Thursday, February 23, 2012

letter 4

This past week was a good always. We spent the first part of the week in another city which is in our zone. We traveled south for about two hours and then arrived the coastal city of Marioupol. That was a good time that we spent down there. We woke up and rode to the bus station and then when we got there some guy came to us and asked us if we were going down to Marioupol. We said yes and then he took us to his bus and we sat down in the back and paid and then rode all the way down. Looking back on it, it seems a bit sketchy that we just followed some guy to a bus and paid him. But hey, that is what happens here. The bus ride down was really nice and quick...when you sleep it's quick. I had the intention to stay awake and watch the scenery but that lasted for about twenty minutes and then I went to sleep. When we got into the city we called the other Elders and they came and met us at the station and helped us get to the other Elders. 

Down there in Marioupol there are four companionships. A senior couple, a sister set, and two Elder sets. It was good to see them and be with them. Our first day we spent with Elder K and his Armenian companion. I was with Elder K and boy oh boy was it good to be back with him and reminisce about our time that we spent together. We walked and talked and stood on some water......don't worry it was frozen. We walked down to the Sea of Azov and talked and had some thinking time. Elder  is Russian. It's pretty hard and he's having a learning experience, he's handling it well and doing work. Elder K has changed a bit and what I can tell is that he is a lot more humble. We talked about life and everything else and had a good time. Eventually it was time to meet up with the other Elders and get some dinner and then bounce to some other Elders because they didn't have enough room in their apartment.

We had district meeting down there and had a good time. The senior couple is way cool down there. After district meeting I played Elder C in ping pong. He's about 70 something but still can hit the ball back with some speed. Unfortunately his shoes weren't that good and so I had to take it easy on him but in the end he still beat me. My pride wasn't hurt and I could really care less...however I'm waiting to play him again and hopefully he'll have better shoes. That night after district meeting I gave a baptismal interview to one of the investigators of the Elders down there. You're probably wondering why? Because the district leader's investigators must be interviewed the zone leaders. So that was one of the purposes of going down there. That interview went well and he is deemed ready for baptism. It was good to have a good interview with him and talk with him about the questions and some Gospel topics. Then we came back to the aparment and had some great pizza. We stayed up late talking and making friendships and then finally we went to bed.

The next morning we woke up and came back home to our area. We found a bus and rode it and slept again. The bus stopped fairly close to our house and then we decided that we really didn't need anything from home and so we went to the church to have our own district meeting. I was really tired and pooped and hungry. The district meeting went pretty well and we talked about how we can focus more on Jesus Christ. It was a good lesson. The day before I had an interesting study about virture and holiness. That played in with the lesson and helped out. It seems easy to think about Jesus but in actualility how often do you find yourself thinking about Him? This is something that I have been thinking about now for some time and so it was good to have a district meeting about it. We talking about if you think about things the Savior would do, and other people and what not. So I guess that thinking about your Savior can have many meanings depending on who you are. After district meeting we talked about and planned some more games for youth night and good thing one of our lessons cancelled because I would have been way to tired to meet and have a lesson. Finally we came back home and got something to eat and then went to another lesson. That lesson was good. It was with the older sister who is really spunky. She has some interesting beliefs that you can be a member in your heart and not so much displaying your membership. It'll be fun to work with her and help her come back to church.

The rest of the week is the same old same old. Doing missionary work, having lessons, and staying active. Church was really good because I didn't have to play the organ, I secretly prayed that I wouldn't have to play because I wanted to relax and sit in the congregation. Small prayers do get answered!!! I sat by some youth and laughed during the meeting...but reverently. The opening prayer was extremely long and so I made some quiet snoring noises and then afterwards asked the people beside me if they were sleeping during the prayer. It was funny. This week should be pretty good and should provide some interesting stories for next week. This week we will be doing some splits with the AP's, that'll be a bit nerve racking because we think that it could be an "interview" for the AP spot since one of them is leaving. Hopefully all goes well and I get to stay in this area for some more transfers after this one. I love the area that I'm in. There are a lot of members and it feels like a good home branch back home. There were about 88 people that showed up to church and it's always full. There are youth, middle aged, and grandparents; it's just a good branch and I really like serving here.

Love Elder Frank Young

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letter 3

This past week was a crazy week. There was a lot that went on. We started the week off with going to President's apartment for Zone Leaders Council. That was my first one and I was a bit nervous for it because I wasn't sure what to expect. I've heard about these meetings all my mission and was a bit scared for what happens during them. We got there and we had some breakfast with all the zone leaders and then we started our council. It was cool to have all of the leaders of the mission there in one room talking about the mission and what more there is to do in the mission. At first I was really quiet because I wasn't sure how to input and it was my first one and I didn't want to come in with some radical ideas, I wanted to listen and learn from the others. Then President called on me and wanted to know what I was thinking about because I was really quiet. We were talking about what the mission does good and then what can be done next. I thought that we were rushing with things meaning that we do something good and then try and quickly move forward. I said that I feel like we are rushing and we are trying to build on a wet concrete foundation. We need to allow time for it to set and become a good/great thing before we move on. We need to make our good things great and then when they can be left alone for a while then we can move on. Need to take some time and not rush through things. I think that it helped. We talked about the mission and so forth. Got a bit boring at the end but that is because it was warm and we were all hungry. It was nice to have that meeting. I'm looking forward to the next one.

After ZLC we went to another area of our zone and started a split. We went to a younger companionship in which there is a trainer. Elder W and Elder B. A good young companionship. Elder W is from Pokey, Idaho and knows Lauren's family. It was a good split and I went with Elder W and learned a lot from him. He is only in his second transfer and still has the "greenie fire". He is going strong and hopefully will to the end of his misison. The next day we had district meeting with them and talked about what we learned from ZLC. We talked about what the missionaries were good at and then what their district is good at and then wha the mission is good at. We are trying to focus on what we do good in the mission because there has been times when we only hear that we are doing not so good. So we want to focus on the good. That district was a bit quiet but yet they gave some good answers and the meeitng turned out to be good. We talked for a while and then came back to the apartment and studied some Russian and then came back to our area. We were gonna stay for a while but we didn't want to get home way late.

The next day we had our district meeting and that was a great meeting. I love having good district meetings when you learn and feel the spirit. We talked about what our reunion with Heavenly Father will be like and what he will say to us when we meet again. For me it was super spiritual and I learned that we are more like our Heavenly Father than we think. Later that night we had a split with some Priesthood from the branch and that was amazing. I have tried to do these splits at the beginning of my mission but they never worked out and so it the first time that it actually worked out. We tried going to one family but they weren't home and so we went to another family close by. It was a good time to see the church members reach out and do some "home teaching".

On Friday we went to an older sister who usually feeds us. She gave us some was eggs, corn, crab, and a lot of maynaise. It was interesting and because I think that I might have some lactose problems it was interesting eating all of the mayo. Short story short, I was able to eat it and get it all down. She loves the members and wants to treat us nice.  We tried having a lesson with her but she likes to talk about what ever and so we listened to her and then came back home to do some weekly planning. Then later that night we went the church for Youth Night. Probably one of the highlights of the week. It's so much fun going to the church and playing with the youth and helping them make good choices and making friendships. Everything was great and we had a fun time. This time we had more people than before. Every time that we have done Youth Night there have been more and more people coming. It's cool to see a success.

Saturday my stomach during studies was giving me a hard time and I was a bit scared of what could happen. Finally my stomach gave me the warning sign and I went to the bathroom. Afterwards my energy levels were depleted and I was very tired. I sat down in a chair and fell asleep. I was a sleep for a while and when I woke up we had to quickly go to some lessons and find some people. My stomach was still gurling and what not but everything stayed where it needed to be and everything worked out.

Sunday was good. I played the organ again..but not so well. At first glance I didn't know the songs and so I had to sight read and that provided for some interesting laughs. After playing I looked at Elder R and he just smiled at me and I smiled back and knew that it was all okay. If I can do my best then that is all that is needed. During one of the songs the organ was shorting out a bit and it would play loud or play quiet...that was interesting. After church I played the piano for some people that wanted to sing A Child's Prayer. That was fun and relaxing. I'm excited to play the piano back home. Elder R and I sat and sang some songs and played together. It was a lot of fun and relaxing again. That night we had planned to go to a lesson but good thing they called and canceled because it's about an hour bus ride away. So instead we tried finding some less actives and we actually found one of them and she let us in. She is super spunky and is very much so alive. She is trying to learn English and she was trying to talk with us. It was a bit fun and after some tea that she gave us we planned for another time to come over. It was way cool actually meeting a less active and going into their apartment.

This week we are going South to another area of our zone and doing some splits there. Life is good and we are doing work and trying to help missionaries make good decisions. There is a lot that is going on and that requires some good prayer and trust in God that all will work out. I'm learning a lot and trying to be the best that I can be so I can have the guidance of the Holy Ghost in my life. One step at a time, taking it at a good pace.

Love Elder Frank

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Letter 2

I recieved an email from the mission saying that Ukraine has reported about 122 people dying from the cold weather. When I say cold weather I mean -20C with humidity and bone chilling winds. Just cold simply put. I wear my long johns in the morning, always two pairs of socks, and about two to three coats just to stay warm. Also in the apartment I found this headband thing that goes around the ears and that is so much more of a help with the beanie on. It's just so cold sometimes. Good thing when you feel the Spirit it warms up the bosom as it is described to do for some people: a burning in the bosom.

This past week was very fast. I can't believe that I am writing another letter home. It seriously feels like I just wrote one home. This week President and the AP's came to our district meeting to present some new materials for the coming year. When we were home Elder L and I were talking about it and we came to a conclusion is that we are getting told the same stuff over and over again is because we for some odd reason can't take it the first time and so that means that we will always hear what we need to hear until we can move on. From what I remember about the new information was about doing the little things, such as keeping the small little rules that don't really seem to make too much sense, but yet we still need to do them. At the beginning of the special meeting we were talking about the missionary purpose and having a discussion about it. I really liked it because we were talking about everything and quoting scriptures and having a Spirit led discussion. Those are probably the best time because there is so much learning going on.

After the special training we came home and got some food for lunch, then we looked at our watches and realized that soon we need to be going to a lesson. We finished up eating and then went. The lesson was with an older sister of the church. She loves the missionaries and pretty much lives for them. We got there and could smell some food...that wasn't too pleasing because we just stuffed ourselves before we came. We saw a table all set and ready for food to be eaten. We looked at each other with horror and not sure what to do next. Soon came some borsch, the Russian soup, and then some not so tasty crepes stuffed with some not so tasty meat. The borsch was extremely spicy and because of my still weak stomach I sadly had to decline the food. I'm not sure but I think that the sister was a bit saddened by the fact that I didn't eat it. That meant that I had to eat the crepes. I had about three and then had to take a break. In the mean while Elder Loveridge is some how chowing down on the firery borsch. He finishes that and then has to eat some crepes.....he being bright says that we would like to take them home because we don't have that much more time....brilliant!! She gives us a bag and then we put all the left over food in it and then have a lesson.

After that lesson we go to another lesson where another sister made us some in the world were we gonna eat all the food......some how with a prayer in the heart it was all eaten. I don't know how food was finding it's way in my body and still staying there. The members here just love giving us food. Before we left to come and write Elder L told me that tonight we will be getting fed again. Yeah for food!!!!

We had a great first lesson...well it was a first lesson with some man that was found earlier by the missionaries. He wanted to have a Bible and we gave him one as well as a Book of Mormon. He was a bit lost at the beginning meaning that he had some hard times finding the church. After about an hour or a little bit less he found his way and we had a lesson with him. He lives about 100 kilometers away from Donetsk but sometimes finds himself in Donetsk. We talked and found out a lot about him. He has had some great spiritual moments in his life that has prepared him for recieving the Gospel. He has a strong desire to change his way of life and do the right thing. I'm really excited to meet with him again.

This weekend I went on a split to one of the other areas in the district. I went with Elder S. He's a great kid, and wants to be a test pilot in the Air Force like his dad. It's pretty cool. We started the split after Youth Night, which was a blast. At first I thought that we weren't going to get there because we were on a lesson with a member who just talked and talked and talked. We had to take a taxi to the church just to make it in time.  All was well and was a good time again. After the Youth Night we started the split and went and had some dinner. The next day we woke up to wind blowing on the street and having excitement to go and walk around in the wind. We found a man and gave him a Book of Mormon, that was a first in a while, and it felt good to do the work. We ended the split at church and when we walked into church we saw pretty much all of the leadership of the mission there at church. President Campero and his wife were there, the District President and first counselor, and the first counselor in the mission presidency. It was a packed house. I didn't play the organ again because the member showed up. Church was good because I got to talk to some more members and get to know them. It was a good time. The branch here is awesome and I feel like I'm home because there are a lot of people and lots of toddlers everywhere. It's a good time.

This week will be a quick one too because we are going to another area to do a split and tomorrow is zone leaders counsel. It will for sure be a quick week. I'm staying warm and there is no need to worry about me over here, well if you want to worry I guess you could.

Love you a lot,

Elder Frank

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Area

So you're all probably dying to know where I am now in the mission. Don't worry about it....I'm in Donetsk but more like an area of Donetsk. It's called Petrovski, nothing too crazy about the area that I know but it's pretty nice to be here. Also I am a zone leader....that was a bit of a surprise to me when they called me out and told me that I would be a zone leader. It's crazy to think about it.
Transfer meeting was really nice and I got to see some good friends, Elder P, Elder R and some others. Took some pictures but the cold weather is not really helping us out with the way we look. Elder P said that he looked really bad in the photos, and I didn't look that good either. Transfer meeting was nice, we told that we are doing a good jobThey said that we are making progress by finding people and doing the work.
After transfer meeting we came to the new area. I've been here before for a sleepover, don't worry it was allowed. We had to stay there when we were going to Bulgaria. The apartment is really really nice. Probably one of the nicest ones in the misison. That is a good thing  because some of mine haven't been the best, but this one is modern like and is comfortable to be in. Today we did some cleaning and I rearranged some of the things in the kitchen so that it is more comfortable to find things and it's a lot more cleaner. Also I did some push-ups for some exercise and yeah....don't know what else to tell you.
It was a bit weird leaving Gorlovka, that was a fun small place. That morning before I was supposed to leave I packed everything. It was a bit stressful because I had to do it a bit rushed but I think that I got everything and didn't forget something. Then right when I got done packing the bus pulled up and we had to grab my bags and go down to the bus, load up, and drive to Donetsk for the transfer meeting. Gorlovka for me...I don't know how to describe it. I had two very young companions and for only one transfer each. I'm used to having some older companion, or around my age, but then having young ones for a short amount of time was a change. But I learned from it and had a good time. I learned that you need to have a good time by being the person that you are, not by being "fake" and what not. Being Frank is fun and that is what I'm going to do. Elder L taught me how to serve in the small and simple means, and also how to laugh and have a fun time with a companion.
My companion is Elder LO. He's from American Fork, Utah and we know each other. He was in the MTC when I was there but in the younger group. He's been zone leader for a transfer and knows the ropes. Before we left from transfer meeting I was talking with P about some helpful hints and he said that I need to be myself and do the work, there really isn't nothing too special about being a zone leader. During weekly planning we were talking about the zone and all that is going in it. Elder LO said that the zone's drama now becomes our drama, and how so true that is. There is something that need to be worked out and things to be done and now it's our deal to work with other Elders to get it all done. In the zone there are two other cities besides the one that I am in. We get to travel a bit and see some more of the mission. It will be nice. There is just a lot more to do now that I'm a zone leader.
Church here is pretty cool and large. There were about 85 members that came with a few investigators. Just a lot of people and a lot of babies, toddlers running around. It was probably the loudest Sacrament meeting that I have been to in a really long time, which was a bit nice because it reminded me about home. Before the meeting started I asked someone in the Brach Presidency if there was someone that plays the piano and he said yes but she isn't here. Then seconds before we started to meeting he got my attention and told me to come and play....the ORGAN!!! I went up there and looked at it flipped the switch and pushed some buttons and hoped that it worked. It was a bit nice to play on that because I can make a bit more mistakes and it's not so noticable. The songs where a bit different but they got played. I said a small silent prayer for Heavenly Father's help with playing and my nerves were really calm and I wasn't so scared to play, which is very very nice to feel. Now I might be the new branch organist, oh the joys of the mission.
The weather has been bitter cold the past couple of days, like minus 20's which is below 0 in your degrees. Just freezing cold. Good thing for coats and hats, because then I'm warm. I've only fallen..more like slipped twice this winter. Hopefully I won't any more because I can't fall more than that. We are outside working and doing misisonary work, we don't let the cold stop us. We have found some people to talk to and we have some people to hopefully meet with.
Also we had a youth night at the church and my goodness that was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun that I have ever had on the mission. There were about five youth that showed up and we all played games together and laughed. It was way awesome and I'm excited for the next one this week. There was a youth that has been inactive for a while but the youth came to the activity and then on Sunday showed up. It was way cool and we are hoping for some more people to show up and come.
Sounds like all is well for you back home. I sure do love you and hope that life is treating you well and that it's all peaceful. Thanks for everything that you have done for me throughout the years. I sure do love you!!!
Elder Frank Young