Sunday, July 31, 2011

Photos from Jai Lee's visit with Elder Rife

Jai Lee is Dad's friend. He worked for Novell as a law clerk while he attended BYU law school. He now works for Kim & Chang (where Dad worked when we lived in Korea in the 80's). He formerly was 1st counselor in the Seoul mission presidency. He visited Michael and took him some goodies before visiting the US this week.


I spent a few hours just before I came to US. He is enjoying what he is doing and has an excellent companion who may be transferred to a different area soon.

I will see you early next week. Thanks.

Jai Lee

Monday, July 25, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~July 25, 2011

Well...definitely a rough week for me this week. A rough week for everyone in the Rife family, and anyone who knows my amazing mother. Last weekend really just felt like it was a nightmare. I was waiting to wake up, but I never did. A lot of emotions for me in the last few days. But the bottom line is that I know everything will be okay in the end. I've been praying for comfort just about every minute of every day and I am so thankful for everyone's prayers in my behalf. Oh and I will be fasting July 31st along with the RM's from Daejeon for my mom. Anyone who reads this email and would be willing to fast for my mom please do! Thanks so much.

The whole weekend I was just trying to avoid the bitter thoughts that came to my mind like, Why is this happening to our family? More importantly, Why is this happening to my mom? She's the most amazing person in the whole entire world (if someone disagrees I will fight them). She doesn't deserve to have this disease. Then I realized that if anyone can handle something like this with "cheerfulness" and "patience" then it is my mom. Why should I worry right now? She's going to heaven! No matter how much comfort I felt I still couldn't stop crying. I've never cried so much in my entire life. You never realize how much you truly love someone until something happens to them. I've been praying to have patience to be able to wait until I can understand why this is happening to our family right now. Why this is happening to my mom. I probably won't know for a while. But I do know that our family will be a lot closer and we will make the most of the time that we have with my mom.

Mom, first of all, I just want you to know how much I love you. I love you with all of my heart. I'm sorry for all of the times I was ever rude to you and wasn't obedient or anything like that. I couldn't stop thinking about that this weekend. I have so many regrets. I should've been a better son. You said that what you want more than anything is for me to stay out here and stay focused and be the best missionary that I can possibly be. While I can't be at home to take care of you for the next little while, I can be an excellent missionary for you. I will work my butt off. I promise! We don't really know how much time you have left, but I really hope that the Lord blesses you with more time so that I can spend as much time as possible with you after my mission. I hope this last week you have realized how many people love you and would do absolutely anything for you. The whole ward would be right by your side to take care of you. Same with our whole family, cousins, all of your friends, and all of the missionaries from Daejeon. I'm sure there are a lot more people too. Everyone loves you, Mom. You have so much support.

Now on to the normal missionary stuff. Last week was transfers. My new companion is Elder Ishino from Salt Lake. He's half Japanese. We get along really well and he put up with me this last weekend through everything that happened. We really do get along well. We had three new investigators this week.. 강사라 (girl), 김현호(boy), 김건중(boy). The first two mostly have English interest.. Sarah Kang has been reading a little from the Book of Mormon though and our lesson last week went really well. The last one wants to go to BYU and was a referral from our Stake Patriarch's daughter. He's really interested in our church and we will teach him the first lesson next week. So this next week should be really good. We have potential to baptize 4 or 5 people this transfer which would be really good. I'm set to pass off with zone leaders in two weeks then I'll meet with the AP's two weeks after that. I need to study a lot. Yikes.

I set a lot of goals for this next transfer. I think that's one of the good things about a mission.. Every six weeks you can look at all of the areas you want to improve and set goals. I set spiritual, mental, and physical goals. My life used to revolve around physical goals so it's good to get the spiritual and mental goals in there too. ha.

Not much else happened this last week. It was a really hard week and I don't know how I made it through it. I hope that everyone in my family is taking good care of my mom since I can't be there. I'm sure they are. It would be nice to get to be with my family during this hard time but I know that they will all be blessed, especially my mom, for me being out here right now. If there's anything I can do for you, Mom, or anyone else please let me know. I pray for you constantly and miss you and love you. Every time I think about you I start crying. Anyway, thanks to everyone for all of the prayers and support this week. And Mom, you are an inspiration in my life and in the lives of so many. Don't forget that your friends and family will do anything for you so don't be afraid to ask.

I love you all!

-Elder Rife

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photos from Korea~July 18, 2011


[Super rainy week.]

[1th street. ha.]

[범계 at night.]

[Ping Pong]

[My comp (Elder Lee). It's pretty humid.]

[Sea of apartments.]


[Knocking doors.]

Letter from Elder Rife~July 18, 2011

1st Transfer is done! Crazy! I've been a missionary for like 4 months already.
So the excitement of transfer calls was slightly ruined last weekend. The mission president called my companion and told him that he would be transferred to 태백, which is along the east coast of Korea; he will be the Branch President there because the branch is so small. There are two branches in our mission where missionaries are the Branch Presidents. Intense. But don't tell anyone about our transfers cause it's a secret...ha. So I will be staying in Anyang! I get to find out who my new companion is tonight.

I really hope that after this next transfer I can go senior. I shouldn't be worried about it that much but I like to be in charge and I feel like I can work harder if I'm pushing myself. Plus I feel like my language abilities will take off once I become a senior since I'll have to speak all the time. Especially if my companion struggles with the language.

Oh and I passed off the fourth lesson this morning; it's a really long lesson. I taught it really simply though, which is about all I can do. Now I have Zone Leader pass off and AP pass off. I need to study a lot. Last week I had a consistent headache all week cause I was always studying. My companion told me that I need to relax and take a break from studying sometimes. But the more I study the better I will be at speaking Korean.

Last week was not a good week for investigators. Our one new investigator last Monday after P-hours was pretty interesting. I won't go into too much detail but he said that he could see spirits. Then when he came into our church he said that he couldn't see anything in our church.. Interesting. While we were talking to him both my companion and I felt really uneasy. My companion bore testimony about the Book of Mormon and I bore testimony about Joseph Smith and the investigator told us to stop cause he had a weird feeling. Anyway, after we met with him we decided we shouldn't meet with him anymore.

The rest of the week all of our potential investigators punked us. I was on splits for two of the days with Elder Westarp and Elder Dooley. We knocked doors both days and it was so much fun. We still haven't gotten into someone's house but we have talked to lots of people at their door. I really wanna get into someone's house and teach the first lesson to them. I have a video of me getting told to leave while I'm talking to someone at their door. I don't know if it will send through an email though. I'll try.

Since we didn't get to do much with our investigators this week we visited a lot of members and contacted a lot. My companion felt like he would be leaving (before he got the transfer call) so he wanted to visit a lot of the members. One of them is 이강펴. He is a divorced man. When we got to his house I was so humbled. He lives in one room that is a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. It really helped me to realize that my life is not hard and I don't have anything to complain about. My bedroom back home was probably twice as big as his whole apartment. Seriously I feel so grateful for everything I have. It was so good to talk to him. His life is so much harder than mine but he is so happy and so strong in the church. Amazing.

Last week I was thinking about how time has gone by so fast. 1/6 of my mission is already over. I remember thinking several times in this transfer "I want time to slow down so I can have more time to study for pass off." Ha, wow. I never thought I would be wanting more time to study. Interesting how things change.

I heard about a book or article called "The Book of Mormon On Trial." It's a guy who was in law school and had a mock trial where his teacher was the judge and the other students were the opposing attorneys. The guy proved the Book of Mormon to be a true book on all accounts. So if you (mom and dad) could find this book and send it to me sometime that would be great. There are so many evidences that the Book of Mormon are true. There's only one thing that really matters. Personal testimony. But I think everyone should know the historical facts and things that also prove the Book of Mormon to be a true book.

We have a lot of potential investigators this week. I hope it goes well! It will be interesting to get a new companion. I'll definitely miss my current companion. We've gotten along so well over the last six weeks. Thanks for all your prayers and support! Love you all!!

-Elder Rife

Monday, July 11, 2011

Photos from Korea~July 11, 2011

[First haircut. The sides are so short! I miss my sister doing my hair!]

[Our zone, the smallest in the mission! But the 2nd highest baptisms this month.]


Letter from Elder Rife~July 11, 2011

My first transfer is almost over!

I remember my dad telling the missionaries to not make bets, or talk too much about transfers. But I kinda understand it now that I'm on the missionary side of things. It's gonna be exciting to find out who goes where. I bet I'll stay here for at least one more transfer. That's usually the pattern for greenies, at least from what I've heard. I'm not supposed to talk about it though. haha.

In Korea the method of "knocking doors" isn't that effective. Most apartment complexes have cameras on the outside and you have to type in the apartment you want to visit, then they can see you through the camera and decide whether to let you in or not. Even if you got into the apartment complex somehow and were knocking on peoples doors then they would be able to see you through a camera on their door and tell you to leave.

This last Wednesday we went on exchanges with one of the zone leaders of our zone. He's on the bottom left of the picture that I attached; his name is Elder Chidester. He's "dying" this transfer. Crazy! Anyway, I learned a lot from him and we tried knocking doors. Except not to apartment complexes but to other places where people have their own little houses. They're hard to explain; I'll take a picture next week. Before we did it we prayed a lot and then put sticky tabs on different places on our map and then we each chose a few and narrowed it down to just one area. Then we prayed some more and went there. It was raining sooooo hard that I was soaked from head to toe by the time we were done. We went to so many people's houses and didn't get into one house. We did have a few people open their doors and stuff but no one let us in. It's very rare to actually get into someone's house. I think that God was testing our faith to see if we would actually go knock doors even though it's not as effective and it was pouring rain. I think if we do it again then we will get into someone's house! I have faith. We plan to go next week.

We met with the lady who Bible bashed with us a few weeks ago again. She called us and said that she wanted to learn about our church and wouldn't argue with us. She lied. haha. We had a member present who taught her about the plan of salvation. He served in Busan in the 80's and was amazing at teaching the plan of salvation. If he can explain it so that I can understand it in Korean then anyone can. The lady said some really interesting things. Before she left my companion bore a really powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and you could tell that she felt something. But she told us she wanted to leave and said a prayer before she left. I'll translate something she said that we though was funny. "Dear God thank you for giving us the Bible. We know that it has a lot of problems but that it has all of the answers we need." Haha Why won't she just read the Book of Mormon? She really does believe in God and the Bible. It seems like if you really do believe in God and Jesus Christ then why wouldn't you want to read a book that testifies of them? I don't understand. 2 Nephi 33:10-11..."Believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words; for they are the words of Christ...Christ will show unto you with power and great glory that these are his words."

Last weekend I passed off lesson 3! I have a major dilemma because I always have to study for pass off but then when we meet with investigators I have to study other stuff. I don't have time to study both. But now I have to pass off lesson four, which is a pretty intense lesson. There're so many things to say! I set a goal to pass off lesson four by the end of this transfer. Whether that's possible or not, I'm not sure. Then I just have to do ZL pass off, which is intense. Then AP pass off, which is more intense. I can do it!

So our investigator 최진영 told us that she doesn't have time anymore to meet with us. Bummer. I was really upset. We had so many potential investigators last week and none of them could meet. We should have a bunch of new investigators this week. I really hope so. The two kids we've been teaching want to get baptized at the end of the month so we are excited for that.

Other than that not much else happened this last week. We ate dinner with some of the members last night and it was so much fun. There were three different families and we all ate together and talked and I taught them all how football works. haha. Oh and if you could send me a picture of me playing football that would be great; they really want to see it. When I tell them how much I used to weigh they freak out. Oh, and I did eat octopus last night, not raw or anything; don't worry. It was okay. I need to try more crazy food I think. ha. Anyway, I had a great week! I can't believe the transfer is almost over. Really weird. I find myself hoping that time will slow down sometimes so that I can have more time to learn Korean. Thanks for all of your prayers and support! Love you all!

-Elder Rife

Monday, July 4, 2011

Photos from Korea~July 4, 2011

[The river before.]

[During the typhoon! (On Sunday)]

[The river after.]


[Visiting a member...sick view of the city. The blue lights are the Acro Tower.]

[Dinner with my favorite members on Sunday night.]

Letter from Elder Rife~July 4, 2011

Another good week. No food poisoning this week so that was good. We ate with a lot of members. One of them took us out to Outback Steakhouse. It amazes me how much I can eat. I don't know if it's because I'm a missionary or what but I swear I can eat more food. I've lost weight too. Sad. I'm getting smaller and smaller. haha. The members always tell me that I look so skinny compared to my pictures from back home. They say that I was fat in the pictures but then I have to explain to them that I was strong, not fat. Now I'm just little, haha, but it's all good. I do P90X every morning and night so that I can stay lean at least.

Anyway, last Tuesday I went on splits again, only this time I was with Elder Westarp who got to Korea at the same time I did! Two greenies together. My companion is the district leader and went on splits with Elder Westarp's companion. He didn't know that you weren't allowed to put two greenies together. Anyway, we spent 24 hours together and contacted/proselyted all day. It was awesome! He came to Anyang so I was the Senior Companion for a day and got to decide what we did and where we went. It was a great opportunity for me. We walked 10 miles that day! So awesome. Elder Westarp is a great guy; he's from Portage, Utah. (I had no clue what Portage, Utah was.) There're only 200 people from his city. He's really quiet. I'm the opposite, and so, since we were in my area, I had to take the lead. It was a good opportunity for me to get to talk to people without someone (Elder Lee) there to back me up if I got lost. So awesome. I really felt like I was doing missionary work and talking to people.

Then on Thursday last week we had interviews with the President. Our mission president is so amazing. He gave me a lot of good advice and told me that I will make a great leader in the future. I hope so. I also did midway pass-off with the ZL's after my interview. Pretty intense. I was nervous and I didn't feel ready. It took about an hour to do and it was an hour of only Korean. I taught him four random principles and he quizzed me on vocabulary. I had to get 27/30 random words right. I went 27/27 then he asked me 3 words that people don't usually get right and I got them right too! One of them was "to be reunited" which is 재결합하다. I'm the first to get that one right! I really felt like the Lord was blessing me because I had so many things to remember, but I did it! Now I have to pass of the 3rd lesson and 4th lesson and do certified pass-off with the ZL's and with the AP's. Yikes. My goal is to do it by two weeks into my second transfer. I think that's realistic. Then hopefully I can go senior in my third transfer. We'll see. I want to be really prepared.

Thursday for lunch we went out to eat with Hunter Hamhm (함현철). He's the Noni country manager of Korea. I had no clue who he was and so we got in his car and I felt like I was being kidnapped for a second. Then a guy that he was with had a Noni badge on his shirt and I realized they were from Noni. He brought a guy that works in marketing with him and we got his info and hope to teach him. He lives in our area and is going to give us Noni, I hope. They were really nice and it was good to go out to eat.

Last weekend I saw a billboard for the Harry Potter 7 part two movie. When I saw it I was thinking that it's weird that people go to movies and do things other than study Korean. That seems like the purpose of my existence right now. All I do is study Korean.

We met with 최진영 last week and it went well.. She's not too interested in the Gospel right now but I really think she will be. She's a great person and I really hope that we can teach her well and help her to feel the spirit.

Mom, you asked for a list of investigators names.. I'll write them in Korean and maybe you can translate them to English...
최진영, 김찬울(should be baptized soon), 김채운(also should be baptized soon), 윤형근, 주미순, Bruce (he's Korean). There you go!

Well I'm pretty much out of time. This week was a really good week! I thought a lot about my family, especially my brothers. Brian because it's his birthday and I thought about how Todd is such a good example of hard work. I hope everything is going well back home! Hopefully we have a few baptismal dates when I write next week! Love you all!

-Elder Rife

P.S. Dad your Babe Ruth joke was hilarious. "Now that is funny."