January 27, 2009


Meet Vern the Virus and Germ


We took the Health Fair to an orphanage. It was really fun to see the children's faces just light up. Elders Kerr and Fedotov did such a great job. Olga introduced the Puppet Show and then she talked to the children in between each scene. She would ask them questions about what they saw and what they learned. She did so good. They performed 3 separate skits. The first was on eating a well balanced diet of foods that are good for you. The characters are 1)Vitamin and Mineral, 2) Carbohydrate, and 3)Protein who is a big guy with muscles. The second and third plays are about the importance of washing your hands and food so you don't get sick. There are two cute puppets that are germs(fluffy pink and yellow guys) who can make you sick if you don't wash your hands. After the play we had the children talk to the characters (puppets) and when the girl puppet came on the stage with the germ puppets the children started yelling, "look out, get away from him" It was really cute. The missionaries had so much fun. These pictures with Elder Kerr are the children approaching him after the show to talk to the puppet. It was so fun to watch. He couldn't believe how captivated they were and how they spoke directly to the puppet. One of the teachers tried to speak to me and when I told her I didn't speak Russian she left but a few minutes later she came back with a small group of little girls who wanted to speak English to me. It was so sweet. They told me their names and one of them said, "I love you." Today was a great day. Our next show is Saturday at another Orphanage. We will be going with the Young Adults who made toys during their all night New Years Eve Ball to donate to the children. We will be delivering the toys and some homemade hats that someone from America sent.

Tomorrow is District Meeting. So I will be making lunch for the missionaries. Then I have a project to write for an Orphanage in Kharkiv. This is the Orphanage that the Kharkiv missionaries went to for Christmas. The Missionaries in Kharkiv will be taking their Puppet Show to this orphanage soon. Today a Mental Hospital we have been working with got some brand new beds delivered that we purchased.
Yeah, this is the fun stuff!!!!!!!
Today was a great day. I am so thankful to have this opportunity to be here and see such amazing things happening.

January 24, 2009


I keep forgetting to let my friends and family know that although Russia and Ukraine are having disputes over the fuel we have not been affected by it. We still have heating in our apartments. Someone told us that Ukraine has a reserve fuel supply that they are relying on however, I don't really know if that is true or not. But just know we have not felt the affects of this crisis.


As I was out walking the other day I thought about how some of the sights I see daily seem so normal now, like this little trailer in an alley where people go to buy bread.

Or these huge Lenin statues that are everywhere................. Or people wearing so many clothes that you can hardly see their faces.

This is a typical look for me now; hat, gloves, scarf, boots, and plastic bag, with my purse hanging over my shoulder (not too attractive I know).  However it's not too bad if everyone looks like this right?

 All the apartment buildings that have large black garbage containers out in front and sometimes a triangular cage that holds the recycled bottles and cans. Or the small groups of old ladies who shovel the walkways.
As I was going to get my hair done the other day I was thinking about how much our lives have changed. We have gotten use to so many things that felt so strange when we first arrived.

Sometimes we see some pretty strange things. Yesterday when I was walking with the Sisters on our way to Anya's house I saw an old lady walking with a sign around her neck carrying a little plastic cup. Sister Ellison and I talked about it for a minute. She said, it really wasn't an unusual sight for her to see. I have often seen older women standing somewhere on a corner with a little plastic cup in their hands but never have I seen someone with a sign hanging around their neck. Especially a little old woman.
It makes me sad.

In some ways the sights we see are very similar to what we see at home like graffiti written on walls, or teenagers standing on the street corners. But some things I will never get use to. I have gotten use to shoving my way into the crowded marshruka, and using my very broken Russian to ask the bus driver to let me off at my stop. Sometimes when we speak the driver will slowly look back to see who that strange language is coming out of. It is no longer strange to see small groups of homeless dogs wandering the streets. Last night Bruce and I were walking to the Church to teach our Strengthening Marriage Class. It was dark, and cold out. There were small groups of men standing around drinking beers that we passed when we got off the bus. We maneuvered the dark streets trying to avoid the muddy puddles that laid beneath the surface of the snow. We were both carrying bags that contained our lesson materials and other things we may need like our umbrella and scarves and hats on the cold walk home. As we approached the church I mentioned to Bruce, "we probably wouldn't have imagined we would be doing this when we first arrived here". The strange thing was it just felt so normal.

It's hard to explain the adjustment we have made. Living in a new Country is an incredible experience. There are so many things that are so different from what we are use to. For instance, it took 3 or 4 weeks to finally get someone to come fix our Internet and it is still randomly shutting off. When we asked the guy what we owed him, he said, "there is no charge, but you can give me something if you'd like", (at least that is the translation we were given). When we go to the Pharmacy it seems we can only buy one item at a time. Bruce uses a special cream on his skin but they will only give him one tube at a time. Sometimes we see something new at the grocery store that we like and are so excited that they are finally carrying this item but then when we come back we never see it on the shelf again. You are never allowed to carry anything into a grocery store except your purse. There is a guard you watches closely and he will stop you if you try to get in with anything else. They have a little place where you have to check your things and get a little number. You can not ever go pass the check out stand to get out if you haven't purchased anything. The guard will stop you and make you go out the approved exit.

In many shops that are like office supply stores or electronic stores when you buy something they give you a little written check that you must take to another counter to pay, then you take your receipt and go back and get the item and take it to another counter where they plug it in and make sure it works because NOTHING CAN BE RETURNED. EVER.

People carry plastic bags everywhere. They sell them in the Reenik. They don't really carry tote bags or backpacks, just recycled plastic bags. We now have our own supply of plastic bags we carry our umbrellas in, our hats, and scarves and anything else we may need for the day.

One of the things that was really distressing to us is that we will not be able to do our Puppet Shows in the schools. It seems it is against the law for any church to go into the schools except the Provaslavic Church.

I am not complaining, I am just saying.......................

Life is certainly different living in a foreign country

January 23, 2009


the sisters and i took a trip to visit anya
(Elder Crossley baptized her about 6 months ago)
(today was transfer day we lost Sisters Jadamba and Ellison they went to Kharkiv, we will miss them)

Larissa,Sister Clark, Tanya, MashaWe had a fun going home party for Elder and Sister Clark after English Class

This is just a few of the branch members who came.

The Clark's are going home to Orem Utah this Thursday. I can't imagine this mission without them. They have been great friends and the missionaries love them.

Sister Tumi-Ochir went home to Mongolia
we will miss her

We had a few fun days of apartment inspections
I forgot my camera at Elders McArthur and Steeles's apartment and look what they left us.
it says, "we love ewe"
how sweet!!!!

These two live in the penthouse. It reminds me of an abandoned building I played in when I was a kid

Elder Johnson baptized this sweet, wonderful girl Jenya.

Everybody loves her. It was so great to see the Young Adults welcome her into the branch

enjoying the incredible transformation our city takes when it begins to get COLD
(the lake behind our dome has frozen over and they are ice fishing on it now)

this is a view from the opposite side of the bridge from where Bruce is standing. If you look closely you can see the smoke coming from a coal mine nearby. This is on our walk home from the store. It got so cold I started to run to hurry and get to our dome.


January 7th was Christmas in Ukraine for most people we were so excited to get a phone call from the office saying, "you got a package."look what I got, oh there was more, lots more but this is the really good stuff, well.... O'K the Dark Chocolate Pretzels and Mint Oreos came pretty close.
Oh, and there was stuff for Bruce too, p-day clothes that fit, new jeans and t-shirts and LONG JOHNS TO KEEP HIS SKINNY BODY WARM!!!!Thanks Brad and Karrissa, Karrissa you are the best Christmas shopper ever.

P.S. I love my new lime green sweat suit and matching slippers
we had a Branch Christmas Party and Elders Fedotov and Kerr were able to bring the Puppet Show (Health Fair) and entertain everyone.

 HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE THE SNOW!!!I know everyone who knows me knows I am a California Girl. I love the sunshine, I love to sit in the sun and just soak it up. I love going barefoot. I LOVE opening the blinds and feeling the suns rays as I sit at my kitchen window.


If I have learned anything on my mission it is to ADJUST
I have to ADMIT IT ................
but with the right gloves, hat, scarf, socks, boots, long johns, and lots of layers. You hardly notice.

January 22, 2009


This picture was taken in Kharkiv isn't it beautiful?
WE ARE STILL HERE WE JUST HAD SOME INTERNET PROBLEMS AND I WAS NOT ABLE TO USE THE INTERNET FOR SEVERAL WEEKS. In fact, I am not even sure if It is fixed yet. It is still working for a few hours then turning off.

I am sorry for not staying in touch with everyone. I know that many of you parents would love to see some pictures and learn about some of the recent happenings in the mission and I will try to do another post soon that will include some photos but there is something I really want to write about today.

Two days ago we watched our new President of the United States sworn in. I don't think I have ever been more proud to be an American. As I watched all of those people gathered to see this historical event I was deeply touched. Not because I love President Obama .....

frankly I don't really know alot about the man, (we have been on our Mission throughout the whole campaign which means we did not have much access to the News)

because I live in America

I was born in a Country where ....

change is possible.

It was not that long ago that Black people were asked to sit in the back of the bus, and to drink out of seperate drinking faucets. I remember when I was in Junior High I did a report about the Watts riots. I was deeply affected by this.
I remember that this is when I first started writing about my feelings. I was young and naive and I didn't really understand why Black people had been treated with such hatred. I grew up in a home where the creed "all men are created equal" was deeply rooted.

Today a black man will lead our country.

Oh there is a part of me that just wants to say, "why do we have to keep saying, The first black President"? Why can't we just acknowledge him as our next President.

The truth is.....

It's a big deal that our Country elected a Black Man, the same way it is a big deal that Hillary Clinton ran for President. This was a historical election. The first black man and the first woman running for office.

The fact that President Obama was elected gives the whole world hope

that things can change.

There is suffering all over the world. Wars, Hunger, Deadly Diseases, Tyrants who run Countries.

The Whole World needs to believe that change is possible.

As my husband and I sat in our small apartment in Ukraine watching our new President take the oath of office I was filled with pride.

I am so proud to be an American. To live in a Country where we are free to choose our religion. We are free to have our own opinions and to express them.

We are free to live where we choose without having to carry a document prooving that we are a legal resident of the country.

We have now lived outside of the United States for 14 months in a Country that does not have these same freedoms. I will go home a changed person.

I now understand why some Americans returning to the States after a tour of duty in the Military or after an extended absence from America bend down and kiss the ground.

The words "God Bless America" have new meaning to me.

You may not have voted for President Obama and he may not stand for some of the things you feel very strongly about but he was Elected to lead our Country.

Our church has 13 Articles of Faith that express some of the things that we believe in. The 12th Article of Faith states,
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
I am going to sustain the new President of the United States. When I complete this mission
I am going to go home and learn all I can about what his hopes for the future of our
Country are and do all I can to stand behind him.

January 9, 2009


and we had such a great time.........
we saw some interesting sights.......
we attended a beautiful Baptism .............

we celebrated Sister Fry's birthday, and we spent time with the Jacob's and the Crittendon's who live in Kharkiv.

We had a mini-couples conference while we were there. It was so fun to get the Clark's, (our office couple) out of the office and take a little time to see the sights in Kharkiv. It was really the Clark's first time to leave Donetsk since arriving in Ukraine 17 months ago. We toured Church buildings, visited parks and monuments, walked to the the ice sculptures, rode the metro, visited with the missionaries who live in the Kharkiv area and had a wonderful time visiting with the Crittendon's and the Jacob's. In fact, they each had us over for dinner once and then we all went out to dinner our last evening in Kharkiv. Elder Kinghorn and I were joined by Olga who rode the train up so that we could go visit an Orphanage for a possible project. We are so grateful for President and Sister Fry and their great love for the missionaries. They really are awesome and we are so lucky to serve with them here in Ukraine.


SOME OF THE EXCITING THINGS GOING ON IN KHARKIVmissionaries getting haircuts.....missionaries getting mail
visiting with old friends

a skit by Sisters Fry and Kinghorn


January 1, 2009


We are so excited the two Health Fairs that we ordered several months ago have finally arrived. We now have 2 complete Puppet Shows to use in Donetsk and Kharkiv. The Jacob's and Elder Kinghorn and I have each been assigned a companionship of 2 Elders each who will go into hospitals, schools, and orphanages to perform the puppet shows. They are scripted shows that use adorable puppets to teach proper hygiene, nutrition, and health. There are two sections that will be used with older children to discuss the dangers of alcohol and drugs. The missionaries will be the puppeteers and the dialog is on a CD in Russian. In Donetsk we have been assigned Elders Kerr and Fedotov. They have been coming over a few times a week to practice. They are both doing so great. We have been very impressed with them. Yesterday we did our first performance at Zone Conference. They were awesome. We can't wait to take the show on the road. Tomorrow we go to Kharkiv for their zone conference and will get to observe Elders Greener and Badrusev as the puppeteers. I will post more pictures when we return.

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