Sunday, April 29, 2012

SO... It was a good/long week

WOW, it has been a weird week. I think Chase described it the best. It flew by but in a really kind of slow way. It was kind of depressing how fast it went but looking back the things that happened this week seemed like FOREVER ago. Kinda nuts

Anywho ya, another week in Korea. And here I am sitting once again in the same position that I have been in the last 12 times i've emailed (hunched over in church clothes) HAH like the analogy? I thought it was clever.... (not really but I've just got some dry humor going on right now for some reason)

SO Ya, this week was nuts. We had a lovely visit by the AP's on Tuesday and that was pretty nerve racking (always is). But me and Elder Scoville were in one side of our area and the AP Elder went with the two other Elders to the absolute farthest point away in our area that you can be from where we (Elder Scoville/I) were. So it was pretty good.

We had a pretty successful week and I can honestly say we were just freaking out trying to get all of our appointments organized and everything. It is nuts. But ya so I want to tell you about 3 crazy experiences that I have had this week that I have good learning experiences for me.

So first of all we are meeting with this other church 전도사 [missionary]. He is SOOO smart. Ohhhhh my goodness gracious, he is a very smart guy. But it is amazing how people interpret the scriptures sometimes. It completely baffles me. But as we have been meeting with him it has been really amazing to see what people will accept and what they won't. For example: he accepts that Joseph Smith saw God and Christ. He doesn't accept that Jesus Christ was resurrected with a body and claims that the resurrection is a thing that we do spiritually (which is partially true) but that our bodies are just useless (which is not true, see 2 Nephi 9) It is pretty intense. We have really good discussions every time we meet, but he knows the Bible scriptures well, but interprets them kind of askew if you will. He has been fun to meet with and is reading the Book of Mormon and making some really good progress. 

So the next experience we had started at 4 o'clock on Saturday morning. I am sitting there unconscious (I don't sleep anymore I just go into a coma and then come out of it) and all of a sudden I hear Elder Scoville awake and on the phone. So I sit up and see that Elder Jolley is gone too. SO I go into Elder Jolley's room (where they were) and they are on the phone with one of the guys we are meeting with. He was with a buddy and had some questions about doctrine (specifically how we can become gods and where these things come out in the Bible.) So Elder Scoville and Elder Jolley and I sit down and find some scriptures and I call him back and we talk and attempt to explain things in my after anesthesia coma stupor (yay for bad jokes!). Anyway. As I thought about it after we got off the phone I was like "Ya know, I understand what the doctrine is, I know it's true, BUT I don't know where it comes from." So as I hit this realization I jumped out of bed, grabbed all my materials and sat down and started studying this out. We proceeded to spend the time (WOW some grandma is swearing and cussing at one of the receptionists here for some reason.... she has thrown a lot of stuff at him too......... ANYWAYS) I spent the time studying every chance I get the Doctrine for the Plan of Salvation (I think I am seeing the 5 stages of depression with this grandma in action, all right now, this is kinda strange). But ya so it was crazy to get all this studied and learned. We met with him yesterday at church and it was an awesome blessing to get to meet up with him and teach him. Every thing that we talked about that day referred back to the Plan of Salvation. It was kinda crazy so it was good that we got a chance to talk about that! SO that was cool to get to understand the doctrine a lot more than I had before.

Then there was just this one lesson that we taught that day that just went super well. We taught him the Restoration of the Gospel and I told the Joseph Smith story. It was cool because the Spirit was there and he felt it. Elder Scoville was awesome and jumped right on that and pointed out that he was feeling the Spirit. It was just a cool thing to me to watch Joseph Smith's description of the First Vision help someone feel the Spirit and recognize it.

Anyway. I had a pretty good week. We were very busy but it has been SO awesome. I had a really awesome time. I am learning more and more lately HOW to feel the Spirit. It is a very active thing. Trying to feel and recognize the Spirit is a powerful gift, but goodness gracious it is one you have to work for. I am happy that I have gotten a chance to see it work in the lives of the people I've taught this week. It has been great! Love it :) I love the Gospel and am so happy for it.

Love ya'll hope you have an awesome week. So good to hear about all the things that are going on for you at home. I am praying for ya every night, Work hard, have fun, remember the gospel is true!

Elder Josh

Oh ya! I forgot to tell you!

I touched a porcupine this week. It was really cool.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Well well well.... it's been a fun week it has ^_^

Dear Familia!

Well, hello there! It is Elder Josh in 대한민국! WAHOOO!!!! It has been definitely an interesting week.... like you have no idea. It's been so fun! (BAHAHAHAHAA I can't help but laughing my companion's computer just blue screened because apparently the computers we are using aren't the best computers ever.... ㅋㅋㅋ.... Windows XP... FAIL)

Anyways, so ya it has been a very interesting week. Lots of good study, lots of good experiences meeting people, just an all around fun week :) Oh and last week on P-Day we went to 화성행궁 [Hwaseong Fortress].... so I took some pics, enjoy!

So ya this week we did a LOT of 영어 광고 and like I can't even describe how much we did. We just walked from apt to apt just asking the 관리자 if we are allowed to 광고 or not. It was SO annoying.... but we got permission in a couple places and it was good to get fliers put up. Especially because......


Like 표현할 수 없다.... it was that bad..... We sat there during study one morning and it was just like: 10 mins study, 1 new investigator calls, 10 more mins, another 구도자, 5 more, and another.... it was horrible. BUT SO STINKING AWESOME. It was pretty legit, we were pretty happy elders to say the least. Because people calling us means people to meet. And meeting with people and talking is much MUCH more enjoyable than trying to find investigators on the street (because that is hard, ask Spencer Hatfield or Mitch Palmer, they'll tell ya). ALSO I laugh because of finding out that so far all of the people from the Edgemont 14th ward have served here in 평택 at one time or another. It is nuts. Like so crazy.... I was looking through the record book and saw a picture of (at that time) Elder Hatfield. It was nuts. (I might have mentioned this before and if that is the case I apologize because I just thought it was cool because I didn't know Mitch Palmer served here and I got Mom's package that she sent a while ago that talks about the blog and I didn't know that Mitch served here. That was cool :)... OH and Mom! Thanks for the package! Very excited about it! I totally decorated my room a little more :))

Anywho ya, so this week as far as the investigators went it was a pretty good week. Although we did have one guy that I would like to tell you about. So we have for the last couple of weeks been meeting with this guy and he is a Jehovah's Witness.... So we have been meeting with him and just kinda trying to build a relationship where we would have an opportunity to maybe get to talk about the gospel. Well, we got our chance. This week as we met with him we went in and started teaching about The Restoration. It was probably one of the hardest lessons I have taught on my mission. He just argued every single step of the way.... and so we got up to the Joseph Smith story and Elder Scoville taught it awesome and then I came in and explained the Book of Mormon and then we asked him if he would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true. He said no (not that that hasn't happened before but this time it was different). He is such an Awesome guy. He lives his Faith. And he lives it proudly. And it killed me to just think that someone who lived their life the way he did, who did the good that he does, was willing to settle with less than he is able to attain. I can just remember sitting there after the lesson was over and I just wanted to cry. I love the Book of Mormon, I know it's true. I love that God can guide us through it. It just kills me that someone who is that good, who has the potential to be SO amazing, iIs settling for less. 

And I guess that as I type this I am starting to realize a little bit about what our Father in Heaven (and I guess Mom and Dad too) feel when we don't do our best. When we are willing to settle for that. It just killed me inside, I don't even know why, I just hope down the road when something doesn't make sense and he has questions that he will look to the 2 몰몬경 책's [Book of Mormon's] that he has at his house. I hope he does.

So as we went home, however, it was cool to go and watch a promise from our District Leader get fulfilled in that we went and did our best with him and dropped him. But we got a call that day from someone who wanted to meet in 20 mins and so we met him and are now scheduled to meet with this new guy 3 times a week. Cool eh!?

But yes, so as far as my study goes this week I finished the 4 Gospels and am into Acts. But I really liked this morning as I read in John 20:27 (again this part is in that Finding Faith in Jesus Christ movie) where Thomas is invited to come and feel the wounds in our Saviors hands and side. Just a cool little statement that Jesus makes at the end of that verse: be not faithless, but believing. 

I am working on that every day. Have faith. A simple concept that gets more and more difficult as you think about it. It seems counter intuitive to be perfectly honest but hey, it is life. As I read John, though, I really liked reading Christ's intercessory prayer. Christ is praying for those that believe on him. Christ, the literal Son of God, prayed for us. He wants to help us. How cool is that?

I think it's pretty awesome. He freely gave his life that we might live. He loves us. He will take care of us. He does it to me every day. Even when things are hard, somehow they always get better. Every Single Time. I love doing His work. It (although it is extremely difficult) is so rewarding. To see a family read the BoM. To see them pray. To watch Christ, bless their lives. How cool is that. :)

I think it's awesome.


NOW as to my daily life I will run you through just some of the "Things Mom wants to know"

I love sleeping on my little mat on the floor. It is so much more comfortable than a mattress, PLUS all the heat here in Korea is floor heat, so you are closer to the heat :)

I eat so much rice. I can proudly say that I have not eaten Cereal (outside of splits) this transfer. I eat RICE. WAHHHHH

No, I do not wear my pants anymore (my black pair of Jeans ripped, and the blue ones don't fit around my fat legs) SO if one of these days you were inclined to send me some money to get some clothes that fit my vastly fatter lower half I would be appreciative. (I am like a 34 waist now... that's like 2 full inches... gosh)

So ya, it's legit. 

I hope ya'll know I love ya. I pray for you a lot :).

Take care

Elder Josh

P.S. I will set up the Mother's Day call here in a week or two when I find out more about what's going down (cause that is transfer week) I will let you know! Love ya!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another fun week in the area of 평택 [Pyeongtaek]

Well, hello there familia! I certainly hope that it has been a fun week! I heard that you all did some paintball and I cannot begin to explain to you exactly how jealous that I am. It is not fair, I have never been and I really wanna go! Hahah!

But ya it has been a pretty dang good week here on the mission. We had all sorts of crazy happenings! It was a good time.

This week actually, however, did not start out for me in this area, I went on a split to the city of 안성 [Anseong]. So I spent the day there with a new Elder by the name of Elder Atkin. He is new in the mission and it was really quite interesting for me! It hit me exactly how much I had progressed since my transfer. Not only in Korean but just as a missionary and everything. It was definitely an eye opener for me. 

Then this week we had combined district meeting with our zone and also up in 수원 [Suwon] (actually in my old ward building is where we met :)) and then we had President Interviews! So what an interesting time it has been for me. I have actually been out on my mission to the point where I have had 3 interviews with President outside of my entrance interview into the mission. Kinda blows my mind a little bit. It was a really good interview with President, I really enjoyed it.

One of the things that I have been doing of late (this might surprise some of you) but I have been reading the New Testament. I started in Matthew the other day and have been plugging along. I have been trying to figure out how I can be more like Christ and so I figured what better way to do so than by studying His teachings to the people of Jerusalem. 

I have gotta say it has been an interesting time. But I have learned something cool that I'd like to share. So as I have read in the New Testament the overwhelming theme that I have discovered is faith. I am only in Mark and it has been such an eye opener to me exactly how powerful and required faith is. 

In Mark chapter 9 it talks about a father whose son has a devil. The man brings him to Christ and says this:

 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things areapossible to him that bbelieveth.
 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine aunbelief.
Wow, it is such a crazy thing to me. All things are possible to him that believeth. If we have faith, anything is possible. And the even cooler thing I think is portrayed in the Finding Faith in Christ video. It has this part in it, and the father comes up and is all confidently: Lord, I believe. Then it pans over to Christ who looks at him again with somewhat of a questioning look, and then the father says: Help thou mine unbelief. Christ then takes and heals the child and casts the devil out.

What a blessing that is. Christ is gonna prove us. He is going to try our faith. BUT he is also willing to stand by us, and "help our unbelief." How awesome is that. Christ loves us so much, I am so thankful to him for that. As I have read the New Testament so far I have really been touched by the teachings of Christ. He was so pure, he was so bold, he was perfect. He was an example to me of how to teach, he is an example to everyone of how to love. He's awesome. He's my Savior :).

So ya, I thought that was cool :). But anywho as to our 구도자.... Our Baptismal date unfortunately dropped. We haven't been able to get in contact with 박전욱 of late but he isn't responding. SO... ya.... it's okay though because we found some other investigators who are awesome! They have a lot of potential (a few of them) so now we just need to keep meeting with them! It'll be good!

As to me, I'm just working on Humility. I am discovering every day exactly how much pride I have and so I gotta get over it. I guess Christ wasn't kidding when he said in Ether: "If men come unto me I will SHOW unto them their weakness." He wasn't kidding. believe me. But I am just hoping that I will get better through it all. Weaknesses..... dangit I have a lot...... Oh well. Line upon line, precept on precept right? I certainly hope so.

As for all of you yahoos back at home I hope all is going well. I gotta say It is hilarious to get to brag about my sisters (and my parents of course). It makes me laugh, especially serving in an American Branch some of the members squirm in their seats when they hear that one of my sisters (Jenna, you'll laugh) is 6' Tall. It makes me laugh. It is great. I love ya'll so much. You make a big brother/son proud :). Hope ya'll have an AWESOME week! Love ya'll tons!

Elder Josh!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Miracle Week/Conference Week

Weird how those two things always seem to coincide eh? Conference and Miracles. Wow, it was amazing.

Anywho ya! I just got done reading your letters to me and WOW. Tell Jenna it is not LEGAL to run miles that fast.... Actually... because Jenna SHOULD in theory read this... JENNA THAT ISN'T LEGAL! DANG THAT'S FAST!. Kellie ran the crazy race eh? That's way cool. So all of my sisters are just downright athletes and amazing.... And then there is my aging parents who are taking it upon themselves to try and run RIDICULOUSLY long distances in their "twilight years" (yes, I am giving both of you crap, you are in more shape than the Korean people and that is saying something because they are nuts) hahaha ;).

But yes, long story short this week was crazy. Started off last week like usual with P-Day and all and then on Tuesday I went on a split with Elder Lund (My district leader) and long story short he and I are going to be such good friends after the mission. Like I can't even tell you, we had SO much fun. We worked so hard but we just talked and stuff and it was great. He's a fun guy, I like him. Anywho, came back to 평택 and me and Elder Scoville just went right to work the second I got off the bus with him to last night. We haven't stopped. At all. And although it was hard, God really did bless us. It was crazy. We all of a sudden were able to meet with people and teach people lessons and it's like "WHERE DID THIS COME FROM!?" 

Needless to say, it was ridiculous. I was baffled, and that doesn't even begin to describe it. We just kept seeing miracle after miracle after miracle. They didn't stop. It was so cool, so we are hoping to keep the waving rolling this week and just keep plowing away and seeing success.

A big part of our success though has been our Bishop. And I cannot even tell you how cool it has been over the last 3 weeks to see him take the responsibility of missionary work upon himself and then to watch our Bishop magnify his calling in an unbelievable way. He is working SO hard. And he is going to drag the ward with him. I think the thing that has really been cool to me is to see how often he goes to the temple. Dang, it makes me so jealous. He goes to the temple every single week (about a 2.5 hour trip both ways by car) and he goes there with a purpose. It has been so cool to watch and has been a testimony to me of how important the temple is. I want to go so bad. But unfortunately the timer on the next time I can do that is similar to that of how long my mission is... So ya. 

Anywho.... Conference was AWESOME!

I learned so much (although I am still in the process of watching all of the sessions, I have them on my translator) I just can't even believe it. The priesthood session was so good. It was just all so good! I loved learning all the different lessons that the Prophets and Apostles have given to us. Especially about magnifying my calling. I want to be a good Missionary, I wanna be one SO bad. I wanna be a blessing to those around me. And it just starts with my loving everyone. SO as I am doing this, PLEASE! ANYONE!!! if you have tips or tricks on how I can increase my love for others. Let me know!

I love ya'll so much, I know this is true. This is God's church on the earth today. Thomas S. Monson is God's Prophet on the earth today. I know it. I love him, I love my Heavenly Father, I love his guidance that he gives me.

Love ya'll too :)
Elder Josh!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Well it was another fun week here in 평택 (Pyeongtaek)

So ya, it was another fun week here in 평택....


It was great, we had a great time and all considering that we get to continue being companions (Elder Scoville and I) so ya! We worked hard this week and it was a great old time :)

I wanted to talk a little bit about what I have been studying this week. So you know I have been doing a lot of study these days. And it is like WAH I love study time a lot (which I think will be good for the future... liking studying... weird) SO ya but one of the things that I have studied of late is the Christlike Attributes (chapter 6 of PMG) and it has been quite a revealing time to me. I spent last week studying a lot about hope and this morning gave me something that I wanted to just throw all in here.

So ya.. Hope.... In all of my studying and stuff like that I have really come to have a much greater appreciation for the word Hope. Hope along with Faith is the foundation of us all. It all comes in where we establish our Hopes and our Faiths which is on Christ. I have really come to realize that although I am serving a mission and teaching about Christ, I need more Faith and Hope in him. It talks about in Helaman 5:12 about establishing our "foundation" as Christ. Not only that but that if we do NOTHING that the devil can throw against us can prevail over us. WHAT A PROMISE! It is so cool to have that knowledge ain't it? Over the course of my mission I have come across a lot of trials. Both within myself and without. And the thing that I have come to realize is I need to have more Hope in Christ. In PMG there is an evaluation that we can take that kinda gives us a measure of kinda where we are when it comes to Christlike Attributes (it's at the end of chapter 6). So I took and and it really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to Hope more in him. 

Why? Well let me tell you.

In a recent conversation with President Furniss he said, "The atonement is already done" What a beautiful truth. The one thing that the entire plan of God hinges on is done. There is no possibility that the Atonement won't be made. None. The single most important element of the Plan of Salvation is done. Christ has the ability to, through his suffering, make us perfectly clean. If we accept his atonement, truly repent, he DOES make us clean. That is the cool thing. We need only accept that we are clean and move on. 

That is where Hope comes in. 

Satan wants us to think we can't repent. He will take all the crap of our past and throw it in our faces. He will do it, let me tell you right now. He does do it. But we need to have Hope in Christ, Hope that we (when we repent) are made clean. What a blessing to know that we can be made clean. I think about the scriptures and how many times that Christ without hesitation forgives sin. I look at Enos, hundreds of accounts in the D&C, Christ makes us clean. 

We need to accept that. We can't sorrow in the past and look forward "with a brightness of hope" for the future. It's not possible. Let me tell you first hand..... It is not possible. But when we accept Christ and his atonement we are made clean. We can make it home to God. We have to believe that. And I hope with all my heart that I can make it home to him.

So ya that was kinda what I went through this week. BUT this morning as I was studying I realized... "ya know I am not alone!" It is in 2 Nephi chapter 4 from verse 17 to the end of the chapter. Nephi, one of the (in my opinion) greatest prophets of the Book of Mormon, sorrowed from sin. But I love what he says. 

 26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath avisited men in so much bmercycwhy should my dheart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
 27 And why should I ayield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to btemptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my cpeace and afflict my soul? Why am Idangry because of mine enemy?
 28 Awake, my soul! No longer adroop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the benemy of my soul.
 29 Do not aanger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
 30 Rejoice, O my aheart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the brock of my salvation.
Nephi too held onto Christ. I got down after reading this and just offered a prayer that I too might have my soul "awake! and no longer droop in sin."

Sorry I am kinda mellow this week. But that's what went down. :) I love God, I love my Brother Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that I can through him be made clean and that I have been saved by his grace and mercy. I love this church, and I know it is true. What a blessing to get to share something that I love with others. :) So COOL!

SO ya! Also this week we had an awesome event:


So ya, one of our investigators (his name is 박정욱) accepted a commitment to be baptized on 5/6 (although according to the Bishop there is something that goes on that day so HOPEFULLY he just is diligent and get's his answer before that so we can just baptize him quick!) BUT YA! It was so good. He is so cool. Love him so much and I ask for prayers on his behalf (and if you wouldn't mind tossing some in their for Elder Scoville and I so we can have the spirit with us as we teach that'd be awesome)

So ya. I hope you all had an awesome week. Jenna I hate you (but am incredibly impressed by you) at the fact you got a 30 on the ACT. WELL DONE! You are an incredibly 똑똑한 동생 (smart sister). Good job! And Kellie, congrats on the Braces! Hope your face is feeling more free that it once was (I know that mine is, my teeth have moved some I think.... so ya....). I was so glad to hear about Alissa's experience on the hike, good job sissa! You are an example to your older Brother. Thanks :) ANd Katie Bug so good on your science project! WOW that's so cool that you are doing so good! (Just so ya'll know she's MY sister! Stay away! :))

Lastly Mom and Dad.... running 13 miles..... THAT IS DISGUSTING.... not fair... goodness that is nuts. Well done to both of you! Congratulations, My guess is you are in so much better shape than the grandpas behind me who sound like they are gonna die. Well done! Maybe one day I'll be in that kind of shape. That'll be nice! 

Familia thank you so much for all that you do for me! I pray for you every day. I hope you know the gospel is true. I ALSO hope that you enjoyed the little gadgets I sent home :) I figured ya'll would enjoy it ;). Dad I expect pictures of you in one of those ties! And Mom I am sorry that the scarf is kinda out of season. I know it's getting warm but I got that back around your birthday and this was just my first chance to send it home. All in all I still hope you enjoy it!

SO YA Love ya'll so much thanks for all that you do for me. Have an awesome week and I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

Elder Josh.