Monday, November 28, 2011

Letter from Korea~November 28, 2011

Hi Everyone!

This week I was transfered! I'm in Ilsan! So pretty much I am in the Seoul mission but haven't acually served in Seoul yet. I'm circling in on Seoul, though. First I was southwest of Seoul in a city called Anyang. Then I was southeast of Seoul in Seongnam (Bundang), and now I am Northwest of Seoul in Goyang (Ilsan). So I'm predicting that I will go to a city northeast of Seoul next then finally I will go to Seoul. haha. My companion's name is Sung Yong Lee. 이승용. He is from Jejudo Island, which is like Korea's version of Hawaii. He's in his 3rd transfer now and this is his greenie area. He doesn't speak much English so it's good Korean practice for me. I'm full senior companion now instead of co-senior. I was joking with some of my other missionary friends that besides my MTC companion I haven't had a white companion haha. My trainer was Korean, then Elder Ishino is half Japanese, Elder Jung is Korean, and now Elder Lee is Korean. I think the Lord wants me to learn Korean. Also, my district is all Koreans. One of my friends from the area next to Bundang moved up here too and is in my district. He's Korean but he was born in America and is American. So it's only us that are English speakers. It's fun, but definitely different.

This week was a pretty long week. It's always weird to switch areas. Honestly, I was pretty sad that I had to leave Bundang, but I know that the Lord has a plan for me so I need to trust that plan. Elder Jung and I were really sad to say bye to each other. I really do love Elder Jung and I know we will be friends forever but we just wanted to serve one more transfer together! We'll both be in the mission for a lot longer though so we can probably serve close to each other again.

Wednesday morning we left and came to Ilsan. The area is really big and it is kinda like Bundang but a lot more complex. Bundang's area is really simple and they have a good map so you can find anything. I don't really know about this area much but it is pretty nice and the best part is...there's a COSTCO!!! I'm so excited. I need to put on some of the 20 pounds I'm missing and Costco will be the perfect way to do that.

Thursday we went back to Bundang to eat Thanksgiving with Jeff and Cinthya. Last week I got a call from the AP's telling me that the Ilsan Elders would be eating Thanksgiving dinner with Elder Jung and I. I was super confused but now I know they were already planning that I would transfer and then go to Jeff and Cinthya's house still for Thanksgiving. I should have put it together last week, but I didn't think I was gonna transfer. It was fun to be with them again and I am so thankful for them and for always feeding us and taking care of us. It was kind of a bummer last night eating kimchee and rice and knowing that Elder Jung was enjoying a nice American meal at Jeff and Cinthya's, but oh well. ha.

Pretty much since I got here we have been proselyting. It's kinda hard here because there really isn't anything going on right now. No investigators or anything. But we will find new ones! I'm starting a new English class here on Saturday and I have made lots of plans with the ward and with our ward mission leader to make a really good English class. Our ward mission leader told me that he knew I was coming before I actually came cause he has been praying for an American missionary to come here. There were two Koreans here before I came here. So I'm excited to work with him and start the work here. I'm kinda getting the feeling that I'm gonna be here for a while so I need to transform this area. The house is okay. It's not an apartment like I like but it's still pretty good. The only problem is that it's always really loud at night so it's hard to fall asleep sometimes. The house is small but I'm pretty used to living in tight quarters now. haha. I cleaned a lot when I got here and I really wanna clean everything well so that I can feel good about where I live. I'll take pics next week so you can see where I live!

Saturday night we had a Thanksgiving party at a different ward. It was super fun! It was weird though because I already know that other ward better than I know my ward now. haha. But I'm excited to get to know my ward better! I've really learned that a lot of my memories come from spending time with the members. The members in Korea are so loving and fun to be around. I gave a talk yesterday in church and it went pretty well! I always try to stay up there for as long as I can so that I am forced to use as much Korean as I can. It's hard but it's fun. I'm sure I made tons of mistakes but how else am I gonna learn?

I'm excited for the first week in my area! I need to learn a lot this week about my area and a lot more Korean so I can communicate with my companion better! Everyone please keep praying for my mom! Love you all!

-Elder Rife

Photos from Korea~November 28, 2011

[Leaving Bundang.]
 [At Thanksgiving dinner; we went to the same junior high school.]

[Me with Jeff and Cinthya.]

[Me and Elder Lee emailing.]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~November 21

Hi Everyone!

So this week was a super busy week! But first let me remind you that today is transfer call day, which means that at about 9:30 tonight I will be getting a phone call that will tell me where I will be spending the next 6 weeks of my missionary service. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal but I'm excited and nervous. I really honestly don't want to leave. Obviously I'll go wherever I am told to go, but still I love this area! Also we have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners set up with Jeff and Cinthya Jensen (who we've been eating with every Sunday night) and I will be really sad if I don't get to be with them for either of those days.

Back to what has happened so far this week, I was on splits for two of the days this week. One with an Elder Bae Hyeong Soo and the other one with Elder Duke. Elder Bae and I taught David on Tuesday about the plan of salvation and committed him to be baptized on the 11th of December! He really is prepared. He came to Stake Conference yesterday but I don't think he really liked it that much; I think he's been feeling pressure lately so we kinda took a step back. There was a baptismal service for other missionaries after stake conference and we invited him to stay after and watch but he said "I think I'll keep my curiosity with baptism until I get baptized..." It was kind of weird. I reminded him that there is no pressure and that baptism is his decision. We'll talk to him more about it this week when we meet him. We can only see him on Saturdays after English class now because he got a job. We're kind of worried about him lately, but I know it will work out We were supposed to teach the eleven year old boy we meet with about the commandments on Saturday but then he called us and told us that we couldn't come over because his family was making kimchee for the winter. Which is pretty intense. They make tons and tons of kimchee so that they can have it all winter. He came to stake conference, but then he left before the baptismal service. So we were kinda sad yesterday!

We met with 임유성 twice this week. It's hard to teach him. He's in his 70's and so I can't really understand when he talks and when we teach him he doesn't really understand things very well. I'm worried that if Elder Jung leaves this area and I have someone worse at Korean than me that it will be super hard to explain things to him. I know I shouldn't worry but it's pretty stressful when you can't explain things to people and you don't have a Korean with you to help you. haha.

We met with Brother Yoon, our recent convert, this week and he really is doing so well. He has a completely different look about him and you can tell that he has gone through the conversion process and has changed a lot. He's such a happy person. We talked to him a lot about the priesthood and the temple and if Elder Jung and I stay together we will set up a date for all of us to go to baptisms for the dead together at the temple. We also played ping pong together; he's suuuper good. I played him twice and we were sweating after. haha.

Other than meeting with those people we just tried to find new investigators. We had a busy week and we proselyted a lot. I'm pretty sure it's as cold here as Russia is. That's probably not true, but yesterday it was 30 degrees and the wind was crazy. We set up streetboards but the wind kept blowing them over and I had tears coming out of my eyes because it was so cold outside. ha. It's fun to have a change, though; I was really sick of the hot humid weather this summer. It always seems like summer is better during winter and winter is better during summer.

Not much else to report this week! Thanks for your prayers and support! Please continue to pray for my Mom!! I love you all!

-Elder Rife

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photos from Korea~November 14

[Us and Jung Jin Soo before he leaves.] 

[Us and David.]


[Me and Elder Boyer.]

Letter from Elder Rife~November 14


Lots of good stuff happened this week! Last Monday after I emailed my zone went and hiked a mountain together; well, a Korean mountain. It was about an hour to the top. It was fun! It made me miss Utah mountains, though; mountains that take more than an hour to get to the top. haha. But it was still fun and we made good memories as a zone.

Tuesday we met with 이무현. His English name is David so I'll refer to him as David from now on. We met with him and just talked and hungout for a little while. He really has so much interest in the church and the Book of Mormon. He said that he would come to church but didn't come to church last week. I asked him if his dad was against our church and he said that his dad had just heard lots of stuff about us. I told him that we want him to come to church but we don't want to make his dad mad. He just said. "I'm an adult and can do whatever I want." So that kinda resolved the problem. We taught him the first lesson and he loved it. He's so prepared! It was such a spiritual lesson. Before he left we told him that if he ever needs anything that he should call us. He told us that he felt so much love in his heart and that he felt so happy after. He was feeling the spirit for sure. Then he came to church yesterday and he loved it! It was our primary program and little Korean kids love to sing so it was so loud and fun. haha. He said that everyone at church seemed so happy and that when he went to his other church nobody seemed that happy and all they really did was listen to a preacher. David was so active in each class and was answering questions left and right. Everyone got a long with him and loved him. It was so awesome.

Wednesday we met with a new investigator named 임유성. Brother Im. He is in his seventees and we picked him up through English class. He is such a cool guy. All he does now is exercise and take care of his grandkids. He comes from a family with 10 kids, which is not normal in Korea. And he has 8 kids, I think. I'm not sure; huge family though. So we talked a lot about family and he has been keeping our committments! We want to invite him to church this week so that he can feel of the Spirit there and realize how much more happy his family can be.

Thursday we had Zone Conference which was really fun. It's always fun to get together with other missionaries and to get to see President. We learned about Finding when you Teach and Teaching when you Find. Rather than asking if you can share a message. Just start sharing it on the street. We're still working on it, but it's really fun.

Friday we met with Brother Im again and we taught part of the first lesson: why a Restoration was necessary after Christ's apostles were killed and the Priesthood power was taken from the earth. He loved it and we're going to teach the rest to him next Wednesday! Friday night our Ward mission leader took us out to get steaks! It was soooo good.

Saturday we went to Outback for lunch with a member. (김용원- AP in Seoul West under President Bangerter.) Then we taught English class and taught 황규원 about the Plan of Salvation. We used a little puzzle that Elder Jung had so that we could keep his attention since he's only 11 years old. It was so fun! He's such a good kid and he's really starting to like us a lot. He said such a good closing prayer after we taught him. He said in Korean, "Please bless the people who believe in God, and please bless the people who don't believe in God that they can believe in him someday." Such a cute little kid. He came to church yesterday too and we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday was such a fun day at church. I love church here and I'm getting to where I can kind of participate in the lessons and make comments. It makes it more of a spiritual experience for me because I can understand a little bit. After church we went and proselyted for a looooooong time cause we needed to talk to lots of people to hit our goal. Then we visited one of our favorite members who left to go on his mission today! We're gonna miss him so much. He's going to the Calgary, Alberta mission where one of my best friends Drew Harris is! I think Drew could be his trainer. Drew comes home next July so he's been out for a while.

Anyway, this week was really busy but things are kinda falling into place for us here and this area is progressing so much. We love this area! I'm so glad that I was transferred here and have met all of the people that I have met! Thanks for all of the prayers in my behalf and in the behalf of my family!

Love you all!

-Elder Rife

Monday, November 7, 2011

Photos from Korea~November 7, 2011

 [Suji church building is huge.]

 [Elder Duke and me. We found a Jamba Juice in Suji.]

 [In Suji, I found a band and contacted them and took a picture with them.]

 [The police pulled over the chicken delivery guy.]

 [We do everything together.]

[We take a picture on every elevator ride.]

Letter from Elder Rife~November 7, 2011

Hi! Another week down. I swear they are just flying by. It's crazy how fast time has gone by. It doesn't seem like I've been a missionary for almost 8 months. Time is such a weird thing on a mission because it seems like each day lasts forever but then the weeks just fly by and I can barely keep track of them. I'm honestly scared for the day when it's all over and I realize that it was as one of the prophets in the Bible said (I can't remember...) that our lives are like a vapor that is here for a brief time then disappears. I've thought lately about what it must feel like when your mission ends especially as I have heard from Hillary about her leaving Ecuador after 4 months of service there. I'm pretty sure I'll be an emotional wreck when I leave Korea. I'm not the most emotional guy but I am sure that I will be when I leave and my mission experience is over. Obviously I won't be done doing missionary work but I will be done doing full-time missionary work. I'm sure it's gonna be a very bitter sweet moment.

This week was really good. First, 윤상영 got the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! It was awesome. So now we are trying to set up a time where we can go to the temple with him and some of the youth in our ward and do baptisms for the dead together. I'm really excited. It's amazing how much he has changed and how truly converted he has become through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday of this week we met with 이무현. His English name is David. He was someone I found a few weeks ago while on splits with one of my zone leaders. We were doing the 30/30 program with him and were speaking English with him and I asked him what he wanted to do and he just said that he wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon. Elder Jung and I were shocked. So we talked to him about what he already knew about our church and then explained more about ourselves and stuff. Tomorrow we will teach him the first lesson. We gave him an English Book of Mormon too so that he can practice English by reading it. He said he was gonna come to church yesterday but then he didn't. He said he slept in but I think he's getting a little pressure from his dad for meeting with us. We're gonna talk to him about it tomorrow.

This week I went on splits to another area in our zone called 수지 (Suji). I was with an Elder Duke. I have been with him before in a threesome my first week in Bundang. He's been out almost a year. We had fun. They had no appointments so we walked around all day and talked to people. Typically I like to do a couple different finding activities and things throughout the day but it was his area and his plan so that's what we did. It was way fun though. I love talking to people so I didn't mind it. We were definitely exhausted after the day. We ran out of material to give people at like 8 o'clock so we had to go home because we didn't have anything. It was a fun exchange though! I was excited to get back to Bundang though too. I love my area.

Last Saturday we got to go to the Stake Music Night that was in our church. Everyone in the stake got together and performed and ate food together. We had an investigator so we were allowed to go. There were some people who were seriously amazing! All kinds of instruments. We brought 황규원 with us; he's the eleven year old boy. Then he came to church yesterday and we taught him a simple first lesson using cups for an object lesson. It was fun. He really already knew everything so it was just a review. We asked him to pray and he gave a really good prayer for an 11 year old kid. (10 in American age). We are gonna try to set a date for him to get baptized in the next week or two.

Yesterday we called a potential investigator named 김형남. He said we could go to his house last night so we went over. He was in an accident a long time ago where he was paralyzed. He said he heard Jesus's voice saying "Arise!" And now he isn't paralyzed anymore. From the waist up he can move but he is missing one leg. So when he answered the door of his apartment he slid himself over to the door to answer. His apartment was absolutely tiny. He invited us in and we talked for a while and taught him the first lesson briefly. He didn't really agree with what we were teaching but wasn't rude about it. We said a prayer and left his house. I felt so grateful for the fact that I have legs and can move. He really doesn't have anyone to help him and is home alone a lot. It makes me wonder how he eats or goes to the bathroom or anything. I felt so humbled after I went to his apartment and just felt so bad for him. Thank goodness for all of the things I have been blessed with!

Well that's about it from BunDang, South Korea. It's been a good week. We're gonna go hiking today with our zone for P-day! I'll take some pics, for sure. I love you all. Thanks for all of your prayers. Please continue to pray for my mom!!!!

-Elder Rife

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Elder Rife's Baptism Talk

[Papa Rich, Nanajan, and Connor on his confirmation day.]

Here's a message from me, Laura, the big sister who keeps the blog:

When Elder Rife left on his mission, I told him that I thought it would be cool for one of his converts to be his nephew, my son, Connor. I asked him to write in his letters to Connor basic gospel truths and his testimony so that together we could teach Connor and prepare him for baptism. Michael and Connor have exchanged letters over the past 7 months and Michael always shares his testimony. He sent him a letter a few weeks before his eighth birthday with a perfect explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a mom it means so much to me that my baby brother on his mission is corresponding with and teaching and testifying to my oldest son who is baptism-age.

When we planned Connor's baptism (which took place during our Disney Cruise with the Rife family) we decided that Nana would give a talk on the Holy Ghost and I would give a talk on baptism. I decided to delegate most of my talk writing to Elder Rife. I asked him to share his testimony and share what he would share with an investigator.

Elder Rife sent back the perfect message for a baptism talk. I want to share it here on his mission blog so that you can see how Michael has had a part in the conversion and baptism of his oldest nephew, even from far across the earth.

Here it is:

Congratulations, Connor!

This is such a special day for you. I remember so clearly the day when I was baptized. Your mom asked me to read something in front of everyone and I was too scared to do it so I started crying in front of everyone. Pretty embarrassing, huh?

More importantly than that I remember the feeling I had right as I came up out of the water. I felt so clean!

Baptism is very important, Connor. I'm sure you have learned all about it. But in order to be with our families forever we must be baptized. In the gospel of Jesus Christ there are 5 main parts.

#1 Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—which means that we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Faith in Christ leads us to act.

#2 Repentance—which means we say sorry for the wrong things we do. If we are rude to our sisters or brothers we say sorry to them and we say sorry to God in prayer. We also try to not repeat the wrong we did.

#3 is Baptism—Baptism shows our Faith in Jesus Christ. When we are baptized we make a covenant with God. A covenant is a promise with God. We promise that we will follow Jesus Christ's example and God promises to bless us. Because Jesus Christ was perfect and we are not, it's important that we repent when we make mistakes.

Connor I want you to picture a big, HUGE door that is locked. And on the other side of that door are tons and tons and tons and tons of blessings! Baptism is the key that unlocks that huge door and helps us to get all of those amazing blessings.

#4 is the biggest one of those blessings—the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is such a precious gift, Connor! The Holy Ghost helps us to feel of God's love for us. Through the Holy Ghost we can know what things are right and what things are wrong. The Holy Ghost comforts us when we are sad and warns us when we are in danger. The Holy Ghost helps us to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel.

The last part of the Gospel, #5, is Enduring to the End. Or as I like to say Enjoying to the End. This means that we follow Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives. We continue to go to church, read the scriptures, and pray. As we do that Heavenly Father keeps blessing us.

Connor I am so proud of you for making the decision to be baptized. I promise that God will bless you in many ways because of your decision to be baptized. Remember that Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. You can talk to Him whenever you want and I promise that He listens to your prayers. He loves you, Connor.

Thank you for setting such a good example for Abby, Andrew, Hannah, and all your cousins. You're the man, Connor. Congratulations again. Always remember the day you got baptized! I love you Connor!

-Uncle Mike