June 9, 2010


I know it's been almost a year since I posted about going to Education Week in Utah last August but I just realized people are still reading this blog and decided to update a bit. Education Week was amazing. Our trip to Utah was so fun. It was a week long mission reunion. I was able to meet Elder Woodhead's mom JaneAnn while I was attending Education Week. We even went to some classes together.
I also got to meet Elder Oldroyd's mom, Kandace, when we went to his homecoming. It was so nice to meet her and Elder Oldroyd's whole family. It was wonderful to see the town he grew up in.hen we returned to Utah we were the guest in Elder Crossley's home for several days while we attended Education week. He too has an awesome family who made us feel so welcome in their home.

We went out to lunch with some of our missionary friends and were able to catch up on what's going on in their lives. Many of the returned missionaries are attending Brigham Young University h State so we were able to see alot of them at the mission reunion. While we were attending the mission reunion Elder Rasmussen's mother, Brenda Joy, came to pick him up and I got to meet her as well.the mothers I have mentioned were moms I corresponded with while living in Ukraine.

By the way, Elder Harris, Elder Crossley, Elder Gwynn, Elder Condie, Elder Carren, and Elder Hunt all have gotten married since we've been home and some even before we returned from the mission. We are so happy for them. The Pearson's are expecting their first baby.

We finished off the trip in St George Utah where we went to meet friends we met at the Missionary Training Center who served their mission in Africa, the Hafens.  While we were there we met the Whitehead family whose son was serving his mission in Ukraine with us.

I have mentioned all of the wonderful families we met while being in Utah because it really was a special experience. For 18 months we shared a part of the lives of the young men and women we served with. While we were serving our missions our lives were focused on serving the Lord. We saw these amazing young men and women working hard to be representatives of Christ in everything they did. I know that I wrote often of how amazed I was at the strength and dedication of the young men and women we served with. Being back in America with them and seeing some of them in their homes with their families was such a gift. I found myself thinking, "Oh this is who Elder ____________ is" !!!!!" No wonder he/she is so amazing."
We met some of their siblings, their parents and friends and even visited some of their homes.

Keeping this blog gave me a small opportunity to glimpse into the home lives of some of the missionaries whose parents read the blog and posted comments. Actually being able to meet their families and see where they grew up was so special. Meeting the moms who commented on my blog was a little like getting together with an old friend but really so much more than that.I knew how hard it must have been for these mothers to say good-bye to their sons for 24 months. I also knew that when they read the blog that they were getting an assurance that their boys were alright. I think sometimes it was for them a glimpse into the life of their missionary son. They had sent off a young man who they had watched grow from a little boy into a young man. They weren't sure how their son would handle life away from home let alone life in Ukraine. The comments they left or the e-mails I received did not reflect their fears, only a deep love and devotion to their little boys who had grown into fine young men.These mothers knew that I had come to love their sons and appreciated the awesome young men that they were. I knew that when we returned to America these dear young men and women would go back to their lives as sons and daughters, students, and friends and I would only hear from them now and then. I knew I may never see some of them again.When we stood face to face, those dear moms and I more was expressed then words could ever say. When I walked into their homes it was like walking into their lives. I caught a glimpse of who they were as sons and daughters, brothers, and sisters. It was a tender moment to see who the mothers of these awesome young men were.

Our visit to Utah was interesting. It was so wonderful to see the young men and women we had come to love back in their "normal" lives. It was really nice to see President and Sister Anderson again and the Jacob's and the Clarks. We had some wonderful experiences together. But it was also like closing the last chapter of a really good book. As I got to the last page I didn't want to continue reading because I knew the magic would end. That's how I felt when I walked out the front door of Elder Oldroyd's home and when I said goodbye to JaneAnne and Dixie. It's how I felt when we got into the car after our mission reunion at the Jacob's home.

Life in Ukraine, life with these very special young people in our lives, is like closing a good book. I am left with the feeling of hope that some day I will find another interesting book to read but I know it will never be like the adventure we had in Ukraine with these amazing characters who left their imprints on my heart forever..................
Returning to America has been quite a transition
(this post was taken from my other blog and was written when we first returned home)
Today we had the opportunity to speak with the High Council at church and tell them about our mission. We sat down at a conference table that was surrounded by about 12 men in suits and were given 10 minutes to share our mission experiences.Every time we have the opportunity to talk about our mission I get so homesick for Ukraine and our dear friends there. It is impossible to sum up 18 months of missionary service in 10 minutes. I couldn't sleep last night as I thought about the most important things I should remember to share.My mind raced...... I must remember to mention the Health Fair,
and the Strengthening Families classes, oh......... and I should tell the wonderful stories some of the members of the church shared with us about how their families were using some of the skills they learned in the classes,
and oh.................... I have to mention how much we loved having the missionaries in our home for district meetings each week, and how much we learned from them,
and what a miracle it was to see Olga get baptized and to see she and Vitaly married and planning to go to the temple,and I have to mention sweet Anya, and Marina and her family and what an inspiration they were to us,and I must tell them about the faithful Saints who save all year to go to the temple in Freiberg,
and I have to mention our wonderful Mission Presidents and their wives and how much we felt loved and supported by them,and I must remember to share how much my testimony of Jesus Christ grew, and how our marriage was strengthened, and I can't leave out the wonderful experience we had at the Missionary Training Center, and finally, I must remember to mention that we thought we were going to Ukraine to serve the people of Ukraine but after serving their for 18 months we learned that we went to Ukraine for our own personal growth. Which really is the most important thing.......................
Bruce and I learned so much about ourselves, and one another, things we could have only learned through this incredible experience.

My mind raced all night........and as I sat around that table and tried to convey the feelings of my heart and how much I loved being a missionary I simply had to trust the Lord would help me to find the words that would convey the truly life changing experience UKRAINE was for us.

I remember a conversation with President Fry shortly before we left as he counseled us to share the wonderful experiences we had as missionaries and not to focus on the challenges we faced. Looking back, the challenges seem small and insignificant. There is nothing left to say.
A part of me will always be in Ukraine. I will hold a very special place in my heart for the incredible people I met in Ukraine.

5 messages from friends and family:

vickiekurt said...

Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion...................................................

tgibson said...

Judge not of men and things at first sight.......................................................

欣來 said...

How about the sorted out products..................................................

博行 said...


Adam said...

Thank you so much for your service, you are great examples for all of us. I feel the same way: all the challenges from the mission pale in comparison to the great blessings we enjoyed. Looking back, I don't remember the had times as much as the good ones. You guys are great, you made a huge difference on your mission, people still love and remember you fondly. THank you!

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