Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hello! Sounds like everyone is doing awesome. That's great. The language is going great. Steady improvement each day. I can understand a lot of the words people use, and depending on how fast they are talking, I can understand the grammar. That's the hard part, especially when people say super long sentences. 

Mother's Day! Skype! If I Skype on the Monday after Mother's day at 8 AM, that should be the same time of day as it was on Christmas, except it will actually be Mother's day in the U.S. Does that work? 

Hope everyone has a great week! Love you all! 

Elder Carmen is fantastic! He is from Michigan and has a brother who served in Brazil and an older sister. He is one of the most charitable and sincere people I have ever met. When he prays and talks about our investigators or the people we are working with, it is so clear how deeply concerned he is for them and how desirous for their salvation. He constantly expresses his love for others. I've learned a lot about the importance and blessings of charity from him. It really does overcome all fear or anything else. 

This week we had an amazing experience in Dunkin' Donuts, of all places. We are teaching an investigator who has just has some really hard things come up in his life. He expressed these things to us when we met. Clearly, things have been weighing on his mind this past week. Elder Carmen and I both testified of Christ and how He had suffered everything, including physical pains and struggles, for all of us. Thus, he knows exactly how to help us and give us what we need. The scripture that tells us that all are edified when we teach by the Spirit rung true that day. 

D&C 50

 21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?

 22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

I know the Spirit guided our words, because the power of the Spirit that came as we talked to him was amazing. I even looked around at the other people in the restaurant, wondering if anyone else was feeling it. I know it effected our investigator, too, because he suddenly showed up at church on Sunday! It was so surprising to see him walk through the doors in the morning. There is so much from this experience that I can learn from, but above everything else, it is clear that teaching by the Spirit really is the only way to teach of Christ. 
​Nokbeon, just outside the house.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Well, it's definitely springtime in Seoul! Nokbeon has way more people that my other two areas. It's also a pretty big area with a big ward - one of the biggest in Korea, I think. 

Elder Carmen is great! He is very sincere and has a lot of charity for the people we teach. He's from Michigan. So glad to be working with him!

I noticed Elder Jones' picture of the trees with cherry blossoms. Korea has lots of those too - but, unfortunately, they had just started budding in Taebaek, but are already gone in Seoul, so I may have missed seeing them in that fully white stage. That's okay, though, because spring feels great. It's perfect whether to be outside right now!

We had a pretty great miracle this week as we were going to do some streetboarding. On the way, we stopped a person on the street to talk to him. Almost before we said anything, he asked if we had some proof or evidence about God. He meant that in a totally sincere and honest way. He told us he had prayed for a long time, most of his life, in fact, about God. He had even spent over eight hours praying once, and was starting to struggle with doubt over whether or not God was there. He was so clearly led to us. We shared our message and testimonies with him. He really liked us, so he bought us some slushies. 

Nokbeon also has a lot of awesome members and other people we are working with. We actually have an English speaking investigator who, though I've not met him yet, is super sincere and desirous to be baptized. There's lots do to here, and we've been so blessed to be able to do it! 

I've learned a lot this week, especially from Elder Carmen, about making sure we are taking joy in the gospel and in our work. My first ward mission leader in Korea told us every week that we should always be smiling, because the gospel and the Spirit are meant to make us happy. This is good, because it's really easy to get caught up in business of our work that we don't take joy in it. While working hard, we can always choose to be joyful and positive. Ultimately, if we aren't happy or smiling, we aren't really feeling the Spirit or living the message like we should. The purpose behind our purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ is joy. So, be happy! 

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Hello! It's been a great week. It's nice and warm in Seoul, and it sounds like it also is in Montana. Looks like Nichole is having a great Spring - prom, England, drivers licence, etc. Time is going so fast. There's only about three months left of school, right? Then you're a senior! 

Nokbeon is great. The building is about the size of the Lolo ward building, but the chapel is actually bigger. And it has real pews for the first time. It's also way bigger (as in bigger and higher buildings) and busier than my other two areas. 

​Throwing coins into a good luck thing

The first few blossoms coming up on just one tree

​On the bus back to Seoul. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm headed back to Seoul already.

I'm going back to Seoul already! On Wednesday I will go to Nokbeon. It's the big-city part of Seoul, too, with a ward the size of Lolo ward. It'll be a big change, but I'm super excited! 

This week has been, for me, a peak spiritually illuminating experience. Zone training, a workshop, and and all the talks in general conference fit together so well. I've learned so many things that I can't possibly right them all right now, or even remember them all. But after 15+ hours of spiritual outpouring, what struck me was the simplest of things. Everything points to Christ. Everything that was spoken and which the Spirit testified of was about Him. He is the cornerstone of every blessing ever promised, the means and end of our eternal life, our hope, our faith, and our foundation. We need Him so much, and we need the Spirit to really bring this truth not just to our minds, but to our hearts and souls. 

That being said, Elder Holland's talk seemed as though he were talking directly to me, in answer to my own fears and concerns. I, for one, know and have experienced that it is hard to maintain the level of spiritual strength and determination through the days ahead that we obtained during such a great outpouring of the Spirit. His words were some of the most comforting and humbling that I've ever heard. God loves you. Don't just know it, but believe it. Feel it in your mind, heart, and soul. Christ is your Savior and your Good Shepherd. He will always be there for you. Come to feel that also in your heart, mind, and soul, and rely on Him every hour of every day, patiently persevering when mortal weaknesses trip us up or when our determination runs thin. Then, with that power and joy filling your heart, mind, and soul, turn outward. Serve Him again with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, and you will stand blameless before Him. You will have the strength and power He offers, which is perfect, flawless, and wonderful. 

That is what the Spirit taught to me this past week. I hope everyone else had an equally great general conference. Thank you for your messages and service! I know Christ is our Savior and that He came and suffered all things for each of us individually. He knows us individually and will reach down, pick us up, and strengthen each of us individually. He came and restored His gospel through Joseph Smith, through which we can partake of His blessings of eternal families and eternal life and joy. Have a great week!

Elder Dye, me, Sister Kimgyesuk, Suster Guseonga, Suster Svobadova, Elder Welling, Elder Barr​

Sister Kimgyesuk took us out for lunch about 1 hour ago. We had mud fish soup, which apparently means they take mud fish and blend them, then make a soup. It was pretty good. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hope you had a great spring break

Hello everybody! I hope you had a great spring break and general conference. I will watch general conference next week. 

This week I wanted to talk about the role of the Holy Ghost. It's hard to know where to start, because the Spirit has so many roles. I like to think of it very simply, though, in the context of the gospel of Christ. When we are baptized and confirmed, we are commanded to receive the Holy Ghost. Why?

We know that baptism is our commitment to follow Christ, because Christ is our hope for returning to Heavenly Father. We must draw close to him and make him our foundation. We cannot see Heavenly Father or His Son, though. So how do we draw close to Him? How do we experience His love and blessings? Through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the third member or the Godhead, and we are promised this in 3 Nephi 11:

27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.  

Thus, we are assured that by drawing close to the divine being whose presence we can feel and receive, we are drawing close to Christ, and by drawing close to Christ we will draw closer to His Father. We are baptized in the name of all three - each of them plays a foundational role in our salvation. 

Our task can be seen very simply, then. If we want to become more like and draw closer to our Father in Heaven, we need to follow and draw closer to our Savior. In order to follow and draw closer to our Savior, we need to do things that invite the Spirit. We know what these are - scripture study, church attendance, service, prayer, obeying the commandments, and more. These things are supporting principles in, as Elder Bednar put it, "an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost." 

In all that we do, we ought to seek the Holy Ghost. The promises for doing so are immense, one of my favorites of which comes from D&C 43: 

16 And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.

The Spirit strengthens us, teaches us, enlightens us, prompts us to do good, fills us with joy, cleanses us from sin, brings revelation, answers prayers, grants wonderful gifts, draws us closer to our Savior, bears record of truth, warns of danger, gives righteous desires, and much more. Ultimately, the Spirit is what allows us to become born again and become more like our perfect Father in heaven. I would encourage everyone to go about their daily prayer, scripture study, and every other aspect of the gospel with sincerity and humility and the intent of receiving the Holy Ghost. I promise if you do this you will receive greater knowledge and joy. The Spirit will answer your prayers and righteous desires. Above all, you will become more like Christ and receive joy you had previously never experienced. 

Thank you all and have an awesome week!

As for some of the questions you asked - 

The last mission president, President Christensen, was called to the Seventy. I never met him, though. Our mission president right now is President Sonksen, and I will have him for my whole mission. 
The country life is great! It really warmed up last week, which was actually a little unfortunate because we still have to wear suits. After general conference, which we will watch next weekend, we don't have to wear suits and can wear short-sleeve shirts until next general conference. It doesn't get super hot in Taebaek like it does in Seoul, so that's good. The best arrangement would be to be in Gangweondo (the district of which Taebaek is a branch) during summer and Seoul during winter, so it seems like it's working out pretty well so far. 

The talk last week went well. I was really blessed to be able to speak. I'm learning that gifts of the Spirit, like the gift of tongues, come as the Spirit itself comes. The Spirit's role, among other things, is to testify of Christ. By the Spirit, we draw closer to Him. That is actually the only way to truly draw close to Him. Thus, when we seek to invite others to Him and testify of Him, the Spirit is there. What I have learned is that the Spirit, to me, always feels the same, regardless of whether we are studying the scriptures, praying, or receiving revelation. It is joy, enlightenment, clarity, strength, and many other things to us. So, when we receive the same Spirit again and again, we receive power to do whatever it is that the Lord wants us to do at that moment, including miracles, prophesying, healing, testifying, overcoming weakness or temptation, serving, or, in this case, teaching. This is how the Lord leads and guides us, and it's the means by which we learn of things that are spiritual. The only person qualified to teach us these things, after all, is the Lord, and He does so every day. 

Sounds like you had an awesome trip, Nichole! I wanna hear all the details. Send lots of pictures!

I sent a close-up of some pig feet we ate to Nichole. Here is the table situation: 

Elder Barr, Elder Welling, Elder Dye, the restaurant person, and me

I'm not sure why this meat get thrown away in the US... it was quite delicious. ​

Love you all! Have a great week! Suguhaseyo!