Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Additional journal entires

"Dear President and sister McQueen,
I want to thank you for all the help you have given me on my mission. I have learned a lot and am looking forward to learning more. I'm grateful that you were my president for the last part of my mission. You have left a very good impression on me, and I hope I have left a good impression on you. Thanks again."

"Pres and Sister McQueen,
Thanks for all you've done, for all the grief and stress you go through for us. We really do appreciate it. I hope you have as great a time as I have. Keep it up. I love Ukraine. Thanks."

"Dear President and sister McQueen,
Thank you for helping me build my testimony. My mission has changed my life. I can never be the same. This is the greatest work in the world. I love you."

"Dear President and sister McQueen,
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and love. For everything that you have done for me. I am grateful for everything I have learned and everything you have taught me. You are awesome examples. I love you both."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
Thank-you for your wonderful examples and uplifting talks. I really appreciate your righteous leadership. I hope the rest of your mission continues successfully. I know you will bless many lives."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
I am so excited to be here. The Ukrainian food was 1,000 times better than the MTC. It is wonderful to finally be in the field. I look forward to these next 22 months here with you in Ukraine. "

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
I am really looking forward to serving in Ukraine. I am a little nervous about the unknown but I know that the Lord will help if I do my part. I can hardly wait to get started."

"Presidents McQueen,
Oh my heavens! That meal you just served to us was incredible. I'm going to be thinking about how good it was for the next 2 years. Thanks for everything so far and everything to come."

"President and Sister McQueen,
Thank you so much for your hospitality and for giving us a really good impression about Ukraine. I am so looking forward to this. It is going to be an interesting transition but I love it. The food you cooked was so good. I'm in for an adventure. I know I was called here for a reason. I am so thankful for this opportunity. This is great. I'm actually here."

"President and Sister McQueen ,
thank you for the wonderful meal. It is the best I've eaten in a couple of months. So far my impressions of Ukraine are good. I'm looking forward to the work. Hopefully with hard work and the Lords help I will know how to speak Russian. Thank you for all your help so far and in the future. Love."

"Pres and Sister McQueen,
Thank you for the great welcome into the mission. I am kind of nervous but excited to serve. I want to work hard. Thank you for being hospitable."

"Pres and Sister McQueen,
Wow! I am grateful to be here. Thank you for helping us with the transition. I am excited to serve the Lord and the people of Ukraine."

"Pres and Sister McQueen,
I am grateful to be here. I don't know the language very well, but I know how to work and how to be obedient. It will come if I put all my heart to the mission and the Lord. Thank you for your love and taking us in like family."

"President and sister McQueen,
Thanks for all the things you have done for me, and for the mission."

"Hey what can I say. Thanks for the amazing opportunity to serve up in Poltava as Branch President. I feel like I've made my mission and grown the most in testimony in the last 6 months of my mission. An experience that I will never forget."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
Thanks for all the memories. I'll never forget them. I love this work."

"Thank you very much for looking after me and teaching me. I'll never forget the things I've learnt here. Thank you very much."

"Well not much to say. It has always been hard to write my feelings. Thanks for your love for missionary work. You can really feel your love for missionaries. Keep up the great work."

"This is one of those moments where you grow 10 years in a minute. I want to say I love these people and I love this work. work hard and be happy!"

President and Sister McQueen,
Thank you both for all you've taught me! Thanks for everything you've done in the mission to help us all grow and become better missionaries! Thank you for your love and support always! I love this work so much and I love these awesome people! Good luck with the rest of your mission. You are both among my greatest heroes."

"If I could even start to thank you, I wouldn't be able to find the words. Not because I'm forgetting my English, but because you've done more for me than I can even comprehend. I've gained more in the past two years and 10 days than I have or ever will. I more than love this place and these people. Feels to me that I just got here. This is the work of the Lord and it doesn't stop after you go home. This is (was) the biggest honor."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Journal entries from missionaries.

"President and Sister McQueen. I would like to write a few simple words: Thank you, I love you, you will be in my prayers, you will be blessed for our work, I will miss you, and never forget you, and the experiences you gave me. May God bless you always. You've made dreams come true."

"Well, time has surely flown by. It's a shame that we only got to know each other for a short time. Well, I am so grateful for all the help and support and advise you have given me. It has helped me on my mission and will help me for the rest of my life. I hope your mission is everything you want it to be. I love you both and will always remember you. The work will continue."

"Things here have finally come to an end for me. I will never forget what has happened for me here. I'm very grateful to you for the love you have for us. Thanks for all that you've done. I love these people! I don't know what will happen with them later in life but I will just pray and do all I can to help them from America. Take care of them."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
I have arrived, finally. What a wonderful adventure it has been. What an awesome couple of days. The train ride was very long, but all I did was sleep. The plane ride was long, but very interesting. The country is poor and very different. I am excited to finally be able to work. I just can't wait to share such a great and rich message. You both are awesome, thank you. The journey had begun."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
I'll have to admit that Ukraine is a lot different than I expected. It's nothing like America, from what I can tell. I think it's going to be fun to get out and learn about this culture. My mom was worried that I would starve here, but after I had the meal here today I don't think she needs to worry. I'm excited to get to work and share the message I've been learning about for the past 19 years. Thanks for giving us such a great loving welcome!"

"I'm so excited to be here in Ukraine! I can't wait to get out and bring the gospel to the people. I know it's going to change their lives like it has changed mine. I also can't wait to learn the language and about the culture. And I know that I'll learn a lot about the gospel and everything else while I'm here for two years. Thanks so much for all you've done for us."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
I want to say at this time how grateful I am to be here and to serve while I'm out here on my mission. I want to work as hard as I can and do all I can to serve the people of Ukraine and bring happiness into their lives."

"Dear President and Sister McQueen,
Thank you so much for everything. You've helped me so much. I know your call is from God. I know this is the work of the Lord. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know Jesus is the Christ. I know that only through Him may we be happy. Thank you. I love you."

"Dear President and sister McQueen,
I really appreciate all you do. You two really are a good example for me. I know that God called you here for may different reasons. I know that your service is needed. This mission has changed so much since you've come. I've really learned to love all aspects of this work. I feel more prepared for live because of the things you've taught us. This mission really is an MTC for life. Your emphasis on the missionary and his/her calling and happiness personally did much for me. God bless you, thanks for everything."

"Thank you so much for everything. I've learned so much here on my mission. You both have really helped me out."

"Well, I guess this is it. It is over. It has been a blast and I loved it. The church is true and the work will go forward. I've learned a lot, but the gospel is still true no matter what. The spirit has been strong and I've grown - wow. What an experience. Can't be put into words. The church is true."

"It was inspiring to watch both of you - your examples of faith, of acceptance and love. It was certainly a standard to measure up to. Most of all, I loved seeing your strong relationship with each other. I think I agree with the words of the called to serve video - when you are out working with all your heart, there is never a happier time in your life. If you give only 75%, you are never going to have the Spirit's support. But when you give your whole soul, your strength seems to never end. I will always be thankful to theLord for the many lessons and miracles of my mission."

"Dear president ans Sister McQueen,
Well it is over. I love you both and I am grateful for the friendship which we have developed. I love my mission. I hope in 20 or 30 years you will be able to see that I love my mission. Maybe in three years you will have to come mountain biking down in ..."

"Was up my parents of the mission? I love you both so much, thanks for everything you have taught and given me here in the mission. I'm so blessed that I could come and serve here in Ukraine. I know the church is true with all my heart. I love the B.O.M. I love how Maxwell put it, "The Book of Mormon is drenched in Christ." Don't forget that kid in O- town who will never forget you both. Thanks for the loves and believing! The work is so true and we are so blessed, keep in touch! You know the loves are here. I'll check you in a few! Picture me roll'in. Thank you! Laters!"

There is no way that I could describe my feelings to you in this book. You have both taught me so much and I am so thankful to you. I loved serving here with you and helping you as best I could. I love my mission with all my heart. I don't feel like I'm going home. I'm so empty. It will feel weird to live outside of the mission. We'll be praying for you and the mission. I love you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Journal entries:

1. "What can I say in parting - except that it is all about the people and God's love for them. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to testify of the Savior and the restored gospel. The time on a mission I have had is very precious to me and I am grateful to you for your examples and desires to serve. Good luck and all the best in everything your do!"

2. "This is such a beautiful home! It seems like I've never left America a few days ago. Sister McQueen is a great cook and this apartment is so nice and warm. It's great to be here and feel of the McQueen's spirit. Thank you!"

3. "This is such an awesome place! I am so excited to work as hard as I can all the time for the Lord. This church is true. I love it and want to share it with everyone!"

4. "This is all still kind of weird for me. I can't wait to get started, but I still don't know what to expect. This has been a great experience so far, and I'm sure it'll get better. Can't wait!"

5. "I am just way excited to be here. I want to work hard and be the best missionary in this mission! I love the Ukraine and hope to help a lot of people!"

6. "Thank you so much for your hospitality. I have felt your kindness so much since I have been here. I want to do the best I can. I know that I am in the right place here. I can't wait to get to work. Thanks again."

7. "Thank you for your love and support. This will be a new experience for me of course. But it is one that I need. Thank you for serving us all Thanksgiving. Many in the district truly needed it. I am ready for this experience. Here I go! Thank you so much. It is good to know that you are here for your love and support."

8. "I just want to thank you for your love. All is well."

9. Some comments from some of the missionaries who were kicked out of Kharkov in Dec 1999.

"I was here."

"Having been cast from my area in Kharkov I slept my first and probably last night in the posch second spare room at presidents. Been a pleasure."

"I feel like a poor refugee."

"It's so nice to be here again! Good food, sleep and shower."

"I've got a cold and I've been deported. The work is still true. Enjoy!"

"Its been a pleasure to be a guest in the palace."

10. "The mission was great! I will never forget it. Only love works!"

11. "I am so happy to have served inUkraine! Keep working!"

12. "I've only been here a few hours but I already love Ukraine!"

13. "Wow, I wonder if I can do this? I'm not going home, and I've been here...well a long time. Elder _____ and Elder _____ love being in the office! I'm just tech support. Well for all you who read this know that I sat here and pondered deep thoughts. 'Hmm that was good food. I wonder what it means when the salads get mixed and you throw a brownie on top?' I guess we'll find out tonight after its had time to sit. Any other deep thoughts are also free of charge, just ask Elder _____ or write new office Elder!"

14. "2 years? I'm going home. I should probably write something profound and wise, maybe all the wisdom I've accumulated in two years of missionary work. All I can say is that its been real. I have seen the gospel change lives and felt the gospel change me. I am and will be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity that I had to be a missionary in Ukraine. I love the missionaries, the members and the investigators. If you are interested, ask the president about my boils. Work hard. Be good. Live the gospel. Let the Lord change you. Smile."

15. "Its incredible to think that this time has already come. Its been a great two years, I'll remember them for the rest of my life. Its really neat to think how our Heavenly Father prepares the way for us. I know lots of lives have been touched, because the Lord has prepared the way so we met one another. This church is true. I know it. It's crazy to think of the growth in the understanding of the gospel, which has come to one through this work. I'm forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for this opportunity. Thank you President and Sister McQueen for your love, examples and everything. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to help you and be around you at the end of my mission and the beginning of yours. Thank you very much."

16. "Thank you, thank you, thank you for the opportunities you gave me. This mission is a gift from God. I will always be thankful for it. President, don't worry about me. I am in the church to stay and I will serve Him to the very end of all. This church is Christ's."

17. "May God bless you in your efforts to lead the church onward here. I dearly love this place and I know the day will come when wards and stakes shall dot the land. You've taught me and loved me and I want you to know I will be eternally grateful and I will be willing to help you in anyway you will ever need. The work here will go onward blossoming faster and faster as the missionaries get the spirit. I wish you the best in all you do."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We found an old journal that had some writings of missionaries coming and going from the mission and thoughts from other events. We thought it would be interesting to post them minus the name of the writer.

1. "Mexican Fiesta for the Donetsk Department of Religion.
It was a silly, sunny, chilly (sunny + chilly = silly) day and the refried beans were frying ... again. What kind are they anyway? Well, they cost 7 griven. And the fried rice was a bit sticky, but that's okay. Just for the record though you should know that last night at a small apartment in a very small kitchen on the outskirts of the city two Ukrainians and two Americans spent a good two to three hours chopping like mad. We are the foremost high volume salsa producers to be found. And then we need to give Sister Thatcher and Sister Nelson a big round of applause for making the tortillas. In general, this is an admirable food effort since yesterday a whole lot of Zone Leaders from all over the mission ate a bunch of something else that Sister McQueen also labored diligently to prepare. I might here add a quote from Sister Thatcher: 'After watching Sister McQueen for the last couple of days I've decided that I would rather serve on five missions that be a mission president's wife.' So now we are all waiting for these important folks to show up so we can impress them. "

2."Well, I'm not quite sure what to write so I will simply write my testimony. I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith is a prophet. I am and will always be grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to serve in the Ukraine Donetsk Mission. Thank you President and Sister McQueen for your kindness and service. I know that your calling is inspired. I love the gospel and I love Ukraine."

3. "I just wanted to write that I loved my mission! Thanks for helping in making my mission a success for me!"

4. "Just like the rest I don't know what to write. I do know that this work is true. I know that the Lord loves everyone of us. Thanks for all you do for the missionaries. I love my mission! Thanks for being a part of it. I got nothing but love from all of you!"

5. "Today I ate really well and was warm!"

6. "Thanks for the marvelous food and comfort."

7. "Breakfast of Champions
This was to celebrate the end of a successful mission tour. One of the best weeks I have ever lived through. Sister McQueen once again bringing the magic that she creates in the kitchen. We love you more than you could ever know and are thankful for all you two do for all of us."

8. "I dont' know what to write but I'd like to say that I felt your intensity when you just got here. Keep that going, it's great. I had a great time serving here as a missionary. I hope you enjoy your service here as mission president and mission president's wife."

9. "I never thought the end would come so quickly! My mission has changed my life. I am very grateful for all that it has brought into my life. It was an amazing experience! I'd also like to thank you for being good role models for me. Keep it up."

10. "I love being a missionary! I loved serving here in Ukraine and with each and every elder I served with. Thank you so much for all the help you have given me. It's amazing how time works. I'm beginning to believe it doesn't even exist. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know the atonement changes lives. I love you both so very much."

11. "There just are no words to describe what a mission does for you, or should I say what a mission is. I'm so thankful that I made the decision to come on a mission. I love Ukraine! I never thought that time would go so fast. I know that this is the work of the Lord. There's nothing like serving a mission, at least nothing I've done up to this point. Thanks for everything."

12. "This country is on fire and I will be eternally grateful that the Lord has called me to this work and has opened my eyes with His spirit. His plan is perfect and I know all these callings and experiences that have come are commandments to grow, learn, teach and be humble. Besides if this work wasn't true we wold have destroyed it long ago. Your leadership is guided by our Savior Jesus Christ. Keep it going and bring eternal blessings to our brethren the Ukrainians. 'Through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them - Marvin Ashton'"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mariupol Members at Welfare Square

Sister Vinokurova was taking Brother Nikoli Dogadailo (I hope this is spelled correctly) on a tour of Welfare Square and they stopped by my office. They are both from Mariupol. Brat Nikoli was a member while we were there and he remembers all the fun we had at the Mariupol chapel dedication. Sister Vinokurova was baptized after we left and is now serving at the Temple Square mission but the sisters also take people on tours of Welfare Square.