October 27, 2008


We met at the Kalininsky building this weekend for a District meeting. On Sunday the building was so full that we had to put extra chairs on the stand and all the missionaries who didn't have a guest with them (investigators) had to go upstairs to an overflow room. This slideshow is the missionaries in the overflow room. We listened to talks that were specific about the growth of the church in Eastern Europe. President Pieper said that the foundation has been laid for the growth of the Church in Eastern Europe. He then said, the theme for the new stage of growth will be, "Preach My Gospel". There are currently 34,000 members of the Church in Eastern Europe. We were told that the numbers of full time missionaries sent to this area will decrease and the missionary efforts on the part of the members will need to increase. He then taught some basic principles to the members of the church about how to be member missionaries. He concluded with "I have a strong testimony that the elect are waiting". President Monson was the concluding speaker. He spoke about preparing our homes. Prepare a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of Glory, and a house of order. It was a wonderful day. When we came downstairs to join the members they were so happy. People stayed for quite some time and just fellowshipped one another. There were buses and marshrukas waiting to return members and missionaries to Gorlovka, Lugansk, Mariupol, and Petrovsky. Everyone was so busy visiting and enjoying one anothers company that they couldn't get the busses loaded. It was quite a day.
We took the Mission Presidents wife, Sister Fry with us to deliver some Therapy Equipment to an Internat (home for special needs children ages 4-18). When we arrived the equipment hadn't been assembled yet so we asked them if they could set some of it up so that we could take some pictures of the children playing. The staff quickly unpacked everything and went to select some children to come play. You should have seen the children's faces when they came in. It looked like our children looked on Christmas morning. Do you remember that kind of stunned look as a child tries to figure out how this got in his living room, and is it really his. It didn't take long for them to jump right in. I think the teachers were so cute as they showed the children how each piece of equipment worked. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves. One little boy kept yelling to his teacher, "Luda, Luda" as he was trying to get her to look at what he was doing. It is always hard to leave these places. I asked if we could take Sister Fry on a tour of the facility. They took us to the laying down room again where the children who are bedridden live. This was the hard part. The children are so hungry for stimulation. As we approached they reached out their hands to us and as we put our hands in theirs they gently caressed our forearm and kissed and smelled our hands and arms. They did not want to let go. I was happy to see that Sister Fry and Elder Kinghorn had joined me as we made our way down the rows of beds with little hands and arms reaching out. It was hard to leave. We joined the children playing again for a few minutes and I hated to leave because I knew playtime would be over for the children and they would go back to their beds. As we walked out the teachers followed us with toddlers in tow. One little boy with a broken heart buried his face in his hands on his little bed. Sister Fry followed him to offer a gentle hug and goodbye. The teacher who was nearby quickly told Sister Fry his full name and practically begged her to adopt him. She told her he was a good boy. When I asked the Director how many of the over 150 children have been adopted he said one.
Some of you may remember I wrote about this facility before and mentioned that these children do not get adopted. They are the forgotten. These sweet little children have been born with some kind of disability and they have been sent here to live out their lives. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night as I kept seeing the little faces looking up at me from their tiny little beds. I will never forget them.
Blessings and thanks to all of you who have adopted. To any of you who have ever considered adoption please remember the children in Ukraine.

3 messages from friends and family:

Jane Anne said...

These stories of the children are so difficult to read. But what a good thing you are doing to be able to help them in a way that others can not. Thank you again for what you are doing...

dixiewhitehead said...

Oh! This was a heart-wrenching story. It's like the throwing the starfish back into the sea analogy. Just remind yourself of the good you are doing at the moment and all during your mission. What a sweet gesture for Sister Fry to go and give that last hug.

My heart goes out to the woman who works there and probably feels like she cannot do enough. I know that Heavenly Father loves these children and has a plan for them too. We don't see the big picture sometimes, but He does.

Annie said...

I want to be you. Your blog is so inspiring. I am just so proud of your example Melinda. Continued good wishes and love.

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