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!