October 30, 2008


These are some beautiful pictures our friend (interpretor) Olga took. She has been doing some traveling on the weekends and has shared some of her pictures. I think they are absolutely beautiful.

3 messages from friends and family:

Mother Goose said...

stunningly beautiful

McEwens said...

I like your new picture! Hey I have been meaning to send you something, this is some notes my Aunt took when she was on a mission in Africa. I thought you and your hubby may enjoy!
A group of about 8 missionaries that will also be leaving sang “If you could hie to Kolob” When Elder Holland stood he said,” That song is so full of true doctrine; I don’t know why we don’t sing it more often”. The following are some of the notes I took of the things he said…There is no finer Mission President in the church than Pres. And Sister Gay (if you are keeping a journal write that down) Pres. Child(the area president) has been a great help to the church. He served in the Philippines and was home for a day and left to serve in Africa. Out of the past 15 years he and Sister Child have served for 10 years. But you young missionaries are the life’s blood of the church. I love you with all of my heart. You are going to be my grandchildren’s Bishop’s, Relief Society Presidents or Mission President. You are the hope of Israel. Get all that you can out of your mission, hold on to this time forever. You will look back on this mission as the most formative time in your life. I get emotional when I talk about my mission, because it meant everything to me. I didn’t have anyone in my family that had gone on a mission. Not parents, grandparents, or brothers. What would have happened if I had not gone? I shutter to think of how my life would have been. Everything that has been good in my life was shaped by my mission. It leads me to make good choices. I love my mission President. He is still alive and in a home for Alzheimer patients. I visit him every month. Sometimes he knows I am there, sometimes he doesn’t. I give him blessings, sometimes he knows I have and sometimes he doesn’t. I will visit him every month for the rest of his life because I love him.
If you promise not to write home to your family and tell them that I have called you to the Quorum of the Twelve I will tell you something. An apostle is a missionary; you are an apostle with a lower case A. When you go home don’t tell about the pineapples you ate. Testify of the power and dignity of your mission. You owe that to the deacon’s and the Mia Maids and of course to your children and grandchildren. You are in this for eternity. This is real life; this is as close as you will ever get to real life. The Light and the Life of the world…you’ve never been closer. Stay that way the rest of your life. Don’t you ever leave the church. If you do I’ll haunt you forever. I will find you where ever you are. Someone back home will be touched and shaped by the power of your testimony.
Miracles are happening in Africa. I drove with President Hinckley in the mud in Nigeria to look at the Aba temple site and we came out in Johannesburg. (Laughter) All kidding aside I know that Pres. Hinckley saw what could be there. This week we stood in that temple, it is blessing the lives of the saints in Nigeria.
Who would turn the church over to 19 year olds? Escapes from the Aaronic Priesthood. The future of the church in your hands. It matters to me and it matters to . The Lord what you are doing. Let’s look up a scripture Moses 1:39 “For behold this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Tell me some important words there. Eternal Life, Immortality, Work. There are no easy missions, it is all work. As a young boy I worked construction jobs, but I never worked so hard spiritually as I did on my mission. Another word? Glory. We get to bask in it. The most important little word…MY. MY work. You need to have that burning in your soul, this is God’s work. You must be convinced before you can convince others that you are telling the truth. You have help, we have angles, the red sea really does part, mountains do move. If you want the Lord to do it get out of the way. We have a work to participate in, He will help you. If you believe that MY part in that scripture, that understanding will resolve every problem that comes through your mission. Obedience is the first law of heaven and of a mission. Of everything. If you trust that it is God’s work then you start to Preach MY Gospel, not yours or the Pope’s or Mother Teresa’s as nice as they are it is HIS Gospel. D&C 50:14 says “To preach my gospel by the spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. What were you set apart to do? Preach MY gospel, by the spirit and if it is taught any other way it is wrong.
Some of the missionaries think that obedience was thought up at the MTC by a bunch of grouchy old men who didn’t want them to have any fun. Let’s look at D&C 130: 20-21 it says “There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by OBEDIENCE to that law upon which it is predicated”. In heaven not at the MTC, that long ago, before the foundations of this world there was obedience. The sun, the moon the stars are all obedient. We send you to the temple, what is a question they ask you just before the endowment session starts? If you are not ready to take upon you these responsibilities you can leave. It is your choice. But once you accept that responsibility we never ask that question again in that ceremony. Those laws are covenants. The first covenant is the law of obedience. The law to obey. If you get that in your head early that this is an eternal principle. That is all you have to tell a young couple getting married or your children. Any blessings, all blessings come from being obedient to our Heavenly Father. Then the Red Sea’s in life will part. The mountains will move. Your missionary hand book is from 180 years of experience. We are not trying to be meaner than your mother. It is the hand book to obedience, the work and the Lord. The impact of the spirit is what converts, obedience is what allows the spirit to be with us. In the Book of Mormon they taught with power and authority. Both are gifts of the spirit. You were given power when hands were placed on your head and you were set apart as missionaries. You were given authority to act in the name of God. You have a priesthood line of authority all the way back to Peter, James and John. Act like you have that authority, straighten your shoulders, you have more authority than the President on Ghana. Don’t be proud, but remember you have the power of Jesus Christ. Use that authority. What do you say at a baptism? Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you. Power comes thru obedience. You may get authority and not have power if you are not obedient to God’s laws. All most everything in the universe obeys, except man. The planets line up. Power is in lining up. Get your personal soul as close to God as you can. Helaman 5: 17& 18 “And it came to pass that they did preach with great power insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites, insomuch that they came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance, and immediately returned to the Nephites to endeavor to repair unto them the wrongs which they had done. And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Laminites with such great power and authority , for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak and they had what they should speak given unto them”. That is real conversion. This is one of the best in scripture that shows real power, dissenters, and former members of the church. They repent and go back to repair the wrong they had done. Preach with great power and authority is repeated because it is so important. Mosiah 27: 11-12,17-19(look up whole text) And so great was their astonishment that they fell to the earth. Elders and Sisters go out and astonish somebody. Astonish and thunder come from the same root word. Not with a loud voice, or threatening but with power. Be careful, use discernment, be a force for good in their lives. Preach MY gospel. Explain the power of the endowment. An endowment is a gift. It is the way we survive. Receive this gift and direction from heaven. That is what we do when we go to the temple we align with heaven.
Why is this work so hard? Why isn’t missionary work easy? It’s true. Why isn’t the whole world joining the church? Still you have to go out every day. I believe with all my heart that this cannot be easy, because salvation isn’t easy. There was nothing easy about Gethsemane, or the cross on the hill. He gave life and limb for you and me. If you think it should be easy for you, the road to salvation goes through Gethsemane and a few steps up that hill. We will never know what the Savior went through. He call Abba, Papa is there any other way? We sometimes do Him an injustice, His price was high and he didn’t want to do it. He said so. I know the responsibility that I feel by the gift of His Only Begotten Son. We have the gospel now, we are brothers and sisters in every sense. Share it with power and authority.

~Melissa~ said...

How beautiful! The leaves look awesome here too, I was near where we worked the other day and the red leaves were breathtaking!

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