Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold Mountain Letter 9

This morning I woke up to snow and the wind blowing.....just like every morning this week. I lay in my bed for a while before I get out and look outside and see if I can figure out if it's snowing for reals or if my mind is playing tricks on me. But my eyes do really see snow and I just take it. I think on Wednesday it was a real blizzard. It was really really snowing pretty good but by the time we went out it wasn't snowing so hard, which was a blessing. Right now as I look out the window of the Internet Cafe it's still snowing, I think that winter has finally arrived and is here now. Which is a bummer because the weather has been quite nice the past couple of days. Oh well, my jacket and layers are keeping me warm enough. The most warming article of clothing would have to be my beanie. It keeps me warm and comfortable. Thank you very much for the wool socks. I've been wearing those all the time and my feet are toasty and warm. I wear those fleece socks when I'm home and my feet stay sometimes too warm. That you very very much for those. I'm adequately dressed so there in no need to fear.

Elder Duke and I have been contacting a lot recently. We taught a lady that we taught way back when in my first transfer. Okasana is her name. She "disappereared" and now she's back. Hopefully this time for reals she'll be like okay I'm really ready. She knows everything but it's just a lack of self commitment to herself for keeping the reading assignments and actually doing stuff. We are going to teach her tomorrow and hopefully wel'll be able to make some progress with her. We are also teaching Oleg tomorrow as well. He has a life story like nothing else I've heard. He's been working all the time and barely has anytime for us, but his work has given him a time off for now. But with that time he went down to the sea to see if he can get a job back that he had last year. So he went down there and he has a job offer but he's not sure what to do because it doesn't pay a lot and it's not the best conditions, but it's a job he says. Right now he's like 37 years old living at home with his mom and has no wife or anything. He says that he's more worried about money, job, and family than religion. Elder Duke and I are planning on teaching him about putting God first and then how blessings can come from that. Good news: He's been reading the Book of Mormon. Also good news: He's been talking with his friends about religion and his friends says that our church isn't true and how their church is better. But Oleg says that they aren't good people and they only care about themselves and could careless about other people. And he says that we are nice people in our church and that we care about eveyone. It was funny. I wish that he could see how close he really is to baptism, he's really just like a couple of steps away. Hopefully our lesson with him will help him but God first and then see how great the blessings are.

Last Monday after all of the P-day hustle and bustle we went to our Branch Presidents work to help him move some stuff home. His profession is making traditional Ukrainian outfits. He has two big sewing machines that feel like they weigh about 250 pounds. What we had to do what move his equipment from a second story down a floor and into the back of a truck and then take them out and take them to where he is living, a small block apartment. Luckily where he was living he has an elevator which made it tons better for us. But still it was crazy and weird. We had to ride in the back of the truck which was scary enough. The roads here are nothing like how they are back home and people drive here like nothing matters. So Elder Duke and I were just chilling in the back hoping that we didn't die, crash, or anything else bad happen. After we moved everything of our Branch President's, he told us that we were going to help his sister move also. We had to ride in the back of a truck somewhere to where his sister lived. We had to take an entertainment stand/shelf thing and a couch. It was a mess, oh did I mention that it was all in Russian so I wasn't sure on what exactly was supposed to happen and what was to go where. But....I'm alive and eveything has been moved. It was just crazy. Also the elevator broke halfway during the move so everything came to a stand still. We waited for some guy to come over and fix the elevator then the work resumed. Once everything was finished being moved we got some real Russian/Ukrainian crepes. They were amazing. So good. They have so many good sweets here in the country. I would eat them all but then I would get fat and chubby again. I don't want that.

I'm thankful for my coat and winter clothes that I have to keep me warm. Thank you for the sweaters that have been sent. I wear those and then I can endure the weather during contacting. I'm grateful that I'm warm. I see some people that walk around with nothing on their head and no gloves and I just wonder how they do it. I would freeze if I didn't have my beanie and scarf, and small mitten/gloves.

I'm also thankful for food. Even though we aren't blessed with eating fruits and vegetables I'm thankful that I at least have food. I'm thankful that here in Ukraine there are some things that I can make. The other day I made fudge syrup which was delicious to spread on my crepes. I'm grateful that I can have food and have money to buy and eat food.

I'm grateful for laughter. It makes everything so much better. A serious life all the time is just too much. I gotta laugh and have a good time. Like dad always yelled at me "make it fun for everyone" Laughter does just that it makes it fun. Laughing at myself and when things just don't make sense and when things are just crazy, it makes it all better. Laughing at the fact that some things are just crazy and that it's the Ukrainian way just makes it more understandable. I just have to laugh at things and then it goes better for me.

Love Elder Young


Above and Below: Elder Duke and Elder Young
Above Elder Duke is holding a bulava in his hand, it is a symbol of power.

Above: Sister Reed (senior couple) and Elya
Below: Elder Reed, Elya, Elder Due and Elder Young

Above: Sister Reed, Elya, Elder Duke and Elder Young
Below: Elder Young before his hair cut.

Above: Elder Young after hair cut
Below: Street view "This is what Ukraine looks like"

Above: Sunset (at 4:30pm)
Below: How they dry their clothes

Above: Some soup/chili that Elder Young Made
Below: District

Above: Elder Young eating
Below: Street view - Snow

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cold Mountain Letter 8

This week has consisted of, yup you guessed it, CONTACTING. How great it to walk around every where and to freeze and talk to random people about the most important thing. I love just ambling around our area in hopes of stopping one soul that will talk to us. Sometimes it's painful because no one will talk to us. Remind me later and I'll tell you more.

Okay so the other night we had SOOOOO MANY LESSONS that we didn't know what to do. So we cancelled them and when walking. Yes that is what happened. We cancelled our activities and went walking. No what really happened is that we didn't have any lessons and so we had to work, it's not like we can just sit inside of our house all day. We we went out. I grabbed my contacting clothes and threw them on, laced up my no lace up shoes, and placed my contacting cap on my head. This is how I looked: I was wearing a white shirt and most likely a neck tie, I was wearing long-johns because it's cold outside and I don't want to freeze, of course pants-geeze, and then my grey hat that I brought. I was looking like an American missionary. I was ready to contact till my lips would bleed and my toes fell off. I was ready.

We headed out on route number № 3.14545 in hopes of finding someone that would talk to us. As we were walking we were passing people, but when we would ask them if we could talk to them they either ignored us and kept on walking or said no and kept on walking. We pressed on with hopes that we would find SOMEONE. Footstep after footstep and even some more footsteps we called it quits after about two straight hours, plus it was time to go inside anyways. Drum roll please.................we talked to a whopping 0 people. But we were able to hand out, another drumroll please..........................an enormous 2 pamphlets. We were so successful I don't know what to do. It was a bitter night. No one talked to us and we barely got those pamphlets out. But that's missionary work for ya here in Ukraine and I love it.

I think of it as Heavenly Father testing my faith. I was reading the other day in the scriptures about the people being forced from one place to another and then God would test them and their faith and give them trials and see how they did. And every time God gave them a trial they knew what was going up. They called upon the Lord for help and eventually they got through their problems.

A story from contacting: We were contacting the other night, no wait I think it was two nights ago, either way we were contacting, did I mention that's all we did this week? Okay back to the story, we were contacting and we stopped this lady. She then proceeds to say, in English! : Whhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeee yyyyyyyoooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuu ffffffffffffrrrrrrro..............and then says it in Russian quickly and perfectly Where are you from? It was so funny. When she was trying to talk in English the dragged out words got higher as long as she dragged them out. It was really funny, and then she just said it in Russian. Come to find out she was a Harhi Krishna and then she started walking away. I thought that that religion was only found in Spanish Fork, somehow one of their kind made it all the way to Ukraine???!!!! What the duece?!?!!!! Elder Duke was confused about that religion, I told him that what they do is sing and dance in a circle and have llamas. Yeah....that's religion for you. As long as the have a religion then that's okay, but it should be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints though, but anywho all is well.

If you want to hear the big story of the week here it is. On Tuesday we contacted-hey contacting!-to a store so I could buy a hair shearer. Why might you ask? Because I don't want to spend a lot of money of having someone else cut my hair when I can just simply do it. So yes I am now the proud owner of some heard shearers. When we contacted back home, which was the most success ever-2 Books of Mormon and 1 contacted received, all in a matter of 10 minutes. Its was awesome. We got home dropped off the head shearer and then went to District Metting. That was great-there is some great power in our district this transfer. When we got home after District Meeting we got a phone call saying that we were going to start a fast in hopes that we would be able to baptize someone this transfer. So that was way cool. Then I buzzed my head. Oh yeah that's right. I just placed the №4 and went to town upon my head. I took a stop motion video of it. It's way cool. Hopefully I'll be able to send it home some how. So now, I'm sporting a buzz. I figure that this is how I'm going to look for the next two years. Oh yeah gonna look good. I'll send some photos.

Another story-I'm just full of them today. We were having studies in the morning and then we get this text. It said that our planned lesson for the day was cancelled. I was upset and couldn't handle it. So what did I do? I went into the kitchen and made some crepes. Yes that's right, I made some crepes. I call it my Ukrainian comfort food. I know it's not Urkainian but I make it in Ukraine so it counts-work with me. So I went into the kitchen not too pleased and made some crepes which calmed me down. Oh and it sure did. We have a lot of random jams and jellies from branch members so I slathered on some fruits and called it breakfast. I was upset because the contact was the contact that I got a while back and he spoke English. Also the cancellation meant that we would be doing another full day of contacting. I just love making crepes, I make them quite good too. Thin and super delicious. Oh they are so good I want to go home and make some more. That's my little dish that I make for me and for Elder Duke. And that's my story.

That's been my week. Tons of contacting and talking to werid and random people. I love being in Ukraine and serving the people here. I love learning the language even though it's crazy hard and I don't undrestand what's being said but I love trying to learn the language and speaking it. I know prayers are being answered and that prayers are being heard. Thank you all for everything that you have done for me in my life through the years.

I hope that all is well, enjoy the tender mercies of the Lord.

Love Elder Frank Young

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cold Mountain Letter 7

Because of transfers Elder Young did not have time to write a very long e-mail. This is a compilation of e-mails that he sent his family:

Last night I was reading a story from a really old Ensign, September 2001, to be exact. Don't ask how we have it, we just have a load of Ensigns and Liahona's at our place. So I opened it up and the first or second story was one from Elder Wirthlin about Gratitude. It's some thing that I feel like I have a bit of a hard time with because being here in a cold dark and dreary place is a bit of a challenge, learning Russian is THE most difficult thing I've done, living with someone else is sometimes hard, and just getting rejected after rejection is hard. I just opened it up and looked at the story, I thought about not reading it because it was a really long story but I started reading and I couldn't stop reading. It was a great story. I would highly recommend that you read it. What I liked about the story is finding the good in everything even though it may be extremely hard to find the good. Here in Ukraine it can be difficult. Most days, well the past transfer I have seen the sun in it's fullness about 5 times. Six weeks and only seeing the sun and blue skies five times is hardly enough. It's crazy, there can be times when I can be really down about things, but like Elder Wirthlin said, find the good in everything and enjoy life to the fullest.
It's all the same here still crazy. We are teaching a few people here and there, most days are filled with contacting when we are teaching people. That can be fun. It's hard to find the good in contacting because most people just reject you and say to go away. The other night we were contacting and I was talking to some guy and when I said that we are missionaries and that we talk about God and Jesus he got really really upset and just walked off storming. I thought that it was funny because his face was just utterly disgusted but yet we got rejected. There are a very few people that actually accept our message but most just walk away. We ask them if they have a minute and then talk to them about the Gospel. Every now and then we are able to hand out a Book of Mormon and ask them to read it and if we are able to get a phone number we are doing something right then. But then when we call them, most likely they don't want to talk with us and what not. So....yes it's hard but finding the good in things is possible. The other night Elder Duke was talking on the phone in Russian to our Zone Leaders, I just thought that is was really funny. If you think about it, we are 19, 20, and 21 year olds speaking Russian and living in Ukraine. How silly is that thought. If you think about it for a while it's funny, well to me it was. Maybe you'll find it to be funny.
Well...not much has really changed from the last week. We had transfers which was a bit sad. The other Young got transferred down to Donetsk which was a sad day. He was awesome. I learned a lot from him, he taught me that you can have fun on your mission and work hard at the same time. Hopefully someday I can be like him.
Thanks for everything that you do for me and that you do. Keep up the good work and read that story if you can find it. I love you as always.

I'm still alive and moving. How great is that. I love being here and the work is the same. Not much has really happened from last week. We are teaching a few new people but I don't know if they realize that we would like to teach them more than just once. We have a new investigator, Luba, is her name. She is really nice and hopefully we can get her to where she reads the BOM and that she'll come to find out that is is true. The other day we had a really good lesson with Oleg about Faith and Repentance. I shared with him my mission scripture Alma 36:27 if I can recall properly. It was a spiritual little moment. I started crying and he thought that I was homesick and that I should go home. Elder Duke said that crying in front of a Ukrainian is weird and they think that something is really wrong with you. But we cleared things up and hopefully it will make Oleg read the BOM. I challenged him to read the BOM and to find a verse that is "his". So hopefully that will motivate him to read the scriptures. It should...I hope.

We've been doing a lot of contacting recently. The other day, the 7th was the "Old Christmas" it's a complicated story and so I won't tell it. You can look it up. It's aobut callendars being changed and goverentment and religion. So yeah. But anywho we had some little girls come to our door and say some scripture verse and then wait there. We were supposed to give them something and then they would leave. So that was that. It was really werid.....but remember that I'm in Ukraine.

Sorry for the short email. There isn't that much to report this week. It's all the same.


Elder Young

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cold Mountain Letter 6

This week seems long and short all at the same time. Yeah think about that for a while and see if you can figure out what I mean. I mean that it seems like it was forever ago that I was typing an email home but now thinking about it, it seems really just a couple of days ago that I was sitting down at a computer writing an email home. The days seem to go by some what quick and the weeks fly by. Can you believe that I've been in country for 5 weeks? I'm going into my 6th week of the transfer and then the transfer is done. It's gone by so fast. I can remember getting off the plane in Donetsk and looking at the "airport" and thinking: "oh crap, what did I get myself into?" And now I'm here and still alive. It's just crazy to say the least. The time flies by some times. It's crazy how fast the time has gone.

This week was a pretty good week. On Tuesday Elder Duke and I and the other two elders and the Senior missionaries all met up and went to a store to buy some chocolates for some orphans for Christmas. That was a blast. The orphanage was nothing like the one I went to in Romania. It was just a floor of an apartment building it seemed like. It was worlds better than the one in Romania. Sorry I don't have any pictures from the orphanage but just imagine something a little bit nice in Ukraine and that's what you have. Handing out the chocolates was the best thing ever. I wasn't have the best of days but until we delivered the candies my world changed. I was filled with joy and excitement. All of the kids burst into joyous happiness. It was the best feeling in the world. I wish I could have bottled up that feeling and use it when I feel down because that would turn any crappy day into an amazing happy-go-lucky day.

After the great time at the orphanage we got something to eat and then went and some missionary work. We went to this one lady. I've probably talked about her before. She's a less active who is bed ridden because she is sick and can't do so much. We went over to her house and she requested a blessing. We gave her a blessing and it was amazing. The power of the priesthood is real no matter what language. Elder Duke was asked to give here a blessing, it just brought the spirit and I was filled with it. It was so great to be there. On our way out she gave us some jars of jelly/jam. Yay.....On Wednesday or Среда if you want to get technical we went contacting for most of the day. We were pretty much some what successful. We handed out two books and got some one's phone number. So we have someone to work with now, hopefully when we call him he'll be really open to the gospel and he'll want to be taught.

Speaking of people to teach we don't really have anyone. We did have someone who was on date to be baptized, but she "went away" and we haven't been able to teach her again. That totally blows because she's been taught before and this time she was like "Okay, I'm for reals this time, I want to get baptized." And then she goes away. So what are we supposed to do...? Nothing. So that sucks. Later that day on Wednesday we went caroling again to some less actives and ward members. It's been a blast going around to other peoples houses' and singing for them. I kind of like singing sometimes but sometimes not, but most of the time I do. Singing in Russian is totally different than singing in English. Huh? I wonder why?

Thursday was a normal day. We went and taught Elia, we shared some of our favorite scriptures with her and then made our way to District Meeting. It was a good District Meeting. We got fed some homemade pizzas and talked about some approaches. The senior couple have some of these ideas for contacting but in all honesty they are good ideas but they won't necessarily work here. They say to talk to families, but anytime we do we are rejected and they don't want to talk to us. So what do we do? We talk to anyone that will stop and listen to us. But when some people stop and we say that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints they just walk away disgusted. Yeah............But back to District Meeting, it was Elder Duke's birthday and the other elders wanted our keys to our apartment. I secretly gave the keys to them and then they went to our place and got set up for something epic. When we finally got back to our place we went into the table and there was this note. It read that we had 15 seconds before we were going to be attacked and there were two airsoft guns waiting for us. So we grabbed those and endured an airsoft battle in our apartment with the other elders. It was so much fun. After that Elder Duke got his cake mix and we made cake. Oh my golly gosh it was so good. It tasted like America. So good. That was Thursday.

Friday was New Years Eve here in Ukraine, maybe it was too in America and everywhere else. If so please let me know, I'd really like to know if it was New Year's Eve everywhere too. So that night we had to be in by 6:00 p.m. Ukrainian time. That was lame because (1) I'm not really going to study and if I do it would only be for a little bit and then I would get bored and (2) I'm stuck in an apartment with another dude. My choices were sooooooo good. I managed and guess what I'm still alive. We stayed up till midnight and witnessed some of the most insane fireworks ever. Everyone was launching fireworks everywhere. It sounded like a war zone. It doesn't help that Ukraine already looks a little bit war torn and the reports of the fireworks just added to the insanity of being in a war zone, but yet it was pretty cool.

I'm looking forward to this coming year. It's my "BLACK YEAR" meaning that I'll be country all this year and no where else. 365 days of pure Ukrainian soil. How crazy is that? No one in my immediate family will see me for this entire year. That is just really weird to think about. I have dubbed this year my "YELLOW YEAR" instead of my "BLACK YEAR" everyone dreads their black year, I'm looking forward to this year and what it has to hold for me. I'm going to use this year to my benefit and try and love every moment. I've talked to some other elders about their black year, they said that there are some really long days and some really quick days, all in all it's a year. I've been think the same. No matter what it's going to take a year to get through it and it's going to be awesome. I'm looking forward to it. I'll let everyone know how it goes for me.

The first of 2011 was a really dead day. Everyone was inside trying to overcome their drunk spell. Anyone that was outside was either old or drunk so it was a bad missionary work day because no one was outside. We made some delicious tacos for dinner that night. Speaking of food, I've been a little chef. The other day I made some crepes from scratch, I made some breakfast burritos from scratch and I made some potato dinner. The crepes were amazing. I plan on making those again real soon. The breakfast burrito is this. I shred a potato, cut up an onion, cut up some sausage and fry some eggs all in a pan. I made some flour tortillas and called it good. It's really good. I will probably be making that more and more for breakfast or lunch or dinner. It fills you up pretty good so for the rest of the day you don't have to eat much. I have some more food ideas that I want to execute while I'm here. I think that I might turn into a chef and be able to make some more food when I return home. If I ever do turn into a chef, maybe my companions will like my food and me for cooking the food. But any who who cares about food.

Fast Sunday, aka yesterday, was a good day. I was able to decipher what was going on with most the meetings. I was able to understand most of Priesthood which was a miracle because last Sunday was a disaster for me. I was so happy on Sunday because I was able to some what comprehend what was going on. I've heard that it takes about till my 4th transfer till I'm some what correct on my deciphering on the language and then 6 months in country to be some what able to communicate with others in Russian. I have a lot of work ahead of me. This coming transfer I'm going to focus my language study on learning and getting very good at grammar. That's something that I'm not that great at but hopefully soon I'll be some what better than what I am now. It's going to be a lot of work. But yet it's possible.

I'm excited to be here in Ukraine this coming year is going to be amazing and filled with tons of work. I'm excited for what it has to bring. I'm going to take it head out and deal with it. I'm still with Elder Duke this coming transfer which will be nice. He'll be able to help me with my language and help me out when I don't fully comprehend what's going on. Hope all is well with what is going on back home. I love you all very much!!!

Enjoy the new year and have fun as much as possible. Accomplish your new year resolutions, if you can.

Elder Frank Young