cheer up charlie!

Lauren's voice is....just amazing! and yes, i am biased, and proud too!

grandpa joe lauren

This is the first small taste of Lauren's performance as Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka at the Scera. It's a youth production. She was awesome! (is anyone surprised?) Coming soon will be two other songs including Brandon and Savannah's favorite, the BURPING song!

Be part of some exciting research!

Be part of some exciting research!

We are going to be using some family feud like questions as part of the family dinner for Joseph and Elizabeth on the 28th of March. We need lots of family to submit answers to the questions found here Family Feud. So please fill it out and have lots of others do it as well. The more the "betterer".

Ryan and Rachel Wells (Duane's Youngest daughter) Oh and Kate (can't forget her)

Ryan and Rachel Wells (Duane's Youngest daughter) Oh and Kate (can't forget her)

Here is our family for now... We live in Pleasant Grove in a condo, and have an 18 month old named Kate... She is truly the joy of our lives.

Ryan is teaching 3rd grade at Deerfield Elementary in Cedar Hills, and I (Rachel) am at home during the day and work at DeLeon salon in the evenings and on saturday doing hair and an occasional massage.

I'm excited to get to know the Free side of the family... it's grown so much that I feel like I need to be re introduced to you all. so this is fun for me.

Wanting to share good things.....

As I was going though the day at work, thinking about all the little loose ends that we are tying up as we work with not so dilligent partners in business. I felt that I should share what my Mentor Roger Williams, has shared with me over the past three years that I have had the chance and privledge to work with him. Roger is publishing books on really finding about ones self, Open your enough said on my part, here is the pdf for it, it is not a edited version. But talking with Roger had helped me alot in figuring out things that keep fuddling me up.

click to see slideshow->

I think most of you are aware of the little boy named Marius that Jess met in Romania and we, along with a growing group of others, are trying to help get better medical attention and care. Steady progress is being made and thanks to your fasting and prayers miracles have and are occurring. I'll let Kristin fill you in on those while I focus on the more mundane.

We have set up a website for the effort at It is in its infant stages but one of the features is an opportunity to send a message to Marius. Submitted messages will be translated and read to Marius to help brighten his days. So if you get a chance, send him a message.

This is a picture of Marius taken before the accident.

The opening

Here is the opening moment for all to enjoy.

Sister Melinda Kay Free is headed to Europe!

I opened my mission call tonight amid many friends and family members. I have been called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I have been assigned to labor in the Baltic Mission. I will prepare to preach the gospel in the Lithuanian language, and I report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on June 4, 2008! I am so excited, and I love you all!!!!


P.S. The Baltic mission includes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. So...Holly wins the guess on where, because she guessed I was going to Latvia! Yeah, Holly!!!

click to see slideshow->

UPDATE: Melinda Mission

OK, an update. Melinda heard from her Bishop on Monday that the online system listed "call sent"! So we are hoping it is coming Friday!

So, if you haven't had a chance to guess a location on Melinda's announcement and add a comment or click here

Also, you can see a map of all the guesses by going to Zoom in and click on the little markers to see who guessed and where.

We are getting close!


Melinda's Going on a Mission...But When and Where???

Melinda's Going on a Mission...But When and Where???

At the beginning of this week my Bishop let me know that the status of my call was "Ready for Assignment." That means that they might have made the assignment yesterday (Thursday)! Sometime soon my call will be mailed! I can hardly wait!

That also means that it is time to get the guesses going. I think it is fair to have one state-side and one foreign guess. Feel free to post your guesses as to where I will go and when the call will arrive!

I Love you all!!!

Snow and glow in February

Snow and glow in February

We had a great trip for the 50th celebration for Diana's parents, Ron & Ann Jamison. We had such a great time in such a short visit. The snow was like disneyland for the kids. We loved being with all of you.

Here are the boys working on the 12-15 foot high snow in the Jamison's backyard!

Here are some pictures from the trip and a few of the 50th.

There are a few videos in there too. One has Nate giving Jake a buzz...

Roadtrip Video

The Priests in our ward went on an outing last Friday and Saturday. On the way home Jake had his video camera in the backseat. Between him and the 9 other Priests in the van (including Nate) this is what the they came up with.

It is even better when you realize that they did this while the van was hurdling down the winding road from Payson to Mesa at 70 to 80 mph. Thankfully all that was required of the driver was stopping and starting the music CD...

3rd and 4th Week in Romania

Buna Ziua!
Wow there is so much to say and so much to be thankful for these last couple of weeks! First of all, I can't believe that I have been here for a month! Time definitely flies when you are having fun and working hard. It is kind of a bittersweet reality because I'm definitely excited to go home, and yet I have come to feel very comfortable here and I love the kids I work with. The girls from previous semesters told us that it would go by fast and I definitely believe them now. I don't even know where to start and last week Mckay told me that my email was too long, so I'll try and cut down a little. It might still be a novel, but it will be a smaller one.
So we got into the orphanage last week and at first we just went around all of the different rooms. There are a couple of different sections in the orphanage and each has a Disney name. There is Donald Duck, which is also called isolation. There is Mickey Mouse, which has two rooms. And there is Bambi, which also has two rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. The first day we just spent a couple of minutes in each room getting a feel for the kids and the workers. It was so great that first day to see all of the kids and to know that we were actually finally going to be working there! The next couple of days we moved around quite a bit. There are a couple of apartments in Iasi that have 4-5 kids that live in them. They are kind of like a branch of the orphanage and sometimes these kids will come and visit the orphanage. We visited two of them last week and then on Thursday we were back in the orphanage. Thursday we told our facilitator where we would like to be working so that she could decide where to put each girl. It was so hard to choose a room that I liked the best and I wanted to be in the room that Heavenly Father wanted me in. Friday morning we found out what rooms we were to be in after we got to the orphanage. It was a tense exciting moment! I found out that I would be working in the room that I wanted to work in! My room is one of the Mickey Mouse rooms and there are quite a few kids (they have kept me busy!). It was kind of intimidating walking in the first day because I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fill the full three hours. But, so far so good. We just finished our first full week of working in the orphanage and I feel so close to the ones I work with. A couple of the children in my room are very smart, they just have handicapped bodies. This makes it easier to figure what they need and what they want, but at the same time it is harder because if I can't deliver or I don't understand what they are saying they get frustrated. It's hard to tell them no, and yet it has to be done sometimes. I hope they still know that I love them! There is a little girl that I princess Larissa. She is in a wheel chair but she can move around quite a bit when she is taken out and she is very talkative. She loves to mimic things I say and even knows popcorn popping in English. She's a character and keeps me busy. There is a little boy who's name is Alex and he is 9 yrs old. He has cerebral palsy, which is what I did a research paper on, so I have been spending time with him and trying to work with him. He can't speak, but he is very very smart, and is said to be the highest functioning child in the orphanage. To communicate he uses his eyes. It is the cutest thing to see him look at me and then look at my pocket and then look back up at me. I don't understand what he wants all the time but he'll do it again and again until I get it. There are a couple of toddler age kids in my room too. They are fun to play with because I don't always have to talk to them and I can just sit and play with them and I know that they like it. One day I was playing with Alex and Larissa on the mats because they had both gotten out of their wheelchairs. Alex was on top of me (he finds it hysterical to smash me) and Lari was on the side of me and then the little ones came and up and started tackling me too. I was struggling to breathe there were so many kids on top of me. It was so much fun though because all of the kids were laughing hysterically. They really got a kick out of it. Overall the orphanage is great and I really enjoying going every morning. So far I haven't had any problems with any of the workers, lets hope they continue to like me.
The hospital is just as great as the orphanage. It isn't as structured as the orphanage and we don't always work with the same children either. There are eight floors in the hospital that are allowed to work on. We go to each floor and ask the nurses if they have any children who don't have mothers. Usually they say yes and then we are allowed to go and play with them. We always bring diapers for the kids and anything else that we think they might like to play with. Some of them actually do have parents but they can't always be there and that's where we come in. The hospital rooms usually have 3 or 4 other babies in them with their moms and there are windows on both sides of the rooms that look into the rooms next to it. There is nothing private at all about the hospital and it is pretty primitive. The moms will sometimes talk to us and try and help us understand what the nurses or saying or what someone else is saying. They are really great and a lot of fun to get to know. Sometimes they will just stare at us and moms from other rooms will come in and stare at us too. It's a little awkward, but they're harmless so it's just funny. There isn't much ventilation in the hospital because they don't really believe in opening the windows so every time I go in I feel like I am breathing pure germs, it's not a very comforting thought so I try not to think about it, but I haven't gotten sick yet either so I'm very grateful and I will keep going until I do get sick. The language is coming along, but very slowly….haha people still sometimes laugh at us when we try and speak Romanian. The other day one of the girls was in a taxi telling the driver where she wanted to go. He said something to her and she had no idea what she was saying so she just repeated where she wanted to go again. This happened several times and she just kept saying where she wanted to go. Finally he pointed to the seatbelt and indicated that she needed to put it on. We were talking about this later that night and we compared it to a tourist in New York. The cab driver would say put on your seatbelt and the tourist would say Empire State building and would keep repeating it every time the cab driver said something. He would definitely think the guy was crazy. We are pretty sure that everyone here thinks we are weird and somewhat stupid because we always repeat the same thing. My favorite phrases in Romanian are Nu inteleg (I don't understand), nu stiu (I don't know), and nu vorbesc romaneste (I don't speak Romanian). They are probably asking me a super simple question like what is your name and I'm saying nu stiu, nu stiu….I can only imagine what is going through their heads. ☺
Each week on Sunday we have a group a meeting where we talk about our highs and lows of the week and plan for the next week. I love these meetings because we get to just sit and relax and get to know each other better. As I had time to think about what I was going to say as my high and low I realized that I didn't really have a low for the week. I kept trying to think of one, but nothing came to mind. I find that the longer I am here and the more attached I become to the kids the less time I have to think of myself and my problems. It's also easy to forget about my problems when I see so many around me that are struggling more than I am. I have always been told that when we lose our self in the work and serve others we don't think about ourselves, but I have never really had an experience of my own like this and I am so grateful for this realization. I have also found that the spirit comes more readily when I am working with these beautiful children. It always seems to be at my fingertips and there to guide me in working with the kids. It is a great feeling. At times when I encounter something heartbreaking the spirit is always there so that even though it is sad moment it is also a happy moment because the spirit is present. Does that make sense? Anyway, I am so grateful for the Lord and for his awareness of me and the children that I am working with. I couldn't do it without him! Please pray for these wonderful children and their little spirits!

Cu drag,

Pictures from Romania 2/1/08

Here are new pictures from Jess. She's now spending half the day in the hospital and half the day in the orphanage. Beautiful children...