Monday, January 30, 2012

Photos from Korea~January 30, 2012

[Finally got our map up (now it's organized with markers on each person's house).] 

[Dinner with 이강원. Lee Gang Won is one of our investigators.]


[We got on a brand new bus that still had the new car smell. I was pretty excited so we took a picture.]

Letter from Elder Rife~January 30, 2012

This last week was super busy! We went all over Il-san every single day. It feels like we are always riding a bus or the subway or walking. All day. It's fun though because we have more and more appointments and we get to teach more now. We haven't been able to proselyte all that much and I feel like I'm getting a little rusty, so we went streetboarding yesterday in a really busy park in our area and it was crazy. There were so many people! It was really fun and we talked to 50 people about the gospel.

Right now we have 13 investigators and 5 of them are keeping commitments and reading the Book of Mormon. We had an appointment to meet with 채은희 and her husband Chris last night but they couldn't meet because their son, Aiden, was feeling really sick. We are really so excited about them and we are so excited to meet with them again. We will meet them this weekend. 

We met a guy named Mr. Jung on Saturday afternoon. He is friends with 양우석, who we got as a referral from Jackie, one of our other investigators. Mr. Jung and 양우석 go to 7th Day Adventist church; we actually met them right after they got out of church. They are super nice and we had a good first meeting. We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and talked about our purpose as missionaries. They were surprised that we would give up our time and money to come to Korea to teach people. And they were surprised that we can (kind of) speak Korean. Everyone always dies when I tell them my hometown is Daejeon. It was a good first meeting and we hope to meet them this week and teach them about the Restoration. 

We met 이강원 at Pizza Hut on Wednesday. He has so many questions about the church and the Book of Mormon and it's so fun to answer them. He's gotten into some anti-Mormon literature and so we had to talk to him about that. He is always trying to find evidence that the Book of Mormon is true and stuff so we talked to him about how we can't know that it's true unless we pray about it. Then we talked about how if all of the evidence was right there in front of us it would be too easy. We wouldn't have to believe we would just know. No faith would be required. We're gonna start meeting him twice every week. He's such a great guy. He used to be a health trainer but got into a really bad car accident and now he is always at home and has a hard time walking. 

We met with 조명옥 and 소춘애 last week after we emailed. They are in their seventies and like to practice English with us. They read the Book of Mormon in English and Korean each week and we talk about it together. Last week we talked about prophets and it went really well. 

We couldn't meet Jackie last week or Eddie because they were busy but they are reading the Book of Mormon and we will meet with them this week. We also couldn't meet with 유재무 last week cause he was really sick. We're meeting him tomorrow though!

I'm about out of time but this last week was really good! We've been getting so busy lately and I'm so thankful for all of the investigators we've been able to meet. 

Love you all!

-Elder Rife

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photos from Korea~January 25, 2012

 [Our member message card picture.]

 [Lunar New Year.]

 [Elder Lee!]

[Mega desk.]

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Letter from Korea~January 25, 2012

Alright, last week was pretty crazy.

We picked up six new investigators last week and two new investigators yesterday. We've seen so many miracles through calling former investigators! It's been so amazing.

(We are emailing at a post office right now and everyone is getting upset at us for using the computers so I'm only going to mention a couple of our new investigators.) 

Yesterday we met 채은희 and her husband Chris. He's American and she's Korean and they live in our area. They were former investigators that were dropped before they were baptized because the missionaries serving here were both Korean and couldn't teach them in English. They are so amazing! We had dinner with them and their four year old son named Aiden last night. We talked to them for a long time and we got really close with them and plan to meet with them a couple times each week and teach them the lessons. They aren't sure if they can come to church this week but they said they can next week for sure. I'm so excited! We might have to translate for Chris, though, which will be pretty hard. But most all of the members in our ward are good at English so I'm sure they can help him. They gave us tons and tons of food to take home with us. They even gave us money to give to our ward for tithing. We didn't know what to do when they tried to give it to us but we told them that we would put it in the tithing for our church. I'm so glad we met them!

We also started teaching a guy named Eddie. He's 69 years old and is a member of our English class. He's there every week and he loves to learn English. Last week we were at the church waiting for an investigator to come to the church and while we were waiting we were playing a card game with one of our members when Eddie walked in to the church. He thought we were having English class at that time but he confused our ward with another ward. So then we talked to him and ended up answering his questions about the word of wisdom and tithing. We showed him our ward's ward bulletin and he saw all of the pictures of people who have been baptized in the last few years. Then he asked if all of the people in our church are that happy and we told him that we pretty much are all happy because we have the gospel! Then we got to meet with him again last Saturday night and taught him the first lesson. It was so amazing. Now he is reading the scriptures and he said he knows the Book of Mormon is true.

Another one of our investigators named 이강원 is starting to progress. He's so awesome. We met at his house last Friday and we watched The Testaments and talked about Jesus Christ's visit to the Americas. He's also been reading the Book of Mormon and he asked to borrow The Testaments so he could watch it again. He lives far from the church so we are having a hard time getting him to come to church on Sundays.

Things are going so well out here and I feel so blessed to be a part in the work! The gospel is so amazing and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to teach it. "Whom the Lord calls he qualifies." If not so I wouldn't be able to do this work. I have a testimony that this gospel is the only we we can return to live with our Heavenly Father and I'm so thankful for it.

Love you all!

-Elder Rife

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photos from Korea~January 16, 2012

 [Pushing the weights to the subway station.]

 [Lifting in the station.]

[Lifting on the subway.]

[Lifting on the subway.]

 [Carrying the weights home.]

[Almost there; about 80 pounds, FYI.]

 [Lifting at the park.]

 [Lifting in the street.]

 [We made it home!]

 [Our zone.]

 [Elder Summers, my zone leader who is now AP, and me.]

 [Me and Elder Summers again.]

 [Eating steak.]

[Birthday party at Outback.]

Letter from Elder Rife~January 16, 2012

Hi everyone!

So last week was crazily busy. We went to Seoul four times last week, which takes lots of time. I was pretty sick of being on subway trains and buses this last week. I feel like that's all we did!

Last Tuesday we got to go to the temple which is always super fun because I love the temple and I love spending time with all the other missionaries. Then we all went out to Taco Bell after. Weirdly enough, Taco Bell is actually pretty nice in Korea. Like Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut isn't a very nice sit-down restaurant in America but in Korea it's way nice. Then we went to the Korean War museum in Seoul. I realized that it looked really familiar for some reason, then I remembered that I had gone there with my school a couple times when I was young. 

After that we went to another missionary's apartment because they had a bench and a bunch of weights they didn't want. So if you are wondering, the answer is yes. Elder Dorrough and I did carry all of the weights and the bench from their house to ours. And let me tell you it was quite the workout. haha. But we got some amazing pictures and it actually gave us some opportunities to talk to some people on the subway. I don't think Korean people are used to seeing two foreign missionaries carrying weights and a bench on the subway train. 

The next day we had to go back into Seoul to have combined district meeting with our zone. We then went back home and completely rearranged our whole house. We switched the rooms and made a bigger desk and made a workout room. We also cleaned out tons of stuff and had the office elders drive up to our house to take some of our stuff to give to other missionaries. So now our house looks quite a bit better. But it's not done yet. We will finish it when it's Lunar New Year because we were told to stay in our houses most of the time because most Korean's will be celebrating with their families.

On Thursday we had a new investigator named 서미화. She's in her 50's and is doing the 30/30 program with us. It was a really good visit and she is a really cool lady. Super smart and has been like everywhere in the US. She texted us after and said that she felt happy after meeting us and wanted to take us out to eat whenever we had time. So we will be meeting her every Tuesday and Thursday. She's such a cool lady so we are excited to be able to teach her.

On Friday we went to the mission office in Seoul for Elder Dorrough to do pass off with the AP's. He finished half of it and we'll have to go back again sometime to finish the rest of it. After that we met with a guy named 이강원. He's 39 years old and has met with the missionaries for like ten years. He had like 3 Books of Mormon on his shelf at his house and the Gospel Principles book too. He had a lot of questions that were pretty interesting and I was surprised that previous missionaries hadn't answered them before us. We're going to meet him again this Friday and talk about the questions that he had.

Saturday we had lunch with a member family that we really love. All the kids are under the age of 14 and speak fluent English. They grew up in Utah and California then moved here a year ago. So we went to their house and had hot dogs for lunch. Then we went back to Seoul because one of the members in our ward was having a birthday party for their kid's one year birthday (which is huge in Korea). We got permission to go out to support them and we got to eat Outback Steakhouse with them so it was pretty fun.

Yesterday we had lots of appointments lined up but people got busy. We called them all on Saturday night and they said they were busy. There was a family that said they would come to church yesterday but then when we called them they said that they couldn't. They woman speaks really good English and told me that they want to come but her husband is American and can't speak Korean very well so he doesn't want to come to church. So we set up an appointment to go over to their house and teach them. We will go over to their house over Lunar New Year holiday and eat dinner with them and teach them. I'm really excited because they have lots of interest! Also, yesterday we got a couple of referrals. One of them from a kid who was visiting Ilsan from 이천 which is super far away. I visited there when I lived in Bundang. Then we got a referral from Jackie who is one of our investigators. We're gonna meet with Jackie again this week and we set an appointment with his friend for this week too.

That's about it from this week. I took some pictures this week. I'm sorry for not taking more. I'll try to take some more pictures this week.

I love you all!

-Elder Rife

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter from Elder Rife~January9, 2012

Hi everyone! 

Another transfer disappears. And I have a new companion! His name is Elder Dorrough. He's from Arizona but went to Timpview high school. He was my older group in the MTC so we already knew each other. We had a really good first week together and we worked pretty hard. We saw some serious miracles this week. (Dad, Elder Lee went to 의정부.) So it was fun to get a new companion and show him the area and everything. I'm senior companion now but Elder Dorrough is going to pass off this transfer and we'll see what happens next transfer! It's always a mystery. 

I never really noticed how much having three Korean companions has helped my Korean. I'm so thankful that I was able to have so many amazing Korean companions to help me understand Korean a little bit better. I'm starting to feel more comfortable lately and am finding that I can say lots of things if I just think about it. I'm so thankful to have already lived in Korea before. It's definitely helped me. I am starting to really love learning more Korean and I really hope that I can speak well and say the things that I want to say to people as we teach them the gospel. I was telling Elder Dorrough this week that we get to have such a special experience in teaching the Korean people the gospel in their own language. It's an experience that not many people get to have.

This week we had lots of success on the street talking to people and setting up appointments. We spent almost a whole day at our apartment this week organizing all of our thousands of member, investigator, and less active records. It was pretty intense and I had a bad case of cabin fever after. But it paid off! Last night we took all the former investigator records to the church and both started calling like crazy for 2 hours. We set up 8 appointments for this week and now we are all of a sudden super busy. Four of the people we called said that they wanted to come to church next week. Two of the people said that they had been waiting for us to call them. So it was a miracle day for us yesterday and if everything goes well this week we should have about 10 new investigators. I'm so excited!! So today we are going to make some more calls and try to fill up the rest of our week. 

It's always a weird week when you get a new companion or get transferred but it's good to have change. I think it helps us to progress as missionaries. We can't get too comfortable anywhere or with anyone cause we're always moving and getting put with new people. I'm excited for this transfer though. We really do have so much potential and we will have many opportunities to teach the gospel. Which is just what we need. Like my dad always said, "A teaching missionary is a happy missionary."

Well it's about time to go. Just want to say thank you to everyone who is supporting me and praying for me. I feel of your love and support each day so thank you so much!

I love you all!

Elder Rife

Monday, January 2, 2012

Photos from Korea~January 2, 2012

 [My average meal.]

[Lake Park.]

 [Lake Park.]


[Roasting Starbursts.]

[Early morning soccer.]

Letter from Elder Rife~January 2, 2012

Happy New Years!!! 새해 복 많이 받으세요! Happy Birthday, Mom!!

This week was a really good week! We had lots of time to do missionary work and I got to go on splits with one of my zone leaders. We met lots of cool people this week and I can tell that things are starting to pick up here in Ilsan. 

We met a kid on the street on Wednesday who was really cool and really wants to meet us this week. I got the same impression when I met him as when we met David in Bundang. I tried to set up an appointment with him for this Tuesday and he said he is too busy lately, so hopefully we can meet him sometime soon! He's a great guy. His name is 정영훈 and he is 19 years old. 

We met a lady at a bank last week (we went so I could exchange American money for Korean money) and she loved us. She thought it was so great that a foreigner and a Korean were serving as missionaries together so she gave us her number and wants us to teach her son English and about the gospel. Hopefully we can teach the whole family. They haven't answered phone calls yet but we'll get a hold of them soon. 

At a bookstore, I met a guy from New York named Peter. He recognized us as Mormon missionaries right off the bat and then he and I talked for about an hour. He asked tons of questions about our church and it felt so good to be able to answer all of his questions in English. He didn't want to set an appointment to meet and wouldn't give me his number but he said he wanted to know more and would "research." I didn't have an English book of Mormon on me so I couldn't give him one but hopefully he calls us and we can give him a Book of Mormon and teach him some more.

We talked to lots of people this week and we are getting better at teaching with unity. It's always hard with a Korean and an American because the Korean can say whatever he wants and the American can't because of the language. We are getting better at teaching together and being more smooth. We've been getting closer with the  members too and have had more meal appointments lately so it's been really good. Hopefully we can start getting referrals from our members since that's the most effective way of doing missionary work.

Saturday morning we played soccer with a couple of the wards in our stake and then we had a stake service project where we moved lots and lots of coal to people's houses. It was sad to see some of the places that people were living and how cold they must be all the time. But I'm glad they have coal now and can stay more warm this winter. 

Saturday night we had English class and we had 3 people who said they were going to come but then got busy all of a sudden. So we had one older guy named Eddie and then a sister from our ward. It was fun though. We talked about new year resolutions and played 20 questions then read the Book of Mormon together in English. 

Unfortunately we couldn't stay up till midnight this year to welcome in the new year so it was kind of a low key New Year's Eve and New Year's Day for me. Koreans usually hike to the top of mountains and watch the sun rise on New Year's Day to welcome in the new year but nobody did that really this year. Maybe because it was Sunday. But this year will be a good one! It's the year of missionary work for me. I'm excited to see all of the miracles that will happen this year and all of the things I will learn. It's gonna be a great year!

Tonight we get transfer calls. My companion thinks he will be leaving to another area but I'm pretty sure that he will stay. We'll see! it's always kind of exciting when you get transfer calls but I'm not nervous today because I'm almost 100% sure that I won't be going anywhere.

At the end of last year I started a new tradition that I want to keep up throughout my lifetime, which is finishing the Book of Mormon right as the year ends. So I read like crazy and finished the Book of Mormon for the second time so far as a missionary and it was amazing! I feel like I know so much more than I used to and I'm sure I will learn so much more as I read the Book of Mormon again and again throughout my life. I'm so thankful for the Book of Mormon and we are so lucky to have it. It's such a fun thing sharing it with everyone we meet on the street. 

I met a kid on the street yesterday who speaks 4 languages fluently: Korean, English, Turkish, and Hungarian. Apparently his parents are missionaries in Eastern Europe or something. He spoke English really well and then he said that his most fluent language is Turkish, but I gave him a Book of Mormon in Korean.

Anyway, it was a really good week! I thought a lot about my mom since it was her birthday! I love you, Mom! You are amazing! Everyone please keep praying for my Mom!

Love you all!

-Elder Rife