Monday, May 28, 2012

Photos from Korea~May 29, 2012

[Enjoyin' the beach.]

[Me & Elder Kim.]

[Kangnung beach.]

[Monster octopus.]

[Another one.]

[Running away.]

Letter from Korea~May 29, 2012

Hey everyone!

Last week after I emailed, my Korean grandparents came out to visit. They took us out to eat a whole bunch of meat then gave us some food to take home with us too. They are seriously the nicest people of all time. They came all the way out here to visit. It was fun to see them and to get to spend part of the day with them. They take such good care of me! They are the cutest little couple ever. You never see Korean people in their 80's who still love each other the way Bishop Cho and his wife love each other. They're the best.

On Tuesday we met with a few less-active members. We had some really cool experiences as we walked the streets and tried to follow inspiration from the spirit about where to go. We went one way because we felt like we should and we met a guy in his car who said he wanted to meet with us again and gave us his card. Then we went to visit more less-active members. One of the less-active members is worrying about her son because he is always playing computer games and doesn't really want to do anything else. So we spent some time with him and tried to help him want to focus on other things. It was really good for him, I think. We got him pumped to prepare for the things that he wants to do in the future instead of wasting his time playing computer. On the way home we met a soldier in the Korean army who had lived in Utah for 2 years studying at Salt Lake Community College. He has met tons of Mormon people and gone to our church several times. He already owns a Book of Mormon in English and Korean. So we talked to him for a while then we got his number and I've been talking to him every few days. We're going to meet with him again next Sunday.

On Wednesday we made the journey to Taebaek! It's the other area in our district which just happens to be a 2 hour and 40 minute train ride away. But it is the best train ride ever because you ride through the mountains. It really looks like Provo canyon but more green. I was amazed. It was such a cool experience. I took lots of study materials because I wanted to study while we rode the train but I couldn't stop looking out the window long enough to start studying. We went there and I did a training on following the spirit and saying more sincere prayers then all went to a member's home and ate tons of spaghetti together. We rode the 4:40 PM train home and got back at 7:25 and then walked home and ate dinner and that was our whole day.

On Thursday we went and taught at the North Korean refugee school. They didn't want to study English so instead I played basketball with them! It was fun. I don't think there is lots of basketball in North Korea so it was fun for them to play basketball. After that we met with the kids of 한창훈. He was the taxi driver that we met with last week or the week before. His three kids are all less-active. We had a bbq with them at their house and talked to them for a while. They all drink and stuff and don't come to church anymore. We got a lot closer with them and it was so fun. We talked about why bad things happen to good people and it was really good.

Friday was weekly planning and then we went and proselyted in the downtown area and then headed over to a member's house for dinner. It was a really fun night with them and we had a really good gospel discussion. I love spending time with members so much. It's fun to get close with them and be able to spend time with them.

Saturday was our English teaching day and we visited some members with our extra time.

Sunday was really good. We had a really good church service and then we went to a funeral for someone from the ChunCheon ward who passed away. It was my first time doing 절. Which is where you bow to the person who has passed away. So you light a piece of incense and then you put it in this vase thing by the casket and then you bow down all the way on your hands and knees with your head down. Then you stand up. Then do it all over again. It's way different culture but it was cool.

After that we ate dinner and headed over to teach 이상혁. He's doing well. We taught him about the 10 commandments and his mom helped us teach so it went really well. He's still set for June 10th for his baptismal service.

Yesterday was the Kangnung District Sports Conference so we rode up to Kangnung with our branch members and then spent the day playing soccer, basketball, football (missionaries only), and 촉구 which is like a mix between soccer and volleyball. It was so fun! And the best part was that it was right next to the beach so I got to go over to the beach for a little while with the other missionaries. It was such a fun day! Then after that we went to a famous fish market with some of the members and saw some crazy stuff and ate some raw squid and stuff. It was so fun. Then we made it home at about 8 and were completely dead. It was seriously so fun though.

That's about it! My hands hurt from typing so I'm gonna stop now. Last week was awesome! We're gonna be super busy this week because we have to go to ChunCheon to renew my visa so I don't get kicked out of Korea. Then we have to go to Seoul because there's a zone conference on Friday. Anyway, I love you all!!

-Elder Rife

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Letter from Korea~May 21, 2012

Hey. I dont' have much time right now. We are going to meet up with Bishop Cho and go to visit one of his friends in Wonju who is less-active. So we need to leave soon to walk over to the bus terminal to pick them up.

So I haven't written in two weeks! Last week was a really good week for us. We had a Double District meeting in Kangnung last Wednesday because my companion had to do pass-off. The other District Leader, Elder Rasmussen, and I decided to put our districts together and do our training together. We talked a lot about the progress of the church in Korea and watched a part of "An Ensign to the Nations." Then we talked about the things that the pioneers and first missionaries suffered, along with Book of Mormon missionaries and even Joseph Smith. Then we talked about the things that we have to suffer each day as missionaries right now. We read a few scriptures together and bore testimony and invited everyone in the zone to commit to work harder to show our gratitude for those who suffered so much for us. It went really well.

Later that day we did zone leader exchanges and stayed in Kangnung for the night. The next morning we headed back to Wonju to teach English to the North Korean refugees. It was really fun and we are getting lots closer with them. We can't teach them about the gospel while they are in the school so we are just trying to get close with them and be their friends. Then one day in the future they can be taught by the missionaries, hopefully.

The rest of the week we spent time contacting on the streets and visiting less active members to try to get them out the Branch Conference on Sunday. None of the less active members we visited actually came but there were tons of others who came so it was great! Branch Conference was really good and we made a lot of progress with our branch.. We are lots closer with the members now. I was happy to see President Lee, too. He's such a good mission president. (Oh, Dad, he told me to tell you thanks for sending him a book!)

Yesterday was for sure one of the best days I've had in Wonju. It was so much fun to be with the members and get closer with them. After church we ate together and then some of the members were heading over to 연세대하교 because it's tucked up in the mountains of Wonju and is really pretty. Apparently lots of people from all over Korea go there just to hangout cause the campus is super pretty. So they took us with them and we walked around and contacted people on campus while they relaxed. It was really fun. Then last night we got to teach 이상혁, the ten  year old boy. We taught him about some of the commandments and focused mostly on Prayer. Then we played some games with him and had to hurry home.

I really don't have much time right now so I'm trying to hurry. Last week was a great week and the best part was getting to see my family on skype! I love you guys!

-Elder Rife

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Letter from Korea~May 7, 2012

Hey everyone! It's the last week of the transfer already. It was a great week.

Most importantly, yesterday we met with the ten year old boy we are teaching and we set up the date for his baptism. It's going to be on May 27th so everyone please pray for him that we can stick with that date! It's pretty solid but more prayers won't hurt. He's such a good kid and he has the cutest questions. He already knows everything from Primary so we are just going over it with him and helping him to understand more of why baptism is necessary. He's a little scared to go under the water to but he's excited. We gave him a Book of Mormon stories book too so that he can read it each day and he said he's gonna pray more this week too. It's fun to teach him because we teach really simply and try to explain it to him in a way that he can understand it. It's hard for me because it's in Korean but it's going really well. So he's the most important news from the week!

We also had a really cool miracle yesterday. We had met a guy while streetboarding a few weeks ago and he said he wanted to meet with us to do the 30/30 program but then when it came time to meet he called us and said he couldn't meet. We were kinda bummed. Then yesterday after church he called us and asked if we could meet. We said yes then about ten minutes later he was at the church. He's a way cool guy. Smells super strongly of alcohol and tobacco though. We had a pretty good first meeting and gave him a pamphlet to read before we meet again and a Book of Mormon too. We're gonna meet with him every week on Sunday right after church. Hopefully we can get him to come to church too. It was a cool miracle for us though to have him call us and meet with us when we weren't really expecting it. 

Also yesterday we finally met with 서현주 again. It's been a long time since we've been able to meet with her. So yesterday we went over to her house and talked with her for a while. We could only talk to her from the doorway because we didn't have another adult present so it was kind of a bummer but it was good to see her again. She's really stressed out because she has to move to Netherlands soon because her husband lives there and is working there.

On Tuesday of last week we went to a school called 셋넷 and taught English for service. They are North Korean people who are orphans and come to South Korea and attend this school so that they can become South Korean citizens. They don't speak any English though so it's pretty hard to teach them but it's fun. It's mostly so that they aren't scared when they see foreign people. It was fun though and was a good opportunity to serve them.

The rest of the week was spent visiting members and less actives and doing finding activities! It was a fun week for sure. We are trying to be more effective with our time, which is hard in Wonju because there are certain times when there just isn't anyone on the street and so it feels like there is not much for us to do. But we're getting better at using our time! This last week was great. I love Korea and I'm having such a fun, different experience out here in Wonju so I'm grateful for that. I'm excited to talk to my family next week, too!!!!

Thanks for all the support, prayers and love!


-Elder Rife