Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Welcome Home

April 29 - We were greeted in the Salt Lake airport by our grandkids holding a "Welcome Home" banner with their parents nearby. How fun it was to see Ryan & Tani, Todd & Beth, and Doug & Shannon and their families.

Grandchildren in Utah welcoming us
with their banner in the Salt Lake airport.
(Megan, Brynlee, Marisa, Joshua, Amanda, Ethan,
Carson, Brady, Jacob, and Jared)

Coming down the escalator at the airport,
we see our grandchildren with their sign.
It's an exciting time.

After hugs and kisses, we went to Leatherby's for more visiting while indulging in a variety of yummy ice cream concoctions. (Todd took these photos at Leatherby's.)

It's hard to decide what to order with
so many sounding scrumptious.

When they bring our order,
Beth and I are glad we decided to
share a chocolate/peanut butter sundae.
They are huge.

See how large the sundaes are.
Grandpa Sam offered sample tastes
to those around him.

Jared is anxious to dig in, but will he be able
to finish it!

Ethan is getting some help from Uncle Ryan,
as his root beer float (ordered from the
children's menu!) is overflowing.

April 30 - We stayed with Todd & Beth's family in Spanish Fork. That evening, we all were invited to Ryan & Tani's in Eagle Mountain for delicious Mexican food.

Grandchildren enjoy playing the
Wii interactive video game.
(Jacob and Ethan)

Brady and Jared
are taking a turn with Wii.

Jacob, Joshua, and Ethan
find something else to do.

Brynlee has finished eating and
drinking red juice and is
ready to play.

Looks like Jacob liked the red juice, too.

Joshua throws the ball to Uncle Ryan.

We realize the grandchildren are
a year and a half older
than when we left.
Marisa is a pretty young lady.
(Carson is at the high school prom.)

Megan and Amanda have changed some, too;
but they still look just alike (although they
have different expressions in this photo).

May 1 - The Utah families gathered at Todd & Beth's for pizza and more visiting.

The grandkids enjoy their pizza, bread sticks,
chips, and juice.
(Jared, Amanda, Ethan, Megan, Brynlee, and Jacob)

May 2 - Although the jet lag wasn't nearly as bad as it had been when we arrived in Moscow, our days and nights still hadn't gotten switched back properly; so when we were awake at 3:00 a.m., we got up and left for South Dakota. We had anticipated an early start and had said our goodbyes the night before. The drive home in our new Toyota Sienna minivan went well; and we listened to an audio book as we traveled, which made the hours seem not so long and helped keep us awake.

We stopped in Chadron, Nebraska, for groceries at Wal-Mart; and we still got to the farm by 3:30 p.m. No one seemed home when we stopped at Brent & Tauna's; but we no sooner got the luggage brought in when their children came to give us our South Dakota welcome-home greetings.

Seth and Sam are wearing their new
Russian raccoon hats.
We hadn't yet unpacked Weston's Harry Potter
matryoshka nesting doll, so he is wearing
Grandpa's hat and Julia's Russian scarf.
Julia is their German exchange student.

Rachel's matryoshka nesting doll
has yarn braids, which we
thought was cute and different.
Inside are five pieces, and the final
two are a dog and a cat.

May 3 - Brent & Tauna and their family went with us to Rosebud to church. It was nice seeing our friends there. Galen & Patti Busch have been our friends since our children were little, and Roger & Michelle Allen have also been friends for a long time. We enjoyed the excellent lesson Brent taught on the Atonement.

May 4 & 5 - Sam got back onto a tractor and helping with the farming. Narene unpacked and enjoyed doing a little redecorating with the Russian "arts and crafts" we had gotten.

May 6 - Since we had appointments in Rapid City this day for the dentist, accountant, and financial advisor, we also met with President & Sister Cannon at the mission office rather than having them come to the farm as originally planned. President Cannon gave us our official missionary release certificates. They took us to eat at Minerva's, a nice restaurant, where we continued our enjoyable visit with the Cannons. We appreciate their friendship and service, and are so happy they were still in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission when we returned. Their mission is finished July 1.

President & Sister Cannon
with the matryoshka nesting set of LDS prophets
we brought back for them from Russia.

We are happy to be home with family and friends, but we do miss the dear friends we have in Russia and the senior couples we have shared so many pleasant memories with during our eighteen months there.

How grateful we are for the opportunity we had to serve as Area Welfare Specialists in Eastern Europe and to be involved with the humanitarian work donated by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to those in need regardless of race, religion, or cultural differences.

The Russian people we associated with were kind and helpful. We always knew we are all children of our Father in Heaven who loves us all, but it was so meaningful to have the experiences we had with other cultures to see how much alike we are even though our backgrounds are different. We appreciated the language of the heart and how much one can communicate love with a smile and a hug. Some of our dearest friends we had were those we could only have very limited conversations with unless we had an interpreter, because we found the Russian language so difficult to learn and remember.

I am so thankful for my knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the guidance and comfort received through prayers offered to a loving Heavenly Father. I am thankful for the gift of the Atonement given voluntarily by our Saviour for me and for all who will accept the gift.

I am thankful for my good parents who took the time to teach me about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that was restored in these latter days by the Prophet Joseph Smith to have the same organization that existed when Christ was on the earth. I am grateful our Heavenly Father loves us as much as any generation and continues to provide us with a prophet. I am grateful the heavens are not closed and that we are blessed with being able to have revelation as needed in our time.

I am grateful for the Plan of Happiness, which lets me know where we came from, why we are here on earth, and how we can be reunited with our families in eternity. I am grateful for the scriptures that help us to know Jesus Christ and how we should live to have joy.

I am grateful for my family and with all my heart pray that we will be an eternal family sealed by the blessings of the temple ordinances. I am grateful for my good husband whom I was privileged to share this mission with as his companion, and I am thankful I have the opportunity to be his eternal companion. The love we shared on our wedding day, 5 June 1959, has continued to grow; and being together almost 24/7 was an enjoyable blessing.

I highly recommend serving a mission with your spouse as a senior couple if health and circumstances permit. It is such a rewarding experience that I cherish, and I am so grateful we were able to serve this mission.

Now that we are no longer in Russia, this blog has come to its conclusion. For those who have enjoyed sharing our experiences in Russia and would like to keep in contact with us on the farm/ranch in South Dakota or wherever our circumstances might take us, please join us at our new blog:

"Irelands Here and There" found at -

Going to our new blog, you will see that Sam has changed into different work clothes than the suit and tie of a missionary. The first blog on the "Irelands Here and There" site is of our annual branding held May 9.

Sam branding at the farm/ranch in South Dakota
May 9, 2009

Thank you for sharing in this journey with us in Russia and the Eastern Europe area. I welcome your comments or questions and wish you the best. If interested, you may e-mail me at


..........Ay┼če'nin Gazetesi.......... said...

How a lovely family. How a lovely welcome. Your grandchildren are so cute. I hope will share together best memories forever :)

samnarene said...

Thank you for your kind remarks. I hope you are enjoying Moscow. There is so much to experience and appreciate there, especially the wonderful people.