission.

I can see why the advice to "make your own mission" is so pertinent. We can all apply that advice to anything we do and make our own mission in life wherever we are. "Bloom where you are planted" is what I'm trying to say, I guess. And, from what I know, you have bloomed beautifully.

You and Elder Kinghorn are an integral part of this mission. Thanks for your sacrifice and service every day.

dixiewhitehead said...

By the way, I like both of the pictures you have put at the top of your blog, but I LOVE this picture. It's so...Ukrainian and personal. Love the colors too.

Mother Goose said...

I loved reading all of your experiences and your love for missionary work. I anxiously await the time and season when me and my beloved can be active called servants of the Lord. It is a goal and a wish I can't wait to happen!! I'm so excited for it.
my son is 17 and a senior in high school. He is devoted to serving a mission and as he looks for colleges and football offers come in, serving a mission and taking two years off is always a concern of his that he expresses out front. He just never wants it to become an issue later on if he chooses to accept their scholarships.

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