Ellina you have made us better people by sharing your life with us

“Ellina you have made us better people by sharing your life with us”


Dear Ellina,

Wow! It has been a year since you came to me on that cold, snowy night in January, 2017.

Remember the array of stars and full moon shinning, lighting our path up the hill to my house. Pulling your huge suitcase, I often wonder what were the first thoughts in your mind of America. Maybe it was what an ice box or what have I gotten myself into. I remember your awe at how many stars we could see, and how magical the snow was! Yes, you were taking it all and wondering what was ahead in for you in the next year as we walked that hill in the full moon light.

Having an exchange student was not something that I sought after, but through unusual circumstances, the opportunity presented itself to me.

With not long to think on it, I said, “Yes.” I then asked my covenant community and family to open their arms and take you in. What a blessing you have been to all of us. Sharing your talents, your culture, and your sweet self with us here in Whitehall, Montana.

You were such a sport when on that first Saturday morning we visited Tim and Amy with all their kiddos.

I am sure you thought there were a million kids all vying for your attention. But there you were, patiently giving them hugs, candy, and smiles in the midst of all the commotion and confusion. You learned their names, you gave your love and attention to each child, and you developed a sisterly relationship with the older children.

I remember that first day at worship when you were bombarded with many children of every age, and how you again patiently and kindly shared candy and treats to all children.

I am sure you thought every American family has lots of kids! They all fell in love with you. And for this past year, your name is always on their lips…. ”Is Ellina coming? Where is Ellina? When is Ellina coming?” Not only my family, but you have reached out to all the families in our community, You have enjoyed weekends and weeks in the homes of our covenant community. What a blessing for all of us to have been a part of this wonderful adventure.

You even went skiing with all the kids at Discovery.

You were such a great sport when I knew that it was not your favorite thing! But when it came to hiking… you put us all to shame!!! What a hiker you were! Smiling, talking and snapping pictures, as you hiked with us and helping and encouraging the younger kids. You joined in with our culture in a way that is a remarkable reminder to all of us that we are to accept, respect and love those who may be different from us.

Your enthusiasm for school was such an encouragement to me.

Your independence to do your assignments, to do your best and in spite of the language barrier, to accomplish top grades. You never complained when you had to get up in the dark and get on a cold school bus…the first one on and the last one off. It thrilled my heart when you chose to just stay at home and relax and watch TV or just work on projects. It thrilled me when you wanted the “girls” to come over for a weekend for a movie marathon!!!! Or when you went to the Wagner’s for a movie marathon weekend. You have been so flexible when parts of my family would join us for a few days or weeks and you gladly shared your bathroom! You never complained and you always joined in the games (many times winning), food prep and food clean up.

Ellina, it has been an awesome year. One that I will never forget.

Taking you to see some of the most beautiful parts of America has been such an enjoyment for me. My families have been blessed through you and your sweet, kind ways. Don’t know what your favorite place we visited was, but our trip to Arizona was delightful. Our trip from Denver was so much fun with you and Moriah! Don’t forget the ghost tour at the Stanley motel! Virginia City was a delight with 2 car loads of girls playing colonial games, making a rag doll, riding the train and having a lovely picnic! And the Grand Canyon, what a great time we had viewing that magnificent creation! Yes, we have had a fantastic year!

I know as you leave us this week, that there will be a void in our midst.

We will miss your smiling face. The kids will miss your fun games, your playing with them, and your love and attention. There will be a void in our hearts. There will be a void in my home. But there will also be memories…. Ellina you have made us better people by sharing your life with us. You have helped our children to grow in the knowledge of varying cultures in our world. Even though you are leaving us, you are leaving us a legacy that will compel us to be more open to others that cross our paths. As you go, I pray that you will understand the amazing person you are and that you will allow God to use you as you continue your education and journey into adulthood.

We expect to see you back with us one day!
We love you and God bless as you take your place in your family.

Love and prayers,

Your host Mom (Edie)

Letter from the Yeargin family
Whitehall, Montana
hosting Ellina from South Korea 🇰🇷


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