Monday, February 24, 2014

Busy and Fun week!

This week has been busy and fun!  Ive met with several investigators, and had several others ignore us completely!  Ive jundoed for hours at a time, only to contact 15 people and get 3 numbers.  Ive felt the happiness of having a successful lesson, and the pain of  being stood up.  Its definitely a crazy life as a missionary, but I wouldnt want to be anywhere else.  


Something that is taking a long time to get used to is Jundo.  전도.  Literally, its street contacting and trying to find people to teach.  Its not something that was very big in Las Vegas, and in fact I never heard of it until I got to Korea.  We walk down to busy places here in Ilsan, and just start trying to talk to everyone.  Normally, this would be easy for me, as everyone who knows me knows that I love talking!  But throw me into a different language, and I start to stutter!  This week we only proselyted for 10 hours, which I guess is extremely short!  Me and Elder Smith contacted 130 only this week, 20 less than last week.  But it is such a hard thing sometimes.  After getting shot down so many times eventually you just want to give up, go home, and just study.  But you cant.  These people NEED to hear the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we are here to give it to them!  I can't let my selfish desires keep me from sharing this great message.  Ive had so many crazy experiences doing this though, and this week even got my first number, in korean, by myself!  I actually lost my companion for about 5 minutes while I walked about a quarter of a mile with this man!  Of course, afterwards my head got as big as texas and I was rejected hard the next couple of times, my bad..... But Im still getting used to this style of Missionary Work.  It always seems like in Vegas the missionaries were always working with the ward and getting referrals and always going to appointments.  Here in my ward, they havent given a referral in a long time, its too much Boodam.  In korea, you dont put pressure on anyone, and they have a hard time telling you how it is, unless it means to buzz off.  It goes so far as to even limit how much home teaching is done!!  They say its too much Boodam, or Pressure, to go to other peoples houses and try to help and strengthen them!! Its just one of those cultural things Im going to have to get used to!  


We are losing a lot of our investigators in these upcoming weeks, the new wave on Gunday is starting and all the males are leaving to do their military service, no bueno!  But we picked up some really cool kids and one of them looks really interested in the Gospel, so maybe we can teach them for a while here!  We had a long lesson with them on Saturday, but most of it was just getting to know them.  They seemed interested some what in the Gospel so we will keep trying to teach them and hopefully get them on the path back to our heavenly father. 


Last night we had a long conversation about Revelation and The Priesthood, and it just gave me a renewed determination to read and study the scriptures to receive answers to my questions, my own personal revelation.  I strongly encourage everyone to start taking notes while they study too!  I started writing down all my thoughts and impressions this week and have definitely noticed an increase in answers and also in the amount of understanding that I have!  I have came to a standstill on progress in the Book of Mormon, only because I have so many thoughts and answers that I spend most of my time writing it all down and pondering through everything!!!!  So definitely consider starting to take notes!!!


Well I hope everyone has a good week and stays safe!!!  Tomorrow is temple day so its my actual p-day as well.  First time to the seoul temple so it will be fun!!  Have a Great week!!!!


Elder Yamagata
All of us at a shabu shabu buffett for sister hunsaker, who didnt end up coming!
cooking lunch yesterday after church, its a whole house effort!
Kicking the door into the bathroom because elder Hendershot locked himself in and then broke the lock!  

Theres a buddihst looking temple near our apartment!

And finally all those years of leaning back in my chair have come to bite me in the butt!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 2 in Korea!

Dear Mom and Dad,

Wow this week has been crazy!  So many things going on and not a lot of time to do them! 


So first off at the conclusion of email from last week we found this shop that sells suits for 20 bucks!  I didnt buy any but total in the house theres 7 new suits!  Haha they may not be good quality but they dont need to be for missionaries!  Afterwards we went to the Bathhouse!  Wow that stuff is crazy!  Definitely a new and interesting experience.  After that we kinda just chilled out and come home, ate dinner and then went Proselyting for a couple of hours!  So much fun! 

Tuesday wasnt really exciting but wednesday was definitely crazy!  We had Zone Training and it was intenese.  Talked about receiving revelation through church attendance.  Some powerful stories and testimonies were shared and we even found out that one of the sisters in our zone is best friends with one of the olympic bobsledders!  But it made me and the rest of the missionaries there pumped to go out and start working even harder to bring people unto the gospel.  Later that day me and elder smith had our First Appointment with a man named Jin Oo.  I dont have access to a korean keyboard right now so I cant spell it properly.  Anyways we met him at a sushi bar (in this area its not very common to teach people in their homes for a while) and we just had dinner and got to know him better.  Hes a really cool guy, and eventually we led into our church and our message.  He sat through all of it and asked really good questions that we answered as best as we could, it was in english thankfully!  We committed him to read Moroni 10:3-5 and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  He accepted eagarly and we both bore our testimonies!  What an amazing experience!  The spirit was incredibly strong!  I have good feelings about him, and hopefully he can stay on as our investigator for a while.  Unfortunately here in Kroea, Males have mandatory Army Service for 2 years once they graduate high school.  Regardless of if there going to college or not!  Its crazy and he has to go in soon so we are hoping to teach him before he has to report! 

On friday me and elder smith went on exchanges with Elders Chisholm and Rhodes, our zone leaders.  I went with elder rhodes and he taught me a lot about effective study times and how to make the best of it.  It was inspiring and makes me want to study more and learn more about the gospel and the basic principles of it to really strengthen my testimony.  I want to be fully converted to the gospel always and have an unshakeable testimony!  Later on in the day when we went out he made me Proselyte alot and made me do it on my own, barely helping me.  I struggled but started figuring out how to do it and what to say.  Its definitely harder in another language!  He also helped me put more emotion into my speech, I guess when everyone starts speaking korean they lose emotion in their voices and so he had to help me put some back in.  Hahaa never thought I would need that! 

Church this week was cool, but all of the missionaries were so tired from the week we started falling asleep during meetings and being awoken by members hahaha.  Its super hard staying awake and I feel asleep about 7 times in one meeting!  But afterwards we went home and studied and planned for the next day.  Definitely the day of rest some of us needed! 



Well I hope everyone at home is having a great week and was able to enjoy yesterday and all the days of the week.  As Im out here I realize how hard missionary work is, and how much I have need of being humbled.  I have been since I've been out here, but sometimes I still feel my pride coming out and soon enough I am humbled again.  I have found a lot of strength through Christ and I know that he gives us strength and power that no normal person can have.  He gives us so many blessings to bless the lives of others and help them come unto him.  There's no way that we could pay him back for everything that he gives us, but being in the service helps!!!!


I love everyone at home and I pray daily that the lord will bless each and every one of you as you come unto him and ask him for help daily!!!!  Miss all of you and love you!!!!!


-Elder Yamagata
Me and Elder Kaufusi, One of our APS, hes almost 7 foot!

The Marathon park in Ilsan, the Buildings in the background are all apartments

Selfies for days!

Me at the Park with the massive lake in the background!

Our ward building after sacrament

The only place in the world that still has this cereal!

Almost all of the buildings are apartments!

You cant even see the End of the park!

All the missionaries in our ward meeting with our Ward Mission Leader

And another one getting ready for a picture with our English Class coordinator

Monday, February 10, 2014


Dear Mom and Dad


일산에 환영합니다!!!!!


Welcome to Ilsan!!! This place is amazing I love Korea!!!!


The flight here was super long!  Luckily we were pseudo allowed to watch disney movies and such on the plane and so I watched planes and a couple of other movies to keep me entertained as well as a couple other older movies, studied, and talked to some of the people on the plane in Korean.  So exciting yet super long!  We flew from detroit over through canada and then over Russia and through parts of China.  When we were approaching Korea, we came from the north and I thought we were going to fly over North Korea.  But we flew around instead over China and into Incheon Airport which is super nice and fast!  We mad it through cutoms and got our baggage in a couple of minutes.  The longest thing we had to wait for was walking from the terminal to customs which took us like 10 minutes.  I didnt sleep at all on the flights so at this point I had been up for around 24 hours.  We walked outside and met our President, President Christensen and his wife.  They were super nice and we also met the office elders and the Assistants to the Presidents.  All of them were super friendly and funny.  After loading all of our baggage into their vans to get ready to go, they pulled out a box of Book of Mormons and told us we had a 40 minutes subway ride into Seoul, so we were to Jundo 존도 from Incheon all the way to Seoul.  That was crazy!!!.  I placed my book of mormon with the first person I talked to, and then gave out several passalong cards to people on the train after semi talking to them.  The asistants came around and helped out and  trained us a little bit on how to street contact.  It was really fun!  After finally making it to seoul and to the church building next to the temple, we ate some light snack and then hit the hay.  I had been up around 27 hours at this point and was super tired.  I knocked out instantly.  The next day they had us eat breakfast with president, do some studies, and get interviews out of the way.  Then after all of that they took us to Gwanghwamun Square and Jundo there for about 1 1/2 hours and then went to the museum there to see some cultural stuff.  We wrote out names in Hangul 한근 and saw some historical stuff about the language and some generals. Kinda interesting.  The next day we met our trainers!!!!! I was so excited but also sad, after being with elder Jarrett for almost 10 weeks it was hard not to be with him, but I was placed with this awesome Elder Smith from San Diego.  He attended MIT and played volleyball for them, he also was a pro gamer on the MLG circuit.  He is cool but we have some differences in personality that are a little bothersome sometimes.  We were assigned to the Ilsan 4 area, an area in the most northern part of Korea.  I am near the DMZ yes, but not actually near it at all, still several ways away.  The area is huge and guess how many missionaries we have in our ward???? 12!!! 


Isnt that crazy????? We are so used to only 2 per ward that to have 12 in one ward is nuts!!!  I see almost all of them on a daily basis and they are all really cool.  I live in an apartment with 5 others, Elders Smith, Hendershot, Elwood, Chisholm, and Rhodes.  They are all super chill and have been helping me out soo much! The area is beautiful, but the church is super far away!  Its 30 minutes by bus and its way out of our main city.  But its really nice, however its placed right next to 2 mega churches and they look creepy.  I'll try to take a picture soon, I havent been taking many because I was put straight to work.  I have been Jundoing and Studying non stop these past couple of days!!!


I hope everyone is well at home.  The weather here is cold but manageable, Its snowed the last two days, the first day a bit thick, and today its been just dusting.  The people are super nice and the ward I'm in is one of the biggest ones in Korea.  Theres only like 3 stakes in all of our mission.  Isnt that weird?  And our bathroom is a little, interesting.... The shower head comes straight out of the sink,,, and theres no divider or anything between sections of the bathroom.  Just a big drain in the floor.... Kinda weird but Im used to it now.   The food is good and I'm getting used to Kimchi so Im not starving.  And the second day here me and my companion went to Costco together with everyone else and bought food for the next couple of weeks.  Super helpful to have one here!


Well I pray everyday that everyone is safe and that we can all turn to Christ when we have troubles that we need help with.  Christ is there for even the small things and we should always turn to him when we need help with anything.  He has definitely been helping me out here in Korea. 


Hope everyone is safe and has a great week!  Love all of you!!!!!!


-Elder Yamagata
McDonalds trashcan in Korea! 
Me and Elder Smith (had to edit the colors so that we didnt look so white bceause of flash haah)

All of us at Mcdonalds Elders Chisholm Gildea and Hollingshaus, and Sisters Anderson Yang Hunsaker and Ko?

Some of the apartments here, theres tons!!!!
Our bathroom , you can see the shower head in the top right and no dividers or anything haha!
One of the mega churches, fun fact, you can see a church from almost anywhere in Korea.
 Me and elder Jarrett Together for the Last time

 Busy Korean street
Me elder Jarrett, Lundburg and Kim at the Museum
Me writing my name in Korean at the Museum
Me and brother Sung our awesome teacher!

ME and Brother Lund our other Awesome Teacher!

Photo Shoot at the MTC

Photo Shoot at the MTC
Asian face with Brother Lund!

Sister Baek our zone resource!