Monday, July 10, 2017

I'm not quite actually feeling it yet, but this is my last full week in Korea! The tender mercies of the Lord have been with me this week. I was able to go on exchanges to Wonju this week and see some of the members I served with there. I love the members so much, and it was awesome to see them for the last time. When the branch president's family heard I was coming, they brought us a bunch of guaja, Korean snack foods, to say goodbye. It was such a heartwarming experience. 

I also felt one of the greatest tender mercies when I learned that Brother Kim, whom my companion Elder Kimtaewan baptized in Jangwi, has returned to activity! I was told that he had not coming to church for a while, and have tried calling him several times. This week, I got ahold of him. Despite my being a greenie when I first met him, with barely any Korean ability, he remembered my right away. He has also returned to full activity. It was the first time I have actually been able to communicate with him (now that I can actually communicate somewhat in Korean), and I felt so blessed. I went to bed that night feeling so much joy for him and for the missionaries in Jangwi that have been working with him!

Elder Crisp

Elder Choi Conference

Monday, July 3, 2017

Elder Choi's visit

So, Elder Choi came on Friday for a mission tour. It was a really spiritual meeting. We don't get a chance to be with a general authority in a group of just around 25 very much, so it was an experience I'll never forget. The meeting lasted around 7 hours (including lunch), but Elder Choi is a great example of seeking the will of the Lord. I felt like everything he said was exactly what we needed to hear.

One of the greatest impressions I had was to be prepared and courageous in following all the promptings of the Spirit. When we know the will of the Lord, we should act on it with great faith and diligence. I've tried harder to do that, especially in lessons. We may fear that being more bold in bearing testimony and inviting will scare people away, but with faith in the Lord and the converting power of the Spirit, we can see greater miracles and feel the Lord's approval. 

We had an incredible experience with Chris this week. We sat down and he immediately asked about prayer, confessing to us that he wasn't really sure how to pray and he wanted to learn. So, we taught him. At the end of the lesson, he gave one of the most sincere prayers I've ever heard. He told the Lord as if he were standing right in front of him that he wanted to learn about Him, and asked him to help him understand and to find out about Him. He said amen, then immediately looked up and said something like this: "Wow! That's incredible. This is my first time feeling like this. I feel like I'm actually talking to God. Is this how you feel every time you pray?" 

To the Lord I give thanks for this prepared person. For sure, we are doing so little of the teaching here - the Lord has prepared him and led him to us, and he is learning by faith and the Spirit. We are just here to be the Spirit's vessel. 

Have some great missionary experiences this week everyone!

Friday, June 30, 2017


This week we went up to Jumunjin to teach an investigator up there. It's kind of another city north of Gangnung, but technically still part of Gangnung. We'd met him a few times before, and he had expressed lots of interest in the Restoration and Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, because those are new to him. He has a really strong belief in God, though, and an open mind. It has been kind of a harder day, because we had spent lots of time trying to find someone's workplace, but ended up missing him. It also had just been a hard day to find people and talk to people, so we weren't feeling our best when we got to the lesson. He also was late because of a customer, and we only had fifteen minutes to meet. But what he said when he met us made the whole day better. He told us that we both looked very bright. This was surprising to us, because we didn't feel very bright. The lesson basically went like this: We asked him if he felt the Book of Mormon was true, and he said he did. We wanted to help him understand how significant this was, thought, so we very simply taught the restoration, then talked about baptism. He agreed to come to church on Sunday. I feel like I learned then what grace is, because at a time where we were striving our best, but falling short, the Lord somehow just made up the rest. 

This week has been great! We had a miracle referral from the old Mission Mom (mission president's wife) through Sister Sonksen. We met him in a Burger King, and he has got to be one of the most prepared people I've met! His English name Chris, and he talked about having a desire to know God throughout his life, and he feels it is time to not have any more excuses. He is extremely open and completely sincere. He wants to know and feel if God is there, and he also is curious as to why we are different than other Christian faiths. I am very grateful for him! 

Also...this friday, Elder Choi (a general authority) is coming to do a mission just our zone! It is going to be such a cool and personal meeting. 

Hope you have a great week everyone!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Taebaek in Full Bloom

I got to see Taebaek again this week! When I was there, nothing was living yet. Last transfer when I went, trees were just starting to bud. This time, it was in full bloom! It was cool to finally see that. 

Me and Elder Paulsen both stayed in Taebaek, and I worked with Elder Mann over there. He is a convert of a few years, and he is awesome! We had a really cool experience together where we visited a less active that I had heard about when I served there. He was an old branch president who has some serious health problems that contributed to him not coming church. Elder Mann has been looking for him for a long time, and even had knocked on all the doors in several apartment building looking for him. Finally, when I was there, we found him! It was kind of a difficult visit, because he is in constant pain and is dealing with some other things, we aren't sure what. But beyond all that, we can see when someone has faith deep inside of them. Though he didn't want to meet missionaries yet (he had planned to contact us next year), he let us in and talked with us. We talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon, and shared a passage. He didn't have a heard ready to change at that moment, but it was clear to see from the way he spoke, acted, and responded that he knew and even missed the things that we were talking about. I just pray he will have the faith to get started again. 

Besides that, Elder Paulsen and I are doing great. Unfortunatly, four of our investigators, college students, have left for vacation (vacation is the worst). But we have a great person up in a town north of here that is started to progress really well! I really am very grateful to have so many people to be working with.

Happy Father's Day Dad! Love you so much! Thank you for working so hard and doing everything you do!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tano Festival

June 4, 2017

So, we are a little disappointed this week that we haven't been able to meet with our investigators. Brother Lee's phone is broken, so we visited him last week, but he didn't come to church or anything. Our other investigators have otherwise just not had time. Students right now are taking their tests, and in a couple weeks will be on vacation and back to their homes.

But, what did happen this week...the Tano Festival! I did not realize how big this thing was, but apparently it is unique to Gangnung. Last P-day we did a little looking around. Here is what the Tano Market looks like (one side of it): 

Closer up​

It stretches farther down the river, on both sides. Can't get it all it a picture. But we've done some finding activities here and met some cool people. It opened with a parade on Sunday and was full of a week of selling stuff and performances. One cool person we met was on the bridge during an English class street boarding activity. I was on exchanges, so the other elders here will be in contact with him, but he stopped and listened and even asked questions as I explained the Book of Mormon. He took one and gave us his phone number. Not sure where the interest comes from, but it is always special to find someone who just has a different atmosphere about them. 

This week has been really interesting. With all the different people coming from around the world (Ecuador, Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan, Belgium, Italy, Canada), we've met people of all different faiths. We've been able to introduce the gospel to Muslims, Hindus, and to all sorts of different kinds of Christians. As they have also shared to us the things that they believe, it is amazing how many similarities there are, even in ones that seem superficially very different. All of them have truth in them, especially regarding how we ought to treat one another. Consider how precious it is to have the Holy Ghost, who bears record of truth, as our compass and companion admits a world a varying beliefs.

Hope you all have a great week! 

A hand-made fan from the festival. I had him write on it "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will work wonders among you."​

​From our house - heart firework at the Tano Festival

2017/05/28-Another week of miracles

This week we've seen more miracles. Seeing Sister Huang get baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost was really awesome. Elder Song came back for the day to interpret, and his parents came the next day to interpret in Sacrament meeting (into sign language).  Also, a return missionary from about twenty years ago came to church yesterday with someone he baptized, who has been less active for a long time. He brought his whole non-member family, and when he introduced himself and got emotional and said he always had the desire to come to church, but just never did. He also lamented that he wished he had been attending church more diligently when Brother Palmer found him again. Brother Palmer, the return missionary, was just what he needed to come back again. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to work with them now!

We weren't able to meet Brother Lee this week for a couple reasons - we had to go to Taebaek for exchanges, which, though finally seeing my old area up in the mountains is really cool, hurts because of a two and a half hour bus ride; Brother Lee's phone is broken, and his parents couldn't answer because they were off on vacation. But, the branch president took us out in a car to visit him yesterday, and he is still doing well. We'll see him tonight for family home evening at the church. 

In other news: Tano festival! Our district activity for the children's day festival here was super effective, so we decided to go see what we could do at the Tano festival. I didn't realize how big it was till I got there. Tents all up and down both sides of the river, games and booths set up all over the streets, and a huge parade right down the main street of town. We also have seen fireworks the past couple days from the window of our house, so it's been pretty fun. We have lots of good conversations and meet people we wouldn't otherwise meet. 

Things are going great here right now, and we just keep seeing these tender mercies of the Lord each day. Hope you all are too!

​Exchanges with Elder Horne!

​Our area. A little part of it, anyway. 

​Hiking last week

​Its cool to go to all the areas in Gangwondo, but we spend lots of time in this place...

​Gangnung Branch and Sister Huang, the newest member!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More miracles

So we had a mission conference the other day, and President Sonksen went over the "righteous routine," which is to leave the house at 10 (after planning and personal study), do just 30 minutes of companion and 30 minutes of language study (it got cut down), and to find and teach until 9 p.m. Following this has been really great. We have found so many cool people this week. We've actually met so many I'm having trouble keeping them all sorted out in my head. That's why we use potential investigator records!

Anyway, Sister Huang came to church yesterday again! Her baptism is this Saturday, and we are learning the song from the children's songbook, "Baptism," in Korean sign language for her. I'm so happy for her! She and the members have grown really tight. There is so much love in this branch that it just pours over any kind of language barrier. 

We met Brother Lee's family! They had us come over for dinner last Saturday. The parents themselves don't have a lot of gospel interest yet, but they are very supportive of him. He is still reading the Book of Mormon and studying hard. He has a great desire to learn and grow. 

We also are meeting a really great English teacher at the college here. He is from South Africa, and he is also very sincere in his desire to learn. It has occurred to me recently that the best investigators are those who we don't need to have so many great rewards promised to them for following Christ. They are those who have desires themselves for righteousness and to become better people. 

Love you & have a great week!