Saturday, September 29, 2007


Today I drove through snow to get to Ogden to see Andrei and Luda. Both of them have had an incredible impact on me and although I hadn't seen either of them for over two years, I have thought about them often. It took longer than usual to get there but we finally arrived at a mall where we were supposed to meet them. They were in Bath and Body Works together smelling candles and when I saw them standing there it didn't seem real. We hugged over and over again and Luda couldn't stop crying. After shopping for a little while longer we went to the Garrett's house for dinner. We all sat around the table and brother Garrett asked Andrei to say the prayer in Ukrainian. As he started to pray, the moment seemed so surreal and I had a very vivid flashback~
Three years ago at this time I was just getting ready to move from Rivne to Lutsk, two cities that are very similar to each other in many ways. I was apprehensive about the move as I had so quickly become attached to Rivne and all the wonderful people that lived there.
It was October 26th, 2004 when I first met Andrei. He was just a lost eighteen year old kid who stumbled into our English classes because of the encouragement from his friend, Roman, who had been attending. After class that night Sister Garrett asked if I would come with her to help teach these boys about the church. We talked and taught and answered their interesting questions until Sister Garrett asked them if we could end with a prayer. After we prayed, Andrei commented that we pray so weird and left after weakly committing to do some reading in the Book of Mormon. We continued to meet with these two boys often and so rarely felt that we were making any progress with them. Each time I would ask Andrei if he had prayed and each time he would uncomfortably say that he had but that he had received no answer. On November 4th, I wrote in my journal, "I met with Andrei. We talked about prayer and I asked him if he would pray tonight. He said, 'I'll try.' I told him that I hate that answer. It's either 'yes' or 'no.' So he said 'yes.' I hope he does."
In between meetings with Andrei, we had a lot of experiences with Luda, who was only 16 at the time. She would bring friends to church and English classes and tell them that the gospel was the most important thing in her life and she would ask them if they would please investigate it to see what kind of happiness it could bring them. We taught many people because of her and witnessed some remarkable conversions in the process. In each lesson she would sit in, she would testify over and over again how much potential the gospel has to bless families which was probably bitter-sweet for her coming from a part member family.
As time went on I became so frustrated with Andrei. He told me that he felt that he wasn't getting answers because he didn't really want to find out. On November 19th, I wrote "I don't know what to do with Roman and Andrei anymore. they hardly talk on discussions now so I can't tell what they are feeling." That night I went home very discouraged and I told my companion that I thought we shouldn't meet with Andrei anymore. But I couldn't sleep. I just felt so uneasy and after several hours I began to pray and I asked Heavenly Father if we needed to continue to meet with Andrei. An overwhelming feeling came over me that the work with Andrei was far from finished and I made a new commit that I would not give up on him although logically it seemed right.
I left Lutsk shortly after that night, wondering what would ever happen to Andrei. The night I boarded the train to Kyiv, Luda stopped by and handed me a note, part of which read, "I really know this church is true. A few years ago I really strongly felt this and I still feel it today. Regardless of all the obstacles, I know that Heavenly Father prepared the plan of salvation for us. In the end, we can be with him." Reading this letter as the train slowly pulled away from that city, I thought, "Everything is going to be all right in that town," sure that the Lord had just placed some of the most remarkable people I had ever met in it.
So there I was tonight sitting accross the table next to a teary-eyed Luda and across from a now praying Andrei, almost three years since the first day I met and prayed with him. I thought about how great it felt that day just a few months after that night to get a call informing me that he was going to be baptized. Once again I wondered as I watched him tonight what was ever going to happen to him after he returns to Ukraine in a couple of days but as I heard him utter the words of the prayer, the prayer he denounced just three years previously, I thought once again, "Everything really is going to be all right."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Distracting Evening

So last night I went to Kalli's and Heather Twistysocks' place to try to get some homework done because I couldn't be in my house any longer and, just as I expected, there are far too many distractions when we get together and I went home three and half hours later completely defeated. I will now post for you the itinerary for the night which is probably mostly accurate. Keep in mind, we were all sitting within five feet of one another the entire time:

7:00-7:30: We signed onto IM and added each other as contacts.

7:30-8:00: IM'ing back in forth, including my first ever three-way IM.

8:00-8:10: Kalli tells me over IM that the apartment smelled like a carfor to which I responded, "what's a carfor." She answered, "it's for driving you idiot!"

8:10-8:30: Laughing harder than we've ever laughed about the carfor joke.

8:30-9:00: Texting, IM'ing, calling each other and posting on our blog

9:00-9:45: More IM'ing, eating about 70 expired Noni chews, and at one point Kalli tried to re convince us that the story about the plant that convicted a man of murder by failing a lie-detector test is, in fact, true.

9:45-10:00: Heidi got home from work and we relived the carfor joke again for her benefit.

10:00-10:45: IM'ing (just with Kalli this time). Our whole conversation was made up entirely of "LOL" "BRB" and emoticons simply to make fun of the use of each of those things.

10:45-11:00: Reading our homework with just a few minor interruptions.

11:00-11:25: Kalli sent me some very unfortunate pictures of how I looked after we all stayed up all night out side on the fourth of July for the parade (which we promptly left, shortly after it started, to eat and shower).

11:25-11:35: More blogging and IM'ing.

11:35: We said goodnight. Satisfied that we had gotten nothing done.

I think I'll go over there for homework more often.

Monday, September 24, 2007


One year ago, this happened.

And I don't want to talk about it any more.


I started my church meetings just before 11:00 on Sunday morning. We had sacrament meeting last and church didn't get out until 4:00 at which point I had to run home and get in a couple of hours of home teaching before the fireside at 7:00. So, keeping all of that in mind, I was a bit restless by the time sacrament meeting rolled around just before 3:00. I sat on the front row with Kalli and mentioned a few times that I wished I could just get down on the floor like I used to back in the eighties and stare at all the feet extending the length of the chapel. You would usually witness some pretty interesting stuff that way as you would create a network with all the other seven year olds scattered on the floor throughout the room. It was almost like having your own church. Well I told Kalli that I really needed one of those little plastic baggies full of Cheerios ("you know, the little sandwich baggies. Plastic and clear" courtesy of Family First) to make it complete.

When we got to the fireside at 7:00 (sitting on the very back row this time), my ADHD was at an all time high and Heather Twistysocks asked me no less than five times if I was "on something." Just as the opening hymn began I mentioned once again how much I wanted to get down on the floor, to which Kalli responded by pulling a small baggy of Cheerios out of her purse which she had packed for me and said, "I didn't think it would come to this until later but here you go."

It worked just like it did when I was seven. I munched away quietly for at least five minutes. And don't worry, I left a few stale ones on the floor for old time's sake.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Great Grandma Whittle

I went to see Great Grandma Whittle the other day and I'm always amazed with how active she is at such a ripe old age. Next may she will be 101 years old but to her the number seems irrelevant. She just keeps going every day, participating in the hobbies she enjoys.

Last Saturday I stopped by and told her I wanted to come and have a good visit with her the following week. We tentatively planned on Wednesday and I told her I would call and let her know exactly what time I would be there. On Tuesday morning she called me and asked what time I would be stopping by the following day. I thought, "Oh, poor grandma is worried I'm going to forget about her. I'm sure my visit will be the highlight of her uneventful week." So I told her I would be by around two and she thought for a moment and then said, "I suppose I can make that work. Don't try for the morning, I've got a million things to do in the morning." How wrong I was to think that just because she's older, she's given up on having a life.

When I went by, grandma said her back was hurting her pretty badly all morning which she attributed to some condition "that old people get." We went out back and did some gardening for a while and I must say it was pretty embarrassing to not know the names of the different vegetables growing back there. At one point she asked me to cut some chaff (?) and just about had a heart attack when I, with scissors, started to hack away at something that apparently was not chaff and did not need to be hacked away at.

As always it was a great visit.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Personality Tests

I finally broke down and took one of those personality tests because the world has now come to a point that if you don't know what "color" you are, you can't have a normal conversation. I have been told multiple times lately that I'm a "red" but it hasn't meant much to me as I've never taken an active part in finding out what a "red" is. So I took the test last night so that a computer could tell me who I am because that's the way we have to do it now as opposed to driving into the mountains to do sincere soul searching like we used to back in the eighties (of course I was only 6 when the eighties were ending but I'm sure that's how we did it in the eighties). Apparently my friends and the computer are on the same page because I was told once again, electronically this time, that I am definitely "red". Well I read the description and may or may not be offended at this point as the "red" personality seemed to have everything to do with being bossy, impatient, irritable, and sometimes just downright scary; the concern was that my friends all tell me that my personality is "red" which I think is a nice code word for all the negative things I just explained that "red" describes. I'm now convinced that the whole color code system is in place just so people can attack one another's personalities without using harsh words. That's why when you hear someone talking about a person that they have some sort of a conflict with, today we don't say, "she's selfish, arrogant and obnoxious!" We say, "she's a very 'red' personality." We don't say, "Tommy's irresponsible, lazy, and indecisive!" We say with humorous chuckle (as if the chuckle itself removes the critical responsibility from us), "Tommy is just so yellow, isn't he?" It's just so tough to live in a world where you have to Google colors to find out what someone really thinks about you. What will they think of next?


In the interest of giving my friends a break from providing my 24 hour free therapy service, I bring you this blog. Its intent, to house my thoughts, especially the strange ones, and bring balance to the world. It also serves as a sad excuse for my inconsistent journal writing.