Monday, June 29, 2015

Hey, fam bam! - June 28th

Hey, fam bam!  I hope everyone is doing well, I am doing super good here in 춘천 (pronounced Choon Chun) Really great place kind of like Taebaek if you remember what it looks like there, if not look at my pictures.  ITs just about the same except the city is a lot bigger here, which isn't much but still it's bigger.  It's definitely fun, I'm serving with another Korean companion Named Elder 정우림 (Pronounced Jung Oo Reem).  Funny thing about his name, he is literally named after the Urim...the one that joseph smith used.  Yeah, same word, asked him and he said yes that's where it came from, and his brothers name is 덤임 which is Thummim....Their names are Urim and Thummim super funny!  He's a great guy from the south of south Korea around a place called Busan.  Studying Electrical Engineering with a focus on Semi conductors.... ~-~  몰라!!  ㅎㅎ anyways hes super cool and we have been working super hard.  Just like Elder Barr I'm greenie breaking him.  Which means he just finished his time with His trainer and im his second companion.  Its pretty hard sometimes but elder Jung is open to ideas and is ready and willing to learn.  Immediately within a day I saw the way he prayed and studied and everything change.  He is like a sponge soaking up everything so that he can improve on his skills as a missionary.  If anything I would say being a greenie breaker is better than being a trainer, because I see these young missionaries take what they have and then they run and try to be the best they can in such a short amount of time.  It is really incredible.  

Other than that not much has happened this past week.  It all seems like such a blur.  I got here and immediately just got to work.  Had meetings and lessons and English class.  Teaching investigators and then a baptism all of a sudden from elder Larsen and West.  Met the ward on Sunday and now we are here.  

I do want to share one spiritual experience though.  Yesterday we had a planned dinner appointment with our member Seo Jong Oon and we had planned to talk to him and his wife about prayer.  Elder Jung had told me that she was a little less active and that he worked a lot on Sundays so coming to church was hard and so I thought a message about prayer would be perfect.  So we meet them and eat and have a fun time and when the message comes around Elder Jung just starts talking about the plan of salvation.  And I was startled for a second but then just kept going and worked with it and gave a great lesson on the plan of salvation and sharing it and the peace it brings to our lives through our examples of Christlike love and service.  It was amazing.  We walked out and I asked him about it, and he told me that he wasn't sure why, but he felt like talking about it.  That that would be better for them than anything else.  He said he debated it for about 15 minutes while we were talking but didn't know how to alert me to it.  Finally, he just decided to do it and that whatever happened happened. It was amazing to me to see clearly that it was a spiritual prompting to talk about it, but he never realized it.  So it was this excellent opportunity for us to talk about how the spirit talks to us and how we should respond when it does.  He was surprisingly not very knowledgeable of the subject of the spirit and so it was a great teaching moment.  

Well like I said hope everyone's doing well over there.  We get some tidbits of the news now and then and I can see a couple of the things going on over there and I'm glad I'm over here right now! Haha, but its great and I have to enjoy my time here because it is coming to an end soon.  There are still so many people left to find and teach and help and so we gotta get out there and do the work!  President Sonksen comes this week and president Christensen leaves on Tuesday so we are sad and happy!  WE will see how it goes!

Anyways love all of you and have a great week!

Elder Sun

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wow, what an incredible week - June 14th

Wow, what an incredible week.  A sense of awe comes over me as I think about it and what it did for me.  What it meant.  Truly I can stand with my mission president and say "These are days never to be forgotten"

This week was incredibly difficult.  Getting up the first day, my whole body seemed to say "Just go back to bed, it doesn't matter anyways."  And it was hard for me to ignore it.  But I got up anyway, and it was still hard.  Do you know how many people want to talk about religion on a normal basis?  Hardly any.  Now how many at 6:30 in the morning?  Absolutely none.  It was so hard to take rejection after rejection, going slightly delusional in my head that if I just act peppy and cheery it won't matter, I just have to do my work cheerfully and it will work.  It continued to be hard, it continued to be difficult.  I definitely tried to do a variety of things rather than just proselyte to people all day, but it was rough. Every day we get rejected, everyday made fun of, everyday we walk countless miles just to see no results.  But we still do the work, because the work is still true.  The work still moves on.  This week may have been hard, but it came with power.  It came with renewed strength, and an added bonus.  I saw people's countenances change as the effects of alcohol gave way to the Spirit of God.  I saw very mean and angry people from other churches sit still for over 20 minutes while me and my companion taught them the plan of salvation.  But above everything else I learned something.  

The week before last, as I told you, I had received an answer to my prayer.  That the 100 hr week was going to be my own little Zions Camp.  I didn't quite know what I was going to learn, what I was going to experience, but I knew it would be hard and I knew it would be rewarding. As I worked last week though, I found excuses to get out of working for so long, or just doing something easier.  Every time I did it, I felt kinda bad, but I kept going, I needed a small break!  Didn't heavenly father know that I was dying??? Didn't he know that I was walking over 20 km a day??? Didn't he know that if I didn't slow die I would die? I wouldn't want to do missionary work afterwards?  Of course he knew, and of course he cared.  But, today I learned my lesson during my studies as the thought came to me as clear as a whistle, "I need you to talk to my children, everyday, all day, for the rest of your time.  I asked for everything, your heart, might, mind, AND STRENGTH.  I asked you to do only one thing, preach my gospel.  Now stop taking breaks, stop wasting time, and feed my sheep."  I sat at my desk, then torn apart by the spirit, I prayed, and asked for forgiveness. 

For those of you who don't know, when you come on your mission you sign a letter that states you will follow all mission rules and do everything you can to preach the gospel.  

I realized I wasn't living up to that.  I couldn't look back and say that I had given it my everything.  And I regret it.  Was it a waste of time?  No of course not, I learned my lesson.  And from here on out, I will work even harder.  

Heavenly Father doesn't ask much of his people, even his missionaries.  But what he does ask is the most important.  I gave a district meeting this week about this.  Heavenly Father has given us everything, and can take it all back again.  Except for one thing, and it's that one thing that he asks for: our Agency.  What a small thing.... but this "small thing" caused Heavenly Father to lose 1/3 of his children because one of his sons wanted to get rid of it.  And it's precisely that one thing he asks for us to give back up to him.  And in exchange for that, he gives us everything!!!!

And so I have learned that if I give everything up.  EVERYTHING, I actually gain it all the more.  There's an old saying "Toss your bread upon the waters and watch it come back buttered and toasted"  That's precisely what happens!!!!

I have an even stronger testimony of our work from this week.  I saw satan at work throughout the entire week trying to stop us, and it didn't work.  I saw missionaries perform miracles, and saw many miracles myself.  The winds halted, the storms ceased, and even power tools stopped working when the Lord's servants were working.  The lords work will go on unineterrupted, and it will encompass the entire world.

Well, I hope everyone is doing well!  Shout out now to Amanda and Will(? Hope that's right) on their wedding!  May the lord bless you! 
Also thank you to everyone who is praying for me and my companion.  We feel the power of those prayers everyday and it sustains us and keeps us going!

Love all of you

Elder Yamagata

P.s. just in case you were wondering how satan worked:  Our water boiler was off for 3 days, our phone broke 2ce, our house flooded, elder Hansen's stalker came to the church and we had to protect him..... oh man rough week, on top of the roaches and earwigs hahaha.  But we keep working!

100 Hour week! - June 7th

So no time this week because we are doing a special week as part of a challenge/commitment from our mission president and the aps to do whats called the 100 hr week!

Normally we only work about 40 hr weeks, this week we are doing 2 1/2 times as much!!! So pray for me and my district as we go into this week and try to seee miracles!!!! I love all of you and will explain next week everything!!!! Love you!!!

Elder Sun

Wow, this week was pretty same but always different! - May 31st

Wow, this week was pretty same but always different.  Isn't that always how the work goes?  We do the same thing every day and somehow always get different results! Well, this week started off with a great exchange with my zone leader Elder Fronk. Great example, we got out the door and just started working our butts off.  We were supposed to have an appointment, but he bailed out so it turned into an 8-hour proselyting day.  Woo... (Or so I thought).  It was a tough day for sure, no one likes being outside for 8 hours in the blazing hot sun.  But we worked our butts off and actually contacted so many people we ran out of cards.  So we went less active hunting and finally confirmed that someone moved that I had been trying to do for like 3 transfers!!!  Super great blessings!

Then nothing much really happened until Thursday?  The district had planned to street board all together, but last minute everybody bailed on me, including my companion.  I sat at a corner trying to get people just to put a sticker on our board, when this walking advertisements for a bar nearby selling soju walked by yelling "How much is soju?" "2 dollars buy one get one free!"  I sat there. really upset, wondering how on earth can the lords work get done, when all people want is this.  I was so angry at my district, so angry at myself.  Then, this song that I have been singing all week came into my head.  "Should you feel inclined to censure, faults in others you may view.  Ask yourself, ere you venture, if you have not failings too."  I took a step back and was calm and realized it wasn't the end of the world, only the end of a day.  Nobody did anything wrong, they all had stuff come up that needed to be done.  I couldn't look and point fingers when no one else was doing anything wrong.  So I just quietly packed up and said, let's go.  And we went home, I wasn't angry, or upset.  Just done with the day.  It was a super cool experience.

Then the highlight of the week

Friday we were able to have a conference with Elder Richard Maynes of the Presidency of the 70! Wow, what an experience, we were edified and uplifted by the teachings about how to set goals and make plans from a 70!  What an incredible experience.  Then he wanted to do a roleplay and I got chosen!  woohoo!!! Hey its great having spiritual experiences, but it's cool to have some personal experiences too!  We just did a quick 5-minute long roleplay about how to plan and exercise faith as we plan for our area.  It was really cool!

The spiritual thing that happened this week though was the continuation of the 40 days fast, spiritually, from things that I am giving up in my life.  I can see the effects of it already as I feel less willing and wanting to talk about or bring up things that I am trying to give up.  I have more strength, and can feel the spirit prompt me  to stop even other things from being brought up.  It's pretty interesting how it works.  Like I said last week Sacrifice=Blessings.  I'm excited to keep this up these next couple of weeks!

Me and Elder Barr talked a lot this week about the Pharisees and the Letter of the law vs the Spirit of the Law.  He was studying about Christ in Jesus the Christ and was reading about the healings on the sabbath that Christ performed.  The Pharisees would get mad because it was against the traditions of the elders of Israel, but it wasn't against the spirit of the law which is to follow christ and do good things on the sabbath.  When he said that I related it to missionary work, life in the church, or even just life in general.  You live life the way you want to, as long as your obedient, keep all the rules you are given, etc.  As long as you do that, no one can say your wrong, even if you're doing it differently.  It really helped him open up a little bit and understand a little more.  We see traditions a lot here on our missions and in the church, and some people become like the Pharisees and Sadducees when they see people stray from them, but as long as we are being obedient, keeping covenants, commitments, and etc we are A-OK.  The spirit will tell us all things that we need to know, including if we are doing something wrong.  It was a great parallel between Christ's time and our day!

Well, I hope and pray everyone is doing well!  We are working harder than ever here in the mission.  Everyone is doing what they can to help others come unto Christ.  With President Christensen leaving soon, we are a little bummed, but at the same time we are excited for President Sonksen to take his place here in the mission!  

I love all of you and miss the fam and friends soo much.  Thank you for the prayers!  I and my companion feel the love and the power that comes from them and we will continue to work hard every day supported by that power!  

Elder Seon Hyeong Soo

Family!!! Hows it going??? - May 24th

Well this week has been interesting as always!  We have been working hard, and its at those times that the lord tells us to work harder!  He has been pushing me to work harder, go farther, find more, and talk more to his children.  But I WANT to do it!  I want to do more!  

It wasnt too exciting this week though only 2 really things that happened:

1: our church was under sconstruction this week, so during district meeting on wednesday, we had it outside!  It was a beautiful day and the lord really blessed us with less traffic for a couple of moments while we were training.  It was a cool experience, and afterwards we had ice cream!!! Sick!!!

2.  I had an idea this week, and it was epitomized by our AP (assistant to the president) coming to our area on exchanges.  It started off with him stating "Elder Yamagata sure knows how to explore the trust box"  (the trust box being a joke that president has, as long as you stay in the trust box yo udont have to get onto the metal box and fly home).  And then I said "Well funny you mention that, today we are going fishing."  And then we tried the new idea, get up on a box or podium and start talking to everyone!  And it worked!!!  WE talked to sooooo many people!  Our AP laughed at the idea, but thought it was great!  

Im really happy that I am different, I do "explore the trust box" I can get out there and think of those new things that Will help the mission out!  Its great!

Also at the end of this week, studied sacrifice!  Its time to make even more sacrifices for the Lord and do his work!  As the scriptures say:

 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh notalthat he hath, he cannot be mdisciple.

If I cant give everything up, I cant be HIS!  So I gotta do it!  

Anyways!  Hope everyone is doing well!  Have a great week!

Elder Sun!

Whats up family! What a crazy week! - May 18th

Me and Elder Day worked super hard the last two days we were together.  On Wednesday we received our new companions.  I'm now with Elder Barr from Columbus Ohio.  He's an interesting kid 19 who loves military history and anything about the military.  He's really fun talks a lot!  Haha

And then we went to work, finding more people.  Working harder.  Doing more.  And then something happened, oddly, on Saturday morning, I had the strangest impression to call my mission president.  I learned well into my mission never to ignore those promptings.  So I gave him a call and told him I didn't know why, but that I needed to talk to him.  It was about 7:20.  Still sleeping at the time, he woke up and was able to talk to me for about 45 to 50 minutes about missionary work and how to set goals and feel accomplished.  What a crazy impression, but President knew how to respond.  It was a great miracle that morning.  

I have also been feeling that something big is coming, something is going to have to change in my life.  And I think that it was something that I expected God to change, but instead I had to start.  I have been studying and thinking a lot about the word sanctify.  Sanctify.  

 35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humilityand firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, untthe filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, eveto the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God

I read this and felt that I needed to yield my heart to God.  I thought I had been doing a pretty good job.  I've been obedient, I've been working hard, what more can I do?  Apparently a lot!  Haha, but I had the name of a talk that I hadn't heard in a long time come to me.  It's called, Purification, or AKA Sanctification.  It's not a talk given by a General Authority, but something written out from some words by general authorities.  The bulk of it is from Elder Gene R Cook.  And it's simply, making a list of 10 things you want to change, things you want to give up or things you want to do better.  Then, starting with a real fast of food and drink (for 24 hours), go 40 days without doing those things, or doing them better, and the promise is that we will have our natures changed to do or not do these things.  What a great promise!  So I guess I know what I am going to be doing these next couple of weeks!  I am excited to try this out and try to change some more things.  I emailed president today and made a joke that, In accounting the equation is always the same Assests+Liabilities=Equity, and its the same in the gospel, Sacrifice = Blessings.  What an easy equation!  A great question that came to me from the Spirit "How much are you willing to sacrifice for your brothers and sisters?"  So I guess I know what I am going to be doing!  And How excited I am to be able to sacrifice even more for my brothers and sisters and in doing so see more blessings myself! 

The last thing I want to share today is just a small miracle of having our investigator 오지원 come to church on Sunday and take the sacrament like it was nothing!  We were really excited for him to come, he had a really good time and we are still going to meet with him which is awesome!  Last week he suddenly opened up his heart and let out everything to us about he feels about life.  He said, "I don't know why, but I feel like talking about all fo this all of a sudden"  It was really cool!

well Anyways I need to get going this week but I love all of you soo much!!! Congrats to LOGAN AND MELISSA (hope I got that one right!) for a wonderful marriage,  I hope many blessings for your lives together now!  Remember the most important thing you can bring to a marriage is not love butCOMMITMENT.  Keep that in mind!

Love you all!

Elder Yamagata

Wow Mothers day already! - May 10th

Wow Mothers day already!  It feels like only yesterday I was calling my mom last year for mothers day

First off, want to give a huge shoutout to my mother!  Through thick and thin, good times and bad, she has supported me for 21 years!!! I know I wasn't the easiest child ever, but I love my mom sooooo much for taking care of me and supporting me.  I know that to be a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but each and every mom out there will be blessed eternally, not only for raising her kids, but teaching them how to raise their kids and seeing the family that she has created grow into something that is magnificent.  Love you, mom!!!!

This week was actually filled with a lot of talking about mom moments.  With mothers day phone calls on our minds, we talked about our moms alot.  What they did that was funny, what was crazy. what we still don't understand, and what we realized was for our benefit and would like to say they were right about ( I feel like those moments are coming very often now).  It was funny to see us reminisce about our moms and give thanks to them.  I know each one of the missionaries here in 동대문 loves their moms.  They talk about them all the time and how much they love them!  Super cool  

Not much happened this week, we got our transfer calls and I am going to be staying, but not with my companion.  I will be greeniebreaking someone new while elder day moves one area over, he will be in the house still which is really cool!!!! We are super excited for this next transfer!!!

I was also really excited to see my companion turn to me yesterday and tell me that he has learned from me how to not only study, and pray, but talk with the lord while he is studying and invite him into his personal studies.  I was super excited to hear him say that and know that I am making a difference in his mission.  It is really cool to see people change as their mission goes on.  I am excited for this upcoming transfer and see what he learns from other missionaries, and what I learn from my companion!  

Well, Family hope all of you are doing well, pray for you everyday! 

Love you

Elder Seon Hyeong Soo