Stephens/Partridge Bulgaria Sofia Mission Reunion

Saturday, June 4 - 4:00pm - 7:00pm 200 S. Eagle Ridge Blvd. North Salt Lake City, UT 84054

Gossip Hub - Click here to catch up!

If there are any errors...just email me. I'm easily distracted, which can result in difficulty with cut and paste.

Adam Clark - So, I married Jamie on June 25, 1999.  She served a mission in the Czech Repbulic.  She also graduated from Utah State University.  I graduated from BYU in 2001, then went to work for 3 years and didn't find anything I liked so I went back to school to become a dentist.  That's right, a dentist.  It meant 3 years of prerequisites plus 4 years of dental school.  Enter my life today:  We have been in Indianapolis for the past 4 years and I just graduated dental school on May 15th, 2011!!! Hence the picture of me looking all official and stuff.  We are moving in a few weeks to Denver Colorado for work and that's where people can come to visit if they'd like - though I don't have an address yet - hope to real soon, though.  We have 3 kids, Andrew is 9, Aubrianna is 6 and Joshua is 16months.  There's the scoop I'm sorry I can't make it to the reunion, but hope to be able to in the future. 

Carrie Rash Luker - Okay, here is my post mission life, in a nutshell. I went back to BYU, met and married Daniel Luker, and after we both graduated we moved up to Moscow, Idaho for him to finish law school. While we were in Moscow we had two daughters, Nadejda (8) and Isabel (6). Dan got his first job and we moved over to Pocatello, where we had our third daughter, Helen (4). We thought we would stay in Pocatello, but a job change moved us over to Boise, and we had our fourth daughter, Ruby (2). Now I am expecting ourfifth daughter in the middle of June. (Which is the reason I probably won’t come to the reunion. rats).

Tina (Blankinship) Bond I just got married in December 2010, and so far married life is wonderful. I'm a Masters level mental health therapist, and work with children with attachment and trauma issues. I love my job! My husband is a firefighter paramedic and we live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. We have plenty of room if anyone is ever in the neighborhood and needs a place to stay. Ken has a five year old daughter from his previous marriage, and I have a two year old bischon-poodle mix who thinks he is human.
I stay home with our little fairy-sized daughters, driving carpools, driving to dance classes, and doing all the other mom kind of things. I also work part-time, from home, scoring the essay sections of standardized tests and running a website with my sisters. ( -it’s full of funny and terrible stories about our "mom" lives.)
Dan currently serves as the Elders Quorum President and I am the primary chorister.

Emilie Patterson Campbell - I served from 2/97-8/98 in Sofia, Plovdiv and Sliven. After the mish, I graduated from BYU with a BFA in Photography. I did my final/senior project on Gypsies in Bulgaria which hung at Sundance over the summer of 2000. My husband, Branden, went with me to Bulgaria to shoot that project. You can see some of the work here:
After graduating, I began freelancing doing mostly products and portraits. I shot for Layla Grayce, NuSkin, 3Form, LOADS of musicians, and many other companies which enabled me to have a fantastic job as a mom and be published in many countries. Living in Utah, I also kept very busy shooting lots of weddings and newborns. I recently (thankfully) retired a few months ago. This means I am unavailable to shoot your family portrait or your friend's wedding. Sorry.
Branden and I dated off and on for 8 years before we finally got married in 2000 in the Las Vegas temple. I have had lots of different callings over the years, but Branden seems to always be a ward missionary. I think it's because he's extremely cool and righteous so he's good at getting people to let him in and invite them to church :) We now have 2 kids. Katie (8) and Connor (3). Connor has very severe epilepsy so we are constantly trying to find something that can control his seizures. No medicines have worked so we have moved on to every natural, voodoo, witches brew, diet, oil and alternative treatment you can imagine. We're not giving up. Despite (or because of) his disability, Connor is magic. People are attracted to him. He makes everyone fall in love with him. He is the world's yummiest, sweetest little slice of heaven.
Branden plays music professionally and that has kept us all busier than we could ever imagine. He plays bass in the band Neon Trees. They have been touring the world, yes, the world, over the last year which makes for lots of travelling. We have worked very hard over the last 3 years to make this a success and thankfully, it has been that. Their first single, Animal, went triple platinum worldwide...that's 3,000,000 singles sold. You may have seen them on The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon or Kimmel, Regis and Kelly, or heard their songs on American Idol, Glee, any CW shows that I don't know the names of, or in the movies Burlesque, Love and Other Drugs, or the new Disney Movie, Prom. They've been busy. They currently have no shows scheduled in Bulgaria. Apparently, they're not heavy metal or techno enough :) You can see documentation of all things Neon Trees here:
P.S. Anyone have some good instructions for making banitza?

Chad Darvas - Life after Bulgaria....As shown in the picture I have been very blessed! After the mission I left Oklahoma headed to Utah for school. That only lasted a short time before joining the US Air Force.First assignment was Lakenheath England, a four year assignment. Where I met and married my beautiful wife Carrie. We had our first child Dylan (10) then we received an assignment to Tucson Arizona where we had our second child Taryn (8). Tucson has become what we call home, we have really grown as a family in Tucson. The military has taken me away from them quit often however their love and support has made us stronger even while separated.         

    Carrie and I married in a small church in England. Carrie wasn't a member when we married. However, shortly after our marriage I was able to baptize her. It took us awhile but on our ten year anniversary we were sealed in the Mesa Temple with our children by our side.
    I've been in the Air Force for 13 years now and Carrie is now a stay at home Mom that loves scrap booking and taking care of the kids. Dylan is like his father a sports fanatic currently playing basketball. Taryn is what makes us laugh all day with her sweet sense a humor and a future photographer. As for me I love spending my early mornings on the golf course and the rest of the day with the family hiking or just hanging out. In short life is Great!!! I wish I was able to be there and see all the wonderful people that I served with but I send my love and Please if you're ever in Tucson look me up!!!! -Chad Darvas

Rebeckah Birk Christensen - The Christensen's are as busy as ever!  We have had a great year with lots of new things happening.  Our eldest child, Jared, is just about to complete the first grade!!  He is so full of energy and life, and there is never a dull moment to be had when he is around!  Cerah, our baby girl, has been in preschool this year.  She is such a big help around the house and is always involved in everything that mommmy does!  On December 16th, Jorgen John joined our family!  He has been such a joy to have in our lives.  He is so spoiled by his momma, who is determined to fully enjoy her third and final child!  Wess continues to work hard at the family business.  He has recently opened a new mining operation about 30 miles away, and is staying very busy.  As for me, I am just enjoying life!  In June, I stopped working as a labor & delivery nurse and have been a stay at home mom ever since!  It has been a wonderful change that I have enjoyed very much.  I plan on going back to nursing when the kids are older, but for now the kids (and hubby;) are keeping me plenty busy!
     I feel very blessed by our Heavenly Father and ever gratefull of all my many blessings!  Bulgaria and her people are still, and always will be, in my daily thoughts and prayers.  I feel the blessings of my mission almost daily and will always consider those 18 months amongst the best of my life!!   c obeech vinigee


Liberty Walther Barnes - Wife.  Mother of four.  Oregonian.  Ph.D.  Research, teach, cook, swim, sing, garden, quilt, kiss my babies.

Elizabeth Emerson Gardner - So, a little about what I’ve been up to since the mission…. Hmm, well it all starts with how I met my husband. A few weeks after I got home my sister was visiting from college and we signed up on together. She met a jerk and I met Mark. We corresponded on and off for a year through emails. A month before we met we spoke with each other on the phone and through instant messenger. He is from Aloha, OR. I went up to meet him and the day after we met, we got engaged. We were sitting on the floor in his bedroom and he proposed. I was a little surprised and even more surprised that I said yes. Instead of being terrified, which is more my style, I felt calm and reassured that this was the right man for me. We were married on May 26th 2000.

One month before our first wedding anniversary Samuel was born. A year later came Rachel. A year after that came Bethany. After a couple years (I have no idea how I didn’t get pregnant earlier because I’m one of those people birth control just doesn’t work for.) Adrianne was born. Then a year later Megan came to our family. Then, you guessed it, two years later came Jonathan and another year later came Adam. Their ages now are 10 (almost), 8, 7, 5, 4 (almost), 2 (almost) and 9 months. We have always wanted a large family and we have it. I wouldn’t change a thing. They each bring so much joy into our lives.
Jon and Adam were born with a genetic condition called ocular albinism. They do not have any pigment in their retinas so their vision is extremely blurry. It is not correctable with surgery or glasses, even though glasses do help some. Jon is so cute when he wears them. He also has autism and he is not in the mood to wear his glasses very often. They both receive early intervention services and will either go to the blind school and or the Pingree school for autistic kids. They are such a blessing in my life. Sometimes I feel unworthy to have them but I’m so thankful that I do.
My husband, Mark, has a BA degree in Family History and Genealogy and he works for the church at the Granite Mountain Record’s Vault up in Little Cottonwood Canyon. He has worked for the church since Aug. 2000 and is a master of all the programs they do up there. He has been trained and completed certification in every area, which makes him very valuable to his team.
I am a stay at home mom. There is so much to do at home that it is overwhelming at times but I am grateful that I am able to stay home and raise my children. Right now I have four children at home during the day. The older two go to preschool a few days a week so I do get to take a nap sometimes. *wink* Honestly, there is so much to do that I don’t very often get to rest. Even in the middle of the night babies wake up, kids crawl into bed and on occasion I have to deal with puke and poop but life is very good and I feel very blessed.
I thank Heavenly Father each day that I am given another chance to love my kids and get it right. We have our trials and hardships but we have a strong testimony of the Savior’s love for us and are comforted by His spirit in dark times. I don’t currently have a calling besides visiting teacher and Mark is the membership clerk in our ward. I have been librarian, 2nd counselor in the Primary presidency, primary teacher and nursery leader in our current ward. We have lived in a great neighborhood in West Valley, Utah for the past almost 8 years and they have been good years. Visit my blog HERE

Janey Cunningham - Regrets she can't come, and sends her love!

Mathew Haupt- I have been busy being a film major, business minor at BYU, living in SoCal for six months and being an extra in Hollywood for a month, getting married (I held out until age 30 OMG) and starting my own tax practice, having a little boy (well, helping, kind of), selling my practice and now doing taxes at a startup company, but now moving back towards the creative world and writing my first scifi adventure story: Jareth Dakk and the Forgotten World. I'm also attached a picture of this movie poster I had made to get me moving on this project. COMING SOON! Nadyavam se nikoga da zabravya Bulgarski izik! ~Matt Haupt

Matt Depeel - 1995 – 1997 I have been married to Chelsey since 2003 and have two kids.  Kyle (5 ½) and Adison (2 ½).  We live about half hour west of Edmonton, Alberta on a small acreage where we have horse, dogs, and cats (I hate cats).  My wife is a sales rep for Select Media out of Vancouver, BC, is a English riding clinic organizer, and a horse trainer.  I have a degree from UofA in Environmental Science and currently work as the Insurance & Commercial Sales Manager for a very large construction company in Edmonton and I love to hunt.  My son loves archery as well and likes to collect stuff (all kinds of stuff).  My daughter’s love is the horses (like her mother) and the dog. Cute little girl with BIG attitude (like her mother). Thank you, Matt Depeel, B.Sc.

Ryan Bair - I finished my master's degree at Utah State University in 2009 and was lucky enough to find a good job in Federal Service. I live in Virginia and work in Washington DC creating educational products for the Marine Corps. I have 3 kids (9, 5, and 4 respectively) and a wonderful wife. We celebrated our 13th year of marriage on the 28th of March. I serve as the Elder's Quorum President in the Massaponax Ward in the Fredericksburg Virginia Stake. Between work, family, and church, life goes very fast but I love it. I have been very blessed. Thanks to all of those who served with me in back in 96/97. I think of you all with fond memories.

Wayne Ormsby - Hi all,
It is a constant source of amazement that as of January 1, 2012 I will have been home from Bulgaria for 15 years. Though I can’t say that I will ever miss tracking in Dryzhba II, I cherish the relationships, memories, and life lessons obtained as a missionary.
As an update, my wife, Haley and I live in Rochester, NY where I work as an Internal Medicine physician and Clinical Instructor of Medicine at the University of Rochester. In July we will be moving to Rochester, Minnesota where I have accepted a position for a four year fellowship to further specialize as a cancer physician. We have three fantastic, energetic, and intermittently crazed children: Jacob (8), Trevor (5), and Alexis (3). I am convinced that Haley’s patience and fortitude in dealing with the vagaries of my schedule between medical training, residency, and my current faculty position while often times functioning as a single parent have earned her a spot in the Celestial Kingdom. In her own right, she is brilliant, beautiful, and fabulous. We are thrilled to be traveling to Boston in a few weeks where she will run the Boston Marathon.
I wish that I could be there with you for the reunion. As I am post call and can’t seem to figure out how to convince my computer to integrate Cyrillic I guess that I will have to settle for, “All the best!”

Wayne, Haley, Jacob, Trevor, and Alexis Ormsby

Abel Keogh - Served from November 1995 – November 1997. Graduated from Weber State University a few years later. Married. Widowed. Married again and now have 4.5 kids – three boys, one girl, and one question mark. During the day I manage a world-wide team of web developers for a hi-tech company in the Salt Lake Valley. At night and during full moons I turn into a writer. So far I’ve had two books published: a memoir, Room for Two, and a novel, The Third. I have a contract for another book under consideration and three more books that I’m writing. Want to know more? See me at the reunion or visit my website.

Josh Holt - What have we been up to? In 2003, I met and married Hannah the Beautiful, a civil engineer with amazing eyes. We both graduated from BYU, I finished my PhD in physics at the University of Utah with two boys, Logan and Ethan, who are now 5 and 3 and love trains, puzzles, and decorating the house with construction paper. I currently work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado studying materials for next generation solar cells. We had two twin girls, Charlotte and Elena, in January this year. That's our life on a Readers' Digest Christmas card.

Allison Merrill Smith - Sorry I won't be able to be there, I will probably be having a baby that day. Baby number 4 and all girls. I have a 7,4,1, and soon a newborn. We are living in Tucson and have been here since 2005. I graduated from BYU in audiology and then went on the the University of Arizona to complete a masters in audiology. That is where I met my husband Corey. We were married in the Denver temple in august of 2001. Corey works for a litigation support company and I get to stay at home with the girls. Corey is serving as the bishop of our ward and I am on the enrichment board. We are very happy and doing well. I think of Bulgaria almost daily and loved my time and companions there. 

Colette Anderson Hudgins - I served in Bulgaria from May 93 to November 94. During that time I served under President and Sister Warner and President and Sister Partridge. After returning to the US, I had the privilege of teaching at the MTC, beginning May 95. I left January 1997 to move to Houston, TX for a job. There I met Ben Hudgins, whom I married April 19, 1997 in the Dallas, TX temple. We currently have 8 children:
 - Kalina, born August 11, 98
 - Kendrick, born April 21, 00
 - Rhiannon, born December 15, 01
 - Serena, born August 24, 03
 - Benson, born July 12, 05
 - Warren, born November 3, 06
 - Conall, born February 26, 08
 - Christiana, born December 13, 09
Ben and I own and operate our own business dealing with computers. We host data and email for businesses, as well as provide overall solutions to small businesses. We currently live in Spokane, WA.

Rick (Poon) Harper/MaryBeth Dillingham (Dely) HarperRick served from September 1995-August 1997 and I served from May 1996-November 1997. We've been married for 12 years and have been living in Sierra Vista, AZ for about seven of those years and have three children. Our son, Aren, is 11 and five years post bone marrow transplant, and our daughter Tatiana is almost four. We also have our Lily, who passed away just before her third birthday in 2005.

Carrie Ulrich Skarda - The highlights of my post mission life have included graduating from BYU, moving to northern California and completing a doctorate degree in Psychology, going through a difficult, but ultimately testimony building divorce, and lots of travel with rich food and delightful friendships.  I now live in downtown Salt Lake City where I have escaped the world of California highways and walk everywhere - to my private practice, to the local bakery, to the dentist, to yoga, and to church on temple square... we even walked to the SLC temple on our wedding day last Thanksgiving where I married a most wonderful man.  We are expecting our first in September.

Misty Whitaker Nielson - Nov 1996  Married Ben Nielson who waited for me while I was in Bulgaria. April 2, 1999: Twin girl and boy, Emma and Samuel. June 28,2001: Had our third baby, Rachel. June 6, 2003: sweet baby girl Miriam. March 27, 2008: our last little guy, Caleb. We have been living in Utah: Taylorsville and Stansbury Park. Ben works for a law firm representing SS Disability clients; I work for a law firm modifying mortgage loans.

Dirk Sundquist - Served January '94 - January '96. I am still in the Air Force, working as a foreign language instructor. My wife, Ronda, and I, and our four children live north of D.C.

Abbie Alsop (Nelson)Served from July '96 - January '98. Served in Sofia, and Varna. I graduated from UofU, and worked as a Social Worker, before meeting and marrying my husband Matt. We have 4 kids, ages 6, 5, 4, and 2. We split our time between New Mexico and Holland...and would love to lend support to any other frequent visitors to Holland. I am an avid blogger, which helps me maintain my sanity...feel free to blog-stalk me...HERE!