June 22, 2009



June 21, 2009


Saying good-bye to some of our dear friends in UkraineMarina, Deema, Ilia
Anya, sweet Anya

Fellow missionaries

Marina, Nastia, Olga, Vitaly, Sister Fry and President Fry

When one door closes........................................................................
another one opens...........................
 Our family greeting us at the airport in Sacramento

I'm sitting here looking at this blog thinking about updating it a bit and I just can't bring myself to change one thing about it. This blog contains more than words and pictures. I started writing the blog as a way to communicate to our friends and family what we were doing in Ukraine, but I soon found myself sitting at the computer sometimes daily pouring out my heart.Today as I sit and visit with friends here in America and they ask about Ukraine. I find myself tearing up as I speak of the people I have come to love. The girl who I initially referred to in my blog as our interpreter who we now call our Ukrainian daughter, Olga, the 16 year-old Anya who stole my heart and her cousins, Nastia, Marina, and Ilia, the women at church who I called my sisters, our amazing branch president and his counselors.My friends ask me how it was to see so much pain and suffering. They ask how we dealt with it. My answer is this blog. I just came home and wrote about it. Sometimes the feelings were too much to keep inside and I just had to get it out and this is where I went. I didn't think so much about who would be reading it I just wrote. I wrote about the adjustment to living in a foreign country. I wrote about how hard it was to leave our family and know that we would be gone for so long. I wrote about the things we saw that broke my heart, the children who lived on the streets, the babies in orphanages, the beggars who were often old ladies, the elderly people who were abandoned and left in shelters. I wrote about the appalling way that handicapped people were treated. I wrote of the shocking conditions of the hospitals and orphanages.That is how I coped with seeing so much pain. I wrote about it.

But our mission was so much more than all of that. I wrote about that too. I wrote about the amazing spiritual experiences we were having. I wrote about the wonderful young men and women we were serving with. I wrote about our Mission President's and their wives and how much we admired and loved them. I wrote about how my testimony of Jesus Christ was growing. I wrote about the things I was learning about myself and how Ukraine was transforming me. I wrote about how much I love my husband and the blessing he is to me.

Today will be my last entry in THIS blog, it is time to turn a new page, or maybe to begin a new journey. I will be starting a new blog. It may not be as fascinating or interesting as life in Ukraine but it will continue to be the place I go to pour out my heart.It will be filled with the magical moments of being a wife, mother and Nana home again in America..........................................

I want to close by thanking you, our friends and family who became followers of our blog. As I said I didn't always write with you in mind but I know that your words of encouragement helped us through the difficult times. I will be forever grateful for the love that we felt from you thoughout our journey in Ukraine. To you parents of missionaries who lifted me with your love, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words were often the balm I needed to face another difficult situation. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your love and support.

June 19, 2009


 Our dream home is still not a reality yet. Today we went by and visited our home, we even got to sit at the kitchen bar and visit with our real estate agent and the man we are buying the house from but we won't be moving our things in for awhile.As we sat in the kitchen we could hear the roosters crowing outside and birds singing in the backyard, The gentle breeze was blowing through the windows. I could imagine our grandchildren playing on the floor in the family room as we visited in the kitchen. Tonight I am dreaming of our new home and finally getting all our things out of suitcases while my husband, and our daughter and son-in-law watch Batman in the other room and the babies sleep soundly in the beds. Tomorrow I will wake up to the squeals of my dear little grandchildren who greet me each morning as if I just stepped off the plane.


I have finally found a little time to spend at the computer again. I thought I should let you all know how we are doing. First of all.................
I had no idea that we would experience the same Culture Shock coming home as we did when we arrrived in Ukraine. We are so happy to be home with our family again but I have to say there are days I find myself feeling a little displaced. We still have not been able to move into our new home yet so we are living with our daughter and her husband and 4 children. We are so grateful for their kindness in allowing us to be here so long. We love spending so much time with family. We all took a trip to Santa Cruz to spend about 12 days staying in a beautiful cottage on the beach. We're back and Karrissa and Brad's now and our son Nate comes over a few times a week to join us for dinner or a movie. We are enjoying catching up with our friends at home. I have also spoken to a few of the returned missionaries who are home now. We have spoken about our mission experience during Sacrament Meeting at church and once at a fireside. We loved it. We will have another opportunity to speak again in September and probably when we move into our new ward. I haven't been able to stay in touch by e-mail with my fellow missionaries or my Ukrainian friends the way I intend to as soon as we have our own computer again. I did get to talk to Olga, our interpreter/ and dear friend on the telephone and the minute I heard her voice my eyes filled with tears. I couldn't stop crying as she quickly told us all the things she wanted us to know about life in Ukraine. Oh, how it made me miss you all. I am so grateful to have been to Ukraine and to have been a part of the Donetsk Mission. I am so grateful to President and Sister Fry for all they did for us and for all the missionaries they love so very much. I am so grateful for all of you who kept me going with prayers and wonderful encouraging comments on the blog. I promise I will write more soon and post pictures again as soon as i am able to use my own computer again. Tomorrow Bruce and I are going to Monterey again for a few days and I hope I will be able to use my computer while we are gone to post some pictures.

For now I just want all the missionaries and my friends in Ukraine to know that you are in our prayers daily.
We love you, and miss you so much.

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