Sunday, January 20, 2013

To Church

On Friday I posted this on my Facebook: "Okay, since it's the weekend here now and no government offices are open, we're really going to need some words to hold on to.  Would you post your favorite encouraging quote, scripture or anything similar to help us get through the next two days?"  The response has been the biggest outpouring of the most amazing words I have ever read.  So far there are 39 responses, with others just posting things directly to my wall.  I am in tears as I think about what this has meant for us.  I truly feel like I am in the middle of a much bigger story, and believe it or not, I feel so grateful for the ride.  Here are some of things that have been posted so far (get ready to be inspired):

You need both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow.

These few lines from a hymn have pulled me through some scary, uncertain times: "No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean, and earth, and skies."

God's love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find
An inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly
My trust, my prayers, humility.
His Spirit guides; his love assures
That fear departs when faith endures.

Let go and let God...

My favorite scripture... "All flesh is in my hands. Be still and know that I am God."

You ARE Gabe's Mom. Think of the valiant warrior that he must be if there is this much opposition. He must have a great plan ahead of him, ahead of you. He was saved for this day- YOU were saved for this day. The strippling warriors knew it because their mothers knew it. You know it and God is waiting for Gabe to learn.

Phillipians 4:13

We did not plant you, True. But when the season is done, When the alternate prayers for the sun and for rain are counted, When the pain of weeding and the pride of watching are through, We will hold you high. A shining sheaf above the thousand seeds grown wild. Not by our planting, But by heaven. Our harvest. Our child.
Carol Lynn Pearson

In the churches recent history, Joseph Smith faced extreme challenges especially while in Liberty Jail. While crying to the Lord for relief he received his answer. His time of trial did not end immediately, but he did receive his answer. Read D&C section 122. And all this will give you experience, for the Lord has suffered all things and descended below all things. He has not forgotten you in your personal trials. and in the the end, His will will be accomplished. Uncle Kevin

One of my favorites: When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. Thomas Jefferson

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. 
Aristotle Onassis

Becky, know that we love you! You are getting a lot of news time back here and my sister even saw something in Dallas regarding your family. You have many people praying for your family and Gabriel. I also pray for those who are delaying your union, so that their hearts will soften and know this is Heavenly Father's plan! Bring him home soon!

 Kings 6:16 (Elisha the prophet speaking to his servant when they find themselves surrounded by the enemy:) Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them...
Vs. 17 And Elisha prayed and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And The Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 

Or in this case, round about the Preece family, I have no doubt.

 "What you think about, you bring about." Think positive. Imagine in your mind bringing him home and loving him just as you've been planning to do for months. On my mission one day when I was having a really hard time I sang the words to "I know that my Redeemer Lives". The words in that song provided me such comfort that that is often the song I sing whenever I need comfort. We love you & so many many people are thinking about and praying for you and everyone involved with this situation.

I was trying to find the perfect thing to post and found this excerpt from Janice Capp Perry regarding the inspiration of a child's prayer".......I desperately searched for something to calm me emotionally. I closed my eyes and repeated these words over and over in my mind for the duration of the test: Pray, He is there; speak, He is listening. You are His child, His love now surrounds you. " One great equalizer for all of us, is the love of our Savior . I pray at this time when these small minded men, are so blind to the love and blessing you three share there, that somehow they are inspired to send your little boy home with you to your family and home.

 Becky and Jeana, Galatians 6:9 has been my life verse for quite some time now: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Don't give up girls!! You're about to reap a beautiful harvest! Remain steadfast--you are on the Lord's errand!

D&C 121:7-9. It is simple but true especially 9.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. -Winston Churchill. So just keep thinking positive and don't get discouraged!

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart"- John Heywood

WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES; it takes away today's PEACE

Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future."

Life, it seems, is full of dark switchbacks, and sometimes the trail is long and winding and filled with sharp rocks. When I'm toiling along on an uphill stretch, I like to think that the moon might be waiting for me right around the corner. Sometimes I have to pause and catch my breath, and sometimes my progress seems mighty slow, but I have seen the hand of the Lord enough in my life that I trust him to keep me going. And when I get there--- it's off to the next adventure! Emily Watts.

My life flows on in endless song. Above Earth's lamentation, I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation. Above the tumult and the strife I hear its music ringing. It sounds an echo in my soul---- How can I keep from singing? James Russell Lowell

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.--Helen Keller Things will turn out okay- Marjorie Hinckley "In this life we have some trouble, when we worry we make it double." Ultimately, work as if it depended on you and pray as if it depended on the Lord. Our prayers are with you and I think you are laying a foundation of a great work!

ead the first two verses of Be Still My Soul. it always centers me and brings me peace. And, I believe that God is bound to answer the prayers of the faithful. There are so many good people praying for you that I know those prayers will be answered and very soon some Russian officials are going to be sitting back wondering what just happened and you Jeana and your kids will be on your way home! Miracles have not and will not cease.

When all hell breaks loose, heaven is just around the corner.

There has come to you as your birthright something beautiful and sacred and divine. Never forget that. Your Eternal Father is the great Master of the universe. He rules over all, but He will also listen to your prayers as His daughter and hear you as you speak with Him. He will answer your prayers. He will not leave you alone. 
From Brian

Alma 26:12

He is your Father, and His role is to protect you; He will comfort you and guide you. He will feed you; He will carry you when you are weak. He will seek you out when you go astray; He will help you in times of trouble. He will not let your enemies go unpunished; He will cherish you like a father cherishes his daughter. When you fall, He will pick you up; when you don’t understand, He will always understand. You see limitations; God sees opportunities. You see faults; God sees growth. You see problems; God sees solutions. You see limitations; God sees possibilities. You see life; God sees eternity.” 

“Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.”

In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

When we go through a trial it is tough and we are focused on that trial. Our Father in Heaven is with us throughout our suffering. After it is over and we look back at that trial....all we see is His purpose, which was wrapped around us the entire time.

“The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day.” 
― Amy Gatliff

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, "An invisible red thread connects those who are destine to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break. Becky Page Preece your family is connected by this thread right now it may be tangled but remember it is not going to break.

All of these resonated so much with me. And what struck me most was this: It is so obvious that we have all suffered, we have all been through our own hell's.  We have all needed to read or hear words of encouragement and inspiration at some point in our lives.  All humankind, no matter where we live in this great big world, goes through the ups and downs.  What remains important is that when others are down, we help to lift them up.  When we are down, we need to learn to turn to others to help us.  This has been so hard for my prideful and stubborn soul to embrace, but this journey has forced me to, and I will always be grateful for that.  So thank you, for sharing these beautiful words with me and with Jeana.  I promise that I am here for you, too, when you are wading through difficulties unimaginable, I will be here for you.  

We knew there was a Moscow branch of our church somewhere in the city, and so this morning we set out to find it.  Through much Googling and many phone calls, I finally reached an English speaking missionary of our church.  To hear his voice made me cry!  It is amazing how hearing the voice of someone who you know believes the same as you can be an instant comfort to you!  I asked this Elder where he was from, and he was from Centerville, Utah!  What a small world!  He told us that the branch meets just one Metro stop away from our hotel, and since we were now *experts* at the Metro, we told him we would be there.  He told us he would call some other missionaries to meet us at the Metro and walk us to the church.

We had no problems with the Metro this time, it only took a few minutes to find the name of the next stop and get on the right train.  When we got off, we recognized the park and statue of Adam and Eve that we were told to look for.  We waited for the missionaries.

Jeana trying to stay warm while we waited.

The Metro Station by the church.
When we spotted them, across the park, standing and waiting for us, we went quickly to them and said, "are you waiting for us?"  They smiled big and said, "yes!  It is good to see some Americans!"  I couldn't help the tears that sprang to my eyes!  I wanted to hug them!  Even though we have the most incredible facilitators here, and the people have been nothing but nice to us, seeing the missionaries just felt like a bit of home.  My emotions are all over the place these days.  One moment Jeana and I are laughing so hard we are crying, and the next we are just crying.  It seems to take nothing at all to make tears spring to my eyes.  

Even more amazing is that this missionary was from the same city that we live in Idaho!!  And his companion was from Utah.  More blessings.  We spoke about our hometowns and Russia and the people here and how much they love it here.  It was just so, so good to talk to them.  I told them I would track down their mothers back home to tell them I had seen them and how grateful we were for their help!  

The Elders walked us to our meetinghouse, where we immediately were met by other English speaking members and missionaries.  I know many are not familiar with our church, but I am sure you all can understand the feeling of walking into a place so familiar it is like coming home.  Our churches are set up to be similar no matter where in the world they are, so it truly felt like being transported back home for a moment.  We met some sister missionaries who were also from the states.  One Elder told us he would be translating the Sacrament meeting for us, and he gave us a little earpiece to wear so we could hear him translating.
The sign outside the church.
We walked into the sacrament meeting room and sat down by the sister missionaries and put on our earpieces.  The meeting soon began, and the first hymn that was sung was "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee", a very familiar hymn to me.  Tears streamed down my face as I hummed the words, not being able to read the Russian hymnbook.  Again, I was just struck that here we were, with people we couldn't even really communicate with, and yet we felt like we had known them all our lives.  Their testimonies are treasures to them, having only in the recent past been able to worship openly here.  They welcomed us so warmly.  The Spirit of the Lord was truly in that room, and through his hymns and the words of the speakers and the scriptures they read, we felt enveloped in by His love for us.  One of the Sister Missionaries was first to speak, and she simply bore her Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that she knew that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we can always turn to the Word of God to help us get through.  What a timely message, just what we needed to hear.  I believe it was no coincidence. 

Toward the end of the meeting, a wonderful woman named Sally Murray, who just happens to be from Boise (!) came and got us and told us she was the one taking us to their home out of the city to do our laundry and feed us dinner.  Jeana had met Sally on her last trip here.  We gathered our things and thanked the missionaries profusely and got into Sally's car.  Her husband drove us back to our hotel, where we gathered our dirty laundry and lugged it out to her car.  We made the long drive to their home, seeing parts of outlying Moscow that we haven't seen before, it was kind of neat.  Something we wondered when we were here last time was what do they do with all the snow when it falls in the city, because the roads are so narrow, we couldn't imagine how that would work.  Alla told us they haul it out of the city in dump trucks!  As we were driving out of the city, we saw lines and lines of the dump trucks full of snow, and Sally told us that they take the snow down by the river, where they melt it and then dump the water into the river.  Pretty efficient!

When we arrived at their home, she showed us our "base of operations:" a beautiful little bedroom, an office where we could use the internet and call home, and of course the laundry room where we could wash our clothes.  

We got our laundry started and got right onto the computers and began blogging and updating family.  Sally brought up some hot cocoa, fresh oranges and even some mint Oreo's for us!  More tears as just the simple comforts of home made my heart so grateful.  Our moms will be happy to know that Sally is just like our own mother. She is about the same age as our mothers, and wow, has she ever been taking care of us tonight!  Our clothes are being washed as I type, and our bellies are full of a delicious dinner she prepared. She and her husband are some amazing people.  They are here because her husband works for our church in their financial department, so helps keep that situation running smoothly here.  They used to be stationed in Ghana, Africa, and showed us photos of their experiences there.  Talk about amazing!  Sally was responsible for gathering donations to build a small schoolhouse for the most beautiful children you've ever seen.  They did so much humanitarian work there during their three-year assignment.  When she said their replacement in Ghana would soon have to leave, and that she was trying to figure out who could carry on the work there at the schoolhouse, I said, "me! me!"  How amazing would that be?  

So now I sit, in a home, feeling more blessed than I have ever felt in my life for the way we have been watched over and protected in this foreign country.  I seriously just feel like I'm at my Grandma's or something-a dear woman feeding me, making wonderful conversation and just making us so at home.  There are just no words to describe how good it all feels, so only God knows the extent of the gratitude in my heart.

There is a story of a bird who wanted so badly to taste the freedom outside of its cage.  Its owner felt sorry for the bird, so he beautified the cage and even ended up getting a golden cage for the bird, making it the nicest cage ever.  But the great irony is that no matter how beautiful the cage, the bird was still not free.  I feel like my little boy is like this bird.  No matter how nice his golden cage is, he still is not free to know the love of his family and community.  I can't wait for this bird to find his wings and soar!


  1. I found your blog through Jeanna's and I have seen you on the TV. Our family is praying for you both! I am so grateful that the Lord is watching over you and that he is providing for your needs as well as comforting you! Be safe! Can't wait to see pics of you bringing your sweet angel boy home! Much love from Utah!

  2. Beautifully written. I wanted to find the branch in my region but honestly too scared to venture out alone. I do wish I had. I pray for your to journey to have a positive and quick ending. God bless

  3. Just a quick Thank you! Jeana is my sister-in-law. My whole family is so thankful you are there with Jeana. We are so glad you have each other. You will forever be a part of our family. Can't wait to meet you and Gabriel! (And Vika!)

  4. What a beautiful story. Sally sounds wonderful. I am so glad you got to go to church and feel the love of God and His people.

  5. Hi! I was sent a link to your blog, what a beautiful story! My daughter is serving in Moscow, and is the Sister missionary you mentioned who spoke in Sacrament meeting!! What a small world to make such a connection! She said it was such a pleasure to meet you! May I tell your story on her blog along with your great pictures of the Metro, the sign on the Church, and how they remove the snow?
    We pray your adoption goes well, what a blessed little boy to be so loved by your wonderful family!!!

    1. Of course you can share anything you'd like! Your daughter is beautiful inside and out. She has such a stong spirit about her. Her words moved both Jeana and I to tears. Her testimony as just what we needed to hear. Maybe we will see her again before we go home.