Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cold Moutain - Letter 1

It's so weird to be here in Ukraine! Just gonna throw that our for you all. We left Monday morning and then arrived Tuesday afternoon. The flights went well. All of my luggage was either a pound or two under the weight limits, which was a blessing because if I would have had to pay that would have been horrible. Yes the rumors are true. I got all of the exit row seats all the way across. Did the seats recline? No, but that doesn't really matter. The first flight was really really empty, hardly anyone was on the plane.


I called home right when I saw a payphone; I used some spare change that I acquired throughout my wonderful delightful stay at the MTC to call home. I think if I can remember right it lasted like 7 minutes. It was nice to call home and hear how everyone was doing. Sounds like all is well. Then we found our gate and sat down. I was sitting there and some guy handed me his phone and said that I should call home. So that was way super awesome of him. Find out he and his wife have a son on a mission and they were headed for a cruise in Italy. They are living the life. So the plane ride from SLC to NYC was quite nice and quiet. I wrote some letters and had the exit row seat. I was never able to send the letters home so....sorry. We arrived in NYC early because there was a tailwind of roughly 130 mph if I can remember, so we got there pretty early.


We tried to find out where we were supposed to go and navigate our way there. We walked outside which what I thought was a big no no but it ended up being the right thing to do. We checked into our next flight, went through security again and found our gate. All the others wanted to make more phone calls and get some food. So they dumped their stuff on us and went and got some food and then came back and made some phone calls. There were 4 payphones and 4 missionaries all standing around making phone calls home. I was kind of fussy during that phone call because I had NO FOOD in my system which makes the Young family members agitated. But I called home, and it was good to talk home again. Before we boarded the plane I made a seat change to the exit row. That was the best seat ever. It didn't recline but I had leg room. I sat next to an elderly woman who was going back home to Slovakia. I talked to her for a while in English and then zonked out for sleep. Elder Smith came by and said that I should come sit by him and talk awhile. I did, I have no clue how the people sat like that with NO leg room. It was the most uncomfortable thing in the world. I didn't sit there that long and went back to my seat. I think that I went to sleep again and woke up when they gave us some food. Good Austrian Airline food. Chicken with some rice, and some other food sorry I can't really remember. They also gave us some breakfast food, which was your typical European breakfast. Lunch meat and cheese. We landed after a while. The view out the window was really pretty. We then went through security again to our other gate and sat there for a while. I tried to by a drink with the money you gave me mom but that didn't work because I needed coins. Oh well.


So we got our little plane to Donetsk and flew. They gave us some food again, just a small little meal, and then I zonked out again. We arrived and it looked like the most sketchiest airport I've ever seen. I wish I would have taken a photo of it. It was like an old warehouse building transformed into an airport. We grabbed our carry ons and went inside. There were two military men sitting in a booth waiting to take our passports and stamping them. After that we went to the "baggage claim" which was two flat bed trucks with the luggage on the back. We had to go and grab our bags and exit the airport. They made us put our luggage through a small security scanner and then we were fine. I walked through and saw two other missionaries and the President and the driver. How nice it was to be finally there. They loaded us up and took us to the office. We unloaded everything and were told to grab some clothes that would last us 3 days.


After some time of chilling around and some small meetings and orientation we walked to the president’s house. They handed us some Books of Mormon and some семья's and told us to try and give them out. Holy cow!! Seriously!!??! But we managed to give some out. I was walking with the AP and he told us some interesting things about the mission. I stopped a guy and then he took over. The guy knew a little bit about the Book of Mormon and he heard about Joseph Smith. That was pretty cool. He took a BOM and went on his way. We then went inside the mission home. Probably the nicest home I'll ever be in my entire mission. We had some food and then went to bed. We were told that we could go to bed fairly early and sleep in as long as we could. We did.

The next day has some more meetings and orientations. We went to Tequilla Boom for dinner, a wanna be Mexican restaurant. We went on splits that night with some elders, which was fun. I was with the AP again. We went to a less active member family and then a member family. It was pretty cool. I didn’t' understand much or anything but it was cool to see the gospel with other people in other countries. The next day was pretty much the same, orientation and then splits again at night. The next day, Thursday if I remember was transfer day. All of these missionaries started flowing in from everywhere and started talking. Transfers took place and it was all fun. Those that had cell phones were talking to everyone who wasn't there about who was going where. It seemed like a sports draft with everyone talking about everyone else. I hoped on a bus headed for Kharkiv with some other elders and went. The ride was kind of scary, the roads weren't good at all and, eh, it was just Europe baby. I sat next to Elder Bangeter, my buddy from the MTC and chatted. We took a stop somewhere along the way and got some food. The whole bus ride was like 5 hours. LONG. All of the missionaries in Kharkiv were there. I met some, and met my Trainer--Elder Duke. We hoped in a taxi and headed for our place in Cold Mountain. We got there and then I unpacked. We talked about the plans for the week and then went to sleep. We had a lesson with Эля which I think is translated to Ellie, maybe because that it was it sounds like. So we made our way over to her place. She's 16. We are not allowed to go into her house so we talked in front of her house. It was cold. We talked for a while and then went back to our place to have some food. We then made our way to the church building to have a ward mission leader meeting. I met our zone leaders, they are really cool: Elder Young and Jensen. We then went to the senior missionaries’ house to get something for Elder Duke. They ended up feeding us a meal which was so, so, so good. The Zone Leaders forgot their house keys and it would have taken an hour and a half to go from where they were to the church and back. That would have been too long, so they made a few phone calls and were allowed to sleep at our place. We made our way and went home. We got there and we talked and talked. It was about 11 and I was too tired so I went to bed and the others stayed up for quite a while. Eventually we all went to sleep. Right when my head hit the pillow I was asleep. The next day was Sunday.

We got dressed and went. The ZL's didn't have their suits so they went as they were. It was funny. Church was awesome. Even though I didn't know what was happening or what was going on the spirit was the same. They had me go up and share my testimony with the branch. That was kind of scary, but it all went well. I had a silent prayer in my heart for comfort just so I could feel relaxed. During the Sacrament hymn I started crying because I could feel the love of the Savior for me in a new different place. I was so overwhelmed. But it felt good. During the talks I was sitting next to Elia and she wrote a note saying that she wanted to help me. I wrote back that I'm fine and that I'm not scared. True. Even though I didn't know what was going on I was fine because I knew that the Lord loves me as is looking out for me.

We went to all of the church meetings and then went to the ZL's for some things. We went back to our house and we were there for the rest of the night. The weather was like: Hey just curl up into a ball and sleep because it was cold and dreary. Elder Duke made some phone calls to try and do some stuff but no one picked up their phones. So we stayed home. We made dinner which composed of pineapple, egg sandwich, and banana bread. Yeah, lame but it filled me up. It was good. I did some studies and then went to bed.

Now it's Monday and all is well. There's like 18 elders all sending emails home. It's pretty cool. Soon we have sports time! This week should be good. We have some lessons set up and that's about it. We have like 2 investigators and that's it. So we are hurting for some investigators. We have a lot of work in front of us with a lot of contacting and finding to do.

For your questions:

1. Elder Duke, from Hurricane and has been out for a little bit under a year. He's pretty cool. He likes to snowboard.
2. My apartment is pretty nice. Spacious and great. Remember the "double beds" from Romania? With two single beds pushed together. That's what my bed is and so is Duke's. To flush the toilet we have to switch a knob and let the tank fill up and then flush and then fill up the tank again. Not too bad. We have all of the necessities to live.
3. The people........Elia has like always been a member. Her older sister in a member but she moved to Kiev so it's still a bit hard for her but she comes to church. The branch has no youth in it her age which also makes it difficult. But she's cool.
4. President Fry is pretty cool. He has a lot do to. We, the Donetsk mission get the least amount of money for all of the Russian speaking missions, 1200 greveain. It's the bare minimum from what I've heard, but it will work.
5. Elder Allred has been home for a while so I wasn't able to see him :(.
6. Church is cool. We have to travel for like 45 minutes to get there. Hop on a metro, figure out some stops and then walk there. It's a great wonderful building. Super awesome. Kind of like the one in Romania. The color is pink so it stands out. They made me read from the Liahona in Priesthood which was a bad move because I butchered it. The teacher looked like me with a look of like WHOA. But eh, whatever.

The Dear Elders still works so feel free to send those as well. I want to figure out how to send physical letters home. Maybe sometime I will. All is well and I'm still alive. I also haven't received my Christmas package yet. Hopefully it will. Christmas is on the 15 and 16 for all of us up here in Kharkiv. Hopefully the Fry's will bring it with them when they come.

Thanks for everything!


Love,

Elder Young

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ukraine Letter 1

Family I am safely in Ukraine!!!! The plane rides were pretty nice I got to sit on the exit rows for all the flights. I am in the mission office for sometime and then I get transferred on Friday if I can remember right. Thanks for everything.

Love you

Elder Young

Monday, November 22, 2010

Travel

Elder Young has left the MTC and will be arriving in Ukraine. Look for updates regarding new address and currently serving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MTC Letter 11

Yes this is not a joke. This is truly my last Tuesday in America. How crazy is that???!!? The time has flown by so incredibly fast that I can't really comprehend how fast it has gone by. It really does seem that it was only a few weeks ago that I was being dropped off here and now I'm leaving. Time flies when you are really having fun. Such a true little statement. I have had a blast here at the MTC. Learning Russian is amazing. My teacher says that he's confident with sending us out into the field and that we should all be okay. I'm excited to go to Ukraine finally. The MTC has been pretty good to me. I've been able to run occasionally during gym, I've made some new good friends, and I'm closer to our Heavenly Father than I could ever imagine. How awesome is it to be alive and to be a member of this great and wonderful church. I love it. Life is amazing. After the temple this morning, for the last time in a really long time, I was walking back and just in awe of how beautiful this whole world is that has been created for us. I love it when the air is clean and that I can see all the way across Utah Lake and see the mountains on the other side so majestically. Oh I love the world and love how stinking pretty it is. I'm going to miss it to be honest. Hopefully Ukraine will be amazing and that I'll still be able to find the same joy and happiness that I find here. Oh I'm so excited to go to Ukraine.

This week has been good. Elder Bednar came this week. Yes another Apostle. That makes it four (4) in a row that have come. It's so cool. Elder Bednar talked/taught about teaching more about doctrines and principles. He said some really good stuff. "What doctrine understood would change this behavior/attitude." It was really amazing. Hopefully tonight another Apostle will come that would be so the best. My teachers are still teaching in Russian. One of our teachers only speaks in Russian when he teaches. The cool thing is that I know what he is saying. It makes me so happy to know that I can understand and speak Russian how much love and joy and happiness that brings to my soul. The other day we listened to this website where they have people all over the world talk about what they believe and everything else. For the Russian people it was a bunch of old people talking. We used this is as an exercise to see if we could comprehend what they were saying. It was hard to be honest. They talked but it seemed like mumbling. Which wasn't so cool, but yet that is what I'm going to have to get used to. The Russian language is pretty cool. I find complete happiness in learning about it. It's so cool. I love it when I get to talk in it and converse and hope that the other person can comphrend what I am saying. I've started saying all of my prayers in Russian. I think Chris told me to do that to help with learning the langauge. It's been amazing. You would think that I wouldn't be able to express myself as fully as I can in English but praying in Russian is awesome. I know for myself that no matter what langauge when praying our Heavenly Father knows and understands. How awesome and cool is that. I know that when I pray in Russian Heavenly Father hears and knows everything that I am saying. I love praying in Russian. Prayer is something essential to my soul. Elder Smith and I have been teaching our teacher as a Russian man as a progressing investigator. We've been trying to teach about prayer. It's harder than it seems. But I know that if any investigator prays to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ he/she will recieve an answer. Pray is amazing. We can pray anytime, anywhere and He will listen. How amazing is that. We can always have constant communication with Heavenly Father.

Life is good. I feel really relaxed and ready. I know that if I have trust in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father then what is there to have fear about. As it says in Moroni 8:16 the last line. "...perfect love casteth out all fear." How wonderful is that?!??!! If we love without end then there is nothing to fear. Heavenly Father and Jesus and the Holy Ghost will be with us and guide and protect so that we don't have to worry about anything. I love that. I know that it's going to be hard in Ukraine but if I forget about myself like Kevin Buckner and many others have said go to work, then what is there to worry about. Heavenly Father will make everything work out. His way not my way, His timetable not mine.


Love Elder Young

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MTC Letter 10

So I have been here for 2 months and I have 2 weeks left and I am going to Ukraine.

This past week has been really cool. We had another Apostle come, this time Elder Ballard. That makes it three Apostles for the past three weeks. On Sunday night Sheri Dew spoke to us. It's so awesome having high up church officials coming and talking to us. I probably won't have this opportunity once I get to Ukraine, but you never know. Hopefully. Dad before I forget I had a Powerade this week with a Coke Rewards number I wrote it down in my planner but I forgot my planner this morning, weird, but I will make sure that it gets home and that you can have some more points. So yeah having members of the Quorm of the 12 come and talk to us is absolutely amazing. Mabye tonight another Apostle will come or even the PROPHET!!! That's kind of our joke around here is that when we are waiting in line to go into the gym to sit and listen we say aloud: "oh I heard that the Prophet is coming." So maybe this week he'll come but who knows.

On Monday we officially started speaking 100% Russian. It is hard because sometimes we can't express ourselves and so we just fall back on English. But the tutor here, Brother Hansen who served with Jason Freeman, said that if we can SYL (speak your language) then when we get to the field we'll be leaps and bounds ahead of those who didn't. So Elder Smith and I are trying our very hardest to only speak Russian to each other. Brother Hansen said some few words about it. Something that he said that really stuck out to me was that I shouldn't allow myself to speak English. Deal with it being hard and push through. Eventually it will be fun. It already is fun because 2 months ago I thought that speaking Russian would be impossible but really it's NOT. Heavenly Father has blessed me and prayers have been answered. It's so amazing to be a missionary today.

The other night we had a workshop and in the workshop we read a religious time line of the LDS church in Eastern Europe. Ukraine opened up for missionary work on July 1, 1991. 10 days before I was born. How crazy is that????? Heavenly Father has been preparing me all my life for this time to go and serve in Ukraine. Just think about it for a second, that's so crazy. The church is so young and naive in Ukraine. The teacher said that soon the first generation Mormons will start being born or something like that. It's so true. We are helping build up the kingdom of God. I love it.

I've been learning a lot. We've learned all of the grammar principles that we should need and now it's just a matter of mastering the principles. It shouldn't be too hard and now that we have to speak 100% Russian it will make some principles become second nature. The other day I was saying a prayer and then the next thing I know if was praying in Russian, my mind just switched and started praying in Russian. It's so crazy cool. Elder Smith and I have made a pact that we are always going to speak Russian. And the thought came to mind that if we do, we'll be really good at Speaking Russian by the time we leave for Ukraine.

Sounds like all is well back home and what not. Thank you soo soo much for the photos that you sent mom, as well as the socks and the small journal. Thank you so much. The photos are amazing. Seeing my family and my dogs and the new car was awesome. I like how Duke was just chillin' like a boss, that's cuz he is a boss. And Chloe was being silly as always. Erik's mullet is coming in quite nice..........and the car is gorgeous. Be safe and enjoy having fun with it. On the way to the Temple this morning I looked at Timp and saw that it was getting pounded with snow and that Provo Canyon was all in clouds. I told Elder Smith how cool it would be to drive up there. He said no because you wouldn't be able to see. Elder Smith is a cool kid we see things totally different but yet we get along quite well. The other day he told me a story about his college time and we just bonded it was awesome. This morning when walking back from the Temple he saw the BYU stadium and I saw the mountains across Utah Lake. He only saw the stadium and I saw the mountains. It was funny.

Love,
Elder Young

More Pictres from the MTC


Above: District 9B
Elder Young, Smith, Bangeter, Noren - all going to Ukriane
Sister Wilson, Margolias, Elder Bahr, Morris - all going to Russia

Below: Zone



Above: Elder Young and Elder Vargin -
A native Russian from Moscow, Supper funny and really tall.

Below: Ukraine 4ever!!




Above: Silly Elders

Below: Elder Young & Elder Young
I have a funny story about him



Above: Elder Chason & Elder Young
Florida Buddies

Below: Elder Bybee going to Russia.
He was my best friend from the older district. He's way cool.



Above: Elder Scoril & Elder Young
He's going to Donetsk

Below: Me (Elder Young) and a Native Ukrainian
His name is really big and I don't remember it.




Above: Random Photo of Me (Elder Young), weird....

Below: Elder Young & Elder Mills
My friend from Utah State going to Ukraine


Hope you liked the photos. All captions were provided by Elder Young.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MTC Letter 9

How crazy awesome cool is it to be alive?

This week has been really cool. Last Tuesday Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorm of the 12 Apostles came. You know the one that talks during General Conference, yeah that awesome cool Elder came. If you can recall way back like 3 weeks ago we had Elder Nelson come and speak. I was able to listen to two (2) members of the Quorm of the 12 talk in a week. It was awesome! Our district was the ushers for the time when Elder Scott came. It was pretty cool. I was holding up my hand with 4 fingers extended letting every one know that there were 4 (four) chairs available, then all of a sudden everyone stood up in unison. I turned my heard to see what was the cause of motion and I saw Elder Scott walking in. I think that I dropped my jaw because I was surprised that 2 (two) apostles would come back to back. It was awesome. He talked about the Holy Ghost and he all gave us a sheet about what he talked about. It was way so wicked awesome, not like wicked as in bad but as wicked as in totally awesome! It was a great talk. Through out the talk he have some apostolic blessings. He gave one to the sisters for safety and to everyone learning a new language that they would be able to learn quickly and effectively and bestowed upon them the Gift of Tongues. It was just amazing. It's a wonderful time to be a missionary. I love being a missionary.

This week has been really awesome and fun. A lot of things happened. Some members of our zone are having a tough time with things but we all come together as a zone and help one another out. It's so cool being a part of a loving, helping, awesome zone. The Zone Leaders are amazing, Elders Bangeter and Noren. They are busy being leaders but they do an amazing job. When there was the time when leadership opportunities need to be filled, Elder Smith and I thought that we might be the next ZL's but now we are so very greatful for our opportunity to not be ZL's. Yeah so life is good.

This morning I wanted to take my camera to the Temple because when we are done and then walk outside how glorious and beautiful the world is. I want to get a panaromic photo of the Temple moving North to Mount Timp and then accross Utak Lake. Every single time that I walk out I really wish that I could take a photo, but the White Handbook says no. "...I must obey..." From the last verse of the last chapter in 2nd Nephi. So I will not take a photo after our Temple session but hopefully this coming Sunday during the mixed feeling Temple walk I hope that I'll be able to snap the photos that I so desire. Question: The mixed feeling Temple walk.....Answer: Temple walks are great. They got canceled for the past two weeks because some Elders/Sisters had some family members coming to the Temple and they would converse. So they got cancelled. Thank you family for not coming. Elder Smith loves the Temple Walks and I sometimes like them. I like to go up there walk around see some other Elders and enjoy the surroundings and then go back to the classroom and read and study. The Temple walks are great but I think that I could use my time more effectively. Is that bad? I don't know. So yeah my little rant.

Yes I do play the piano if you were wondering. I play on Sundays during the hours of 4 to 5:45 ish. During that time I play musical arrangements and Church Hymns. The other Sunday I started learning a new musical arrangement. Secret Prayer is the title. During the time when I get to play the piano I LOVE IT SO MUCH OMGosh. I look forward to the time on Sundays when I'm able to "thrash" the piano keys with love and harmony. How great the joy is when my fingers gently press down on the ivory. I love playing the piano. Hopefully in Ukraine I'll be able to find some time to play the piano.

Oh yeah I do run during Gym. Thanks for asking. It's weird running in long shorts and long socks and my Sambas but hey running is running. Mom and those who did the Halloween Half Marathon, congrats. I usually run in the morning because at that time I don't have a lot of food in my tummy or none at all. So I run in the mornings for about 20 to 25 minutes. Which hopefully would be about 3 miles. The bummer about running here at the MTC is that inside it's 10 yes that's right 10 here I'll spell it out T-E-N. Ten (10) laps equals 1 yes O-N-E mile. I don't count laps, because that's childs play. I know how to count, why should I count when I run? That's just silly. So yeah I run for a while and get all sweaty and stinky but it's awesome. Running is necessary.

Family I hope that all is well for you back home. Hope that you're all still being silly like buying cars and what not, geeze. Anywho life is great. I have exactly 20 days left till my estimated departure. Thinking about that is totally awesome but yet there's still a lot to learn. Hopefully I won't let the departure become a distraction and that I can still stay focused on learning more about the Gospel and Russian. I saw Steven Metler last Wednesday that was cool. I saw Jesse Lewis, he's going to Germany. I see quite a few Springvillians around. Family I love you. I want you all to know that. Life is good. My goal for when I get to Ukraine is to love everyone like how Christ loved them, unconditionally. One of my teachers told me that loving people and becoming their friend is a trait that I have and that if I am able to develop it to where others will want to do what I ask them to do, great and marvelous things will happen. I love you Family.

Thanks for everything. Life is great. I love being a missionary, it's a lot of fun and hard work. I'm excited to get to Ukraine and hit the ground running and start working right away.
Do everything that is right always.

Love Elder Young