Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 2 - Canton, OH

Wow OK! So what a week! It flew by!  One minute I was sitting here in the library and now I'm in the library again!

I'm so happy to hear from so many people this week! I love the encouragement that all of my family gives me!

So here is my first return and report. My investigator from last week. I committed him to baptism and he rejected. But that's OK he had a lot of really good concerns. So this week we are planning on addressing all of his concerns that we didn't get to last week. He felt more comfortable with the things we explained to him but he still needed to find his testimony of the Book of Mormon and that this is the True Church!

As an answer to my prayer and twelve and a half hours of tracting we did last week, we found a few more investigators. One guy wants to have his whole apartment complex have a Book of Mormon study class on Tuesday mornings. We taught them this morning and there were a lot of people interested! It’s amazing! So basically we have a pool of potential investigators to work with. We've also tracted into a few people to work with.

Our ward mission leader is like a super star!  It’s very weird to me to be involved in Ward Counsel Meetings.  I guess I'm just not used to the Stake President looking at me on equal ground. It’s awesome to be there though because it really helps out with our missionary work and the direction that the ward is going with their ward mission plan. I feel so much more in the loop.

Yesterday, Monday the 13th, we went to the Johnson Farm, which is the other historical site here in Ohio. We got to go in the Johnson home where the Prophet had been. We were in the room in where the mob pulled Joseph Smith out of his bed at night and tarred and feathered him. 

The amazing story about that room is after they tarred and feathered him, and even tried to poison him, the Prophet walked back to the house and that night they scraped all the tar off of him and in the morning he preached to a congregation of 150 on the front steps of that house. There were people from the mob there that didn't expect him to show up and were hoping he wouldn't, but he did and taught a powerful lesson. The Prophet even converted some of the men that tried to kill him.

Man, when I stood there on that hallowed ground my testimony was strengthened beyond belief. I know that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon that I study and share with all I meet is a true book of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ our Savior, our Redeemer. I'm so glad that I'm here to share the Gospel with the people of Ohio. I don't think I could find a more joyful thing in my life.

After that time in the Johnson home we had an awesome activity called Zoned Out! Three Zones from half of the mission got together and played games. We played trivia games on our knowledge of Preach My Gospel, Scriptures, Church History and Missionary rules. Then after that we had an awesome relay race between the three zones. Needless to say our zone won. We had a dramatic come from behind victory (we planned it that way... OK not really). My part of the relay was to eat a cup of dirt and worms! No,  not real dirt and worms, but crushed up Oreos and gummy worms. Between my companion and me we caught our zone up then pulled ahead. We killed it after that! But it was just a fun competition plus I guess we can’t be too proud because we were against the Kirtland Zone which is almost all Sisters. It was a lot of fun and we got to see so many other missionaries that are our friends so it was great!

Mom. That's awesome that Shannon and Marlene are there helping and visiting. I really hope you don't break Shannon. I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to hear more next week.

Dad and Kina, Thanks for the package with the protein bars in it and the pictures. I only got it yesterday because the mission office staff was there at Hyrum to bring it to me

Aunt Susan, Thanks so much for the words encouragement and love! I'm happy that the AZ family is up visiting with you guys!

Jed, I'm so happy to hear that you’re going to seminary.  I went to seminary yesterday too!  It was awesome. I remember how I felt after I had seminary every day. It was always the best way to start the day! I hope your finding joy in reading the scriptures. I know how important that it is the have that time everyday to study. I only get an hour which probably sounds like a lot, but to me it’s not even close to enough I find myself eating lunch fast so that I have extra time to study! I'm so glad to hear that you’re starting to feel the Spirit in your life. I hope your committing now to serve a mission. It’s a process and if you start now you will be so much more prepared.

Grandpa and Grandma, It’s so amazing to ready some of your stories. I have been keeping a journal almost every day. I hope one day I can share my stories with my children and grandchildren and they can be a source of comfort and joy and direction as your stories are to me.

We call this the "White Rhino"!
 Well it’s time to get back to work! I love every one of you and I hope you all stay strong in the gospel and love each other. I would challenge everyone to pick up their Book of Mormons and begin to read it again. Also study in the Doctrine and Covenants and find the ones that are direct revelation given in Kirtland and in Hyrum. Remember I've been there and I know there spirit that is in those rooms and I know those are true doctrines that came from those rooms.
With so much love from your son, grandson, nephew and brother
Elder Yukish

Oh p.s. the address here is
Elder Yukish
123 17th St NW APT# 2
Canton, OH 44703

It’s going to change but not as soon as we thought. I'll let you know when it does.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Elder Yukish's first week - Canton, OH

Ok so today is Wednesday the 8th. We didn’t get a chance to email on Monday because it was Labor Day and the library was closed.

My first week is going great! Had a lot of things happen.

The first day we went to Kirtland and got to kneel in the School of the Prophets and pray to Heavenly Father to commit to what type of missionary we will be. Man I tell you that was so amazing. We got to go on a private tour with this guy that is like THE Church Historian of Kirtland.

We got to sit in the Revelation Room and talk about how great our call is. I was asked to share my feelings on what was going on in that room. I said that the veil was so thin in that room. I felt like Joseph himself was walking around and touching each one of us, promising us that if we work we will be blessed, and that he blessed us with his own personal protection. It was amazing.

My first companion is Elder Saunders. He's a pretty cool guy, really quiet but has a good spirit about him. The area I'm serving in is the Downtown Canton area. It.... is the ghetto.. Haha! But it’s not all bad. The first day I was with my companion we went tracking. The 3rd door we knocked on was a golden investigator. We talked to him on his front porch and just got to know him. He had a kid die at 6 years old about 6 years ago. He was a Catholic but lost all faith after his kid died. He is now looking for a church to go back to and trying to find his faith in God. We taught him on Friday night. It went amazing! The Spirit was there so strong. We asked him to pray at the end and in his prayer he said how thankful he was for the missionaries to be at his house and he knew we were answers to his prayers. We have another lesson with him tomorrow and we're (or rather I) am going to commit him to baptism.

I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be. It’s really easy when you have the Spirit.

I’m in a biking area, and there are a lot of hills. The first few days I sweated though my shirts. Mom I had to buy a few more. That’s where the Sears money came from. I’m starting to get used to it though. Once it’s your only mode of transportation you work hard to move fast. I love how much more energy I have now. I almost got mugged already but it’s all good. We parked our bikes in a bad spot and this guy said he wanted our bikes and he'd give us $50 for them. We said no and started to ride off. He yelled at us and told us he was going to come after us and he started to get in his car but we were long gone. No biggie.

Mom I don’t know when you’re going to be back to AZ but if you could send me my blanket that would be awesome. I have an address but it’s not going to still be valid in a week because we're moving to a bigger apartment. We live with the zone leaders in a two bedroom apartment that should only fit two people but there's four of us. Haha. So it’s pretty cramped. But the new place is awesome. Dad I figured I could use some protein powder since I'm working my legs like crazy. I really love that stuff in the purple label, and the chocolate kind :) I’m excited to hear that Zach is having fun at football and that Ben is working on his physical fitness. Have him try to ride a bike 15 miles a day Haha that will get him into shape like it is me too!

Oh Mom do you remember that video of the Ohio clean up thing after the storm? If you can find it watch it and look for elder Thornton. He's my zone leader. He's an awesome guy.
How are the Hawkins?

How's all the rest of the family? Yukish side and Mitchell side?

Oh Kina your friend that I met is in my ward! She's awesome! So funny and made me feel so welcome to the ward! She told me that you two were quite the pair in high school!

Grandpa and Grandma, thanks for that scripture it was so awesome! I've really grown to love my scriptures and the stories and lessons you can learn from them. Getting 2 hours every morning to study is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
One scripture I’ve been focusing on these past few days is 2 Nephi 31. I'd like to invite everyone to read it for FHE. It is the example of Jesus Christ and being Baptized. We are really trying to teach our investigators this. Will you commit to reading that for me? Haha pun!

I have been keeping a journal almost every day. I love it. Helps me so much in growing my testimony and remembering the good things throughout the day.

Tod I hope your healing well. Don’t be lazy.. Haha. I tell you what, I so have a strong testimony of hard work. There are Elders here that just don’t know how to work hard. I’m glad you taught me that even though I probably didn’t show it before, but I’m so glad I know how to work now.

My bike is the coolest bike I’ve ever seen. It’s a Trek 4300. It’s so comfortable and really nice. It’s got low, middle, and high gears and then it’s got 8 speeds. It’s nice because I don’t have to be one of those big guys walking my bike up the hills. It’s going to stink in the winter but it'll be ok.

I'm excited to hear that there's a blog up to keep everyone updated.

I send everyone my love! I’m so thankful for everyone’s support. I feel that love walking along with me as I walk down the streets of Downtown Canton. I don’t know how I could do this by myself.

I will write with my address next week but feel free to send things to the mission home through Postal Service. They will be able to forward that to me wherever I am.

I Love you all so much!
Love Elder Yukish

MTC Ending

Letter sent regular mail: August 27, 2010

Dear Mom and Tod,

So, I’ve reached the end of my MTC experience! Finally!! No, just kidding. I’ve loved it here! The food is awesome, the people are awesome. I feel so much more confident than I did at the beginning. I finally feel ready to go to work.

It has still been hard to get along with a companion, but I’m working hard on patience. I will be very excited to meet my first real companion. I really hope he’s a hard worker. I really have been praying for a companion to help me.

This will be the last letter I send home from the MTC! I feel like it flew by so fast. If my mission actually goes this fast I’ll be home in no time.

Thank you so much for the cupcakes and the Abba Zabbas. I was able to share them with my District and my roommates. I was surprised at how few people liked the Abba Zabbas. I thought it was joyous for everyone, but I was wrong. Haha!

My companion is the other big guy in the pictures. It is nice to have another big guy in my District, but I wish I had a small companion so I could follow his eating habits.
What is Pamela’s address so I can write her?

I’m glad to hear Tod’s doing good. I love the pictures you sent me. I’m making a box for my scriptures and I’m putting family pictures on them and those will work perfectly!

Also, thanks for the pens. They are awesome and write so softly. I bought a pocket protector because it seems that leaking pens in the pocket is a big problem here. It may be nerdy, but I’m the only one in the District that hasn’t had a pen leak in their pocket!

Well, I’m going to bed. I love you all so much. I feel your love all the time. I keep you all in my prayers. I can’t wait to see everyone again!

Love, Elder Yukish (Your Son – Best one ever) :-)

OH MY GOSH!!  I almost forgot to mention.  On Tuesday night for our devotional we had Jeffrey Holland!! He came to yell at us and tell us how much he loves us!  He talked about not giving up!  How better we can feel the Spirit and things that missionaries need to improve on.  His three things that we need to improve on is 1) Studying as companions 2) Planning and 3) Teaching with POWER and AUTHORITY which I'm sure makes some sense to you, but it really strikes home with me and my goals of improvement.
So anyway, that's how it's been going with me.  I love you and I'll write you when I'm in Cleveland.  Tell me when you are going back to Arizona so I can change where I send mail.