Monday, April 2, 2012

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

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