Monday, June 27, 2011

Photos from Korea~June 27, 2011

{Elder Rife and Elder Lee's apartment.}


Letter from Elder Rife~June 27, 2011


This last week was pretty eventful. We went to the temple last Monday and had P-Day then just proselyted on Tuesday night. Then Wednesday we had a district meeting and went out to eat lunch together as a district. Then we went out and streetboarded together as a district, which wasn't very effective because it was raining. Then we just contacted the rest of Wednesday.

On Thursday morning my companion woke up and was feeling sick from the food we ate for lunch on Wednesday. The food was cheap and it was a lot of meat and stuff. Anyway, he was really sick. So then I started worrying that I was gonna get sick. I felt great all day but my companion was really sick so we went to the hospital to get medicine for him. Then he just slept and I studied for pass off all day. We still went out at night but it wasn't very effective because he wasn't feeling well at all.

Then Friday morning I woke up soooooo sick. I felt horrible. After that experience I promised myself that I will never eat at super cheap places that sell a lot of meat again. We'll see how long I hold to that promise though, ha; we don't have much money and I am always hungry. So we were in our apartment on Friday till like 5:30 at night. Then we went out to contact but it was rainy and then we ended up eating McDonalds which was not good for my stomach at all. Last week was just a sketchy week food-wise.

But I'm doing great now! And I've been working out every morning doing P90X so I'm trying to not get too skinny. I'm not really that worried about it though. It's one of my sacrifices for the Lord that I don't get to work out for 2 hours a day every day.

Anyway, last week we met with a 45 year old lady who is a former investigator. Sometimes when it's rainy we call former investigators and see if they will meet with us since contacting out on the street isn't effective. She said that she wanted to meet with us so we got a member to come to the church and we waited for her. She came and was pretty much just there to Bible bash with us. It was hard for me to keep up with the conversation. I could understand quite a bit of what was being said but then once I knew what they were saying they had moved on to something else and it was too late for me to say something. Slightly frustrating. Right off the bat though we shared a scripture with her about how contention drives away the spirit and is of the devil because we could tell that she just wanted to argue. She was trying so hard to find things in the Book of Mormon that aren't true. The funny thing is is that she will never find those things. It reminds me of Elder Holland's talk, "Safety for the Soul." He talks about how so many people have tried to prove the Book of Mormon to be a false book but no one has ever been successful. Why? Because it IS true. "A wicked man couldn't write such a book, and a good man wouldn't. Save he were called of God and told to do so." I tried to explain to the lady that we read the Bible and that there are lots of truths in the Bible, but that the bible doesn't contain the FULNESS of the gospel. It was hard for me to communicate so I just wrote down the scripture 1 Nephi 13:20-37 on a piece of paper and gave it to her. Hopefully she'll read it with an open heart.

Last Saturday we got to go eat with a less active family at the Acro-Tower. It's a really expensive apartment building here in Anyang, probably the most expensive. Their apartment was on the 28th floor and had windows looking over the city. Really really cool to look out and see what the father described as "a forest of apartment buildings." Seriously, there are just rows and rows and rows of apartment buildings. I didn't get to take a picture from inside their apartment but this week my Elder Lee and I plan to go back to the Acro-Tower and get up on the 43rd floor and take some pictures. Then I'll post them next week. The family was seriously so nice. They love our church and they love the missionaries. They just don't come to church anymore. It was a mother, father, and daughter. The father worked for Samsung in Santa Barbara and is pretty wealthy. The daughter was visiting from D.C. They all spoke English so it was perfect for me to be able to speak Korean, then if I couldn't say what I wanted to say I could speak English. After we ate the father drove us home in his nice Hyundai car and before we left he told us that they were in America last week and bought us some food. So he gave us a big bag with lots of food in it, including a huge thing of Spam, which my companion loves. They were seriously the nicest family ever; I just don't know how we can get them to come back to church.

While we were at dinner the father asked me what the most difficult thing about my mission was right now, to which I said, "Right now I'm used to the culture, I love the food. The most difficult thing for me is that when we meet with investigators I have so many things that I want to say, but that I can't say because of my lack of Korean speaking." That really is what is the most difficult thing for me right now. I just want to speak! I'm a loud person so it's no fun when I can't say what I want to say. I know that it will come and that I have to have patience. This is probably a good time for me to learn patience.

Yesterday was a really good Sunday. We went to church and then made cookies to take to some of the members. We visited two families. One of them is a young couple that has a 2 year old little girl. They are really nice; they asked me what I like to eat at my apartment that I don't have. I said kimchi, so they gave us tons of kimchi to take home with us. Really nice of them. Then as we were walking over a bridge to go visit another family one of the counselors to the stake president drove by and picked us up and took us to his house. They cooked us tons of chicken and beef and stuff and it was really good. It's so good to be with the members. They really are the best. Now I just need to learn all of their names.

I have a few pictures from yesterday that I will put up on here. Then I have just one picture of the outside of the Acro-tower. The pictures from yesterday are pretty cool. We're on the 17th floor of a really nice apartment complex.

I passed off the second lesson last Friday. I told my companion that I felt bad because I was the reason we got sick. I was praying that there would be a way for me to pass off the second lesson by Friday, then we both got sick and had to stay at home which gave me a lot of time to study. The Lord works in mysterious ways, right? Now I'm trying to do midway pass off on this Thursday. I have to meet with the Zone Leaders and pass off to them. They will ask me to teach 4 random principles from the first two lessons, then recite Joseph Smith's first vision from memory. Then I have to have memorized the "Basic Proselyting Approach" and the "Short version of the first lesson." And all of the vocabulary for the first and second lessons. Pretty intense. I think I can do it. The biggest part is just avoiding being overwhelmed and just believing that I can do it. I seriously have never studied like this in my entire life. Ha.

Well that's about it for this week.. I'm pretty sure that from the second I sent my email last week until now it has been raining. And super windy. I did laundry three days ago and it's just barely getting dry. Miserable. I love Korea with all of my heart but I will never understand not using dryers. Oh well. Like my dad always says, "I'd do anything for the Lord."

Thanks for all of your love and support!

-Elder Rife

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Photos from Korea~June21, 2011

{The Korea-bound missionaries at the MTC.}

{Michael with his MTC branch president & wife, President and Sister Shin.}

{With his senior companion, Elder Lee.}

{Outside the Anyang chapel, Michael's first area.}

{Eating Korean watermelon, which is way better than American watermelon.}

{A traditional Korean hole in the ground squatter toilet.}

{Elder Lee, Elder Rife, and President Lee, the mission president, in front of the Seoul Korea temple.}

Letter from Elder Rife~June 21, 2011

Week 2!

First off, sorry this is later than you were expecting. Apparently we have temple day once a transfer and when we have it, it makes our P-day change to Tuesday. I'm sure you were wondering why you didn't get an email. I'm sorry! It will only happen once per transfer.

This week was a lot better. I'm getting a hang of the "real" mission schedule and am getting used to the way people talk. A little. It's such a hard language, though. Just when I think I understand what someone says, they say something else and I don't understand a word of it. I hate not being able to communicate sometimes. But I know that I will learn this language.

This last week was interesting. We had a combined district meeting, which is pretty much just a Zone conference but the Zone leaders do the conference instead of the mission president. It was really good. Then last Wednesday I went on splits because my companion had some military stuff that he had to take care of and a meeting that the mission president had with all of the Korean missionaries. I was with an Elder named Elder Dooley; he's from Idaho. We were in the Ansan area together for two days. It was really fun to be in another area and get to go be with an American for a while. We definitely attracted a lot of attention when we walked down the street.

Last weekend we pretty much just did a lot of proselyting and stuff, which was hard because it was so hot and humid outside. I was sweating so bad. I don't know why anyone would want to stop and talk to me in that kind of heat, which is probably why we got rejected so much. People don't have much patience when it's like a steam room outside. But the Lord has prepared someone and the weather doesn't affect that. I don't think. haha.

Last Sunday we got a referral from another area for someone who wants to learn English. We met the person and couldn't tell whether it was a boy or a girl on the phone. When we met them it was a 19 year old girl. So while I talked to her my comp tried to find a member who could come meet with us because we aren't allowed to teach girls without someone else there. We found someone and talked to her for a while and worked on English. It's the 30-30 program. We teach English for 30 minutes then teach the gospel for 30 minutes. It went really well and we plan to meet with her next weekend. I don't know why but I just have a good feeling about her. I feel like she will accept the gospel and I can't wait to teach her again. Hopefully I can learn more Korean in the next week before we meet her again.

The pass off program is pretty intense in our mission. I don' t have time to explain it but you have to learn a loooot of vocabulary and teach lessons to leaders in the mission and memorize lots of stuff. I've already passed off all the vocabulary for the first lesson and taught the first lesson to my district leader (my comp). I'm gonna teach the second one this Friday. There's so much to do in the pass off system and it seems overwhelming. I've set the goal to pass of in the first transfer. Which might be impossible. They said that only one American has ever done it. I hope to do it.. If I don't, then I want to do it in the first week of the next transfer. Pray for me! It's the hardest I've ever studied for anything in my entire life. After I study Korean my brain hurts so bad. It will be worth it though when I can teach and testify effectively.

Well I don't have much time left but I love you all and am loving being a missionary! It's not easy. If anyone says it is, they're lying. But it's worth it. I felt a small portion of the joy of missionary work after we met with the 19 year old girl last Sunday. It's a good feeling to be doing the Lord's work. Anyway, thanks for all of the prayers and support!

Elder Rife

P.S. I bought a nice translator if you were wondering why there is money out of my account. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~June 13, 2011

Hello!! First email from Korea!

So this last week was good. It's really good to be back in Korea. I've definitely realized how much more I need to learn to be able to communicate well. Whenever I talk to anyone I can barely understand anything they say. It's really hard for me to communicate with native Koreans. It's definitely a lot different than talking to people at the MTC in Korean. But I have faith that I can learn this language. I can't even imagine how the other new missionaries must feel right now
after their first week in a completely foreign country.

The first night we went to the mission home and pretty much just went to bed. By the time we were in bed it was like 1 in the morning. We woke up the next morning at 6 and got ready and had breakfast with the mission president and his wife. Then we had interviews and went over to the church to have our first meeting. They talked to us about our mission and our standards of excellence and stuff then we got to go meet our trainers.

My companion is Elder Lee. He's from Jeongdo which is in the Daejeon mission. He is really good at speaking English, which is good since we would have a hard time speaking if we wasn't. We get along really well though.

I'm in the Anyang ward. There are a lot of members and the ward is really strong. When I got up to introduce myself during sacrament meeting and told them that I had lived in Daejeon when I was little they all were pretty excited. Some of the members came up to me after and said that they knew my dad. I'm pretty sure that some of them will email you, Dad. Just so you know. Anyway, the ward is amazing and I really am glad to be in the ward here.

This last week we did a lot of contacting, which I'm not very good at. Ha. It's so fun though. So many people reject us every day. Some people say some rude stuff about our religion too. Since I can't communicate very well I just try to get people's attention since I'm a foreigner and then I say a few things and let my companion talk to them once I'm lost. Whenever college or High School students walk by I just start speaking English till they look and then speak some Korean. Then we start talking about the church. It's hilarious. I'm trying not to get discouraged with the language 'cause I know that I will learn it. But still it's frustrating when everyone around you is talking and you can't understand what they are saying.

On Sunday Bishop Cho and his wife came to the Anyang ward. It was so good to see them since it's been so long. They took really good care of me. After church they took my companion and I out to eat at a pretty expensive restaurant in Anyang. Then they gave us tons of food and cookies from Paris Baggette which is also expensive. It was frustrating that I couldn't communicate better with them. They seriously are the nicest people I have ever met and I am so grateful
that I got to see them and spend time with them.

Well, I don't have too much time left. Also, I'm sorry I didn't send any pictures. We came to the library and I forgot my camera. I'll send lots of pictures next week though! I love you all! Thanks for the prayers and support. I don't have much time this week so I can't email everyone that I want to. Hopefully next week I can send individual emails to everyone. I'm sorry!


Elder Rife

Saturday, June 11, 2011

From President Lee

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Your Missionaries have arrived safely in Korea. They arrived late on Tuesday 7 June 2011. They are all doing great, and the Korea Seoul Mission is very happy to have them. This is the picture that was taken in the airport when the missionaries arrived. Thank you for preparing such wonderful missionaries for this mission.


The Seoul Korea Mission Office and
President Lee

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

News from Seoul!

Brother and Sister Rife,

Just a note to let you know your son arrived safe and sound in Seoul at !0:15 pm on Tuesday evening. Wednesday was a busy day-recovering from jet-lag, meeting their new companions, attending a training meeting, and a nice lunch. We met Elder Rife at the lunch, and I am sure he will be a great missionary!

Sister Joan Duvall
Korea Seoul Mission