Leaving this place is the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought coming on a mission was hard, leaving it is so much harder. The Lord has changed me through this journey. I feel that I know Him better now. He knows me. We trust each other and He was so kind to let me get to know these precious children of His. This was a glorious opportunity to see through His eyes. He showed me many great and marvelous things. He gave His Son for me, and for all of these people I so dearly love.
For the past week I have cried myself to sleep everynight thinking about leaving this place. I feel badly because I know it's gotta be a little scary for Sister Baker but I just can't stop crying. Saturday night as I was bawling myself to sleep I realized something funny and I started to giggle. Before I was 16 years old I NEVER wanted to serve a mission. Now I am crying my heart out having to leave it. Ironic? God really is good. He KNOWS what is good for us. I never knew that I needed Ukraine, but Ukraine has saved me. I don't ever want to be the same again. I want to keep progressing, keep coming unto Christ. He is my life and my light. I love Him with all that I have and I can't wait to grow and learn and become more through His atonement. My mission is not the pinnacle of my spirituality, it is a glorious beginning.
Miroslava, Alyona and Sophia
A casual walk to Stan's.
Building a bridge with Stan to support his village.
Stan's famous THANKSGIVING dinner in thanks for me coming to serve.
Branch picnic we planned. Stan and Alyona.
Andrei's mom and Olga.
A little bit of soccer anybody?
Ukrainian kids play barefoot.
Tovmash family lovin'.
My last moments with Dinara and Dima. They WILL get baptized. I sat with Dinara through sacrament and she held on to my hand. They both cried when I got up and bore my testimony.
Our favorite Babooshki!
Classic Marina Prishepchuk and Johnny!
I love you and all you did for us Bogdan!
The best district of my entire life.
The best bunch around.
Tanya will make the best missionary someday.
Ex Russian Mafia and wonderful Branch President Ghenadi Prishepchuk
The miracle of life. They are going to have the gospel! Tiny little Miroslava. This was the first time I met her.
My precious children. One of my reasons for coming to Ukraine was to teach the children.
The cutest little old man who adopted Dima as his grandson.
The Tkachov's. I am confident that Snazhana and Alyona and Miroslava will all one day join the church. She told me today that I was her first missionary. It was music to my ears because that means she knows she is fully investigating the church now and there will be more missionaries to come.
The Prishepchuk family minus Dasha and Illya.
Dima's sweet adopted grandma Prishepchuk.
I pray all the Sasha's I taught will one day choose to get baptized!
My Ukrainian American Marine John the Revelator Dad named Stan Barton. Made me cry to leave him.
Ira Cemenyak. Relief Society President and wife of Sasha (another Sasha) who I pray will one day get baptized. So many amazing spirit filled lessons with this family. I do love them!
Baba Ana and Alyona (Stan's mother in law and wife). Alyona told me I was the best missionary they have ever had. That I was the strongest. I said thank you, and she said she would not say it if she didnt mean it. I was the strongest and had the most light she has ever seen. How can I leave my family here in Ukraine?
Breaking my heart. </3
Meet Elder England and Elder Simmons.
If this doesn't explain how great they are, I don't know what would. #BESTelders
one more round of "holy water" and superpowers!
Now I have to say goodbye to my best friend and baby!
Last night in the mission with President and his beautiful family and with some of my beautiful sisters <3
This temple is the staple of the gospel in Eastern Europe.
Brother and Sister Mitchell the new office couple I instantly loved in the mission office. They took such good care of me and she immediately took me under her wing. Wish I could stay and get to know them some more.
My Heaven on Earth.
Goodbye Ukraine. See you soon!