Sunday, June 21, 2015

다음 장으로 넘어간다

Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "It goes to next chapter"

Emailing for the last time from Korea.

This week was a good week full of service and meeting people. We spent a good chunk of one day weeding at one lady's farm, and those weeds were NOT easy to pull. They were also in the middle of a bunch of ant hills, so we had ants crawling all over us the whole time. Luckily they didn't bite. We also swept out a less active's stairwell... 3 stories of it. I don't think it's been swept for years, so I think there's still dust in my lungs and stuck up my nostrils. But it was good to help them.

We had a music night at our ward a few weeks ago, to which came a pretty cool guy that Elder Jung and I had met on the street before that. We set up an appointment to meet a few days after the music night, but he didn't show up. When we called him a few days later, we found out that he had been on the internet and had read a number of anti-Mormon websites and now REALLY doesn't like our church in the slightest. The internet is a wonderful thing, but there sure is a ton of filth on it. I'm sure negative things can be found about every subject, religion, organization, person, etc. So it's lame that his opinion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is now based entirely on anti-Mormon content. And he doesn't want to meet so we can help explain and fix some inconsistencies and misunderstanding. 

Me and my two trainees! Elder Jung and Elder Hansen.

We had our last conference with President and Sister Christensen. They leave at the beginning of July, so they held a few multi-zone conferences in different areas to say goodbye, encourage, teach, talk about the blessings of getting a new mission president, etc. It'll probably be a little different in the mission when the new mission president comes, but in a good way. I'm not too worried about that, mostly because President and Sister Christensen and I and the rest of my MTC group are all going home together.

Well... the time flew by. This is my last email that I'll send from Korea. I think my feelings are properly described in a poem thing that Grandma Dot sent me in the MTC: 
"Applied to an algebraic equation twenty-four months from the front seems multiplied by infinity. But, analyze the other side and it appears mathematically impossible that it really was two years." 
I'm grateful for the time that I was here. Serving a mission is SO worth it. Korea and it's culture and people are amazing. I'm grateful for the things that I've learned... how to throw off the natural man, how to use time effectively, where my focus should lie, who my foundation must be on, how to order my priorities and what comes first, etc, etc. I'm also grateful for the things I know and have come to know. Jesus is the Christ, he stands at the head of His church and at the head of this great work. God loves us and desires our salvation and eternal happiness. And so he provided the plan of salvation and provided commandments so that we can be saved and enjoy eternal happiness. Those commandments, or guidelines are found in the holy scriptures and in the words of living prophets and apostles. This things I know and these things are true.

If any of you are wondering whether or not you should serve a mission... DO IT! It's worth it. 
If any of you are wondering whether it's worth it to sacrifice time and desires and read scriptures/pray/go to church/keep commandments/be obedient... DO IT! It's worth it.
If any of you are wondering whether following Christ is really all that great... DO IT! It's worth it. He's the only way to "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come."

I love you all!!

Elder Edwards

Sunday, June 14, 2015

자기의 힘을 다하여 낫을 휘두르는 자는...

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "He swung his sickle with all his strength...")

Service project!
"He that thrusteth in his sickle with his might..."

Greetings from South Korea.

On Tuesday Elder Jung and I went over to Brother Kim's house, the first counselor in the bishopric here. He needed some help in his yard, so we hacked at giant weeds for a few hours and threw them to hungry goats. I used a sickle. "He that thrusteth in his sickle with his might..." I surely did thrust in that sickle with my might. And then afterward we were pretty sunburned and wiped out, but it was really good to help Brother Kim. We had district meeting the next day, and Elder Larsen gave a great training on obedience, focusing on 2 Kings 5. Obedience is important, especially if you want to have the Holy Ghost with you and teach with power! It was a good training.

...and as you can see, I got a haircut! She cut it REALLY short this time.

This week a few pretty lame things happened as well. Elder Jung and I have gotten pretty close with a family in the ward, and they feed us almost every other week. They really appreciate our messages and want us to stay at their house FOREVER when we visit. It's so hard to get out of there sometimes. Anyway, the wife just up and decided a month or so ago that she would rather attend the Catholic church while her husband keeps coming to our church. She thinks that all churches are good and anyway we're all trying to follow Jesus so it doesn't really matter what you believe. She likes the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, but just doesn't get it. So we visited 2 days ago and gave a lesson on the Restoration. She responded that all churches are good. Which is true, most churches are good, but if God saw a need to restore his gospel and his church and the truth of Jesus Christ's gospel on the earth, surely we need to pay attention to that. So Elder Jung and I talked about it with her and testified of the Restoration, but to no avail. I really hope that the Holy Ghost took our testimony to her heart and she'll think about it and pray about it and realize it for herself.

This Sunday was pretty crazy. Brother B and Brother J got into an argument about why cement houses are better than log cabins against tornadoes in America, which then escalated to cursing and yelling and almost blows. Brethren, let's school our feelings. So now Brother B says he won't come back to church for 10 years... he's been having some doubts recently, and we think he's using this as an excuse to cut contact with the church all together. Hopefully he can come to himself later on.

Tool time with Sisera,
one of the Srilankans that got baptized last Sunday.

Despite a few lame things happening this week, Elder Jung and I had a huge miracle! Almost a month ago we found a really cool guy on the street, set up a return appointment with him, taught him, set up another return appointment, and then he didn't come and the address he gave us was wrong and he didn't have a phone so we couldn't contact him at all. He's a little bit mentally handicapped, so he doesn't know exactly the address of which apartment he lives in. So Elder Jung and I have been praying to be able to find him again on the street. And we found him this week! We reconfirmed his address (he still didn't really know it, but we got enough information so that we were able to find it), visited him, and then he came to church yesterday! His name is Brother Yoo and he's about 60 years old and lives by himself and he's the nicest guy ever. A little strange socially, but not too bad. He has some interest, so we have an appointment to teach him with a member this coming Wednesday. I'm excited for him.

I've been studying recently about what it means to take Christ's name upon us. The book of Mosiah is chock full of really great definitions for taking upon us Christ's name. One of the biggest things that's talked about there is learning about and knowing the Savior, which is exactly what it talks about in John 17:3. We must learn of him, serve him, remember him, obey him, and represent him. "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?" (Mosiah 5:13). When we remember and understand and apply him and his teachings, we learn of him. We become more like him. And when we meet him again, he will recognize us as his own. "For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand." (Mosiah 26:24). I think that should be the main goal for all of us. Learn of Christ. Take his name upon us. And follow him. It's simple. It's healing. It's eternal. It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you all!!
Love, Elder Edwards

Elder Larsen bought a horse head mask at a thrift shop
last P-day, so we've been having a little fun with that.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

시간이 빨리 지나가는군요

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Time is quickly passing")

Riding bikes last P-day!
My bottom was sore for days afterwards.

This week was a good one. Elder West and I went on exchanges... we ate burritos and taught one of their investigators and talked to a ton of people! 2 men stopped us (which is pretty unusual because people don't usually like talking to us) and wanted to talk. Turns out one was a pastor from the local church, and the other guy was a pretty zealous member of that church. They were really nice, but just wanted to bible bash and tell us our church is wrong. While Bible bashing seems pretty fun, the Book of Mormon teaches us that the spirit of contention is of the devil and it's really hard to not be contentious when Bible bashing, so we just stuck with testifying of the Restoration and answering any kind of sincere questions they had. It was good and I got the pastor's email, so we're totally going to keep in contact even after I go back to the States.

Elder West and me.
We're on temporary exchanges today.

Wednesday was my last zone training. On the bitter sweet spectrum, it was mostly bitter. I'm going to miss the awesome people in this zone. Elder Johnson and I (I've never served with Elder Johnson, so I've probably never mentioned him in these emails) were both trained by Elder Goo Young Geen, and we decided to count up how many people in that zone meeting had either been trained by Elder Goo or who had been trained by someone who was trained by Elder Goo. We counted a total of 7 in that one zone, which only covers 3 areas. Elder Goo trained 5 times, and his posterity is all over the mission. It's cool to see. 

Preparing for the music night that we held on Saturday.
These were a couple kids in the ward who also wanted to play. :)

A lot of this week was spent planning and preparing for the Music Night that we had at the church on Saturday night! It was mostly run by the missionaries, but the members helped a ton. The purpose of it was to create a meeting other than worship meetings on Sunday that members and less actives could come to comfortably and hopefully bring their friends. The Music Night was a success. None of the members brought any of their friends, but they did bring some less actives, so in the end we had 4ish less active members, 2 investigators, and another random guy show up, not including our members. It was a good turn out and everyone had a great time. The random guy that showed up met Elder Jung and I about a month ago on the street, and at that time we gave him a Book of Mormon and our card. He said he read some of the Book of Mormon and visited the church website, and then somehow found out about the Music Night and came! He's pretty interested in the church, and Elder Jung and I should be able to pick him up as an investigator this week. 

Preparing the baptismal font.

Yesterday, there were 2 baptisms in Chuncheon! Sister Wijethunge from Sri Lanka found Sisira and Udheda here in Chuncheon, both from Sri Lanka, and she and her companions have been teaching them for the last 3 months and they got baptized on Sunday! Elder Jung and I were involved in the teaching and fellow-shipping process a little, so they asked us to baptize them. It was really cool. I've never heard of or seen a missionary from Sri Lanka come to Korea... Sister Wijethunge may be the first. Who knew that there would be Sri Lankans in Korea? Who knew that they would be in Chuncheon? And who knew that they would be prepared? God did. And the apostle that called Sister Wijethunge here to Korea knew to send her here from the same source that let President Christensen know to send her to Chuncheon so she could find Sisira and Udheda. Pretty cool. 

Sisara and Uddeduh's baptism!

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! 
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, May 31, 2015


(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Overtime")

This week was pretty interesting. I'll start with our investigators status. None of them could meet except for one named Brother Hahm, and that ended up being a pretty good lesson. Brother Hahm is a very quiet and interesting man, but we taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation and tried to help him apply it to his life. He didn't commit to baptism, but did commit to coming to church yesterday! But, he texted on Sunday morning and said he was too tired and wouldn't be coming. I can't tell you how many times I've had people promise to come to church and then just not come. It's frustrating. We met another really cool man on the street early this meet, gave him a Book of Mormon, set up a return appointment, met him a few days later at the church (he actually came to the return appointment!), had a great lesson about the Restoration, and then set up another appointment, which he didn't come to. :( He doesn't have a phone, but he did give us his address, so we went and tried to visit him but... he gave us the wrong address (whether on purpose or on accident I know not). SUPER frustrating. He was so cool and seemed so interested. But now he's gone. But it's okay. We'll just go back to square one and hit the streets see if we can't find another person who's interested.

A strange selfie with the 4 of us.

On Monday there was a big, international mime festival here in Chuncheon. It was really... weird. I've never seen a real mime before, but I saw a few this past Monday, and it's different from any type of entertainment than I'm used to. We saw one guy named Eric the Fred. He's from England and apparently a pretty famous figure in the mime world. We watched him perform for an hour and it was so strange and kind of cool and all in all bizarre. I'm still not sure what I think about mimes.

Dog soup.

 I successfully checked off the last item of my food bucket list when Elder Jung and I ate dog soup this week. It was his first time too. Dog has a very unique taste. It was good, but I probably won't go for it again. It left my insides weird for a few days afterward.

Elder Hansen and me. (The elder I trained in Wonju.)

We had a combined mission conference in the Seoul South Mission with Elder Ringwood and Elder Maynes of the Seventy. It was really good. Elder Ringwood gave some really awesome words about remembering who we are and remembering the sacredness and authority of our missionary calling. He reminded us that we were sons and daughters of God, called by a prophet, assigned by an apostle, and set apart by a stake president. Pretty cool when you think about it that way. Elder Maynes talked about goals and plans. He also talked about staying connected to our purpose... really making sure that everything we're doing as missionaries is connected to and helping us fulfill our purpose to bring people unto Christ. Something he said that I liked: "Extraordinary results starts with extraordinary expectations which starts with extraordinary faith which starts with extraordinary prayers. A manifestation of your faith is the way you pray." It was a really good training.

Elder Roskelley and me.
(We spent 5 transfers together in Wonju.)

It is now June. Crazy how fast the time has flown. 2 years and 3 days ago, on May 29th 2013, I entered the MTC. So now I guess I'm on overtime. I heard that some companies give extra money to employees who work overtime. Assuming that the companies relate to missionary work and the extra money relates to extra blessings, I'm willing to work overtime for a long time. :)

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Laurel here: Elder Edwards release date is June 25, 2015. Our family flying to Seoul and will get to greet him in the mission home that evening. We are so excited!! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

성전 날!

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Temple me!")

Pictures at the temple... with Elder Redd.

This week was a good one.

As far as lessons... not the best week. Our area has been in a bit of a slump for the past month or so. It got better a fair amount last week, but then crashed back down this week. We weren't able to teach a single lesson. So as a result, we had lots of proselyting time! We met some cool people and shared lots of copies of the Book of Mormon. But no new investigators and none of our current investigators had time or wanted to meet. There aren't a lot of direct, visible results of our labors right now, but we are not discouraged! We're just going to keep pushing through.

With President and Sister Christensen.

On Tuesday we had a temple day! So we slept in the temple Monday night and got to attend a Tuesday morning session with our zone and one other zone. It was delightful. It was my last temple day as a normal missionary. There's a cool thing that we do in our mission on temple days. All of the missionaries at the temple that morning and President Christensen and Sister Christensen all have a devotional an hour before the session starts. All of the missionaries that will be going home at the end of the transfer give a 마지막 말씀 (final testimony) and talk about things they've learned while on their missions. I gave mine along with Elder Garff, Elder Redd, and Elder McLeod. We were all in the MTC together, came to Korea together, and have served together for the past 2 years.
With Elder Garff.

It's really really weird that things are coming to an end. I spoke about the peace promised by the Savior in John 14. How when we do our best and put forth all our effort, despite our weaknesses, homesickness will go away, we will be happier, the Lord will be pleased with our efforts, and we can recieve and feel the peace that Jesus Christ promised his disciples in the last days of his earthly ministry. That peace is promised to us as well. It has nothing to do with what can be SEEN from our efforts... it depends entirely on our personal efforts, desire, and commitment. That's something I've felt a lot during this precious time in Korea.

With Elder Weight.

Elder Jung is doing good. Our investigators aren't progressing right now, but we're just putting in more effort in response. We get along great and are enjoying the work. I'm happy.

Elder Jung and me ready to email.

I love you all! Have a great week!
Love, Elder Edwards

P.S. On a side note, you know that spray/powder that you're supposed to put on your feet if you have athlete's foot? It totally works. I got athlete's foot last month, and I've been applying that stuff diligently day and night since then, and it totally cleared up. Hurrah for modern medicine.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

노력의 성과가 조금씩 보이기 시작한다!!

(Translation courtesy of Elder Edwards: "The results of our efforts are starting to show!")

Baskin robbins! We estimated this to be almost 4000 calories. Yum.


This week was a wonderful week. We proselyted a lot... at the beginning of the week we didn't have a lot of appointments, so we hit the streets! On Wednesday we grabbed a bunch of less active member's addresses and walked all over the city trying to find their houses, talking to everyone on the way. None of the less active members were home, but we talked to a ton of people on the street! We didn't have anything else that day, so we did that from 12 to 5, ate dinner, and then we were supposed to have english class, but no one came to the class that Elder Jung and I teach (Beginner), so we went back and and proselyted from 7 to 9! It was a really long day. But fulfilling.

The 6 of us missionaries at a really cool lookout spot after a
ward bike riding activity!

On Tuesday we took a cross country bus from Chuncheon and 50 minutes later we arrived in a place called Hwachun. We had called a guy that lived there and set up an appointment to meet him, so that's why we headed over. He sounded excited to meet us the night before, but he punked us super hard when we got there. Wouldn't even pick up his phone. So we hit the streets! 

The beautiful city Hwachun.

The people in Hwachun were a lot more receiving and kind compared to Chuncheon. Missionaries have been in Chuncheon for years, but I don't think missionaries go to Hwachun hardly ever because it's small and so far away. So everyone was nice! Usually when we proselyte, a fair amount of the people completely ignore us because they know who we are and have zero interest in our message, but not a single person in Hwachun did that! So we met a lot of cool people and gave away a few copies of the Book of Mormon. Hopefully we can go back soon and meet some of those people again.

Getting soaked in the rain after walking home from a meeting.

Thursday was more proselyting. After the first 3 hours we visited a less active we had made an appointment with the night before. His name is Brother Eem. He's really old and it's hard for him to come out to church, but he really likes the church and likes missionaries. He also likes to talk. We went in and sat down on his living room rug and he started talking about something or other... and then I woke up 20 minutes later. I felt really bad. It's really really difficult to not fall asleep after sitting down for a while.

I found this snowmobile in the middle of a dirt field.
Grandpa Verlin, how's my form? :)

On Saturday we taught a man named Brother Jung. He used to be our investigator (I wrote about him a little bit in the March 23rd email) but we haven't been able to meet him for almost 2 months now because he got busy. But we called him the other week and he said he would come to English class, and he also said that he wanted to stay after English class and talk with us! He seemed to be losing a little bit of interest before he got busy, so it was a surprise that he wanted to talk after. We had planned to show him the Restoration video and also talk about the Sabbath Day, but that didn't feel right so we decided to just focus a lot on his needs and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The lesson went REALLY well. We really taught to his needs, focused on doctrine (Prayer and Sabbath Day), promised a lot of blessings, shared plenty of scriptures, taught in unity, and really focused on Brother Jung. And at the end, he solidly committed that he would come to church! We had invited him a lot before, and he always said maybe but never actually came. But he came to church yesterday! He said it felt "fresh". He only got 4 hours of sleep that night, but he still dragged himself out of bed and made it to all 3 hours of church. I'm really glad that Brother Jung humbled himself and committed to come and then followed through on his commitment! That's what brings people closer to Christ. Committing themselves and acting by following God's commandments.

Bowling on P-day. I've been working on my form recently.

The story of the wise man who built his house upon the rock appears a few times in the scriptures. I find the difference between the wise man and the foolish man pretty interesting. We all know that in the parable the wise man built his house upon the rock and it was sturdy, but the foolish man built his house upon the sand and the fall of it was great. So how to we build our house upon the rock? Christ said "Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man...". The foolish man is the guy "that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not...". So what's the difference? They both knew the same things. They both heard and understood to an extent of what Christ said. But the difference between the wise man and the foolish man was Action. Application. Execution. When we DO according to what we learn and know, then we receive the blessings. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Edwards

Elder Batschi visiting the wonderful Chuncheon District.
Laurel here: This last picture was sent to me by Judy Batschi who is currently in South Korea with her husband picking up their missionary son, Elder Batschi. He is the tall one on the left.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

나는 농부가 됐다

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "I was a farmer.")

This week was awesome!

The dog that we see every day.
He watches us like a hawk. I named him Kojack.

We started the week off with a good P-day at the bath house and then proselyted for the rest of the night. We were waiting for the light at one crosswalk when a man on the other side started screaming at us and yelling "Jesus is a fraud!!". He was drunk out of his mind. So, because he was quite intoxicated, when the light changed we gave a polite hello, a small bow, and then hustled away from him. Alcohol is a menace to society. It's also a menace to religion, too.

And... farming. Lots of farming this week.

On Tuesday and Thursday, we spent a few hours doing some service. Both service projects ended up being farming. It was SUPER fun. Elder West and I are still really good at digging ditches from last time, so we pounded out a few ditches and weeded a bunch and planted seeds and reshaped mounds and broke up big chunks of dirt and just had a generally good time. I'm thinking about starting my own farm when I get back. There's nothing like digging dirt with a shovel. And even though we were really sweaty and dirty and tired every time we ended, there was always this great feeling of satisfaction. Whenever someone would get tired, they would say, "I'm tired of digging, Grandpa!", and then the other guy would say, "Well that's too dang bad! You keep digging!" (From the movie "Holes"). I like farming.

And more farming.

Transfer calls came. Elder Jung and I will be staying together here in Chuncheon!! We're going to have a blast and work harder than ever. He's fun and I love working with him. Here are a few of the funny things he has said (keep in mind that's he's Korean and while he's pretty darn good at English, he's not fluent)...
Me: Let's make boiled eggs!
Jung: That's the spirit! 
Me: ... that one guy... ah... what's his bucket...?
Jung: ... bucket? 
Batschi: Elder Jung, what's your earliest memory?
Jung: ... I don't remember. 
West: Elder Jung, you're a good sport. Do you know what "good sport" means?
Jung: ... sporting goods?
He's so cute. I respect him so much for learning English. It's not an easy language to learn.

Me and Elder Jung ready to email!

Yesterday we had a lot more members at church, which was really good. After church and studies, we headed over to a members house to teach one of their sons. He will be turning 8 this week, and they want him to hear the missionary lessons before he gets baptized (I don't know if we do that in America, but in Korea, parents sometimes like to do that. Not to replace them teaching their kids, but to just add a little more knowledge.) So we taught him and his siblings the Restoration. They know it REALLY well. They're going to be awesome missionaries. And, that night, Elder Jung and Elder Batschi and Elder West gave me some My-chews (candy) for my birthday. A great ending to a great day.

The family in the ward that we visited and taught last night. So nice!!

Today is the first day of my last transfer. It's scary and came way faster than I wanted it to. I have some goals and plans that I plan on accomplishing with vigor. I may be here at the end [of my mission], but I'm going to finish with a bang! The race has been long, but I have some kick left, and Elder Jung and I are going to kill it for the next transfer.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week.
Love, Elder Edwards