Hello Family, Friends, and America,
Salutations from your baby boy out here in the wide (kinda weird but kinda fantastic) world! I am safe and sound and loving it here in 천 안! The big city life is kind of exciting and it is a thrill to really be living as a missionary. It took two planes, several busses and a couple of taxis but I'm here. (and now I've ridden in a taxi...) The last couple days of the MTC were blissful and fun and I miss the clean, safe, kind of babied atmosphere I was living in but doing the Lord's work is really where it's at. I am so excited.
The week has been great and kind of feels like a Korean blur. First thought of Korea: super big. I live in a 15 story apartment building and it is only one of hundreds in the area. The place feels kind of similar to the other big cities (LA New York, Boston) though its a little less clean than Boston. Having dwelt among the Asians for a whole week almost I really have no idea why people think that all Asians look alike. Sure 99.9% of the people are Korean, but there is so much diversity. I love the people. My companion, Elder Hollingsworth says that in 6 months they all just start looking like Americans. Bring it on. It's funny...everyone here has a smart phone. It is the Samsung kingdom and it is totally evident. Did anyone know that Samsung made cars? or water heaters or coffee? Ok, they don't make coffee.
So upon arrival to Korea we bussed from Inchon to Daejeon and then teamed up with the office Elders and hit the streets for a couple of hours to 전 도 (proselyte). It was great! It is unreal how nice the people of Korea are. Even when they are totally blowing me off they just shake their head and proceed on their way. and bow. It's awesome. Being a tall, well dressed American pretty much everyone will stop and talk to me for a little and I exploit my "I've only been here 6 days" card and then practice my Korean with them and try to preach the gospel. I love sharing. I think that bus 전 도 is my favorite so far but tonight I get to go door knocking so we'll see. The language is incredibly hard but that is to be expected. I can see myself getting better and as I set and work towards goals I get better faster. Plus, the Lord is with me. This is His work and he called me to be here. He loves his children and I am the means by which they can get back to him. It's through my words so he will provide a way for me to tell them. Plus, Elder Hollingsworth is great! He's a Canadian/Ohio citizen and has been here a while and helps me out all the time. He is constantly telling me all sorts of meaning of words. The roots. I think there is a lot I can learn from him. It's funny: He corrects my Korean and I correct his English grammar. We make a good team.
The ward here is fabulous. 전 안 has one of the biggest wards in the mission (140 or so) and the people are awesome. I love how the church is the exact same wherever you go. There are still kids running around in sacrament meeting and afterwards they visit the same too. The saints all act the same. It's comforting to see and another reassurance that the work is true. It was awesome , I got there early to greet members then had priesthood, then gospel principles, then sacrament meeting. I had to introduce myself to the ward and share my testimony. Mission accomplished. Then we stacked the chairs and were drafted into the choir. Let me tell you, singing choir is way harder when you have to sight read and then have to sight-read in Korean. Dear to the heart of the shepherd isn't too bad but it gets compounded when I'm singing another language! We had a lesson afterwards then walked home in the rain...
In the evening we visited a member and were asked to give a blessing. (Clutch moment, I know) I anointed and again I realized how much harder it is in Korean. But all is well. the work progresses though the time is short. I love all of you. I miss you and America but I forget about it all whenever I walk out the door or put on my badge. It's nice.
a short thought
In my scripture study this morning (which I wish was like three times longer. There is just never enough time to be the Lord's Investigator.) I studied Jacob 3 verses 1 and 2.....And Alma 26.
In Jacob I learned that I need to do a couple of things. I need to 1. Look unto God with firmness of mind (see Alma 57:27) and 2. pray with exceeding faith.
If I do this then He promises to 1. console me in my afflictions and 2.plead my cause.
I need to do three things:
1. lift up my head
look up. acknowledge my god and my savior. see what's going on around me. I've got to look up and see what I can do; see who I really am
2. Receive the pleasing word of God
Study it out. I need to come to know, to master, the scriptures. I need to receive the gospel more in my own life--into my heart. I need to recognize that it's the pleasing word of God and that it will make me and all people happy. His word is the key. That is what I'm out here to declare.
3. Feast on his love
What is his love? God's love was shown through his son--through the atonement. I need to partake of the saving grace and mercy offered through the atonement and let that fill me and change me. I need to feast on God's type of love i.e. charity. I need to be charitable and let that charity be evident through me. And for both of these God doesn't say to take one of those little cheese cubes on a toothpick, but to feast. Full to the brim. Full to overflowing. Filling to the overcoming of my strength (think Ammon) and through being full I'll be transformed.
Christ's love is it. It is a miracle and it is why I'm here. I love Him and I feel His love every day. I know He loves all of his children and I am here to serve them, to teach them, to love them. I love Korea and its people. I love this gospel. It is true. It simply is. it's simple and it is...true. I know it. I testify, in His name, Amen.
I love all of you. Pray for me. You are in mine.
God be with you, fight the good fight (I love P.P. Pratt's words), keep the faith and in all things press onward and upward!
|Me and the map. Classic.|
|I'll miss the temple!|
|And my peeps.|
|I love my Korean brethren.|
|ME and the gang|
|Welcome to Korea!|
|The platform 9 3/4 pickup. With Elder Nybo|
|How about those bus seats?|
|And rice burger. Must be Korea....|