October 14, 2008

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY

THIS IS WHAT WE SAW ON OUR WAY TO KHARKOV

My mind is racing with so many things I want to share with you.
I love these missionaries..........one minute they have me laughing, and the next minute I can't seem to stop the tears.
I had no idea I would come to love them so deeply.

We just attended Zone Conference in Kharkov with President and Sister Fry. We spent almost all day listening to talks and presentations by the missionaries and President Fry. Once again, as I sat in the Chapel and listened to them sing beautiful hymns in Russian my spirit was so moved that I couldn't hold back the tears. I found myself filled with gratitude that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with these sweet tender moments when I feel my Savior's love for me and for all of his servants. We finished the conference with a testimony meeting. The missionaries who are finishing their missions and going home soon bore their testimonies first. As Elder Burrop stood to speak I couldn't hold back the tears. I can not tell you what it has been like to be a part of their mission experience. My mind was flooded with memories of Elder Burrop. He was an office Elder when we arrived and he was such a support to us. He was always just a phone call away. I got a treasured Dear Elder Letter today from one of the Missionaries moms, Sister Hulet. She wanted to tell me how much she has enjoyed reading our blog and learning about Ukraine. She concluded with,

" Your blog has made me think that maybe I could leave home, kids, job, and serve the Lord."

Oh Sister Hulet, you can't even imagine how the Lord will bless you.
Some days I do miss my children a lot but last week during General Conference I got to sit in a room filled with young men and women who have dedicated two years of their lives to serve their Heavenly Father as they were taught by a Prophet of God. The moment we all stood to sing and their voices joined together in perfect Russian I felt my heart swell. I was filled with gratitude for this wonderful opportunity. A few days later I found myself sitting in our little Ukrainian apartment celebrating Elder Crossley's birthday with a birthday cake and balloons. This week when we were in Kharkov we were sitting in a little classroom of the church building watching missionaries get haircuts by Sister Fry. As we sat and visited with the missionaries one of the Elders began to share a tender story of the many miracles that are happening for his family as he is serving a mission. We hadn't had a chance to get to know this young man before this day and here he was sharing a very personal story with us. I am so honored to be here. Later the next day as he bore his testimony he mentioned the previous days experience of sharing that moment with us. I think it was definitely a special moment for all of us.

While we were in Kharkov we were reunited with missionaries that we haven't seen for awhile like Elder Hammond who we spent our first Ukrainian Christmas with. We have cherished memories of Christmas Caroling and decorating sugar cookies. He tells us every time we see him that he misses us and loves us. We got to see Elder Woodhead, and Elder Whitehead. I told them both I would send pictures to their moms who have become my blogging friends. We got to see Elder Summerhays and Sister Ellison who use to be in our District.
I am so grateful for all of these wonderful blessings in addition to being able to do Humanitarian Work here. I was thinking as we taught the Missionaries about how to teach Family Home Evening how grateful I am to be a part of this great work. The missionaries are going to use a new Family Enrichment manual to teach families how to have Family Home Evening and to then invite a non-member family over for Family Home Evening. We have been able to participate in training government employees, like Social Workers, Educators, Psychologist and Foster Care Workers who work with families how to have stronger families. This has been such a rewarding experience. I had previously been so discouraged about the numbers of children that are being raised in institutions and with these trainings there is some hope. I can see that if the government continues to focus on "Strengthening Families" there really is a possibility for change. We have found so much joy in the Humanitarian Aide that we are able to offer here in Ukraine. There are not words to express the feelings I have about being able to be in this Country when the Church so new. We have been to branches with as few as 15 members and as many as 60 members in attendance. The branches are so small that some days there aren't any children at all. We have come to know the sacrifices the members here make to get to church on Sundays. I have so much respect for them. So many times as I sit in Sacrament meetings I am overwhelmed with the strength of the testimonies of the Saints here in Ukraine. I know that the Lord knows his sheep. These are some of his choicest servants. I love them so much. Last week it was so sweet one of the older ladies came up to kiss me as she does every week and she ended up kissing me right on the mouth. It was so sweet. Then she touched her heart and said the word "love" in Russian. There are 3 young women, Nastia, Marina, and Anya who come up to say hello every Sunday and they are so sweet they always tell me in broken English, "you are very beautiful". Now when you are a 50 year old woman that is quite a compliment. I love these girls. We can't speak the same language but there is definitely a special feeling that we have for one another. I am amazed that the Language of Love is universal.
My dear friends at home who are considering serving a mission. Please do not put it off. Our mission has been filled with wonderful moments like these. I had no idea ................
It is so true, your family can live without you. The Lord really will bless you and your family if you are willing to serve him. The mission field really does need you.

I love being a missionary.........

7 messages from friends and family:

LisAway said...

Wow! Those are some beautiful shots!! Just gorgeous!

I know it's hard living in a place that is so very different from home, but I just love reading about how you find "home" in the experiences you are blessed with every day.

You are truly an inspiration.

Johansens - Former Donetsk Missionary Couple said...

I miss our missionary experiences in Ukraine. You bring back so many great memories. I know there are a lot of Nastyas there, but the one you spoke of, is it Nastya Tsuprova? Please tell all the Young Single Adults in the Donetsk District hello from the Johansens. We miss them!

Melinda said...

DEAR JOHANSENS
WERE YOU THE COUPLE THAT WROTE ME AN EMAIL A MONTH OR SO AGO? I LOST THE EMAIL WITH YOUR ADDRESS IF IT WAS YOU PLEASE EMAIL ME AGAIN.
melinda_kinghorn@hotmail.com

dixiewhitehead said...

Sister Kinghorn, I can't tell you how special it is to view these beautiful missionaries with their beautiful smiles. Thank you for all the time and effort you put in to making this blog so very spiritual, interesting, informative, and fun. We love you!

Jane Anne said...

The fall photos are beautiful and I absolutely love hearing about your feelings for the missionaries and of your missionary experiences. I find myself nodding and smiling while I'm reading because I think I imagine myself there at the same time thinking I might feel the same way you do.

thanks for the time and effort you but into this blog. It's wonderful

McEwens said...

I SO wish there was a couple in my sons mission that had a blog! I love reading your experiences!!

LOVE the pictures! I would have never thought the country was so beautiful

Mother Goose said...

i look forward to serving a mission with hubz too. I love your pics they are gorgeous!

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