Monday, July 30, 2012

Photos from Korea~July 30, 2012

[This is what made me sick.]

[Ping Pong.]

[Riding the train home.]


[Eating ice cream with Kevin.]

[The lake by Yonsei University.]

[The lake.]

[The owner of the place where we always eat Shabu Shabu. He is super nice. Since it might have been our last time there we all wrote our testimonies in a Book of Mormon and gave it to him.]

[Cool turtle statue by Chiak Mountain.]


[One of the North Korean girls we taught English to came to church.]

[임채린 and her little sister.]

[Wearing my Heat gear.]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Letter from Korea~July 30, 2012

It is sooooooooooo hot! I can't even describe how miserably hot and humid it is. Okay it's not that bad. But it kind of is. I haven't ever not been sweating in the past month. haha. Everyday it's 70-100% humidity. For those of you who don't really know what that feels like, just imagine being in a steam room. All day long. But besides the heat and humidity and constant sticky sweatiness everything is great! 

Since last week was the last week of the transfer we spent a lot of time working on the members, less-active, and investigator records. Since Elder Kim and I have been here we have learned a lot about the less-active members and  investigators so we are trying to update everything so that the future missionaries will already have the information. If we had already had the information when we got here then it would have saved us a lot of time and would have helped us to know what each less-active member or investigator needed.

Last Monday night we met with 한창훈 again. Lately he has been really upset about politics so he talks for a while about politics to Elder Kim and I just sit there and try to understand. Last time we got him to stop and  talked about our loving Heavenly Father. Then we told him that we really want to be able to share our message with him instead of just talk about politics. He agreed so we are going to start teaching more.

Tuesday we got to meet with 홍모영. She didn't have much interest before but she has been keeping her commitments and is starting to progress. The other lady that she brings with her really has no interest at all so it's hard when we meet. But it's going well lately. After that we met up with some of the youth kids from the branch and two of our investigators and did a "youth activity." We played basketball with them which ended up being a mistake since it was way too hot, but it was still really fun. After that we headed home and changed then went out to eat with some branch members. They bought us this stuff that is just vegetables and all kinds of seafood smothered in so much pepper paste that all of it is a dark red color. So we ate it and then Elder Kim and I were both immediately sick and had to hurry home. It was an emergency. haha. It wasn't funny then but it's funny now. So it made us sick for the next two days.

Wednesday we went to Taebaek for district meeting. That's 2 hour and 45 minute train ride each way. After district meeting I did exchanges with Elder Decker. He came to Wonju with me. He actually went to Timpanogos High too, so that's kind of cool. Neither of us knew each other for some reason, though; he was one year older than me. By the time we got back to Wonju it was night time and all we had time to do was hurry home and get something to eat before planning.

Thursday Elder Decker and I had a great day! We went to lunch with a less-active member and had a really good conversation with him about church and about praying to Heavenly Father. Then we went out to the countryside to meet with Kevin. He's the member who helps us teach Melanie. We shared some stuff out of Preach My Gospel with Kevin and talked about his mission. Then Melanie came to Kevin's house and we taught her about the Plan of Salvation. It was seriously like the best lesson since I've been a missionary. Melanie is doing really well and is progressing a lot. She has already halfway through 2 Nephi. We have been trying to help her find a new place to live lately so that she can prepare for baptism. She has been living with her boyfriend and wants to move. She should be out and into a new apartment this week. After that we took Kevin and got him ice cream for his birthday. Then went all the way to Yonsei University to meet with Dhruba but he punked us. So we had to make the journey back to our house from there.

Friday we re-exchanged and spent time on the records and weekly planning then we went to the bottom of Chiak Mountain and had a barbecue with our investigator's family. While there we met a Canadian man who lives in Korea and talked with him for a while and he wants to meet with us for lunch this week!

Saturday we taught English in the morning. Then went to a Vietnamese restaurant with the English members.. I accidentally ate a pepper from Vietnam that is soooo spicy. It destroyed my mouth for about an hour. After that we worked on records again and then taught English class at the church. Then we met with 정진택 and then we went to the funeral for the father of one of our investigators.

Sunday my companion and I spoke at church about missionary work. It went well! Melanie came to church and got closer with the members. They actually took her and had lunch with her and forgot about us. :(  After church we cleaned the church up and then went home for lunch. Then we met with 전현아. We taught English to her daughter and then we taught them about Heavenly Father and how to pray to Him. It went really well. At first she didn't have any interest but lately she is showing more and more interest! We stopped by to visit 임채린. We visit her dad at his store all the time and he wanted us to teach her so we have been teaching her lately. We also talked to her about prayer yesterday. Then at night we went over to some of our members' house for dinner which is always my favorite part because I love to spend time with the members and get to know them!

Last week was great! I'm exhausted though. We get transfer calls tonight so who knows what's going to happen. Thank you all for your support and prayers!

-Elder Rife

Monday, July 23, 2012

Photos from Korea~July 23, 2012

[Eating Shabu Shabu (a while ago.]

[President and Sister Christensen.]

[Me & Elder Kim.]

[Seoul temple at night.]

[The countryside.]

[Basketball with our investigator.]

[After English class I crashed.]

Letter from Elder Rife~July 23, 2012

Another crazy week is gone. Lately I have been sooo exhausted all of the time. We are constantly traveling all over the place and the weather is so hot and humid that it just kills me. But I like being busy and having lots of things to do so I'm happy, but very very tired.

Last Monday we went to lunch with an investigator and then emailed and packed up our stuff and headed to Seoul. We got to Seoul at about 6:30 and met up with the other missionaries from our zone at the church next to the temple and we had interviews with President Christensen. It was really good to talk to him. He's such a great mission president! After that we got to sleep at the dormitory in the temple! There was an air conditioner and real beds. It was crazy. Actually I couldn't sleep at all that night. In the morning I told the other missionaries that the beds were too comfortable so I couldn't sleep. Which really is true. I'm used to being uncomfortable when I go to bed so if it's comfortable I can't sleep. haha.

The next day was temple day which was great, as usual. We just woke up and got ready and were already at the temple so it was really convenient. The session was really great. I love to be at the temple. After that we met up with Bishop Cho and went out to eat one last time before they headed off to America. I seriously love seeing them when I go to the temple. They are the most amazing people ever. We met up with other missionaries at Dongdaemun and did a little bit of shopping and then headed back to Wonju with the Taebaek missionaries. Once we got to Wonju we sent the Taebaek missionaries off the proselyte and we went and met with one of our investigators. Whenever we meet he has talked to my companion a lot about politics and so it's been kind of hard for us to teach but we prayed a lot and had some help and we set everything up so that next time we meet we can teach him more about the Book of Mormon and read it with him. After that we went home and had a sleepover with the Taebaek Elders. They slept over because we were having district meeting the next morning in Wonju.

Wednesday we woke up and studied then went to the church and had district meeting. Our meeting centered on the Book of Mormon, and then we did an activity I have wanted to do for a while. We wrote down all of the questions people ask us about our Church or about the Book of Mormon and we are each going to study how to answer them well and then this week at district meeting we are going to discuss them and come up with simple answers for them. We listed things people say to us, like, "I don't need to go to church because I read the Bible and pray at home." I'm excited to hear from everyone in our district.

After that we ate with the district and one of our members came who is preparing for a mission. Then we went and met with Melanie at the Yonsei University. We took our member with us because he lived in America and Canada for a long time and speaks fluent English. The lesson went well. She had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon so we answered them and then we taught the Restoration. We focused on praying to know whether the Book of Mormon is true and about real intent. Of course I used a food analogy to explain real intent. I said, "If you ask your mom to cook you a steak dinner and she knows that you really are going to eat it after she cooks it obviously she will make it for you. But if you ask her to make it and you aren't planning on eating it. And she knows you aren't planning on eating it then she probably isn't going to cook it for you, right? It's the same way with God. If you ask him for an answer but aren't planning on acting on that answer then He has no reason to give it to you." Kind of a weird analogy but it made sense to her!

We went to our member's house and talked to him about preparing for a mission. Then we worked our way back home and visited one of our other investigators at his work. We ate dinner and spent time organizing all of our records at our house.

Thursday was exchanges with Kangnung, so I went to Kangnung in the morning and spent the day with Elder Dorius. We spent some time English flyering and proselyting then we met with a recent convert and helped him with English and his questions about the Book of Mormon. We  also met with a guy at his restaurant and ate dinner there and then taught English class. We met tons of way cool people while proselyting!

Friday I went back to Wonju and Elder Kim and I had planning meeting then organized more records and I cleaned our house for a little while and then we met with some potential investigators and then played basketball with two of our other investigators and proselyted to other people while playing basketball.

Saturday we taught English at Golden Voice and then went to lunch (sushi). Then we taught English but only one person came. We met with 정진택. (I'm sorry I'm not going in to detail really. It's because the email place we are emailing at right now is like a thousand degrees and I'm dying.) After that we stayed at the church for the seminary class with some of the youth.

Sunday was slightly a disappointment. Our appointments cancelled so we spent the day meeting with different members. Each time we met with each member they fed us so last  night we were both so full we thought we were going to die. It was great to spend time with the members. We talked to our branch president's son about going on a mission and committed him to start preparing for a mission!

The week was really good but it kind of hit me last weekend and I thought I was going to die I was so tired! I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord. Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support.

-Elder Rife

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Letter from Korea~July 16, 2012

Hey everyone!

It's crazy how fast time is going by. When you never think about time and you just go from place to place each day doing tons of different things time seriously just disappears. It's kind of scary. Practically all of the missionaries older than me are going home so soon and it's so weird that I don't have that much time left. I'm scared of being in the real world again. I've seen so many changes in my life and in myself over the last 16 months that I'm scared to have to start living normal life again. It's gonna be the most bittersweet thing ever.

Anyway, last week was amazing, of course, because every week is amazing as a missionary. On Monday night we picked up a new investigator named 고진혁. He is currently dating one of the less-active sisters we are working with, who is going to come back to church because she doesn't have to work on Sundays anymore!! So we met our new investigator and tried to get closer with him. Then we gave him a Book of Mormon and bore our testimonies and kind of set it up so that we can talk more about the Book of Mormon and why it's so important. He doesn't really have much interest but I think as I can get closer with him and have more of a relationship he will listen more to my testimony.

One thing I've noticed is that a lot of missionaries in other places meet investigators just to teach them; the investigator has interest in the gospel and wants to know more. But most of the people that want to meet us just want to meet me because I'm an American and they want to practice English and have an American friend. So it becomes the challenge to be able to be their friend and get to know them and teach them the gospel naturally without giving them too much pressure, but enough pressure to have them make changes in their lives. And to do it effectively, with the spirit, and in a different language, Korean, which is the hardest for Americans. I've been really thinking about this lately. The Lord is asking so much of me but obviously it's possible or He wouldn't have asked me to do it! I really want to do better and so I've thought and prayed a lot about how I can help people with seemingly no gospel interest to progress and have a desire to know more. The work here is hard but it's really rewarding. I'm learning more than I could ever learn just going to college or working or anything back home.

Tuesday we were crazy busy. We had lunch with a less active member and then went to our appointment at the church with 홍모영s. She brought three of her friends and we taught them English then used The Testaments movie to help them understand the Book of Mormon a little bit. They really don't have much interest so we might have to drop them soon but we're going to try two more times with them. After that we got on the bus and headed to Yonsei University and met with Melanie. She is an American from Seattle. She was a referral from an American member in Seoul. She met with the missionaries in Seattle when she was in high school. She actually read the whole Book of Mormon while she was meeting with them but she couldn't be baptized because her parents were strongly against it. After that she moved to Korea and has been here for 2 and a half years. She seriously has so much potential and is so prepared for the gospel. I'm actually pretty sure she knows more about church history than I do. So we met with her and got to know her more and her religious background and things like that. I'm so excited to teach her. It's going to be crazy to teach in English! After we met her we had another appointment at Yonsei University. We met with Dhruba, from Nepal. We talked for a long time about how he feels he doesn't have time for God right now because he needs to focus on his studies so that he can help develop Nepal more. So we focused on the fact that if he makes time for the Lord now he will do better in his studies and the Lord will help him become a tool to help the people of Nepal. He went back to Nepal last week for a short trip for research so we gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. They don't have a Book of Mormon in Nepali yet.

Wednesday we went to Kangnung for combined district meeting where we learned about focusing on the Doctrine of Christ when teaching investigators. It was really good and I learned a lot. When we got home we met with a college student who we had contacted on the street. He's really cool but we are trying to find a good way to teach him the gospel since he doesn't have too much interest.

Thursday we taught English at the North Korean kids school for the last time of the semester. This time Melanie came and taught with us because it's her dream to teach North Korean kids. After that we talked with her for a while then went home for dinner and went to go visit the less-active sister who is going to start coming back to church.

Friday we had lunch with a different less-active sister and her daughter. Her daughter is half Canadian and is visiting for the summer so we are going to meet with them once a week. I really want to read the Book of Mormon together with the daughter. Her father won't let her go to church in Canada or even have a Book of Mormon but she really wants to go to church. We had planning meeting for a while and then we went to meet two kids that we meet with each week. I played basketball with them and proselyted to all of the kids we played basketball against while my companion talked to the mom and introduced the gospel to her.

Saturday we taught English at our English class and at Golden Voice. After Golden Voice we ate lunch with the GV members. One of them wants us to meet her family and hopefully to teach them, but they can't meet until August which is after transfers so we'll see what happens! Then we met with Brother Jung and then we visited a partially less-active family because their daughter just returned from BYU and we wanted to meet her and see the family.

Sunday was great! Melanie came to church. She's really good at Korean but she's better at college talk and I'm better at gospel talk so I helped translate for her a little bit. It's weird because I can understand everything they say at church but putting it into English words that don't sound weird is really hard. Church was good and the members love Melanie. We met with 전현아s; we help teach her daughter English. She agreed to learning the lessons so we are going to teach her the lessons starting next week. After that we visited some other people and then went and had dinner with two great members. One of them is less-active. There's a super long story to that. There has been tons of drama in Wonju over the past 20 years and getting to the bottom of all of the stories is super hard but there are a lot of people who fought and stopped coming to Church. So we are really trying to help them to make up and come back to church.

My hands officially hurt from typing. I love missionary work, though! Thanks for all your support and prayers.

-Elder Rife

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Letter from Korea~July 9, 2012

Seriously so much crazy stuff has happened in the last week that I don't even know where to start!!

I'll try to write down a couple things from each day last week. If I try to write everything then it will take me hours but I'll try to write something from each day!

Last Monday I worked out for p-day and then we met with a less-active sister named 안순을 (she's the single mom). We met with her and her two kids and a guy that she is kind of dating. He's really nice and they referred him to us. We're going to try to meet with him tonight and get closer with him and introduce the gospel message to him.

Last Tuesday we met with a member and with her less active friend and gave her a blessing then ate lunch with them. After that we went to the church to meet with 홍모영; she really wants to learn English. She brings two of her friends with her when we meet. Last time we met we talked about how our purpose as missionaries isn't teaching English but teaching the gospel. They were really impressed with us and willing to listen to our message. 

Wednesday was district meeting in 태백 which means that Elder Kim and I took a 2 hour and 45 minute train ride all morning. District meeting was on the Christlike attributes. Each of us gave a ten-minute talk about one of the attributes. I really love having everyone in the district get time to teach and share their testimonies rather than just me up there talking for an hour and a half. It was really good to hear from everyone. We talked about faith (Elder Kim), hope (Elder Decker), patience (Elder Cho), and I talked about diligence. Not because I'm a diligent missionary but because I want to be a diligent missionary!

After that we ate lunch together and then did a mini exchange for a few hours. I went with Elder Decker and talked to him for a while and spent time proselyting together. Then Elder Kim and I caught the train back to Wonju and got home around 7:30.

Oh, I forgot to say that last week it rained everyday without stopping! In Wonju there are crazy thunderstorms! One night I woke up and thought North Korea was attacking us. We're surrounded by mountains so when the lightning strikes it just echoes and echoes through the city. 

Last Thursday it rained like crazy. We taught English to the North Korean defactors and then worked our way back home in the rain while trying to proselyte. Then we visited a less-active member in his BrauHaus bar. That was the first time I've been to a bar! It was crazy! Just kidding, we drank sprite. :) It was good to talk to him and  he is a way cool guy.

Friday was really an intense day. We studied and had lunch then went to visit a less-active member who we had made an appointment with. Her name is 구연향; she is seriously the coolest lady ever and is so nice. She had us over to give her mother, who has Parkinson's disease, a blessing. She also told us about how she had gone to a different church and really didn't like it but felt bad for going so we assured her that it was okay but that she needs to start coming back to church again.

We walked in the rain to our next appointment with the older man who wants to learn the gospel before dying. When we went into his house he was laying on the floor surrounded by bottles of alcohol. He told us to come back next week. We went back to our house to have weekly planning meeting but he called us right when we got home and told us that he was sick and didn't have enough energy to get up to get food and he needed our help. We went back to his house again in the rain and tried to help him. While we were there a Bhuddist monk called his phone and he gave the phone to my companion. The monk told my companion that 이대용 hadn't eaten anything but alcohol in 5 days and was going to die soon so we had better get him to the hospital. So my companion called 119 (911 in Korea) while I tried to convince Brother Lee to go to the hospital. He wouldn't agree to go so the ambulance wouldn't come. We tried to get him to eat but he wouldn't eat. He then showed us some medicine that he had and was going to take when he wanted to die. We couldn't convince him to do anything.. So we gave him a blessing and then got his food ready and then left. Before we left I took the medicine that he was going to take and threw it away. We went to dinner with one of our investigators and her family and while we were there Brother Lee called me and asked me where his medicine was. I told him I didn't know. He is doing okay now. He ate food and he's going to meet with us this week. It was a pretty intense day.

Saturday we went to Kangnung to meet President Christensen and his wife. They are soooo cool! They both bore their testimonies to us in Korean. I'm really excited for all of the things I will be able to learn from them throughout the rest of my mission. I know they were called of God to be our mission president and mission mom!

By the time we got home we didn't have much time to do anything. We proselyted and met two really cool guys! One of them wants us to meet with him and his two sons. The other one wants to meet with us and bring all of his friends! Big miracles!

We went out to eat with 이상혁 and his family before they go to America for the summer. He is the kid we baptized. He's doing really well and is way excited to go to America!

Yesterday we had church and then we met with a lady and her daughter and one of our members and taught them. Then we visited some other investigators in their store and then we had a dinner appointment with our ward members. I don't have much more time so I need to go! Our week was really intense last week! I've never been more tired in my life and the rain and hot weather is destroying me.. But we are having so much fun doing the Lord's work!

I gotta go. I love you all!

-Elder Rife

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Photos from Korea~July 2, 2012

 [Glasses pic.]

 [Teaching English to the North Koreans.]

 [Kim Do Young, our new investigator from two weeks ago.]

 [A cute kid we met on the street.]

[Me & Elder Kim.]

 [Elder Kim.]


Letter from Korea~July 2, 2012

Hi everyone!!

I don't even know where to start. Seriously so much has happened in the last two weeks and it will take me fooooorever to write everything down. We got crazy busy all of a sudden. I'm sorry last week's email was so short. We had no time to email last week because we were in Seoul. The last few weeks have been so full of miracles, it's ridiculous.

My first week in Wonju we met a man named 이대용 who is in his 70's. He was pretty drunk and had long hair, no front teeth, and a beard. He yelled at us for being 3 minutes late for our appointment and then took us to a little restaurant in the market and fed us interesting food. We never met with him over the last two transfers again. Then two weeks ago he randomly called us in the morning and told us that he wants to know the truth before he dies. So when we went to visit him at his house I was nervous that he was going to be the same way he was when we first met with him, but he had his hair cut and his beard was shaved and he wasn't drunk. He was super nice and just wants to know more about the gospel. So we are going to meet with him every Friday and read the Book of Mormon with him and teach him.

We met with Dhrubba last week. He's from Nepal. He wants to continue to meet with us and learn more about the Gospel but he is having a really hard time believing that there can be anything after we die. We're going to meet with him every Thursday. His best friend, who lives in Seoul, is also Nepali and is a member there so we are going to get a Book of  Mormon for him and have his friend write her testimony in it and then we will write our testimonies in it and give it to him. I'm excited to continue to meet with him and teach him.

We got a referral yesterday from an American member in Sinchon who has a friend here who is American and is having a really hard time. Her name is Melanie and she has known about our church her whole life but never wanted to get baptized. I talked to her for a minute last night but we didn't have much time since it was almost 10:30 so I'm going to call her again today and hopefully we can meet with her and help her this week!

We met with a less-active member who we visit every week and she had a friend there who loves Elder Kim and I for some reason. He thought it was so crazy that I could speak Korean so everytime I talked he would freak out. haha. So we are going to meet with them tonight and pick him up as an investigator. He's curious about why we are serving as missionaries and he wants us to help him with English. He has great potential!

Our investigator named 한창훈 still hasn't had any alcohol since we commited him to stop drinking! We're trying to help him get healthy again and we are also planning a party for his daughter's birthday. That way we can get the whole family together. All three of his kids are less-active members so hopefully when we have the birthday party we can see a miracle and help them get back to church.

Last night as we were walking home from the church there was a little kid riding a bike and so I said "Hi!" Then he said hi back. Then his mom said in English to him, "Aren't those the missionaries from your Church?" And he said, "Are you guys the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?" And we said yes. Then we found out that the kid is a member and lives in Seattle with his dad. His name is Brian. He goes to church every week with his grandma in Seattle. But his mom lives here in Wonju and is planning on moving to Seattle to be with her husband in a few months. His mom and dad aren't members. So we got their phone number and we are going to try to meet with them this week so we can be friends with Brian and hopefully teach his mom! It was a crazy miracle.

I don't know what is happening here but all of a sudden we got soooo busy. We dont have any time to proselyte anymore cause we are so busy! It just proves that if you go outside and try to make things happen then the Lord for sure will bless you!

We also met with a lady named Rita and her two sons last week. Elder Kim helped one son with math while I played games with the other one. We are getting pretty close with them. We are trying to share the gospel with them little by little because we don't want to overwhelm them and it's going really well. They see how happy we are and ask us questions all the time. As we continue to meet with them I know that we can really help them.

Everything is going so well out here and we are having so much fun. Thank you all for your prayers and support!!!

-Elder Rife