April 29, 2009

SAYING GOOD-BYE

This has been a week of good-byes. A few weeks ago I started feeling sad about leaving so many people we have come to know and love. I couldn't imagine how I would feel this week. It has been difficult but I have to say that I really believe that Heavenly Father has blessed us with a wonderful peace this week. We spoke at Church on Sunday and then had a very nice gathering after church to say good-bye to everyone in our branch. It was a wonderful day. We really felt loved. Yesterday we had our last Zone Conference with our Zone it was another day of good-byes. Now it seems like everytime we do something we say to ourselves, "This will probably be the last time we do this". It is difficult, but on the other hand, we have spoken to our family alot these last few weeks and those little voices of the grandchildren are calling us home. We can hardly wait to see how they have grown and to just hold our loved ones once again.
I have to sign off. We are moving the last few things in our apartment today. We are going to be in the Mission Home until Sunday. Love to you all.

April 27, 2009

We are coming HOME



MAY 4TH at 9:47 pm we arrive in Sacramento

April 26, 2009

RETURNING TO AMERICA



We are coming home soon and this will be our new home

We are so excited we are buying this beautiful home in Old Town Fair Oaks.
We decided we needed more space for all the grandkids so we began searching on the internet for a new home. We found this home and instantly fell in love with it. It really is our dream home. We sent Brad and Karrissa (our daughter and son-in-law) to look at it and Brad reported back to us,

"it is sick"
(which basically means he loved it)

he continued..
"you guys have to have that house"
The rest, as they say,.................

Is history!
Brad and Karrissa have been busy finalizing all the paperwork for us and meeting with inspectors. Escrow should close by the end of May. We will be staying with Brad and Karrissa for a week or so and then the whole family will be going to Santa Cruz for 10 days. We are looking forward to so much.
Holding loved ones in our arms again
family
friends
a new home
California Sunshine
The Ocean
The Redwoods
Driving a Car again (Bruce is looking forward to a nice long drive)
attending Church that is spoken in English
singing hymns in English
However the list of things I will miss about Ukraine is equally as long.
OUR RETURN HOME
WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW
We have had some people ask about the details of our return to America.

We leave Donetsk for Kiev on Sunday May 3rd and fly to America on Monday, May 4th. We arrive in Sacramento on Delta Airlines on Monday Night at 9:47 pm.

It will be very late when we arrive and clear customs so we know that we won't see you at the airport but hope you can join us at Church on May 10th. Bruce and I have been asked to speak about our mission experience on Sunday May 10th.

The Sacrament meeting will begin at 9am.

The building is located at 7950 Hazel Ave ORANGEVALE , CA 95662987-1849 (Office)987-7479 (Foyer) Map and driving directionsI know I will say this again, but we just want to thank all of our friends and family who have supported us on this mission. Your love and prayers have been felt and so appreciated. We are happy to be coming home but sad to say good-bye to so many we have come to know and love here in Ukraine.

HUMANITARIAN CONFERENCE IN ARMENIA



We are home from our Humanitarian Conference in Armenia. We are so happy we had this opportunity to go. We met with 21 other couples who are serving Humanitarian Missions in Eastern Europe. We were told that we represented half of the Church's Humanitarian Missionaries worldwide. That means there are less than 42 Humanitarain Couples serving throughout the world and half of them are in Eastern Europe. We feel so blessed to have been among this wonderful group of people and to have been able to serve in this capacity for the past 18 months. We enjoyed hearing how diverse our mission experiences are. The one thing we heard over and over is how grateful they all were to have had this opportunity and how blessed their lives have been by the experiences they have had while on their missions. We had a day and a half of training and one day of sightseeing with these wonderful couples. There is so much I learned and would love to share but we have to get out the door to do a closing at a hospital. I will try to post more later. Yesterday we said good-bye to most of our friends at church and I will post more about that too. We love you all. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.

April 23, 2009

WE ARE IN ARMENIA

I forgot to post that we were going to Armenia for a Humanitarian Conference.
We left on Tuesday for Armenia and we will be here until early Sunday morning. So I will post pictures when we return. We just had a wonderful first day of training with President Gibbons who is a General Authority in the Church who is assigned to Europe East. We met with 21 other couples who are on Humanitarian Missions all over Eastern Europe. We had some wonderful instruction from some of the other couples about how to do different types of projects. In Armenia they have done a huge water project. One Country has had success bringing containers of wheelchairs into the Country. Another couple talked about the Health Fair. We spoke about the Strengthening Families Classes. It has been so wonderful to be around so many wonderful people who are doing amazing things while on their missions. We were told that Eastern Europe represents half of the Humanitarian Missionaries worldwide. Wow. There really is alot of awesome Humanitarian projects happen in Eastern Europe and I am so grateful to have been a part of this. I will write more when I get home. Blessings to you all!

April 19, 2009

CHANGE IS COMING

Walking home from the Store the other day

It struck me........

there are changes ahead

spring is coming
the trees are sprouting new growth
It doesn't seem like it was that long ago........

That this little grove of trees was covered in snow

Where once all we could see was brown trees covered in snow
we are beginning to see signs of change ahead. We were talking the other day about how much more aware we have been of the change of the seasons in Ukraine.
Winter is hard here.
This is our second winter in Ukraine
but.....
this year has been easier
Having experienced our first winter in Ukraine we learned an important lesson about life
It is easier to get through the difficult times when we know what is ahead
it has been easier to endure the long winter knowing that soon we would see the sun again.
That soon.........................
the the good citizens of Ukraine would be out
sweeping and repaving the streets,
cleaning up trash,
planting flowers,
planting grass seed
and one day we would once again
stroll through the beautiful park
with flowers in bloom,
and see couples in love
The park would be filled with
brides on their wedding day and
children at play
and there would be a transformation..................
Spring would bring with it the promise of better days
I know that now,
I know that the snow will melt,
the rain will stop,
the muddy streets will dry up,
the days will get longer,
the sun will shine,
and the trees will blossom again
and that has made it so much easier to endure the long winter days
sometimes life is like that
when we are in the midst of pain or struggles
we can't see what is ahead
sometimes all we see is the long dark winter
and we can't even imagine that we will ever be happy again.
This journey to Ukraine has taught me that even when we are in the darkest moment
of our lives
up ahead is something better................
we won't always know what it is...............
or when it will come...........
but spring always comes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
one day..............
the rain will stop
the sun will shine
and our lives will be filled with the promise of a brigher day
That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us
The promise that one day
we will be free of the challenges we have faced on this earth,
the unfulfilled dreams,
the heartaches,
the Physical Ailments
If we can just hang on
If we can hold on to the hope of a brighter day
and stay close to our Heavenly Father through prayer and scripture study
If we just keep living our lives believing that one day the light will come,
one day we will smile again, one day our world will be brighter
He will not forsake us
we see his miracles everyday in the lives of people around us
as they receive comfort and strength to endure incredible trials
He will bring us the balm that we need to endure
and one day
we will have an eternal life filled with joy .....
that is what life in Ukraine taught me..............

EASTER SUNDAY IN UKRAINE


Today was Easter Sunday Elder Hammond and Elder Rasmussen, with Sister Glen and her new companion, Sister Ward, Elders Kerr, and Greener

So we invited our District over for dinner.
Sister Fry, Sister Solomonson and I were all given gifts from members of the Branch today

Olga gave us handpainted Easter Eggs and Sister Koslova gave us Easter Bread
On the way to church I counted 10 people carrying Easter Baskets of bread

This is what the bread looks like
Happy Easter!

A BEAUTIFUL SPRING DAY

Even the dogs were enjoying the sunshine
We decided to take a walk home from Church on Saturday

I love these buildings
we had to stop and take a picture by the green buds on the trees
and then we were on our way again

LUDMILLA WAS BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY

Some of the members of the Donetsk Centrale Branch who attended the Baptism
Ludmilla and Elder Johnson

ANOTHER BUSY WEEK

We closed a project at an Aid's Clinic

Elder Kinghorn and the Doctor with a water Distiller the Humanitarian Funds provided
We took the Doxey's with us to do the Health Fair at a Boarding School and then came back to our house for a light lunch
This is the Doxey's visiting a classroom at the Boarding School
we are all holding some of the Crafts the students have made

We went to the office for a staff meeting.
Elder Green giving Sister Solomonson some last minute instructions before he leaves the office for his next area

Elder McKinney will stay to "hold down the fort".

Look at this clean desk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We took the Health Fair to the Library
and a Boarding School we went to President and Sister Fry's for dinner
Elders Hunt and Sutherland

We had dinner at the mission home to say good-bye to some amazing missionaries
We had a staff meeting on Tuesday and Transfer Meeting on Friday.We had a baptism on Saturday
and then we had the four AP's (Assistants to the President) to our apartment for dinner. (I don't have a photo because my camera card wasn't working.) Elder Dorman was excited to "finally get to come to the Kinghorn's for dinner". We were lucky that Sister Jadamba and her new companion came over and cooked for us. Sister Glen and Sister Ward joined us too!!!What a treat a homecooked meal that someone else made. It was Mongolian food and Sister Jadamba is a great cook. It was delicious!!!!!

NEW MISSIONARIES HAVE ARRIVED STRAIGHT FROM THE MISSIONARY TRAINING CENTER

Sister Ward and Sister Fry


Elders Nersisyan, and Hess

Elder Young with Elder Norman
Elder Norman is an Assistant to the President
Elder Dietrich, Sister Ward, Elder Young, Elder Hess, and Elder Nersisyan

A few hours after they arrived President Fry took the new Missionaries, The AP's, and the Hewlett's, the Doxey's and the Kinghorn's out to eat at "The Three Fat Guys".

DINNER AT THREE FAT GUYS

The Hewlett's
The Doxey's at Three Fat Guys

April 14, 2009

GOING HOME


Yesterday one of the younger missionaries asked me what  the first thing is that I am looking forward to doing when I get home. The answer was easy.....Sitting in my living room surrounded by my loved ones who are happily living life.

It will probably look something like this............
my son and my son-in-law sitting on the couch surrounded by little ones. Maybe one under each arm, and one or two others sitting on the floor nearby surrounded by a pile of toys.My husband sitting with a book or the newspaper in his hands, stopping to engage in conversation with a grandchild now and then or to soothe someones hurt away; and our daugther nearby getting someone a snack, or nursing her baby.

I had a glimpe of this a week or so ago when I got to Skype with my son as while he sat in his sisters living room. Monroe (our soon to be 4-year old granddaugher) was sitting next to him tucked under his arm. The other children were nearby. I could see them pass in front of the camera, and sometimes I could hear a childs voice call to his mother from the kitchen. Monroe leaned over and whispered something to her Uncle Nate and a big smile came over his face. In that brief moment they had forgotten that they were involved in a telephone conversation with me and something sweet and tender was transpiring between them. I felt like I was sitting in the room with them surrounded by the sounds and smells of HOME.

It was a moment a shear joy for me. I love my son, and this sweet little granddaugher.I was touched by the sweet tender blessing of being a family.This is heaven. It just doesn't get any better than this. Life is really so simple and so beautiful. It got me thinking about when we return to our Eternal Home.................
we believe that someday we will all leave this temporal life behind and return to live with our Father in Heaven. Have you ever thought about what you look forward to most when at last you enter into His Kingdom??
Will it be the moment you are reunited with loved ones? O will it be that joyous moment when your Savior extends his arms to you and pulls you into him as he whispers "well done, thou good and faithful servant." Or will it be perfect bodies free from disease or affliction of any kind, eternal families, eternal life??
What are you looking most forward to???

April 12, 2009

MOVIE


SAYING GOOD-BYE AGAIN

Tonight we had a dinner at President and Sister Fry's home to say good-bye to some amazing missionaries. Tomorrow morning Elders Brown, Via Gomez, Hunt, Hulet, and Sutherland all board a plane back to America, Elder Hewlett's parents arrived last night to pick him up and Elder Doxey's parents will be here Tuesday. We will sure miss them all they are truly wonderful young men who have served the lord honorably.
Elder Hewlett and his parents above followed by some random photos of missionaries during General Conference in Donetsk
Marina, Sister Kinghorn, Elder Doxey, and Annya at General Conference in the Kalininsky Building

These two wanted to show off their cufflinks that match their ties

Their District had matching ties at Conference today
Me and two of my favorite girls
This was just a small group of the missionaries who were standing outside the church building in between conference sessions and I asked if I could get a group picture
Elder Kinghorn, Annya, and Sister Kinghorn
Genya and her mom who is getting baptized next Saturday
This is the room where most of us watched General Conference
Elders Rasmussen and Noyes

Elders Sutherland and Hulet

I promised these 4 I would post this on the blog

Today was General Conference. Every six months members of our church have the opportunity to listen to talks given by the General Authorities of the church. They have a huge conference center in Salt Lake City where the conference is held. The conference was the first week-end in April but we had to record it and then watch it on the television. Some people watch it live but because of the time change it is the middle of the night here when it is being broadcast so we watched it here today. The members of the Church watched it in our large Chapel where it was translated into Russian and most of the English Speaking Missionaries watched it in a classroom.I loved the talks and I loved being in a small classroom surrounded by these wonderful missionaries as we received words of wisdom from the leaders of our church.

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