Sunday, March 9, 2014

Reflecting On The Journey With The Arrival of Spring

 The ice on the Neva River near our apartment finally broke up and started flowing yesterday and the temperatures have been in the 40’s during the day. Kathy and I have been crazy busy this week, but got out last night for a walk along the river.  It is great that we love to exercise and walk together holding hands and enjoying Russia. We get to talk and meet so many new people.   Many times we look at each other and say “Can you believe we are in Russia serving a mission?”  We have been out for almost 2 months now and when we reflect back it was an amazing journey to get to this point in our lives and have the opportunity to serve.  Our lives have been filled with opportunity and challenges.  Kathy and I wanted to share this journey with our friends and family, because each of you have played a key role in our lives.

Our marriage started in a very humble setting in my backyard with a few close friends of my family and Kathy’s parents. We didn’t have anything but a love for each other and a determination to succeed.   I was working two jobs and going to school, so Kathy decided to quit school and work full time so I could finish my education. This allowed me to work one job during school the next two years and summers.

I still had 4 years of college left to get my engineering degree and we found out Kathy was pregnant with Brandon. Understanding the phrase we keep near to our hearts “Adversity Brings Greatness”, Brandon was delivered 3 months early and weighed two pounds four ounces and was in intensive care for 3 months. It is amazing now that he is healthy and has a beautiful family of his own and our daughter Krista is a nurse in the newborn intensive care unit. Shawn is starting his education and all our kids are married. 
Kathy and I didn't have a true conversion to the gospel  and become active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until we got married. This personal decision allows us to relate to the people we teach in Russia and their path to conversion.   At that point in time 30 years ago, Kathy and I set a goal that someday we would go on a mission for the Lord.  We also wanted to serve when we were young and hoped my career would provide for an early retirement.  

I had a great career with a lot of excitement and the lord decided to test us again. The last company I had started and self-funded didn’t make a full transition and we had to shut it down. We lost everything we had built over the last 25 years except for our wonderful family and our mortgage on our house J.  I remember kneeling down and saying a prayer to the Lord asking for help in understanding how this adversity would help our lives and promised him that if we could get back on our feet we would heed his call someday in the future to serve.

A few days after this whole transition with shutting down the video production company and focusing on my engineering company, a friend and colleague of mine went to work for a company called Preferred Sands. They were growing very rapidly and asked if my engineering company could help with their expansion efforts.  After about 7 months as a contractor I was given the amazing opportunity to manage all their mining operations in the US and Canada.  What a blessing that opportunity was in our life to join such and awesome group of people and it also allowed me to get back on my feet financially. Little did we know then that this would be the final preparation we needed to begin our Journey in Russia.

When Kathy and I received a call to serve a mission in Russia it required us to leave the country and live in Russia for 18 months.  Kathy and I had just been blessed with two wonderful grandchildren and our youngest son was getting married.  My mother had passed away the previous year and we spent a lot of time with my father. We both loved my job and Preferred Sands was at a critical stage in their growth and transition in the industry.  It was very hard to leave all of them, but the management team at Preferred supported this decision, my wonderful sister and brother said they would watch over my father and our family understood the need to follow our Heavenly Father.  It is an amazing time in your life when you turn the affairs of the family over to your children, follow their examples of mission service and know that all will be well in their hands. 

I hope you didn’t mind taking this flash back journey with us and allowing us to reflect on our life. We have so many memories with each of you reading this blog. Kathy and I love the e-mails we receive from our dear friends about their families and the good and the bad times.  In closing we wanted to give a funny shout out to Facebook and all our friends who share moments of their lives. It is fun to be able to log in for a few minutes and keep up with your lives and the lives of your families. We love you all and hope you enjoyed some additional pictures of Russia.  Elder and Sister Carter.

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