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

Sunday, May 3, 2015

별일이 없었다

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "There was no big deal.")

A good, fairly uneventful week.

On Wednesday after district meeting Elder Jung and I went on exchanges with the zone leaders until Thursday night. Elder Jung stayed here with Elder Andersen and I went over to Junglang area with Elder Garff. Elder Garff was in the MTC with me and we came to country together. We didn't really know each other then, but somehow over the course of the past 2ish years we've become great friends. So we had a jolly old exchange together filled with proselyting and service in a kitchen for handicapped people and studies and working out and street boarding and gospel discussions. All the ingredients for a great 2 days. It's weird seeing these people that I have known since the MTC and realizing that there's really not a lot of time left... Neither of us think about it, and neither of us really talked about it, but it seemed even more real during that exchange. Time is strange. Us and the elders that came to Korea with us are the oldest in the mission and have been since March. Strange.

Exchanges with Elder Garff.
Elder Weight and his trainee, Elder Mcgargle, are in the back.

Other than that, Elder Jung and I spent the whole week proselyting. When Elder Weight and I would spend a whole week proselyting, we would usually talk to nearly 300 people, but Elder Jung and I do about half of that. Mostly because Elder Weight and I would split up at a busy crosswalk in Seoul, whereas here in Chuncheon there aren't very many people. And I have to take a little bit of a slower approach because I'm training Elder Jung. But anyways, it was a good week full of talking to lots and lots of people. Some were nice, most were busy, most were not interested, one told us to shut up after we said "Hello!" (I think he was having a bad day), and very few were interested. But we were able to talk to some cool people who we'll hopefully be able to pick up as new investigators this coming week.

The suits we got the other week came in the mail this week. Three full sized suits all crammed in a small cardboard box. Needless to say they are a little wrinkled, but they look really good.

The new suit.

The power went out a few nights ago, which messed up the water heater, which we didn't know how to fix at the time (we soon learned how.) So we took showers for 2 days with out hot water. Talk about a wake up call in the mornings.

Hiking with one of the families in the ward.
Isn't he the cutest?!?

There's a holiday in Korea tomorrow (Children's day), so as a result a lot of the members of the ward were with family and away from Chuncheon on Sunday. We barely had 15 people at church, counting the 6 missionaries. It was a small, quiet worship meeting. Try to imagine fast and testimony meeting with only 15ish people. And more than half of them are kids who don't really want to bear their testimony. But it was good. The Lord has said that where 2 or 3 gather in his name, He will be there also.

Life is good and I'm loving the work and the people here in the Republic of Korea. Have a wonderful week!

Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, April 26, 2015

이동... 진짜 많이 했다

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate "...Really, I had a lot of movement")

This week was a good one filled with TWO trips to Seoul. Which made the week both fly by and seem super long.

Tuesday was our Temple day and P-day, so we headed into Seoul on Monday night to sleep at the temple so we could be to the session on time in the morning. Sleeping at the temple is so awesome. Elder Jung and I had had a pretty crazy night on Monday night, so we didn't get to eat dinner at all. Somehow the security guard at the temple figured that out and bought us some food. It was really nice of him. The temple session was great. Before hand, all the missionaries in our zone and the other zone that went with us lined up on the road in front of the temple and waited for President Christensen to drive up. When him and Sister Christensen finally came, we all sang "I know that my Redeemer lives" because it's his favorite song and it was his birthday. Afterwards we got permission to head over to another area in the mission that has a store that sells custom made suits for really cheap. Elder Batschi, Elder West, and I all ordered one and they should be arriving at our house this weekend! Sweet. We ended up spending 5 hours on the subway that day, most of it standing.

After a long day of travel...

Thursday night we went back up to Seoul to sleep at the Dongdaemun house (my old house!) in preparation for the mission tour that would be the next morning. That night Elder Jung finished up Pass-off with the assistants to the president. I'm sure I've talked about Pass-off before, but it's a program in our mission to help new missionaries improve in the language and improve their teaching skills. Koreans don't need any help language wise, so for Koreans the program mostly just helps them learn to be better teachers. Anyway, Elder Jung is all done with that! I'm proud of him. Then on Friday morning we started the mission tour with President Ringwood, who is the president of the Asia North Area. He gave a talk in General Conference just a few weeks ago... Do you remember? "Truly Good and Without Guile." He talked about Shiblon in the Book of Mormon and shared some of his experiences as a missionary in Korea. He is one of the nicest persons I've ever met. He held a question-answer session and gave a training on Moroni 10, focusing specifically on the eight exhortations that appear in that chapter. It was a really good training. He also memorized almost all of the missionaries names that were in that mission tour that day... there were probably at least 60 missionaries there, and he memorized most of our names in the short time that we were together. It was really impressive and kind of changed the mood of the meeting from some high up leader coming to train us to a man that really cares about us and is helping us to be better missionaries. It was a really good mission tour.

Elder Song and I at the mission tour.
We were together for 2 transfers in the Dongdaemun house.

We didn't get to teach Brother Yang, our delivery guy investigator, this week. In fact, we didn't get to teach a single lesson to an investigator this week. One, because we didn't have time, but Two, because we just don't really have anyone to teach right now. But we'll find some. Hopefully sooner than later. One thing that I forgot to say about our lesson with Brother Yang last week is that Elder Jung did a really good job. He was pretty direct with him and bore powerful testimony about the power and blessings of praying daily. Elder Jung has told me that he didn't really pray a whole lot before the mission and didn't even pray a lot at the beginning of his mission, but we've talked about it and the importance of sincere prayer, and Elder Jung has been doing really good with that while we've been together. So it was really cool to see him be able to bear powerful witness about the strength that comes from prayer because he personally felt and experienced it. Just like Alma talks about in Alma 5:45-46 and John 7:17, if we put in the work we can gain a testimony and surety of the truthfulness of these things.

At the last part of his training, President Ringwood talked a little about Moroni 10:30,32. It's the last exhortation of Moroni 10... Come unto Christ.

     "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

The wording here is pretty specific. Through his grace, we can become perfected. Christ became the example, he showed the way, and provided the means. It is because of his matchless Atonement that we obtain mercy and grace, and through that we can become perfected. It's something that definitely takes much longer than our time here on earth, but it is a truth that is real. While that truth may have been lost for a time and may not be believed by all churches, it is a truth that is made clear in the holy scriptures and modern revelation. We can, through our works and desires and efforts, become perfected in Christ. What a wonderful promise.

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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

비 오는 주

(Translation of Google Translate: "Rainy Week")

Cherry blossoms! All of Korea is full of these trees 
overflowing with cherry blossoms at this time of year.

Rain... and more rain... and more rain.

It was a rainy week. Probably not nearly as much rain as Jaron is now accustomed to over in England, but more rain than Korea or I am used to in the month of April. I like rain. But not as a missionary. Rain seriously impedes the possibilities of us finding someone on the street who wants to listen, so it doesn't make proselyting super effective. So, we resorted to knocking doors. We found a total of four people home after the first hour of knocking, and those four all had zero interest. So we made calls. And more calls. And more calls. Calls were much more effective than knocking doors and talking to people on the street. We made a fair amount of appointments and were able to talk to some pretty cool people who are busy right now, but would like to listen to our message later!! So that was good. So we called all week. It was good and kind of long.

Calls... and more calls...

We met a man that we called off some records from a year ago... the elders that were here a year ago met this man on the subway. So we called him up, he came to the church, and about 10 minutes into the conversation he said "Oh, by the way, I was the Choonchuen branch president here 40 years ago." It was rather shocking. He then told a long, sad story about how and why he went inactive. We talked about it and talked about the church a little and shared a scripture and then invited him to come back. He said he would think about coming back for good, but he said that he would for sure come next Sunday! It was cool to randomly find a less active member off some calling sheets.

Our nature museum adventure on P-day.

Do you remember the Chinese food delivery guy that we met last week? We met him again this week on Saturday. His name is Brother Yang. He's super cool and super nice but has the hardest time staying focused. We shared the Restoration video, talked about prayer and scripture study (we had to commit him strongly to prayer 4 or 5 times before he finally said yes because he got distracted every time we asked him), and also talked about some ways that he can come to church. Currently his only day off is Wednesday, and he's says that for the time being it will be impossible for him to get even a few hours off on Sunday. So that was lame, but he's reading the Book of Mormon and praying and really has a ton of interest, even though he can't focus super well.

Recently I've been working on memorizing parts of Matthew 5... it's such a great chapter. I've been working on memorizing more scriptures and reciting them often in my head to keep me focused and more Christ like. It's been a big help so far! "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

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

Sunday, April 12, 2015

헬로 에브리바디!

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Hello Everybody!")

Me and my companion, Elder Jung.

It was a pretty good week. Looking back, I feel like not a lot has happened, but I'll scrounge as much as I can from my journal and see if I can't make this a semi-interesting letter.
The beginning of the week was a lot of proselyting. We started the week off chilling in a bath house (there's a really nice one near our house) on P-day and then proselyted all night. And then pretty much all day the next day. Elder Jung and I have been focusing on goals a little bit more recently, working to actually achieve them instead of just kind of setting a number and not really working super hard for it. But also focusing on the people, not just the numbers. So we've been able to talk to more people than we normally would and find some people who are kind of interested and also find some people who were really really not interested. There's an opposition in all things, right? On Tuesday, after spending 3 hours on the street we were heading to the church to meet with a man. We were still about a mile or so from the church when we hear a motorcycle come up behind us (it's kind of okay to just ride your motorcycle on the sidewalk in Korea) and a man yell "hey, missionaries!" We turned around to find a chinese food delivery guy excitedly getting off his bike and coming up to talk to us. Turns out that he used to attend a church, but hasn't attended a church for years now and is in a "spiritual slump" and wants God back in his life. On top of it all, he's even been wondering about the "Mormon church" for several years. It was awesome. We couldn't really teach him then because he didn't have time, but we set up an appointment and met him the next day! We taught the Restoration and he was pretty excited about the Book of Mormon and really grateful we gave him one. He can't come to church because of work (his only day off isWednesday), but he really wants to come to church and he's really interested. We'll be meeting him again this week!

Telephone boxes.

We had Zone training meeting on Wednesday. The zone leaders and sister training leader did a good job and gave a great training on the Book of Mormon and helping less actives. Elder Weight (my last companion) is now done serving in Dongdaemun and moved into our zone! He's also training. It was good to see him again.
This weekend was spent preparing for general conference and watching general conference. We helped set up the projector in the chapel to be watched by the Korean members, set up and downloaded it in English for the english speakers, and set up and downloaded it in Sinhala for Sister Wijethunge. There were a lot of languages going on in the church this past weekend. I loved all the conference talks, although it was rather hard to stay awake during the last session. Gospel music, fear of God, near death encounters with a cliff... it was all super good.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Edwards

Morning views from the roof.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

농사, 등산, 가정의 밤... 재미있었다

Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Farming , hiking , family home evening was fun ..."

Climbing a mountain with the bishop.

This week was fun and different. Monday was a great P-day... we raced through everything that we needed to get done and then had 3 hours to just chill at the church and play ping pong and play the piano. Who knew that you can play ping pong hard enough and long enough to get into a sweat? It was really fun. Afterwards we proselyted for a bit and then had FHE as a ward because Sister McKloskey is transferring. It was fun. There are so many small kids in our ward and they're incredibly cute. Tuesday was awesome. The sisters have an investigator that owns a farm out in the country side, and she needed some help so we got to farm for a few hours!! We dug ditches. We dug for over 3 hours and were then sore for the rest of the week. My back was sore, my thighs were sore, calves, hands, neck, lower back, core, arms, shoulders... I think the only muscle it didn't hit was my chest. A good workout, but it made the next 3 or 4 days torture. It was good to be able to help her with that because it would have probably taken her several days if we hadn't helped.


The sisters are teaching a few men from Sri Lanka who are working here in Korea. There work conditions are pretty horrible... 18 hour shifts doing the exact same motion (grinding carrots) over and over only for minimum wage. But they're pretty positive about it and have some interest in the gospel. Elder Jung and I have been "helping" them teach because they need another man there and none of the members in our ward have time. We visited them last night and they fed us Sri Lankan food! Apparently they don't use utensils in Sri Lanka, so I ate with my bare hands. It was awesome. Sister Wijethunge, who is also from Sri Lanka, then taught them the Word of Wisdom in Sinhala, the language spoken in Sri Lanka. I didn't catch a single word. Nailed it. It reminded me of what it was like when I first came to country... it wasn't as bad as last night, but still pretty bad.

Eating sri lankan food. They don't use utensils.
Back to the baby days. Sweet.

We were able to teach a lot more this week compared to last week. On Wednesday we taught a couple college students that we found while street boarding 2 weeks ago. The first student is atheist, but has an open mind, listened well to the Restoration, and even prayed at the end of the lesson! It was his first time and he was a little nervous, but he prayed! The second student we taught is a pretty devout member of some Baptist church here, and he wanted to convert us. We knew he was going to try to do that, but we said we would meet if he would give us some time to teach as well. We ended up watching a video of their preacher for 30 minutes, and then they (he brought a few friends) talked about how we need to be reborn and be saved, like them. It was all good stuff, but we came here to teach and not to be taught (although we do plenty of learning along the way), so we taught them about the Book of Mormon and a little bit of the Restoration. He promised us 15 minutes, but it ended up being 6 minutes, which was pretty lame. None of them were interested or even really listened. *sigh* Oh well.

Elder West got a nice picture of Elder Jung and I proselyting.

This week we had to drop our alcoholic investigator, Brother Lee, because he wasn't keeping his commitments. He knows that alcohol is bad, but he refuses to even try to quit. He says he doesn't want to. So we dropped him, because it's impossible to help him if he doesn't put in effort.

Human flag on a small tree.

But, on the plus side, Elder Diede gave me a call from Dongdaemun last Friday saying that Brother Jung, whom Elder Weight and I found on the street and I got to teach once before I left (see the letter I sent on Feb. 16), would be getting baptized on Sunday!! Super cool. I wasn't able to go to the baptismal service yesterday, but it was cool to hear that he got baptized. He's a really cool kid and he should do great in the church.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week, remember your blessings, and keep the faith!
Love, Elder Edwards

Last day of unhealthy eating... did you know that most 
restaurants in Korea deliver right to your house? 
Yum, McDonalds chocolate shakes.
First day of healthy eating!