Saturday, March 21, 2015

Good Times and Tough Times on the Mission

We apologize that it has been several months since we shared this wonderful mission experience with each of you. In these last two months we have experienced a birth, death and serious illness of people we love. We also had six missionaries go home and five new missionaries arrive ready to serve.
One of our dear friends and fellow senior missionaries, Sister Debra Mae Thompson Robinson, discovered that she needed some surgery during her service and went back to America to have it done.  She had the surgery and was on her way to a full recovery.  A few weeks later she found out she had an accelerated form of spontaneous Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and died on February 28th.
I wanted to pay tribute to her in my blog, as she and her husband Glenn touched our hearts forever.  Sister Robinson was an amazing person who spent her life in the service of others, and she always warmed the hearts of so many people with her smile.

During this same period one of our young valiant missionaries, Elder Hulka, came down with a severe case of pneumonia. We took him to the hospital here in Russia and they drained 3 liters of water from his lungs the first night and 2 more liters the next, but then found a large growth in his chest during the c-scan process. 
This was on Friday, February 27th, so on Sunday, March 1st I accompanied him back to the states where he could get the proper treatment for the growth. It was a 27-hour journey and he was a trooper the whole way. As soon as Elder Hulka and I landed, he was taken to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. They quickly started him on chemotherapy to treat the cancer that they found.  We pray he will have a full recovery.

I stayed in Utah that week to attend Sister Robinson's funeral and to be able to check up on Elder Hulka. On Wednesday I was able to see many of the returned missionaries from our mission as we attended the funeral and then later in the week met for ice cream. 

We are so thankful that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have knowledge that life on earth is just a part of our journey.  Through the ordinances performed in the temple, Sister Robinson can live with our Father in Heaven, have her husband for eternity, and still be able to raise her family together when they are all in heaven.

Life is so short and we have so many choices. If you haven’t had a chance to learn about the gospel, let us know and we would be happy to have missionaries like us visit you anywhere in the world. We all want to be together forever both on this earth and in heaven.

On the other side of life’s journey, we had the birth of a new granddaughter at the end of January and I was able to spend some time with her. My daughter, Krista, gave birth to Hayley and she is absolutely beautiful. Krista and Taylor are so excited to have two little girls, and their oldest daughter, Mya, was a big help with her new sister. 

Mya is going to be 2 years old in April, so she is talking a lot (her own unique language, ha ha) and is full of smiles and laughs.  Needless to say she and Grandpa quickly became best friends, and she would yell, "Grandpa" and cry when I would leave to go somewhere. 

Clara is also very cute and smart! She is talking up a storm and already has a great grasp of the language!  She was so happy to see me and gave me a big hug and a kiss, even though she had only seen me on Skype for the past year. I also had the opportunity to take both granddaughters to a water park. Clara was so much fun and couldn’t get enough of the waterslides, lazy river and shooting water. I was able to go down the slides with Clara and Mya and that was a lot of fun. 

I have the two cutest granddaughters on the earth and they are only 4 months apart in age so it is a blast!  During the week I was able to spend precious time with them reading, playing and dancing. :)  

We are also expecting our first grandson, (fourth grandchild) on March 24th.  My son, Brandon, and his wife, Alyse, are expecting their second child and we are sooooo excited for them. We left for our mission with two grandchildren and will come home with four.  This was a great time to reflect on the true circle of life, as I experienced birth, death, sickness and happiness.

My youngest son, Shawn, is still playing soccer and I was able to watch two of his games and then watch him beat me in tennis and golf. :)  I was able to play golf with Taylor, Brandon and Shawn.   There's nothing better than trying to compete with my three awesome sons!  One night we just grabbed some BBQ and played games at Brandon and Alyse’s house.  

My other daughter-in-law, Alise, opened a new hair and lash studio, and I was able to help her move in and hung up some draperies, etc. It was a truly awesome week, but I sure wish Kathy could have been there to share it with me. She stayed back at the mission office and had to complete both of our jobs. :)

My dog, Max, was so excited to see me when I got home.  I was worried that he wouldn't remember me.  Krista and I and the dogs were able to spend some time in the mountains hiking.  It was great to see the sun and the mountains!

We already have two wedding announcements from couples who all served in our Russia St. Petersburg Mission and we are so excited for both of them. One of the missionaries we served with, Kelby Gatrell, helped set up all the various events with the missionaries and it was awesome. I also got to see my old mission president and his wife and catch up on their return to real life. 

Brandon and I had a chance to get out fly-fishing on the Provo River.  Brandon caught three nice fish and all I got was a sunburn, a big smile and hopes for more time on the river when I return. :)  

The time here in St. Petersburg has been crazy and not much new to report except we are healthy, happy and serving the Lord with all our hearts. We thank each of you for staying in touch and keeping us in your hearts and prayers. 

We really haven’t been out of the office much except to teach with the missionaries, so I don’t have many new pictures of Russia. It is pretty cold and dark in the winter and we didn’t see the sun for the first 8 weeks we were back. This week we have had some sun and it has been awesome.

We will be home in a little less than three months and look forward to seeing each of you upon our return. Spend your days in the service of your family and others and you will find true happiness. Your job isn’t just a job, but an opportunity to share a journey with wonderful people while supporting your family financially. Take the time to meet those you work with and take an interest in their lives. Every person on this earth is a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. If you are reading this blog, we have shared a journey and we thank you for your friendship.  

Love Bob and Kathy

                                                                       Krista, Mya and Grandpa Carter
                                                      My sister, Cindy, and her husband, Scott
                                                                   Alise and Shawn
Baby Hayley
                                                               Clara, Mya and Brandon
My brother, Ryan
                                                                                  Gotta love cousins!
More cousins!
                                                                                    Jungle Jim's Playland
Grandpa time
Welcome Home, Elder Carter!


  1. Ok. I sent 2 profoundly wise complimentary comments. They didn't post. I love you and wish you were home. Happy birthday Kathy. So now that I cheated and left out the profound wisdom it will post. Right?

  2. I'm Elder Fowler's dad. He's one of the five new missionaries that just arrived ready to serve. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I gives me some insight into what serving in the St. Petersburg mission has in store for him. Thanks for all that you do. You are great examples for all of us.