Friday, June 28, 2013

Halfway. But really just 1/24.

Today marks halfway until K-Day. It has both been the most eternal 4.5 weeks of my life, and super short. Oh well. Time really plays tricks on me here.
This week was.... Less good. I have been sick as a dog, so it's been a real bummer. It's just a bad cough though... so no worries. I'm pretty sure I didn't catch Elder P's gall bladder disease. (just kidding. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a gall bladder disease. But that would be cool if I got it.) I also had to spend SO MUCH TIME in the hospital (for Elder P). It was so so long and I missed a lot of class. Also a bummer.
Ok... We had the worldwide broadcast on Sunday! That was super awesome. I was in the choir... and no, I wasn't in the video. I checked. Dumb. But we got to see the quorum of the 12! Cool story: Elder P and I had to go the the Front Desk so he could call his parents, and the front desk bossy lady told me to sit down in a chair and don't move, because the whole quorum of the 12 and first presidency were going to come right through the Front Desk in like 5 minutes!!!!! I was super pumped. I was going to meet ALL the church leaders. And then..... Elder P finished his phone call and we went on our way. HUGE letdown. But I still got to see them from afar at the broadcast, so that was good.
Because all the church leaders have been at the MTC for the last few days, security is CRAZY. The MTC completely shutdown building 1M, which is where the cafeteria was. So we had to eat in the gym for a week. I'm pretty sure they fed us straight up deep fried dog food and there was not hot sauce to ease our great burden. But I survived, so no worries.
We had 4 Korean missionaries come this week! One elder and 3 sisters. They are all going to be serving in Seoul-South. I keep bouncing Korean off Elder Im (the Korean elder), and he laughs at me a lot. Oh well. The language will come, and it's good to have a native to practice with.
Elder P got his gall bladder out on Monday. We were in the hospital ALL DAY. It was so long. But it was okay, because they pumped him up on a lot of narcotics so he was really funny. He doesn't remember any of it now... But he spent a good 2 hours alternating between sobbing uncontrollably and asking if I was his son. And who he was and where he was from. Super funny. And a little sad. But mostly funny. He is still pretty weak 5 days later, but he's doing okay. And they wouldn't let him keep his gall bladder, which we were both very disappointed about.
Elder P's American visa expires on Monday and his Korean visa expires if he doesn't get there by Tuesday... So he is flying out Monday morning at 2:30! I'm happy for him, and happy to have life go back to a little bit more normal.
Korean grammar is crazy weird. It's Subject, Object, Verb. Instead of Subject, Verb, Object, like English. So "God loves us" becomes "God us loves". It's weird. The missionary purpose in English is:
      Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
But in Korean it looks like....
     Other people Christ and his atonement faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost gift receive, and end to enduring through restored gospel in order to receive, to help, to Jesus Christ, help, invite.
It's awful. Nuff said. But really fun.
Life is good!
Elder Edwards

Friday, June 21, 2013

정 (jung)

This week was awesome!! Stressful, but awesome.
First off, before I forget (like I did last week), there is going to be a huge, worldwide broadcast from the Marriot Center this Sunday. And there is going to be a missionary choir in it as well, which I am in! Watch for me, I'll be looking snazzy in a black suit and a grey tie. Also, the prophet, first presidency, and quorum of the 12 will be there. Just thought I'd throw that in there. AUGH!!!! We all get to see Thomas S. Monson and sing for the first presidency and quorum of the 12!!! I'm super excited. I don't know if they'll be showing it on the television... But it should be being broadcasted to stake centers at 4 or 5ish.... I really don't know about that. But it will be on the church website sometime, so watch for me singing my heart out! Cool.
Life is going great. This week was hard and a little bit melancholy... The oldest group of Korean speakers, who got here in April, left for Korea on Monday at 2:30 am. I love them so much and they are going to be so awesome!! But as zone leader, I had to sign off there rooms that Sunday night, so I got zero sleep. Dumb. But it was still good to get them on their way. The newest group of Korean speaking missionaries got here on Wednesday!! It's crazy that I've been here for so long. Elder Nemelka and I helped them out and got them nice and oriented up the on 4th floor of Residence with the rest of the Korean branch. I already love them. They are going to be such great missionaries.
I missed a lot of class this week... I have a new companion now, Elder P. He's from Australia, so he's got a sweet accent. He was supposed to go to Korea on Monday with everybody else, but he wasn't feeling good. Everyone thought he really just didn't want to go to Korea. But I took him on as a companion to try to get him to see the light and be excited for the work. And I think he's definitely getting there. But the reason I've missed so much class is because we've been in and out of the hospital almost every day for the past week, trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Turns out his gall bladder is messed up. So he's getting it removed on Monday. SWEET. I'm super excited for him, cause that's legit to get your GALL bladder removed. I want mine out now too, but the doctors wouldn't go for it. "Yeah, I had my gall bladder removed in the MTC..." He's going to have a sweet story. He's not that excited... which is weird. And he finds my enthusiasm a little twisted. Oh well. He's awesome and we're going to get him to Korea!
I FOUND AN OUTLET. So now I can sleep with my fan. They hid the outlets really well (not really, I'm just not good at looking for things I guess), but I finally found one! So now I sleep on my back with my little fan sitting on my chest pointed right at my face. It's the most wonderful feeling. Ever.
The food is really starting to be... gross. But my district figured out the solution. Hot sauce. We just put so much hot sauce on that you can't really taste the food. It's awesome. And a little gross. I usually leave meals feeling a little queasy from all the hot sauce.
I figured out the key to being a really great leader..... Bribes. Ok, not really, but it sure helps to get to know people in the zone when you're offering them cookies and peas from Grandpas garden (which by the way were so delicious Mom.) But all the goodies help to build some serious 정(jung), which is good old Korean bonding.
Also, I talk in my sleep here. It really freaked out Elder Grimshaw cause I asked him if I could touch his feet in the middle of the night... Weird. He though I was possessed. I also apparently snore. Oh well. 
Jeffrey R. Holland once asked a group of missionaries what power they had been given as missionaries... To which they replied with various answers. Elder Holland's answer? The power to ASTONISH. This generation is going to astonish the world. And I am so excited to astonish the people of Korea.
And happy birthday on Monday, my beloved mother of mine. :)
화이팅! Good luck! Keep fighting!
Elder Edwards

They smashed my alarm clock.... With a hammer. Because it was broken and kept going off in the middle of the night. I totally supported the smashing.

Friday, June 14, 2013

MTC life is settling in. And so is the food.

Life is still going great. I am having lots of fun and learning a lot! Our district is working really hard and we are learning this language SO SO fast. But it's crazy that there is still so much to learn. But the spirit is helping us along, and I'm sure we'll be speaking fluently in a couple days now! (Joke. Hopefully in about a year. Oh well.)
Ugh. The food is good here, but it's still straight up cafeteria food. So I'm ready for some quality kimchi. 7ish more weeks.
Every sunday for sacrament meeting, the branch president calls up two random people from the zone (all the Korean speakers... around 120 people) to come give a 5 minute talk. In Korean. Which is totally terrifying, especially for us who are a little bit less acquainted with the language. So we're supposed to prepare a talk for each Sunday. My last talk looked something like this: Baptism is important. Jesus was baptized. (Struggle through the bible about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus, in korean). I was baptized. I received the spirit. I was confirmed. Bear Testimony. That's basically the extent of my Korean on baptism. Luckily I didn't get called on, so that was really good.
We also teach an "investigator" almost every day in korean. Which is less scary, but still really hard. The lessons are incredibly simple because of our limited korean, but we are still able to get the message across and feel the spirit. Lots of mistakes. I tried to ask how his family was, but said something about whether the family unit existed or not. Oh well. It's coming. We're learning fast and working hard.

There is a concept at the MTC called SYL (speak your language). Basically, it just means speak as much of the language as you possibly can, all the time. The idea is, when you learn a word in Korean, replace that English word with the Korean word. So we sound really messed up when we talk. Sweet. It's really funny because the Korean word for "yes" is "Nay". And we've fallen into the habit of just saying Nay all the time instead of Yes, and Nay totally sounds like No. So there's a lot of miscommunication that goes on when we're asked if something is right by an english speaker and we answer Nay. Super funny.
40 missionaries from our zone are leaving for Korea at 3:00am Monday morning! Crazy to think that they've been here for 9 weeks. But that'll be me so soon.
Also. I've been released as district leader and called as zone leader. Very scary. But I'm up for the challenge!
Moses to God (Exodus 4:10-12): And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." The Lord is with us! We will go forth and preach the word!
Love Elder Edwards

Friday, June 7, 2013


Life is going great. I'm loving the work. Time is just flying by now... People said make it to Sunday and then it's easy. They are so right.
A new batch of missionaries came in on Wednesday. I felt like a hardened war veteran staring down the new recruits. Except I've only been here a week. Crazy that I've only been here a week and a few days and already feel so comfortable and used to the life here. But I'm ready to go to Korea. Right now. It's great seeing all of the people that are my friends here... So many from high school and a fair amount from college. Awesome.
Thank you thank you mom for the cookies! My district loves me now (how could they not?) because I shared a bag with them. I hogged the other two bags and chewed through them in about a day. No big deal.
I LOVE MY DISTRICT. They are the coolest group of Elders and Sisters (9 elders, 3 sisters). They all have such strong testimonies and a desire to serve God. We are all going to Seoul and are loving learning this language.
The food here is still good... But SO processed. If I eat too much, my nights become full of indigestion. My companions really love me for that. So I try to eat less :)
Our sacrament meetings are in pure Korean, so I understood next to nothing of it. I'm nervous for when I have to bless the sacrament. It was BRUTAL listening to those Elders struggle through the sacrament prayers in Korean. They each had to start over 2 or 3 times. And the ones that did it have been here for over 7 weeks. Scary.
Korean is coming along. It's really hard but fun to learn. We can already pray and bear testimony and put together simple sentences. Very hard but very exciting. "For it shall come to pass that in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power." D&C 90:11. We are ordained to preach the word in Korean. So awesome. My district is pretty excited with our progress. The new Korean branch that came in last week (my branch) has been dubbed the Big Bang because we're so huge. We are hastening the work!
I'm still getting up at 6:30, but it's definitely getting harder. The initial excitement of the MTC is wearing off, so now I just want to sleep in until noon. Old habits die hard.
Everyday for gym we play sand volleyball and it's the bomb diggity. I've now got a bit of a reputation for being a sweet volleyball player who can't spike it because I'm too short. Oh well. I guess my life is confined to bumps and sets.
Happy birthday to Dallen tomorrow and to Melissa on Wednesday!
Shout out to Joseph Chamberlain for being a stud and graduating from high school.
I always heard about how letters are the best thing on the mission. And I'm here to tell you that they are. Getting the mail every day is like Christmas. Unless you don't get any letters, and then it really stinks. Write me ALL the letters. I wouldn't even be mad if I got 10 a day.
I feel like Alma the Younger: "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." And now I'm that angel, going out to speak with the trump of God. I love this gospel.
Elder Edwards

Monday, June 3, 2013


(We received this email on Friday, May 31)

Holy cow. Sensory overload. It is totally crazy here. But I love it :)
Hello! My P-days are on Friday, so cool beans. It has been a crazy couple of days. On Wednesday they shuffled me through to pick up my badge and then sent me straight to my Korean class. The teacher spoke nothing but Korean to us, so we mostly figured out what to do through pantomime (spelled right?). But luckily our teacher (Brother Kristensen, who hails from Kaysville) is speaking SOME english to us now. My companions are Elder Savas and Elder Grimshaw. Both have lived in UT their whole lives and both are going to the Seoul mission as well. I like them a lot. We have 5 elders packed into our residence, but we handle it pretty well. Also, my alarm clock doesn't work. Stupid thing. But I'll be getting a new one at the store here so no worries :)
Sorry if this email is scattered, I'm a little scattered right now.
When we get into our regular schedules next week, we will be spending 6 hours a day learning Korean. Woah. We already sat through 3 hours yesterday though and it wasn't so bad. And those youtube videos that I watched on Korean? They're totally helping. Sweet. We get 50 minutes of gym time every day which is awesome. I played soccer with a bunch of elders and kicked some butt. At the MTC, Ultimate Frisbee is forbidden. I'm so sad. No clue why it's forbidden, but I'll trust that it's the right thing! Also, the showers aren't community showers. I'm so happy, I'm so happy, I'm so happy!! They're separate stalls with curtains. Except for one without the curtain, which we have termed the Glory Shower.
Yesterday we had a huge zone meeting for all the incoming Korean missionaries. 68 total new Korean missionaries, all of which are going to Korea except for 2 going to Australia. We also all had interviews in that meeting, and at the end they called the district leaders. I am now the district leader of district E. Oh boy. I'm slightly stressed, but excited to serve!
I'm totally like Ender. Here I am in the new batch of launchies and I have been separated from the group like Graff (or Anderson?) did to Ender. Except unlike Battle School everyone here is nice and I don't feel separate. So cool. It's weird to thing that all of the veterans of the MTC, who are speaking awesome Korean and are confident in their skills, have only been here for 4-6 WEEKS!! I'm confident in mine and my district's ability to learn this language and to teach with the spirit.
The food is excellent. And I don't think I'm going to get super fat, so that's a bonus.
I got my immunization record, so thanks much Mom.
Can I just ask why I haven't been introduced to anti-perspirant deoderant until now? It's a MARVEL. I don't even sweat. Haneous.
It's crazy what can be accomplished waking up at 6:30 (which is hard, but I'm doing it.) I woke up this morning at 5 (yes, five o clock) all by myself so the zone leader could teach me some stuff. And then we all went and did service and came back and changed and went to the gym and showered and then it was only 9:30am. I'm usually not awake until 11am. So I'm loving getting up in the mornings.
I saw Elder McGrath, which was really good. Apparently it's consecration week for him, which means he can only speak Albanian. So we couldn't communicate at all, but it was good to see him. :)
I haven't really taken any pictures yet, but they'll come!
Life is so good. I am loving the work. I am so grateful to be here. I love you all.

Elder Edwards

Going to the MTC

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Off to the MTC. Talk about surreal! Something we've been looking forward to for 19 years... and it's here??!

Riding in the van on the way down, Farrell asked us all to give Spencer some advice. But first, Spencer, what advice do you remember the most that people have given to you?

Spencer: "Grandpa Verlin told me last night that my focus is not on the past or future, my focus in on the now." Awesome advice. :)

Farrell: "Do NOT, under any circumstances, punch your companion... in the face or neck."
(Honestly! Were we going to be serious or not???!)

Sarah Jane: "Don't eat rice cakes with bean frosting." (This apparently is a real thing she discovered while researching for a report on South Korea.)

Dallen: "Do not, under any circumstances, punch your mission president in the face or neck."

Melissa: "Don't take anything for granted."

Laurel: "It may seem overwhelming to write thank-you notes. But it's not. Write them."

Sarah Jane: "Remember that your mission is not a vacation, but still have fun."

Dallen: "Don't miss video games too much."

Melissa: "Take your awkward/weirdness with you."
(Afterwards, a discussion ensued over Melissa being the awkward one.)

Laurel: "Take a deep breath, speak calmly and ask how you can help."

Farrell: "You don't ever need to apologize to be obedient."

Sarah Jane: "Live your mission fully and don't come home until you're done."

Dallen: "Eat good food."

Melissa: "Write me back."

Laurel: "When someone is bugging you, find one good thing about them and leave them a little note, maybe everyday."