Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wow this week - May 3, 2015

Was absolutely uneventful.

Not much happened this week.  We had a great lesson with our Progressing investigator O Ji Won, we taught him the Restoration and he has agreed to come to church next week.  We are really excited for him, hes the first person in about 3 months who has had actual interest in the church and is moving along quite well!  We also visited alot of the members this week and gave them bread to lift their spirits.  It came just in time for one of our mongolian members who was having a hard time and came home to that.  It just goes to show me that God puts us in the places that we need to be.  Me and my companion had the impression to just make bread out of these really old bananas that we had in our fridge, and it worked.  We made his day and he was really excited!  He even called us to thank us for it.

Also this week something cool happened at church.  usually the kids crying and being loud is somewhat annoying, and can sometimes cause irritation, especially while the sacrament is being blessed and passed.  But this week, I looked around and the kids were especially loud, and crying, and laughing and running around.  And then the spirit spoke to me, "They are all feeling Christ right now, they have the light of Christ within them."  And so I just sat, and listened to the symphony of laughing, giggling, crying, screaming, and talking as the sacrament was passed.  I felt God sitting with us and loving each second of it.  It was actually really great!  I had one of the best fast and testimony meetings of my mission.  I had a small prompting to bear my testimony, not about anything special, but just to bear it.  It was really great and I felt the Spirit strongly.  

So anyways, hope everyone is doing well, not much like I said but It was still a great week.  Me and Elder Day are doing really well, working hard and trying to find less actives and investigators.  We feel your prayers daily supporting us as we walk out into the world.  

Love all of you and have a great week!

Elder Sun

When the tempter comes knocking.....April 26, 2015

This weeks email wont be too long, but I hope it is full of insight into how missionary work sometimes is!  

So we had a couple of things happen this week, most of them were not important haha.  Went on exchanges with Elder song this week and it was the first exchange that actually didnt end with someone being extremely rude and cursing or swearing or fighting or something like that.  It was actually really good, we even had pizza to celebrate!  I was extremely happy with how far elder song has come in missionary work and with working with others.  Especially with americans.  He loves america, but has a hard time with our culture, just like we do with his, but he has adjusted tremendously and it was wonderful to go on exchanges with him this week.  

Then about wednesday, the tempter started knocking.  It started early in the morning.  I cried out to Heavenly Father to help me, and I felt as though he was slow to respond. The entire day I was struck by temptation, music movies, sports, women, everything.  I felt that I was alone.  By about 4~5 pm I turned to my companion and said "We need to go home and talk"  I then talked to him for the next 20 minutes about how I was feeling and what he could do to help, a small relief.  We had a meal with a member that night so we went and my mind was taken from it for a time.  But upon coming out of the house, I was again wrought upon.  I felt like the devils biggest and baddest were surrounding me and that they were coming to get me.  The weight was incredible.  Finally, the night being done, everyone goes down for bed, and I cried to Heavenly Father asking where he was, why he wasnt there when I needed him.  Immediately, I felt Heavenly Fathers Presence and He let me know that he was there.  I needed to continually rely on him.  It was a great blessing to have heavenly father try me like that, to see if I would rely on him all day. It was tough, but rewarding at the end of the day to have heavenly father confirm to me that He was there.  I had a great conversation that day with Heavenly Father. 

This week started  out a little rough, but ended on a great note!  On Friday we were blessed to have Elder Michael T Ringwood, President of the Asia North Area come and speak to us at a mission tour.  And what a great experience it was.  Definitely fun to see how they are different from what they look like on TV during General Conference.  I wont bore you with all the details of what he said and stories he shared, but I will share one experience.  These past couple of weeks I have been having a hard time dealing with the fact that I'm a different missionary.  "Unorthodox" if you will.  I dont do things the same way, but Heavenly Fathers work always gets done.  I have different view points on things that I have come to after much prayer and study.  Anyways, hard time dealing with this and how people look at me because of this.  During his training, Elder Ringwood told a story about his time as mission president in Korea. 

"I was invited by the Area President, President Evans, to go to the military district conference.  I attended, under the pretence that I would just be relaying my testimony, helping them out, etc.  As President Evans was talking, he started talking about knowing we are successful in Heavenly Fathers eyes.  He then told everyone 'President Ringwood does things a little differently than the rest of the mission presidents in our area.  But everytime I go to his house, or tour his mission, everything feels right.  Nothing is out of place.'"

Hearing this story, I felt the Spirit strongly as I knew that God was telling me right there that I may be different, but he is ok with that and is happy with my work.  I dont have to be the same as everyone else in order to be successful in God's eyes.  As long as I get the work done it doesnt matter what anyone else thinks.  I am obedient, I am hard working, and thats all that matters.  Choices in music, thoughts about rules or commandments, feelings on different aspects of missionary work, none of that matters.  It was a great confirmation to me that Heavenly Father is pleased with my work.  And so I will continue to keep working hard, keep being obedient, and so on.  No longer worried about what anyone else thinks of me.  I'm grateful for Elder Ringwood coming and giving me the opportunity to receive that revelation from our Loving Heavenly Father. 

Well that about sums up my week, some other stuff happens but its not terribly important.  Just remember what is important is what God thinks about us, and where we are going.  Nothing else matters!

Love all of you!

Elder Yamagata

2 Once in a lifetimes! - April 19, 2015

Wow... this week, when it started, was going to be good, but I didn't know how good...

Started with a decent pday buying shirts and ties.. nothing special.

I got to go on exchanges this week with my zone leader elder Miller, he's actually younger than me and it's a little weird, but I actually enjoyed it, we pushed each other in our component parts of missionary work. He made me talk to more people, and I helped him figure out more how to do less active work.  WE also found a 4 1/2 foot tall doll that I have been wanting since I got to Korea!  It was all dirty so we washed it up and got it looking really good!  

Then the fun started.  

Wednesday we got up at 4:30 a.m.... had to get ready to go to one of the craziest places on earth, the Demilitarized zone between north and south Korea!~~  After a lot of travel and singing laughing and bad jokes, we finally ended up at Camp Bonifas, the last American army base between north and south Korea.  Wow, what a crazy experience, ushered around by American soldiers to different parts of the base to sign different waivers saying if war broke out they weren't responsible.... etc.  No big deal.  Then it really got fun.  They drove us just a little further and we got to the JSA where north Korea technically starts... wow!! Gotta see a north Korean guard and go into the building that was used to sign the armistice between north and south Korea!  What a great sight!  Also got to go to a place called Checkpoint 3 and 4, one is surrounded by north Korea on 3 sides, and the other is the place of a horrible ax murder that happened here in Korea about 40-50 years ago!  It was crazy!!!  Learned a lot about north Korea and south, and got to see some really cool sights.  All of us really liked it and we had a blast!

The other once in a lifetime that happened this week!  On Friday we all got a text from the office that said that we couldn't go to a church sponsored concert in the south mission... but that instead the PIANO GUYS were coming to our mission to perform for us!  So it was awesome!!!! We went and they all came and talked to us and bore their testimonies and such!  Then played some great music!  Definitely felt the spirit there!  

Well, Anyways the only better that happened this week was my study on fasting this week.  We as a zone decided to fast for the less active members in our wards this week. Unfortunately, I have had a problem with fasting since joining the church.  I don't think it's not a commandment, it's just hard to do.  I have had an especially hard time on my mission fasting because we have to go out and work.  So I studied it and really started feeling the Spirit.  Something that I noticed, was from the title of Elder Eyring's talk in conference, "Is this not the  fast that I have chosen?"  I read the scripture in Isaiah that he quoted and Isaiah talks about how the people then used to fast in sadness, and anger, wanting to smite people and that it would afflict their soul.  He goes on to say that that is not that fast he has chosen.  Instead, he notes that we are supposed to be cheerful, joyful, and doing service for one another.  Trying to help the poor.  So as we fasted, I forced myself to be happy, to work harder, to push more, and it happened.  It wasn't great, in fact, it was still hard.  But by pushing myself, I forgot about my fast more, I was able to work harder, etc.  I still have a long way to go.  But I know that God will help us when we have these problems.  President Christensen has a funny little quote, "We are closest to God when we have problems.  We pray more and rely more on Him, and in turn he blesses us."  Funny how that works.  I have more fears, more worries, more doubts.  I am troubled every day, sometimes wondering if I have made the right choices in my life.  But I know that God is with me.  I still remember that night in my room as I knelt to pray for the first time sincerely wondering if he was there.  I know the times that he has spoken to me.  I never worry about that.  And because of that, I know that everything will work out for the better in the end.  

Doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith.  

Love all of you, keep on keeping on.  

Elder Seon

General Conference - April 12, 2015

This week we had the wonderful experience of watching general conference, where all the apostles and prophets speak to the whole world.  We played games, shared laughs, and were spiritually fed as we listened to the servants of the lord.  My favorite talks were the ones by President Packer about the Plan of Happiness and President Uchtdorf about being true in all things.  It was a really great conference and the especially fun part was to play the easter game for sunday sessions.  Every time someone said easter, we all ate chocopies, cookies, etc. At first it was fun, but soon turned to sour stomachs and torture.  We all were in the bathroom.  

An especially funny story that happened this week was during the first session.  We had sister 이, a korean who lived in america for 5 years, sit with us in the english session.  During president Packers Talk on Marriage, I told her I would translate as a joke.  two minutes later as President Packer gets into his spchiel on relations between husband and wife, she then turns and asks me to translate into "real english"  Except, now it's weird.... haha.  I told her Why I couldnt and then we both started laughing super hard.  

Me and Elder Day this week also worked super hard on getting our contacts numbers up.  Talking to more people is better.  On Friday night we had 29 people talked to, by the end of the week, we had pulled 118.  In two days almost 100 people.  It was incredble what wecould do with the lords help.  

Well not much happened this week.  Sorry this email isnt better, I dont have much time, and I have a lot of questions to answer in my notebook today.  I wrote a lot of questions down during cnference.  So I have a lot of repenting to do!  haha Im excited. 

Also next week, Elder Ringwood, the one that spoke at the conference will be coming and doing a mission tour in our mission, so we will be able to meet him!  super exciting!!!!

Anyways, love all of you!

Elder Yamagata!!!!

Hey family! - April 5, 2015

Wow this week, nothing much actually happened?  I just want to share one thing that really hit me, it was actually today during studies that it happened...

I was reading the book of mormon.  I have been reading through this time with the object of learning how to be more patient, more loving, and better with rude people on the street especially.  As I was reading I was in second nephi, chapter 4.  And I came across this verse:  

 27 And why should yield to sin, because of my flesh?Yea, why should give way to temptationsthat the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? 

This is in the middle of Nephi letting us know that he is having a rough time with the sins around him, and how he has been looking to god for help.  Then He said the part that really hit me:

Why am angry because of mine enemy?

Why am I angry?... 

I asked myself that question several times during study.  Why am I angry with the people on the street?  Why am I angry with myself?  It was hard.  I almost started crying.  Why am I sooo angry with these people? And why cant I overcome these feelings??? Why cant I just walk away, instead of getting so angry and letting it affect me and my companionship?  

Then Nephi gave me my answer.  What I needed to do:
 28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, my heart, and give place no more fothe enemy of my soul
 29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies
 30 Rejoice, my heartand cry unto the Lord
 31 Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies?
 33Lord, wilt thou make wafor mine escape before mine enemies,Wilt thou not place stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up mway, but the ways of mine enemy.
 35 Yea, know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if ask not amiss;

Thats it!!! My focus has been wrong all along.  I have been praying for months, asking the Lord on my knees to smite these people, or give them what they deserve, or something along those lines.  I have asked for their hearts to be changed.  I have pleaded for these things. When in fact, what I needed to do was turn in.  Ask for the Lord to help me.  Give me patience, make a way for me to get away from mine enemies.  I have been asking the lord amiss, and have not received.  Now I know that I will be able to overcome, because I have asked for the right thing.

I know that the scriptures have answers to literally every question that you can bring it.  They can help you in all times, in all places.  They are God's words to his children on earth.  And the words of the prophets are also the same!  they are Gods words to us!  Know this my brothers and sisters that GOD LOVES US AND HE CARES ABOUT US and that HE HELPS US WHENEVER WE ASK HIM FOR IT.  As long as we ask for the right things. This I know, and I share with all of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Elder Yamagata!

Ps. ONe investigator came to church. stayed one hour. pointed an imaginary gun at our Ward mission leaders head, and shot it, then ran out the church.  Great week for investigators!  Love all of you!!!