Monday, February 27, 2012

Photos from Korea~February 27, 2012

 [Building at the top of Il-san, which means "one mountain."]

 [Elder Dorrough and me.]

 [Us and Brother Yoo.]

[My birthday cupcakes. (Mix was sent from Hill.)]

[Lunch at the buffet today.]

Letter from Elder Rife~February 27, 2012

Sorry this is a little bit later than normal. Today isn't p day and we had an appointment at a buffet for lunch today so we're running a little bit late on emailing today.

This last week was really good!

We met with Brother JaeMoo Yoo twice this week and talked to him a lot about 1 Nephi chapter 3. We then talked about the word of wisdom with him because he told us that he likes drinking a lot. He agreed with everything in the word of wisdom and even wants to stop drinking alcohol but he said that he won't be able to stop for a while. He said that he likes doing it a lot and that his co-workers like to drink. He said he would try his best to not drink but he wouldn't commit to anything. We promised him lots of blessings but he was still pretty set on drinking. He loves the Book of Mormon though! He said he knows it's true so now we just need to help him to realize that if it's true that it means that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that our church is Jesus Christ's church on the earth.

We met with Sisters Cho and So this week too and they really are loving reading the Book of Mormon together. They both said that they know that it is God's words but when we gave them the commitment to be baptized they both rejected it. They don't think that they need to be baptized again since they've already been baptized. So next time we are gonna talk more about the priesthood and Joseph Smith again so that they will know why they need to be baptized.

We met with Sister Choi and Chris on Tuesday last week and went and did a picnic with them and Aiden at a park in our area. We still haven't had lots of time to teach them because their son always wants to play with us but they both have said that they want to learn more about the Book of Mormon. We haven't been able to set an appointment with them for a few days now though because they have been fighting a little bit. So please pray for them! They need to stop fighting so that we can set an appointment with them and then teach them the gospel. We visited their house and heart-attacked their door and taped the proclamation to the family on their door and so we'll talk about that next time when we meet with them this week.

We also taught Brother Kangwon Lee this last week. He still wants to be baptized in March but he still doesn't really want to come to church cause he doesn't feel like he's gotten an answer yet. We've been working with him on keeping the law of chastity and we made lots of progress last week. We talked about it for a while and he said that he was beginning to understand why it's so important. He also said that he wants to marry a girl who keeps those standards. So we told him that in order to marry someone who keeps those standards he needs to keep them!

On Thursday last week I did my first baptismal interview with one of our zone leader's investigators. She's 49 and wanted to be baptized after she saw her young son get baptized. It was fun to get to sit and talk to her and hear about her conversion and hear her bear her testimony to me. She was baptized last Saturday but we couldn't go cause we had to teach English class here in il-san.

Our investigators are doing really well! We should have like 6 new ones next week and then we will really have no time. I'm wondering if President Lee will make this area a 4 man area soon. We could really use some help up here. We've been traveling so much lately that we have no money so President Lee is thinking about giving us a little bit more money for traveling.

Everything is going great here! Thanks for all the prayers and support. Love you all!

-E. Rife

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Photos from Korea~February 20, 2012

[My reorganized desk.] 

[Early morning soccer.] 

 [For our zone activity we meditated with this guy.]

 [Most of our zone.]

 [My birthday! Decorations thanks to Hillary and Elder Dorrough.]

[Hillary sewed that!]

 [Shoes from Hill.]

 [Sweet ear muffs.]

 [Valentine's Day.]

[Cold Stone.]

Letter from Elder Rife~February 20, 2012

Another great week here, of course! We're getting busier and busier. We have almost 20 investigators right now but we only have enough time to meet like 10 or 12 of them; the ones who were mostly English interest are probably going to be dropped. I hate to say that because all of our investigators have so much potential but we only have enough time for the ones who are progressing the most right now. We might have 30 investigators after this next week or two and then il-san could split into a four man area. It used to be a 6 man area but the work started going slow so now it's only 2, but now it's exploding so we need some help! Oh, and by the way, I am staying in Il-san! With Elder Dorrough. They switched up our districts and made me the district leader. So now it is us and 6 other Elders. Except they are all super far away from us haha. I am the youngest missionary
in the district so it's kinda funny that I am the district leader but it's gonna be fun for sure! I was pretty nervous before we got the call cause I realllllllly didn't want to leave! I'm so glad we're staying in Il-san together though. What's scary is that I hit my year mark this transfer. So crazy.

Last week on Tuesday we met with Brother SeokJin Kim and we talked more about the Book of Mormon and why it's needed. We also talked with him about the BIble and other stuff and decided that next time we will meet him at our church (even though it's super far away).

On Wednesday we cleaned our house a little bit and got organized for the new transfer then we went and met with Sister Cho and Sister So. They are the grandmas that we are teaching. They really have such strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon and they both said they know it's true but now we just need to tie it all together so that they realize that they need to be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood. Sister Cho attends the Bethel Church, which might be the biggest church in Il-san. I call it the Bedo Church, which in Korean means the apostate church. :) So we are trying to get her to come to our church.

On Thursday we met a lady named Sister Suyeon Kim. She was so nice! She's 34 and married and has 2 little girls. We met her at Dunkin Donuts and introduced the Book of Mormon and practiced English with her. She's such a cool lady. She told us that her husband was interested in the Book of Mormon and so we set up an appointment with her for Sunday (yesterday) and she wanted to bring her husband and two little girls to meet with us at the church. 

Then on Thursday we also streetboarded with the X district. The districts got rearranged which put us with the missionaries who are not close to Il-san at all. But the other missionaries from our old district always want to streetboard with us on Thursdays. I'm planning to ask the Zone Leaders if we can still keep that going every Thursday even though we aren't in the same district. I don't see the problem if missionaries want to get together to talk to lots of people.. Especially since we don't mess around at all. After we streetboarded we went and got Cold Stone. (Because Elder Dorrough and I found a Cold Stone the other day while we were proselyting.)

On Friday we met with Brother KangWon Lee at his house. He's really trying to meet with lots of girls lately cause he's 39 and not married so he's always on dating websites talking with girls and stuff. He's kinda got a problem with that. He said that he wants to be baptized on March 3 but he really has a long ways to go before he can be baptized. He also needs to come to church 2 more times before he can be baptized. Most importantly, he needs to gain a testimony of the restoration of the gospel before he can be baptized. We also met with Brother Jaeyoon Lee at the church on Friday. He was trying to read the Book of Mormon in English but he's really not that good at English so I told him to read the Korean one. We watched the Restoration dvd together and then he asked if he could borrow it and bring it back on Saturday at English class so we let him.

Saturday was sports day!! We played soccer early in the morning with a couple of the wards. Then we went home and ate and went to the church to play basketball. We had met up with a bunch of kids on a bus and
they said they wanted to play basketball so we made an appointment. Then we invited the youth from our ward to come play basketball too. The kids we made the appointment with weren't answering their phones so we decided that we would just play with the youth. Then we got a call from the Elders serving in 이천 and they referred someone to us who wanted to meet right away. We called him and asked if he wanted to play basketball and so he came right away to the church and we played basketball with him and all of the youth. He got really
close with the kids in the ward too so we think it will be really good for him! They can be his fellowshippers.
Then we changed clothes and taught English class. We had Eddie and Brother Jaeyoon Lee and his little son. Brother Lee is the same age as our English class coordinator and her husband so they became good
friends. Now he is going to come every week and wants to come to church too. Oh and he's already watched the Restoration dvd 4 times and asked if he could borrow it longer to keep watching it.

Sunday was stake conference! Elder Stevenson was presiding and spoke to us at the conference. Sister Eunhee Chae wanted to go and actually gave us a ride all the way to where the stake conference was. Her husband, Chris, had to work so he couldn't come with us. It was so amazing though! The conference was great. Then afterwards we took Sister Chae up to President Stevenson to meet him and she was so nervous. Then President Stevenson shook her had but kind of held on to it and talked to her for a minute. He asked if she was reading the Book of Mormon and if she was praying about it. Then he told her to listen to Elder Dorrough and I and that the gospel would bless her more than anything. He bore his testimony to her and it was so awesome! She loved the meeting so much and couldn't stop talking about it. After that she drove us home.

Then we went up to the church to meet with Sister Suyeon Kim again but with her husband and two little kids. We gave them more copies of the Book of Mormon and then talked more about it and explained the story to them and prepared to teach them the Restoration next time. We showed them the whole church and explained
what happens each hour and their two little girls are so excited for Primary. They really want to come to church and they want to come to English class each week too. They are so awesome and it's so fun to meet with them. After that we went back to Sister Eunhee Chae's house to teach them but we ended up eating dinner with them and playing with their son, Aiden. We're gonna start meeting with them more often. They are the nicest family ever. They always feed us and want to give us rides and stuff. They are so prepared.

So that was our week! Super busy but it was such an amazing week! Love you all thanks for everything you do for me!

-Elder Rife

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photos from Korea~February 13, 2012

 [Our house, first floor.]

 [We made muffins with the Primary.]


[Weight room.]



[Family Night.]

Letter from Elder Rife~February 13, 2012

Today is transfer call day! I hope that my birthday present from President Lee is being able to stay in my area for one more transfer, but we'll see. I always get a little nervous before transfer calls because I just want to know what's going to happen.

Last Monday night we met with a referral from the Shindang missionaries. Her name is 안나. She's in her 50's and has had cancer for the past 17 years. She isn't expected to live for very much longer. It was kind of an intense lesson. We were just stopping by since we didn't have a male with us (we have to have a male present to teach women) and she went off for like 30 minutes about her story and her trials and everything. It took some intense focus and help from God to be able to understand what she was saying. For a while she was talking about how she just wanted to die and get it over with. It was really intense and we shared scriptures with her about how God gives us trials because he loves us and so that he can help us progress. But then she looked at me and said, "What do you know about trials? You're so young." It is true. I don't know a lot about trials so I told her that through reading the scriptures and hearing about the prophets and their trials I have learned that if we put our trust in the Lord he will help us to overcome our trials. She said that she wants us to teach her so that she can hopefully find her answer. We're supposed to meet with her tonight but we are having a hard time finding someone who can teach with us. It's the week before stake conference so most of the men in our ward are busy with meetings.

On Monday we also met with a guy named Jefferson Lee. He's in his 70's and was someone that the Assistants to the President met while proselyting and referred to us. We met him at Dunkin Donuts and gave him a Book of Mormon and talked to him about it. He's such a cool guy! We can't wait to meet with him again. He's in Busan right now though and we won't be able to meet with him till next month. He said he's gonna read the Book of Mormon by the time he comes back though.

On Tuesday we met with a new investigator named 김석진. He's 50 and had heard lots of not so good stuff about our church and then met the missionaries on the street. He was curious so he decided to meet with us. He was a referral. He's super interested in reading the Book of Mormon and we set up an appointment for every tuesday night.

On Tuesday we also met with Brother Yoo. He's progressing really well! We love meeting with him each week. He likes reading the Book of Mormon in English then talking about it together when we meet. We clear up the things he couldn't understand then teach him something. He's having a hard time wanting to come to church though because he likes to sleep in on Sundays.

Wednesday we had Mission Tour with President Stevenson. It was so good! I don't have time to write everything that I learned but we really learned so much. When I introduced myself to him he immediately knew that I had lived in Daejeon and that my dad had been mission president there.

After that we had exchanges with other missionaries in our district. I was with Elder Cho again and it was way fun. We picked up a new investigator. His name is 이재윤 and he's in his 30's. He was a former investigator that called us out of the blue. He works for a religious school that doesn't really like our church. When he met with the missionaries before they visited his school one day and then his co-workers got upset with him for meeting with the missionaries. So now we are meeting "secretly." He's a really good guy. He wants to read the Book of Mormon in English because he thinks they lost a lot of the original meaning and feeling when they translated it. We just want him to read it so we gave him both English and Korean.

On Thursday we had district streetboarding! It was really fun. Then we ate dinner at our bishop's house and he and his son played the guitar for us. It was such a fun night! And I ate soooooo much meat.

On Friday we had weekly planning for this week (assuming I stay) and then we went and met with 이강원. He came to church last week but only to hear Elder Dorrough and I speak Korean. He's having a hard time wanting to come to church. He wants to get baptized but he never really wants to come to church. He's 39 and single and so he really wants to get married. We showed him and then he wanted to join our church so that he could do that, but we told him that's not why he should be baptized. We shared 2 Nephi 31:19 about how once we enter the strait and narrow gate everything is not done! We have to endure to the end. We'll meet with him again this Friday.

Saturday we went to the church for a primary activity and played games with all the little kids. It was so much fun! I love to play with them because it reminds me of my nephews and nieces. After that we taught Eddie at the church. He's such an amazing guy! We found out that he has been meeting with us and not telling his wife because she doesn't like our church. He said that he would be baptized into our church right away but his wife would never forgive him. So we are trying to find a way to soften her heart. If anyone has any ideas please help us out!

Saturday  night we did game night with all the youth again and we had even more people this time. Some of them brought snacks and others brought pizza. It was way fun!

Yesterday no one came to church, sadly, but it was a really good sacrament meeting. Last night we ate with one of my favorite families in the ward. They all lived in America and so we speak English and Korean at their house. We had family night and game night last night after dinner! They are all reading the Book of Mormon and seeing who can finish first. So we read the Book of Mormon with them in English and taught them a lesson and then gave them a quiz.

This last week was awesome! I hope to have 6 more in this area!

Love you all!

-Elder Rife

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Elder Rife's message to his home ward

Michael was asked to share a five-minute message about missionary work with his homeward, the Heatheridge 9th Ward. Dad read his message to the ward.

Hello, everyone!

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to speak to you today, even though I’m not
actually there. But then again I smell pretty strongly of kimchee all the time, so
you're probably glad that I’m not there.

I’m always thankful for an opportunity to share my testimony, so my mission
has been so amazing for me because I have countless opportunities to bear my
testimony each day. One of my favorite quotes about bearing our testimonies is
found on p. 198 of Preach My Gospel. It is by President Monson, and it reads:

Regarding one’s testimony, remember, that which one willingly shares he
keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses. . . . Teach and testify.
There is no better combination.

One of the ways we gain our testimonies is by showing our faith and asking God
to make things known unto us through the Holy Ghost. After we have received our
testimony, it is our job to share it! And in so doing, we can gain an even stronger
testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Regarding sharing the gospel, President George Albert Smith once said… “that
is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the church, that is your responsibility.
Freely have you received and our Heavenly Father will expect you freely to share
with His other sons and daughters these glorious truths.” The Lord blesses us with
so much and he expects us to share. There is a place for each one of us in this
work, and whether it is full time or not, we can all share the gospel with others.
The Lord needs each one of us to step up so that he can use our talents and abilities
in bringing his other children to the gospel.

Our mission (and I’m sure all the others) have been so blessed with amazing
senior couples who help us slightly younger missionaries learn and grow. Through
hearing their experiences and testimonies, we learn so much. The Lord needs all
of us to be bold and to share the gospel in any situation we are in. So my challenge
for everyone today is to pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him for opportunities
to share the gospel. If you do, I promise He will bless you with a chance to share

your testimony. We all have a place in the work, and the Lord needs our individual
efforts to bring His other children to the truth.

Whom the Lord calls he qualifies, and when He asks us to do something hard, He
provides us with a way to do it. Like it says in 1 Nephi 3:7: “I will go and do.” I
know that, as we seek opportunities to share the gospel and bear our testimonies,
we will find so much more happiness, and we will each progress in the gospel.

This week, my companion and I have been praying and working to find people
to teach and opportunities to bear our testimonies. Through doing this, we have
found so many people to teach, and I am happier than I have ever been. (Note
from dad: when Michael was transferred to the Ilsan area, the missionaries
had no investigators and no contacts. Now, about 2 months later, they have 11
investigators.) The gospel is so amazing! It has helped me and my investigators
to become so much happier. Making the decision to come on a mission wasn’t
a really hard decision for me because I have seen so many good missionary
examples in my life and how much they loved their missions. I have felt of that
same joy and have seen the changes that being a missionary has made in my life,
and I’m so thankful for it. I wouldn’t give up this experience for anything in the
world. So if there are any of you, young or not so young, who are wondering if a
mission is right for you, I promise you that if you pray about it with the intention to
act that God will tell you if it’s right for you.

It’s not always easy being a missionary, but it is worth it. I’m so thankful that I
have this privilege to serve the people of Korea, like my dad. It’s not always easy
being away from my family especially at this time but I know the Lord is blessing
my family and especially my mom. I am so comforted when I think about all of the
ward members who care so much about my family and take such good care of my
mom. Thank you so much.

I want to close by letting you know that I know this Church is true with all of my
heart. Living the gospel is the only way that we can be truly happy. I’m so thankful
that through the gospel I can live with my family forever. I know that the Book
of Mormon is the word of God and was translated through the latter day prophet
Joseph Smith. Real quickly, I want to share one of my favorite scriptures, Mosiah

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature,
for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the
very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to
quake and tremble.

We have such a special commission to share the gospel and help save the souls of
God’s other children—and in so doing, we will experience so much joy. I know
this gospel is true and I’m so thankful for it.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Letter from Elder Rife~February 6, 2012

It's kinda crazy how fast things are going by lately. It really seems like this transfer just barely started yet it's already almost over. One week from now we will be getting transfer calls and yet again I will be hoping to stay in my area. I think that two transfers in an area is too short. But four of five is kinda too long. I just want to be able to stay at least 3! I love my area and my companion and I love our investigators and members so much. Leaving will be painful. But I didn't want to leave Bundang either. The Lord has a plan for me and I've gotta do what He asks, so whatever happens will be for the best.

On Tuesday this week we met with 이강원 and 유재무. We've really been stressing faith with both of these investigators. Brother Lee is having a hard time wanting to come to church. We asked him if he wants to know that the Book of Mormon is true and he said.. YES!! Then we promised him that he could receive his answer by putting forth his faith to come to church. Then we told him that since it was fast Sunday we would be speaking in Korean at church and he said he would come. He said that he wasn't coming for his answer though but just to hear us speak Korean. Kind of a bummer. Brother Yoon lives far away from here but works here during the week. We met with him and read the Book of Mormon together and talked about prophets and how God has shown His love for us by giving us the Book of Mormon. He accepted a soft baptismal commitment and we are trying to work with him to get closer to baptism. He said that he is really lazy on Sunday so he doesn't really want to go to church. Plus he wouldn't be coming to our ward since he lives far away on the weekends.

On Wednesday we met with 조명옥 and 소춘애. They are so awesome. They love to read the Book of Mormon in English and talk about it. Both of their husbands have passed away and so we had them read Alma chapter 40 before we met last week. They both said they learned so much from the chapter that they didn't know. Sister So said that she didn't know that there was anything between death and the resurrection. When she asked her preacher he just told her that it wasn't important. haha. They both said they think the Book of Mormon is true so we want to talk with them about the importance of baptism. Sister So came to church yesterday and met up with lots of the people she knew from when she attended our church a couple times last year. It was really good for her and she will probably come again next week.

On Thursday we got together with our district and streetboarded here in Ilsan. It was supposedly the coldest day in Korean in years. It was super fun though; we talked to lots of people!

Then on Friday we went to Gwanghwamun! Elder Dorrough got to finish all of his pass off stuff then we celebrated with a cheeseburger after with the AP's. It's always fun to go out with other missionaries and to go to Gwanghwamun. It's a really cool area of Seoul and almost all tourists go there when they come to Korea.

Saturday we met with Eddie. Eddie was the one who just randomly showed up at the church and then we taught him about why people in our church are so happy. We talked more about that yesterday and talked more about the plan of salvation. He's been keeping commitments and we will continue to meet with him every Saturday. He's such a great guy!

Yesterday was fast Sunday which is always hard as a missionary. Especially when you eat like I do. But it was really good. I have seen lots of miracles on my mission through fasting. We had two investigators come to church and we bore our testimonies in church. I talked about the Book of Mormon and facing trials and how strong my mom is and the example she shows. I shared Mosiah 24:15. Then Elder Dorrough talked about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. Then last night we met with 채은희 and Chris again! It was so much fun. We talked a lot and got a lot closer and played with Aiden for a while. We didn't have a lot of time last night so we didn't get to teach that much but we asked about what they had learned from previous missionaries and we will teach them the first lesson next week. They are such a great family and we really love them so much.

This last week was really good. We've been seeing lots of miracles lately and we are so thankful for our investigators!

Love you all!

-Elder Rife