It doesn't seem possible that 18 months have passed and our calling to the Russia Moscow Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come to a close.
We flew home on 30 August 2013. It seemed surreal as we boarded the plane. We had been on a plane several times during our mission, but they always took us to Riga, Latvia on our visa trips and we were back in Moscow by the end of the day.
We will not be returning to this great land and the people we have grown to love.
It truly has been an experience of a lifetime for both of us.
While we are happy to be reunited with family and friends here, our hearts are saddened at the thought that this mission, which has passed in the blink of an eye, has come to an end.
We truly do leave a part of our hearts behind in Russia and amongst our wonderful missionaries and the Russia Moscow Mission and the loving and unforgettable people.
These people are tough as iron. They have been through so much. They are walking out of the darkness and embracing the light.
Stalin was determined to make atheism the Soviet religion. Hopelessness was deeply and permanently etched on the faces of the Russian people. Stalin said, "God must be out of Russia in five years."
Talk of God, faith, or religion was banned throughout Russia.
A country without God is a terrible place.
But the morning light has broken and the Gospel is being preached amongst many who are receiving it with open arms. In years ahead prophecy dictates that the gospel will continue to move forward amongst this people and individuals and families will be blessed. Instead of hopelessness, one sees hope. Instead of darkness, one sees light. Instead of sadness and despair, one sees joy.
We look forward to watching this great work move forward in the years ahead.
We are grateful for the small part we played in helping to move this work forward and influencing our fellow man and are grateful for the influence that the people of Russia have had upon our lives. We will be forever grateful for this experience.
God bless Russia!