"You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experience." Gordon B. Hinckley, 2006

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Special friend...

An amazing Ukrainian Mormon family

This is Igor Pudubnii and his family.  They are some of the neatest people you could ever meet.  Igor and his wife were some of the very first members of the church in the Ukraine.  Igor was a branch president by the age of 22.  He helped translate the Book of Mormon into Ukrainian.  He now works for the Church for CES.  And he has an amazing spirit about him.  The first time I met him was the night of the cultural celebration, and I told Brian, "You can tell he has something special about him."  Then as we had experiences with him throughout the week I was able to understand just what it is that makes him so special.

Igor has a burning testimony of the gospel, and lives a righteous, diligent life.  He was born under communism, and has had to silently fight for his testimony of the gospel.

But don't ever tell him he's amazing.  He'll just shrug and roll his eyes.  For you see, he's also one of the most humble people ever.

While we were over there they had us over to their house for dinner one night.   Yes, they have a house! This was so amazing.  Most people do not have their own houses there, they live in small apartments.  The other amazing part of this story is that they built their house themselves.  As they save up and earn money, they finish additional parts of their house.  Only about half of it has flooring.  Only sections of the walls are sheet-rocked and painted.  But they have a house, and that is amazing, and they know how to work hard, and they have gratitude in their hearts for everything the Lord has blessed them with.

Couldn't we all take a little lesson from Igor Pudubnii?

Their little daughter Hannah is the cutest thing ever, but is so shy!  It took me the whole trip to win her over, but by the end, when we were leaving their house she went and put on her tiny boots and said, "I'm coming with you!"

(Me and Hannah.  She'd been over at a neighbor's house that day and colored all over her face with markers!  :)  How cute!  Here she is holding all of the Hannah Montana nail polish I gave her.)

I gave all of the kids Spiderman and Toy Story 3 t-shirts that came with 3-D glasses.  They were so funny playing with them all night and taking pictures of lights through them.  We laughed so hard all night.  Their family was so adorable, and though I had so much fun playing with them, my heart was aching for my kids.  The only other time we have been away from them was for our 10 year anniversary when we went to Hawaii.

Here are some photos of their great house:
(They grilled dinner in this BBQ.  See their large garden growing to the left?)

(The steps leading upstairs to all of their bedrooms.  Igor told us they'd probably never finish these.)

(They were so proud to show me their kitchen.  I am so happy for them.  They deserve great things.  They are such wonderful people, and so grateful for what they have.)


Nana Candy said...

Helps you appreciate what you have.

Heather S. said...

I cannot imagine what life must be like there. I'm sure enjoying these insights your are giving us.

Joyce said...

We really are spoiled here in America. Those stairs looked pretty rickety.

Holli said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip! When the Rome temple was announced, we said we were going to go, but it has started to seem impossible with our kids being so small. But, I now have a renewed desire to make it work no matter what. Hopefully we will be able to do it. The dates haven't been announced, so you never know, but reading your posts is making me ache for it. What an amazing experience!

Claudissima said...

ohhh my this is amazing, it is nice to see strong families in the gospel abroad...those stairs, look scary....but as long as they work.... it reminds me a bit of mexico, sometimes the new homes down there, they don't give you any cabinets in the kitchen or anything, you have to buy everything isn't that werid.???? so people make shift sometimes.