Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 67: Daejeon and Elder Choi‏

To the people of the world!! I have repented and reformed and there is so much that I want to and need to share with you and I only have like fifteen minutes so...type like the wind 소거락들! (ahem.."fingers")

Well, first note. Thank you so very much for the package my family! It was such a nice surprise and I love the notes and all your doting affections! I am spoiled. But I love it. Congrats to Sydney and to Maddie! I was super surprised by the wedding announcements, but it was a pleasant surprise. I can't believe everyone is progressing in their eternal progression faster than me! Ahh! Luckily I'm just racing myself^^ And thank you dad for the music hookup. I love the toons. And your liberties you took by including "christian" rock. I mean I'm all about Jesu, Rock of Our Salvation, unfortunately, Reliant K may not end up on my 25 most played for the next couple of months. I love "mood rings" but I just can't fit it with my badge. :)

So in my attempt to help all y'all understand and appreciate this amazing and beautiful country that I love, I think I'm going to start including some cultural and or miscellaneous mission life/Korea tidbits in the email. I love it. The country that is, and I want all of you to see some of the awesome things I get to see and do every day.

First: the map. 

I wish I could show you all around my area because it is the greatest, but due to the absurd numbers of photos necessary and the fact that I don't want to look like a tourist, I'll start with the map. Here is Daejeon. It is a pretty big city and the part with all of the stickers is my area. It is rather small. I can walk it in an hour and a twenty minutes or so (which is crazy because my last area covered four cities) but I like it. The area is called Doonsan. But I live like twenty-thirty minutes out by bus.

And here is rice. My main staple. Here I'm holding a 20kilo bag which is pretty big. 

I've seen bigger, but not in a while. Elder Baker and I eat rice like three times a day with a meal that is like fried rice and kimchi chigae (sp??) It is delicious! Like the best parts of cooked cabbage with the flavor explosion of asian red pepper and some ham and mixed vegetables as we see fit. Actually, super super tasty. 

Elder Baker and I totally ate it as we watched the President Monson biography movie during lunch today. I love President Monson. He is the Lord's prophet. I know that! I can feel it is true. There seems to be so many evidences of the truth of the this gospel, of the Restoration, but ultimately I just rely on that little voice within myself that tells me it's true. I can just feel it with everything that is me! It is so true.

This week was so good for many reasons. My favorite: Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the first quorum of the 70 came to our mission this week (Elder 죄윤환 as we like to call him. I still am not sure why westerners don't put the family name first. It's more important. He is Korean and the BEST! I love him and his wife so much. They are one of the most premier couples I have ever seen. So one. So inspired. and inspiring! I hope I can be a bit like those awesome Koreans one day!) And the day was extra special because I was invited by President to have a personal interview with Elder Choi. So cool! I was really humbling and I'll share with you a bit of what I learned. both form that interview and from the day as a whole.

Enter Elder Choi. He is a bit of a big figure. Tall with one of those cute grandpa bellies iconic to Americans. (he has been in Utah for a while so it shows.) Back in his youth he was a bodyguard for the national president of Korea. I imaging he knows some crazy martial arts and such, and he commands attention. But I love that he just loves singing and made us sing like seven different times! Among his different commitments he made us all promise to sing hymns in the shower for the rest of forever. Okay! I've been doing good on that this week. And counseled us from his experience as a young Korean missionary and also as a mission president in Seattle a few years back. The biggest overall impact what his emphasis to "elevate our thoughts" Raise our sights. Lift the bar. Expect and do greater things. Among those was his call for each team to baptize one person a week. He said that was the mission policy in Seattle and though everyone didn't hit it, several rose to the expectations and baptized dozens and dozens of people. Also remember good readers that missionaries are more that those who wear tags. How many people will I help to baptize in the following years and unfolding decades of the future. Elevate your thoughts!! 

My interview was good and he asked if I had any questions. I didn't have anything deep but I did ask his personal opinion for how I could elevate my thoughts.

He told me that when I need guidance, don't look around to others. Look up. Look to heaven for bearings and direction. In all things. Always. I like that. Often I am on  to gauge myself on the performance of others when that does not matter. God is in charge. He knows all things. Don't look around for help. Look up.

There is more to share in coming weeks but I just looked at the clock and time has expired. I love you and pray for you. Thank you all and remember to look up! Go to the temple! All of you! If you can't go inside, go outside. Just go there. I want to go so bad and I can't. Go for me.

I love you all!

Onward and upward

Elder Tucker

Here is me with purple sweet potato!  Delicious...

A pic of me and Elder Baker for our English flyers

Me outside on the way to email....

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 66

Hello friends and family! I love you guys so much! I know I say this every week, but I hope that all of you realize how important you are to me. Every package, letter, email, prayer--especially the prayers--are felt and loved! This work is the best in the world. Thank you for being there for me and helping me be the best that I can. You love gives me renewed strength and additional reasons to get out there and keep spreading the love of our Heavenly Father! It is really nice to work in the love business. I love getting up early and studying and learning about God's love for us then getting to see the change in people's lives as that love transforms them. Truly a knowledge of true principles will change behavior better and faster than a study of behavior will change behavior, and I've seen the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ change lives. Especially mine! I am so glad to be a missionary in the Dajeon, Korea mission. (a.k.a the best mission in the whole world!) It is really nice working in the downtown portion of Daejeon because I get to swing around the mission office at least once a week and see President Shin. Man, I love that man! It is amazing to see the Spirit work in someone so clearly for the benefit of others. I am so happy that I have my very own Karate Kid master! (but seriously though--pres shin is a black belt in tai kwon do! Like Sensai style good~ I haven't seen him snatch a fly out of the air, but us missionaries talk^^)

This week was another good one in the catalog of great times! We were blessed with lots of time to go out and find new investigators so Elder Baker and I enjoyed hitting the streets and subways and buses, talking to everyone and sharing the good Word. Moral of the story: if you need a pick-me-up say high to a kind little grandmother. If you want to see miracles: talk to everyone. Period. It has been good.

I think my favorite moment of the week was when we went to Costco for lunch on Saturday with one of our most awesome recent converts, 황원진!  He is the best!! He is just so real! He has been having a bit of a hard time recently because he is doing all that he can to live the gospel and his wife just doesn't like it. She hasn't been converted yet and it putting up some resistance. He just keeps trudging along. Always happy. Always choosing right. He was just telling us about how a right attitude is critical but how sometimes it is really hard to be nice and happy all the time. We shared some selections from first Nephi and shared our testimonies about the Lords timing. HE listened and loved it but interjected loudly "Yeah, but it would be really nice if the Lord's timing were a little bit faster!!". We all thought it was funny. And I am sorry to you all because the timing of the joke was much funnier in Korea. Translation difficulties. Story of my life!!

I love you all!

(Don't worry mom, I am happy and healthy and getting plenty of viatamin C here in the 한국!)

Thank you so much for all that all of you do for me and for Him.

And shout out to my friends and family who are hitting the field this week! Go Kaylan, Go Glade! I so loved seeing the pictures of you guys and I know that you will change lives. You guys have changed mine!!

Onward and Upward

Elder Tucker

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Week 65: Asmelash!‏

I have to keep this one short this week because I don't' handle my time well and I think exact obedience is the hardest aspect of obedience! It's so--like on the line! But I do my best!

This week just flew by and I will share with you my favorite part of the whole week. Asmelash! I did not just sneeze, his name is Asmelash and he is such a great miracle! He is a masters student studying at KAIST university in Korea and is originally from Ethiopia! This week we did a member lesson with our member Anthony from Kenya and it went smashingly! Anthony cam and he brought his friend John who is from Ghana--I think it was the most ethnically diverse lesson we've had in the mission ever. Who would have thought Korea, right? He is amazingly prepared. We set to teach the plan of salvation and prepared really well, but ended up spending the 45 minutes of the lesson just answering questions and testifying. So powerful! We assigned him to read 3 Nephi 11 and he began asking his questions about the Lamamanites and Nephites and then kept asking and brought up the people of Jared then started asking about Mosiah and his people. He wanted to know about the geographical location of Zarahemla and Bountiful. You should have seen the looks Elder Baker, Anthony, and I were giving each other as he continued to expound to us his studies and his questions. Turns out in five days he read from the beginning of the book to half way through Alma, while juggling a full class load. He loves it and is praying and came to church and is just so happy! I really appreciate the blessings of the Lord. Truly he pours our his tender mercies upon all those who keep his commandments. If any of you lack [tender mercies] let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him! It is so true!

I love this work and am so excited for our mission tour next week with Elder Choi from the first quorum of the seventy! So great! Things in Korea are going well. As can be expected with the Lord on our side!

Onward and upward

Elder Tucker