Sunday, August 7, 2016

The time that never comes

Week of August 1-7, 2016
This is a blog that we thought would never come but here it is.  Today is our last official day as missionaries in the Odessa Area.  Tomorrow morning we are leaving the mission field. It will still be several weeks before we set foot in America.  We will be traveling around enjoying some places here before we return home.  But today marks the day that we will start a new page in our lives.
This is how we feel right now.  Cast a drift in the sea of life
Life is all about moving forward.  Sometimes it is scary and we are unsure of which direction we should go.  At other times the path is clear and we barrel forward with confidence.  For us the last 18 months have been a mixture of both types of experiences.  This past week even testifies of that process.
We have been working with the Gibbons for the past 12 days and have gained a testimony that the Lord directs the work.  They have come here ready to make a difference and as we watch them interact with people we know that Heavenly Father is directing the work.
The Gibbons are going to make the YSA activities a blast

last district meeting

Out shopping for those needed items.
I believe this is a Merse (man purse)
The two sisters out shopping away

Did I mention it was hot on the buses?

We love the 7K Renok


I will miss this building I love its design!
We must publicly apologize to the Gibbons.  In the past week we have put a lot of miles both on foot and public transportation.  The miles aren't so bad but it has been very hot and humid making it all the more difficult. I hope that we have given them a base that they will be able to continue on with.
We had a chance to visit all the missionary apartments and church buildings, we have taken them to our favorite stores,  renoks, restaurants, and even street vendors.  It has been a whirlwind tour for them.  Now they can settle in and focus on the work they were sent here to do.
We had another first this week.  President Packer's youngest daughter, two years ago after visiting the Black Sea, announced to her family that she wanted to be baptized there.
President Packer and his family

Enjoying the beach

What a blessing these two missionaries are to this area
The tall one is the Branch President and the other, his first councilor

Gathering treasures to remember her baptism.

Little Sophie we love you!
We love Kolya. He  is the mission secretary and mission driver.
He works so hard to make everyone happy!
 Well, yesterday that took place.  We had the opportunity along with many of the senior couples to travel to a very nice beach and participate in her baptism.  What a wonderful way to end a mission watching someone take upon themselves the covenant of baptism. We watched as her two older brothers bore testimony of the importance of this ordinance and also shared with her their testimony of the Holy Ghost.
Sophie and her dad

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a wonderful blessing in our lives.
Through the miracle of technology grandparents in America were also able to attend. So if you are worried about serving a senior mission because you will miss out on family celebrations, it is no longer an issue.  You can even be on a beach with your grandchildren enjoying her baptism from anywhere in the world.
This is everyone that attended the baptism all but Kolya he
is always taking the pictures 
Only so many sea shells will fit in that bag!
This girl is an angel!  She invited me to be one of the witnesses
for her baptism. What a great honor!

The Packer boys what strong young men they are.
Yesterday Sister Mikkelsen and Sister Gibbons hosted a Relief Society training meeting to help the sisters in the branches here to fulfill their callings.  All the local branches were represented and they were given some very inspired counsel and direction.

Sister Vardanyan translated for Sister Mikkelsen.  She did a
great job. Six months ago she spoke no English.

Some of the sisters that attended the training

We love the missionaries here.  The office couple, the Mitchell's,
are standing just in front of me
missionaries leading a role play situation

 I stand in awe of my wife as she moves forward blessing the life of everyone she comes in contact with.  She continually helps me to see where I need to improve and does it with all the love of a tender Daughter of God.  Let me just say what a blessing it has been to work so closely with her on this mission.  I have grown to love her even more than I thought possible.  Imagine an eternity with your spouse.  If in 18 months my love increases just imagine what an eternity of time together will do for each of us.  Families are forever!
A bonus this week was having 8 of the mission couples come to our little neck of the woods to be part of the baptism.  The Gibbons and we had the opportunity to take them around to some our our favorite places and enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them better. They are amazing people and are blessing the lives of so many people, especially ours.
Couples bless the mission field

Our good friend Yuri from Vinnistya came and visited us in Odesa

The author Pushkin and company
Lunch time at Olios
On the way to the beach

How many missionaries can you get in one taxi? We had 8!
Well we are not going to promise any further posts on the mikkelsenmission blogspot web site but if we do we will for sure post a link on Facebook. In closing we just want to say we have been blessed by this wonderful experience and hopefully along the way we might have done some small thing to make difference in someone else's life.  Our lives are given to us to come here to learn and grow and to love one another.  We love you and appreciate all of your support while we have served this first mission.  In the future we plan on serving many more times and will perhaps bring the Blogspot back at those times.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is true we are blessed to have it restored to the Earth in these latter days.  It is such a comfort to have a living prophet and 12 apostles on the Earth today that can lead and guide us in these troubled times.
Our hearts will alway be with the people of Ukraine we love them!
Thanks for being part of our weekly ramblings and may each of you be blessed as you continue in your journey in this life.
All of our love Elder and Sister Mikkelsen

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