Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This week two really talented music elders came to perform with us for members and out on the street as we contacted people. One of the members we visited is being worked with by the sister missionaries, and after we performed for her, she told us how much it meant to her. She had served a mission and had a testimony, but hadn't come to church in a long time. She said that a few days earlier she had been thinking a lot about how she wanted a strong relationship with God again, and had prayed for help and answers. Then, the sisters called and asked if we could come do a small performance in her home. She was very touched by that, and by the music when we came. She said that it was an answer to her prayers. That was a really cool experience! 

As far as our investigators, this week has been a little hard. We haven't been able to meet with Nick for a long time, and have lost contact with Wang Ju. Jeffrey, who was very interested and progressing toward baptism, suddenly texted us and told us he was moving to another country in three days and needed to prepare. When we called back, he had already disabled his number. We were really disappointed by this, but we know he is going to have an opportunity to hear the gospel again in the future. 

Transfer calls came! Elder Peterson is going out to Donghe, by the ocean. My new companion is Elder Duplacey from South Africa. I'm excited to meet him! 

​Me and Ham Hee Seong, a member here 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chuseok Conference

Chuseok conference happened! It was super good. President Sonksen started us in the woods above the mission office. The theme for the conference was Joseph Smith. We talked about him, heard testimonies about him, and watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. What struck me was the persistent and great sacrifice the prophet and the early saints went through. Again again they were persecuted, driven out, and put through the worst of trial and hardship. I felt a need to remember that sacrifice. Sacrifice is a very powerful thing. It teaches us what our greatest priority is, and is the true test of where our heart is. If our heart is set on Christ, then we, like the early saints, can endure all things.

During Chuseok people generally gather with their families in their hometowns and have large meals of traditional food. I don't know of a main dish, because there are just a lot of different things they eat. They also may play a tradtional came called Yutneori, which I probably romanized wrong. It is a board game with two teams and four sticks marked on one side. Depending on how the sticks land, a game piece will move forward or backward. It is pretty similar to Sorry in the U.S. We played that at Chuseok along with a few other games, ate Subway (because every Korean restaurant was closed), and stayed the night in Seoul before coming back. It was lots of fun and a very spiritual experience. Also, Elder Bednar is coming to Korea in October! 

This week we haven't been able to meet with Nick or Wang Ju. We are disappointed but will keep trying. The English class member, Brother Kim, is still learning and progressing. 

This week were were blessed with a golden investigator! We met Jeffrey out in 횡성 a week or two ago, and he came to English class. We started talking afterward about what we do as missionaries, and he was very impressed. We taught him the Restoration yesterday with the branch president, and he said he had attended church since the army, but was a little disillusioned by the fact that there was one Bible, but many different interpretations and teachings. Branch President Kim told him that the first prophet of our church in this time had asked the very same questions. The lesson was great, and he accepted a baptismal date. We are very excited for him!

Me and Elder Peterson

Mission Office

Hill above the Mission office

Monday, September 12, 2016

Expensive Taxis and Miracles

This week we've seen a lot of miracles. On Thursday we went up into the country to find a less active. The town we went to was SUPER pretty. I wish I had some pictures to send of that area. The people were super nice and friendly, and we managed to find some people who new the person we were looking for and directed us to the house (also something that never happens in a bigger city. The old lady who answered the door said she didn't know the person we were looking for, but we felt like she had to be there, so we kept asking. Someone else in the house then came out and said the less active was her sister and that she had moved about twenty years ago. We weren't able to find the person we were looking for, but we were able to share a short message about family and family history with them. Hopefully they will spark some interest about what we shared. So, we went back down to the main road where there was a group of people shucking corn next to the bus stop. From them we learned that the bus had left about five minutes ago, it it was unclear when the next one would come. Assuming it would probably been a couple hours, we started walking toward the nearest city. About thirty minutes later we stopped at another bus stop and looked at our map. Realizing we had a super long way to go, we were wondering what we should do when we noticed a taxi call ad in the bus stop. So, we ended up calling a (very expensive) taxi to come from the city and get us, after which we took another bus back to Wonju. 

The next day we had a meal appointment with a potential investigator. We were running late, so we decided (with the other elders) to take a taxi. Elder Ryu told him wherever it was we were trying to go, and the driver took us to a small town, and we paid him and got out. As he drove away, we looked up at the name of the school next to us and, lo and behold, we were in the same area we had been in just the day before. This was unfortunate because our meal appointment was in the opposite direction from the way we had come, and was now about two hours away from where we were, almost on the opposite end of our area. Somehow we had made a mistake when we told him where we wanted to go. When we called our appointment to explain what happened though, he wanted to meet us in the middle and then drive us the rest of the way. So, we were going to have to pay for a SUPER expensive taxi to come all the way from Wonju again and bring us there, which would have been over $60 or even $80. Luckily, though, we remembered the number we had just happened to find the day before for a much closer city. We still forked over a lot of money over a couple days for taxi fees, but we saved a lot of money the second day because we had missed the bus the first day. Interesting how that all worked out.
Last Saturday, a long-term English class member and church attendee wanted to have a meal with us. We had discussed what we needed to do to help him get to baptism, and were amazed when he told us he wanted to take the lessons for baptism. This was a huge miracle and he has been in our prayers a lot as we start preparing him for baptism. He seems already to be living the gospel and coming to church, so we need only help him understand that baptism is a gateway that leads to eternal life and help him start on the path toward the temple and receiving the Holy Ghost more abundantly. So excited for him!

This week is Chuseok! That means we are going to Seoul and staying there for the night for Chuseok conference. It's gonna be great! Chuseok is basically Thanksgiving in Korea, but has more of a Christmas-level feel to it. For three days we will either be preparing, going to conference, or deep-cleaning. Looking forward to it!

Elder Tyler Crisp

This week has been great! We got a surprise great new investigator, and Nick came to church. Unfortunately we haven't been in contact much with Wang Ju recently, but we will keep trying. This week is going to be a lot of fun because of Chuseok. I'll try to take and send some pictures. 

​Me and Elder Steward in the back of the bus on the way back from zone training in Gangnung

The church building

Our apartment building

​Something I ate. Don't remember what it was called

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Forgetting ourselves

Wang Ju came to church again and we taught him with Branch President Kim. Our branch president is so great! He is a great example to me of selfless and diligent service. He has been serving for three years here under great trials, but is pressing forward with determination. He is always there for the missionaries, too. When we taught with him he said a lot of things Wang Ju needed to hear. We are trying to set a baptismal date for him, but it seems we first need to help him build faith in Christ so that he will make it a greater priority. He is doing well, though, and seems to be reading, praying, and coming to church diligently. Nick wasn't able to come again, but he suddenly decided to refer one of his friends to us on Thursday. This was a great miracle, and we hope it will help both of them strengthen their roots in the gospel further. 

Elder Peterson and I also hope to do a lot of family history proselyting this week. We had a special training up in Gangneung, and Sister Sonksen gave an inspiration training on using the Spirit of Elijah in our work by sharing some stories about ancestors, asking people about their families and ancestors, and introducing them to family search. We really want to take advantage of this blessing to try to help more people obtain interest in the gospel. 

Another thing we learned in training is that nothing we do - planning, personal study, companion study, language study, or activities - should be for us. It all needs to be directed toward others. This is hard to do, especially during studies. But as I have done it I have already noticed my thought more often be drawn to investigators and members. We have better been prepared to receive revelation for them and accomplish more during the day. I feel that when we are prepared to use them, the Lord blesses us with more opportunities. 

Love you all! Thank you for your prayers. 

Wonju is great! My companion played trombone in school and has a lot of similar interests, like reading and music. He is actually leading the branch choir right now. He is form North Carolina, so the hot and humid weather is totally normal for him. He also has a strong testimony and desire to accomplish a lot here, especially the branch. His mom is a writer and may even be getting a book published soon. He is super smart, too. Apparently he finished high school a year early and went to college at SVU. He is really great, and I feel like we work very will together. 

Me, Elder Peterson, Elder Steward, Elder Ryu​