Less than two weeks left and I will be in South Korea! I'm so excited. I'm supposed to get my travel plans on Thursday then I will know when my flight is. I think that I will be leaving on June 6th, which is a Monday, but I'm not positive yet. So I will let you know next week what time I fly out and what time I will be calling home. I'm guessing that I'll get to call when I get to the SLC airport, but that I will have more time at the LA airport or something since I will be waiting for our flight to Korea. I'm so excited!
It's gonna be amazing to actually start my mission. It's weird that English-speaking missionaries who came in on the same day as me have already been doing real missionary work for 9 weeks. I'm definitely ready to do the work. It's gonna be crazy walking up to Koreans on the streets of Seoul and trying to stop them for long enough to get them to feel the Spirit testify of the things that I say to them. I'm sooo excited. It's gonna be so much fun to just walk around and talk to people; even if we get rejected, which we probably will a lot of the time since the people in Seoul are so business oriented and busy.
This last week I was getting pretty frustrated with the language. I felt like I wasn't making as much progress as I could. Yesterday was a really good day for me though. I felt like I learned a lot and I started to feel like my Korean was really progressing. We taught a progressive investigator yesterday in Korean and I said everything that I wanted to say in Korean. At one point I stopped talking and realized that I was speaking Korean and saying what I wanted to. It was weird. I was using grammar forms I hadn't even practiced yet and was speaking fairly fluently. It felt really good. I still have soooo much progress that I need to make though for me to be effective when I get out to Korea. Listening to the native Koreans speak always scares me a little. They speak so fast and sometimes I understand everything they say and other times I understand nothing they say. It's definitely a crazy hard language. One of the Elders in our zone speaks Japanese and he says that Korean is definitely harder. One of our teachers speaks Mandarin too and she says that Korean is harder. I'm definitely grateful that the Lord has enough faith in me to call me to speak the Korean language. Whom the Lord calls He qualifies. He wouldn't call me to speak the Korean language if He didn't know that I could do it.
Last Tuesday we heard from Richard G. Hinckley, President Hinckley's son. He gave a really great talk and then gave us a warning to always have carbon monoxide detectors in our apartments because two missionaries died recently cause they disabled their detectors when they started to chirp. He said that President Monson was devastated and said, "Moms don't send their sons out on missions to die." Which is very true.
He then told us a story about something that his dad had once said. It went like this:
"When our first parents, Adam and Eve, were kicked out of the garden, a few years later Adam took a few of his sons back to the wall surrounding the garden of Eden and hoisted them up and said 'Take a good look boys-- that's where your mother ate us out of house and home.'" -President Hinckley
Pretty funny, huh?
Elder Hinckley talked about a lot of other good stuff too. He told Elders to try to stop acting like we're "cool." We walk around with nametags and suits on. We aren't cool anymore, haha. He also said to live your life so that at the end of the day in your journal you can write "I'm so glad I did..." instead of "I wish I did..."
This last week in class we watched a talk given by Elder Holland at the MTC from about ten years ago. It's one of the most powerful talks I've ever heard. Elder Holland was so passionate and even threatened missionaries that he would fight them to keep them on their missions. He constantly repeated the phrase "My mission meant EVERYTHING to me, and yours should mean EVERYTHING to you." I'll write down a few of the things I wrote down from his talk...
-Love everything. Good times and bad, and hard times. Embrace every minute of my mission.
-God's greatest gift to a 19 year old is the opportunity to serve a mission, to struggle and learn how to be a man.
-Plan now to look back and talk about the love and effect of my mission.
-Plan now for the stories my children will ask me about my mission.
-PLEDGE HEROIC EFFORT!
-"We do missionaries a disservice if we ask anything from them but their best." -Heber C. Kimball
-Obedience is the first law of EVERYTHING.
-The most important thing we will ever do is participate in the salvation of another soul.
-It's showtime. Grow up and be a good missionary.
-Be bigger and better and older and bolder than you've ever been.
-We will do it God's way or it doesn't get done.
-After I've been the best I've ever been I will receive the greatest reward I've ever received.
-Why are missions so hard? Because salvation isn't a cheap experience! It was never meant to be easy and it never was. It will never be easy. Salvation was not painless for the Savior. How dare I ask to not do anything hard after the Savior performed the Atonement.
-We need to be able to come home and bear testimony at the pulpit at the close of our mission and say that we have suffered a small portion of what Christ suffered.
Lots of good stuff!
I've been thinking a lot about if my dad gets a chance to come to Korea for business in the next 22 months. I think that it would be such an amazing experience to get to teach an investigator about the gospel in Korean with my dad. I don't think too many people get an opportunity like that and I think it would be an amazing memory.
Anyway, that's about all I've got to say for this last week. Thanks for all of the letters and emails and prayers! 2 more weeks and I will be in South Korea!
Love you all!