Monday, October 31, 2011

Photos from Korea~October 31, 2011

[Temple day.]
[Weird building in Seoul; each little circle is a window.]

 [Comp unity.]


[Studying Korean this morning in my Halloween tie.]

Letter from Elder Rife~October 31, 2011

Transfer number 4 is already almost half way over; it's so weird how they just fly by! I really hope I don't leave this area for a while though. Obviously it's not my choice and I'll go wherever I'm told to go, but I love it here and I feel like we are starting to click. The work really is moving forward in this area right now.
This week I went on splits with one of our zone leaders. He came down to my area and we spent the day together.. It was crazy. The first person we talked to together was super interested in us and our message and we gave him a Book of Mormon. I invited him to church and to English class and he said yes to both. He came to English class but then he got a cold and didn't come to church. We have an appointment with him tomorrow and he seems like he is interested in our message. He speaks English pretty well and wants to practice English with us but he also seems like he has gospel interest. Also while we were on splits we did some English flyering. We went to a busy intersection and passed out our English class flyers. Two people came up to us and said they wanted to do our 30/30 program and they were super excited. They said they would call us the next day so I didn't get their numbers. They still haven't called, haha, and I feel pretty dumb for not getting their numbers. But I really do think they will call this week or come to English class or something. We'll see!

Last week we got to go to the temple and it was amazing. They ran out of room in the English session so some of us went to the Korean session. They gave us translators and it just so happens that my translator broke about five minutes in. So I did the session in Korean! It was intense and my head hurt after but it was pretty good and I understood a little, ha.
Here's an update on my Korean for those who are wondering: Elder Jung and I speak English when we are at home and we speak mostly Korean on the street. But if I get frustrated trying to tell him something or just can't say it then I call a "time out" and speak English. The more I learn Korean the more I realize how hard it is. It's seriously the hardest thing I've ever tried to learn. Even if I know all of the words that someone says I still have to decode what it means because they are in the complete opposite order of a normal English sentence. But it does feel pretty good when I can understand someone and they can understand me. And for those of you who haven't noticed yet, my English is getting worse each day, haha.
Yesterday was a good Sunday. After church we had a baptismal service for the sister missionaries' investigator. Elder Jung baptized him. After that we spent a lot of time with all of the ward members. It is so fun to spend time with the members and I love the members here. They are so funny and we get along with them so well. Last night we proselyted for a little while and went to Jeff and Cinthya's house again. We go over each Sunday night and they feed us delicious American food and we share a gospel message. Last night they made Fettucini Alfredo. It was amazing! We talked about how each of us should continually renew our testimony of the Book of Mormon by taking Moroni's promise and doing it again. So we each committed to read Moroni 10:3-5 and pray about the Book of Mormon to renew and reconfirm our testimonies of its truthfulness.
Anyway, any time we had that wasn't mentioned in this email was spent proselyting, streetboarding, and visiting members and less actives. It was a good week this week and we're looking forward to another good week! I love you all! Please continue to pray for my Mom!
-Elder Rife

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pictures from Korea~October 24, 2011

[At the baptism.]

[Me and Elder Boyer.]

[In front of Seoul West Mission Home.]
 [Seoul West Mission Home.]

 [I made cookies! Proud of me, Mom?]

[This morning–finally changing colors!]

Letter from Elder Rife~October 24, 2011

What's up!

This week was really good... Although my family was enjoying a leisurely Disney cruise in the Mexican Riviera while I was enjoying some bitter autumn weather, it was all good! Just kidding. haha. I'm glad my family made tons of memories this last week even if it was without the life of the party present. I actually feel bad that everyone went on a vacation without me. Send me pictures soon family!

A lot actually happened this week. I went to a different area for one day last week. 강동 (Kang-dong). It's a pretty nice area! We taught English class there and the English class members asked me if I could come every week because I'm funny. That's always pleasant to hear. right? Then we streetboarded there. I was with Elder Olson. He's in the group that went into the MTC 6 weeks after me. So it was fun to hang out together for a day and talk and work together.

We also had interviews with our mission president last Friday! He's such an amazing mission president. I had a few questions and when I asked him it was like he knew the answer well before I asked the question. He made me feel so much better about my missionary work and helped motivate me even more.

Yesterday 윤상영 received the gift of the Holy Ghost! It was so awesome. He was crying a little bit after. He was so prepared. He wrote us each letters too. I don't understand all of mine yet because it's in Korean, but I'm working on it! He told us that he felt like we came here so that we could meet him and teach him about the Gospel. He seriously is such an amazing guy. Right now he is trying to get into college because he hasn't done any college yet. He's 26 years old and so it's been kind of hard to get into college and he has been declined by several schools. If you could pray that he gets into a college that would be amazing! He was discouraged the other day so we made him cookies and a note and printed a picture of us together and got a frame and took them to him at his house. We shared scriptures about how we can't get discouraged but we need to keep going so that we can figure out the Lord's plan for us. Satan wants us to get discouraged. He loved it and told us that he would pray even more. He's perfect!

Yesterday we had a new investigator come to church. His name is 황규원 and he's only 11 years old. His family is less active. We went to his house on Saturday and then we went to his house again yesterday and picked him up and took him to church with us. I really felt so grateful for my life and my parents after we met him on Saturday. His parents are too busy to spend time with him and don't really do much with him. He's always on his own and he's only 11 years old. We asked him what he ate for dinner and he said ice cream. I felt so bad. My parents always took care of me and fed me and spent time with me and I will be forever grateful for that. I was also humbled that his family was living in an apartment that was about the size of my bedroom back home. It made me feel like a snob. I've been blessed with sooo much. We want to really help him and be his friends and help him make friends at church and teach him more about God and the gospel.

Yesterday we went to 이천, pretty far from our area. Elder Jung had to do a baptismal interview then we came back and went to the other side of our area to meet with Jeff and Cynthia. I think I mentioned them last week. They feed us every week and let us choose what we want to eat since they buy food on the base. We had steak fajitas! Sooo amazing. Anyway that was our week! Pretty good week and I'm sure my family had a good week! Tomorrow is temple day so we're pretty excited to get to go to the temple. Anyway love you all. Thanks for everything!!

-Elder Rife

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pictures from Korea~October 17, 2011

 [At Yoon Sang Yong's baptism.]

 [Jamba Juice.]

[Busy missionary.]

[Models on the bus.]

Letter from Elder Rife~October 17, 2011

Last week on Monday night we got transfer calls...................But don't worry Elder Jung and I are staying. haha. We were so excited when we heard that we would be staying. We didn't think that they would have us whitewash and then split us up but still anything can happen. Neither of us want to leave this ward anytime soon. Things are so good here and we love the ward and the area and everything right now. I will for sure be pretty bummed when the time comes that I have to leave this area.

So yesterday was the day we've been waiting for! 윤상영 got baptized yesterday! It was such an awesome experience. We wanted to have a member baptize him that way when we leave he will still be in the same ward with the person who baptized him but he decided to have me baptize him. Neither Elder Jung or I really cared who baptized him; just the fact that he made the choice to get baptized made us so happy that we didn't care. 윤상영 said that it was like choosing between his mom and his dad. haha. So on Saturday night he texted us and said that he wanted me to do it. So yesterday he came to church and stuff then after church we changed and started the service. There was an 8 year old boy in our ward that was getting baptized too so it was really fun. 윤상영's sister came to church and came to the service after. She's still meeting with the sisters but we hope to meet with her too and have 윤상영 be the member present. I think it will be perfect. Hopefully we will get to teach their parents too in the future. It was just a perfect day yesterday and everything went so well. We got him new scriptures as a present. Small Korean ones. And we bought him a nice tie from a department store to wear with his new suit. The young single adults in the ward all made a card for him and wrote notes to him. He told us that when he was reading it it almost made him cry. He's amazing.

When Elder Jung and I were talking about the reason that we were sent to 분당 to whitewash it became very obvious that the reason we came here is for 윤상영. I don't doubt that there are many more reasons for us to be here but I know we came here at the time we did so that we could meet him. We met him on our second day in this area and have talked to him every day since. We know that the reason we came here was so that we could meet 윤상영 and teach him the gospel. It's been amazing to see the change in his countenance as he has gone through the conversion process. He's so happy!

Pretty much everything else last week doesn't compare to yesterday. Lots of proselyting and visiting members. We visited less active members but they weren't home so we left our member message card at their door and wrote them a quick note inviting them to church. My MTC companion, Elder Boyer, got transferred to the area right next to ours. So we went streetboarding together last week and it was pretty fun to see him and proselyte together a little.

Last night we had dinner with a couple named Jeff and Cynthia Jensen. Jeff works on the base here and they go to the English-speaking ward in Seoul. We met them a few weeks ago and they said that they wanted to have us over about every week or so to have dinner. They're super nice and it was awesome to get to give a message in English, haha, and we had steaks so I was pretty pumped about that. They told us that if we ever need anything or are hungry we just need to call them. I really love people like that. I want to always help the missionaries when I get home.

Well there's really not a whole lot else that happened this week. Pretty much the highlight of the week and month and transfer was 윤상영's baptism! It was amazing.

Today for P-day we're going to another church building to play basketball and stuff so I'm pretty excited! 

Anyway, I love you all! Thanks for your prayers and support!

-라이후 장로

Monday, October 10, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~October 10

Hi everyone!
This week was so good and conference was amazing! It was crazy how fast it went by. I remember watching it when I was in high school and it felt like it was soooo long. And I was laying down on the couch in my pajamas instead of sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a suit. ha. It was for sure amazing and I can honestly say that I watched every minute of every talk and wrote down something from everyone who spoke. Pretty cool. It's already the second conference I've watched as a missionary. After two more conferences I'll be watching it with my family! Weird. So before I write about some of my favorite lines from conference I want to write a quick update about things here in BunDang.
This week we met with members a lot. There were four different families who wanted to have us over to eat and share a message. We shared messages about preparing to receive personal revelation through General Conference. It was good to spend time with members and build new relationships with some of them who we weren't really close to before.

윤상영 came to a session of conference yesterday even though it was at a different church. We will meet with him tonight and teach him the last few commandments that he needs to learn before baptism and then he will have his baptismal interview tomorrow. He will be baptized on Sunday of this week. He's such an amazing guy and he is so excited to get baptized. We're gonna ask him who he wants to baptize him. We think it would be best if a member did it because Elder Jung and I will leave here at some point but the member who baptizes him won't and could continue to be a good fellowshipper but we will see.
I learned a good lesson from Elder Jung yesterday. We met with an older man who we called when looking through former investigator records. He came to the church yesterday and brought his three nephews. For some reason he was under the impression that we could help get his kids full ride scholarships or as he said "all scholarship" to BYU Provo. We told him that we don't really have anything to do with that and don't have any pull with BYU even though they are our same religion. But he kept asking. He's a really poor man and seemed so sad and humble. He just wanted to find a way to get his nephews to be able to go to school somewhere and have a better life. The kids are very young but he is just trying to make a plan. My initial response to him was just that there's nothing we can do and then I began to feel like he was wasting our time and I wasn't being very patient. I didn't say anything but in my head I was saying, There's nothing we can do.. We're missionaries not college counselors so quick wasting our time. Then I noticed how patient Elder Jung was being and how nice he was as he replied to each of the man's questions. Then I told him that we don't have much information about BYU but that he can find more information on the internet. Elder Jung told him that we can't do much to help him but we would like to pray with him. So Elder Jung prayed for him and I felt my heart soften. I realized how rude my thoughts had been. After the prayer I told the man that we will pray for him every day. And Elder Jung told him that if he needs anything else in the future (besides college information) that we would love to help him. I definitely learned a lesson in kindness yesterday.
I'm just going to write down some of my favorite lines from conference now.
"The scriptures are like little packets of light that help enlighten our minds. Memorizing scriptures is like making a new friend who can help us in times of need. A scripture we have read many times can take on a new meaning that is refreshing when we have a new challenge. All who read the Book of Mormon will find it a treasure to help them through life." -Elder Scott
I love this! I have definitely found a love for the scriptures in the last 7 months or so. It's been so amazing how much I have learned from consistent study each morning. If there's one thing I'm grateful for from my missionary service it is how much I have learned from the scriptures and how much stronger my testimony is of the Book of Mormon. It is true.
"As we grow up and have experiences and trials we realize that there must be a Divine Power." "In order to receive revelation we need to DESIRE revelation." "It's our testimonies that get us through times of trial and worry. We must nourish and strengthen them." -Barbara Thompson
In Boyd K. Packer's talk I felt like I learned sooo much. He has so much wisdom. He said that the youth of today will get to grow up and get married, have children, and become grandparents, even great grandparents. I've always worried that I wouldn't get to do all of the things I wanted in this life before the Second Coming happens, kind of a weird thing to worry about but I got an answer.
"Compared to God we are nothing, but to God we are EVERYTHING." "The Lord uses a scale very different than the world to weigh the worth of a soul." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I loved his talk. Everyone in my family mentioned his talk in their emails. I loved it too. The worth of souls is great in the sight of the Lord. It's something important for all of us to be reminded. It helps to humble us and realize that when we think we are better than someone else we are wrong. We are all great in the sight of the Lord.
"Don't look down. It's always better to look up!" "Most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance, and if it is God will help us." -Carl B. Cook
"There should be a smile on our face when we talk about repentance. Repentance is only an option because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice." -D Todd Christofferson.
I loved when he talked about the 5 steps of repentance. I felt like I learned so much about true repentance and how I need to use it more in my life.
Elder Perry talked about how we must be bold, be righteous examples to others, and speak up about the church. It shouldn't just be missionaries introducing the church to other people! It's everyone's responsibility to stand up for what they believe and to answer people's questions of the hope that is in us!
Jeffrey R. Holland's talk was incredible. Kinda scary actually. haha. I loved it. He is always so bold and says what he wants. I loved when he said that we cannot be on Satan's team when temptation comes and switch back to God's team when it's time to do missionary work or go to the temple. We cannot go down forbidden paths then try to lead others down the straight and narrow one.
Henry B. Eyring said, "Build habits that help you to keep going through fatigue and pain. Be able to keep going when others would stop and take a rest. Always try to give more effort than you thought you could." I love that. It's a good principle to learn as we go through trials. I also like it cause it's a good principle to learn to be a strong weight lifter.
President Monson was just amazing throughout all of conference. He was so funny. In the priesthood session he said so many good things that apply to missionaries. He talked about how our faith will be challenged. We need to have the moral courage to stand against those who oppose us. People will criticize us for what we believe and our testimonies must be deeprooted enough that we don't get discouraged but stand up. We need to stand strong even if we stand alone! We can't feel inadequate. God will be with us. We can't afford to do anything that will put a curtain on our power to the administering of angels. We need to hold up our light for the world to see.
Robert D Hales said " We need to be kinder to others and even kinder to ourselves." That's so true. I've always been super hard on myself and it's a good reminder to be nicer to ourselves.
Tad R. Callister's talk was sweet. I want our investigator 최병배 to read it when it comes out in the Liahona. It talks about why we need the Book of Mormon and how the Book of Mormon clarifies all that is confusing in the Bible. If the Bible wasn't confusing then there wouldn't be as many churches as there are today.
President Monson said that prayer with Heavenly Father should be a relationship we cherish. That's definitely something that I want to apply.
Dallin H. Oaks said "What do we really believe about Jesus Christ? What are we going to do about it?" We need to testify about Him and pray to Him and learn about Him and try to become like Him!
I think the talk that I learned the most from though was Quentin L. Cook's. With everything going on with my mom lately I have found many answers. There is a bright future plan for all of us. God understands us perfectly and knows what we are going through. Jesus Christ went through all things and performed the Atonement so that all things that are unfair about this life can be made right. The knowledge of the Plan of Salvation is precious! Many people will experience severe trials in this life. If they die they die unto God. The refiner's fire is real. Trials prepare us for the next life.
I have tons of more stuff written down but I can't write it all down on here. Conference was amazing though! I learned so much.
My testimony has been strengthened so much. I know the Book of Mormon is true with all of my heart. I have read it a few times and I have taken Moroni's challenge and I know that it is true without any doubt. I love to share the Book of Mormon with everyone I meet. I know that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can receive salvation and can return to live in the presence of God and be with our families forever. Without the gospel I would honestly be lost. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have at such a young age of the grandness of God's plan for each of us. I'm thankful for the two most amazing parents in the world to teach me the gospel as a child and to show me how the gospel blesses lives through example. They are my heroes. I am thankful for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice so that all unfair things in this life will be made right in the next life. I know that the unfairness of my mother's situation right now WILL be made right and that it will prepare her for future blessings that we cannot imagine. I'm so thankful for that. I'm thankful for Joseph Smith and the intense persecution and experiences he went through so that I can have the fullness of the gospel through the Book of Mormon. I love the gospel and I can't wait to share it each day. I'm thankful for my opportunity to be a missionary right now. I am sooo lucky. I know this church is true and I know that the priesthood power is real. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~October 4

I'm glad my family loved the surprise and the pictures from my visit to Daejeon. It was so amazing to get to go back.

There actually wasn't a whole lot that happened last week. We hit almost all of our goals and we really had a good week. We talked to a lot of people and we focused mostly on visiting members. We taught 14 lessons to members last week.

On Friday we went on splits with a missionary who was returning home to Korea from Japan. He's in our ward and needed to be with someone for a few hours while he was waiting to be released. It was fun to be with him and streetboard with him. He kept speaking Japanese and was really having a hard time speaking Korean. When he did speak Korean it sounded pretty weird, even to me. So just a warning, I won't be able to speak English very well when I get home. I can already feel my English skills getting worse.

We set our legit baptismal date with 윤상영. He's so awesome. At church two days ago it was fast Sunday (we will watch conference this week) and so he heard everyone bearing their testimonies and told us that he wants to bear his testimony next month after he gets baptized! So amazing. He truly is prepared. We're trying to put together some gifts for him for his baptism. We got him a small triple combo in Korean and we want to get him some sweet new ties.

On Sunday we went out to a different part of our area that we haven't gone to yet. We wanted to do some member visits and try to talk to people there. It's a new city that's pretty big and really really nice. Everything is more spread out like America and there are even American style houses. While we were walking around we ran into an American couple who are members. They live there but go to an English ward which is why we didn't know them. They want to have us over as often as possible to eat and share a gospel message. I'm so excited! They are so cool. It will be crazy to share a gospel message in English. I'm pumped.

It's getting super cold here. And for some reason the trees haven't changed colors yet. I'm confused. When we go out at night I FREEZE. I'm so excited to get my coat in the mail.

This week's church was really good. I felt like we really got so much closer with the ward. I love the ward here and I really want to be so close with them. We have 4 appointments to eat with members this week. I'm so excited.

The rest of our time was spent talking to people and trying to find new investigators. It's hard to find investigators through just proselyting; I haven't really found too many like that. Hopefully we can find a few new investigators this week!

I don't have time to expound on it but I read 1 Peter chapter one this week and it was amazing; I couldn't stop reading. I have two verses that I want to share:

1 Peter 3:15,17
15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
17 - For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
2 verses I loved this week!

I love you all and pray for you each day!!

-Elder Rife