Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Donboss/Gorlvoka Letter 7


It's almost Christmas!!! It's the 19th and there is NO SNOW over here and today the temperature gauge said that it was about 6 degrees Celsius. That is quite warm. I don't know what is happening with this warm weather. It's kind of making me go crazy in the head because I thought that it was going to be cold, but in fact it's quite warm. Maybe I'm just always crazy in the head. Who knows....

This past week was a good quick week. It was transfer week and so that included some extra surprises. On Tuesday we met with some people so
Elder H could say goodbye to them. Nothing too special happened.
He was bummed that he had to leave this area. I remember way back when, when I was his age in the mission and I remember not really wanting to leave my first area because I liked it a lot. But eventually you have to grow up and move on. I've come to like all of my areas. Some other missionaries could say that I have served in the 'armpits' of the mission. There is only one more area and I have gotten all of the "bad" areas. I tend to think that all areas are good. This area that I am in now is great. There are a lot of people to talk to and we always have something to do.

On Wednesday night we went to THE best house in Ukraine. All of the houses, apartments, or living spaces here are relatively the same and so when we walked in we were surprised at what we saw. We as in Elder H, D, R and I. The members invited us all over because some of them were leaving. It was AMAZING!!! The house felt like an American home. Warm and loving and everything was amazing. Wow! I'm wondering how they got all of their stuff inside of that house and where from. Just simply amazing. We went and washed our hands before we ate and in the bathroom there was a Jacuzzi tub, and a shower box with many showerheads, bidea and a toilet. It was THE best bathroom
I've ever seen. Then we commenced with a meal, which they said is a 'real' Ukrainian meal. What ever it was it was very delicious. We talked and showed photos and had a great time. Then we talked about life and everything else and then it came time for us to come home. It was a night not to forget.

Thursday was transfer day. The bus came for Elder H and we loaded up his stuff and then came to the other Elders to grab Elder D and his luggage and then they all left. It was sad to see them go but life goes on. I'll probably never see Elder D again because he is all the way up in Sumi and since that makes a lot of sense for you he's about seven hours away by car travel...roughly. So I won't see him again and he's training again...meaning that I have a mission brother..That is to help you out if you're doing missionary genealogy. They all left and we waited for transfer meeting to occur and wait for the bus to come back so we could get our new companions. My new companion is Elder L.

He's awesome! I'm grateful for the chance to serve with him. I've only seen him once before and that was up in Kharvov for zone conference. He was up in Sumi so he came down. He was a fresh greenie. That was my first time seeing him. I knew of him but I didn't really know him. He's a bit taller than me, wears glasses, and has a shaved head...because he got a fellow missionary to cut it and he didn't do a good job. He's from Phoenix, Arizona. He went to BYU for a year, graduated high school in '10. It's crazy serving with younger kids. I'll probably have younger companions around me for the rest of the mission. That isn't bad because then there are more teaching opportunities and what not. When I found out that I was going to get Elder L I was a bit scared because I was going to 'wean' again. That is to be his second companion. That is sometimes a frightful thing but after I put some thought into it I wasn't so scared anymore and now I'm not scared. He's a great kid and is easy to get along with. We laugh and make jokes all the time. It's a good time right now, and I can't complain.

Friday we had district meeting and we had some good lessons taught about always having Christ near to our hearts...that's because we have nametags that have His name on it. We played some ping-pong as a bonding activity and Elder L is amazing at playing ping-pong. We then quickly came home and made some food. Elder L helped out which is nice.  It's nice having help in the kitchen. Then we went back to the church to have a lesson with an investigator that we found a while back. He speaks English very well and is pretty cool. He said that he got back from the recording studio because he is in a band playing drums and occasionally the bass guitar. That was way cool. From what we gained from our lesson with him he has a great head upon his shoulders. He has had interactions with missionaries for a very long time and knows about us. Hopefully we will be able to help him out and make the step and become a member and reap the blessings that are in store for him.

Saturday was a busy day just like everyday. We went to V and had a lesson with him. He's been hit-and-miss some times and so it was good to meet with him. Meeting with him can some times be a bit difficult because he knows everything and takes it all in so when it comes time to teaching some thing new...there really isn't some thing new to teach. We ended our lesson and he thought that we were gonna leave.... instead we sat there and shot the breeze with him for a while because he needs some good friends and then we left. Then we came back home and ate some leftovers and went to V and A for a lesson with them. They are good people and the lesson with them was great. They are people who love good things and they try and do good things and so they are great people. One of the many great things about them is that if you ask them to read the scriptures they will and get out great information from it. So we talked about the scriptures and gave half of a first lesson. We talked about good things in the world and that every good thing is from God. She agreed with us and then grabbed a newspaper and showed us a photograph of a smiley face made out of clouds and asked if it was from God. We said yes because it was a good thing. Then after some more discussion we left and came back home and made some white-chocolate chip cookies. They turned out to be way good and tasty.

Sunday was a long interesting day. Church was good and the usual. Gospel Principles never really has anyone in the class except some missionaries and some other members...that can get awkward some times. Priesthood was normal. Then came the most exciting part of the day. There is going to be a Christmas program put on by the branch and so we practiced for it.....for about 5 hours we practiced.  It provided for some laughs and then everything worked out....I guess. It was a good thing to participate in.

Life has been going great. I have been learning a lot of things lately. In 1 Nephi chapter 2 Lehi is talking to Laman and Lemuel about being like a river and a valley. If you want something to think about thing week think about a river and what it does to the land. I'm thankful for the love of the earth and how she works because rivers are quite fascinating. Rivers if they are continuous, just as was said by Lehi, always move.... then shape of the land but yet the flow of the river keeps on going. Yet the land may move and change, the river will always be flowing.... into the fountain of righteousness. I thought that it was interesting to me...maybe not so much to you all but that is something that I learned this week.

Also Elder L can do finger tip pull-ups on the small lip of a doorframe and he has been teaching me how to do them. He taught me that I need to have trust in myself and that I can to do. Now I can hang on my finger tips for some seconds and every now and then I can pull up to a 90 degree. It's pretty cool. I'm learning a lot and having a lot of fun and laughing of course. Thanks for all that you have done for me.

Love Elder Frank

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Donboss/Gorlvoka Letter 5


On Monday it was P-day, if you guessed that it wasn't you were wrong. That night we had a lesson with a member present. That was probably my first time on the mission when we called a member and asked if they could come on a lesson with us. It was pretty cool because she could do some of the talking and when we don't know what is going on they can answer the question and say the best thing ever. So we had that lesson with them and learned some new things about the people. The mother has a problem or is curious about why there are mental health problems in the world because her son has a minor health problem but yet is functional. It was a good lesson and we learned about their needs and how we can help them more. She started off with saying that she had a 'vision or a dream' about something and she wanted us to try and interpret the dream. Good thing we had a member because I was confused about what she said and the member was also a bit confused by it but said that we probably wouldn't be able to interpret the dream.

Tuesday we were busy. We went to our investigators place and talked with him, V. We are just waiting for First Presidency approval till we can baptize him, and also he needs to come to church. We met with him and talked with him. He is doing good and still trying to change his life for the better. We met with an older woman who has met with missionaries before. She is very smart and loves to study. She has a Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Principles book, and all the pamphlets. She has read the Book of Mormon a couple of times and everything else. She is pretty smart with the knowledge from it. Then after the lesson she gave us some borsch, Russian soup. She gave it to us because she asked us what we are doing with the rest of the day and we said that we are going home to eat a little bit and clean up the apartment because we have cleaning checks. She asked us if we were hungry and of course we said yes, and then she warmed up some borsch and gave it to us. It was good...then we had some tea...then we had some cake. This is one of many cool things about Ukrainians, is that they are great hosts when guests come over. They treat guests nicely. Then after our dinner/lunch we went home and cleaned up some more and waited till the people came to do clean checks. It was quick, thank goodness, and then they left. Later that night we went to a dinner appointment and they also gave us some borsch and some 'dumplings' and some filled-crepes. It was all good food and when we were done I was completely full.

Wednesday was a good day just like everyday. We had a lesson with N, probably the most happiest lady in the branch. She is hard of hearing but yet sweet as can be. We talked about faith, hope, and charity with her. We read from Ether 12:27-31 and discussed it. Because of her hard of hearing she answered about how great the Book of Mormon is, not about faith, hope, and charity. We ran with it and talked about the greatness of the Book of Mormon. Later that night we had a lesson with V again, he invited us over when we went yesterday, we thought that we were gonna have a good lesson with him about why he hasn't been coming to church and what not but when we got there he had a friend over and then some more friends came over. It was a bit awkward because we felt like we crashed his party and we didn't want to intrude anymore and so we left and he said that he was gonna come to church and everything else. 

Thursday we went back into Donetsk for some more doctor appointments for me. We got in and then met up with Elders P and A and we went to the doctors. After the doctors appointment we went to the office to pick up my CHRISTMAS PACKAGE!!! We chatted with the office staff and then made our way back to Gorlovka. We dropped off the package and then raced to the church to have district meeting. We had a good meeting. We read from Ether about the Brother of Jared and his challenge of having light (Holy Ghost) across the sea (mission). We talked about that and learned some good new things. Then we had to bounce out a bit early because we had a lesson with S. We have tried meeting with him before but it never worked out. Some how the other Elders got his phone number and called him and made a lesson with him but found out that he was in our area. We were happy about that because we got fed a lesson. On our way over we realized where we were walking and we knew that it was the guy we tried earlier in the transfer. We got to his place and had a lesson with him. He's awesome! He and I are very similar I feel like. He loves to ride bikes and run. Oh my word! That is exactly what I did before I left on the mission. So he and I can talk about that and life is good. He's a very nice man probably mid-30's I'd say. We talked about the temple and that there is one in Kyiv and what the temple is.

Friday is transfer call day. Elder H wondered where he was going to get transferred but he wasn't sure when they would call. He called some other people wondering if they got their phone calls but they didn't. We waited some more and then the AP's called and told him that he would be leaving. He was a bit saddened by that, but it's good to get out of our greenie area and go and do new things. Then comes the part where some missionaries go crazy and that is trying to figure out where you go. Sometimes the AP's will give clues as to where you could go or who you will be with. My clue was Sacagawea and so I thought about that and then put it together and came to the answer that I'll be weaning again. I'll be weaning Elder Lewis. That should be fun, I'm looking forward to it. Elder Harris is going to XT3, where I just came from. That should be fun for him...

After some thinking about it we went to a lesson with a less active member and she too gave us some borsch. This borsch was a bit sketchy for me and I didn't really eat it. I spooned it, ate some, but not a lot. We talked about the Book of Mormon and we committed her to read 3 Nephi 18 about the Sacrament and have her come to church. She said that she would. Then we contacted around the city for a while and then grabbed some food and did our weekly planning and figured out what Elder Harris wants to do for his final week here. We then waited for our zone leaders to come over and start our split. I went with Elder Z to his area. It was nice getting out of my area for a while. 

Saturday morning there was another baptism! A is his name, he's a great guy and the branch loves him. He got a warm loving welcome from them. It was nice to see. Elder D baptized him...twice....because he didn't go all the way down the first time....because he's big guy. Luckily the second time it all worked out and he was baptized! While we were waiting for them to come back after changing clothes there was some time to bear testimony about baptism. I got up and bore my simple testimony about baptism talked about my baptism in the creek in Wyoming. It was pretty cool and I felt the Spirit for sure. I need to work on getting up in Fast Sundays and bearing my testimony. I'm one who doesn't really like to get up and talk to people but yet when I do I kind of enjoy the moment and then when I'm done I feel good inside. I'll be working on that till the end of the mission. We had some treats afterwards and then talked with the members for a while. After that we all went and got pizza and talked about the mission and how great it is. Then we all split up and went back to our areas. Elder Z and I talked about life, the mission, and everything else. He likes to bake and he made some lemon cookies and some pudding. The pudding was very thick because he wanted to add more starch....it was different but good. 

Sunday was good. We had church like always. When we started singing the piano worked fine for the first hymn, but on the second hymn it cut out and stopped halfway through. That made singing the third hymn very interesting because the chorister didn't give an introduction and started singing right away. Most of the people didn't know the song and so it sounded very awful...but yet heavenly at the same time. Church was pretty good. The branch has changed since the beginning of the transfer. The branch seems to be happier and there is a better spirit about it. After church we waited until because they were going to show the Christmas broadcast and during the time of waiting we talked with a really cool member, Brother A. He's way cool and loves the missionaries. All the missionaries were gathered around him and we talked about everything it was pretty cool. Then we watched the broadcast in the family history room because that was the only place where we could have watched it in English. It was a good conference and I liked what Uchdorf or Eyring talked about light and how that is Christ. It's very interesting about how light and Christ can be changed in the Book of Mormon and still make sense. Christ is the light of the world. I just thought that it was interesting. 

Life is going well for me.

Love Elder Frank




Monday, November 28, 2011

Donboss/Gorlovka Letter 4

This past week was a good one and we had a really good Thanksgiving feast. I'll start with that first.

So I'm not sure when Thanksgiving is for you all but for us it was Thursday 24. Maybe it was the same day for you...who knows....I bet it was I'm trying to make a joke...laugh. We all got together in our small little city, all six of us, we got together at the Zone Leaders apartment and we started our big huge feast. We spent about 700 griven on this meal, that's quite a bit. That is more than what we get a week as a companionship. So with all of this money we bought TWO turkeys, veggies, fruit, and everything else you might not might need for this great feast day. When we arrived the chefs pulled out the turkeys from the oven and basted them again and then put them back in the oven for a little bit more time. WOW is all I can say. When was the last time you saw six 20 something year old boys put on a Thanksgiving feast? Probably never...but I can tell you this, it was AMAZING!!! The turkeys were deliciously cook/baked, the fruit salad was amazing, the various other salads were amazing, the mashed taters were tasty, and the rolls were good. Everything was good. It was and will be the best meal that I ever have on my mission. So much food! We sat around and I said a typical Young family prayer and we then started devouring the food. We each had two plates and we filled them up to the top till gravy started pouring off the side, well that is what happened to me, and we ate till we couldn't no more. Oh my goodness it was so good.  Holidays as a missionary are awesome because you come closer with those around you and you have maybe a little bit more fun than you would back home. It's pretty cool being out here for the holidays. I'm excited for Christmas! After eating till we couldn't move we sat around to let the food settle and then we went outside and threw a football around for a while. Remember we're American and this is our holiday, we had to be as American as possible. Some youth came and threw the football with us, it was their first time ever seeing a ball like that and throwing it. It was pretty fun to teach them how to throw and laugh with them. Ukrainian people aren't afraid to try new things I feel like. They just walked up to us and asked if they could throw the ball. Who would do that back home? Walk up so random people and start playing with them? After some throwing of the pigskin we came back in and ate some pumpkin and apple pies. Oh so good. They were really dense and eating them was a bit of a challenge but yet so tasty. We really had a feast and so much food. So much food that we are going again today to finish what we didn't eat the first time. After eating the pies we sat around and said what we are thankful for. The Book of Mormon, my family, the opportunity to be a missionary, all the good things in Ukraine, and so on. It was a good Thanksgiving. It was fun talking with the younger missionaries because we, the older missionaries, said that next year we are gonna have a better Thanksgiving feast because we'll all be home whilst they will be here.

This week we had lessons and doing this and that as per usual because we are missionaries! The following day we had a really good lesson with some investigators. Before we went over we had a good open talk about the Holy Ghost. Persistence came to mind. Keep on going when life just seems too hard and you wanna throw in the towel and give up. There is a story in the Book of Mormon that always comes to mind every now and then. It's about some group of -ites and how they are trying to get away from the Lamanites but they get recaptured and they have all of these problems. Then it says that God wanted to see how they would react and wanted to try their faith. Every time I think about my triall(s) I think about this story and what they did. They kept on going and they chose the right and did all that was good and then they were rewarded for their good faith. When I think that life is a bit too hard for me I think about peristaining through the hard times and enduring and expecting the blessings that are in store for me. After this good talk we had I also thought that maybe I'm maturing in the way I feel the Holy Ghost. I sometimes feel the Holy Ghost but now I really haven't felt him it's been more or less hearing him and having thoughts that are not mine come to me. It's a new change and it was throwing me for a loop because I wasn't used to it. After this good talk we went to our lesson and it was great. It was with V and her son A. They are very humble people but are game to knowing more and changing with the Gospel. Earlier last week we stopped by and gave them the task of reading 3 Nephi 18. When we came back they said that they read it and then we started talking about it. They really understood it and it was awesome hearing their knowledge about it. Then the thought came to mind get them to be baptized. I wasn't sure how I was gonna do that because I couldn't change the topic like that on a dime so I asked her if she has got an answer about the Book of Mormon being true. She said yes and then I asked her if she has ever thought about baptism. They said no and then we asked them to pray right then and there asking Heavenly Father if they should they should get baptized. We all got down on our knees and prayed and then they prayed. They asked and then waited....and waited...they said that they got no answer and that they thought that it meant that they weren't ready. We talked about how the Holy Ghost works and then got out because it was super spiritual and we didn't want to take away from the spiritual high. When walking back home we talked about how it went, we both thought that it was going to end differently. We both got the same thought that they should be baptized but who they reacted to it was different. We thought for sure they would accept baptism but they didn't. I was a bit angry with myself because I should have worded the invitation better. I should have said "will you be baptized' instead of having them pray about it. Hopefully they'll still be game and next time we'll just ask them to be baptized. It was a good learning experience.

A funny story this week: Elder D and I went on a split.

Funny huh???? Yes Elder D and I went on a split celebrating our one year anniversary of when we first met and started working together. Can you believe it that it's already been one year?? Yes the split...we had to go to the church on Saturday morning because I needed to do an interview for baptism and then we went to the small city away by train. When we got there we figured out when we had to be back at the train station to catch the next train and then we were off. It was Elder D first time going out there  and I showed him around and then we had our lesson. When we got to the building where she leaves it was dark outside. So we walk inside and expect to have some light on, but we guessed wrong. Remember the Sister is blind...and so she doesn't know if it's dark or bright out. In her room we walk in and look at one another and kind of laugh but keep in the giggles. I look around for a light switch. I flip the switch....nothing...try again...nothing. Remember she's blind so how is she gonna know if it's dark or bright inside. We take off our coats and sit down. I remember that I grabbed my headlamp that morning and threw it in my bag so when I remembered that I grabbed it and threw it on and we had a headlamp-light lesson. It was pretty interesting and all worked out. We just giggled to ourselves and had a good lesson with her. After the lesson we talked about it and thought that if we just came from America and that was the first thing we did as a missionary we would be freaked out and maybe not continue. It was pretty crazy. But since we have been here for a while and we some what know to accept the crazy we weren't put off and all was well. Then we got some food and walked back to the train station. There we waited for a while and then our train finally pulled up. We got on and then waited for it to move. We waited for about two and a half hours. It was a not the best thing. The train isn't the most comfortable place to sit and it was a bit crowded. The reason we waited so long is because further down the tracks there was a broken train. Finally the train started moving and we got home with about thirty minutes to spare before we were supposed to be inside and SLEEPING. We didn't get home until 10 that night. Yes it was pretty late.

The rest of the week has been good. We have a baptism coming up this week. There will be two men getting baptized! That is pretty cool. The work is going on here in Gorlovka. I like being here and I hope that I get to stay another transfer and not leave. There has been some talk that some crazy things will happen because of the 'greenies' not getting visas that people could move and our place could become a sister missionary apartment again. That would be cool...but at the same time not really because we have so much going on and we meet with other men so they wouldn't be able to meet with them and yeah. I would really really like to stay another transfer here.


Elder Frank



Donboss/Gorlovka Letter 3


Monday was a good day, that night for "FHE" we went to one of our investigators and had talked with him. We are waiting for First Presidency approval until we can baptize him. We were talking with him and his friend was there and then his friend started asking some good questions and we started teaching him. We talked about the Book of Mormon and prayer and what it all is. He was asking how we pray because we said a prayer before we started the lesson, that's what started the questions. People here when they are done praying say "..in the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, amen." It's a bit awkward hearing that but they are all Russian Orthodox and that is how they pray. So he was asking why we only say in the name of Jesus Christ. Then we asked him how did Jesus pray? We pray in the name of Jesus Christ because he told us to and that is the way. He was in agreement with that and said that it was right. Then he asked why there are so many churches and we tried to explain to him the reasoning but he wasn't  so interested in our answers he really liked asking questions. Then he went off about being with girls and having sex before marriage and doing not the best thing and he wanted to know what our stand was. It was a bit awkward talking about that because he was using a lot of slang that I didn't understand and so we just said what we knew simply and left it up to him to decide. He said that he was interested and would like to meet some more so we are hoping that this week we'll be able to meet with him and help. 

Tuesday night we started a split and I went to the other Elders area. We have three sets of Elders in the District, Elders R and F, then the zone leaders-D and Z, and finally Elder H and I. I went to Elder F and we had a good time. We taught that night a lesson to a wife of a member who is an investigator (confused...the wife isn't a member but the husband is). I was 'junior companion' for the split and so I sat there and talked when I had to talk. We read a scripture and then Elder F was about to close the lesson, but before he closed it I started talking and we talked more and more about Christ and his purpose and what he did so we all could return back to him. I'm grateful for the member that he spoke up and started answering the questions that his wife had. She was a bit confused about the purpose of Christ and the Atonement. Her husband made the analogy of the debtor and creditor and made it super simple and it was awesome. We learned more about the investigators needs brought the Spirit. Then we came home and talked about the lesson more and then made some more food to eat. 

Wednesday we had some lessons and talked some more. The area that I was in was really small but yet they have a lot of members in their area and so we met with some members and did some work. We met with an older woman. We met that night with a less-active youth, who is really cool. He got back from a vacation and he said that whilst on the vacation he and his girlfriend broke up. But the way he said it in Russian (translated) my girlfriend quit. Elder Fr has been on the mission for a while, five transfers, but didn't quite pick up what he was saying and said 'cool'. NO NO NO NO NO!!!! NOT COOL!!!! Then the youth looked at him and said 'cool?' then I told him what he said and he was a bit embarrassed about that. Good 'ol Russian making us have some hard times not understanding, sure do love it!!! We talked about the parable of the talents and talked about what talents we had. He was still feeling a bit depressed but when he started talking about his talents he seemed to lighten up a bit and everything turned out  better. He wasn't feeling so depressed by the time we left. 

Thursday we planned on having district meeting later because we were gonna have to be at the church later that day and so we didn't want to go in the morning and then leave and then come back so we planned that we could stay at the church for a while and everything would fall together. We had a good district meeting in the chapel. I'm glad that we had it there because we were a bit more reverent and it felt better. Elder R talked about being the best you can be and not to worry about what other people think about it. He gave an analogy of a doughnut and how they cut out the hole and then the doughnut is then unique. He was telling us to be you and be grateful for the differences that you have and to not worry about it. It was a good lesson. Then after that we played some SET and talked a bit. We ended a bit early and we had an hour before our missionary night was about to start. We decided to go and get some food and then come back in time for it to start. We left and grabbed some food and then came back and waited for members to show up. About 10 minutes of waiting since it was going to start, no one shows up; more time goes by, still no one shows up. We realize that no one is going to come and so we talk some more and then it's late and we come back home. 

Friday we go to Donetsk for a special meeting for all the missionaries. How we got there was a bit interesting. We walked down the street and found a guy who yells "car to Donetsk" and told him that we wanted to go to Donetsk and had us walk over to a car and hop in and then we paid the driver and then he drove us to the edge of Donetsk. It was pretty interesting we rode with some other people and eventually got to Donetsk. In the back of my mind I was a little bit afraid that I we weren't going to Donetsk and the driver was going to drop us off in the middle of no where and scam us for money. Luckily that didn't happen and we got to the edge of Donetsk and then we had to ride a really crowded bus into Donetsk and then hop on another bus and ride to the mission office where the meeting was going to be. It was good to see all of the other Elders again and to talk with them. We talked about being a good mission and working hard and doing the work. We had President Bennett come by earlier this year and a question was asked about winter time and what to do because it gets dark around 4:45 p.m. or earlier and then everybody is inside and no one is on the streets. We got a return letter from the head of the missionary department and they said that we need to be proselyting from 6 to 9 p.m. everyday. It's a bit of a heartache because that is a long time to be outside in the cold doing work, but we will do it. The rest of the meeting was good and we discussed as missionaries what to do better and about the work. It was cool to see us all come together and talk about a topic and work with one another. Before we left to come back to Gorlovka I met with President Compero and talked with him about how my life is going and what not.  He's a wonderful man and is super spiritual. 

Saturday morning we woke up early again and went to the little city a ways away and met with a member. We take a small little train and ride it for about an hour. When we get there we take our tags off and we can't proselyte because we don't have government permission so we walk to the members house and then after that get something to eat and then come back to our area. We talked about the Articles of Faith with the member, we read them to her because she is blind. At church she wears sunglasses because she has a big hole where her left eye should be and her right eye is closed shut. It was a bit weird and I felt awkward for staring but then I remember what Elder Harris said about staring, you can stare all you want because she won't know. How true it is. The member is awesome and isn't afraid of anything and is pretty self supported. She boiled some water and brought it in and we had some tea and then we read to her the Articles of Faith. She said that they were all good and true and liked them. Then we ended by singing a hymn and left a word of prayer. We knew when the next train was going to leave but when we looked at our watches mid-lesson the train was leaving so we had some time to kill before the next train was going to leave. It was fun, we walked around the small city and found a big outdoor market and walked around and saw the masses of people buying things. Then we bought some food from a grocery store and then found a park bench and ate our bread and drank some Coca-Cola light. Oh it's so good. Then we went back up to the train station and looked at the board for our next train. The next train back to Gorlovka wasn't until another two or three hours but there was another train that almost got back to Gorlovka but we were unsure if we had to take a bus to get back home. We asked some train-station people and they said that we could get back home. When we tried to buy some tickets they told us to run outside because the train was there and was about to leave in two minutes. So we quickly get out and run to the train and then when we get in and find a seat and sit down the train starts to leave. We bought a ticket on the train and then waited to get back close to home. We eventually had to take a bus home but, we got home earlier than the other train would have gotten us home. I was grateful for that because being in that small city is cool but we can't be missionaries and so that isn't so much fun. Then we went to the church for a music night and that was interesting because it was a member who can shred on the guitar and Elder Rooney who can improvise songs really easy. So it was them who played together and we listened. There were a few members who showed up and we had one investigator come. The members were a bit upset because the music night lasted about 40 minutes and they wanted it to last longer, beggars can't be choosers right? Then we talked with the investigator and asked him to come to church tomorrow and he said that he would because he wanted to see how we did church. That was cool and then it was late and we all went home. 

Sundays are getting better for me. We went to church early because since I'm the district leader we get to meet with the branch president and talk with him about missionary work. But he was in a meeting and when we heard through the door he was meeting with the district president and some others. So we didn't know if they already started Branch Counsel without us or what. So we sat waiting for them to finish. Then Elder Harris said that we should probably be in there and so we knocked on the door and they let us in. They were talking about this and that and then they turned to us and had us report on missionary work. We told them of a baptism that is coming up and then the district president told the branch presidency that there is now a lot of work to do so that everything will work out. Then the meeting ended and we waited for our investigators to show. We called the guy who is supposed to get baptized soon but he said that he forgot about church and said that he was going to be late. I felt that we should move the baptism because he was going to be late. So I told the branch president that if our investigator doesn't show up, don't announce the baptism because it'll be moved to another day. It wasn't too fun saying that but when we were planning this date of baptism I had in the back of my mind that it was too early for him and that he wasn't going to be able to make it that early and that we were gonna have to push it to another date. Then towards the end of Sacrament meeting he showed up but it was a little bit too late. We met with him after Sunday School and talked with him about the reason for us changing his baptism date and asked him how he was going following the Word of Wisdom. He said that he is doing a lot better and that he's sorry that he came late to church. He's a good guy and knows that he needs to be there at church and then he can get baptized. After church we walked the blind lady back to the train station and dropped her off in front of the train doors and then walked away. It felt really really weird leaving her there but that is how the procedure happens. Then we came home and made a good dinner which was 'steak', mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and happiness. It was probably the best meal that I've had in a really long time. It was good. Then we had some study time and then we talked about the companionship and how we are doing. 

Elder Frank 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Donboss/Gorlovka Letter 2


This past week has been quite interesting. Snow finally hit the ground. I remember waking up and looking outside and seeing snow falling. I really couldn't believe my eyes. I thought that it wasn't going to snow for a bit longer, not till mid-December or something. Oh well with the new snow came some new excitement. Oh where to begin with this exciting past week I had here in Gorlovka? 

Monday we went to our investigator and had a quick lesson with him. He is doing good. Maybe I've told you about him, we're waiting on approval so he can be baptized. That approval should come pretty soon...we hope. Mondays aren't that exciting to report on because all we do is go shopping and write emails home and then figure out some activity and that is about our day. We got an increase in missionary money so we can start buying more food and eating better. I have started to buy some more vegetables and fruits and eat healthier....

Tuesday was 8th if you were wondering. Our investigator had to go to Donetsk to meet with President Compero and so we met up with him and gave him some money so he could get there and then we did some contacting for a while and then returned back home and finished studies and got something to eat. We talked to this one lady who asked us why we meet on Sundays and not Saturdays. Thank goodness for confusing words in Russian and calendars and free agency because it's all confusing and doesn't make sense. The word for Saturday means The Sabbath....so they all meet on "The Sabbath" or Saturday. After some talking about that she said that we need to study more about our church and think things over. I think that she might have been a J-Dub because there are TONS of them here always walking around and trying to talk to people. When contacting it makes it a bit more hard because it's been beat down and by other missionaries so contacting on the streets isn't too much fun, but yet I still find a way to have fun. That night we had a lesson with some members and they gave us some food, which is always really nice. They gave us some Борщ and some other food. I will tell you this that it was a bit hard to get it all down and in, good think you sent some Pepto-Bismal mom so all is well. People here are really nice when they feed you but sometimes that niceness doesn't make it all the way to their food and their food is just a little bit okay, but yet some how edible.

On Wednesday we had a few lessons this day. We met with N. She is a super special soul. I guess you could say that she has some special abilities that no one really else has in the world. She is pretty much legally deaf, so teaching to her is a bit interesting. When we came to her and started teaching, we taught about prayer. I always forget at the beginning of the lesson that she is really hard of hearing and so I talk normal to her, then I look at her and she has the look of not knowing anything and looking at you for the answer. Then I rephrase the question or sentence thinking that I didn't say it right which made her confused, and she still gives me the look of what? Then I remember and then I talk really loud at her and then she barely hears me and then answers. It's quite an experience. I'm learning a lot here. 

Then later that night we had a lesson with some really smart lady who went to California to get a Master's degree in Southern Literature. I'm not sure how that could help you do something over here, but she loves it and so I'm not gonna think other wise. We met with her and tried to find out some more information about her wants and needs from meeting with us. I was having some trouble staying awake because I was really tired and sometimes at the end of the day you are just really tired and you need to sleep. When she was talking and talking I was trying so hard to stay awake and listen to what she had to say. My blinks got to be longer and longer, then some how I was awake. Maybe it's because the sun goes down so early and it's cold that trying to stay awake for that long is hard, I don't know. Missionary work wears me out. 

Thursday was an interesting day. We had district meeting for a while because our investigator showed up. I'll give more on that later. For district meeting we had the Zone Leaders give us some new information about the mission because there was just zone leaders counsel. They talked about some new resources that we have now and that we are becoming a better mission and life is picking up. There is a good talk out there which talks about leadership and management. We changed from management to leadership and the mission is great. Back do district meeting...so we are talking and then our phone rings and we are told that our investigator will be there in about ten minutes...a bit too early so we take a break and we meet with our investigator. He called us a few days before and said that he really wants to meet again and so we finally had a time to meet. He said that he really wants to be baptized and wants to have the Holy Ghost in his life. So....we put him on date to be baptized in a couple of weeks. He has been taught everything and has come to church so basically all we have to do is clear up some things and help him life the commandments of God. He should be good to go by the 26 of November because that is when he is supposed to get baptized. After our lesson we went back to D.M. and talked some more and then it was over. 

Friday we had planned for some service in the morning but when we called to solidify if it was going to happen, we were told that service was not going to happen. So we didn't do have service but we got together and made some scones instead. It was good to have the Elders over and make some food and laugh and come closer. That is something that I wish could happen a bit more on the mission-making some good strong relationships and know who I'm working with out here. When we are all happy and we can feel each other's  love for one another, it's a lot better out here. I have a testimony about the brotherhood that exists out here and that when we are together the mission is better. After the scones we went to a less-active man and had a lesson with him. He is an interesting man who has some stories. He was in the hospital for a while and I think had some surgery. Any ways he's a bit bitter but then he warms up and is a nice guy. I was warned of this but then when I experienced him for the first time it was completely different it felt like. We read some verses with him and he got all upset about the children of Israel.

Saturday we met up at the church because we are doing a music night and we had to meet with the guy putting it on and review what was going to happen and what we are going to do. Elder R can jam on the piano and he is teaching me how to do some improvisation, which is awesome because that is what I've been wanting to be able to do. It's the "5 finger pattern" and with that you can do anything. It's pretty cool and hopefully by the end of my mission I should be able to jam. Then we made our way to a distant city where a member lives. I was looking forward to this trip because I've been told many good things about this place and the member and how wonderful it all is. So we hop on a "train" and spend about an hour getting there. Halfway through the trip Elder H tells me to call the member and let her know that we are coming to her. When I call her she says that she isn't home. That's okay because the next train that comes back home isn't until another three hours so.........we can't proselyte in that city because we don't have permission from the government which means that we can't really be missionaries and so we walk around and explore more of the little city. I'm not sure how to spell the city name translated so sorry. We walk around and see the few one or two sights the city has to offer and then we wait at the train station for the next "train" to come back. Eventually the "timely" train comes and we come back home exhausted and go right to sleep. 

Sunday was a good day. We had to go to church early because I had to give missionary work information to the branch president because I'm the district leader. So I gave a report to him and then waited for church to start. The branch here is pretty good and nice. They have enough members to do everything so the missionaries don't have to worry about anything and we are able to sit and bring some investigators. Testimony meeting here is always interesting. For Sunday School we were talking about sign of the Second Coming and we had an investigator there.  After Sunday School our investigator asked if we could meet because he was leaving soon. So we had a quick lesson with him. He's the one getting baptized soon. He has a problem with drinking coffee and tea so we tried to help him understand that it's not good to drink those. He looked as if he understood and said that he would live the Word of Wisdom. When we started talking about the Word of Wisdom Elder H asked him "what does the word of wisdom mean?" He thought that it meant good smart knowledge that is passed down from one generation to the next. I had to laugh to myself because technically that is right. Oh good 'ol church words that we have that no one else really has. Then after church we met with the one less-active and talked about the Sacrament with him and then gave him the Sacrament and then came home and made some lasagna. That turned out well and was really tasty. 

I feel like I'm going to be learning a lot here in Gorlovka. 

Thanks for all that you have all done for me. You're all wonderful and amazing and I love you all so much. Thanks for the emails, the packages, the love, and the prayers. I love you all and miss you. 

Love Elder Frank

Monday, November 7, 2011

Donboss/Gorlavka Letter 1


So yes I got transferred. This past transfer was a 7 weeker instead of a 6 weeker. I'm not sure why but that is what I know. Some elders got delayed and that is true. I only knew that they went to Arizona..but still that stinks that they are having some visa troubles. I heard from other missionaries, so I'm not sure how accurate the information is, but that Ukraine has made it really hard for others to get visas. There was some court case between the church and Ukraine so that the church could send missionaries here on two year visas so they don't have to send us to Bulgaria. The church won and got two year religious visas but Ukraine doesn't have religious visas anymore....so that is probably why some of the elders are stuck back in the states. My group that got back from Bulgaria we all have different visas from everybody else. I've looked at it for a while and there are some differences about it. I think that I have up to 7 re-entries...so maybe I have to leave every now and then so my visa renews because it also says something about 90 days. It's kind of crazy to think about and figure out what the mission is gonna do, it could end up like Russia and we have to leave all the time. That wouldn't be too much fun.
 
So I guess you would like to know what is up and what is going on. I'm now down in the Donboss. My feelings are a little bit indifferent about it because Kharkov is just amazing. Oh well beggars can't be choosers. The bus ride down wasn't so bad as I thought and remembered it being. We had a big bus because we had about 10 people coming down with luggage and then some others coming down for a counsel. We talked and laughed the whole way down. Then eventually we got to the office building and had some time to talk with other Elders and then we had transfer meeting. During the time before I was able to talk with Elder Pulsipher. He is doing good and it was great to talk with him. We shared some laughs and talked about what could happen. For transfers you have no clue what could happen and who could go where. So it freaks you out. . Eventually transfer meeting happened and we all found out where we are going. President Compero had us all stand up and stand next to the wall and then when you found out where you are going you go sit down. They announced Kharkov first and then the Donboss. Eventually people were sitting down and then I was one of six people left. It got a bit scary because of what could happen and where I could go. I was relieved because there was a buddy still left and we thought that we could be serving together. His name is Elder Rooney, I'll talk more about him later. So then eventually my name is called and I go sit down. I'm serving in a small satellite city called Gorlavka. I was told that the work is a bit dead and there really isn't much going on. Yay!!! Not a lot of people want to serve over here...I'm one of the few and the proud to get the honour to serve here. Boo ya!!! We loaded up a bus and then drove the hour or so out here to the great thriving metropolis of Gorlavka and found my apartment and unpacked. My companion is Elder Harris from Davis area..well that is where he went to high school. He's only in his third transfer, so I'm weaning him as we call it in the mission. His Russian is amazing, they are doing a new teaching method in the MTC and they pretty much come out fluent. It's gonna be a good transfer. I'm following him around for the first part because I have no clue what is going on. I'm picking up more and more about the area and it's alright. We are in the center of the city which is nice. We had TV church on Sunday because there was a broadcast from SLC with Elders Oaks, Uchtdorf and Whitney Clayton and Sister Thompson. It was a good session, they talked about having a temple recomend and paying a full tithe and serving missions and having a temple mission. The leaders weren't so easy with how they said things because it was pretty straight forward and called the members to better action, but it's good for them.
 
Gorlavka is going to be pretty interesting because there are only six elders out here. My zone leaders are Elder Duke and his comp Elder Zsemberry. Yes the same Duke that trained me about a year ago. It's pretty cool being around him a year ago and seeing the progression that I have made since then. Then there is me and Elder Harris and the other elders are Elder Rooney and Elder Frandsen. Rooney was trained by Elder Pulsipher and is just a chill good funny kid. We already know each other by association and have had a few chances to talk with one another. I'm excited to serve around him and get to know him better. He'll be a good friend after the mission. Mission life is going great, I'm still District Leader over here and doing the normal things. I think that I'm getting set up to train next transfer, that's a bit scary...kind of. We'll just have to wait and see what really happens.
 
I can't believe that time is really moving by so quickly. Elder Rooney is in his fourth transfer and that is when I was with Elder Pulsipher and now I'm in my ninth transfer. I only have about six more to go and then it's home. It's crazy to think that the mission is going to end. Life out here is a lot different from back home. I'm grateful to be out here and working hard and having struggles with the people, life and the Russian language. Thank you for your prayers and all that you have all done for me. I love you a lot.
 
Love Elder Frank Young

Monday, October 31, 2011

Transfer's


As you can tell in my spare time I've been learning Spanish. It's quite easy. Acutally I was talking to some member who knows a little bit of Spanish and we were talking about some words and then President Compero was at church. I should have spoke some Spanish with him but I didn't, instead he spoke Russian with me.
 
This past week has been good, we've doing a lot of things and we've been going everywhere. We have a lot going on too.
 
Last Monday was the last Pday for some Elders and so we got to say goodbye to them and have some last minute photos and what not. It's weird that people are going home. They came back from Bulgaria when I came into country. The time has flew since then. Oh it's so crazy.
 
Tuesday we had some lessons. I called someone that morning to try and set up a lesson for the next day but they said to come over in a couple of hours and have a lesson. It was the member family who knows Chris [Elder Young's cousin who served in the same mission]. They are awesome and we were able to have a good lesson and talk about life and everything else. When we start talking it some how always ends up us talking about our future families and how many kids we'll have. The sister is pretty darn kid hungry and would love to have another baby around the house. After a while there we went to another lesson with another member and then booked it to the church for a lesson with A. He's doing good. We lent some DVD's to him so he could watch more about the church and what not. He's a champion. Did you know that at age 17 he was the champion wrestler in his age group in Ukraine. He's a beast. We talked about the Book of Mormon with him and helped him to read it more and what not. He said that he wants to read the whole book, that's great! Hopefully he'll decided to get baptized too.
 
Wednesday we were told that we shouldn't set up any lessons because clean checks were gonna happen. They didn't want anyone to leave their apartment when the people tried to come over and check. It was a bummer because we couldn't set up any lessons and so when we were done with clean checks we really didn't have much to do. Good thing all of Ukraine was on holiday for the week so we were able to squek in some lessons with some people and talk with them. Clean checks...something I'm not a big fan of. The checkers just go crazy and check every stinkin corner of the house and if there is one speck of dirt then you get docked on some points and then they recap the check and then you just feel bad because you got told that you didn't do a good job but in fact the night before you spent the whole night cleaning and that morning. Then I think to myself. What's more important, Salvation or a clean apartment???
 
Thursday was our last district meeting as a full complete district. It was interesting. We were gonna talk about how to be a successful missionary but the spiritual thought from one of the Elders went a little bit too long, such as the whole meeting. We talked about the spirit world and all that could happen after death. I really don't care about the diagrams and what not after life and the check-list for doing this and going there. For me it's extremely simple. Keep the rules, go to the temple, be baptized and live a good life according to the church standards and then you'll end up back with God and in the Celestial Kingdom; it's that easy. We were talking about doing this and doing that and accepting the Gospel and rejecting the Gospel and where you would go. What it boils down to is that God will figure it all out and we don't have to worry about it, thank goodness. 
 
Friday I got my transfer call saying that I'll be going down the the Donboss aka Donetsk. I'm a bit sad that I'll be leaving the are Kharkov and XT3. This place is awesome. I really sure do hope that I'm able to come back up here and serve some more. This place is just more chill it feels like and all of the missionaries are close and we know everyone. After the phone call I was just rilled up with the information because then my mind started racing about where I could possibly go. After some planning some lessons we went to a lesson and then came back and started a split. I went to the other area again but with another Elder, Elder P. Yes the one from the 12 Apostles. It was a  good split, and I'm glad that it happened. We had some good time together. We went home teaching with a brother and then went to surprise goodbye party for a Russian Elder going home. The branch put on the party and it was flawless. Most branches rely on the missionsaires a lot but we are trying to change that and have the branches do their own thing and have the missionaries support, not run the show.
 
Saturday was a good normal day of missionary work. We went out and tried to find some people who are less active and talk to them but they all weren't home for some odd reason, they must have known that we were coming. Then we made our way to a baptism that some other Elders were putting on. Some 70 year old guy, or something like that, got bapitzed. It was pretty cool to see a baptism. There have been quite a bit the past few transfers, it's pretty darn awesome. Then we had to book it back to the area and have two lessons. The first lesson we helped the guy with some translations, he reads Goosebumps books and doesn't know quite what some words mean. Try explaining the word shutter and some other basic words that could be used but you have to dumb it down and hope that the other guy understands. Then we talked about the BOM and gave him one and told him to start reading. He said that he would. Then we had another lesson with another guy. We talked about prophets and dispinsations and that we don't need another apostasy because we are living in the last days. It was a really good lesson, those two lessons were probably the best two that I've had in a long time. It's fun teaching really good and having everything make sense. That's something that I love about teaching. When you teach simple it reinforces your knowledge and adds the second testimony to it.
 
Sunday was good. President Compero came up and talked with the branch about doing member missionary work. He told them all to start opeing their mouths and talking to people. It was good for the branch to hear that because we as missionaries have been telling them always to open their mouths and talk but now that it's comng from the top they'll probably actually listen now. President did a good presentation about it. President is just doing work. Then we came home after church and made dinner and then went  to a lesson.
 
My week has been pretty good. I'm grateful to be out here and being a missionary. Life is pretty fun and the work is picking up. I'm scared but yet excited to go to another place. Hopefully all will work out and life will be good for me. Thanks for all that you have all done for me. It'd be cool to hear from you all about your missionary experiences through out the week.
 
Love Elder Frank

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kharkiv/XT3 Letter 18

This past week went by quick, which is good. The weeks just go by quick and the days go by even quicker. Last Monday we went and played hockey!!! Yes we played ice hockey NOT we played some street hockey. There is a little section of asphalt behind the Center Branch and we had a goal and 6 sticks and we went to town playing. It was a lot fun, but the rest of the week my back and legs were a bit sore. But it's good because I miss being sore, I miss running and biking. After hockey we came home and rested from the week, I decided to take a hot bath because it's been getting cooler and I needed a good sweat. Dad knows because on the cruises he goes and sweats. So I am taking my hot bath and it's amazing. Then it's been a while and I'm done and it's time to get out. I stand up probably a little bit too fast and get a tad bit light headed. I rest my head on the shelf thing in the bathroom and try and get my bearings. Then the next thing I know is that I'm sitting down back in the tub. Crazy.  
 
On Tuesday we did a quick Rinok run and got some stuff. We went with our zone leaders and one of them bought a couple of the Russian fur hats. I bought a good scarf and a new beanie. My scarves that I have shed on me and that isn't nice and my beanie from last winter got washed too many times and doesn't fit so I bought a good one. It has some ear warmers on it. It looks like the very first helmets that footballers wore. It's pretty cool. Then we had a couple of lessons that night. We met with A. and V., she's a youth and in a hard situation. Her mom is against the church and her sister is less active. It's hard for her. We had a lesson and got to know one another better building the friendship trust. 
 
Wednesday we had to change our plans for a while because the zone leaders called and asked us if we could take over a lesson for them because they were too busy. We took the lesson and went to the church and met with a woman who has been meeting with the missionaries for a while but finally has been able to meet with the missionaries. It was a good lesson, we talked about a lot of things and tried to get her understanding of the church. She has been traveling everywhere and has a sweet life. She said that for the summer she went to Switzerland and worked at a monestary for a while. She said that she has read the Book of Mormon a little bit and likes it. She said that her dad and grandpa died in the past year and she wanted to know more about the after life. It was awesome teaching her that after life she'll be able to be with them for eternity. She really liked that. It's good to know that I'll be able to see Kim [his second cousin who died over the weekend] again and get to know him a bit better. It'll be sad not seeing him at the reunions. Also on Wednesday night we were able to meet with A., it's been a long time since we've been able to meet and we tried to talk about Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus. He doesn't accept that. We watched the Restoration movie with him and hoped that it would help him understand and know that it all happened. After the movie he said that it was good propaganda. MAN!!!! Then we talked about it more and then I testified to him that Joseph Smith REALLY did see God and Jesus, then after that he said thanks. He is in agreement with everything else except that J.S. saw God. It's a bit hard to teach him that it's true, it's all up to him to accept it and get baptized. 
 
Thursday we had district meeting and had a good feast because the Russian Elders brought some good district meeting snacks. After district meeting we had two lessons. We met with A. He's a good youth kid. He loves soccer more than anything else and so after the lesson he and Elder K were talking soccer for what seemed like a long time. Then eventually they stopped talking about it. Then I. showed up. He loves the missionaries and so does A. and so we had a joint lesson with them. It was okay. Then we played some ping-pong with them to have a good time afterwards then came home.  We're trying to help I. become more independent in the branch and what not. He likes to ride with us to church. It's nice but he needs to do that on his own and we can't be there to hold his hand to church. It's hard because I think he's 36ish and he doesn't has any friends in the branch and not a lot of people talk to him. But now he has a calling and he's been passing the sacrament.
 
Friday was an interesting day. During weekly planning we had a good discussion. Supposedly we got invited by some family that lives in another area to come to them and have dinner. The girl that invited us is leaving on a mission and would like to have us over before we leave. The dad is the District President (Stake President) and has two good looking daughters and some younger kids. So it's a little more than just a dinner appointment, so I see it. Ever since we were "invited" I have had a feeling of not goodness and that we shouldn't go. So before we started weekly planning I was eating lunch and before I ate I said a prayer to have strength to tell Elder K that we shouldn't be going to this lesson. Then it came time to open my mouth and tell my thoughts. He didn't like the thought at all because he really wants to go and is willing to do what ever to go. It got a little bit heated and then it worked it's way out. 
 
Saturday we had a lot of lessons, four to be exact. We were everywhere and walked everywhere. It was good. We met with some less actives and then a family. It was good and hopefully we'll all be able to meet this coming week again. The family that we met with was pretty cool. A mom, dad, and two boys ages 11 and probably 8ish. Just a good family that would be awesome to have them be a part of the branch. They wanted some help with some English and we said that we would help them for a short little while. They gave us some borsch and showed us everything. The dad started pulling out some rifles. It was just a crazy cool family and it was good to have some interaction with a family for once. We are hoping that we'll be able to come back and have a good lesson with them about families being together and all will work out. They are normal and they aren't crazy. It's heaven sent. 
 
Sunday was interesting because we thought that church started at 10 because they announced it a week before, and so we all thought that this Sunday it was gonna be at 10, but we were wrong. We were there waiting and waiting and no one was there. Then everyone started showing up at the regular time, we as non-native speakers heard wrong. Church is going to start at 10 starting in November. That's nice to know. Church was good. After the church we came home and did some studies and made some pizza for dinner and then went to our grandma lesson. Nothing too crazy. 
 
This past week was quick and this coming week is going to be good. Thanks for everything that you all have done for me, I really appreciate it and love you all so much for it. I miss you all, yesterday was my 11th month mark in Ukraine. Geeze. 
 
Love Elder Frank 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pictures

Elder Young in his Fall Photo Shoot: 








Below: The district



Above: Studying
Below: Elder Young and Elder K. [whom he went on a split with]



Above: Playing the piano. 

Kharkiv/XT3 Letter 17


It's me again. I'm probably the one that writes you on Monday's so I'm sorry to fill up your inboxes with my email(s).
 
This past week has been great! I'm trying to remember exactly all that happened, but I do remember that it was all awesome.
 
So I'm not sure what you want to hear from me or see from this email. So I'll try and spice things up and send some good information about the past week.
 
It's been cold the past couple of days.
 
The leaves are almost all on the ground.
 
This morning when we walked out of our house we could see our breath.
 
The store we go to finally had some spices that I needed, oregano and garlic and some other powder spices.
 
I went on a split this week.
 
What else.
 
Yeah I think that's it.
 
Love Elder Frank Young
 
No I'm just kidding. I can't do that.
 
..
...
..
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So this past week was a good one. It was bit cold as you can remember from my earlier news. We had about three to four and rarely two lessons everyday so we are pretty busy which is nice. There is this one member that has some smoking problems, I've mention him earlier, it's fun going to him because we have a good relationship between us. When we were leaving he said that we were the nicest missionaries ever and that we show love to him. It was a good compliment to get and to know.
 
We had a good district meeting on Thursday. We talked about how we do this one lesson because we have been asked by President Compero to go around and do this one lesson about building up Zion where we live. We've tried it before without scriptures and it just doesn't work. So President said that we need to have some scriptures that go along with it. We searched for some good words and found exactly what we needed. It's awesome giving the lesson because after every lesson it's getting better and better. The best thing about our lesson is that the scriptures to the teaching and we just read. We've been telling other people in our district about our lesson and so they asked us to go through it on the meeting so we did and it was good. They liked it and they on the split that I was on it worked out really well.
 
Later this week we got dogged quite a bit, which is never fun. We tried to meet with A. but he's been down South trying to find a job and then he finally came back. When he was back up we both wanted to meet. We set up for Thursday but then he called and said that he couldn't meet. Then we rescheduled for Friday, but they he texted us and said that he was called to work and wouldn't be able to come. It was a heart break because we don't want him to leave before we start getting serious with everything. He is so close to getting baptized. We haven't been able to meet with E. this past week because he's been busy with school but we ran into his roommate on the street. He said that he missed us coming over and talking and what not. We should have asked him if we can go over to him and start meeting with him but we were in a bit of a hurry and we didn't have a lot of time to talk.
 
The split that I was one was a good one. I was back with Elder K., remember him? Way back in my Cold Mountain days I was on a split with him. My second transfer to be exact, guess what transfer I'm in now? If you guessed 8, then you guess right. So...it's been a while. We had some good times and worked hard. That night we started off by going to a less active and then we went by a member. The less active was a good little lesson. We just tried to see if we could drop by and see if they still live there. So we dropped by and when we knocked on the door they asked who was there and then when they knew they opened the door. They invited us in. It's a mother and a daughter and the daughter is a member. We sat and got to know one another. The mother had a good testimony about the BoM and the church and so Elder K asked her if she would like to be baptized, she declined. Then after some more talking we learned more about their situation. It's not the most pleasant situation in the world. Before we left the daughter asked how she can exit from the church. When she asked that question we sat in confusion and asked her to explain. Long story short some leader didn't do the right thing with some money and that doesn't sit well with her. She doesn't want to be affiliated with the church anymore. It's just a sad story. We said that we were in a hurry and set up to come back the next day.
 
The next day we prepared all throughout the day of how to address this problem. When it was time to go to the lesson we were pretty much prepared. We showed up and started off by showing some photographs and then we dove right into the situation. We started off by reading some scriptures about repentance and forgiveness. She knew the scriptures really well and understands them amazingly. She knows that she is kind of in the wrong for being so bitter to some of the church members and knows that she needs to change. But still she asked how she can get removed from the church. At the end of the lesson we asked her to kneel down and pray and ask Heavenly Father if this was the right thing to do. We all got down and she began to pray. During the prayer I was praying to Heavenly Father to give her the answer to stay in the church and that her mom could get baptized. After the prayer she got up and said that she still wanted to get removed from the church, even though she never really asked in her prayer. Then her mom steps up and says that she needs to rethink this over and that they were gonna pray about it some more. It was awesome, her mom who is not a member came to the rescue. It was great. Then we went our way back home. It was just crazy.
 
Church has been good the past couple of times. I've been sitting with members more and lesson with other missionaries and really trying to focus on what is going on. During one of the talks I closed my head and bowed my head and started to get some holy nap going. After about 7 minutes the sister next to me nudged me to awake me. Priesthood was really good, the branch president is really putting the task of doing work such as retention and making sure that people come to church. He told the brethren that they need to call their families of those they home teach and ask them where they were when they didn't come to church. It's awesome. It's taking the weight of unnecessary work off our shoulders and placing it where it should be. Our branch president is awesome.
 
On Sunday after church we tried finding some youth because there will be a fireside and all the youth need to go. So we went off and tried to find some people. Some of the doms that we went into were a bit sketchy but we were determined and didn't give up. We made contact with a few people and tonight we are going to return and find some more.
 
We've been working hard and having a good time whilst working. The weather is really starting to get cold, but that's okay because I got a good coat that I took from another apartment and I should be pretty warm this winter. However I think that it's going to be a cold winter and it's going to start early. I'll be ready you won't have to send me anything.
 
Thanks for all the love that you have sent this way. Remember that it's all being sent back to you, well not the love that you send here isn't getting returned and not used. I mean that I'm sending love to you.
 
Love Elder Frank

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kharkiv/XT3 Letter 16


Life is going pretty good for me so far this week. We just played some volleyball and then we're gonna go home and make some food and maybe take a nap because waking up early for so long just wears you out. We already bought our groceries for the week. Nothing too cool to talk about when you're a missionary over here. It's hard to find time and the resources to make something good, yet I've had some good handmade meals but nothing crazy special...except rabbit stew.
This past week has been a blur just like every other week. Time has been flowing by so quick. Elder K. was in charge and I followed him where ever we went. It's nice being a follower sometimes and allow others to have the chance to do some leadership so they know that it's a bit more difficult than they think. We had some lessons and had our fair share of contacting. On our lessons we have been trying something new. During ZC we got this paper for referrals and ever since that is what we are working out. It's call My Zion and the purpose is to write names of those who you think are ready for the Gospel who have close relationships with you and then pray about them and then eventually invite them to learn more about the Gospel. It's a good concept and we have a good lesson plan about it. We have some scriptures from D&C and they talk about our duty as a member to build up Zion and then when we do we receive blessings. It's a good lesson and people are more keen to doing it. We already tried with one family but they just put the paper aside and didn't do it. We came back and checked up on the paper and they just looked at us with fear because they didn't do the paper. Then we taught them the new lesson and they were like "okay this time we'll work on it". It was good for them.
Something big that happened this week was that we did service for Kharkov. The first of October was Helping Hands day in Ukraine. We went to a near by park and raked up some leaves and sticks and then put them in a tractor pulling a trailer and made the park look nicer. During the service some guy walked up to me and started talking to me. It was pretty cool. He was all interested about who is Mormon. That is a question that we get pretty often and then when I told him the answer he just went on and on and started talking to me. It can be annoying when people talk to you on the street instead of having a good conversation with them. He complimented me on my Russian and asked how I knew Russian well. I told him that I studied for 12 weeks and then study everyday. I also said that I know that God is helping me and has helped me. He then chastised me for saying that because you really can't know things in this life. He went on to try and tell me that we can never know things. He just made himself look silly. He also said that God didn't have a body. I then asked him the question: who are we similar to? He didn't answer the question and when I said that God certainly does have a body he just laughed. Then I called over a member and asked them if God has a body and then they said yes too. The man replied with how do you know that? The member said that it's written in the Bible. Then they guy just went his way and that was that. It was good to talk Russian with him because it was right after Bulgaria and I didn't talk a lot during that time and I felt like I forgot about how to speak Russian.
General Conference was really good and I'm really glad that I was able to listen to it all. All was really good and I took some good notes. I'm excited for the Liahona to come out. I really the Sunday School counselor's talk about teaching. That is something that I want to improve on whilst being out here and being a missionary. Teaching is something that I want to do back home as a profession. I also liked the leadership talks and what not, pretty much everything was awesome and I'm glad that I was able to listen to it all. I think that this GC was a really good one. A lot of people talked about our duty as a member and teaching others about the church, and repentance. Sounds like something crazy could happen in the next few years or what ever and we just gotta make sure that we are all clean and ready for what ever happens.
Life has been really good the past 20 years. I'm glad to be here as a missionary and doing the hard work of the Lord. Thanks for your support and all that you all have done for me. I love you all very much.
Elder Frank Young