Preparing to serve a mission has been a whirlwind. I shared the story of our call and the start of our journey. But these last 5 months have been non-stop. First, getting Alexander set and on his way to Guatemala. At the same time, -traveling: family reunions, grandchildren, new homes, my favorite places and people — a great desire to see everyone and spend time with those dearest before we are far away for over a year. We DO hope many will come to visit — but I know Moscow is not high on the vacation destination list!

All along the way there have been so many tender mercies. The Lord has been lining things up, even when it feels like there are roadblocks everywhere. Despite auto accidents, major personnel changes and issues at the office, and many “small “ derailments — -over and over, things have worked out and all of a sudden what felt like a looming disaster turns to a blessing. I can’t count the number of times….

As I have cleaned — and packed — the pile of things to take grew higher and higher. More and more. I kept trying to simplify and delete, delete — but didn’t make much progress. Stress stress, unpack, pack, stress, fill more suitcases, over and over. Five large suitcases later — -

I discovered a childhood friend is the wife of the Area President we will be serving under. I discovered that TWO of my cousins — both sisters — both served with their husbands in Moscow — at different times, and serving different kinds of missions -but both in Moscow, and both had marvelous experiences. One of my cousins even arranged for a dinner with us and a few of her new life-long friends — friendships formed from serving in Moscow together. They told stories, shared experiences and memories, shared pictures. It was a marvelous experience. And the last picture my cousins husband showed us: a picture of her coming out of the Moscow airport with EIGHT huge suitcases ! Lol — oh the relief! I am not crazy — -

But back to the room filled with suitcases and still more piles-every day things we were still using — stress building again — and a dear Sister currently serving in Moscow shares that they took 7 suitcases plus carry-ons. Relief again — the Legal office assured me over and over-take what you need. It will be OK — take what you need. So now we are at 6 large suitcases, plus carry-on’s. ….maybe 7? :)

Timing has worked out perfectly. We are so blessed to have the support of our children — running our business, taking care of our home and of each other. The amount of “stuff” a person amasses in one home in 20 years is rather overwhelming! Just cleaning out closets and cupboards and drawers -felt fabulous, but so so much! We are so blessed to NOT have to pack up the whole house — so blessed!

Now at the Mission Training Center in Provo, UT. We are getting dunked in joy. Practice teaching the basic principles of the gospel, meeting wonderful people who are heading out all over the world — Zambia, Gold Coast, South Carolina, Romania, Italy, Boston, India— just to name a few — and more coming soon to Moscow — and 48 couples going to serve at the Family History center in SLC! How the work progresses world wide. It is exciting beyond belief to see it up close and personal and to be a part of this great work. And who is not only here at the same time, but in our DISTRICT with us? Study and sharing daily — Our good friends from CG ward! Life is blessed. The energy from the young sisters and Elders is amazing. We are soaking it in, so it will carry us onward.

When Thom was a student at BYU and was asked where he wanted to serve a mission he always said Russia. People would laugh — he is comfortable with that — and move on. At the time the Soviet Union was the last place on earth anyone thought would ever open to missionaries. Thom chuckles now — the Lord has a long memory — and a sense of humor!!

Saturday morning we fly to Moscow via JFK. Keep us in your prayers! You are all in ours!

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