Category Archives: Mission Memories


This made me smile and miss Ukraine just a little bit more.

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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in International, Mission Memories, Religion


Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!!
З Різдвом Христовим!!!

From Left to Right: E. Carrier, E. N. Rencher, Me, E. Hodson
Anya, Raica

My first Christmas in Ukraine (2002) was spent in the town of Brovary. Anya and Raica made us feel very welcome as we decorated their tree and had a nice simple Christmas Eve dinner.

My second Christmas in Ukriane was very different. I had spent the previous 11 months in the Obolon/Vinogradar areas of Kyiv. On Christmas Eve (2003) I was transfered out west to Rivne. Here I was, in a brand new city, with a new companion and in a new district, the day before Christmas. The branch members were very kind and made me feel right at home though.

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Posted by on December 24, 2008 in Holiday, International, Mission Memories


A Crocodile, in Rivne?

The last city that I served in while on my mission in Ukraine was Rivne. I arrived December 24, 2003 and was there until returning home on April 30, 2004.

At first I was not very excited about serving in Rivne. I had nothing against the people, simply I had been in my last area for 11 months and it was very difficult to leave just before Christmas. But by the end of my service there I was only saddned by the fact that I had not served there longer.

In Rivne there is a beautiful park and in that park is this wonderful conglomerate statue of a crocodile emerging from the pond. I miss Rivne, and the friends that I have there. Hopefully, some day, I’ll have the oportunity to return.


Posted by on December 10, 2008 in Mission Memories


All You Need To Know About Salo

After borsch and varenyky, salo is the most famous Ukrainian national dish. Around the world, salted pork fat is associated with Ukraine. Some even find it annoying, since there is much more to Ukraine than salo with vodka. While true, we can still pride ourselves in this legendary national product. Most nations use melted salo, or lard, while Ukrainians customarily eat slices of salo with garlic, onion, bread and pickles.

I had the privilege opportunity to eat salo while I was in Ukraine. I never bought it myself, but it was sometimes given as a cold plate side dish next to a small bowl of garlic cloves, which we would dip in salt. Go ahead and read the rest of the article, it’s rather interesting. Then, if you can stomach it (ha!) check out the Wikipedia article.

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Posted by on November 15, 2008 in Food, Mission Memories



Temples have a special place in Latter-Day Saint theology. It is inside these sacred houses of the Lord where we participate in the sacred ordinences that help lead to salvation with God and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

I just found out that a friend of mine from Ukraine, Lena, went to the Temple for the first time. She lives in Florida and went to the Orlando Temple (left).

When I met Lena she was 17, learning English and wanted to come to America so badly. A teenage product of post-Soviet Ukraine, she was heavily influenced by Western pro-Democratic ideologies, along with MTV and such. She gave herself to the idea that America was one big party and that this is still a land where your dreams can be realized.

Her dream was to become a musician. A fan of hard rock and heavy metal, it was not uncommon to see Lena in a studded leather jacket and jeans with holes in the knees. It also wasn’t uncommon to find Lena hanging out a little bit longer after English class to talk and “hang out” with the Missionaries.

On more than one occasion my companion, Elder Holbrook, and I were invited to her home to “hang out, listen to music, play guitar…,” which we respectifully declined. The truth was, we didn’t quite know what Lena’s intentions were at first. Missionaries learned to be weary of young girls who wanted to become fast friends. A possible distraction from the work at hand, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, among other things made us leary.

Yet, at the same time, she’d known about the Church for several years as she’d been taking English classes from us, and we didn’t want to rule out that she may be genuinely interested in learning from us.

Elder Holbrook was quick to pick up on intentions other than learning the message that we were teaching and we promptly turned her over to the Sister Missionaries in the area.

About one year after my return from Ukraine Lena informaed me that she had been baptised. It made me happy to know that I had not become a road block in her path to finding that truth, and that I may have helped in a small way. Hearing from her that she’s been to the Orlando Temple made me think of my own Temple experiences. I have had the priviledge of being in eight Temples. Not a huge number, considering there are 128 open Temples and another 12 either announced or under construction, but they are special to me. They are, in order of visit, Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Jordan River, Utah; Provo, Utah; Ogden, Utah; Bountiful, Utah; Logan, Utah.

The Temple is a wonderful place. They are so beautiful on the inside, unlike any other buildings on Earth. If you’d like to learn more about why we have Temples, go here. If you’d like to find the LDS Temple closest to you and maybe take a trip to walk the grounds, go here. You may find that one is closer than you think.
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Posted by on September 9, 2008 in International, Mission Memories, Religion, Temples


The Water Problem

In Ukraine we had a water problem, not the least of which was Chernobyl 80 miles up river from of Kyiv. To combat any of the problems that we might encounter from the water, the Church provided the missionaries with a rather elaborate filtration system. It had three tall chambers and each had a different funtion. The first was a large particle filter which was to be changed every month (see picture). The second was a small particle filter which got changed every three months. The third was a radiation filter that was changed once a year. Ah, the memories…

Also, every year the government would turn off the hot water for two weeks during the summer to control energy consumption. This was not a problem as the 90+ degree days mixed with the 85%+ humidity made cold showers a welcome treat. It also gave us a chance to understand why we used the filtration system that we did. As soon as we’d received our hot water back, you wanted to flush the pipe for 5 – 10 minutes to “clear them out.” Other wise, you were showering in this…

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Posted by on April 13, 2008 in Mission Memories


Playing on Roof Tops

Kyiv is bordered by forest from the northwest to the northeast of the city. The area’s are Vinogradar (northwest), Obolon (northcentral) and Troyeshchyna (northeast). I spent July 2002 – October 2002 in Troyeshchyna and January 2003 – December 2003 in Obolon and Vinogradar. At times, when Elder Boudrero and I would have an appointment fall through, we would head up and see if the roof was unlocked, just to look around. Here are some pictures of such an occasion. The first picture is looking South, into the city. The second is looking West, and the third is looking North, into the forest.

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Posted by on April 10, 2008 in Mission Memories

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