Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 30

This is a statue at a memorial park.  It is just past the overpass that I previously posted on the way to Church.

See...There is a big Tide box sticking out of the wall...I wasn't kidding!  The wooden doors are the doors to our Church and there is a sign you can barely see next to the doors that says "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Welcome"

From left to right - Sister Smirnova from Moscow, Sister Lacy from Washington State, Sister Clark from Logan, Utah.  They are as beautiful on the inside as on the outside...Love their sweet Spirits! 

From left to right - Elder Rowe from Thousand Oaks, California, Elder Mills from Kaysville, Utah, Elder Condie from Boise, Idaho and Elder Snow from Draper, Utah.  Don't they look like fun guys!

This is Elder Condie's tag

This is Elder Snow's tag

I love this...see the Church is the same everywhere...Charity Never Faileth!

How soon they forget...out on a mission and already forgot how to use the television.  Just goes to show you that they are spending their free time on the Lord's errand and not the TV.

They haven't quite figured it out yet.  I really enjoyed being at Church today.  It is great when I can find moments so far from home that I am happy and content with where I am.

This is our protective friend, April.  An Unusual name for a male dog but he can't complain.  The name was Lucy's idea.  I was thinking of names like Benji, Slick or Gunner because he looks like the Warburton's dog, Gunner.

This is the welcoming and inviting view of the entrance into our apartment.  Complete with beautiful neighborhood art work...hey... I'm just trying to be positive here.  There are eight buttons just above the handle that are number and there are three numbered buttons you have to push all at the same time to release the lock.  The door is already open 50% of the time anyway.  Oh well.

Looking up from the entrance to our building.  The blue siding enclosed balcony is our apartment.  Those balcony's double as a clothes drying area and smoking section. 

A close up of our building's door and the artwork.  Quite inviting if I don't say so myself.

Here April has followed us upstairs.  He's cute, but its not working on me!

I love Sundays wherever I am in the world!  We had to get up earlier (for us anyway) because we have to walk and it takes almost an hour.  Early is hard because we stay up so late.  We were lucky that it was not raining on the way to Church.  Well, it’s not luck because it started raining after we got there and it stopped long enough for us to walk home.  Now it is raining again, pretty hard actually. 

Being an adult convert to the Church, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for missionaries.  I suppose we all do, but it is so refreshing to be around them.  I took their pictures and told them that they were going to be posted on my blog.  I wish I had taken the next picture which was when they all pulled out their little notebooks and wrote down the blog so they could send it to their moms in their emails tomorrow!  Just want you missionary moms to know that you were the first thing that came to their minds!  They bring a wonderful spirit to their little Branch.  There is a lot of work for them to do and they have amazing attitudes.  They are all so concerned about the members and people in the area.  They were really a highlight in the day for me.

We were watching the Sunday sessions of General Conference today.  We had already watched the Saturday sessions on the internet last week.  We had an hour break between sessions and everyone met in the kitchen for some food.  We had bread with a slice of cheese and a hot dog cut length wise along with some juice.  A sister in the Branch tried to give me another one.  I took the juice but told her I was full.  I hope she was not offended.  There was a young woman there who spoke very good English.  Her name is Katie.  She has spent some time in America on a work program and I enjoyed talking with her. 

Of course Conference was wonderful.  The music was uplifting and, of course, the Spirit is strong here in the little branch in the city of Zap.  One of my favorite sayings from conference, completely not spiritual but my favorite, was Elder Holland’s comment about the bedlam that occurs at family night and the Bedlamites in the house.  I can so relate to that.  We have a house full of Bedlamites! 

On our way home a stray dog started to follow us.  In a way it was nice.  He barked and chased every car that got too close.  Nice, not smart, but nice!  Lucy has a soft spot for dogs and kept stopping to take pictures and talk to the dog.  He followed us all the way home, with help from Lucy.  She wanted to give him some food we had in the apartment.  He followed us all the way to our door up four flights of stairs.  I was not a fan but he was hungry.  That’s as far as it went.  She gave him some food and I am sure we will see him at some point tomorrow.  Because, it doesn’t look like he has eaten much and he will remember who fed him last. 

I was laying in bed last night and started to think about what I missed from home and what I will miss here so I started a list. 

What I miss from home – Family and friends, of course, but besides that – the smell of clean crisp air when I walk into my bedroom and the window is open, hearing and seeing the birds outside (really just a lot of ravens here), the smell of burning fields, fresh clean water with ICE, being able to go into my son’s bedroom at night to check on him, the softness of my bed, green grass, beautiful mountains outside my front door, the English language, sliced wheat bread with Adams peanut butter, Exercise with weights (that should have come right after friends and family), the sound of the school yard when I walk outside, blue sky, being able to use all the toilet paper I want knowing that there is a plunger if needed, (had to throw that in), wearing a seatbelt in the car – these are just a few.

What I will miss from Ukraine – The children, their smiles, watching their personalities soften when they are given love and attention,   the friends I have made here, the Russian language (weird, but it is very beautiful), having to walk everywhere you go, the feeling of being so protected by our Heavenly Father, staying up really late at night, sleeping in, Bonaqua (gas water), blogging, the history in this region.

What I look forward to at home – Touching my baby’s face and hugging my children and husband, seeing all my friends and family, going to bed in my own room knowing that our entire family (with the exception of my beautiful married daughter and her husband) are all safely under one roof, going to my ward and soaking in the spirit of all those wonderful people that I love so much and most of all having that feeling I had when the boys were out in the fall that for the first time in my adult life I have the confirmation that our family is whole and complete…we finally have everyone home!

Love you all. 


  1. Love hearing about your day. you are so prompt with your blogging efforts. I'm behind a few days. Stay tuned until Tuesday and you can hear about my expoits of the day! I've been thinking of you all day long with your adventure part 3 starting tomorrow. Whew. You will love the ride.. missing you.

  2. I miss having you here too although I know you must be happier where you are. Not sure my paperwork will go as smoothly as yours. I was told that the red passport will be impossible. I will let you know. Thanks for your comments. I look forward to seeing pics of your homecoming.

  3. You girls have a cute little mascot! Feeding him will surely keep him around.
    It must be great having English-speaking missionaries to talk to, for them as well. Have you learned much of the Russian or Ukrainian language? Up until now do your boys go to a church service of some kind? It was great talking with you yesterday. Sacrament service was great today. A man from our ward, who had been inactive for years, has started coming to church. He was first at the podium to give his testimony. He sobbed and sobbed, it was very spiritual and set the tone of the whole service. Well, my dear, enjoy your boys and the experience, and above all, stay safe. Love you, Mom

  4. It was great to see those pictures. Kids are the same no matter where you it seems. They are so attracted to electronics and seem to have a knack for figuring things out. If you go into the Wal-Mart like store again, take a picture for me as I always like to look at different stores and what attracts customers.
    I saw Andy last night at the Priesthood leaders session and again later at the adult session of Stake conference. It was really good as always. We had Elder Munday from the Seventy speak in all the sessions and he was very good plus entertaining. He's English but lives here in PG. He said last night the he believes the way he speaks is the way we will speak in the Celestial Kingdom and we will drive our chariots on the left side of the heavenly streets. He knows the official sport of heaven is soccer because all the temples with a Moroni statue show him standing on a soccer ball. He shared so many wonderful things living the gospel but there were a couple things that stuck to me. First, in every session he repeated the message that we are doing better than we think we are doing. He also followed that up with opportunities where we can do a little better like home teaching. He also was very adamant about stating that there will be no titles in the Celestial Kingdom like Bishop, Stake President, Seventy and so on or titles like CEO, Senator, Dr., etc. but there will be titles like Father and Mother, Husband and Wife in families. He testified there is no success in the world that compensates for failure in the home. When he spoke to us in Priesthood it was about being a Father and honoring Fatherhood and the office in the priesthood that we hold. When he spoke to the adults it was about marriage and family relationships and not judging others. He said too many times we love others and judge them at the same time. He encouraged us to replace the judgments with love like the Savior. When he spoke to the youth and parents it was about maintaining strong and loving relationships, apologizing when we have offended others and work maintain strong relationships that can help us through everything the adversary throws at us! I was also impressed about how he said that parents do not need to try to be perfect parents (meaning to never make mistakes). Not even the Father was able to stop 1/3 of His children from rebelling and Father was a successful parent. He said a perfect parent is the parent who never gives up on their children not matter what. I hope some of these thoughts help you as you persevere through the remaining days and challenges ahead.
    I know your family misses you and are praying mightily for you. By the way, Michael gave a wonderful closing prayer at the youth morning side this morning. He is doing a wonderful job with the youth committee Taffy continues to tell me. We pray for you and look forward to you coming home safely!
    Garth and Taffy

  5. Gotta love the apartments, don't ya? At least most of them are nicer on the inside than the outside. I have a different perspective now!

    That's so cool how they do conference. Growing up I used to have to dress up for every session (not popular with a girl that hated dresses anyway) and sit in the darkened chapel for them all. We were only 2 hours ahead of Utah though so we still watched them live. I've always wondered how they do it with a much larger time difference.

    I loved your lists. :) I can't wait to see how the home stretch goes for you! Miss you!!!!!

  6. I love April already! What a cute dog! I love your lists. They are great. You have become quite the blogger. Everything about Ukraine reminds me that you can't judge a book by the cover. It's a walking, living, breathing enormous reminder that there is more to life than meets the eye. Sundays are great! Glad that you could have such a good one. Can't wait to follow the rest of this last little bit. Take care!! I'm excited to see you!

  7. Just woke up your husband at 4AM congratulations cant wait for you to get home. Sorry I haven't commented and to be honest I am a little sad you are leaving because it has been nice to see and read a little of Ukraine everyday.

  8. Love the part about the dog. He's like some of those orphan kids -- just want a someone to take care of him. :) I think you are the first to become friends with one of them. Most of the other stories are about how crazy mean they are if you get too close to them.

    Hopefully as I type this you now have your boys and are starting to whittle away at your remaining days in Ukraine. One you are home with them in the environment that you described so well in this post, everything will start to change and it will be time to start teaching them the ways of your home.

    Love your blog. It's inspiring to hear how your own testimony keeps you going through each day. Your boys will be taught well to walk in the light.