President Monson was, again, silly and personable and hilarious and goofy and at the same time--spiritual, powerful, and tender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE President Monson. Have I mentioned that before? ;)
There were 3 dedication ceremonies. We attended the 9:00 session. After it was over we hung outside the temple the whole day. We just wanted to be there. It was a rejoicing of saints as we all visited together, celebrating this beautiful new temple. Brian ran into members he knew from his mission, former mission companions, and it was a really fun day for us both.
Here is a picture of us by the cornerstone.
Here is a picture of me handing out little white hair bows to the children at the temple.
We met up with lots of friends!
And made some new friends from:
And Georgia (the country)
I took lots of little gifts/trinkets to hand out (suckers, bracelets, necklaces, etc.) and made friends with all of the little kids that way. :)
And we were still there, on the front row, when President Monson and President and Sister Uchtdorf came out of the temple.
President Monson was so kind and generous and you can tell that he loves spending time with the people. He shook a lot of hands, gave a lot of hugs, and kept saying, "I don't want to leave! What are we going to tell my wife?"
- Favorite moments:
- When President Monson went up and gave a very old lady in front of us a great big hug.
- Watching how happy the Saints of the Ukraine, Russia, Belarussia, Armenia, etc. were to see and shake hands with the prophet.
- There was one lady behind me that was pushing up against me from behind, trying desperately to get to the front to see the prophet. I grabbed her hand, gave her a little yank, pushing her ahead of me to the front row and told her, "Go for it!" She reached her hand out and called out in her sweet Russian accent, "My dear Prophet!" It reminded me of the story in the Bible of the woman in the crowds that wanted to just touch the hem of the Savior's garment. This story ends happily--she was successful, and he did come to her and shake her hand and it made my day to see her joy complete.
Then after an already perfect day, we were able to meet up at one of the churches (by this I mean where they met--it was on the 3rd and 5th floors of a building in center Kiev) for a reunion of missionaries and members. It was so uplifting and wonderful to meet everyone, hear stories of missionary work and conversion, and get to spend more time basking in the joy and love of the saints of Kiev.
First Branch President in the Ukraine--used to be Jewish
Senior Couple Missionaries that served with Brian
More Senior Couple Missionaries that served with Brian
First batch of missionaries that served in Ukraine
Not far behind the first batch
Couple missionaries with Svyeta and Igor Podubnii (more about them later, amazing Ukrainian saints!)
I saw lots of neat braids while I was over in the Ukraine. Isn't this cute?