Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Number 2!

Our cute Korean missionary spent his second Christmas on his mission. He enjoyed it and although he missed home, he felt good about focusing on missionary work and made some lasting memories with his companion and zone. It was wonderful to talk to him on Christmas day and hear his cute laugh and voice. We found out his release date is July 25. Still not sure if we will go pick him up or just have the gigantic airport party!!! Either way, we anticipate it very much!!!
 Caroling with his zone!
 One of the pkgs we sent was treats and stockings for his whole appt, 6 Elders. We also sent him an advent calendar (little bags to open every day of December) and I think his most favorite was ornaments with pictures of family and friends with a letter on the back for him to put on his little tree.He LOVED those and I appreciate all who wrote them for him!

 Here is our ornament of our cute missionary!
 New companions!!
 On the 21st advent day he got chocolate covered popcorn.., his favorite!
 Santa even shows up in Seoul!
 Right before his most recent transfer

 Christmas came!! He was happy with his BYU beenie, picture book of family and mostly his yearbook of his mission this past year.

 These are the "imogi" pants (apparently super comfy and quiet funny!) at their Christmas party they did a funny dance skit thing and according to Elder Chizzy, it was EPIC!!! Glad they have so much fun!!
 A rare opportunity to have dinner at a members home. They mostly eat out or members bring food to them, he loves it when they get invited to a home!

December 8
My week..... Well, it was really busy, but with just kind of random things... We only had like one sit down lesson all week with a guy  on Friday... He was a pretty cool 24 year old that Elder Anderson found on the street and we were just able to teach a little bit about what we do as missionaries and he liked that. He doesn't have much religion so it is always fun to teach with people like that... He is korean by the way:) Haha don't let the name woody fool ya... Anyways, it really wasn't going anywhere and I was kind of worried about what was going to happen and I just remember praying a quick prayer and asking what I should do and it was farely similar to the answer you got to your prayer. Be patient, and just yield to the spirit. So I did and it all worked out. Hopefully we can meet with him again this week. Anyways, the rest of the week was very busy with a lot of stuff with my zone... Kind of insane quite honestly. Tuesday, we went down to Seoul for our Mission Leadership Council and it was really good. Our mission focus for this month is the Book of Mormon and it's converting power and I really liked it. I got to play the piano in that meeting which was pretty cool too... Haha there was a NY times newspaper reporter there trying to learn more about the role of sisters and what not but the photographer dude came and took pictures while I was playing the piano and it was a lot of pressure! Especially cuz it was with a song that I am not the best at, "Lead Kindly Light" But I pulled it together and it was aight:) Haha another cool thing about the meeting though was that we got to watch this thing by Pentatonics, an acepella singing group... They sang Little Drummer Boy and it wa really cool... I really hadn't ever actually listened to the words of that song before but we watched it, and then President Christensen talked a little bit about it... He talked about how the little drummer boy really says he has nothing to give so he just goes unto Christ and gives of himself, of his talents, and of his time. It says in the song, "I played my drum for him" which is like giving of ourselves, but my favorite part was the line, "Then he smiled at me," Talking about Christ. Christ just wants us to give of ourselves to Him and what a better time for us to do that than during Christmas. That really left a deep impression on me during the rest of the week. I shared it with my zone on Wednesday at our zone training meeting and I thought about it a lot... Lately, we just haven't been having the success that I wish we could have and things have been hard... It has been hard to get people to focus on the work and what not... There have been difficulties in the zone, but, the Lord doesn't ask us to be perfect, He just asks us to give of ourselves and then He will smile back at us... I loved that and it brought a lot of comfort to me for sure... Then from Wednesday to Friday, I went on exchanges to another area with, one of our district leaders, who has been having a difficult time with his companion and what not... We were able to go up and do some really good work and it was good for him for sure... I think it helped him while I was up there and he seemed to learn some stuff, and I did too. Then last night, he called me and asked him to give him a blessing today so since we are going to all get together as a zone, it was perfect

December 15
This week has definitely been an interesting one... For some reason, as the weather has gotten colder, people have too!! And it has been hard to keep a happy, optimistic attitude the whole time!! But we have found some good things and we talked to a lot of people this week. On Tuesday, it was snowing pretty hard and we decided to go out anyway and contact people on the street!! For about 3 hours we could barely see in front of us it was snowing so hard!! Haha but we still talked to like 20 people and got a couple of numbers and met some nice people... The snow kind of made me feel at home and comfortable, but more than that, I was just grateful that we kept working and didn't just take it as an excuse to not go out and work cuz it would have been really easy to do so... Then that night, we had our only lesson of the whole week with a Japanese dude that we met on the street and new about mormons... We met him and just talked a lot about what we do as missionaries and about the organization of the church... I don't know how much real interest he had because he was Buddhist and just kind of wanted to know why we were here and any time we talked about Christ, he just tried to change the subject... But we tried and it was interesting meeting a dude from Japan!!! This week has been a hard one with appt. and stuff though... All the students right now are in the middle of testing season and they are all stressed out. Students in korea study an absurd amount. Some go to school until 5 and then go to an academy until 10.... They just study all day. Really competitive here in korea which is a little bit different from home.. But a lot of times, students are the most interested in hearing about Christ so I think since all of them are taking tests, it has slowed down a little bit.. People are interesting hear in Korea!! But we just talked to like 182 people this week and tried to do everything we could to still spread the gospel. The best part about the week was that we caroled with our zone last night and it was super awesome!! I will have to show you a picture of it cuz it was super great. We had one of the Elder's dressed up in a Santa suit conducting and we just all sang american songs, hymns, and then some in korean. We got a lot of people to stop and we just handed out Book of Mormon's and it was really good. I really enjoyed it. It is weird for me to be where I am at now cuz I realize how much work it is to put something like that together. When I was younger, I just kind of went and everything was great, but I was the one that kind of put everything together and ran the show so it was a lot of work and I am glad it worked out! We will probably do it again this week which I am looking forward too... Silent night has been a song that has really stuck out to me this winter... I think about how we sing that at the forgotten carols and I love that part... It just emphasizes so well the spirit of Christmas and I love it... Christ is our Savior and He came here for us. I know that is true... I have met a lot of people that studied abroad in Canada and a lot of them don't know where Winnipeg is... Hahahaha I always tell them that you are from there and they don't know. Most of the time they just know Vancouver and Toronto which is kind of funny... There are a lot of koreans up there which is pretty cool!!! 

December 22
Missionary age is a weird thing that is for sure... I hope I can help people out:) My week was really really good!! We had a pretty successful week. My comp is doing well. We get a long and we both want to work hard which is nice. I don't have to worry about him or anything cuz he is even older in the mission than me which is nice. Just not having to worry about all that training stuff makes it easier to focus on the people we are teaching and on just being a zone leader. I have enjoyed it so far... We had a couple really cool miracles this week with Scott actually... I called him on Tuesday night and found out that he had been fired from his job which was his whole life... He worked from like 8 in the morning to like 10 at night and never had time to come to church cuz all he did was work... Kind of a terrible sounding job but cuz he was fired, he really was pretty depressed and needed help so we went out and got hot chocolate with him on Thursday night... There he just kind of opened up to us about some stuff and we just kind of sat there and listened to his concerns and what not... It was kind of cool to see how what he was talking about led directly into something that we could testify would bless his life... So we ended up talking a little bit about the atonement and about the Book of Mormon. I shared Alma 7:11-13 which is my favorite scripture on the atonement  by far... I love it so much.. But it hit Scott so hard. He thought the words talked right to him. So from that time on, we just always taught with the Book of Mormon and he was just talking about how much he needs God and how he needs a sturdy foundation and all this different stuff and it was just perfect... And then he brought up coffee and alchohol and that stuff and we were able to make kind of a plan for him to stop those things and we taught some of the stuff from the Law of Chastity and he accepted all of that stuff.. He is 28 so he is hit with a lot of those things everyday, but he said he would keep it all and that he would try his best to keep the word of wisdom... So we set a date for January 18th for him to stop all of that stuff and be baptized.. He is super committed and doing awesome.. We met him the next day, and he read almost all of 1 Nephi which was amazing, and then he prayed a lot and got a job interview which made him believe in God even more.. It was really cool to see how God would do something like that. Humble him by losing his job to the point that Scott realized he needed the gospel, and then as he started making the necessary steps towards becoming closer to God, God blessed him with success... Really cool!! Scott ended up coming to church yesterday too and loved it. He has no background in church but he loved it. he said 3 hours was kind of long, but he soaked it all up and wanted to learn more. He wanted an english book of mormon too (he studied in the UK for awhile and is really fly at english) and he said he will keep reading it. It was a super big miracle and one that I am incredibly grateful for!! Super cool to see someone progress like that and see his life change... One thing I have thought a lot about this week, was just how sometimes, as we go through our trials, we feel alone. We feel like we are just kind of floating... I have felt like that for a little bit... Seeing all the people me and Elder Anderson taught just fall off the face of the earth was way hard and just nothing was going on... But this week, Scott popped up, David at least answered his phone, and the other kid that had a baptismal date answered his phone too... For me, I was wondering why all of that happened the way it did and what not... Then I was reading a talk from President Monson in the Relief Society conference in the Ensign and in the third or fourth to last paragraph he talked about how one day, with retrospect, as we look back on our trials, we will realize that we weren't alone, and that Heavenly Father and the Lord were with us every step of the way.. We just can't always realize it... I thought that was sooo cool and it hit me super hard!! I studied about that quite a bit and it made a big impact on me just realizing how perfectly they know us because of what the Lord did for us in suffering for our sins and dying for us. Really amazing and it was something I was really grateful to learn!!!

December 29
It sounds like your Christmas was a good one!! Everyone sounds happy and I'm glad that Santa came and what not... Haha it is weird to think that that was my second christmas away from home... I won't lie and say that I wish I would be away another one cuz that isn't true!! Haha I can't wait for next Christmas... But this Christmas I was really just able to focus on Christ and just give my time and talents to him... That was a blessing and one that I will probably remember for the rest of my life.... The best part about it all was finding A Little Drummer Boy (the song) on Christmas eve and being able to listen to that all day cuz that really was the theme of my Christmas and it was really good. I just have to give my all and He will smile back at me. I love that message and found a lot of comfort and happiness in it.
Well the rest of the week really wasn't that eventful or anything like that... The best part of the weekend was Saturday for sure.. We were able to pick up a new investigator straight of the street which was good and then we met this super weird dude from New York that bought us sushi, (yeah I ate it all... Still don't know exactly how I felt about it...) and he was a goofball. He said that because we were only 21, we couldn't persuade people to believe and that cuz we didn't have any experience, it wasn't effective... It was interesting for me to take a step back and realize that in a sense, that is very true. But our job as missionaries isn't to just persuade other people, it is to inform them about the truth and then they have their agency to choose. The Spirit is the persuader and I am super grateful I have been able to feel the Spirit's influence in a lot of different ways on my mission. Then we went with Scott to another ward's baptism which was really good. There weren't lots of people there and it was just kind of a discreet service, but the Spirit was there and it was nice to see someone get baptized. I sure hope that I get to actually have my own baptism while I am still out here, but I really have come to grips with the fact that if I don't, it will truly be ok and that because I am giving my all, Christ really will smile back at me and say "Well done, my good and faithful servant." That is my goal and I won't give up until the end!! But Scott really liked the baptismal service and even though he didn't come to church the next day, it was alright. At least he got to see that service and feel the spirit and see someone else get baptized!
Then on Sunday, I was just playing the piano, (I need the practice!! Haha I love those songs but I will definitely have to work on them a little bit:)) and one of our members walked in and said that we needed to sing with him during sacrament meeting... Haha kind of random but we sang Count your Many Blessings, (kind of a weird version at that) and it was aight!! Haha a lot of people in my house right now have colds so it was kind of hard for them to sing, but I thought it went alright for not having much practice!!! We get dragged into a lot of stuff but it's all good. Haha we are just kind of the multi-use tool for members. We do whatever they want us to pretty much..