Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dinner with Elder Lor's Family

Monday Feb 13, 2017: We found a new investigator today! Her brother is a member and she is really excited to start coming to church! It was really cool to meet her.

Tuesday Feb 14, 2017: We left our apartment this morning and we were passing the National Guard base that is across the street and a fighter jet about landed on top of us! I couldn't get any pictures but it was so close. It landed about 50 ft. from the road so it was only like 50-60 ft. in the air. It was super cool. Nearly every day we see fighter jets take off and fly around in formation. It is pretty sweet. Also, because it was valentine’s day a member took us out to dinner! It was super awesome and fun because we went to a fancy soup and salad place. It was so fun!

Wednesday Feb 15, 2017: Today we had trainer trainee. Basically, it is a meeting with the Mission President and his wife where we get additional training for all of us new missionaries. It was pretty interesting and helpful. It was about personalities and how to improve the relationship with your companion and how to relate to people you meet. Also, today I ate dinner with Elder Lor's family! It was super cool because I met Elder Lor in the MTC!

I stole his cat hahaha

Elder Lor

The mountain view from the highway

Thursday Feb 16, 2017: Today we went to a door that was on our list of less active members. They didn't live there anymore but the apartment right next to them started calling out "hey missionaries" while we were standing there. It was one of the members that went to a different Ward (Mormon congregations in different areas of town are called wards). She was just getting done with cancer treatment and found out today she was in remission! Super crazy story but a super awesome person to meet. The Lord definitely put us there for a reason. Also, today a member took us to a Pho Restaurant. It was surprisingly good for having squid, lobster, crab, cow stomach/intestine lining and stuff like that in it! My mom has a picture of it that she will put on the blog. 

 Friday Feb 17, 2017: Today we had the craziest problem ever. One of our investigators we have been teaching wanted to get baptized tomorrow! That is too soon because there are more things we need to teach them but it was super crazy and awesome! Also, Today I was given a Hmong tie! It is a super awesome purple design. All completely stitched in. 

 Saturday Feb 18, 2017: Today we stopped by a wedding. One of the member’s sons was getting married so we were invited. When we got there, they pulled us in and had us sit at the table of honor! Kinda crazy but pretty cool! There was a full roasted pig all cut up except the head. So, while we were sitting there a big ole roasted pig head was staring at me. hahaha. Pretty cool though!

Sunday Feb 19, 2017: We had church today! I didn't have to translate this week so I was able to sit in the congregation with them members and get to know them. It was fun. Also, I took a picture of the inside of an orange tree while we were visiting some recently baptized members. It looks pretty cool hahaha

 In other news, it is flooding everywhere because of all the rain. It is soooooo crazy! 

-Elder Yskes

The District: I met elder Lor's family!! Check out Wednesday in my email hahaha.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Crazy Teaching Stories

Tuesday Feb 7: So today we found a new investigator! He and his wife just moved from Minnesota and are living with a family who are members! Its super cool because the investigator is a Lor just like me so that's really cool!

Wednesday Feb 8: It was my sister Elisabeth's birthday today! Anyway, today we had exchanges so I was in a biking area with the district leader's companion. We got rides from members everywhere though so no biking for me today! Crazy story though. Before we went on exchanges my companion and I went to a house that was on a list of people who signed up to be taught at Hmong New Years. No one was home but while we were knocking on the door a car screeched to a stop on the other side of the street and we heard a girl screaming! We were like “what the…” and so we started walking over to see if we could help and a guy bolts out of the car into the house then comes back out and so we asked him if he needed any help. The guy said "No it’s not that bad. She just fell. It just looks bad because of the blood. Her mom is a nurse so I brought her here and she isn't home so I am going to take her to the hospital now." Now my companion is like “what the heck” and we see in the back seat a girl screaming and covered in blood! So crazy. We didn't have time to share a message with him but that is ok because he was in a hurry.

Thursday Feb. 9: I was like the definition of a Mormon missionary today! We got on bikes and cruised around talking to people. Everyone thought we were Jehovah Witnesses which didn't make much sense to me because white shirt and tie and name tag on a bike is a clear indicator of a Mormon but that is ok. Also, I found out my district leader Elder King stole my camera and took some pictures hahaha. After exchanges ended my companion and I went to a lesson with an investigator and brought an old Hmong man with us. We had a lesson planned but we didn't have time hahaha. The old Hmong man just talked to them the whole time and, wow, do old Hmong people get riled up when talking. He would be like “the Mormon church is the true church” and then the investigators would like be yelling "yog mas" which basically means yes and they were like going crazy! We totally thought that this new friend they now had would encourage the investigator to come to church but they didn't. Oh, well, better luck next time.

Friday Feb. 10: Today we hit our goal of 4 new investigators for the week! So excited so I cut open a weird fruit that a member gave us. Pictures below. It was a giant fruit that looks kinda like a giant orange when you cut it open. It tastes kinda like an orange too but it has the consistency of corn and is really dry. Kinda weird.

Saturday Feb. 11: Today we knocked on a referrals door and their college age daughter answered. Her parents weren't home but she was really nice so she got us water. Then she was like “are you hungry” and we were like “uhhh” and she was like “you’re working hard let me get you something”. Then she was like “sorry, we ran out of pizza” and handed us a plate of steak! I was like what the heck is going on but it was pretty awesome!

Sunday Feb 12: I had to translate at church again today! English to Hmong actually didn't go to bad! But the Hmong to English.... That was a fail. Oh, well. Hahaha. Other than that, not much else happened today. We were teaching a lesson and halfway through her son walked in completely stoned out of his mind. Not too uncommon now that weed is legal but it’s still not super common. People who are high are wayyyy nicer than sober people hahaha.

Answers to Questions I was asked:
So, Fresno has been super fun. We do a lot of work in Ghettos and they are super fun to go tracting in except for when a group from a gang start yelling at you. But we just say "Were Mormons not Jehovah Witness" then they are like “oh, ok” and leave us alone. 

The weather here is crazy! It has been raining almost every day and everywhere is flooding! It’s so crazy because its California and everything is supposed to be dry! 

Also, my apartment is cool. It’s not super big but that is ok. We have enough space to study and it just means that we have less to clean every week. It is nice though because in our main room we have a big ol’ Hmong lay (floor mat type thing) and its super comfy to lay on so I do that sometimes when studying.

- Elder Yskes

The District: So I met keeb kwm this week. Apparently Elder Lor baptized him so that is cool. Also, look at this note I found on our phone hahaha

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

First Letter Home from the Mission Field

Hey All!

So i will break up my first week by days.

       We landed at about noon and met our Mission President. He is super cool! Pictures from the first few days were put on the California Fresno Mission (CFM) blog so if you want to see those check out the blog! So, after we got to the mission office we were immediately thrown right into missionary work with something called ''Open your Mouth''. During this we went to different parts of town and just started meeting people on the street and sharing a message about Jesus Christ with them. It was super fun! Lots of experiences happened the first day during this. For example, it was the first time in my life I have seen people smoking marijuana on the street corners because its legal here. Definitely not something you would see in Michigan hahaha. Then we went to the Mission President’s home for dinner and spent the night at the assistants to the Presidents home.
Train ride to airport

     So, the CFM is an extremely obedient mission. It might sound like that would be annoying but its super awesome because all of the missionaries are super good missionaries. One of the rules is that all missionaries have to part their hair. One of the 12 apostles of our church came a few years ago and said if we instituted this rule baptisms would double. Baptisms doubled after this was made a rule. So below you will see a picture of me rocking the part! Also, today I met my Trainer! His name is Elder Bagley. He is from Rexburg, Idaho. I am in the Pioneer Park East Zone. The Pioneer Park Ward (PPW) is a Hmong ward and there is also an English Ward in the same building called the Gettysburg ward. There are 4 Elders in the PPW and the other two are Elder Ellestad (Who I was in the MTC with) and his trainer Elder Biggs. They cover the West side of Fresno and we cover the East. There are also 2 Elders and 2 sisters in the Gettysburg ward but they are divided North South not East West. Also, they only cover the Ward boundaries and the Hmong missionaries cover the entire city of Fresno.
      Crazy story from today. We knocked on a Hmong family’s door and in Hmong culture it is polite to invite people in so they did. We went inside and a man from their back yard walked in holding a white pigeon that was COMPLETELY COVERED IN BLOOD! He tried to cut a cyst off of its wing and accidentally cut the vein! There was blood everywhere! It was definitely a unique experience because he had my companion help him sew the wing back together hahahah It was weird.

Arriving in Fresno

 Me getting the part

 Where I slept in the assistants home

Me rocking the part

      Today I was adopted into a Hmong Clan!!!!!! We met our Wards mission leader and his Dad was there. His Dad decided to adopt me into his clan, the Lauj clan (lor in English)! He adopted me and gave me a blessing and said I was now part of his family! It was super cool. 
      Also, today I was privileged to be a part of a blessing. One of the families we met had a sick baby so they asked if we would bless the baby. So, we did.  For those of you who don’t know what this is, basically in our church we believe we can use the Priesthood (Gods authority to use his power given to man) to bless people with comfort or health or things like that. If you wanna know more visit and either chat with a church representative online about it or search it. It was super awesome. 

      So today we met two new investigators (people who would like us to teach them about Jesus Christ). Also, I ate some more really good Hmong food. The food here is so good!

      So today was church. I could not understand very much of the service in church because it was Hmong. This was a problem because I was translating for everyone who couldn't speak Hmong that were in attendance. It was a struggle. I met a lot of people tho so it was awesome!

So, yeah, that is my week!

- Elder Yskes

P.S. I can only send emails and letters on Monday before 5:00 and I can only receive mail once a week because that is how often the mission office drops off mail. 

Love Y'all!!!

Goon Squad:

Brother Rasmussen and Brother Ballard both stayed in my apartment hahaha. Brother Ballard trained my trainer which is pretty cool so that means Brother Rasmussen is my trainer's trainer's trainer hahaha. Also, I am a Lor!!!  

This last one is of old missionaries, some of which were my teachers in the MTC so that's why it won't make sense to most of you. They are wearing traditional Hmong clothing.