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.
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.........