November 27, 2008

CHRISTMAS GIVING



As the Christmas Season Approaches you may be finding yourself trying to find ways to help your family focus on the true meaning of Christmas. During the month of December we turn our thoughts to the Savior. We reflect on his glorious birth and what his life meant to each us personally. This is a time to commit to living a more Christlike life. This is the time to show our love and appreciation to our loved ones, our neighbors, or to the kind people we come in contact with on a daily basis who make our lives easier. It is a time to say thank you to people like our postal delivery person, the young person who delivers our newspaper and carefully places it on the front porch so that it doesn't get rained on, or our children's teachers or bus drivers. It's a wonderful time of year when we gather in the kitchen to make holiday treats to take to these special friends and neighbors. These traditions that we share with our families help to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. The scriptures teach us that when we serve our fellow man we serve our God.

"I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your god. " Mosiah 2:17
What better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior then to serve him.
While we have been on our mission we have received letters from friends and family who would like to help with our Humanitarian efforts here in Ukraine. . We are so grateful for your sweet offers of service. As Humanitarian Volunteers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-fay Saints we have been instructed not to accept personal donations instead to direct people to the church's Humanitarian Fund to make donations. It is not that your help is not needed or appreciated it is just that it is best if it goes through the proper channels. I would like to encourage you to go to the church's website and read about what the church is doing worldwide and how you can help personally or as a ward or stake, or any other group.You can help by organizing friends, and family or fellow church members to do service projects that can be donated to the Humanitarian Department. You can make a personal donation on your tithing slip or by going to the website here and your donation will be used as part of the Humanitarian efforts worldwide. They can't guarantee where the donation will be used but it definitely will be used to do the types of projects that you have read about that Elder Kinghorn and I have been involved in.
I have included a list of organizations here whose focus is to help Ukrainian Children. There are some wonderful ideas of ways that you can personally support an organization here in Ukraine or you could get a group of friends or fellow church members to work on a service project together. Some of these organizations were started by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints however these sights are not endorsed by the church. Thank you for your kind offers of assistance. I know that we will all have a much more meaningful Christmas season as we turn our thoughts to the Savior.

PARENTS OF MISSIONARIES

One of the wonderful things I have enjoyed about having this blog is communicating with the parents of missionaries. As I have read the comments and e-mails, usually from the mothers of misssionaries I have felt their love for their sons and daughters. This is what I want to write about. The incredible love of a parent. The intense bond that forms between parent and child. Lying just under the surface of the joy that is expressed in their words I sense something else.........
sometimes it is a longing..........................or simply an anticipation of what is to come.
It reminds me of the feeling I had during the 9 months of pregnancy. Some days I couldn't hold back the excitement of the anticipation of the joy we would finally feel when we brought this new little bundle home.
The incredible wonder of what and who this child would become.
That is a little of what I feel when I read the letters from the parents of missionaries.
The deep love they have for their child
The anticipation of who they will be when they return home a newer version of their previous self
They know, just as I knew those 9 months I was carrying my babies that
Something incredible is taking place in their child's lives,
something wonderfully Divine
And here is what I wanted to express.......
This process can be hard for parents
This watching our children transform into a newer version of their previous self.
I shouldn't speak for all of us. I know, maybe it isn't hard for all of you, it is hard for me and I sense it is hard for some of the parents who read my blog.
It's not that we don't want them to grow up, or to leave our homes, it is just a process of adjustment that is sometimes difficult.........
I loved having children in my home (that's for another post)
The truth is as our children grow we have to adjust, to learn how to parent a now grown adult. Change is hard. Many times we want to hold on to what we know. We fear the letting go process because we don't really know what will follow. When I read the letters and comments from parents that is what I sense, parents in that process....
"There are two lasting bequeaths we give our children one is roots, the other is wings."
We use to have this quote on the wall in our home
It helped me remember that someday these two sweet spirits that I had come to love and completely adore would someday leave my side and that although it was important for them to feel loved at home they needed to have the confidence and skills necessary to lead their own lives separate from ours.
A few days ago I got a note from a mother of a young man on a mission here in Ukraine.
She said that she loves to read the blog and that she loves to "catch a glimpse" (anticipation?......) of her son when I post his picture. Another time a woman posted that it "brought tears to her eyes" to see the faces of the missionaries. (joy....... longing?)
This mom had a son serving a mission in another part of the world.
Women I know who have sons on missions in other places write and tell me how they wish that "someone in their sons mission had a blog". This is what got me thinking. What do they get from reading the blog? Why do they like to come and sit?
Most of the young missionaries I speak to don't really understand why their parents,
"love to read my blog so much."
I just don't think they understand why it means so much to their parents to see a picture of them or read a story about their life here in Ukraine.
I don't think they understand how incredibly hard it is to be away from our children and how just a "glimpse" into their lives brings us so much joy. My daughter's two oldest children recently started preschool and she mentioned on her blog,
"I feel like I am missing a chunk of their lives."
and that is what is really hard about parenting. You spend the first several years of a child's life consumed with being sure your children are safe and well taken care of. I remember the first time I brought my first child home from the hospital I was so afraid we would have a car accident. Later I remember sitting in my bedroom alone with my sweet little baby daughter and just being completely overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility of caring for her. I couldn't imagine my life without her. I felt this attachment that was so tangible. I just knew from that day on that it was my job to take care of her. I spent the next 18 plus years of her life
"taking care" of her.
The first few years it was fairly easy, making sure she was fed when she was hungry that her diaper was changed when it was wet, that she was bathed and had clean, warm clothes to wear, that she went to the Pediatrician for regular check-ups and got her scheduled shots on time. When her brother came along I worried that I would never love another child as much as I loved her. I worried if I did, maybe it would be hard on her. So I was extra careful to be sure I spent enough time with her too when our beautiful son was born. I was amazed at how quickly all the same feelings of attachment formed between us. I learned to know what each of his cries meant and cherished every moment with him. I knew he would be my last and I did not want to miss one second of his development. When our children got a little older I remember how it felt when our daughter went to kindergarten. I could really relate to how my daughter felt when her children started preschool. It just didn't feel right that their lives were going on without me. I remember when they came home I had lots of questions,
"did you have fun?"........................."what did you do?"..............................
"do you like your teacher"..................." "who did you play with?.....................
Their answers never contained enough information.................
in fact they were usually just one word answers.
I hated that. I wanted details.........................................
My point here is ...........I think that is how it is for the parents who read the blog.
A letter home that is written during their one hour of Internet time is probably a lot like those answers I got when my children came home from school. Moms and dads want the details. It is hard to have our children off having these incredible life changing experiences and we not only are not a part of them but we know very little about them.
Parents have told me that they like to read the details that I include in my blog about Life in Ukraine. They like to know more about the food, the shopping, the people, the landscape and the missionary work. The mother in me also knows that they like to know that there is another mom and dad, or in our case, several moms and dads whose doors are always open who their child could go to if they ever needed anything, They like to know that their child is loved and feels safe in a new land.
I don't think our children really understand how difficult it is to allow them to have wings. This may just be one of those things that they will never truly understand until they are parents.
We love them. We love that they are a part of our lives. When my children walk through the door of my home it brings a smile to my face. It makes me happy. I love to hear them talk and laugh together. I love it when they come in and can't wait to tell us some interesting thing that happened in their lives. I love having a house filled with family and the warm sweet noises that they bring into my home.
As they grow into adults that changes and sometimes that adjustment is a bit difficult.
So on this THANKSGIVING DAY I give thanks for the wonderful children and great husband that my Heavenly Father blessed me with.
and if I can bless a mom or dad with a glimpse of their son or daughters life on a mission I am more than happy to do that. In fact, I am honored to do that.
Happy Thanksgiving dear friends,
we love you,
Elder and Sister Kinghorn
I would love to hear your comments on this especially parents of missionaries or those who have had sons or daughters on missions.

November 25, 2008

MOTHER THERESA

my heroI love this woman


Look at her hands. I want my hands to look like this someday. I want my hands, and face to reflect the life I have LIVED

i want to be truly present in life


which means that sometimes my heart will ache..........

sometimes I will have to stretch and go way beyond what is comfortable for me. .............

sometimes my mind will tell my body to turn the other way but my heart will say stay

have you ever wondered what makes a mother theresa?

How does one person become so selfless?

I don't think it happens overnight

I believe it's a process

We make small choices every day of our lives how we will spend our time.


We pass people on the streets in distress and we decide if we will stop and offer assistance or if we will keep walking.

I remember one day I was on the campus at BYU and I had just attended a class given by a woman who works with the poor and needy in India. She talked alot about suffering of the people in India. Then she taught about the suffering of all mankind. It tugged at my heart. It made me reflect on the suffering one of my loved ones was going through. When the class was over I sat on a curb and the tears just started flowing. I couldn't stop them. Soon the walkways were filled with students rushing off to their next class and there I sat crying. One man slowly walked by me and glanced at me as he passed. A few seconds later he came back.....

He stopped and........
here is the amazing part....

he sat right down next to me........

THIS COMPLETE STRANGER STOPPED AND WANTED TO KNOW IF HE COULD HELP ME

I don't know exactly what he said.....

what I do know is I felt like he cared about my pain


AND in that moment I knew without a doubt that my Heavenly Father cared too.

I don't know who he was or why he stopped but I know that

he made a choice

to turn around and come sit by me.

THAT IS WHAT MOTHER THERESA DID


SHE SHOWED PEOPLE SHE CARED in the small choices she made every single moment of her life. She dried a tear, she held a hand, she listened, she prayed, she dressed wounds, she looked into the eyes of the dying.

the upcoming holiday has made me reflect on my blessings.

Yesterday as we ate our Thanksgiving FEAST with the missionaries I felt a bit selfish. As Sister Clark delivered her homemade hot rolls for our dinner she said that she passed a man eating out of the garbage. We talked about how much more meaningful this day would have been for the missionaries if we had prepared a feast for someone who really needed it.

We make choices each day about how we will spend our time

As 40 or so of us gathered in the Church Building to eat there were 4 or 5 workers planting beautiful trees and shrubs out in front of our new building. Not one of us thought about offering them a plate of food until we were all done eating and cleaning up.

we make choices each day that affect the lives of people around us

Everyday I pass old people on the streets who are wearing old worn shoes and threadbare clothing and they hold out a small plastic cup as we pass......
we make choices everyday to stop or keep walking
we make choices each day that require us to get out of our comfort zone for someone elses sake
Sometimes the help that other people need isn't physical. We may offer to help carry someones bag, or give up our seat on the bus, or help someone cross the street but what we are giving that person goes much deeper than the physical assistance. I know every time I have stopped to offer assistance to someone I can feel the Saviors love for them. When I take their hand in mine, or look into their eyes as I offer assistance I feel the Savior whispering, "you are loved".

This year I have learned so many lessons about life.

I want to be truly present in life. I want the choices I make to reflect the love I have for the Savior and to reflect my endless gratitude for my blessings.

I want to remember that it was through some of the deepest pain that I learned to trust and rely on my Heavenly Father

It was in the still quiet moments of sorrow that I felt his unending love for me and my family

what an incredible blessing it is to be a wife and mother, it was in the moments of longing for my home and family that I really came to appreciate the joy they have given me

It was on the cold rainy days when I passed a poor grandmother on the streets begging that I learned to appreciate my home, and the financial security that I have been blessed with. It was the days that I squeezed into a crowded Marshruka with my arms filled with the cake I was bringing to the branch party, and a shopping bag filled with everything else that I would need for the rest of the day that I learned to appreciate the car I have at my disposal 24 hours a day.
Each time I have made a choice to stop and notice some person that needed a hand I have been filled with gratitude for a mother who taught me to

make the choice to stay even if it hurt or was inconvenient

I want to be more like Mother Theresa I want to be able to do

"small things with great love"

I LOVE THIS WOMAN



November 23, 2008

FRIDAY NIGHT WAS OUR FIRST STRENGTHENING MARRIAGE CLASS





We had our first class on Strengthening Marriage a few nights ago.
Bruce and I are teaching it and the Clark's and Fry's will be attending when they can. I started by letting them know that we are not experts on marriage. We have been married nearly 30 years now and we have learned alot of lessons the hard way. We are teaching these classes because we have been asked to teach them in hopes that soon a local couple will be able to teach the classes.We decided to invite anyone who wanted to attend from any of the Branches in our area. We really had no idea how many people would attend. It's not as convenient for members to get to Church Activities in the evening here as it is at home. With so many members not having cars they have to ride public transportation and then walk for about 10 minutes on dark streets to get to the building.

We learned a long time ago that it doesn't really matter how many people attend what matters is that the person who needed to be there will get the information they came to hear. We talked about how to have a stronger marriage. We discussed date nights, and my sweet husband told about why he always has made it a priority for us to go away for a few nights every couple of months. He also mentioned how he always tried to be sure that I had time to myself to go off with girlfriends or just do something special that I wanted to do. Then we discussed how other things like Praying together as a couple, reading scriptures together help bring you closer. We talked about the importance of showing love to one another. The class ended with encouraging them to kiss each other when they wake up in the morning, to say "I love you", and to make their marriage a priority.

THIS IS THE GREAT PART
TODAY WHEN I WENT TO CHURCH ONE OF THE YOUNG ADULT WOMEN CAME UP TO ME AND SAID,

"Sister Kinghorn, thank-you for your class. The ladies are saying that their husbands have been kissing them in the morning and saying I love you. They are so happy." I quickly went to one of the Sisters who was at the class and asked did she get a kiss from her husband? and she replied, "not just one kiss, he has kissed me several times since Friday night." another sister said, when she woke up her husband said, "good morning my dear wife, I love you very much".
How cool it that!!!!!!
Which reminds me of the starfish story that I have mentioned before. In summary it goes something like this......... The beach is filled with starfish that have washed ashore, one man sees another throwing the starfish one by one back into the ocean and he asked "why are you doing that when it won't matter, when the whole beach is filled with starfish. " and the man bends over and picks up a starfish and says, "it mattered to that one."

I don't care that our class on Friday was small.
What I care about is after Friday night one husband in one marriage kissed his wife more than he usually does and she loved it.
One wife woke up to a husband who kissed her and made her feel special.
Two more women who were not able to attend last Friday said,"I will definitely be there next week."
One of these ladies had to work last Friday but her husband came anyway. He came up to me after class and said, "I heard so many things that I hope I can remember, I want to go home and tell my wife all about it."
The attendance was low but I am pretty sure that it mattered to
someone
that we were there.
I know that I definitely saw some happy women today!!!!

November 22, 2008

WHAT A GREAT DAY

Can you feel the love?Olga made this beautiful sign

Nastia, Marina, Ilea, and Annya brought these gorgeous flowers



I had such a great day.
I woke up to a nice e-mail from my daughter Karrissa and her husband Brad, my friend Rita, and my sweet husband, (he knew the first thing I would do would be check my e-mails). I later got an e-mail greeting card from Karrissa and two from Mike and Denise Bozutto and Annya sent me a nice e-mail as well.
I got a phone call in the morning from Sister Howard, who is serving in Gorlovka and a phone call this evening from Elder Hunt.
Olga, Nastia, Marina, Annya, and Marina's brother Ilia, Elder and Sister Clark, and all the missionaries in our District (Oldroyd, Williams, Chiriac, Jadamba, Johnson, and Southerland) all came for a visit bearing GIFTS, Flowers, Balloons, and 2 cakes
The party started with them all singing Happy Birthday to me at my front door
IN ENGLISH
They were all so thoughtful and sweet

I got two dozen beautiful sherbet orange colored roses from Olga and a ceramic pot to burn essential oils in. (She remembered I love orange, and that I wanted a container to burn my lavender oil in) I love this girl! She also made a beautiful banner that said, "Happy Birthday, Sister Kinghorn"..........

Annya gave me a cute Ukrainian doll and a card that contained a sweet note that she had written in English, Nastia handed me 3 beautiful gerber daisies from her family, Elders Oldroyd and Williams made a cake and Elders Southerland and Johnson did too. Two birthday cakes. Wow!!! The AP's, Elders Svinoukhov, and Elder Hunt offered to teach the morning English Class so that the Elders in our District could come over to celebrate my birthday. Thanks Elders Hunt and Svinoukhov your awesome!!!!!!!!!
Have I said how much I love these missionaries yet????
Oh they also gave me a sign to hang on the wall with the Lord's Prayer on it
In Russian. Elder Johnson helped me make Sour Cream Orange Rolls, Sister Chiriac and Olga helped make the fruit salad, Nastia helped serve the lunch and
Sister Jadamba and my wonderful husband cleaned the whole kitchen after our lunch. It was so awesome how they all just pitched in to help. The Clark's gave me a new mug for chocolate and herbal tea along with a nice collection of herbal tea and dark hot chocolate. Marina, Nastia, and Annya all did a song and dance for me. The Elders said it was a song about being glad it is your birthday. It was so cute.
We went for a walk with the Clark's after everyone left and then cleaned and cooked
the Turchicken for our Thanksgiving dinner
on Monday. (no turkeys in Ukraine)
Then we were joined by the VanDyke's, who will be taking Elder and Sister Lee's place in Kiev for the next few months, for a nice Mexican Dinner at Tequila Boom. On top of all this I got lots of hugs and I love you's all day long.
I truly am blessed...

I AM FILLED WITH GRATITUDE
THESE ARE THE BEAUTIFUL ROSES OLGA GAVE ME FOR MY BIRTHDAY

I WAS SHOWERED WITH LOVE TODAY







November 21, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING/HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME


One year ago today Bruce and I were leaving the Missionary Training Center headed to Ukraine. IT WAS THANKSGIVING AND IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
I am blessed to be one of those people who gets to celebrate her birthday on a holiday. My birthday falls on Thanksgiving every few years and last year was one of those years. I have always loved it because I get to spend my birthday surrounded by family.
Last year was a little different.
We spent the day traveling to Ukraine
We were beginning a wonderful adventure to live in another country for 18 months.
It was an interesting Thanksgiving........
an interesting 50th birthday that I will never forget!
When we arrived in Donetsk and were taken to the mission home I felt like I was in a daze.
We tried to stay awake long enough to visit with the Mission President, President Andersen and his lovely wife. She even offered us a turkey dinner but I had no room left after the lovely turkey dinner they served on the airplane.
So we did the thing I love best. Slept. We crawled under the thick, warm blankets in the Andersens guest room and fell into a deep sleep ......................
that lasted until about 3 am and then I was wide awake, in a strange bedroom, in a strange house, in a strange land...............................
and that is how we spent Thanksgiving and my birthday in 2007
this year will be different....
we are no longer sleeping in strange beds, in a strange house, in a strange land.
Tomorrow we are going to celebrate my birthday with my Ukrainian friends.
Marina, Nastia, Anya, Olga and Tanya (my Ukrainian girlfriends, actually more like Young Women friends)
and my mission friends,
(the Clark's and the missionaries in our District) are all coming over for brunch.
I decided that I wanted to spend my Birthday with the people who have made Donetsk our home this past year. The people I have come to love.
SO I AM THROWING MYSELF A PARTY!!!!!!!!!
Happy Birthday to me!!!!!!!

November 15, 2008

TRIP TO BULGARIA

Our trip to Bulgaria was wonderfulthe weather was great

we saw some beautiful sights

ate some really good food


strolled through the parks where we saw several groups of older men huddled around these chess tables

saw some gorgeous buildings


Made some new friends

Elder Jorgensen, Elder and Sister Pattee, and Sister Jorgensen


President Bennet and the Pattee's


saw beautiful churches





and cultural halls

We left Donetsk last Tuesday to fly to Bulgaria to renew our Visa's. We were met at the airport by th Jorgensen's who are the Humanitarian Couple in Bulgaria. They took us to a very nice two bedroom apartment that is a permanent rental for the missionaries who need to come to Bulgaria for visa renewals. The next day they met us and took us to the mission home along with another couple (The Pattee's) who were there from Dneperpetrosk renewing their visas. Two of the younger missionaries then drove us to the Ukrainian Embassy where we left our visa's and went to the bank to get the Cash required to renew the visa's. It only took a few hours to complete and then the missionaries took us to a very nice restaurant for lunch. That evening we went out for Pizza with the Pattee's and the Jorgensen's. The next day we took a little time to just relax in the morning and then we met the Pattee's and the Jorgensen's for a little sightseeing. We had a nice dinner and then went to the Jorgenson's to just visit and have dessert. It was such a nice relaxing trip. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the Jorgensen's were wonderful host. Bulgaria has beautiful parks with quaint little street cafe's and some beautiful architecture and statues. The younger missionaries were also very kind and helpful. The morning we left President Bennet came out to say good-bye. He had been very busy during our visit with interviews and zone conferences so we only saw him briefly but we know he was responsible for such wonderful care that we were given while visiting his mission and really appreciate it.

MEN GATHERED AROUND THE CHESS TABLES IN THE PARKS
 INTERESTING STATUES


November 13, 2008

WE MADE IT BACK FROM BULGARIA

We arrived back in Donetsk late Tuesday night. We had a wonderful trip to Bulgaria and Kiev. I will have to post later about our trip. Wednesday we woke up to a very busy day. We started with getting lunch ready for our District meeting. We had a quick district meeting at our apartment. Then we joined President and Sister Fry and the Clark's for lunch with Sister Thompson from the General Relief Society Board and Sister Lant from the General Primary Board as well as Elder Senkans who is an Area Authority and his wife. They were all here for a fireside with the members of the church here in Donetsk. lunch with the District
another lunch with the honored guest

dinner with the departing missionaries


dessert and a meeting at the Clark's before the Elders departed. No wonder Elder Kinghorn said he felt like he was "stuffed" when we left the Clark's house.

Elders Harris and Crossley left this morning at 6 am along with Elder Williams, and Elder Carlson. Unfortunately we didn't get to spend much time with Elder Williams and Elder Carlson. However, we were able to see Elder Carlson serve as an Assistant to the President while he was here in Donetsk and he was a wonderful AP. We were asked to join the Clark's (the office couple) last night to take them all out to dinner before they went home. The President was attending a fireside with Sister Lant and Sister Thompson and Elder Senkans . We were honored to first join them all for a late lunch before their fireside. Then we ran off to meet the departing missionaries for a nice dinner followed by dessert at the Clark's apartment.

IT'S HARD TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO THESE AWESOME MISSIONARIES

I am going to miss this guy


and this one too. This is Elder Kunz and Elder Harris. We said good-bye to Elder Kunz shortly after we arrived in County and now it is time to say good-bye to two more Elders we have come to love.

I just realized that I already wrote about this evening but I didn't post pictures. I guess
their return to the States has been on my mind alot. Last week before we left for Bulgaria we had Elders Crossley and Harris over for dinner. I feel like I am never really ready to say good-bye to some of these young men. We have so many great memories of wonderful times together. Elder Harris is one of the very first Elders that we really got to know. It seems like we have known him longer than any other missionary. When we first arrived he was in the group that we went Christmas Caroling with and decorated Christmas cookies. He and Elder Kunz made us an awesome Mexican dinner one night. He helped us move to our new apartment. He and Elder Hammond came to for dinner one night and there was a mix up and I wasn't home so he and Elder Hammond had a nice evening alone with Elder Kinghorn. Elder Crossley was in our District so we got to know him very well. The first time we met was during apartment inspections. I just remember he was so easy to talk to and so much fun. Elder Crossley is always happy and was such a delight to have at our district meetings. He is the kind of person you just feel good when you are around. These young men helped make being away from my own children so much easier. The only sad thing is they couldn't stay. I am happy to see them complete honorable missions and go home to their families but I will miss them so much. I was talking to Elder Carlson tonight and I think that one of the interesting things about a mission is it that is one of the few times in your life when you will get really close to people and you know that one day you will have to say good-bye knowing that you probably will never see them again. Each time I have seen a missionary leave I know that there is always the chance that we will see one another when we return home. It is a different story with the members of the church or the people like Olga who we come to know and love. They have a very special place in our hearts some of them feel like family to us. Yet, there will be a time for all of us to pack our bags and get on a plane knowing that we may never see our dear friends again. This is when I find comfort in the Plan of Salvation that assures me that we will all have the opportunity to be reunited again in the life after this one if we live worthy of this blessing. This not only gives me comfort but great joy in knowing that I will be reunited with these wonderful Saints as well as the young missionaries who I have come to know and love.

November 12, 2008

Elder Crossley cleaned the whole kitchen

While Elder Harris decorated cupcakes
Elder Burrup supervising Elder Harris's cupcake decorating

GOOD-BYE ELDER BURRUP

Elder Burrup and his parents stopped by to say good-bye when Elder Harris and Elder Crossley were over. Elder Burrups parents came to Ukraine to escort him home. It was so nice to get to meet the parents of a wonderful Elder who we have come to really love. We have so many fond memories of Elder Burrup. I have written about him before. He was the office Elder when we arrived. He and Elder Baker were so instrumental in making our transition into the mission a smooth one. They really impressed us when they invited Us over for dinner. It was the first that we were the missionaries being invited for dinner. They were always taking care of us. Elder Burrup made sure to include us whenever the missionaries were having an outing. He invited us to Swan Lake as well as a Soccer game. He did so much to make sure we felt a part of this mission. We will always be grateful to these two parents for raising such an awesome young man. We will really miss him.

November 3, 2008

TRIP TO BULGARIA


We are off to Bulgaria tomorrow morning.
We have to leave the country to get our visa'a renewed so they are sending us to Bulgaria for a few days. Then we will be going to Kiev to visit Sister Lee(our Humanitarian Country Director) for a little training before she returns to America.

TRANSFER DAY GOOD-BYE'S


I just wanted to add this photo of our visitors who sat in the back of the room at the last transfer meeting. SHHHH.... I think it was suppose to be a secret who they were but it didn't take long to figure out. I mean seriously it didn't take much imagination to think who would come up with this idea. I love these two. We are going to miss them so much.

They just happen to be the very same Elders who came over for dinner tonight and guess what they did? First Elder H----s made some Halloween cupcakes and decorated them and then after dinner Elder H----s and Elder C----le- cleared the table and did ALL the dishes. Well actually Elder C---le- worked while Elder H----s talked and frosted the cupcakes. Elder C---le- said his dad was a great example. He did the dishes and the laundry too in their home. Way to go Sister Cross---- oops almost forgot. SHHHH........ anyway. It was kind of our last time to see them before they go back to the United States and it was really a fun night. Thanks guys. We'll miss you. Oh the other neat thing was Elder Burrup and his mom and dad came by to visit. The Burrup's came to pick up their son who just finished his mission. They have been here about a week visiting some of the places Elder Burrup served. So we got to spend a little more time with Elder Burrup before he goes back to the United States. His mom and dad are great. No wonder he is such an awesome guy.

November 2, 2008

LESSONS LEARNED IN UKRAINE















Today was one of those days I found myself lacking. As I sat in church I so longed to be able to understand the words that were being shared by the sisters in Relief Society. As I listened to the beautiful hymns being sung I thought of what a great blessing it would be to be able to sing like an angel. There was a sister sitting somewhere behind me who had been given that gift. Oh how I wished it was me singing like that. As I watched the branch members get up to bear their testimonies I wished that I could tell the members in their language how much I love my Heavenly Father. I wished I could tell them why I am here and what my membership in this church means to me. I wish that I was a gifted writer so that I might express to you the lessons I learned today. As I sat in church I found myself thinking, "I want to remember this feeling". I want to take this back to America. I don't ever want to forget this lesson I am learning this very moment."

When I went to Relief Society I found myself wishing for talents I had not been given.
There was something different going on in Relief Society. The air was filled with emotion. Sisters were sharing something very sacred that came from their hearts. I turned to look over my shoulder as I heard the tender voice of one of the women speak and I could see my friend Sister Clark who too had the look of wonder in her eyes. I heard her lean over to Sister Fry and say, "I so desperately want to know what is being said.".
That is how I felt today, Desperate.
I desperately wanted to to know the words that went with the emotions that the sisters were sharing.
I desperately wanted to join in the singing with the voice of an angel.
I desperately wanted to tell the Sisters that I love them.
I desperately wanted to explain to Tanya while I was admiring her new baby that my new grandson Cash is getting blessed today.
I desperately wanted to say more to Yuraslav's mother than just "we love your son". I wanted to tell her what an amazing thing he had just done when he entered the waters of baptism yesterday.
I desperately wanted to explain to Yuraslav what an awesome gift he had received when the men who held the Priesthood today stood in a circle and placed their hands upon his head.
and as I walked home from church and was stopped by a young man who wanted to talk to us about our religion I so desperately wanted to tell him why I was in Ukraine. He wanted to know why we didn't speak his language. "Why are we here if we can't speak Russian". As we walked away we said to ourselves, "I would wonder that too if I were him." We so wished we could tell him all the things in our hearts. We wished we could tell him that we came knowing it would be hard not knowing the language. We wanted to tell him,"we would have liked to stay home and studied your language until we knew it well enough to speak for ourselves". We wanted to be able to explain that that would have taken too long. That we knew that Heavenly Father needed us now. We wished we could have explained to him all the ways the church has blessed his country with Humanitarian Aide in spite of us and other Humanitarian Missionaries not knowing the language. I wanted to explain to him why being here today to see Yuraslav and Sasha be given the gift of the Holy Ghost was so important to us.

Oh how I wished I could speak Russian today.


When I saw Yuraslav's mother walk in the chapel for the first time I wanted to be able to bear my testimony to her. When I heard Anya get up to bear her testimony about the church and how hard it is to be a youth among friends who are not members of the church I wanted to share with her how much I love her and am so proud of her. I wanted to tell her how much the Lord will bless her for her obedience.

Today I was reminded,


And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestation of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.
Moroni 10:8


Heavenly Father has given us all gifts. To some is given one and to others is given another.


"and I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ."
Moroni 10:18


I know that we have all been given wonderful gifts from our Heavenly Father. I have been given gifts that are unique to me. I have the opportunity to use these gifts to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are days here in Ukraine that I feel like I am lacking. I am very much aware of the handicap I have of not being able to speak the same language of the people I come in contact with. Someday in the not too distant future I will be back in America where I will no longer have that handicap. The question will then be, will I use the gifts I have been given to share the gospel? Will I speak to the Sisters in my ward about how much I love my Heavenly Father? Will I approach the stranger who enters the chapel for the first time and welcome her with open arms? Will I tell the Sister in Relief Society how much I love her? Will I tell the newly baptized member what an amazing step he has just taken?

Will I pick up the hymnal that I can read and sing praises to the God who has given me everything.

Will I remember the lesson I learned in Ukraine today......................?????

November 1, 2008

WE HAD TWO BAPTISMS TODAY IN DONETSK CENTRAL BRANCH




Today was another wonderful day. We were able to attend the Baptisms of Sasha and Yuraslav. Sasha's brother Deema is a member of the church and he has been bringing Sasha to church and to Branch Activities. Yuraslav has been attending English classes for quite some time and has also been attending church and social functions. They were both so happy all day. It was so awesome to be in the Kalinsky building with so many recent converts in attendance. They have all been baptized in the last few months. Anya, Alexander, and Vulvo were all there. President Fry baptized Yuraslav and Deema baptized Sasha. President Fry did the whole thing in Russian. It was so amazing. We had a nice lunch afterwards and were treated with some beautiful violin and piano music live by the Sachov family. (sorry I am not good with tranlating the names) The two young men were well supported by the Young Adults in the Branch as well. It was such a great day.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?





NEW SHOES FOR ELDER CROSSLEY




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