Friday, December 6, 2013

First Letter Home!

Hey mom and dad!
  It has been so amazing since I have entered the MTC!  Immediately after being dropped off I was ushered through all my entrance stuff by an Elder Payne who is actually in my Branch.  (Korean Celestial Branch).  He exclaimed to everyone on the way that I was going to korea and many people greeted me with the usual Annyong Hassaeyo (Hello in Korean) and shook my hand.  I found out we received 37 missionaries going to Korea on Wednesday which made us the largest branch in the MTC at 77 missionaries.  I was moved off to my room after getting all of my language and learning books, so many!  Probably around 7-8 different books that I have to study from, including a korean bible and triple combination, language learning books and MTC help books.  I dropped my stuff in the room and then was hurried to my classroom where I met some of my district members, who were all standing eagerly with their companions.  I felt left out because my companion wasn't there yet.  I found out later his plane was delayed for 5 hours in Montana where he is from.  His name is Elder Jarrett and he is a pretty cool but shy kid.  I will try to send pictures of him and me, but he has the biggest heart out of all of us in the district.  He is very patient and has helped me deal with somethings already.  Later in the day we had our first lesson!  It was in a big group of maybe 40 of us but they were acting like real investigators (supposedly they were actors, but when some of us asked they said that they were real investigators) One elder in our 3rd lesson out of 3 got up and told the actor/investigator that telling her information is fine but she wont learn about the gospel unless it is structured and planned, the investigator responded by getting out of her chair in the front of the class and yelling at him telling him that she wanted to learn how she wanted to learn!  Some of us scrambled to try to cover up his blunder but it was a great lesson on not telling people how to learn, but inviting them to come on their own.  Speaking of companions it is very weird having to be with mine all the time.  The only time I can leave him is if we are at residence and we want to shower or bathroom, or visit other missionaries but we cant leave the floor we are on, 4th btw, hard to deal with after a long day of learning,..  We live in a dorm with two other missionaries, Elders Moore and Gildae who are a companionship as well, ones from Texas and the other is from the Military haha he's very stern and serious at first but is probably one of the funniest guys in our district.  Our room is small and im surprised it holds all of us comfortably but I guess when you have nothing in there but beds, desks, and closets and nothing else everything fits fine.  Our district (which is ten of us, all elders going to the Korea Seoul Mission)  Live right next door to each other and have even taken to having district prayers before service projects, reciting our purpose as missionaries every morning and night, and also reciting D&C 4 as well.  We are very close knit and all love each other.  We are constantly with each other in the classroom or at residence or working out, never away for more than a few minutes.  Eating the food here is good, so far the Orange Juice has not had any adverse affects on any of us.  We drink it along with the chocolate milk or some soda for almost all meals.  The campus was confusing at first but now on our 2nd full day we are getting the hang of getting around, it is amazing how much you can learn in just 2 days!!!  Me and Jarrett have gone through so many classes and orientations and workshops in the past 2 days and all of us in the district have learned a lot!  In our People & Our Purpose class we had, we talked about how listening is always more important than speaking.  An elder got up and told us that "We have two ears and one mouth, and should us them proportionately"  It was funny but definitely a valid statement.  We have to listen the those who we are teaching and then plan and respond with love and compassion and help them understand that the gospel can help with their problems. 

Elder Jarrett says hi! Haha he is sitting right next to me in the laundry room waiting for me to finish.

Yesterday the new people met the Branch Presidency.  As soon as we met president yost, he taught us some new stuff.  Our coats should match our pants, coats are to be on at all times unless instructed to take them off. He didnt seem too happy with some of us.  But later in interviews I got to meet with Brother Snow who is 2nd counselor in the branch presidency out of 4!  He was an amazing man and expressed his love for me when I walked into the interview.  He also told me someone had called him personally and expressed their concern for me serving in Korea.  He told me later that he had been thinking about me a lot before I had even entered the MTC and so that was a great thing to hear that someone cared so much about me.  Later they decided on district leaders.  I was really hoping that I would get called to serve in the position but Elder Taylor was instead.  I was both sad and happy?  I was sad that I didnt get called to serve in district leadership, but happy that he did.  I did learn a lesson in humility and pride though and shouldnt be disappointed if I am not called to do something, there will be multiple opportunities to serve both here and in them mission field. 

Yesterday we also learned a lot of Korean and most of us can now read the different things that we have, although not very well and we definitely don't know what exactly we are reading.  It is exciting to already be able to communicate a little in a language I knew nothing about a couple of days ago.  I cant wait to be at the proficiency level of some of our zone leaders and the other older missionaries. 

Well I cant think of much more now, hope everyone writes me asap!!! I was a little hurt no one had written me but It's ok.  Send me letters and emails or whatever you want!  My Email is on the blog and so is my mailing address. 

I love everyone and miss you guys so much! 

Anyeong Hikayseo  ( I have no korean characters so I cant write it properly)



  1. Hi Elder Yamagata! Thanks for sharing and we love and miss you too!

  2. Elder Yamagata I wanted to congratulate you on your new journey that you will embark on.I'm excited for you and looking forward to seeing you get back. Tell Elder Jarrett I said what's up. You guys take care and will see you soon Romel.

  3. Hey Elder Yamagata! It's great to hear about your experiences in the MTC. It reminds me somewhat of my own experience, even though yours is so different and, from what I hear, MUCH better! I'm sure that you'll keep learning a ton.

    Keep a positive attitude and know that we are praying for you every day! Love you!