Sunday, 28 August 2011

Week 60

The heat is back. I'm sitting in our community center writing this email and I'm pouring sweat. Luckily the keyboard has a rubber cover on it or else I'd be doing some major damage to these components. Today we get transfer calls again. I'm not gonna lie. Last transfer was probably the fastest feeling transfer I've had, and this one has been... by far the slowest. Maybe aside from my first. But due to the rain, and my comp's health, we've been stuck inside a lot of days. On the plus side I've gotten some extra study in, and I've learned that oh so important Christ-like attribute of patience. haha

I've been having a great time though, our zone is doing really well, and the mission is seeing a lot of changes. The biggest has to be the fact that every companionship just got portable DVD players. Our mission could have had smart phones, but they felt it was too big of a temptation for the missionaries. iPod Touches were banned for the very same reason. But the decision to have DVD players was handed straight down from the First Presidency. For training purposes we are supposed to watch Preach My Gospel DVD's during comp study. (PMG "District 2" is amazing by the way, I recommend all people see it) I'm guessing all the missions have those players now,  aside from the missions that are already using laptops for proselyting and record keeping purposes. This occasion marked one of the funniest quotes I've heard on the mission,

"I think the average obedient missionary won't watch too many movies."

That's from a leader by the way. I think it wouldn't be that big of a temptation if Korea didn't have bootlegged films in every subway station! But as much as I love movies, I think it's gotta be in the right place at the right time. There's no substitute for a movie theater, or sitting on your couch at home, and cranking up the sound. You can't exactly get that same experience on an 8 inch screen with speakers the size of peanuts.

That thought, oddly reminded me of marriage. And when the new Ensigns came in, it was all about marriage. Waaaay rough to read as a missionary. But just like how I won't give into temptation and settle for a movie experience that only reaches a small fraction of what a great film can be, I shouldn't settle for a marriage that is anything short of an eternal one. It's gotta be in the right place, and the right time... and to the right person. Of course, sometimes we don't always get it in that order, but we have a goal for all three.

We were teaching a lesson last week, and we shared the Family Proclamation, and of course the subject went to marriage. I admitted... "I'm old. I may look like I'm in high school, but I'm old, and I'm looking forward to marriage." I realized the other day that the 2 year anniversary of James and Hill's wedding put me at the same age James was when he got married. Of course James' maturity level is faaaar beyond mine, but it was very strange to think about.

We had a member baptism yesterday. The family that had the baptism drove us home, and in a very cute moment, that turned very spiritual, the family with the two young daughters started singing the hymn "I love to see the Temple." As the hot Korean wind blew in my face it definitely made me think of when I was baptized, but what a blessing the temple has been in my life. I still remember being sealed in Salt Lake, and first going through LA only a week or so before I entered the MTC. I hope to enter it as a family once again.

Ok, I'll  let you know how transfer calls go. Take care, and gimme some updates!

-Elder Reyes

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Week The 59 Sound...on my grandmother's radio

Alright, my comp is still under the weather. It's been a little hard, there's so much work to do here but we've had to cancel a lot of activities. It's weird how being cooped up in a house wears me out more than pounding the streets. I hope I keep that feeling after the mish. I need to be doing something productive, or else I get pretty antsy. I'll tell you what though... the house is really clean.

Ok, anyway, we were able to visit a lot of members. And I've been having a great time getting to know there backgrounds in the church, or how they met missionaries. It's pretty amazing stuff. The weather is starting to be a little more normal lately. With all the rain, not one day felt as hot as two months straight of heat last year. We lucked out this summer.

I've got a bit of running around to do, so I'll just some a couple quotes with you, and then I have to be on my way.

"Who said that?"
-"You did."
"Oh, yeah."

Me to an American English teacher I talked to at a bus stop:
-What are you doing in Korea?
"You can probably guess what I'm doing."
-You're eating a hot delicious bagel from Dunkin Donuts...
"Ok, well, I guess that's what I'm doing RIGHT now. haha, I'm an English teacher."

-How did that contact go Elder?
"He told me to, 'go away. I'm not done preparing.'"

Issa's b-day bash looked like fun. Thanks for sending me pics. I'm gonna try and send out Issa's and Mom's b-day gifts in one package today.

Ok, Love you all!
-Elder Reyes

Week 58

Ok, I have to confess I've been really bad on journal writing. But I definitely don't want to forget those small but funny moments on my mission. I don't know if it's just the middle months of the mission but a lot of other Elders tend to do this. But I've started writing down funny quotes other people say in my planner. It makes me laugh to look at em. I'm pretty good at remembering this kinda stuff, but I'm sure when I look at these old planners in twenty years I'll be glad I wrote em down. I just started, but here's a few:

"Me and my old companion helped out that man when a buch of frozen chickens fell out of their delivery truck. He was a really nice guy... But don't eat there Elder, they use chickens that fell on the floor." Elder Madsen

"Do you think Moses was ripped?" Elder Bailey
They were wandering around the desert for 40 years. I'm sure he got in some good cardio.

"Do I need to tell President that I'm getting physical therapy from a smokin hot Korean lady?"

That's still a rule Elder.
- " No it's not, I asked the AP's when I was passing off."
I'll call 'em right now, it's a rule.
- "Fine, call."
(30 seconds later...)
Yup. Still a rule.

This one is from a while ago but it still makes me laugh:
"I just keep getting crappy companions. I had so much hope for this transfer"
- Who were you expecting to get paired up with? A magical Elf?

Ok, anyway. Something else I just started was writing down little parts of my Patriarchal blessing in my planner. Part of it is a reminder that I must live worthy to receive that particular blessing, and part of it is a reassurance that I have already seen that blessing, or I have that gift, and that I should be using it to bless the people around me.

This last week flew by. I had some really Spiritual experiences on an exchange I went with with one of the Elders in my district. It was amazing. I recommend looking up the Mormon Message, that uses part of a talk from President Hinckley about two boys and finding a man's shoes.

Ok, I've gotta run. Lemme know how everyone is doing!

Love you all!
-Elder Reyes

Monday, 8 August 2011

Week Dad's Car is a 57

K, so I just got to read all of your responses about coming home the early transfer. Thanks for responding. I am definitely leaning more towards coming home the early transfer. I need to let the mission know within this or the next transfer. It hasn't quite hit me clearly what I need to do, it may be one of those questions the Lord is leaving up to me to weigh more options and think it through more before I get clear a response. But someone pointed out something about coming home in late March...  I could attend General Conference. But here's what I would like to do... attend as a family! I don't know if James would be able to make it down, but I would love it if we could get most of us there. I also don't know if Josh has seen the SLC Temple, and those other sites. I know it was a great experience for Ryan and Oren when we went as a band.

If my memory serves me correct I don't think the entire family has been together in Utah since we moved to CA. This last Conference absolutely gave me goosebumps, it was so good. I would like to have that Spiritual feast as a family. There would obviously be a lot of mission friends I'd be able to have you meet as well. By far the strongest I've felt the Spirit so far on my mission was in the MTC when Elder L. Tom Perry walked into the room. Elder Bishoff, who was sitting next to me, and I felt like we had been hit by a brick wall, it was so strong for both of us.

It's still raining like crazy, and the wind is really starting to kick in. Part of my umbrella broke on the way over to this email place. This last week, we got a lot of rest on my Mission President's counsel that me and my companion need to recover fully before going out in this weather.

The weather was perfect for a Forest Conference we had in Seoul, though. It wasn't so much a forest as it was a giant park in the middle of Seoul ( you usually can't see 40 story buildings the next block over in actual forests). We did a bunch of outdoor activities, but the best activity wasn't physical. We had to write letters to ourselves that we'd get at the last day of our missions. I've done this exercise a few other times before, but this time they asked us to write down one thing we want to give up that is distracting us from mission work. A lot of people put down music, following or playing sports or thinking about what school they want to go to, thinking too much about marriage, etc.

The two things that stuck out to me were of course music and movies. I thought about it for a little bit but I couldn't choose those things. That's how I connect with almost every person I meet. So I thought about it more. And the thing I wanna give up is fear. Sometimes I write my fear off as an urge to be lazy, and of course I don't follow that urge. I never get nervous but fear and nerves are different things to me. Since playing all those shows, I just don't feel the physical effects of nerves anymore. But those same thoughts still run through my head as it does any other person. But I know I need to eliminate those things from my thoughts in order to more effectively do this work.

As we were coming home from the conference I thought about how movies aren't that big of a distraction. I remember last year, freaking out when I realized I was missing Comic-Con. It didn't even dawn on me this year. Then on all the TV's in the Subway there was a 5 minute report on Comic-Con.... shoot!

Ok, I've got a full week ahead of me of craziness. I'll be working in some crazy weather. Love you all, and let me know what you think about Conference for April next year. ALSO...

Happy 2 year Anniversary to Hill and James, and a Happy early B-Day wish to Issa!

-Elder Reyes

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Week Fitty Sick

Me and da letter dat looks like an upside down 4 ain't been getting along so I aint goin be usin it no more. The letter "x" is just collateral damage.

Ok, not really... but,

I don't know if it's been on the news there, but it's been raining like CRAAAZY out here. We've been fine here in Incheon. I mean everything you wear and carry gets soaking wet because it's raining up-ways, sideways and right through your umbrella, but we can at least leave the house. In Seoul, I heard there was some pretty bad flooding, and some missionaries couldn't leave their apartment. Worst of all there have been many deaths due to mudslides in the more rural areas. I don't know the damage everywhere, I just catch bits in pieces in restaurants and during taxi  rides. But I assure you we're just fine.

My companion is still under the weather so he hasn't been feeling great, but we were able to get a lot of work done, and get in touch with some other inactives. Other than that, being outside isn't the best thing. Not that we aren't out there though. Sometimes the rain actually works in our favor. We've been hitting a lot of bus stops and places that have a little bit of cover lately to talk with new people.

I had a pretty significant experience with this weather. We were at the top of a subway station after it had rained pretty much all day.  The clouds began to clear to reveal the sun setting down. I don't know what it was, but the sky looked amazing. And as I went from person to person, introducing the Book of Mormon, I just had to keep looking at the sky. As I finished talking to one person, and as I was about to talk to another I just stood there frozen, at a loss for words to describe the scene before my eyes. The deeper I stared, the more beautiful it became. Not because the sky itself was so amazing to look at, but the scene inside myself, and the realization of my own nothingness and God's greatness overwhelmed me. "God is all powerful," I thought to myself. "He created all this, and more that my eyes have not, and could not see during my time here on earth." Then the Spirit filled me, and whispered, "and that God is with you." After that, never had I had less fear about talking to people, or doing this work. That day seemed to fly by.

One of the most important moments on my mission is realizing and admitting to myself and God, that I can do nothing. But even more important is knowing and acting with the knowledge that with God, you can do anything.

"If God be for us, who can be against us?" -Romans 8:31 

I hope all is well. Le me know how you've been doing!

Love you all,
Elder Reyes