Monday, September 26, 2011

Photos from Korea~September 26, 2011

[Temple day lunch with the Chos.]

[Cool sunset in Bundang.]

[View from apartment.]


[My arrival in Daejeon.]


[Used to be a McDonald's.]

[TCIS gym.]

[My elementary school.]

[The high school/middle school.]

[Cafeteria where I used to eat lunch.]

[I used to ride this bus.]

[Where I bowled a 222.]

[I used to eat here with my family.]


[Shout out to Jenny.]

[My parents.]

[Living room.]

[Jenny's room!]

[Mine and Jenny's bathroom.]

[Wood floor.]

[Same front door.]

[Boo and home.]

[Mission office.]

[Missionaries' apartment.]



[New suits.]

[New suits.]

Letter from Elder Rife~September 26, 2011

I've officially been a missionary for more than 6 months! Pretty crazy, huh? I feel like I have a lot more that I need to learn and to do in the next year and a half.
This last week we got to go to the temple. It was awesome as usual. Afterward we went out to eat with the Chos. They took us to a really nice wedding buffet place and it was awesome. I got to eat as much food as I wanted. I'm so grateful for the Cho's and for how well they have taken care of me since I've been out here in Korea. They truly are amazing people.
Then on Wednesday of last week I got to go back to Daejeon, where I lived while my dad was mission president! We had to go because my companion is Korean and had to get a check up for his army service. Every Korean boy has to serve for 2 years in the army. My companion hasn't done his service yet and just needed to go get a check up in Daejeon but he also had to go to his home city (Cheongju) and go to some hospitals there to get his back checked out. We needed someone to drive us around all day Wednesday and he got permission to have his mom drive us around. On Wednesday we drove to a few hospitals. Then on Wednesday night my companion's mom drove us down to Daejeon. Once we had entered the city she asked how to get to the mission office/mission home and I still remembered so I told her where to go. It was sooo weird to drive up the street to my house. I haven't been there for 7 years! I was freaking out the whole time. So once we got there we met the office Elders and I met President Furniss and his wife. They are really nice people! (Dad, President Furniss and his wife say hi! Apparently you served the same time as him in the 70's.)

It was only about 7 o'clock so my companion and I had two hours to walk around and go get dinner. We walked up to my old school and I asked the guards if we could walk around the campus since I had gone to school there 10 years ago. They said yes and we walked through the entire TCIS campus. It was at night time so it was dark but I still took pictures of everything. Jenny and Todd will probably remember it pretty well. After that we walked down the same road that I walked down every day after school to get to the mission home. Then we walked to the L-Mart where Jenny and I used to buy treats and ice cream. haha. I took pictures there and a video, which I won't be able to send until I can buy another SD card to send home. Then I went down to the restaurant that we always used to eat at and then to the bowling alley where I bowled a 222. It was so fun to be there! Then we got to sleep in the missionaries' apartment above the mission office. It was so weird to be back. I used to sleep there so often with the AP's and office elders. They still have a few of the same yo's (sleeping pads) that they did when I was there (kinda gross), so I slept on one of the ones I used to sleep on 7 years ago. ha.

On Thursday while Elder Jung went to a hospital in Daejeon for his check up I just stayed with the office elders at the office. I talked to Sister Furniss and she told me that I could go in the mission home and see my old room. I asked her if I could take some pictures and she said yes! The mission home is mostly the same but there are some changes. I'm sure my mom will love looking at the changes being the interior designer that she is. haha. It was so weird to be in the house that I lived in for 3 years. When Elder Jung got back we went out to eat with his mom and she gave us a bunch of food and stuff to take to our apartment. And she had our suits that we had bought in Cheongju. Then she took us to the Bus Station and we went back to Bundang. It was so much fun! I kinda didn't want to leave Daejeon. It brought back lots of good memories. Who knows when I'll get to go back again.
We met with 윤상영 on the same day and we decided to change his baptismal date to October 15th. We still need to teach him part of lesson four about commandments. And next week is conference here so we can't baptize him on the 8th. And this way it gives the Sisters time to teach his sister and hopefully to set a baptismal date with her. 윤상영 is a perfect investigator. Yesterday in Sunday School we were learning about temples and he was so excited. After we had talked about temples for a while he leaned to us and said, "I need to get baptized." He's truly prepared and he's so excited to be baptized.
We had a new investigator come to church yesterday. His name is 김일수. He's an older man and I still don't know much about him. But I know that at one point he had brain surgery and went in to a coma. He's a really nice guy and we plan to meet with him tomorrow. I'm excited. I'll talk more about him next week. 최병배 hasn't really been progressing lately. He just wants to Bible bash, kinda. He just doesn't really believe that we need the Book of Mormon. We are still trying to figure out what we need to do to help him. I'll keep everyone posted on him.
That's about it for the last week! It was so awesome to go back to Daejeon. I had so many good memories there. Anyway, I love you all!
-Elder Rife

Monday, September 19, 2011

Photos from Korea~September 19, 2011

[Our apartment.]

[That's it...]

[View out the back.]

[View out the front.]

[Cool view from Royal Palace apartment.]

[The river and Royal Palace.]

[You can't tell, but our area is huge.]

[Notice how the shirt is way too big now :( ]

Letter from Elder Rife~September 19, 2011

Note from the keeper of the blog: Elder Rife is AWESOME!

Hey! So it seems like I was just barely emailing home...only five days ago. But I still have a few things to share with everyone!
Last Thursday we set a baptismal date with 윤상영! We set it for October 1st because we really think that he can be ready by then. He said yes and he really wants to get baptized but the only thing holding him back is that he wants his sister to get baptized with him. That's a pretty good problem to have. His sister came to church last week but didn't come this week. She's not as prepared as he is, but she is going to meet with the sisters twice a week from here on out. I think we may have to bump the date back a week or two but it will be perfect if they get baptized together. His parents are really interested in our church now because 윤상영 has changed so much. He doesn't drink or smoke now and is truly happy. He told his parents that they need to leave him alone for a little while then they can learn about our church. haha. I think it would be so perfect if we could teach his parents and their whole family could be members and could eventually be sealed together in the temple. I pray for it every night! 윤상영 truly is a perfect investigator. I love him so much. He's so funny. The other night we were proselyting by the restaurant where he works and we visited him and he was so happy to see us. It was so fun.
Last week was what I would like to call the week of rejections. We went street boarding 3 times and just got rejected the whole time. haha. But I will take all of the rejections when we find the person who is prepared. I am thankful that I knew a little bit about missionary work in Korea before I came here. I knew that people would reject me a lot. Some of the greenies that I have met are so discouraged when they get rejected. Getting discouraged will never help! The work here was never meant to be easy. I'm actually glad that it's really hard, because then we become more grateful for smaller things and when we find success we are so much happier!

The other day while we were streetboarding we had a lady come up to us and ask us a bunch of questions about our church. Pretty much she yelled at us and no matter what answer we gave her she said we were liars. She had heard so many rumors about our church and when we told her that they were all wrong she still wouldn't believe us. Kinda weird that she won't believe things about Mormons when she asks us (who are Mormons) and when we answer she says we're lying. I was pretty frustrated after that and so many people were looking at us as she spoke to us on a very busy intersection corner.

Then this morning I read in Alma chapters 20 and 21. It's when Ammon and King Lamoni go to Middoni to deliver Aaron, Muloki, and Ammah from prison.
Alma 20:29 - "And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings."

Pretty intense sufferings as missionaries right?

Then in Alma 21:14-15 - "14 And those who were cast into prison suffered many things, and they were delivered by the hand of Lamoni and Ammon, and they were fed and clothed. 15 And they went forth again to declare the word, and thus they were delivered for the first time out of prison; and thus they had suffered."
After reading that it helps me to realize that no matter what happens to me in the next 18 months it won't be anywhere near as bad as what they went through. So I should be thankful for times where it seems like people are barely persecuting me. No matter how frustrating or embarrassing it may be.
Saturday night we had 2 hours left and we needed to talk to lots of people. Ever since being here I've struggled to find the place that's most effective to talk to people. So we just stayed at Yatap Station, the closest subway station to our house. Above the station there are a lot of stores and a lot of benches where many old men just sit and smoke. It's also a place where young people meet to go on dates or go hangout with friends. I'll take some pictures this next week so you can see what it looks like. What I would do is just go sit down next to these old men and start talking to them. It was so fun! About half the time they would look at me like I'm crazy and just listen to me then tell me that I should go, but the other half of the time they would start talking with me and would be happy to have someone to talk to (and offer me cigarettes, ha).

One of the old men I talked to seemed so sad. So we walked over to him and sat down next to him and started talking. He listened to what we had to say and we asked him a few questions. Then I asked him if he was happy. (선생님 지금 행복하고 있세요? And in English he said "No." I'm not the most sensitive guy in the world but the way he said "no" made me feel so sad. This old man was just sitting on a bench alone and sad. I felt so bad. So I told him we were sharing a happy message and that I know that through the Book of Mormon he can find happiness. He listened and took our card and a copy of The Book of Mormon. Then we left and I saw him flipping through The Book of Mormon; I kept saying prayers that he would find something that would help him. He still hasn't called us but I really hope he does! It helped me to realize how much I really do love the people here and want to help them.
So that was our week! Yesterday was a good Sunday. We walked around and talked to people and then Elder Jung made Kimchee Cheegae! It was amazing.
Anyway, love you all! Thanks for your support and prayers!
-Elder Rife 라이후 장로

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photos from Korea~September 14, 2011

[from Dad: This is with the parents of Elder Song Jeong Hoon, our AP, who was a good friend to Michael when we lived in Korea. The Songs invited Michael and his companion to dinner on Thanksgiving Day in Korea.]

[The threesome for the week.]

[This is the picture that's on our member message card.]

[At dinner with Brother Jung, our ward mission leader.]


[Me and Elder Jung.]

[From the 30th floor of an apartment building.]

Letter from Elder Rife~September 14

Hey! So it's taken me a few extra days to email everyone. It's been Chusok over here. Which is Korean Thanksgiving. It's a pretty big deal and everything shuts down for 3 days, so I couldn't email yesterday or on Monday. And we didn't really get to do much missionary work since everyone was in their homes. Bundang was like a ghost town over Chusok. It was weird.
I don't remember if I talked about our two investigators or not; it's been nine days since I last emailed. We have one named 윤상영 who is 26 and is golden. We have taught him up to the third lesson and he has already come to church both weeks that we have been here. He's awesome. He hadn't had any problems or questions lately so we were worried that he was too golden (haha) but then last weekend he told us that he was going to go hangout with some of his old friends and they he usually drank and smoked when he hung out with them. We talked to him a lot about it and when he hung out with them he didn't drink or smoke! It was definitely an answer to his and our prayers. He's awesome.

We have another investigator named 최병배 who is about 35. We're doing the 30/30 program with him because he really loves English. He's a firm Christian and really believes in Jesus Christ. We have talked with him a lot and I love answering his questions. He seriously has so many questions. Last night we met with him and we read in 2 Nephi Chapter 29 which talks about why we need the Book of Mormon. He accepted it really well.
On Monday of this week we went to a members house to eat lunch for Chusok. When we got there I was looking at their pictures and recognized a plaque that they had on their table from their son's mission. It was a Korea Daejeon mission plaque with my dad's signature on it. Then I saw their family picture and recognized Elder 송, who was an AP for a long time and who I have seen many times since his mission. He was a really good friend of mine. It was fun to talk to his parents about him. I took a picture with his parents.. Mom and Dad if you could send it to him that would be great!
I've been trying to read more from the Bible lately. I want to be really well educated on all scriptures. I came across some scriptures I like and have learned a lot from.
Philippians 4:13–"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

John 15:4-11–
"4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

These verses talk about how we can't do anything without Christ.
I feel that is so true. I have really learned that in the last 6 months. Through Christ I really can do all things. But without Him I can do nothing. I feel that so strongly. It reminds me of Alma 26:12. I am weak but through Christ I can do all things that He needs me to do. I really do feel like such a weak and simple person walking around the streets of Korea. But I can feel the power of my calling from God to be a missionary. When I bear testimony I feel like I truly do have power that is from God. I've heard that when missionaries are released they feel like they have lost their power to teach the Gospel. I'm scared for that. While I'm still not a very powerful teacher, and especially not in Korean. I can feel of the divine power of my calling.

That's about it for this week! I love you all. Thanks for everything!
-Elder Rife

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Photos from Korea~September 5, 2011

{Elder Rife, Bishop Cho, & Sister Lee.}

{Dinner at the Chos home.}

{Jamba Juice!}

{Me and Elder Ishino.}

{Sunset in BunDang.}

{The Rife Apartment!}

{Cool building.}

{Like father, like son.}

{Me and Elder Jung.}

{Another shot of the new companionship.}