Monday, April 30, 2012

Photos from Korea~April 30, 2012

 [Me and Elder Kim.]

 [Elder Summers and me studying.]

[Us with Sister An.] 

[Healthy Wonju!]

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Letter from Elder Rife~April 30, 2012

Hi everyone! I've been in Wonju for more than a month now. Time is flying by!

Last week was our temple week so we rode a train in to Seoul last Monday after we emailed. When we got to Seoul we had interviews with President Lee, ate and contacted for about an hour in Seoul. Then we went to the Dongdaemoon house because it's big and that's where our whole zone sleeps when we go to Seoul. We had a sleepover with the 4 missionaries who are serving there and then we woke up early and headed over to the temple. After the temple I went out to eat with Bishop Cho and then we went to Dongdaemoon to do some shopping and then we went to Costco so I could restock on food. After that we were supposed to meet up with other missionaries from our zone at the Dongdaemoon house to head back to our areas but everyone was late. So we ended up on the 9 o'clock train back to Wonju and miraculously we were in the door at 10:31PM. We rode a train that is way faster than normal.

Wednesday we woke up (the Taebaek elders slept over) and headed to the church and had our district meeting. We watched Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration and talked about Joseph Smith's role as a prophet and our roles as missionaries. It went really well. After that my companion and I knocked some doors and visited one of our members.

Thursday we had AP exchanges!! Elder Summers (who was my zone leader when I was in Bundang) wanted to do exchanges with me one last time before he goes home so he came out to Wonju and went on exchanges with me and my companion. We had such a good day and saw tons of miracles! We spent the afternoon at a college campus contacting college students and posting our English class flyers on all of the bulletin boards. We talked to tons of college students and it was way fun to be on the college campus. The first thing we did was ask for permission to put our flyers up and to contact people so it worked really well. After that we went to the church and got the streetboards and went in to the busiest part of town and streetboarded for about an hour an a half. People kept coming up to us while we were by the boards and were setting up appointments with us. It happened three times. It was the weirdest thing. Apparently all you have to do is stand there and you can set up appointments. All of them were for our 30/30 program but still it was awesome. I'm gonna keep doing that each week so that we can see more miracles like that. Then we went home and ate dinner and then went and visited two less-active members. It was really fun and we made some progress with them. We want to get closer with them and tell them that we need them back at church. It was way fun to go on exchanges with Elder Summers. I learned a lot!

Friday we had weekly planning for three hours and then we went out and walked the streets for a few hours and contacted people. It was hard because it was "Market Day." Six times a month they have market day in the market and everyone in all of Wonju is there buying stuff. But we walked through the market and met with a guy we had contacted the last time they did market day. He speaks really good English. We gave him a Book of Mormon and we're gonna go back and meet with him next market day to talk to him more. 

Friday night we had 3 dinners! I thought I was gonna die. I ate a huge bowl of spaghetti and chicken at home.. Then we went to go visit 안순을, the single mother; she wanted to give us food so we ate Chinese food with her. Then we visited another member in the area and she wanted to feed us so she fed us 닭갈비. I really thought I was going to die after I ate all of it. Then we barely made it home on time.

Saturday was our English teaching day again. It was fun though and good to do more service. We watched the Restoration video during English class and we also watched it with 정진택. He really liked it and we talked about it for a while after but he's really set on his church and hasn't really been making any progress. I don't want to drop him yet though.

On Sunday my companion and I spoke at church. Our Branch President told us that one of the speakers couldn't make it and that he needed one of us to speak but since we are a companionship we just decided that both of us would speak. We spoke about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare so I just chose two scriptures that I wanted to share then wrote down everything I wanted to say in English. Then I went up and translated what I had written into Korean while I spoke. It actually worked pretty well and I was able to say what I wanted to say. We each talked for about 5 minutes or so. I shared 2 Nephi 2:6-8 and Alma 34:9. They are some of my favorite scriptures about the Atonement. After church we talked to the members after for a little while then headed home and ate lunch. Then we went out and knocked doors for the afternoon since it was Sunday and lots of people are in their homes on Sundays. After that we ate a quick dinner and started walking to the other side of our area. 

We met with a  lady named 김상경 who we have been meeting pretty regularly. She wants her son to be baptized so we started teaching him yesterday. He's ten years old and is a stud. He comes to church every week because the primary president brings him and his older brother. His mom hasn't been coming to church for a while. He said that he didn't want to be baptized the first time we talked to him about it. Then yesterday we taught him how to pray and when he prayed he said.."Please bless that I can prepare well to be baptized." He already knows everything that we taught him because he learned it in Primary so it was kind of a review for him. He's such a cute little kid though and we're gonna set a date with him for like 3 weeks from now to be baptized!

It was such a good week!! 이상혁 (the little kid) was our biggest miracle for the week! Anyway, I love you all! Thanks so much for your support.

-Elder Rife

Monday, April 23, 2012

Letter from Korea~April 23, 2012

Hi everyone! Last week was a really good week but it wasn't quite as good as the week before that. It was pretty rainy here all last week and when it rains in Korea the streets pretty much die and people don't like to meet because of the rain. There's a rumor that because there's so much pollution in the air the rain will make your hair fall out. It could be true. But, then again, there is a rumor that if you sleep with a fan on in your room at night then you will die. I have done it hundreds of times without dying. :)

Last Tuesday was spent emailing and cleaning and shopping. We had to do all of our P-day stuff on Tuesday because the zone activity took the whole day on Monday. So Tuesday wasn't the most effective day for missionary work. We did have a little time out on the streets talking to people but there really weren't many people to talk to for some reason.

On Wednesday we were supposed to have District meeting here in Wonju at 11:30 AM but the other Elders in our district missed their bus to Wonju and came at 1 o'clock, which is when district meeting is suppose to end. So we went out to eat together and went streetboarding in the busy part of Wonju for a little while. It's hard to proselyte there because everyone is busy. After that we went home and ate dinner and then went back out and knocked doors for a while. I still haven't gotten in someone's door yet but I feel like I'm getting close!

On Thursday we went out to eat with a less active member named 이종수. He's divorced and is in his forties. He's way cool and loves to have the missionaries over but he still isn't coming out to church yet. We meet with him once a week so hopefully we can get him back out to church. After that we went to the church and met with
a former investigator named Jake. He's a police officer here and he and I have talked on the phone a few times each week since I got here. He has no gospel background and not a whole lot of interest but he's willing to read from the Book of Mormon and we're going to watch the Restoration dvd with him next week. He challenged me to a game of ping pong when we met so I played him and he was pretty dang good. I came back in the first game and beat him 21 to 19 then he beat me the second game and then in the last game I won 21 to 19. It was way intense! But I feel like we had a good first meeting and we got to know him a lot better so hopefully we can help him to feel the spirit and to recognize why he needs the gospel in his life. 

After we met with him we ran home and ate dinner quickly then went out to visit some less active members. We walked all the way to the other side of our area. My companion was always telling me that riding the bus in Wonju wasn't good because they don't come frequently and they don't go where we need to go. So we walked for an hour and forty minutes. One of the less-active members we met with was 안순을. She is a single mom who is in her thirties and has two sons. She has two jobs to make enough money to pay for their little apartment. We couldn't go inside her house so we just sat outside her door and talked to her for a while. It would be so hard to be a single mom! I feel so bad for her. She wants us to visit her again and we offered to help her with anything she needs. So now we need to find someone in the branch who can go with us to visit her. That is the hard part because the branch is small and everyone says they are busy. On the way home we found a bus! So from now on
we are going to take the bus to places that take more than an hour to walk to.

Friday we had weekly planning meeting and then went out and proselyted on the street for about an hour and a half. Then we went home and ate dinner and went out and knocked doors for a while. We met a way cool kid who listened to us for a while and said that he would meet us again on Sunday but then he wouldn't answer our calls or texts to him so we couldn't meet again.

Saturday was our "Free English Day" as I like to call it. We did our English service at Golden Voice. I'll try to get a picture of us with them next week. They always take us to get sushi after class; I'm not such a big fan of sushi. Then we taught our English class at the church. Then our investigator, Brother Jung, came to the church and
we helped him with English then read out of the Book of Mormon with him. We were going to watch the Restoration dvd but it wasn't working so we are going to watch it next week. After that we ate dinner and visited a member.

Sunday was good! Super rainy. And our new investigator, Brother Chun, didn't come. He's the one who came last week. I called him and he told me that he was going to come but then he didn't actually show up, so we were kinda bummed. After church we had lunch with the branch and talked with everyone for a while. Then we went home and then went and knocked doors for a while since it was raining. We met some really nice people but nobody that would meet with us again. We also met some not so nice people haha. Then we ate dinner and visited members until it was time to go home again.

Overall, it was a good week! We didn't see as many miracles as we saw the week before but hopefully we see enough this next week for both weeks. Anyway, I gotta go!

I love you all!

-Elder Rife

Sunday, April 22, 2012


These photos were taken at the Morinda meetings recently. Dad saw these two men who work for Morinda in Korea, and know Michael and take him to eat occasionally.

 [Dad with Eddie Kim.]

[Hunter Hahm.]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photos from Korea~April 17, 2012

 [Riding the rail bike.]

 [Elder Rasmussen & me.]


 [Our zone, minus Taebaek.]

 [We were knocking doors and there was a bed outside someone's house and so I asked them if they were getting rid of it and they said yes.. So then I asked if I could take it and they said yes. So now I have a bed!!]

 [My bed!]

 [At the beach.]

 [Me and Elder Rasmussen.]

 [The East Sea.]

 [Me and Elder Kim.]

 [Going through a tunnel.]

 [Crazy tunnels.]

Video! from Korea!~April 17, 2012

Letter from Korea~April 17, 2012

Last week was such an awesome week! We saw tons of miracles and we picked up four new investigators. It was such a fun week.

Tuesday we went out and proselyted for most of the day. We also met with 서현주 and had lunch with her. We had heart attacked her house and written 2 Nephi 25:26 on one of the hearts and wrote our testimonies and challenged her to pray about the Book of Mormon on the night before. When she met with us she said that she had had such a bad day and got home late and when she saw the hearts she was so happy and felt our love. She said that she read the scripture and had a great experience and prayed about the Book of Mormon and she is beginning to feel good feelings when she prays about it. So it was good to make progress with her. But now we are running into a problem because we can't meet with her unless there is another adult present and we are having a hard time finding someone to meet with us. Usually her mom is there taking care of Sister Suh's kids but lately she has been busy so we haven't been able to visit her. So we're trying to make a new plan for her.

On Wednesday we had district meeting and our zone leaders came so that they could do exchanges with my companion and I. After district meeting we all ate together and then started exchanges with the zone leaders. Instead of me going to their area like we had planned we decided that all four of us would stay in Wonju to avoid all of the travel time. So I was with an Elder Larson and my companion was with Elder Dean (who also served in il-san). We all streetboarded in the busiest part of our little city and we talked to lots of people and then English-flyered for our English class. After that we took the zone leaders to our house to drop off their stuff then Elder Larson and I went out to visit some less active members on the other side of the city. We visited one but she wasn't home and then as we were leaving the apartment complex a guy started talking to us. He was in his 60's and we later found out that he and his wife had had missionaries over to their house several times for dinner more than 30 years ago. We talked with him for a little while and then we asked him if he could meet again and he looked at his watch and then said, "what are you guys doing now? Have you eaten?" And we hadn't so he immediately took us into his house and his wife prepared some food for us. They were amazed by the fact that we could actually speak to them in Korean. After we ate the wife told us about how she had always been looking for the right church but never felt like she found it so she just reads the scriptures and prays at home. She said she has read some of the Book of Mormon but she doesn't know how she feels about it yet. So my companion and I are going to try to go back on Thursday and meet with them again and teach them more! It was an awesome miracle for us to meet them. Oh, and they never actually told me their Korean names. The old man told me to call him Gray Joe cause he has gray hair; and his wife never said her name.

On Thursday we spent most of the day out on the street talking to people and then we had a planning meeting for the next week.

On Friday we had lots of time so we went out and heart attacked some of the members' front doors and then we met with a former investigator named 이대용. He's an older man that the missionaries met with a long time ago. My companion called him and set up an appointment with him and we met him. He has no teeth so it's hard for me to understand him when he talks. He wants us to keep meeting with him and to teach him more about the Book of Mormon. After we met with him we went home and we ate dinner and then went and knocked doors for the rest of the night! We met lots of nice people who opened their doors and listened to us for a minute or so but the rest told us they were busy. It's always fun though.

Saturday was our English day. We did our English service project called Golden Voice where we go teach an English class at the library. Then we ate lunch with the Golden Voice members and then they took us to the church so we could teach our English class. Only two people came so we did a short class. Then we met with Brother Jung. He's always fun to meet with but he attends another church every week. We helped him with English for a while then we read the intro to the Book of Mormon. He had lots of questions so we talked for a while and next time we are going to watch the Restoration with him.

Sunday was another sweet miracle day! We went to church and after the first meeting started we ran downstairs to grab some books and we saw a man we had never seen before. Turns out he was a guy that I had called earlier in the week when we were calling former records. When I called him he said that he would try to come to church so I didn't think too much of it but I wrote down his name in my planner just in case. Then when I saw him I asked him if he was 천동희 and he said yes. We were so happy that he actually came! So he was there for all three hours and we gave him a Book of Mormon and helped answer his questions that he had throughout the classes. Then after sacrament meeting we talked for a while and set up another appointment for next Sunday after church. We're going to watch the Restoration with him too. He's such a cool guy. After church we went home and ate then went out and knocked doors for a couple of hours. Then we went and visited a less active lady. She wants to learn English and she wants us to teach her son. He's 10 years old and comes to church but hasn't been baptized. So we set it up that we will help her with English each week and we will teach her son after church and prepare him to get baptized in a month or so.

It was such a fun week and I'm so glad to be in Wonju. Things are starting to pick up and we're having lots of fun out here! And I'm learning lots of new Korean from my companion so that's good too. Yesterday we got to go to the beach for our zone activity so I'll attach some pictures too. Love you all!!

-Elder Rife

Monday, April 9, 2012

Photos from Korea~April 9, 2012

[Best Wonju.]

 [Wonju Mountains.]

[Me and Elder Kim.]

[Full moon.]

Letter from Korea~April 9, 2012

Last week was my first full week here in Wonju. It was pretty much a full week of going out on the streets and talking to anyone we could, knocking doors, or calling former investigator records. We have more potential now for new investigators! We met with one new investigator yesterday named 조병두. He's a college student studying radiology and is 27 years old (Korean age). He's way cool! He met with the missionaries about a year ago at this time. We only met him for a little while yesterday in between conference sessions. We invited him to watch it with us but he had to go home to take care of his mom. We're going to meet with him again next weekend and start teaching him.

On Wednesday we had a combined district meeting up in Kangnung so we rode an express bus there; it took us about an hour and a half. It's a completely different world out here! By the time we got back from combined district meeting it was like 5 o'clock at night. In other areas we're usually done at like 2 or 3, but since we all live so far away from each other it takes forever.

Saturday we were supposed to watch conference with our branch starting at 2 o'clock, which I thought was weird since there were 3 sessions for us to watch. We didn't actually get started until 3. Then it was time for us to teach English class so we missed most of the Saturday morning session. After that we got to watch the whole Saturday afternoon session and we even had our investigator 정진택 with us so it was way fun. He had lots of questions about our church after so we talked to him for a while. He really liked it so I hope we can get him progressing soon. We didn't get to see the priesthood session yet though so hopefully we can find some time to watch it this week.

Sunday was really fun! We got to spend time with our branch for lunch in between conference sessions. My companion and I were in a different room watching conference in English with Korean subtitles. Everyone else was watching it with dubbing. I would hate to listen to it with someone elses voice recorded over all of the speakers.

Really most of our time was spent this last week just talking to anyone we could about the Gospel! It was really fun but I was super exhausted every day! But I kinda feel more like a missionary than I did in Il-san. We never really had time to proselyte there. All we did was teach. Which was good and is kinda the way that it should be, but there's something about going out on the street and showing your faith to the Lord by talking to everyone you can about the gospel.

I've had tons of fun here and I'm for sure getting better at the language. My companion has really been helping me to sound more like a Korean. He's teaching me little phrases that Koreans use that I can use in certain situations. I love it here! I love my mission. Thanks for all your support and love.

-Elder Rife

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photos from Korea~April 2, 2012

[Sonhee Cho!]

[Pizza Hut with Brother Yoo.]

 [Some of the garbage we removed from the apartment.]

 [My new desk.]

 [Our cleaned apartment.]

 [Companion picture from this morning.]

 [The view.]

[The view.]

Letter from Elder Rife~April 2, 2012

I made it to the wild wild east! I kind of thought that I would be leaving Il-san so I even packed a little. I must have acquired a lot more stuff because transferring this time was pretty intense. I had soooo much stuff! I sent a box of stuff home by boat because I have too much stuff to take around with me from area to area. Usually when missionaries come to Kangwon Province they don't leave for a little while so I'm probably going to be here for some time. Actually that might not be true; you never know what will happen! The missionary I replaced in Wonju was only here for one transfer. I'm confident that I will be here for a little while though.

So on Monday of last week Elder Dorrough and I went to Yongdungpo to play basketball and meet up with a bunch of missionaries. I met up with everyone in my MTC group and we spent some time together then we all just hungout. It was way fun and I got to see Sister Cho! Then we headed back to Il-san and went out to eat with Brother Yoo JaeMoo. Then we got transfer calls and President told me that I would be going to Wonju. My companion's name is 김민수 Elder Kim. He's from Busan and is my younger group. He's way cool and we've been having lots of fun so far. This is his fourth transfer here in Wonju.

On Tuesday I spent almost all of the day packing and shopping at Costco. I bought 4 bags of chicken to take with me to Wonju so that I would have something to eat. We shipped out tons of boxes to my new house and we spent the rest of our time cleaning the Il-san house. After that we went and met with Brother Kangwon Lee for the last time. Then we went and slept the night at the Nokbon house so that we wouldn't have to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to transfers.

Wednesday was transfer day! Oh and if anyone is wondering whether I took weights with me...the answer is yes. And it was not fun. haha. I took a bench to transfers and gave it to the missionary leaving Wonju because he left me a new bench in the Wonju house. I had more than 40 kilograms in one of my suitcases that I was carrying with me, and more than 20 kilograms in my backpack. I also had two huge costco bags full of everything else I couldn't fit in my suitcases. I had 4 bags full of frozen chicken, the shake weight, towels, sheets, and protein. So it was definitely the most difficult transfer yet. ha. And I actually got sore from carrying around all that stuff for two days. 

Wednesday at about 11 AM we made it to our apartment. It takes about two hours for us to get to Wonju from Seoul. When we got to our house I wanted to start unpacking really fast, but it didn't take me long to realize how disgustingly dirty the apartment was. Like for reals. I think I'm turning into my mom about the whole "cleanliness" thing because I just can't stand anything being dirty. The apartment is huge! It's on the 15th floor, too. But it was absolutely filthy. Oh and then President called us and told us that he would be inspecting our house on Saturday, which is unfortunate for me because I just had inspections at the Il-san house! So I told Elder Kim that before we did anything else we had to clean the house. I always like to start a new transfer with a spotless house. So we spent all of Wednesday and Thursday cleaning our house.

On Friday we have an English service project where we go help teach North Korean refugees English but since our house was still so dirty we decided to not go so that we could prepare for inspections. So we spent 3 full days cleaning the apartment. It's still not all the way done. I want to clean more but it will be my little project throughout the transfer. We threw away 400 liters of garbage, which, just so you know, is a loooooot. 

We met with an investigator named 서현주 for about an hour. She lives right next to our apartment so it's easy to meet with her. Plus there's a rule in this zone that in order to meet with a woman investigator you just have to have another woman present. So we met with her and helped her with English then we shared our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. She's been meeting with the missionaries for a long time but hasn't made any progress. I invited her to church and she said no. But we'll meet with her a little while longer and try to help her to understand why she needs the gospel in her life.

On Saturday we went and taught an English class that the Wonju missionaries have been doing for service for the past five years. We go to a city hall building and help teach English. Then we went out to eat with the people we teach English to. Then we went to our church to teach our English class, but nobody came. So we went and proselyted for a little while and then met with one of the investigators here. (We have two investigators, by the way). His name is 정진택 and he's in his 70's. He's a way cool guy. We help him with English and then teach him the gospel after. He's not super interested in the gospel and when I invited him to church he said that he has to go to his church. We'll meet with him for a little longer though. After that we hurried home to meet President Lee and Sister Han at our house for our inspection. President said that our house was super clean! He and his wife were really impressed and were really happy with our apartment.

Sunday morning my companion and I headed over to the church a little bit early to clean up and to prepare the Sacrament. I haven't been in a ward yet where I have to prepare the Sacrament. Wonju is a branch; our entire zone is branches which make up the 강릉 District. It was good to meet everyone as they came to church (ten minutes after church was supposed to start). We have about 15-20 people who come out to church each week. I'm really hoping that we can get more people out to church. It's so much different from any of the wards that I have served in. They have all had about a hundred members in them. Church was really good, though. I got up and introduced myself and bore my testimony for a few minutes. Then we got to hear from President Lee for a while and his testimony was great as usual. I'm always so impressed by him. He truly is a disciple of Jesus Christ.

It was a really crazy week this week and I'm glad that I'm settled in here now! I'm excited for this transfer to work as hard as I can here and to see a lot of miracles. The area is great. There aren't many people but we will still be able to proselyte. I'm determined to talk to 140 people a week here. It wasn't too hard to do that in my other areas (besides Il-san because we didn't have any time to proseltye) but it might be a little more challenging here. Wonju will be a great place to spend the summer because it isn't as hot as Seoul. There's usually a good breeze that rolls through and we're kind of in the mountains a little bit. There's definitely more fresh air here than in Seoul, too.

Anyway, I love you all! Thanks for your support and prayers! And thanks to everyone who helped in the MDA walk and supports my family so much!!

-Elder Rife