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!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

This has been one of the, if not the most, miraculous weeks on my mission. Using a plan called "operation goldmine" that we learned about from President Sonksen, we have been using the phone to contact all of the contacts in the phone. We have five new investigators this week with lots of potential. One of them came to district conference yesterday. His name is Brother Lee, and he is just amazing. When we first sat down last week, I was on exchanges with Elder Hipps from Donghae. He talked about how he had received strength in his life from reading the Bible, and how he had also decided to quit smoking and drinking on his own a while back. He just has desires for righteousness. In two days, he read over 100 pages of the Book of Mormon and is still going. He accepted a baptismal date and said he would study and pray diligently to know and be ready for it. There isn't any question in my mind that it was not me that was able to do this. A mere phone call and a couple meetings couldn't have prepared his heart and mind to accept the Gospel. But the Lord has been inspiring him to make changes in his life, and I am so glad that I get to meet him now. 

There's been a lot happening this week, and we have lots of great people to work with. As a zone, we are writing down a miracle per day in our planners to have more gratitude, but there have been so many more. From that gratitude, I want to increase my effort to give all each day to help them progress a little more and find more people constantly!

Elder Crisp

So glad I was able to see you! Wish I could see Nichole's graduation. I think I need to take more pictures...I try to do that with people I meet!

Love you too!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Operation Goldmine

So, President Sonksen has introduced something new called "Operation Goldmine." Basically, every phone that missionaries use has over 1000, 2000, or even 3000 numbers in it that have built up over the years. We were trained on a way to organize them into groups, and then start texting them! We can only send 20 messages at a time, but the effect has been enourmous! Just this week, by texting people in the phone something like, "Hello! My name is Elder Crisp and I'm a missionary serving near you. A while ago you may have met missionaries or learned English from us. Although those missionaries have moved, if you have interest in meeting with us again or in learning English, please let us know," we've found several people who have agreed to meet again, including a less active. It's a little funny, because inevitably other missionaries, members, and even President Sonksen ends up getting these texts, but its been super effective! It also cleans up the phone.

Sister Huang came to church yesterday! Her baptismal should be coming up in a couple weeks, so we are excited for her. Brother Ho, our investigator with a baptismal date, also came, though he had to leave early because of work. He said his work schedule is to busy this month to meet for lessons, but fortunately the time he has available allows him to come to church. So, we'll keep teaching him then. 

This week I've been impressed by The Living Christ, which president also gave a training on. It was a really spiritual experience, and I felt powerfully how important is to really see Christ as a person, not as a principle or doctrine. Knowing that He lives means that we have someone to rely on. It means we can trust him, and that he will respond when we reach out to him. It means that there is one who understands and loves us perfectly, and that by Him we find strength and direction. The document The Living Christ declare boldly who He is, and I've felt a lot of strength, which has come by the Holy Ghost, as I've kept him in my thoughts. Words far beyond my own come with the power to change hearts when they come from Him. I've seen this this week, and it is something I'll never forget! 

Elder Crisp

​p-day on the beach. Me, Elder McKinnon, Elder Paulsen (my companion), Elder Summers

Monday, May 1, 2017


This week with Elder Paulsen has been great! He is super hardworking and loves to just go out and get things done. We've found some really great people together. Among them were two men from Nepal. We met them on the street sometime last week, and yesterday they called and wanted to meet. We were both stunned by the sincerity and purity they had. Basically, they said they just wanted to learn a little about Christ. They said they had tried praying before. They are such a great example of honest desire to know a little more about what this life is about. We gave them a Plan of Salvation pamphlet in Nepali and have a Book of Mormon coming. 

Sister Huang is meeting with the sisters and is doing well! If all goes according to plan she will be baptized and confirmed in the coming weeks. 

So, this is a cool story that taught me a little bit about judging. We have an English-interest investigator that we have met a couple times who came to church yesterday. When he showed up, it was clear that he had been drinking quite a bit, so we were a little worried about that. After Sacrament Meeting, we were planning to just tell him he could go home, but the branch mission leader basically said, "No, its okay. Have him come to Gospel Principles class." So, we did, and Brother Ryu, the branch mission leader, taught the Plan of Salvation to him. During that meeting, we learned so much more about him than we did before. He said the reason he came to church was because he had felt something when we showed him the Easter Video a couple weeks back. He also said he remembered a parable we had shared when teaching about why God allows suffering to occur. When all was said and done, we saw so much much humility and potential that before had just been, "Uh-oh, he's been drinking." We've got a ways to go with him, but our hopes are high!

I hope you are all happy and having a great Spring!

I love you so much! Hope you are having a great spring in Montana.

Do I need a specific Ecclesiastical Endorsement for BYU?

Elder Paulson is great! He is extremely hard working and has a get-it-done attitude. He is very good and talking with others and thinking outside of the box. He is from Utah and also came out right out of high school. We were actually in the MTC together for a little while, so he is only one transfer behind me. He is lots of fun and likes to do things outside. He likes golf and Frisbee and whatever else. I'm excited to be working with him! 

Uh...I haven't taken any pictures this week. I'll try to send on with him next week!

Love you!

Mission Leadership Council and District Leader Training. We have outstanding leaders in our mission!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Transfers again

Transfer calls came, and Elder Song will be leaving! I wish I could have been with him longer, because he has been a super great companion. We've worked hard in Gangnung together, and I'll really miss him! My new companion will be Elder Paulson. 

We met with Sister Hwang this week, and she has a strong desire to be baptized! We made some plans for her to be able to end her responsibilities at her other church to be able to consistently come each Sunday. She had to go somewhere this weekend, so she wasn't able to come yesterday, but she's committed to coming in the future! Because Elder Song, the one who knows sign language, is leaving, the sisters will start teaching her again. Interestingly, Sister Lee, who was the one who found her last year, then who moved to another area, actually came back to Gangnung last transfer. She will keep teaching her from here on out. 

We had a great music night yesterday! We were all a little worried about it, but the turnout was great. We had some members, nonmembers, and even less actives perform. In all, fifteen nonmembers came, along with two less active families. One of those families came to church yesterday! The members loved it, and the members here are really great. Yesterday was branch conference, so President and Sister Sonksen came and gave talks. It was really powerful.


Cherry Blossom Festival

​2018 Olympic hockey stadium - we can see part of the stadiums here from our house!

Branch party at President O's house. I think he must be very rich. (he is the furthest on the left)​

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Time this week was a little crazy! We did a BIG service project at a member's house who lives an hour drive away from Gangnung. We were mudding the walls with kind of a cement. This sister has built this house almost completely by herself over a period of four years! I think we helped her out, and she was really grateful. 

Other than that, we spent a lot of time with members this week. We had a big Samgyeupsar feast at the church (pig meat, kind of like thick bacon). We invited lots of people to come to church for Easter - less actives, investigators, former investigators, potential investigators, and every on the street. Unfortunately, we didn't have any investigators come, but a whole less actively family came to church, which was great! We have an Easter music night this Saturday that they are planning on performing at, which is great. 

In Sacrament meeting, I learned how powerful it is to consider Easter and resurrection in the context of the plan of Salvation. I don't have a lot of time to write, but think about how wonderful it is to know this!

Monday, April 10, 2017

General Conference

This week we were able to meet with a few new people. One of them didn't have much time, but seems likely to become a new investigator later. One of them became a new investigator, mostly with English interest, but who kept his commitment the very night we gave it. The other wants to learn and has interest in God and hearing "good words." We also had two investigators come to part of general conference.

 Sister Huang is still doing well! She came to part of general conference on Sunday. Each time we teach her, we see that she has a desire to follow Christ. She said she believes the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. She is struggling a bit to let go of her previous church, where she is really close with the members and has responsibilities as well. But, by continuing to help her have spiritual experiences, we are trying to help her obtain the pearl of great price. 

General conference was great! I thought a lot about the family of God. His role as our Father, and Christ's as the Savior, are critical to understand. When we stop seeing God as merely someone we pray to with a list of thanks and of requests and really see him as someone real and living, and when we speak to Him that way, our perspective changes. I was also struck when President Nielson taught that the Atonement is not what brings strength and redemption, but it is the Savior because of His Atonement. We also need to see Him as a person. Strength, comfort, and love come because He loves us perfectly, knows us perfectly, and can grant everything according to what He knows is best for us. We can come to know them, and this is eternal life. 

Have a great week!

​This is where we ate the other day.

​Loach Soup

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sign language

Me and Elder Song are teaching a deaf sister, Sister Huang, who has been an investigator for several months. Elder Song known sign language and he translates for me. She is so great! She has lots of interest in the gospel. She has not been baptized mainly because of her attachment to her other church, which is a hearing disability church. She has some duties there and jeong (a close bond or relationship) with the members there, and so it is really hard for her to leave. We talked about sharing Christ's parable of the pearl of great price. I imagine that the trader in this parable probably had lots of jewels and pearls of value. These things are by no means bad - in fact, they can all be very good. But then, he finds the pearl of great price. I might even say, when we consider the restored Church of Jesus Christ, the priceless pearl. We aren't told how much this pearl cost. But, we do know that it required all that he had. Surely this included things that were good or even great. However, he obtained that priceless gem, and the eternal happiness that came with it. We felt like we should share this in our lesson. It was clearly hard for her, but she committed to come to church. And she came! The members all love her, are we are super happy for her. 

As a mission, we are currently doing operation keystone: part 2. The goal, as we read the four gospels of the New Testament, is to come to a better understanding of how the Book of Mormon supports the message of the Bible and teaches the gospel of Christ. I've learned a lot already. The Bible offers an irreplaceable story of Christ's ministry, but speaks little of His Gospel. The Book of Mormon is clear. Faith unto repentance, the fruit of which is baptism; this is followed by the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Those who endure to the end will be saved. It teaches this over and over again. 

Have a great week!

Our house. Huge! Yes, the red cabinets from last time are our kitchen. Two chandeliers. Mood lighting. 

​The view outside our window this morning

​Gangnung street

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Crazy week.

This week has been so busy! First of all we went to Seoul on Monday to go to the hospital (no, we're not hurt. It was actually a follow up on Elder Song's leg, which has long since recovered). We slept in President's house, then did exchanges with the AP's the next day. I learned a lot from Elder Littlefield, who is a very spiritual missionary. One of the things that struck me is the care he shows for every person he meets, even when he is on a street full of people and we've already talked to thirty. We slept in the mission office that night, finished the exchange and went back to Gangnung. Then, we had our back-to-back zone training (2 hours) and zone conference (3 and a half hours). We do them on the same day in Gangnung zone because everyone is so far apart, maybe 3 hours by bus, that it takes too much time away to separate them. In Seoul, you can sometimes just walk to zone conference in about 30 minutes. Right afterward I went on an exchange with Elder Diamante, who has got to be one of the friendliest and bubbly people I've ever met. That exchange ended. Then, we had a couple investigators come to church! That was great, but the weird thing is that they haven't thus far had time to meet with us for lessons. They just come to church. Usually it is the other way around, so I can't complain! 

This week has really been spiritually nourishing. Perhaps the most powerful moment was when President Sonksen taught about the Atonement in zone conference. He teaches of Christ with a conviction and power that brings the Holy Ghost to the heart. That is always the focus of our work and our lives, and it is what we believe! 

Have a great week!

Monday, March 20, 2017


Today we are going to Seoul...bus leaves in about 25 minutes so I've got to be quick. 

Gangnung is great! I've not seen the ocean yet, but the city is great. Lots of people, and several investigators. Three of them came to church! That was fantastic. I'm only meeting them for the first time, but I'm really excited. We also found three new investigators this week! I'll let you know about Huang first. She is someone that the sister missionaries met on the street. Because the is deaf and communicate through sign language, the sisters prayed that she would be able to learn the gospel. Then, my companion, Elder Song showed up, who knows sign language. I haven't taught her yet, but I met her at the Relief Society anniversary party and at church. She's really great and seems very sincere!

​Elder Song with our new (giant) container of red pepper sauce. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Transfer calls came! I've been in Wonju for five transfers, and now I'm going to Gangnung, over by the ocean. I'll be with Elder Song Seokmin. I've been there a lot already for zone conferences and such, so I'm excited to be serving there! I'm also very sad to be leaving Wonju. I've spent so much time working with the members here, and it's hard to say goodbye. And, as it turns out, I guess it is literally hard to say goodbye. In probably my worst Korean mistake, when I intended to say in my farewell talk, "I'll never forget you," I accidentally said, "I'll never remember you." So that's kind of unfortunate, but it gave everyone I laugh. I'm sure they'll never let me forget it. Oh well, I guess we have to be humbled sometimes. 

What we've been doing this week has mostly been finding and finding. We weren't able to meet the investigator who has already read the whole Book of Mormon, but we did find a new 78 year old investigator who was able to tell us about the Korean War and all sorts of other historical things. For now he mostly has English interest, but he said he will, bit by bit, be reading the Book of Mormon. Also, because school vacation has ended, our English class exploded in membership this week. We also hope to invite some potentials from that to learn more. 

​Me, Elder Horne, and the Park family

​Me and Elder Horne in the historic province capital building

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Guidance of the Spirit

We found a great new investigator this week! The new investigator we met last week who was referred by a less-active member, as it turns out, is a former investigator who has already read the whole Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price. The new investigator, though, is actually someone referred by this person. We went to our appointment, and instead of teaching him he asked us to teach his friend, who, though she does not have Christian background, was extremely open to our message. She took a Book of Mormon and said she would study it, and we are going to meet with them again this week.

We had a couple instances of witnessing the guidance of the Spirit this week. After going to visit a potential investigator, who was not at work, we decided to do all we could to find someone on the way back to our house. We didn't have much time, but as we were passing Nambu Market, we looked in and saw someone putting away his things for the night. We decided, moments later, to go back and ask if he needed help. He said no, so we talked with a drunk man there too, who gave us the wrong phone number. Then, after leaving, we met a couple on the street, who stopped to talk to us. After just a little bit, we learned that he had visited the Temple Square visitors center, as well as Elder Horne's hometown in New Hampshire. We talked some more, and he actually asked if he could meet with us again. We gave him my planner so he could draw a map to our meeting place. We told him he could just draw it anywhere (which may have been a mistake, because this was the result...there goes Saturday)

While on exchanges with Elder Ku, we went door-to-door in an apartment complex. After finishing the first building without much success, we started to leave. We noticed on the third floor of one of the buildings, though, a banner advertising an English academy. We, again, didn't have much time, but we decided to go and knock on that last door. We went to the third floor, and he opened the door. That's actually pretty good progress in Korea, because people tend to shout and ask who we are rather than open the door. We talked and learned that he had lived in the Philippines, and that his English teacher there was a member of the church. Though he didn't set an appointment with us then to learn more, he accepted a Book of Mormon and said he's read it.

Have an incredible week!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2/28/17--Elder Holland's visit

The highlight of this week was the incredible visit from Elder and Sister Holland, accompanied by President and Sister Whiting and Elder and Sister Choi from the area presidency. It was a life changing two hours. Before Elder Holland spoke, President Whiting said, "From this point on, your mission can change. From this point on, you can be different." Those words stuck with me as I listened to Elder Holland. I can't express everything I learned, but some of the most powerful impressions came when he said thunderously that "it matters that He lives!" Some things that went along with that were, "I don't think you have any idea what you are doing here." I guess one would have to be there to actually get the feel of what he was saying, but the lesson was that no one really understands how important our just how significant the work of the Lord is. 

I wish I could explain better the things I felt when Elder Holland spoke, but it did change me. I want now to declare to everyone, in words that they can understand (Elder Holland shared the story of Nicodemus in talking about this), that Christ lives and what it means to them. Sometimes, he said, we just don't grasp what we have until we are pushed to the edge - to death, to tragedy, or the like. Me and Elder Horne have increased our efforts to bring this message of joy and life more faithfully to others. 

Other than that, we've been blessed with lots of people to meet and teach. When the AP, Elder Nam, came and did exchanges with us, we had a miracle referral from a less active. This person has already read the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price. He knows all about the church and the story of Joseph Smith. He says he believes it is true, but he lacks an understanding, it seems, of what that actually means. We find people willing to meet often who believe that all religion is good and acceptable. We'll teach him the significance of God's restored authority and of apostasy. 

Have an amazing week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Feb 20--Putting ourselves out there

We saw a lot of miracles this week! We have committed to be more engaged in finding by doing things we don't normally do - go into stores, go door to door with surveys, go English class streetboarding, and other things. We have seen so much more success this week, and have found two more investigators. An interesting and difficult part of this week is that those investigators are people who are in a very rough part of life right now, and are stuck in very bad addictions. We have been studying and praying for ways to help them with that. 

This week has been a testimony builder as we have worked harder, opened our mouths, and invited people to learn more about Jesus Christ. A scripture in 1 Nephi 17 has had a great impact on me this week: 

And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

The phrase "ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led" seems, to me, to be one of the greatest blessings. As we seek to build our faith in the Savior, he will help us. We may at times be prone to think that success comes because of our own skill or ability, but this week we have seen the Lord preparing a way for us, when we just do all we can. 

I hope you all have a great week. We have Elder Holland this week, so we are getting hearts and minds ready for that.

Today we went to a mountain with a big face on it.

Me and Elder Horne

Elder Horne

From a distance

greater distance

greatest distance

Feb 12 Busy week

Feb 12

Last week was a little crazy! Every transfer now we have a zone conference (President Sonksen and the AP's train) in addition to zone training (the zone leaders train). Being in Gangwon Province, where all the districts are hours from each other, to be effective we did both on the same day. It was a little tiring, but super spiritual. 

Coming back from Gangnung after zone meetings, me and Elder Horne decided to eat dinner at the terminal as we were waiting for our bus back to Wonju. We went to a restaurant we had been to before, and knew the lady that worked there. What happened teaches a really cool thing about Korean culture. We talked with her a bunch and shared more about what we do as missionaries, and asked if she had read the pamphlet we gave her last time. We were the only customers at the time, so we talked a whole bunch. Then, she got up and started peeling a Korean pear (SO delicous), then sliced it up and set it on our trays for us, free of charge. Then, when we go to pay for our meals, she doesn't take the money and  just tells us to have a safe trip. That's one of the things I love about Korea - this kind of thing happens all the time! 

We are going hard on finding right now. I'm really glad to be working with Elder Horne, because he is so focused and has lots of desire to bring others unto Christ. And, quite honestly, he is probably going to be better at Korean than me in a couple weeks here. He has already studied French and Arab, and is otherwise just crazy smart. He skipped a year of high school and went to BYU at age 16. Don't tell him I said that, though!

안녕히 계세요! 

The sacrament and the heart

Feb 5

Gyuheong is doing so well! He is reading, praying, coming to church, and seeking so earnestly. He especially is very desirous to feel the Holy Ghost and to receive those feelings that we have taught about. We are so excited for him! But, he is leaving today to go to Seoul until he goes back to college, so it'll be other missionaries teaching him from here on out. 

There is so much that I learned this week, I don't know where to begin or start. Maybe the most prominent thought I had was about the heart and the sacrament. As I've been asking the Lord what I can do better, I've found that often the answer is nothing new. In fact, sometimes it is more like the chastening described in Hebrews 12:5-11. On my exchange with the zone leader last transfer, he made the principle really clear. Repentance is change of heart. This kind of change is not comfortable. If fact, it is often painful. Thus, giving chastening or correction it giving that kind of pain - not out of malice or anger, but out of love and an understanding that this pain is necessary for growth. Elder Christofferson taught that we should even ask for this in April of 2011 - "Let us pray for His love-inspired correction." 

I am so grateful for the correction of the Lord! It allows us to repent and more fully have his presence with us through partaking of the Sacrament. It prompts us to search our hearts and to give our hearts to him and to soften them. 

Have a great week everyone!

​Last p-day we went to a member's house and made Mandu. It was delicious! 

Schedule changes

Jan 29, 2017

The missionary worldwide broadcast was incredible! I learned so much I can't explain it all here. For one, Elder Bednar prayed to start, which was something I realized I'd never seen before. The theme, like last year, was "teach repentance and baptize converts," and I realized, most of all, the great significance of what that means. God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, which was enabled by His Son and His Atonement. By helping others to repent and be baptized, we are doing the will of God, because the gospel of Christ is the process by which we receive remission of sins and are born again by the water and the Spirit. This enables us to return to Him in His Kingdom. The divine power and authority in the steps and ordinances of Christ's gospel are what brings this about. I was humbled by this. I cannot cleanse someone from sin, nor can I fill their heart with that purifying power that changes it forever. But these things are real, and they come from Christ. 

Besides that, we did deep cleaning on Saturday (all missionaries do this on Lunar New Year's Day). For lunch, we ate Ddeokuk, which is a tradition to eat on Lunar New Year's Day in Korea. The tradition is that eating this makes you a year older, so now, in Korean age, I am 22! 

New year - I didn't see any special celebrations or dragons or anything, but we also spent the entire day inside cleaning. But, the house is super clean now. Here's some pictures of Seoul from the bus: 

​The district going back to Wonju, from left to right, back to front - Elder Steward and Ku, Sister Lee and Lynn, and me and Elder Horne

​The Han river. The big tower in Lotte Tower. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Spiritual Power

This week I have had a great opportunity to witness the spiritual power of one whose life has been devoted to Christ. When I went to a training meeting in Seoul last Thursday, I remember, most of all, the powerful feelings and thoughts I had when he bore his testimony. It is amazing to me that one can have such a sound knowledge and testimony, and a love, of the Savior and of Heavenly Father. Then, on Sunday, he came to Wonju to speak in church and in Priesthood meeting. Our investigator was at church yesterday and also felt the spiritual power that was there. He talked to us about how great the question was that President Sonksen asked - what are our mysteries? He is progressing so well and is eating up everything we tell him.

Besides that, this week is Seollal, which is New Year's Day in Korea. It's gonna be big! We are going to Seoul both for a Seollal conference and a worldwide missionary broadcast. 

Have a great week everyone!

Finally got snow!

​Squid (in the chopsticks, not the noodles)