Monday, January 24, 2011

The Assistant's Visit!

Sorry for not writing last week. Just didn't get around to it because the library was closed on Monday and just got busy the rest of the week.

It was a really great week though! We got our 20 lessons that we were trying to reach. It actually snuck up on us. Last night we got back to our place and thought we were only at 19. So i was pretty excited because that's the most I've taught in a week. But when i called in numbers for the district i recounted and we had 20! That was really exciting.

We have been having a lot of fun too! We are really enjoying our area and the people in it!

We had the Assistants go with us this week. We kind of thought it was because we were doing something wrong. One Assistant came with us and the other went to another area. It was really fun. We learned a lot from him and got a lot of inspired ideas for lessons. It was really great. I still don't know the reason they came with us, but it was great.

Were going to run out to Medina for PDay and maybe play some basketball or something.

Love you all so much have a great week!
Elder Yukish

Monday, January 10, 2011

Called to be District Leader

It’s wonderful to hear from you all this week! It sounds like everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year! It’s exciting to hear that the scriptures are a big part of this New Year! That is what makes me smile! When you put forth that time and grab hold of that opportunity, the Lord will "open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

It’s been another cold snowy week here in "The Ohio". Cold but warmer than ever! My companion and I have had a really good week. We are having Heavenly Father’s children thrown in front of us. We are not doing anything amazing to try and find new people to teach, they are just calling us and telling us they want to be baptized. The members of this ward are amazing! They always have someone for us to go see or teach. It really makes our job easy!

In addition to all of the wonderful people that we get to meet with each week, we have new people following the examples their friends are showing them and joining us in the lessons. The other day my companion and I went on splits with some members. It was a lot of fun! While my companion was teaching a lesson at this couples house, their roommate joined in and had a lot of really great questions. We have been over there many of times. Each time he has been sitting in the kitchen listening to our lessons but when we invite him to come listen he never wants to. The last time we went over we taught the Plan of Salvation. He was listening. We left a pamphlet on the table for them to study from. He had picked it up and read through it. When Elder Trammell was over there this last time he came and sat down and listened to the lesson and asked questions and wanted to know a lot more. So because of the change he was seeing in our investigators life, and by the great work of my companion and the member he went with, we have another Child of God ready to come back to the fold. It’s amazing. We don't understand what is going right, but we are going to continue to work hard and be worthy of the blessings.

So this last week was transfers. They white washed the other missionaries in our district/ward and put two new ones in. I really love them. One of them has been around for a long time and he has been in the same Zone as me since I got here. He's a hard worker and a really obedient missionary. He has the opportunity to train this transfer. So his companion is a greenie! He's great too. He's a Spanish speaking missionary and is very charismatic! He too is a hard working missionary. He's half Mexican and he became my best friend yesterday. He taught me how to make chicken enchiladas in like 15 minutes and really yummy and healthy. I'll attach a picture to this. They were very yummy. They also called me to be the District Leader. So this is a great district and it seems like were all going to get along very well.

So we’re having a good time here. Loving life and trying to stay warm in the 8 or less degree weather :) We have shoveled like maniacs! Its supposed to be snowing for like the next week so yeah, should be fun! Well It’s time to go to a Zone Pday and get to know everyone!

Love you till next week
Elder Yukish
"The White Rhino"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1st Baptism and Other Awesome Stories!!


So it’s transfer week, that's why this letter is coming to you from the frozen tundra on Tuesday!  I am not getting transferred this time so don't worry. My companion and I are staying together for at least another one which is awesome! This week was the first of many baptisms to come. Had a lot of fun and a lot of really good learning experiences.

First things first!  The baptism! It was on Saturday the 1st. It was awesome. We had some crazy things happen to us. First, the Sunday before, we realized that the baptism was that Saturday, and had to scramble to tell people and get the preparations done. Good old me and my forgetfulness. So we told everyone we could and put together the program and hoped for the best.   We had called the Bishop on Friday night because we couldn't get into the closet with the baptismal clothes. We were scared that no one had the key to it because it wasn't supposed to be locked at all. Any ways so we finally found someone with the key and let us in.

We asked bishop how long it takes to fill the font up.  He told us about a half hour so we were like sweet! So we showed up only about an hour early to fill the fount up - which went against all of the advice I've received before my mission.   Needless to say, the font takes about two and a half hours to fill, so when 9:45 rolled around - 15 minutes before the baptism, we had to use every available pot and pan we could find in the kitchen to fill it up. It still only got half full and was pretty cold. It was hilarious! Despite all of that funny stuff it was the greatest experience ever. The lady being baptized was crying the whole time. Her son - who I baptized, was so excited and we really saw a huge change in him when we went in the water. It was a great ending to the story.

My companion and I have learned a few good lessons this week too. A huge one that I really had to humble myself and realize was that I can't do it alone.  More than ever I have had to rely on two brains rather than just my own dumb self to get things done. There are reasons that we work in pairs, you just have to be smart enough to realize that Elder! Also the other thing that I've never been good at and really had to humble myself to do was communication. If you are not communicating your problems and concerns, then how in the world is your companion going to know to change. Lifelong lesson for all of you out there! So I've obviously been rebuked pretty hard by the spirit this week but just like the song: “Rain drops keep falling on my head, but that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turning red” I've learned to take the lessons and use them to change!   It’s making life GRRRREEAT!!!  :)

So it’s been sunny and kind of warm here... well 34 at least. It’s nice seeing the sun shining when we go out to work!

OOOHHH!! A really cool experience that has been happening this week. OK OK so this guy is the husband of a member in the ward.  Missionaries have been coming over for the past about 15 years teaching and trying to help him to want to be baptized. He's stubborn as a mule! Every time the missionaries try and even suggest picking up the Book of Mormon he cuts them off and says “don't waste your breath,  I'm not doing it.”   So when I got here I tried to get him to do the same thing and sure enough got the same result. I didn't know what to do because I knew he needed to do it. We'll you know me I can be just as bull headed as he can be.

 So, I went home and prayed about what to do. We went back and he told us that he had been having a dream where he'd been waking up reaching out for something. He couldn't figure out what he was reaching for but he wanted to know.    Well, I asked him again to pray and read the Book of Mormon and got the same "no thanks” response.  Well before he could finish talking, I turned to his wife and said “will you read it?”  Man, he got humble really quick and chimed in that he wanted to read it with her. So we challenged them to read every night together. We came back about a week and a half later and got talking to him. I could see that there was a light turned on in his eyes. It was amazing. We asked if he had any questions. He wanted to know about the Iron Rod. So we started to talk about it and I had a huge prompting to go out to the car and get the Gospel art book. I flipped open to the Tree of Life picture and showed him the story with the picture. He looked at it and I told him to just study it. All of the sudden he broke down and cried. And I'm pretty sure this was the first time in ohh a very long time that he had cried. He looked up at us and said "this is the answer" meaning that this was the answer to his prayers. The answer to why he was reaching out in his dream. It was THE Single most spiritual experience that I think I've ever felt in my life. We committed him to be baptized, and he told us “Yes! Absolutely!”.

It’s just really amazing that I get to be here watching the Lord work. It's not me it’s all Him. I just get the privilege of being around watching the miracles unfold before my eyes. I love it.

Oh man and yes the pepper that is in my finger is a Habanera. It was HOT !!  enuff said....

Well I’ve rambled for long enough. Till next week!
Write me and I will send you something too!
Elder Yukish

Christmas Phone Call Summary

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas from all of us.  I hope you have had a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Other than a stomach flu bug that we have had at our house the past 2 days, we had a great day.  Brock is in heaven with new Iron Man toys and Lego's, and a new bike. 

We were able to spend a lot of time on the phone with Jordan today.  I thought I'd just share some of his conversation with you.  He is so sweet, and spiritual.  He has really matured, and sounds so fluent and strong in the gospel. 

He said he has several investigator's  that are all lined up for baptism.  He said two of them should be baptized within the next 2 weeks, and then a few others after that.  One great story he told me was about a woman who is a member who asked them to come teach her non-member husband and 8 year old son.  They are the two who will be baptized in 2 weeks.  The father apparently had an accident at work that has left him with a slight learning disability, and has had a difficult time grasping all of the gospel concepts.  Jordan said he got the idea to have the father actually study and teach the 8 year old son the lessons.  The father got very excited, and because he has to study and learn the lessons to teach, it has really increased his retention and sped up his learning process.  He said it was pure inspiration to have him teach the son.  The father is so happy he and his son get to be baptized together.

As part of Jordan's Christmas package, I made a pan of chicken enchilada's and a pan of beef enchilada's.  I froze them and sent them overnight to Jordan.  He told me today that he was so happy to get them and they tasted so good.  He said that the investigators who are getting baptized are fairly low income.  He decided to take 1/2 of each pan of the enchilada's over to the investigator's home tonight for dinner.  I thought that was so great that Jordan was so thoughtful and willing to share his gift from home.  It also made me feel amazingly good to be feeding one of Jordan's investigators on Christmas night!! 
He said he is amazed at what is required of missionaries.  He has been put in many situations already where he has had to act as a counselor.  He is currently helping a couple that is living together but not married to get married so they can join the church.  They are really excited to be baptized, but can't until they get married.  He said they don't have much money, so Jordan and his companion are doing a lot to help them arrange the wedding.  He has had two investigator's give up smoking already, and one that had to give up drinking.  All of these are close to being baptized.   He said miracles are happening, and he is so happy to be a part of them.

He said the weather isn't bothering him too much.  He was standing outside in 18 degree weather for quite awhile during our conversation.  I asked him to explain the Kirtland Temple Zone Conference they had recently.  He got emotional and told me a wonderful story of the day.  He said first of all that the relationship between the owners of the Temple, and our church is friendly and workable because of years of befriending by President Gordon B. Hinkley.  Our church does still have to rent the building, but the church that owns it now is very friendly with the Mormon's and has allowed them to use the building on a few very special occasions such as Mission President conferences, and First Presidency Meetings etc.  He said President Monson is there frequently, and in fact had been there two weeks prior to their zone conference. 

This zone conference was unique in that it was the first of it's kind for the missionaries.  They were able to get very special permission from President Monson, as well as the owners of the Temple, to actually have the Sacrament administered during the meeting.  Jordan said that he got to the Temple in one of the first groups and sat near the front.  He was relishing in the Temple and feeling the thinness of the veil for quite some time.  He said he then turned around to see the whole room filled with suits and name badges of about 120 missionaries.  He said he was so moved to be in this special group.  They had several special speakers and the final one was his mission President.  Jordan said they came fasting and he personally had many questions that were very clearly and vividly answered there that day about his area, and the other Elder's he is working with. 
He told me another story about Kirtland that I thought I'd share also.  When he first arrived to Cleveland, the Mission President took the new missionaries on a tour of Kirtland.  They were fortunate enough to get the tour of Kirtland from the Kirtland Stake Patriarch --Carl Anderson.  He apparently is quite a historian about Kirtland.  Jordan said Carl Anderson is known to have every detail about everything that ever happened in church history in Kirtland memorized.  While they were in the Kirtland Temple, Carl Anderson asked the missionaries who in the room had ancestors with a history in Kirtland.  Jordan and a few others raised their hands.  Carl asked each of them to tell him who their ancestor was.  Thanks to Susan's inspiration and help prior to Jordan leaving on his mission, when Carl asked Jordan about his ancestor, he was able to tell him David Evans.  Carl Anderson knew David Evans' story very well, and went on to tell Jordan what a great man he was, and gave many details of his life.  Jordan felt so connected and happy to have the knowledge of his Great Grandfather's work in Kirtland.   

On this same tour while they were in the Revelation Room in the Newell K. Whitney store, Carl Anderson suddenly stopped his story and looked over to Jordan and asked what he was seeing and feeling at that very moment.  Jordan described how he was seeing Joseph Smith walking around the room touching each of the missionaries on the shoulder giving them a special blessing of comfort.  Patriarch Anderson said that he was seeing that exact same thing. 

Jordan is having some phenomenal miracles.  He is a leader already in his companionship.  They call him a "greenie breaker".  He's not a trainer, but the one right after the trainer that the new missionary goes to.  He said he is to break them of bad habits, or finish training in anything that hasn't been taught.  He said after Elder Saunders got injured and had to go home, they sent Elder Green in with Jordan.  He said they were both called "greenie breakers", and were to break each other.   He is now with a companion that is being "greenie broken".  He is still not getting along with the District Leader he is under, but has learned how to cope with him, and said "I salute him for his title and calling, but I don't like his behavior".  (Dad, he heard your advice and is applying it!)

He told me more about the day Elder Saunder's was injured.  He said he had been warning Elder Saunder's over and over that he as going to get hurt.  Apparently Elder Saunders refused to buckle the clip of his helmet.  Jordan said when Elder Saunder's crashed, he saw his helmet roll off and down the hill, and heard such thud of his head hitting the pavement that he was sure Elder Saunder's was dead.  He said he had been taught in the Mission Home by Sister Sorenson (the Mission President's wife - who is a nurse) what to do in the case of an accident.  He said he just knew what to do because she had told him when he first got to Cleveland.  I guess President Sorenson was kind of givingJordan a hard time for not forcing his companion to buckle his helmet (Remember that Elder Saunder's was Jordan's trainer).   Jordan explained to the President that he had warned Elder Saunder's to the point that it was becoming a conflict and interfering with their relationship and work. 
Jordan is learning a great deal about leadership, and about walking the fine line of getting along, while trying to follow all of the rules.  He sounds so humble and patient. 
Well, anyway...I could go on all night.  We actually talked 3 times today for a total of about 3 hours.  He is so sweet and loving.  I couldn't be more proud of him and the obedience he is showing.  We talked a lot about his joy and attitude for his missionary work.  He said he truly does love the work.  He takes every situation and finds joy in it.  He wasn't even homesick or sad that he is away for Christmas.  He sends his love to you all, and misses everyone.  He also said he appreciates and feels the love and support from every family member.  He was so grateful for all the packages and letters that family members sent.  He said to let you all know how grateful he is for you.
I would like to add to that by expressing my love and gratitude for all of your support and love for my family, and especially for your prayers and concern for our missionary.  I am missing you all greatly this Christmas Day!