Sunday, 24 April 2011

Week 42 divided by 6 is 7 ...ok i was with 13

Alright, play by play on how the birthday went.
. . . .Sat in a 3 hour training meeting that took me 7 hours to get to and from.
. . . .Taught English Class. Ate with a member afterwards,
. . . . The End.
Ok, it was a little better than that. I went into Seoul a day early for P-Day, and FIIIINALLY got some good (extremely late) b-day gifts for Free and James that I will be sending out today!!!! I got to see Elder Eissenhaur, and we both wished each other Happy Birthdays (his is on the 20th like Hill's). I got to hang out with a lot of my missionary friends for a little bit, and catch up. And the three Angelenos got to spend some time together as well. It was Elder Lee Eugene's last week. My companion had to to some "pass-off" to him because Elder Lee is the AP.
I got a sweeeeet package from the Todd's! With some way cute pics as well, and a great letter. They got me some licorice, they know me well. Got the updates from Mike as well, and I got some good laughs out of that. Finn looks exactly like Morgan, it's scary. Yogurt!
The highlight was Dad's email I got to read on the way to Seoul. He typed out the story of his baptism. So amazing. I have known bits and pieces of it through testimony meetings at church and whatnot. Or from Mom's conversion story, which was at Dad's baptism itself. So it felt amazing to get to read it, and get all those little details that I didn't know before. Thank you so much, Dad. Mom I'd love to hear all events from your side as well!
I get to share great stories about my family all the time. I love Free's testimony of tithing. I talk about it all the time. SO gimme more.
Here's the kicker, though. I called my old area, Siheung to wish Elder Chapman a happy birthday as well. We were in the MTC together, and he was born on the 19th, too. He's from SD, and he told me this time in two years we could be at a Lakers game together. Of course that's not the news.
He told me some great news about Lee Hyun-Su, one of my recent converts in Siheung. Me and my companion baptized him and his step-son. His kids from his first marriage came to the Baptism and i got to spend some time with them. His son and his daughter will be getting baptized next month! It felt so great to hear. Depending on where I am, I'll try to get permission to go.
On the day of my year-mark as a missionary I got another gift. Another greenie.
Seriously. He is from Wonju, but is waiting on his visa for his mission call to London. He is the first Korean ever sent there. So he'll be in Won-ju for the next transfer. 4 greenies in 3 transfers. He is more like a seed though. But it's been a lot of fun. I was only in a threesome for a few days before, and this past week has been great.
Transfer calls are tonight. I'll let you know what happens.
-Elder Reyes
PS, tell Jeff happy b-day for me.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Week SUM 41

Week Sum 41, as in I wonder whatever happened to the Oneders. Anyway...
Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone. Throw something nice and crazy for Hillary, since she sacrificed her B-Day bash for me prepping to leave for the mission last year.
I don't have anything special planned. I have training at 9am in the morning. A nice 2 1/2 hour bus ride back to my area, and then I teach English class that night. But maybe I'll do something fun while I'm in Seoul today.
This week was pretty amazing, we were able to get a lot of work done. We found a new investigator who stopped meeting the missionaries about a year ago. He was coming to church pretty solidly before, but when his favorite Elder left, he just stopped picking up their calls. But we called him, met up, and he loves us. Don't know what the difference is this time.
I went on exchanges to interview a Baptismal candidate for another area in my District. It was the first baptismal interview I've ever had to conduct, so I was pretty anxious and prepared a lot for it. It went great, I was able to clear up some things, and had to review some other things, but Moon-Jeoung Gon is a pretty pure 17 year old kid. The Elders have been having a hard time to get him to pray in front of other people, so I wanted to make sure he prayed at the end of the interview. He kept saying he can't. And Then I kept telling how simple it is and that it doesn't need to be fancy. He kept saying I can't, I can't, and then finally finished, "No, I can't remember your name." Aaaaah. He was baptized yesterday!
On the exchange we were eating at a restaurant and I started speaking to some of the workers there. The usual, "Oh you're so good at Korean", and me insisting that I'm not (I'm really not), back and forth. Then the owner walks in, and we talk for a little bit. He sees the name tag. A little puzzled. But then he sees it on the table, The Book of Mormon. He yelps out, "Oh, you're THAT church!" He starts murmuring to his wife,  and I ask "Why is it weird?" Surprised that I understood what he was trying to mutter under his breath, he says, "...Some guy buries stuff. Weird translations..."
"Why is that weird." He blurts out, "It's just not the Bible alright. I don't understand the need for it." We talk back and forth, and I explained the usual background on the Book of Mormon. I end by telling him that it's a historical fact that plain and precious things were physically taken out of the Bible. And I testified that the Book of Mormon restores those truths. Blank stare. And then he changes the subject.
The Book of Mormon is our special message to the world, it's the keystone of our religion. Everything we say hinges on whether or not it is true. It is our sickle. Don't try to work your way around it when people say it's "weird". Testify of its divinity.
-Elder Reyes

PS: eat some moshi ice cream on my behalf

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Week 40

5 sessions of Conference, 5 pages of notes - front and back -  filled. Such a good conference. I wish I had brought them with me, there in a stack on my desk. The only note I wrote down for President Monson opening up General Conference was, "The speakers have sought Heaven's help in preparing these talks" It didn't seem all that important to me, until Elder Holland spoke about the process in which the speakers use in preparing their talks, and how the topics are unassigned. It was a nice way to book-end the conference for me. Well almost, of course President Monson spoke very last.

The speakers focused a lot on service, tithing, and a whole lot about marriage *cough *cough. I really liked Elder Lynn G Robbins talk on "To be or not to be."  The title is "What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be." Of course there were so many others "Waiting on the road to Demascus," "Opportunities to Do Good" and so many others. But this one really stood out to me.

It explains how "to do" and "to be" are inseparable, or are void without the other.  Much like faith without works. "Do without be is hypocrisy, and portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself." I also liked how it talked about complimenting your kids on their attributes instead of their actions.

I will try to do this now with my family.

Dad: You were always willing to heed the promptings of the Spirit. It was a vision you had that brought us to Utah, and ultimately lead to our membership in this Church. You are kind, patient, and the most humble person I know.

Mom: You are steadfast in the faith. You are nurturing. You have been my rock for a long time. You are always willing to give to others, especially your time.

Free: You are infinitely creative. You are diligent in your study of whatever it is you put your mind to. You are deep in faith, and loyal to the end.

James: You are a natural father. Don't let that scare Hillary. You will be an amazing one. You have the attention to detail that is required to see past the surface, and solve problems that are temporal and Spiritual.

Issa: You have a forgiving heart. Your capacity to love others outweighs any other attribute you have. This will turn in a willingness to serve.

This week was great, it ended great with watching conference. If you haven't watched it... do. I love you all.

-Elder Reyes

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Week 39

First off, thank you soooo much for the package. I got it on Wednesday. I was so surprised because I was in the office a couple of days before, and didin't see anything for me. So when Elder Olsen, who was in my younger MTC group, came up to me that afternoon and said, "You got a big heavy beautiful package in there, " I was pretty excited. Even when the meeting was over, and everyone was grabbing their mail, I had some other stuff to take care of, all of a sudden I see Elder Olsen with a big ol' package, "This is the one!" I asked, "You went in there and grabbed it for me?" He responded, "I'm excited for you." I couldn't open it though, not until we caught our train. We literally had to run down and catch it, as we stepped through the doors I could hear the hydraulic doors getting ready to close. Phew! Made it.

As always mom wraps the package enough to make it water proof, so me and the other three Elders i I was with,were hacking at it with our keys, getting all sorts of frustrated. I open it up and wow, half of the box is toothpaste and lotion, and the other half is Girl Scout cookies. It think it's enough toothpaste and lotion to last me the rest of my mission, and about enough Girl Scout cookies to last me a week. I stacked the large boxes of tooth paste and Girl Scout cookies across from each other, and realized, they are mortal enemies... anyway, the best part though was the gift. Thank you so much Issa, I loved all the new pics and fancy wallet. And thanks mom for you know what, I was surprised everywhere I looked, and didn't realize it was there until long after i first opened it.

This transfer is about halfway done, and we've spent the greater part of it in our apartment. Aaaaaah! But for a good reason, my companion is still sick. He vomited in the shower this morning. Luckily, we have separate bathrooms. I'm hoping to have at least a full week together where we can really get out there and work. I'm excited for him to get better. We also spent the first half of this week in Seoul, with my dentist trip, Temple day, President interviews, and with a special Zone Conference that we had.

Still we were able to see miracles with visiting and working with less active members. Since we've been in the house a lot, I've spent a lot of time pouring over less-active/in-active records and it's hard for your heart not to break every time you see one. And there are a lot. Seeing their records from investigator, to member, to strong member, then dwindling to inactivity, it's really sad. Some of the people I meet had such unshakable testimonies at one time, some of them are even return missionaries, but somewhere down the line, they just stop coming.

We've been teaching guitar to a 21 year old less active named Gun Young for the past month or so. His parents come out every week, but he and his brother haven't been to church in years. I've committed him to come before, but he's always flaked. This past Saturday we had an activity with the youth/young single adults, and we were able to get him out. We committed him to come to church again. Yesterday, sacrament meeting is about to start, and I see his mom walk in. No Gun Young. My heart sank, and as I went to go ask the Mom why he wasn't at church, she said before I could ask, "He's downstairs." !!!! He came, and he even passed the sacrament. And said he had fun after it was done.

Thank you soo much for the prayers. I am praying for you as well. Tell Adam I'm sorry I couldn't be there for the James' birthday bonanza, and the all the funtivities and our old hang out spots that you went to while the Paurs were down in Cali. I am truly grateful for the friends I have, and the examples that all of them set before me, going on missions. Yes, I'm more than a little tardy. I guess tardy isn't the word, but anyway...

I get to see General Conference this weekend, but I know you all saw it this past weekend. So let me know what your favorite parts of conference were. If you have time, look up the Henry B. Eyring talk, "This Day", I think it's from 2007 or so. Anyway, have a good one!

-Elder Reyes