A week ago, while Christmas shopping, I was drawn to everything Russian. I picked up a set of Matroyska dolls, a patterned scarf, a purse with Russian needlework. Turning to my friend, I said, “I think Stefan’s going to Russia.”

As the week progressed, Stefan and I both noticed our newfound proclivity for everything Russian– Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and every newspaper article focusing on the giant of the north.

In fact, when everyone spun the globe and wrote down their guesses, Stefan and I both said, “Russia.”


Still, I think no one was more surprised than us when his letter actually read–

Dear Elder Lehnardt:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Russia Yekaterinburg Mission. It is anticipated you will serve for a period of 24 months. 

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As you serve with all your might, mind and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized.


See the green area? That’s Stefan’s mission boundary (it’s the Yekaterinburg time zone). The blue area just to the east? Siberia.

Don’t worry about him. Most winter days only dip to -20, only rarely does the temperature plummet to -49. In fact the mission information said, “You won’t be able to buy a warm enough coat in the United States, just buy it in Russia.” And yes, the missionaries do wear bug fur hats and gloves all winter long.


Stefan could not be happier. Yes, everyone thought he’d go French speaking, but he told me over and over, “I don’t think so.”

He departs April 24th. Just a month after Ben arrives home and right in the middle of finals week at BYU. Everything will work out, but I think these next four months will feel like a rollercoaster ride for everyone at our house.


I am especially grateful my hints of intuition, nudges from the Spirit preparing me for his call. Oh me of little faith, I’ve been fretting and worrying and all the while God has been whispering, “He’s in my hands. In fact I’ll tell you where…” And I have the knowledge– Stefan belongs in Yekaterinburg– to sustain me when the lakes turn to ice and the politicians spew hatred towards Americans.

I’m going to be more faithful. And I know God will light the way, like a candle in the dark, just far enough ahead to lend me courage.

December 31, 2012



  1. Lizzy

    December 29, 2012

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    December 29, 2012

    ” all the while God has been whispering, “He’s in my hands. In fact I’ll tell you where…””


    Heartfelt congrats! I was thinking about you this week, imagining that it was coming soon!

  3. Adri

    December 29, 2012

    Congrats to Stephan! Such wonderful news!

  4. Linn

    December 29, 2012

    SO SO SO happy for that fabulous boy and for all of you! Yeah for Russia! Yeah for Stefan!

  5. chococatania

    December 29, 2012

    I am so excited for you and your family!

    And as I read this, I kept thinking – it is amazing the way that the Lord prepares us, and it is even more amazing that we have the gospel, and can see His Hand in our lives.


  6. Rachel

    December 29, 2012

    Duct tape…he will want to bring duct tape. Good way to seal out a little of the cold from the drafty windows! And congrats!

  7. ellen

    December 30, 2012

    Wow! Awesome!!!

  8. Tracy

    December 31, 2012

    Congrats! What an amazing calling. Love you guys so much. xoxo

  9. Emily

    December 31, 2012

    Blog stalker here. SO exciting! I know some people serving in Samara doing CES work. Here is a link to their blog if you want to check out the scenery :

  10. Kit Linkous

    January 2, 2013

    we’re so excited for him and I’m so thankful for that tender mercy of the Lord preparing your mother heart. we loved being on facetime for it and we LOVE YOU!!!!

  11. Crystal Critchfield

    January 2, 2013

    WOW! Congrats to Stefan. What an adventure Russia will be. I am sure he is well prepared and will make a wonderful missionary! YOU are one brave momma! Hugs!

  12. Jeanelle

    January 23, 2013

    I’ve been a neglectful commenter but wanted you to know how excited I am for Stefan. Oh what adventures he will have and I love that you knew where he was going – such a sweet gift from our Heavenly Father to confirm (not that you really even needed it) that Stefan is doing the right thing and so are you for willingly letting him leave. xoxo

Comments are closed.