Total Pageviews

MTC Address

Pouch Mail (*see instructions below)

Elder Christopher Pascal Chun

Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130

Pouch Mail instructions:
Letter can only be one paged with one side left totally blank. Lay the letter blank side down. Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease. Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease. Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends. In the top left corner write your name and complete return address. Affix first class postage in the top right corner. In the middle write the missionary address as above.

If you use they print your emails for free and deliver them to him on pouch mail day. When you get on their website you can click "Pouch" on the left hand side and see their pouch mail countdown running. Pouch is sent once a week from church headquarters in Salt Lake City on Mondays at noon.

If you make a free account on you just need to choose "Ukraine - Dnepropetrovsk" for his mission, not the Provo MTC any more!

Packages or other letters besides pouch mail need to be mailed to the mission home to the following address:

Christopher Pascal Chun
(do not include the mission name)
Karla Marksa 27 A 5th floor

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 8

Last week in the MTC officially! I am so excited! I leave the MTC at 5 AM on tuesday morning, the 17th. We will be taking one flight from SLC to NY and then from NY to Vienna, Austria! My district has already told me they're expecting me to be the guide and the translator when we get there. I don't know how much I'll be able to do though. Haha I haven't been able to talk German too much while here at the MTC. The best I really get is the letters from my mom and I just read those out loud. Not much like conversation. But anyways, I am very excited to head out! Although the language is definitely going to be a challenge when I get there. I don't know too much but I'm so ready to get out into the field. I trust that everything will work out though. As I've said before. All of my district is going to the same mission and thus we are all also traveling together. It's sad to be leaving all of our teachers. I ended up with all of the best ones. Haha but leaving is much easier because I'm not saying goodbye to any of the close friends I've made here from my district. So I'm really excited and things are finally going to get real in a week.
     Easter! Easter Sunday was really weird this year. I remember last year walking around holding Niki's hand letting him find easter eggs in the field out my Grandma's house. This year we fasted on Easter Sunday and so it was strange. We also had an MTC wide sacrament meeting. That was huge. Haha they wanted all of the branch presidencies to be with their families so they did one sacrament meeting with everyone. We did have 2 Area 70s there with President Packer Presiding though. It was really cool. This week has been a major testimony builder for me that God does answer prayers. I'll just leave that at that though. I have yet to thank him for some of them and he ought to be the first to know. :P
     Believe it or not... This week is the first week I've made any kind of flashcards. Maybe that's why I'm not so good with the language. Haha, in the Russian language though, when you memorize a verb, you have to memorize two words (the perfective and imperfective version of the verb.) and the 6 ways both of them conjugate, plus I'm trying to get command forms down so that's plus two more. There are patterns but that's around 16 different things for one verb. Haha it's brutal. Adjectives and nouns are much easier though. It's just one word and they all change according to context basically the same way. Just following a few rules. It's be much easier if I was good at using those rules though. Haha, I have gotten pretty good at writing out sentences, I can't speak quite correctly though. I did memorize the last part of the first vision in Russian though. That is a mouthful and a half. Definitely feeling the Gift of Tongues though.
     Well, I just panicked and ran over to the washing machine, opened the washer that was running, spilled water everywhere, and pulled out the pen I forgot in my sweater... A little moment to let you know that I can be both spiritual and still Chris Chun. Haha but because of that I lost my train of thought and can't think of much else to tell you. So... I think I'm going to cut it short today because there really wasn't too much that happened and I'm sure that next week's will be rather long.

Love you all! Thanks for your love and support!

-Старейшина Чен

P.S. Little note for the Wee Chuns, especially Lacy. I met Hillary (I think that was her first name) Barton (I think that was her last name) here and she says hi. What a coincidence.

Week 7

Dear Friends and Family,

The MTC is going great! We just started an MTC challenge to speak 100% russian in the last two weeks at the MTC. It's definately difficult and all the teachers and leaders decided to wait until now to tell us how riduculous of a goal it is for us. They said that the Russian language program used to be a 10 week program. Then one year two elders had problems getting visas and would need to stay at the MTC for 2 more weeks. The MTC presidency asked one of the General Authorities what to do with them and instead of sending them to a stateside mission until they got their visas, the General Authority said that they can stay at the MTC as long as they speak only Russian. So the missionaries did that and when they got into the field they spoke about as good as a lot of the missionaries who have been there a few months already. So they extended the Russian program to 12 weeks and then challenged the russians to speak only russian the last two weeks. Inspiring right? But... We're on a 9 week program. Which means, by the time we're out of here, we will still not have had as much time to learn the language as those first missionaries did. We have 3 fewer weeks to do so. They started their challenge after 10 weeks and we are starting ours after 7. Haha, I know anything is possible with the Lord though and honestly I think this is helping a lot even though it's hard. There are times when we have to speak English though. For example when a branch presidency member who doesn't know how to speak Russian is conducting a meeting or something. Or when we're talking to service coordinator people. But we still speak a lot of Russian. Today I haven't said a word of English so far.

General Conference was amazing from the MTC. Maybe because it wasn't as magical this year as in some of the other years. This year I heard every one of the speakers and took good notes wheras during some of the other years I would be taking notes and everytime I "blinked" there would be a different speaker, like magic. Haha but seriously there was a lot of good stuff said. More and more as I'm here at the MTC and as I hear different devotional speakers and talks and lessons and things am I realizing that missionary work is so good. Because I'm not doing anything different than that what I should be doing when I'm not a missionary. Plus I've been set apart to do this though. So last night I actually realized that a mission is kinda like a handicap maybe? Or like a headstart on life? Because you don't have to worry about anything going on except for what you are doing. Whereas after the mission you need to have the same purpose as a missionary but you have to deal with everything else as well. So the mission teaches how to focus on the things that matter most and then life is just where it is applied after the mission. My favorite General Conference talk was the one that Elder Anderson gave in the last Session. I don't necessarily remember much of what he said but I remember he would say a statement like, "What does Jesus think of me?" and it would get me thinking and I just felt the spirit working with me as I pondered about that phrase and then everytime he said another powerful statement I would hear it and the spirit would work with me again. It was an amazing feeling and that's why that talk was my favorite.

Yesterday, one of the native teachers taught me something really culturally different about Russians and Ukranians that I'm really going to have to work on. She said that when people talk, they look eachother in the eyes. It's almost like a staring contest except you don't compete. She said that if you're talking and you look away a lot then it means that you have something to hide. This is a good lesson for me to be learning because I actually just recently learned that in a talk that Elder Holland gave, he talked about how we know that the spirit is working with our investigators. He said that the way to know is to firstly, have the spirit with yourself, and second, look them in the eyes. I thought that was kind of strange council but I'm guessing that this is a lesson that the Lord wants me to learn because he had to tell me twice. Plus this teacher made it very real for me when she started asking us about how we were going to share the gospel. She started out with the question, "What does your church, or what do you have to offer me?" Then we began to explain the blessings one can recieve from living the Gospel, then (I don't know if this was her family, her friend, or if this was purely hypothetical) when we got to eternal families, she said, "I don't want that, every day my husband comes home from being with his friends at about 1 or 2 in the morning, he is completely drunk and he often throws me against the wall. I can't leave him because I'm afraid of what he'll do to me and my children. I have 2 kids and he's my only financial support. I don't want that to last forever. So what else do you have to offer me?" and throughout all this she wanted me to stare her in the eyes. I don't know what culture this is from in my life but that seems kind of intrusive to me so that's why I'll have to get over that. But that lesson really got me thinking (It went on a lot more than that and there were other things in her life that were pretty miserable too but that was the main part that really got me thinking) I don't know exactly what she's looking for and I don't know exactly how to give it to her. The only thing I really know as a missionary is that I have a message and that my message can change the world. My job is to share that message in a way that allows people to find for themselves what they are looking for, but at the same time I need to share it in the right way that will make people interested and willing to work and put effort into bettering their lives.

So this was a pretty spiritual week. I don't have much funny stuff to say because I can't remember much. I guess I was really tired yesterday and I took two naps on the floor in my suit in class. Haha I really can't remember too much stuff. I know I have a good laugh at least once every day but I can't really remember most of it exactly. I have been working on Russian cursive though. It looks really really pretty. It's strange because the Russian people are often portrayed as an extremely austere and angry culture almost and hollywood russians all talk very harshly, but really russian is a really pretty language. It's not as harsh as German is and it flows really nicely. Russian cursive is really cool in the same way. It looks very pretty. I'm pretty sure I'm going to send some russian to my family so if you'd like to know what it looks like you can ask them to show it to you in a few days when they get a handwritten letter from me.

Love you all, thank you for all your love and support!

- Elder Chun

P.S. Sorry I'm not responding to everyone's letters anymore, I don't have too much time to write letters anymore so I have to pick and choose the most important letters to reply to. So if I don't respond to your letters it infers you need to write better letters. :P No I'm actually trying to respond to them in order of people I haven't responded to ever first and everyone else after.

Week 6

Hello Friends and Family! Life at the MTC is just as always. I learn something new every day but I don't do anything new because there's nothing new to do. This week went by even faster than the last, so I have no idea what to tell you.

As a district, we made a goal to speak the last two weeks in the MTC all in Russian. That's a goal that the MTC invites us to keep. We're going to start that next Monday. It's crazy to think that I'm that close to leaving here. I can't believe I've been here this long but at the same time I feel like I've lived here forever. I was joking around with my companion the other day and we were saying things like, "You mean there's a life after the MTC?" "The Prophet created this plan for us, we have a purpose here in this facility, and there is a life after life in the MTC as well." "Wow.... Tell me more!" Haha, we have our fun. I love my companion and everyone in my district. We have a lot of fun together. When we have too much fun though, the sisters are sure to keep us in line. Oh yeah, maybe I already told you this last week but the sisters are going to be singing in the saturday afternoon session. So look for the ones that look the happiest and those are my district members. Haha they'll be wearing solid colors and they have long hair. Good luck. I'm really excited to experience conference in the MTC. I think it'll be exciting to hear the message in a new light. I'll be able to better relate everything to missionary work and my investigators.

This week I also did something really weird. I actually volunteered to teach a lesson to the district at our Weekly District study. Haha, my District leader was rather suprised and confused, but also happy and relieved that he wouldn't have to anymore. Haha. Everyone in my district is having a hard time with the language obviously. Everyone's got that problem and Russian is no easy language. So the countdown (to the day we start speaking all Russian) is a little scary up on the board. Everyone is a little scared and nervous for that day. But I taught a lesson on faith, and how we need to be happy at all times. In fact the day before we had a devotional speaker from the 70 come and he said something I really liked. He said, "If you're not happy you're not doing it right." Everything in this life is meant for us to be happy. EVERYTHING. All of the trials we experience are meant for us to grow and to be able to be happy. If we ever get hung up on something we're doing it wrong. The faith comes in because we can be happy by trusting in God. Trusting that he knows what he's doing and that he knows that our personal experiences will truly make us happier. I later realized that what I called just "faith" is actually Faith, Charity, and Hope. Oh well... At least I kind of understand the principle. A cool analogy I made is that God gives us blessings kind of like an hourglass with no bottom. We are the bottom and we catch the blessings. Obviously there is a limit to how much we can carry. So we need to work on our faith because that is the foundation that we can catch the blessings with. As our faith grows, we can handle more blessings. That made me think a little bit. Is it possible to be blessed too much? Because like I said before, trials are blessings too, so can we recieve too many blessings? I was looking through the Book of Mormon and I received an answer. In the long run, the answer is no. As we build our foundation and become more and more Christ-like, we will eventually be able to receive all of the kingdom of heaven. So God will let us have all of the sand in the top of the hourglass which is infinite. But the answer is also yes. God adjusts the stream of blessings to always be a little more than we can handle. This forces us to continue growing and growing. But, God is very capable of just giving us all of the blessings. You know what happens when he does that though? We pass out. Hahaha story of King Lamoni, Ammon, Joseph Smith, and so many others. They all had varying degrees of testimonies and faith, but the Lord sent them so many blessings at once that they passed out. Haha

Well that's my spiritual insight for the day. I'm sorry but I can't think of much funny stuff that's happened. We always have fun and laugh but there's no specific events that I can think of. Well... my old companion (from the 3 way companionship) is known for being very close with his cats at home. His favorite one was Wall-E and his next favorite was his duck Penelope. In one letter he found out that Wall-E was run over by a car and Penelope flew away and we laughed at him for a while. Haha he is fine though. He's known for liking his cats and duck but I don't think it's really that much of a problem for him.

We get new elders today. None of them are headed for Dnepropetrovsk though. It should be fun. I'll probably meet them in about 5 hours. Everyone is kind of super excited for it. Probably just because it's something new. I honestly don't think it's all that exciting. We're probably not going to associate all that much. Haha maybe people are just excited to finally be the "seniors" around. For two or three weeks. Real exciting. Haha but it'll be good.

I can't think of anything more to say so best of luck to everyone, thank you for the love support and letters.

- Elder Chun