Monday, July 18, 2011

Pictures






Kharkiv/XT3 Letter 4


Hey family! I hope that all is well with you, for me it's all the same. 

This past week has been pretty crazy. This whole transfer has been a little crazy. Elder Neil the Elder that I went on a split with a couple of weeks ago had some same symptoms as me and got really sick. He was inside for a couple of days and his companion wasn't too happy about that and their area needed some work to be done. That made it so Elder Neil went to some other Elders, who were also sick, and then Elder Neil's companion came to us. There must be some bug going around Kharkiv because there are some Elders that are sick. How ever there is an Elder down in Dontesk who got the same sypmtoms but now he's all better. What he did was just drink water for 24 hours and then ate some rice and bread and such to get better. Some how he "beat" what ever was giving him a problem...That's what I would like to think but for me the "bug" has been with me since April. So, where were we...in Ukraine!!! of course!!! Back to the story...Elder Efoskin is now with us for a couple of days and we are now again in a three-some. It's pretty crazy working in a three-some. Contacting on the streets makes for some crazy experiences. Either we walk all together as three people and try and talk to one person and probably scare them or someone walks on the other side of the street. We tried that for a while but not a lot of people were out so it didn't really work. The lessons were also interesting because we just showed up and had an extra person with us. The houses here aren't too big and just having two Elders is enough, so three Elders made for an interesting experience.
 
We thought that we were just gonna go on a split me with sick Elder Neil and Elder Brimley with Elder Efoskin but that was decided otherwise from the Zone Leaders or the AP's. It probably would have been easier if I went with Elder Neil because I wasn't feeling too good as well. But the three-some was alright. It made for teaching lessons a bit awkward because usually you know when to speak because your companion either stops talking or turns to you and says "say something". We didn't have too awkward moments between us and teaching was pretty good. Having a native around on a lesson is both good and bad. Good because they can say anything in Russian and can express it better, but bad because they speak so well they tend to dominate the lesson. All was worked out and we taught some good lessons. We gave a Book of Mormon to a member and asked her to give it to someone and help them enjoy the blessings of the Gospel. 
 
Saturday we were working the other Elder's area and we had some lessons planned and then started by hitting the sidewalks looking for people to talk to. We found some but they just like to tell us that we are wrong and don't ever let us speak. That is frustrating sometimes and usually doesn't get us anywhere and sometimes makes us late for our lessons. We eventually got to where we needed to be and gave a very old member some food because she couldn't leave her house. She then asked us if we could stop by a pharmacy and get her some pills. We were very low on time and needed to get to the church for a first lesson with an investigator. After some scrambling around and figuring out bus routes we eventually got back to the church...the bad news is that when we got back to the church the person wasn't there. So either they didn't show up at all or they showed up waited for five minutes and then went back to what ever they were doing. After the disappointment we went back home and made some lasgana...yes that is right. It's not your typical lagsana but it's missionary lagsana. We use what ever kind of noodles that we can find and make everything else the same. It's pretty good. When I'm home I'll make it for you, but till then you can enjoy what you call lagsana. Then we went to another lesson back in our area, XT3, with the 7th-day-Adventist guy. He loves the Bible more than anything and knows it very well. We tried to show to him prophecies of the Book of Mormon from the Bible. After we showed him about four he was like "Oh that's nice that you think that" and kept on going off about how Russian people need the Bible and that Americans need the Book of Mormon. He's a nice guy but he's too set on his 7th-day-Adventist stuff. 
 
I'm trying to remember what else has happened this past week. I can't believe that the time has flown by so quick! It seems like I was just here at the computer cafe writing an email home and then later that day baking a cake! Can you believe that I'm 20?? I still feel 19. So something else that happened this week....We had interviews with President Comperro. He's an awesome man who is extremely humble. 
 
On Sunday night we went to a fireside that President was putting on. When we showed up he was in the middle of a circle talking to the people there about member missionary work...all in Russian! He can hold his own in Russian. He studied in Moscow for five years and picked it up there. It's was pretty weird walking in and seeing him just talking in Russian. He was using some words that I had just barely learned. He was talking about member missionary work and how members need to find while the missionaries need to teach. So true, now hopefully the members will start trying to find people for us to teach. He made it very important that they do their work. President also talked about reactivation with less active members and had some members go up and to some practice. It made it all to real for the missionaries that are there. It seems so easy to practice it but when it comes down to real life, it's completely different. The members that acted as L.A. acted difficult, becaues they were returned missionaries and knew how it was. It all went well and gave the members some confidence and so hopefully they will start doing some member work.
 
Oh what else happened?? This morning we played some basket ball at the church. Yeah our church has a basketball hoop. You just have to roll it out of the shed and place it in the parking lot. It's pretty cool. After a couple of hours of playing we got tired and it got pretty hot and we called it quits and now we are here. This week should hopefully be a normal week. So far this transfer I haven't spent a whole week in my own area. Yeah...I guessing and planning on that nothing crazy should happen. I'll let you know next week. However I could be taking some pills that clean me out so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully nothing too important comes out.
 
Elder Frank
 
Я люблю свую семью!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pictures




kharkiv/XT3 Letter 3

Hey all,
 
This past week has been pretty crazy, as in a lot has happened. Elder Brimley went to Bulgaria and so I was placed with other elders. Elder Neil and Efoskin, yes if you were wondering we did have fun. I was with them from Sunday night till Friday morning. It was a lot of fun. We did a lot of missionary work and taught some lessons, and baked some good goodies. So last Monday we went bowling to spice things up and to have a good time. Also it was America's birthday if you forgot. That evening when we got back to our area we came out of the metro and people were just still underground and not moving. We were a bit confused and not sure about what was going on. We walked closer to the exit and realized that it was having the storm of the century. Rain was falling very hard and trees were also falling. The roads were flooded and well hopefully you get the picture that I'm trying to explain and it's just a mess. We don't really want to wait it out because it's raining extremely hard. We gather our thoughts and then decided to run it home. Usually it's about a 15 minute walk back to the apartment and so we just all of a sudden decided to go run. On the count of three (3) we got out of there and started running. It didn't matter where I placed my feet because it was up to my ankles. Yeah.....it was a lot of rain. It was interesting trying to cross some roads because the water then came up to about mid-shin. Yes I'm not lying I'm telling the whole truth. There was a lot of water. Finally we got home, everything was wet and we just tried to get dry. Water was leaking in from the roof flowing down the stair well. It was just a nightmare. We had a lesson planned for that night but because of the rain we were like "yeah that lesson probably won't happen." We were wrong, we tried calling the people saying that we might cancel and then they said to come over. Transport was stopped because of too much rain and trees were laying all over the place. It made for an interesting walk over. The lesson was good, it was with a very loved family. The Orexava family. Hopefully I spelled it right translated. They gave us some dinner and then we made the long walk back home.
 
Tuesday was Tuesday. We had district meeting and then had some lessons. I think we got fed that night too. Some delicious Plov. That's rice and chicken with some carrots and good flavorings. I've had plov before and it wasn't the best but however this plov was THE best I've ever had. Hopefully I'll be able to have it again. We learned from our Zone Leaders about our new mission president, President Comperro. He is awesome and he's gonna have us working pretty hard. He studied in Moscow back in his youth days and so he knows a bit of Russian, and from what I've heard it's pretty good. I think this week we will have some interviews with him. I'm kind of looking forward to that, it will be fun to meet him and I hope that we can have a good relationship between us.
 
This is were the week gets interesting. I have been talking with the doctor and he said for me to go to a clinic and have some tests done. So that is what I did. I went to the doctor's clinic and gave them some good samples for testing. Wanna know exactly what happened??? I hope so because I'm going to tell you anyways. So we go to the doctor and then say that I need some tests done. They give me a cup and some other small sterile container and say go poop in it. So here I am with two containers for material. I was a bit skeptical and hoped that they would be able to find something in the material and then hopefully all will be well. So I go to the bathroom and look at the containers and then the toliet, back at the containers and then the toliet. I figure that there really isn't any good way to obtain material instead of my holding the container and then hopefully producing some material. Did I mention that what ever the members fed us on Monday night kind of bound me up and I had a bit of trouble producing material even when it didn't count. So here I am in the bathroom a bit bound up and forced to give some material. Some time passes and yet nothing has happened....I start to get a bit nervous and then I remember from my primary days that when you are in trouble you can say a prayer to Heavenly Father and he'll help you out. So yes I said a little prayer and then I was able to produce some product. It wasn't much and hopefully it had something it in so the doctors can find something. I would be kind of upset if they weren't able to find anything. So after producing the product I walk back out and then down the hallway back to the doctor and pass over the product. Good thing there were only about three other people in the hallway and the cup didn't stink too bad and steam wasn't forming on the cup or else that would have been really awkward.
 
Skipping further into the week Elder Brimley comes home and tells us of his adventures from Bulgaria. He had a good time. They walked around, ate some American food, and then laughed a lot. You go to Bulgaria around the year mark on the mission. That is pretty weird because that means my turn is coming up. There is one more group above me and then it's my turn to go. The time has flown by so quickly!!! So E. Brimley tells us of some stories and then we have to go to Center Kharkiv to try and make some baptism programs. We get to the computer cafe and sit down and start. We have some trouble and our time expires and we have to run other errands. That made things a bit more stressful because it would have been really nice to have those done as soon as possible. We go to the other Zone Leaders and get some baptism forms and then meet Iger to have him fill out the paper work. That all went well and then we came back hom to make dinner and call it a night.
 
Oh Saturday..probably the most stressful day of the mission. We had to come back to the computer cafe and work on printing programs. We had some more problems when it came to printing off the paper so that it would all flold correctly and work. Eventually it all worked out and we got our 25 copies and then made our way to the Square to wait for the man, Iger. He showed up as planned and then we all walked to the church and had the baptism. The only people that showed up were missionaries and one for two branch members. We announced the baptism a week before in church and invited everyone to come and they said that they would but no one showed up. It was kind of sad but it all worked out. All I wanted was for Iger to get in the water. That is all that needed to happen and then it was over. He did eventually get in the water and all was well.
 
Come Sunday we were a bit nervous because Iger said that he wasn't gonna be able to show up to church. Remember you receive the Holy Ghost on the following Sunday. That was a bit scary but then he calls us and says that he can come to church. Oh what a relief! He came to church and received the Holy Ghost. Done. He is a good guy and should hopefully progress through the church system and be a good church member. I am now the branch pianist again...the one sister who usually played went down to another city for the summer and so now I get to play! Whoopee!...
 
Today should be a fun day. We were gonna play some basketball but since at the church they are putting in new sprinklers we can't play in the parking. Confused? Yeah me too. So instead we came to internet and then we are going to do some other stuff and have some birthday cake. This week will probably be another quick week with President coming up and some lessons planned.
 
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! I'd like to thank the Aegeters, Grandma and Grandpa Wright and Grandma and Grandpa Young, Aunt Hilda and Verba, The Anderson Family, the Willmores, Julie and Walt, Alan and Liz and co., the Pextons, the Gages, Mark and Laura and Janette Cunningham, Marylou and Gerald, and the Moss'. It was great to get all of those birthday cards. 

 
Love Elder Frank

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kharkiv/XT3 Letter 2

Dear family, 

Thanks for all that you do. I talked to the senior couple sister who was in my first three transfers. I have told her a few times that I'm sick and that it's not getting better and then on Sunday I saw her and told her again what was going on with me. She was like "Oh! I will go and call the doctor right now!!!" She later called me back that night and said that she talked to the doctor and that he thought I was better because I've been mentioned a couple of times to him. So he thought I was better but when Sister Burr called and said that I wasn't he was like "Uh-oh" and then gave me some things to do. I have to go to the doctor and take some tests or have some tests run on me, which ever way is right. I have to have a stool test which will check for sensitivity to bacteria and culture and then another test for OBA or parasites. Yeah how cool is that??? I've been taking some Pepto-Bismal recently and that has helped but it says to take until diarrhea is gone or up to two days. If only I could. So this week or today I will call the doctors office that the doctor told me to go and set up an appointment. I know that there is something inside of me that is causing something wrong to happen, I just hope it's not mission threating. What's the worst thing that could happen??? I have to take some pills that make me sit on the toliet for all day, well that's not too bad because I already to that. So there you go family, that's the story about my bowels. Now to the week of work. 

Elder Brimley has said that he contacted on the streets a lot last transfer and so he doesn't want to do that and so we are going to have more lessons. This week we had fourteen lessons. So far that is the most I have ever had on my mission. That sounds bad but hey I'm working out here. We had a couple of first lessons with some less-active people and they aren't afraid to tell us why they are less active. It's usually because there is someone in the branch that they don't like or it's the branch president. The sad thing is that they all know that they need to come to church. So it's just a matter of getting that desire back in them and getting them to church. We had a lesson on Tuesday with a part member couple. The husband is a 7th-day Adventist and the wife is a less-active. He loves the Bible and kind of took over his wife and forced her to study the Bible too. We handled the lesson very well and left them with some good questions to think about. Towards the end of the lesson I whispered to Elder Brimley that I needed to us a toliet pretty darn soon and then he asked the people if I could use their toliet. They were very nice and showed me where it was. 

I went on a split with my district leader, Elder Neil, if you have a good memory I have already gone a split with him before. It was my third transfer and he came to me and I was the senior companion. But anywho this split was pretty fun. It's interesting to see what can happen in three transfers. I feel a bit more confident in Russian and I know more of what is going on. We had a good time together and had some good talks. We had some lessons one was with an investigator and the other with a less active family. It was pretty good, and I enjoyed being with Elder Neil. 

The next day we had a lesson with another inactive member. She wanted back in the day to serve a mission but then for some odd reason just stopped going. We had a good time talking with her. She too knew that it was all right and she even said herself that she needs to come back. We asked what was holding her back from going but then she avoided the question and didn't answer. Hopefully with some more lessons with her we can help her regain that desire to come back. The branch here is already pretty big but still there is always room for improvement and bringing back less actives. After that lesson is started to rain and we didn't have an umbrella and so we had to walk about fifteen minutes in the rain back home. Luckily it wasn't the most hard rain but it was still coming down pretty good. By the time we got home we had to change our clothes and make some dinner. The rain continued for all the night and so we didn't have any other lessons planned so we just called other people to try and set up some lessons for the next couple of days and then played some SET and talked into the night. It's always good that have a companion that you can talk to and talk about anything with. It makes life all that much easier. 

On Saturday we had first lesson with a new investigator. She was a member referral, which is pretty rare. I guess Elder Brimley and his past companion challenged a kid to give a B.O.M to someone that could use it. We met with the lady who was a bit older and had a lesson with her. She tried to make us look stupid with some Bible versus but we held our ground. She was a bit confused with some things and we cleared them up as best as we could with her and then went our way. We asked her to come to church but she said that she had her own and wouldn't come to ours. That is always heartbreaking when we have someone that could show some potential and then they said that they have their own church and won't come to ours. 

Church was good. We got there early because Iger was going to have a baptism interview, that went pretty well. There are some things that need to be worked out but his baptism should still be on for this Saturday. During the interview time I went and played the piano. I just like sitting up there and playing, not to anyone singing but just to play. When it comes time for other people to sing along that is when I flutter and I don't play that well. Then the member that plays came up and she was like "Hey, you play so why don't we split the hymns up so we both play?" I thought that was a good idea but then I sat down in the congregation next to Iger and when it was my turn to play she looked at me and I looked at her and she motioned to come up but then I pointed to Iger and made it look like I couldn't come up. We had a good laugh about that. Church in Russian is very intersting and hard to pay attention to sometimes. Because it's in Russian sometimes I don't pay attention and just wonder off into my own little world. I'm looking forward to the day when Church is back in English and I'll be able to understand it all. 

Sunday night Elder Brimley got on a night train because he is going to Donetsk and then to Bulgaria. So right now I'm in a threesome with Elder Neil and Elder Ефошкин, Efoshkin, so far it's pretty fun and we are all enjoying the time together. Elder Brimley will be gone until Friday morning. So I'm going to be passed around the Elders I'm with now and then the Zone Leaders. I'll be everywhere. This transfer is already going by pretty quick and it will only get quicker I imagine. 

Family thank you for your support, life in Ukraine is quite the story. Sometimes I look outside and think that I'm in Ukraine and then I just get confused inside because I'm in Ukraine. Yeah, that's confusing. It's fun though, don't get me wrong. The people here are special and having something that we Americans have. It's a blast being out here and working with them. Yes we may not see our success right away but it's fun being out here. We work hard and have a good time whilst we work. That is something that I have learned while being out here. Every day is a battle and we have to fight to survive and so if we make the battle fun all will be well. 

Love Elder Frank