Sunday, October 26, 2014

모로나이의 모범

(Translation courtesy of Elder Edwards: "The Example of Moroni")

A good week. A little out of the ordinary, but definitely another good week. Elder Weight is still awesome and we're still working hard, so things are happy!

Elder Weight and I, emailing--right now.

Last P-day we went to a trampoline park! SUPER fun. We played tag and did tons of flips and I relearned how to do a backflip. All in all a very successful/fun P-day.

Trampoline park for P-day!!

We met Brother Kim, the guy I talked about last week, with a member on Saturday night. We had a sweet lesson plan with the Restoration and were super prepared to teach this guy who is so interested in the Book of Mormon. But then he came and just talked and talked about the bible for 30 minutes... I think he has the bible memorized. He just went off about Jesus and how we have to learn to live and a bunch of stuff that we already know, but I guess he decided that we needed to know this stuff again or something. And then he said that at the Second Coming, Jesus will come to Korea in the form of a Korean... Some pretty weird stuff. And it's kind of rude in Korean culture (and American culture) to stop/interrupt people, especially older people, when they're talking. BUT, he wants to hear the story of Joseph Smith, which we didn't have time to share, so we'll be meeting again. He also acknowledged and apologized for talking so long and said he wouldn't do it next time. Anyway, hopefully the next appointment will run a little better.

Me and a bunch of missionaries that I came into country with.
Our sisters go home at the end of November. ㅠㅠ

There were 2 baptisms in the Dongdaemoon ward yesterday! Brother Lee, who is the nephew of one of the members here, was taught by Elder Pronk and Elder Hendershot and then baptized by his uncle after sacrament meeting. Sister Kim was taught by Sister Atwater (who is from Kaysville!) and Sister Goo and Sister Thomas, and was baptized 3-ish hours after sacrament meeting. She's SUPER shy, so she didn't want a ton of people at her baptismal service, so it was held way after church ended. The sisters asked me to baptize her, and I did, so that was pretty cool. Now ours and the members' job is to make sure they stay active in the church!

Baptismal service for one of the sister's investigator!

I've been studying about Captain Moroni recently. In Alma 48:17, it says that if every man were like Moroni then "...the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."  Wow. So what were Moroni's qualities? What made him untouchable to Satan?
  • Strong and mighty (v.11)
  • Perfect understanding (v.11)
  • Thankful (v.12)
  • Diligent (v.12)
  • Served others (v.12)
  • Firm in the faith of Christ (v.13)
  • His heart gloried in doing good, preserving (helping) his people, in keeping the commandments of God, and resisting iniquity. (v.16)
Those are all things that WE can do. We can all be a little more healthy, understand more, be more grateful, work harder, serve more, gain and exercise more faith, and happily do good, help, keep the commandments of God, and stay away from the bad stuff. This is stuff that we can all do. And if we do? Hell gets shaken up a little bit, the devil has a little less power over our hearts, and we gain power over our hearts. A pretty cool promise, if you ask me. So let us all work to be a little more like Moroni!

I love you all. Things are good and life is happy.
Love, Elder Edwards

Holding hands is pretty okay in Korean culture. This is a member of my ward :)

Riding the bus with Elder Manwaring.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Was cold.")

Greetings from South Korea! The weather here got a lot colder this week, which is actually really good because we're required to wear suit coats from the October general conference to the April general conference... so, because it's cold, we're not sweating all over our nice jackets.

Biking along the Han River.

Last P-day was super fun. We went to an area in our zone (Hwayang), rented bikes, and rode on a sweet bike path along the Han river as a zone! The bikes were the ones with big baskets on the front and only one gear and kind of sketchy brakes, but nevertheless it was fun. We then played some ultimate and then said goodbye... probably a good third of our zone is transferring, so our zone will be pretty different this transfer. Tuesday was a pretty normal day except for sending all of Elder Lee's stuff to his new area. We met 3 of our investigators that day too. It's really easy to meet people at the end of the transfer because they always want to say goodbye to the missionary that's transferring. 
Elder Lee and I with an investigator.

Saying goodbye to Elder Lee.

On Wednesday we went to transfers. ㅠㅠ Said goodbye to Elder Lee and picked up Elder Weight! And then we traveled home and got in a couple hours of study. To be honest, I had a small feeling of dread the whole time I was studying that day. I didn't want to serve without Elder Lee, I didn't want to be "training" a new zone leader, I didn't want more responsibility, I didn't feel prepared at all... Mostly just mopey, self-centered feelings. And then we got out of the house and worked our butts off all day long and I felt really really good afterward. One of the most important things I've learned on my mission... WORK. Just forgetting about myself, my situation, my worries, and my problems, and going out and working super hard to invite people unto Christ. It's the best medicine.

Me and Elder Weight!!

Elder Weight is a super hard worker, he's funny, and he's awesome. He hails from Salem Utah and is the youngest of 10... 7 older sisters, 2 older brothers. He's got his head screwed on straight, he's obedient, and he knows why he's out here. We get along great and I'm really excited for a transfer together with him. I'm super grateful to have another great companion right in a row.

We worked really hard all week, got more contacts than I ever had in my mission, and found a few new investigators. We've had a conversation similar to this one every night right after planning:
"Good job."
        "You too. We worked super hard today."
"Yeah. Same thing tomorrow?"
        "Heck yes. I'm going to bed now."

I'm tired, but it's a good tired. On Saturday night, we got to teach two new people who became investigators. The first, Brother Jo, is 60ish years old and met us that night mostly because he likes the missionaries. But he said he would come to church on Sunday, and if he likes it he'll keep coming and become a member! He came yesterday, and it went pretty well. We'll see him again next week. The second guy, Brother Kim, is 50ish years old and knows the bible like the back of his hand. He was 7th Day Adventist, but he doesn't attend there anymore and is looking for a new church. He met us on Saturday night and got right to the point... He already had a Book of Mormon, and he wanted to know how to gain eternal life, and he wanted to learn it from us teaching him from the Book of Mormon. We joyfully turned to 2 Nephi 31 and all read together and had a great discussion about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (If you don't know what's in 2 Nephi 31, please stop reading this, read 2 Nephi 31, and then continue reading this. It's worth your time. A fantastic chapter of scripture.) He agreed with all of it and kept underlining his Book of Mormon and saying "This is awesome." We'll be meeting him again next Saturday.

Things are great here. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Edwards

Pig intestines... yum :)    
(for real though, really delicious.)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

이원형 장로님이 이동 가네요 ㅠ

Translation courtesy of Elder Edwards: 
"Elder Lee won hyeong is getting transferred ㅠㅠ" 
ㅠㅠ doesn't mean anything, it's just the emoticon for crying in Korean. Get it? Two eyes, each with two streams of tears coming out. ㅠㅠ

Me and Elder Lee writing emails. Right now.

Elder Lee is back, which I'm so happy about. Doing missionary work alone really just isn't very fun. He's still doing pretty good. The military training was lame, but he got to see his parents and talk to them. He says they're doing okay. Still keep them in your prayers.

Conference weekend was this week! All of the missionaries in the stake (two zones) came here to Dongdaemoon to watch. Our ward is also the stake center, so all big meetings are here. It's been a pretty hectic weekend, especially with getting all the missionaries here and comfortable and watching conference on time, but it's been really good. Conference was fantastic. I really loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk "Lord, is it I?" That's something that I thought about going into conference... Not judging others and thinking about how it's something that they need to do better, but really looking inside myself and figuring out what I personally need to do better. Super good conference.

Watching some general conference in a "PC room". There are TONS of PC rooms in Korea, where people, usually students, can go and play video games all day long. It's usually where we email.

It's weird to think that I got transferred to Taebeck almost exactly a year ago. I've been thinking about that a lot recently... thinking about the differences between then and now. It made me REALLY grateful to be where I am. My situation and companions are so good and I'm really very grateful to be here. It's cool to look back on that experience which wasn't super easy, and realize all the blessings I have now. That's one thing I love about "hard times"... they help us to be grateful, they humble us. I've never had a real hard time in my whole life, it's been a pretty easy life so far, but there are times that are better and times that are less good. And those times offer perspective. I learn to be more thankful, grateful, and generous.

Our district at a delicious 갈비탕 restaurant!

Transfer calls came. Elder Lee is leaving. ㅠㅠ He will be going to Changwee, my greeny area, where he will be opening up a new area and training a greeny for his last 2 transfers in his mission. I'm SUPER sad that he's leaving. I've learned an incredible amount from him, and I think I was relying on him a lot while he's been here. But I'll hopefully be able to see him a few more times before he goes home in January. My new companion will be an Elder Weight, who came into country 9 weeks after I did. He's in the same group of missionaries as Elder Murdock (my first companion in Wonju). When I first got the call from President I thought: "Darn it, this is going to be hard. Two young missionaries together trying to work..." But then I remembered that I'm not really a young missionary at all, and neither is Elder Weight. In fact, we're on the older side of the mission. Weird. Anyway, Elder Weight was a district leader in another area, and now he's coming over here to be zone leader with me. So now I have to train him to be a zone leader. Which is just fantastic, because I don't even know that well how to do it. But it'll be good, we'll both be really obedient, hard working, and awesome. Besides the fact that Elder Lee is leaving, I'm looking forward to this transfer.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, October 5, 2014

아침 식사... 간장.

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Soy Breakfast...")
I've just been having soy sauce breakfasts recently... usually eggs, ham, rice, and soy sauce. And it just struck me this morning that I've been eating soy sauce for breakfast. Weird, huh? :)

The Taegoogkee! (Korean flag)

Hello! The weather was SUPER cool this week... It's been glorious. I wake up cold in the mornings, which Elder Lee complains about but I think it's awesome.

This week was surprisingly really good. Last Monday and Tuesday I was on exchanges with the Junglang zone leaders, and we went to the DMZ on Tuesday with the Junglang district!!! (Pday was half on Monday and half on Tuesday last week.) The DMZ was pretty sweet. (DMZ = the Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea.) There are a few tunnels that were dug by the North Koreans a long time ago in preparation for invasions, one of which has been turned into a tourist spot. So we got to go down into a tunnel dug decades ago by the North Koreans in preparation for invasion! Super cool. But we weren't allowed to take pictures, which was lame. The DMZ is a huge tourist location... it's also kind of a wildlife preservation, and people can look at the infamous North Korea. Pretty cool.

Exchanges with the Joonglang zone leaders (elevator pic).

A CRAZY guy came to church last week. "Henry" has been coming to English class for the past 4 weeks, and he's just gotten stranger and stranger. Apparently he's been kicked out of over 10 wards in Korea. We couldn't understand why because he seems pretty nice, so when he said he wanted to come to church we said sure. And then we found out why he got kicked out a ton of different wards. He came in 20 minutes before church started and sat in the back and was talking with me pleasantly (in English... he's really good at English and really interested in it, so I've never heard him speak Korean), when the second counselor in the bishopric came up and introduced himself and was super nice and tried to make him feel welcome. Well, Henry responded REALLY rudely and in a very low and rude form of Korean when just meeting someone (there are different "forms" in Korean... the higher the form, the more respect is being shown to the listener). And then Henry just exploded and yelled and yelled and swore and swore and cursed the church for a ton of different stuff. I will say this, I've never tried to learn swear words on purpose in Korean, but the ones I have learned, he used A LOT. So then the 2nd Counselor kicked him out. And then Henry came back with the police. And then the 2nd Counselor talked it through with the police and they all realized that Henry is literally crazy and now Henry isn't allowed on Dongdaemoon church property ever again. There are crazy people out there.

Elder Choi and I on exchanges.

We had a baptism in Dongdaemoon ward yesterday! One of the 11 year old recent converts referred her friend a few months ago, and she got baptized! That's the 3rd baptism in Dongdaemoon ward this year.

Elder Lee is down in his hometown right now. He came back up to Dongdaemoon on Tuesday night after all the funeral arrangements and funeral, gave zone training with me on Wednesday, and worked with me up until yesterday, and then headed back down for a mandatory military training for those that have already served their mandatory 2 year service. So he'll be gone until this coming Wednesday, so I'm once again a solo missionary jumping around between companionships. Elder Lee is doing really well. In fact, he's very similar to how he was before his brother died. This was (and is) really shocking to me... so I asked him about it on Friday. I said, "How do you do it? Your brother died 5 days ago. How are you able to focus and work so hard and smile and laugh with your brother dying so recently?" He responded that this is all he has. He said there's not really any use moping and not doing anything, so he's doing what he can right now, and that's throwing himself into the work. He really believes in the Plan of Salvation, and that gives him comfort and strength and a huge desire to share it with the people of Korea. And it's cool to hear him testify of it on the street. There's a power and a knowledge to his words that definitely wasn't there before his brother died. I just have a huge amount of respect for him. I don't know how he's doing it... he's amazing.

Service project with the zone!

I really liked Alma 37:34 this morning. "Teach them to never be weary of good works..." That's something that I can definitely say that I've felt before. Missionary work is awesome and great and rewarding and can definitely be qualified as a "good work", but it definitely wears on you sometimes. It applies to people other than missionaries as well... People can feel weary from their callings, be weary of scripture study/prayer, be weary of going to church, etc. But Alma teaches us to NEVER be weary of good works. And I think one very important way to not get weary is to remember that it is a good work. To remember that this is something that God wants me to do. To remember that by doing this good work I am working a little harder to endure to the end, and that I will be better prepared to meet Him at the last day.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards