Two brothers, two countries, one missionPublished 2:38pm Friday, December 24, 2010
Brothers Chris and Jon Belyeu are thousands of miles away from their home and family in Kellyton this holiday season, with each on spiritual journeys that have landed them on opposite ends of the globe.
Both brothers are serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Chris, 21, is currently serving in Donetsk, Ukraine, while Jon, 19, is at a missionary training center in Utah preparing for his upcoming mission to Barranquilla, Colombia this February.
“The boys are following their dreams,” their mother, Sheralyn Belyeu, said. “It’s what they’ve always wanted to do, and we’re so proud of them.”
Sheralyn said Chris, who left on his mission trip July 2009, will return home this upcoming summer.
“He is doing great,” she said. “He’s cold though, and he said last week that a lot of people have colds there. He’s excited though because he’s meeting a lot of people and he’s able to speak more in Russian now.”
Sheralyn said the growth of the LDS church in Ukraine is “astonishing,” stating that there have only been missionaries in the country in about 20 years. She said that for Christmas, Chris had one simple request.
“For Christmas, he asked me to send him some taco season-ing mix … and things he can’t get there,” Sheralyn said. “We’re going to talk on the phone this weekend and he e-mails every week, very faithfully.”
Sheralyn said that Jon’s mission will also last two years and that he is very excited about the journey.
“He’s absolutely thrilled,” Sheralyn said.
Sheralyn said Chris and Jon have been corresponding through e-mail about each of their trips, and that Chris has been offering advice to his brother.
“He told him to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish and to not worry about his English grammar over the next two years,” she said. “When Chris went into training, he could not believe how hard the Russian language was. I home-school the kids, and we did do a little bit of Spanish … but of course, no Russian.”
The brothers are following the example set by many of their family members. Their father, Dwight, served as a missionary in Oakland, Calif., their maternal grandfather in Peru and their uncle in Chile.
Although Sheralyn and Dwight have four younger children – Joseph, 16; Cassie, 14; William, 11; and Bethany, 8 – she admitted that the holiday season won’t be the same without Chris and Jon at home.
“When my husband came home from (taking Jon to) the airport, he said he felt like we had an empty nest,” Sheralyn said. “Which is crazy, because we do still have four at home, but it is a very different feeling.”
To follow the Belyeus on their missions, visit Chris’ blog at http://chrisbelyeu.wordpress.com/Ukraine or Jon’s at http://jonbelyeu.wordpress.com/Colombia.