June 26, 2010

COLLEGE, WEDDINGS, AND BABIES

The last year as the missionaries we served in Ukraine with arrived back in the USA they have been busy with College, Careers, Marriage and a few have even started their families.
Brad Pearson and Michelle Chidester both served with us in Ukraine. They got together after the mission and were soon married. Now they are expecting their first baby. We're so happy for them.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS WHO WERE MARRIED THIS PAST YEAR

Daniel Condie and his wife Whitney

Frederick Benson and his wife Jill


Jonathan Karren and his wife Tawna


Clark Harris and his bride Autumn
Travis Hunt and his wife Leanna

Sister Helelyan and her husband Ashot Symonyan

Austin Andrus is engaged to Mckenzie


Sam Crossley and his wife Shawnee
Joshua Gywnn and his wife Tricia

CALLED TO SERVE

I SPOKE TO ANYA LAST WEEK AND SHE MENTIONED THAT HER COUSIN MARINA IS CURRENTLY SERVING AS A MINI-MISSIONARY IN THE DONETSK UKRAINE MISSION. MARINA AND ANYA WERE TWO OF THE VERY SPECIAL YOUNG WOMEN I GREW TO LOVE WHILE SERVING OUR MISSION IN UKRAINE.

THE CHURCH IN UKRAINE IS GROWING

I have been following Sister Fry's blog and it has been so fun to see that so many of the Young Adults we knew while we were in Ukraine have prepared to serve a Mission and have left for the Missionary Training Center for training in Provo in the past year.


President Fry and Elder Zhdanov

President Fry, Elder Elle, and President Teekemera

Sister Tsuprova

Sister Sechov and her mother


       Sister  Vinicurova     
                                                                                                  
Sister Dyachenko and her family

Sister Trumova with Sister Fry

Sasha Trunova with her friends with her Mission Call in her hands.

LOOK OUT WORLD HERE THEY COME!!!

THE KYIV TEMPLE WILL BE DEDICATED IN AUGUST 2010


The Kyiv Ukraine Temple is the Church’s first in Eastern Europe and the 11th overall on the European continent. It will serve approximately 31,000 members of the Church living in 13 European countries. Other European temples of the Church are located in Bern, Switzerland (dedicated 1955); London, England (1958); Freiberg, Germany (1985); Stockholm, Sweden (1985); Frankfurt, Germany (1987); Preston, England (1998); Madrid, Spain (1999); The Hague, Netherlands (2002); Copenhagen, Denmark (2004); and Helsinki, Finland (2006). A temple to be built in Rome, Italy, was announced in October 2008.
It is customary for Latter-day Saints to open the doors of their temples to the public before they are dedicated. It is expected that many thousands of visitors will come to this temple open house to tour the temple and learn about the highest rites of the faith that take place there. “We are very pleased to be able to invite our friends and neighbors to tour the temple and learn more about this sacred structure,” said Elder Wolfgang H. Paul, president of the Church’s Europe East Area. “We know that many people have passed by the temple during construction and wondered about its purpose. Soon we will be able to welcome them to the temple and explain why the temple is known as the house of the Lord.” Latter-day Saint temples differ from the meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man. When the temple is formally dedicated, it will be open to members of the Church who are actively engaged in the faith — unlike the thousands of standard church meetinghouses that are open to everyone for regular Sunday services, regardless of religious affiliation (see Newsroom article explaining difference between chapels and temples).
Speaking to the entire Church membership in October 2009, Church President Thomas S. Monson said, “We continue to build temples. We desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without having to travel inordinate distances. Worldwide, 83 percent of our members live within 200 miles (320 km) of a temple. That percentage will continue to increase as we construct new temples around the world.” The Kyiv Ukraine Temple was announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley, former worldwide leader of the Church, 20 July 1998. Ground was broken for the temple’s construction on 23 June 2007. When completed it will be the Church’s 134th operating temple worldwide. Formal temple work will commence at the Kyiv Ukraine Temple on Monday, 30 August 2010.

TRIP TO IDAHO TO SEE THE LEE'S

Bruce and I took a trip to Pocatello Idaho  to see the Lee's. They were our Country Directors in Ukraine. They lived in Kieve, which was about a 8 hour train ride away,  but we spent a lot of time with them. We were at their home in Pocatello for a few days then we headed to Yellowstone to visit the Grand Tetons. We had such a fun trip. The Lee's are getting ready to leave for another mission to Jordan. We love them so much. They have been such good friends and such  wonderful examples to us.

June 9, 2010

UTAH REUNION



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.

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