Monday, December 26, 2011

Photos from Korea~December 25, 2011

Here are this week's photos from Elder Rife. He didn't write a weekly email because we got to talk to him on Christmas Eve!

(I'll add captions when I can use a computer instead of my phone.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~December 19, 2011

I called home today to set up skype* with my family and I definitely surprised them! I must have been led by the spirit because I called right when everyone in my family except me was at the house. It was so good to hear their voices and get to talk to them briefly as I set up the time for our skype next week!

This week was rough because my companion was sick almost all week. He had a pretty bad cold so he rested for a really long time. There were a few days where we didn't really go outside because he was sleeping all day. I had a slight case of cabin fever! Our house isn't the biggest place and so I was locked in just one small room while my companion was in the other sleeping. Even though it wasn't the most effective week, I had lots of time to study Korean grammar and Jesus the Christ. I called potential investigators and set up an appointment but he punked us. On Tuesday I was in splits in a different area in our zone. I was with another Korean missionary and we left their apartment to go out to work when I realized (like 30 minutes later) that I didn't have the letter I had written and intended to send. So we decided to go back to the apartment and get it really quickly so we could send it out. On the way back to the apartment we stopped a kid on the street and talked to him for about 5 minutes and set up another appointment with him. I don't know what has happened since then but it was our little miracle this week. I told my companion that the spirit told me to forget my letter so we could go back and find that guy.

Last Saturday our English class was sad. The members couldn't come because there was a Stake meeting and we only had two women come so we had to cut English class short. If we don't have another male present then we can't teach English. So we talked with them for a little while then shared a message and sent them home. I felt too bad just telling them to leave without talking to them a little bit. They travelled pretty far to come to English class. 

Before English class we had a new investigator! His name is 정지웅 or his English name is Daniel. He just finished his army service recently. Before that he was meeting with the missionaries. He doesn't have too much gospel interest, but he's meeting with us so it means we'll have an opportunity to teach the gospel. We'll see what happens! He said no to reading the Book of Mormon each day and said that he would read the Bible. So we just asked him to read a little bit of the Book of Mormon when he reads the Bible. We plan to teach him the Restoration this Saturday.

I'm super excited to skype my family this week! It was so good to talk to them today and I can't wait to see them on skype! My Christmas present this year is getting to talk to and see my family. I feel like I have learned so much more about the Savior this year and am so grateful for His sacrifice for me.

I love you all!

-Elder Rife

*Michael has received special permission from his mission president to skype with us instead of calling because Mom has a hard time speaking and wouldn't be able to talk to him on the phone.

Photos from Korea~December 19, 2011

[My companion drinking rootbeer.] 

[Our study room.]

 [Our bedroom.]

[Our bathroom.] 

[My companion posing in our kitchen.] 

[Grillin' up some Costco chicken.]

Monday, December 12, 2011

Photos from Korea~December 12, 2011

[Elder Lee and me.] 

 [The Christmas bus.]

[My Dad and others on his mission in 1974 (민경복 is on the far left).]

[Me with Brother Meen now.]

[Our huge church.]

Letter from Elder Rife~December 12, 2011


We set up lots of appointments for last week and we got punked like crazy. Nobody met with us last week! We met with one kid who we have been meeting up with a couple times each week while he walks to his academy but they have been really short meetings so we want to try to meet with him somewhere where we can talk more and try to help him progress. The work here is pretty slow right now. We only had 1 person who wasn't a member come to English class last week and the rest were all members. But right now lots of people are taking tests in school so they don't have much time. Lots of the ward members in our area are planning on bringing their friends to English class and stuff when all of their tests are over. So we are really hoping that we can have lots of people at English class and that we can find investigators through it. My companion and I are both still very young missionaries. I've been out for 9 months and he's been out for less than 4 so we are still trying to figure out how to work together well and how to do missionary work effectively. Sometimes I feel bad when I think about how much more effective I would be if I could just speak the language and could communicate the things I want to. But I have faith that I can learn this language!

This week I got closer with three people in my ward when I learned that they each know my dad, one of them having attributed where he is today to being helped often by my then 19 year old dad. I'll be more specific in my email to you, Dad. Don't worry! One of the other member knew my dad when he was a lawyer in Seoul in the 1980's, and the last one knew my dad while he was mission president in Daejeon. Pretty cool!

Last week I read the book called Our Heritage. It's a part of the missionary library so I thought I should read it. I learned a lot more about the pioneers and all that they went through in the early stages of our church. I won't write too much about it but I just want to say how thankful I am for those who went before us and prepared the way for us. I feel so grateful for our heritage as members of our church. When I compare my life to theirs I am overwhelmed by how much harder their lives were than mine is. It's humbling.

I've also been reading a lot in Jesus the Christ. I have found that while I read it I can really feel of my Savior's love for me. I love to learn more about my Savior and His life on this earth, especially around Christmas time. I have really been trying to get into the Christmas spirit lately. I don't have the nice decorations around me like I did back home. I don't have my family near. But I have the knowledge that my Savior lives and loves me and I am so grateful for that.

I'm sorry this week's email was so short! Next week we hope to see more things happen throughout the week. I'm excited for Christmas too!!!

Love you all! Oh and shout out to Todd. Happy B'day this week, Brotha!

-Elder Rife

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Letter from Elder Rife~December 5, 2011

Hi Everyone!

I don't really have too much to write about this week. Unfortunately, I don't have any investigators to write about but I will mention that David from Bundang is getting baptized this weekend in Bundang!! I'm sad that I won't get to be there, but I am soo happy that he made the decision to be baptized. It seems like just yesterday that I met him outside Lotte Department Store in Bundang!

We are praying and hoping for similar experiences here in Ilsan. Ilsan hasn't seen a lot of success with missionary work this last year. The ward set a goal for 24 baptisms and there has only been one this year. Some people joke that it's a cursed area but I'm trying to prove that wrong! Our English class is going well.. I called lots of people and passed out lots of english class flyers this week. We had 4 people come and then we had lots of members come too so it was pretty fun.

We have lots of new ideas for English class and our ward mission leader told us that we should read the Book of Mormon in English each week so that's what we're gonna do when it's gospel time. Usually we would read the Book of Mormon in Korean so that they can understand it better but our WML wants us to do English so that's what we'll do. I really hope we find new investigators soon! Please pray for this area!

Last week we spent lots of time proselyting, calling potential investigators, and visiting less active members.

We also spent a day doing 김장, which is when Koreans make tons of kimchee to last them through winter season. There were about 60 missionaries who all got together and we made tons and tons of kimchee. My job was just to load trucks with the kimchee. I didn't really want to get in there and get all covered in kimchee; plus I'm better at lifting and organizing stuff, so that's what I did. haha. And we ate lots of kimchee and we were all dirty and tired after. It was fun to get to do service. You always have a good feeling when you do something for someone that they can't do for themselves. The kimchee we made will go to old people who are poor and can't make kimchee anymore.

We set up 4 appointments for next week which means that we could have 4 new investigators next week if they don't punk us. One of them seems pretty promising so I really hope it goes well. We need to find more people! It doesn't help that it's getting cold. People really don't want to stop on the street to talk because it's cold and really really windy. But we never lose hope!

One of my favorite scriptures lately is in Galatians 6:9 - "And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

When I went to Bundang I felt like my purpose was to find YoonSangYong and to just start doing the work there with Elder Jung. But now I feel like my purpose is to just start anything in Ilsan. Honestly not a lot has happened out here. Nothing is really going on right now. So I'm just trying to get things started and then if we are patient and work hard we will see the results.

When I left Anyang there was the one investigator who had a baptismal date, Sarah Kang. She is now baptized. Elder Ishino had no other investigators other than Sarah at that time. He is still there right now and recently baptized 3 people. He told me that in order to see the results of hard work it will take some time, so I shouldn't expect to see immediate results right after coming to Ilsan. I need to keep working hard and then I will see the results.

Anyway, that was my week here. Today after we finish emailing we're going to Costco. My companion is on splits with another Korean missionary and I'm with Elder Rasmussen. He served in the next area over from Bundang and now he is serving in the next area over from Ilsan. Since we are allowed to go on splits on P-Day we decided to go to Costco together. I'm so excited!

Love you all! Please pray for my amazing Mom!

-Elder Rife

Photos from Korea~December 5, 2011

[My companion decided to wear a poncho instead of use an umbrella.]

[He does these every night so he made me do one too.]

[Tryin' to keep my body in shape.]