Sunday, December 30, 2012

Triple Combination

Hey all, hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We loved our Skype visit with Elliott on Christmas Eve (his Christmas day)!  He looked so happy and pretty well adjusted after a rough start at the beginning of his last transfer. Read on for excerpts from his last 2 e-mails. No e-mail from Christmas week as our skype visit took the computer time for that week.  We should be hearing from him tomorrow, though, so check back in a day or two for more news!

December 9, 2012

So, the letter is coming a little later than I expected.  We haven't this threesome thing quite figured out.  But hey, something to work towards in the future...

It'll be challenging.  Three people is way harder to work with than 2. On a related note, I'm really struggling to learn this patience thing. It's super hard when you feel like you're being written out of the companionship a few days before the new transfer even begins.  But hey, I may or may not have brought this on myself.  I may or may not carry a lot of emotional baggage when I feel slighted, and I may or may not have any idea of what to do next.  And there's the rub. There's a lot of things I need to change.  Being patient with learning the language is one thing, being patient with somebody else is a whole new ball park.  Any suggestions?

The apartment is now clean and organized enough to hold 3 people. That was a project and a half.  And then some.  I don't think the last few transfers took care of the apartment as well as they should have. The sisters may be opening a new sister area, but I inheritted an apartment with about as much as the sisters had when they moved in. Very few cleaning supplies, food that was all bad, and a kitchen table converted into a hodgepodge of loose papers.

The language is coming along a little better.  Every week, I understand a little more and I'm able to speak a little more freely. I've been stepping out of my comfort zone a little more and asking for language help outside the companionship... incidently, it's a good way to start talking to people.  Sometimes, it's super effective; other times, less so.  Like last night.  The kid I was talking to was not super thrilled to answer my question (partly because I wasn't able to ask it correctly.  It's tricky when you don't know enough vocab or grammar to finish a sentence asking what a word is...), but the night before, a different kid was super friendly - he understood enough of my broken Korean (and enough English) to help me out.  And we might be able to meet with him later =D

Sorry about how short this public email is... we're working on figuring out this three-way email with only two computers thing.  I got the short end of the stick this week, but hopefully we'll figure it out soon.

Love you all so much!
-Elder Wedam

Here's the second letter.

December 16, 2012

Most important information first.   Christmas call.  Our recent convert is letting us use his computer for Skype.  (the rest of this paragraph contained plans to connect on Christmas.)
Alright, then the next most interesting part.  The exciting climax of last week.  Friday was super high stress after comp inventory.  People carry baggage (including me), and we all have three VERY different personalities.  Friday was a bit of a bust for missionary work.  None of us really wanted to do it... our proselyting efforts were half hearted.  At night, Elder Anderson told our district leader, Elder Allen, that we had a pretty stressful day (not just because of comp inventory either... a lot of our planned appointments were dropped. And I think we may have looked super stressed at English Class that night).  In any event, somebody told our zone leader, Elder Choi, and after some phone interviews and a two hour comp inventory afterwards, we all said what was on our minds and we worked through a lot of issues, and set some goals to improve.  Just so we're all on the same page, I'll share mine.  I realized I need to open up a little more and talk about something when I'm upset rather than let it bottle up, try to look for more good in my comps (measured by trying to find a new strength I like each week), and to be a better listener.  I then asked that Elder Houston and Elder Anderson be patient with me because those three things are and always have been super difficult for me (especially when I'm already frustrated and stressed out).  All in all, we had an approved bedtime at 1 AM (for the comp inventory) and we still had an awake and arise time at 6:30AM.  I'm still feeling that one.  We're going to a bath house today.  Might be a symbolic action... washing away the stress of last week.  I'm excited. ...And I'm purchasing Christmas gifts for my companions.  Already secured one without other people realizing it.  The second is going to be a little trickier =D.  But hey, it'll be worth it if I can pull it off.  So plan is set, goals made.  Hopefully, I'll be humble enough to work through the challenges of a threesome.  Huzzah! Thanks for giving me your suggestions.  They made me feel a lot better and have given me some hope that this transfer will be doable. Praying for help everyday... and for Elder Houston.  And for Elder Anderson.  On a tangent, it feels so good praying for them... especially a prayer to help them with their goals and desires.  So much easier when you don't have to guess what the other people need. Just sayin.

This last week, I went Smeagle (or Gollum... you know, LOTR) on a fish.  A member took us to lunch and ordered a soup (I don't have the name memorized, but I'd recognize it if I saw it)... it literally had an entire fish in it.  We're talking a whole fish... not just the meat.  We're talking head, tail, and everything in between.  I can legitimately say that if it's on a fish, I've probably eaten it.  The only other animal I can say that about is a chicken (except I haven't had the beak yet... I really hope that was a joke from one of the older missionaries).  Anyways, it was good, but I felt a little sick afterwards (not sure why... it may have been the massive amount of 김치 지깨 (Kimchi Soup, pronounced Kimchi Jiggae) broth that accompanied it. Or it may have been the thought of eating fish eyes (which aren't that bad, in all seriousness.  Eat it with some rice and broth, and it literally feels like a grape with a seed in it).  That was an adventure and a half by itself.

Bonus, the language is coming along a lot easier now.  I mean, it's still rough, but at least I can read more text and have a gist of what's going on.  And I'm understanding a little more about what's going on while we 전도.  It's fun.  At least, it's more fun than it was. If you can break past the first 2 전도, it's easy to keep going after that.  I'm finding the key is to ask a good question at the beginning (like, "Oh, you looking for a Christmas gift?" to a man looking in a shoe store window at the shoes - totally window shopping - only to find out he's Buddhist - and a super friendly guy.  While we're on the topic of Buddhists; they are my favorite people to 전도 to because if they are super serious about it, they are always super nice and always willing to listen to us missionaires).  Anyways, the question is the hard part... I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Korean sentence structure is backwards of the English construction... that's the tricky part.

I love you all!  I'm still healthy.  It's rough being halfway across the world, but time is flying (this last week slower than the other weeks... but I'm already 20 weeks in the mission.  6 more and I hit the 6 month mark.) Merry Christmas, and I'll talk to you next week!

-Elder Elliott Wedam

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What does "treasure up" mean to you?

Hope these Korean lessons are working better for you than they are for me! Keep reading! Hope you are all having a blessed Christmas season. Love M

December 2, 2012

Well, this certainly has been a great week.  It's super weird how fast these weeks fly by, yet so much has happened.  Productivity for the win?  

Before I get into the bulk of the letter, I should answer one other long-standing question that Sister Taysom asked me in a letter a while back... Why is the Korean last name Choi pronounced like Cha (with the "a" being a long "a" sound), and not like Choy (the "oy" making a sound as in boy).  I've got the answer, and it's helped my pronunciation quite a bit.  But it goes into some Korean language learning (hahaha, my master plan is to teach all y'all the Korean alphabet slowly yet surely.  There will be a quiz/test in two years. Study up).  So, the Korean spelling of Choi is 최 (the ㅊ character makes an aspirated "ch" sound, the ㅗ makes a long "o" sound - as in orange, and the ㅣ makes a long "e" sound - as in ear...) However, when you see ㅚ in a syllable, it makes a sound like weigh... except it's a really soft w, so it just sounds like a long "a" sound.  The application of this?  There's a verb (unconjugated) spelled 되다 (the ㄷ making a "d" sound, as in deer, but it also has a bit of a "t" sound - as in Terry - to it, and ㅏ making a short "a" sound - as in "say ahh). 되다 is a super useful verb in Korean, literally meaning "to become," but they use it for a ton of things, like telling you to stop (literally, "it becomes), or to change 하다 (literally, "to do") verbs (ㅎ making an "h" sound - as in "hurt") into their passive counterparts.  And other useful uses (redundancy =D).  Anyways, I hope that answers her question.  Anyways...

So, news about the next transfer (there's a lot to cover before I actually talk about the last week...).  I'll still be in 광주 (Gwangju - you may be able to figure out what sounds the other characters make? Brownie points if you do.  The test in two years will be much easier =D).  And will still be in 송정 (Songjeong - see last weeks letter for how to read the romanization), and Elder Anderson will still be my companion... at least one of them.  Yes, I'll be in a threesome companionship.  Our new companion is from our older MTC districts. His name is Elder Houston.  What this means - the mornings and evening in our apartment will be very busy up until Thursday when he comes... our apartment, as is, isn't organized enough for three people over a 6 week period.  I've been working on cleaning it, working on the fridge (that's been a project and a half... I don't think anybody cleaned it for the last few transfers).  I've got one shelf left (it's been a two week project thus far).  But, there's a ton of things I need to move around to prepare for a third companion. I've to figure out sleeping arrangements and study arrangements and clothing storage arrangements (Elder Anderson is busy enough with his responsibilities as senior companion).   So that's all very exciting.  And, we're getting sisters in the area.  We've been putting together their area book (Songjeong used to have sisters, but since left - their old area book was down in Naju, and we retrieved it/are updating it and ours at the same time).  Anyways, that's the news on my front, fresh from this morning (your evening).

So, this last week (finally here).  We've one progressing investigator - the husband of the family we found last Sunday (11/25?).  Anyways, they have primarily English interest, but Elder Anderson and I are getting a little more creative with our commitments... namely giving a reading assignment and a study question.  Last week, we taught about prophets and dispensations (Elder Anderson had a very clever graphic that worked SUPER well - I may steal it from him later in the mission).  Husband and wife understood dispensations and prophets well enough to explain it to each other, and we gave them a note paper with the question, "Why would it be important to my family if there were a living prophet today?" written on the top and we asked them to read the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and record their thoughts. We have an appointment with them this Wednesday and will follow-up/introduce Elder Houston to them.  Anyways, they're super awesome - 김보경 and 정성하.  I've already mentioned that they have two  daughters - 2 and 5 (American Age... there is a difference.  In Korea, kids are 1 when they're born and they turn a year older on January 1st.  So, in Korean, I'm 22, not 21.  And I'll turn 23 New Year's Day. I'm not expecting a birthday gift then =P).  Oh, and we also shared pictures with them.  They commented that Vera is super cute... and that Alisa is really pretty (we ran out of time to show the rest... we didn't make it to mission farewell).  And Nathan, we passed off as siblings... anyways, they're super nice, and I love them dearly already.

Oh, and in other exciting news, I was super low on MSF funds last week.  The two splits I went on ran me down 20 bucks (about 20000 won), so we survived on what food storage I built up (meaning the 30 oranges for 5 bucks, 10 patties for 10 bucks - that was a bargain, by the way, and the Kimchi and rice members have given us... and the 30 eggs for 4 bucks).  I've eaten so much Kimchi Fried Rice this last week, it's not even funny.  But it's good, and I'm getting fairly pro at using the rice cooker and making it.  It's been fun.  I'm budgeting my money a little better this time.  

Anyways, the diet is super weird to work with here.  I have no idea of the nutritional content of anything (it's all in Korean), and the prices/selection on the other side of the world vary enough so that my diet now resembles nothing like how it is in the states.  It's healthier... I think.  Depends on the nutritional content of dried seaweed (this is me dropping a hint asking for some information on this... what is the nutritional content of seaweed?).  And, the longstanding question of "where do I get any calcium from for an affordable price" has been answered by one of our ward members.  The answer - anchovies.  Don't be surprised if I just pop dried anchovies like candy when I come back.  So I'll be experimenting with them this week.  A couple weeks ago, I had anchovies (dried) marinated in soy sauce and peanuts... or maybe garlic?  In any event, I'll give it a shot this week.

Alright, so, I think I reported on enough fluff stuff.  Let's take a turn for a little more spiritual.  So, I've been reading through the Book of Mormon, cover to cover, and am currently in Mosiah. Specifically, I read Mosiah 3,4, and 5 today.  And I realized that the Book of Mormon is significant because it shows that the ENTIRE world, not just Jerusalem, was looking forward to the birth of the Messiah. And that alone is significant.  Truly, the Book of Mormon supports and proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and not just another nation's God.  And it baffles me that so many people aren't willing to find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is true or not.  I mean, as missionaries, we aren't telling people, "you must believe what we're teaching you," but rather, we're inviting them to have the faith necessary to find out for themselves from God if what we're teaching is true (this thought is what revolutionized our commitments.  We may not speak Korean very well, but I know that Heavenly Father knows Korean, and that the Holy Ghost is an infinitely better teacher than me).  And really, that's what it comes down to.  We're simply instruments instructing people how to have their own spiritual experiences... and that's really what missionary work is; it's inviting people and providing an atmosphere so that people can have their own spiritual experiences.  And we're not talking experiences of the same magnitude of the First Vision or seeing the finger of God, but we're talking experiences in which the spirit has a chance to be nourished by God's word, so that people have an opportunity to "treasure up" the doctrine of Christ. That's a phrase I really love: Treasure up.  I'm curious what it means to you.  Being away from family and friends, especially this holiday season, has made me understand what it means to treasure the time you have with people.  And I think that "treasuring up" means allowing something to become part of us.  For instance, I love 1st Nephi 17:50-51 "And I said unto them: if God had commanded me to do all things, I could do them.  If he should command that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, and if I should say it, it would be done. "And now, if the Lord has such great power and has worked so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?" Right now, my "ship" the Lord is asking me to build is to learn Korean... and so much more.  But the principle is the same, I'm on the Lord's errand, and if I should follow the promptings of the Spirit, then I'll be able to build the ship the Lord has asked me to build during this period of missionary service.  I also love, "and if I should say it, it would be done."  Our success is completely dependent on our willingness to act.  Hence why I am continuing to have daily, weekly, and monthly goals I'm working towards.  Heavenly Father has commanded that I should learn Korean, and if I should study and practice speaking it, I shall learn it. I think that once we have "likened" the scripture or the doctrine to our circumstances, then we begin the process of "treasuring it up." And as we treasure what we learn, we seek to find a deeper understanding of it and its significance in our lives.

Anyways, you're always in my prayers.  Stay happy, be safe.  Study the Korean alphabet.  Enjoy this holiday season and the wonderful spirit of charity it brings.  Christmas is so much more than giving gifts and being kind.  I really think that as we reflect on what Christ has done and can do for us, we truly will embody the spirit of Christmas - we will do good good works and be kind to everyone.  For more on my thoughts on the Christmas season and why I like it, read Mosiah 4!

I love you so much!  'til I write again!
-Elder Elliott Wedam

Saturday, December 1, 2012

WEEK 5 in South Korea

Greenie + Greenie + Konglish + Charitable People of Korea + Sincere obedient effort = Happy Thanksgiving. You will notice that I didn't delete the final paragraph of this letter, as directed by Elder Wedam. Thought everyone might appreciate just how much a missionary learns from a wide range of experiences while in the field! Have a good day!   M

November 26, 2012

So, as per popular request (mainly mom's), I will share how Koreans celebrate American Thanksgiving.  They don't.  But missionary companions do.  I had a most marvelous (slightly meager) meal of rice, potstickers, fried chicken, and oranges.  I should mention, I was on a split with another member of my generation... two greenies who aren't super good at Korean.  It was a blast.  We got lost multiple times, and had to ask for directions frequently.  All in all, it was a successful day.  We contacted 44 people (standards of excellence is 20 - Elder Ward, my split companion, was slightly disappointed that we didn't get the 50 we set out to do the night before), two street lessons (and placed a Book of Mormon.  More accurately, the person we were 전도-ing to just sort of took it), and got 2 phone numbers. Oh, and a less active member brought us some amazing bread and oranges (hence why I had oranges during my dinner.  Wouldn't have happened otherwise) and some foreigner neighbors (Americans too) ran by and gave us some pumpkin bread in honor of Thanksgiving (at 9:30 at night).  All in all, it was a good, busy, and exhausting day.  Who woulda thunk 2 greenies could do so much.  That was a confidence booster.  I discovered I know how to start asking for directions in Korean and can follow melodramatic hand gestures fairly well.

While I'm still on the topic of the split, here's another little tidbit about Korean culture.  For the most part, they LOVE Americans. That aside, there are some SUPER friendly and helpful Koreans too. When Elder Ward and I were lost, we asked this 60+ year old man for some directions.  Rather than be satisfied with just telling us where to go, he literally walked us to where we needed to go... a task that was completed a mile later.  I was literally at a loss for words.  You rarely see that in the States (I've yet to see it), and it was truly a humbling experience.  I was really impressed with how charitable this man was (Korean people generally are super busy and super hard workers.  He literally went an hour out of his way to help us).  We thanked him profously for his help.  He even suggested a place where we could eat!  Elder Ward gave him our contact card and told him that if he ever needed help with anything, to give the missionaries a call. All in all, it was a good experience.

Elder Anderson and I have seen some super amazing miracles this week. Despite some investigators not turning out not to be real and many people waving us off, we've had a ton of success this past week. We've got 5 new invesitgators (3 of which were referals - one from our recent convert and 2 from a current investigator), and the last two are the mom and dad from a family (they have two daughters ages 5 and 2).  We met this family last night.  They invited us in (a thing Elder Anderson keeps telling me is a super rare occurance, but it's happened 3 times this transfer), and gave us some apple juice (there's a lot of apple flavored things here.  Like apple ice cream.  I actually really like the apple ice cream).  They're interested in learning English from us, but they also have some gospel interest.  We have an appointment with them on Wednesday.  I'm super stoked.  They just look like they'd be good members.  Last night, we spent time finding a good member couple to help fellowship this family into the ward.  We think we have the right couple in mind - they invited us over for dinner week 3... maybe? (unfortunately, I can't remember their names... Korean names are super tricky to get down).  Did I mention I'm super stoked about finding this family?

And a less missionary-related note, language is coming along.  When we're 전도-ing, I'm finding I'm able to get the gist of the conversation about half the time and am able to follow more and more each day.  One of the more frustrating things is that I still speak super slow, which is why it's always a tender mercy when we find somebody who has enough time for me to stumble through a street contact or door approach.  And we seem to be finding a lot of people who know enough English (and I know enough Korean) where I can follow slow Konglish.  It's been fairly exciting.  Next up is reading comprehesnion.  Korean grammar is so radically different from English or other Latin based grammars. Seriously, everything is slightly topsy-turvy.  Example - last night during companionship study, we were reading the Restoration pamphlet together and translating as we went.  Adjectives (generally defined to be something that describes or modifies a noun - this could be a single words or phrase) preceed the noun they modify.  Adjective phrases sometimes contain pronouns that refer to the noun they're modifying.  Summary, I realize I need a ton of practice reading Korean texts.  Fortunately, I've got pamphlets and scripture passages galore (spelling?) to study from.  And a neat little phrase-book full of little gospel sentences.  While we're on the topic language, I have the First Vision and James 1:5 down in Korean.  And by down, I mean I can recite them fairly slowly...

I don't know what else to really say - the daily goal plan is still going strong, and I'm progressing slowly, yet surely.  This week, I'm working on organizing and cleaning the fridge... shelf-by-shelf.  That reminds me... so I've also had to try my hand at plumbing yesterday. The moments where I watched dad messing around with the plunger in the toilet tank (the thing that actually causes the flush) has paid off in dividends.  The chain that connects the plunger with the handle fell off the handle Saturday night.  I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to reattach it.  It worked.  The toilet now sort of flushes instead of doing nothing.  I'll be playing with it a little later to get it to work according to my standards of flush.  Random tangent, done.  Mom, you can delete this paragraph before posting it on the blog.

Anyways, I gots to go.  I love you all so much!  Take care, work hard, do well.

-Elder Wedam

Monday, November 19, 2012

Understanding A Little More Each Day, Shout out for Taylor

I am counting my blessings every day.  How grateful I feel for hearing regularly from our missionary!  May this season of gratitude fill your heart with happiness.

November 19, 2012

First, I'm super sad to hear about Uncle Roy and Sister Allen. Fortunately, we have the knowledge of the plan of salvation.  It's nice to know that death isn't a goodbye, but like leaving people behind, it's a "see you later."

This last week has been interesting.  Still trying to hit my stride with speaking the language, but I can honestly say that I've come a little bit of a ways since I've shown up on Korea's doorstep 4 weeks ago (hard to believe that 4 more days marks my one-month-iversary in South Korea).  While I don't understand everything... or even most things (I still feel oddly illiterate right now), I'm understanding a little more each day.  One thing I'm struggling with is how to keep a 전도 (Korean noun for proselyte) going on after somebody says, "I already attend a church."  The thing about Korea is that there are a ton of churches and the common teaching of, "it doesn't matter what doctrine you believe in, it only matters that you believe in Jesus Christ... then you'll go to heaven."  Frustrating to deal with... I'd even have trouble explaining this one in English.  And even then, you don't want the person you're 전도-ing to feel like you're a 전도사 (missionaries are 선교사... I'm not sure what the deeper meaning between 선교 and 전도 is... I've heard that 선교 has the conatation of bride... which would mean that 선교사 has the meaning of "one who bridges," whereas a 전도사 is "one who proselytes."  In any event, they can give a really bad image of what religion is... like a bad enough image so that people literally sprint away from people who look like they have anything to do with church...) There's also one more cultural thing that has been really hard to figure out how to work around... it's the notion of 부담.  The closest thing we have in English to it is pressure... like the type of pressure you feel when somebody expects you to perform.  In America, we have 부담, but it's easier to work around because we know the
culture.  But in Korea, the rules change, things that wouldn't create 부담 in America create 부담 in South Korea.  It's a learning curve, and you really have to follow the Spirit.  It's challenging, but hey, whatevs.

Different note, I don't regret coming on a mission at all.  I think I've learned more in a shorter amount of time than I ever have.  It's been fun and exciting, albeit difficult and frustrating. And, I think I should mention (I really hope Taylor reads this, or somebody who talks to Taylor on a regular basis) that living with Taylor for two years has proved to be the most invaluable preparation for living in an apartment with somebody else - he really taught me how to appreciate a clean living space.  It's been a work in progress, but I'm gradually cleaning up the apartment one day at a time (and the area book, but that's an entirely different story... I've also learned the value of keeping notes and records organized and user-friendly). So, in summary, thank-you, Taylor, for being an awesome roommate for
the past two years.

So, a few more questions fielded... I think I answered some of the culture stuff (there's more, but I'll save it for later emails... and as I learn more), but Annie asked me about the landscape.  This is pretty nifty.  It's not as green as I imagined (to be fair, it's Fall (leaves do change colors here too.  And there are some of the prettiest reds I've ever seen), and I'm in the city/I've only seen bits of the country - it's really pretty what I've seen).  The most
intersting thing is how mountainous Korea really is.  There aren't any really tall mountains anywhere, but there are a lot of small, tree covered ones.  The city of Gwangju (광주), and the part of Seoul (서울) that I've seen are built around the mountains.  So there's a ton of city, and then this mountain in the background, so it makes the city looks smaller, but then you get to the other side, and there's more city.  Oh yeah, and there are parks everywhere.  With little gazebo-like things that the elderly ladies just hang out on. Affectionately known to some missionaries as 할머니 pads - in English, Grandma pads. And Whitney, there are some days where I love tracting (that's door knocking, right?  or is it more broad and includes proselyting in general?  Cause door knocking is called 가가호호.  In order to really appreciate that, you should learn the Korean alphabet.  Sinister plot on my part, no?).  There's other days when I really think our time would be better spent (how, I'm not sure, we're struggling to find people, but some miracles coming up).  I've been rejected more times in the past three weeks than I have throughout my life, but I don't mind rejection.  It just feels like sometimes that the way we proselyte isn't effective, but then something miraculous happens.

I already told you about the person who called off of one of our cards (명함)... he didn't come to church yesterday like he said he would.  But one of our other 구도자 came.  His name is 유근우 (Yoo gun-oo).  The day before, we set a baptismal date for him to be around Christmas (Dec 23... I think).  He wants to, it's just that he doesn't want to make his dad mad (...recall what I said about 전도사?  His concern is a matter of his dad's perception of Christianity, 기독교).  We've been trying to help build his faith and encourage him to talk to his dad.  But we haven't been able to be overly direct about it (see 부담).  Anyways, he's a nice kid, came to church yesterday (which shocked us because he said he wouldn't be abe to), and he enjoyed it. And, after I came back after my first split (down in 목포... Mok-Po...
make long o sounds), we ran into a woman who was a 구도자 like 10 years ago... we only found her because I was super incompotent at Korean and she was good enough at English to translate what another Korean was telling me (who, Elder Anderson talked to the night before... this Korean is a fifth degree blackbelt in TKD and he is a TKD instructor). After we got off the bus, we talked with this woman for a little bit, and while we were talking with her, a different person (number 3), just stood off to the side waiting to talk with us.  We talked with him (his English name is "Hobby"), he's a bit of an odd duck.  But he's nice.  And he has a lot of potential.  Like I feel like he's prepared to hear the gospel.  He always grabs the Book of Mormon and just starts reading randomly from it.  And he loves basketball.  And music.  Any other information I give would be me just guessing what he meant (he knows a little English and speaks super quick Korean... consequently, he's hard to understand...) Anyways, I know I'm not doing the story justice, but it's one of those "I really wish you were there to feel what I did" type things.

I'm learning a ton.  I finished "Our Search for Happiness" yesterday. It made me realize just how important this missionary call is and how important the gospel is.  It really made each rejection on the street last night heartbreaking.  Not like love-sick heartbreak, but the "I'm out here because I love you and you're not even listening to what I have to say" type  heartbreak.

Last thing, Mosiah 4:11-12 is super good.  I really do know that if we felt the goodness of God in our lives, we can't help but sing "How Great Thou Art."  The miracle of the Atonement is wonderful.  It truly is the remedy to all of life's ills.  It's not just for the sinner seeking forgiveness, but also for the faithful saint who stands in need of comfort.  Like it says in Isaiah 53 and Mosiah 14, Christ suffered so He could know how to best succor his people.  PS, Alisa, I give you full credit for introducing me to this scripture with the "Got Faith" pillowcase you gave me.

I love you all so much.  I always love hearing from you.  I'm sorry pictures have been 없어요.  This current area isn't super condusive to sending pictures... I'll work on troubleshooting that.

-Elder Wedam

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Third P-Day Abroad: Seeking to Build Charity and Enjoying Korean Delicacies

So glad we nurtured an adventurous attitude toward food! Elder Wedam is trying some shockingly interesting foodstuffs!  Way to go, Kiddo! Even happier that he is taking such sweet and positive action to nurture that most precious characteristic of Christ, love, within himself. Have a sweet day. Love, Elliott's Mom


So, what started off as a really rocky week quickly evolved into probably the single most educational and meaningful weeks thus far in Korea.  But we'll revisit this idea shortly.  First, some wicked awesome stories from this past week.
First, we had three member meals this past week.  Elder Anderson informed me that this is three more than he had last transfer.  Fun fact about Korean culture.  They love food.  And you are expected to eat everything they give you... and they happen to give you a feast every meal.  We're talking like a meal for 10 when there's only 5 people sitting around the table.  Wednesday was especially hard since we had a lunch AND dinner appointment.  And when they serve meat, they really serve meat.  Had pig-spine soup.  It was shockingly delicious.  It's the Korean equivalent to split-pea soup, but better.  They cook the soup with the pig spine in it.  On a related note.  I may or may not have swallowed a small bone by accident...  And the left over broth from the soup was quickly converted to kimchi ramen... and, the members also provided this delicious beef stuff (it wasn't bulgogi... they told me the name, but I forgot).  It was good.  It was a medley of beef, vegetable, and shrimp (not the mamby-pamby pre-beheaded shrimp they serve in the States... we're talking head, legs, and all.  I just about died of sheer happiness).  The members then told us about some other Korean cuisine.  Pig-Head soup, dog soup (don't tell Trex), and other delightful treats (no sarcasm.  I'm hoping for the experience). Then that night came some pork sausage stuff with a mustard dipping sauce.  Korean mustard is awesome.  Like really awesome.  It's like a better Grey Poupon (spelling may be off).  Last Saturday was our last member appointment for the week.  A nice elderly lady.  She made us bulgogi.  And provided lettuce for some lettuce wraps.  She has a Phillipina friend who we may or may not have made future appointment with (and may or may not in this sentence means I have no clue).  But it was a fun appointment.  The member was a little sick and asked us to pray for her and asked Elder Anderson to dedicate her house (which he did... although, he didn't eat all the rice.  See next paragraph).  We shared a quick message (see Mark 5:25-34),and left for another appointment with a potential investigator (who may be solid.  This story is a little more complex).
Another fun fact about Korean dining.  They serve a ton of side dishes (I can come close to pronouncing the word for side dish in Korean... I just don't remember the spelling, so I'm not even going to attempt a romanization - I might give you a totally wrong word instead).  We're talking like a soup/liquid dish, another plate of kimchi, maybe some pickled radish, some sort of mini-salad, maybe some mushrooms, boiled egg... kimchi sauced cucumbers... seaweed (dried and not dried), just to name a few that I had the pleasure of experiencing.  It's all family style too.  Except everyone gets their own bowl of rice (another fun fact - if you can't finish anything else, eat the rice.  It's not worth the risk of seriously offending somebody).
And mom, you may need to retrain me in proper table etiquette when I get back.  It's not frowned upon to make noises while you eat and to reach across the table with chopsticks to grab another side dish dealio.  And to eat absurdly fast (hence why I may or may not have swallowed a bone).  All those good American table manners you taught me have really been thrown under the bus.  I've adopted watching the natives eat and trying to imitate their mannerisms as best I can.  You have been warned.
So, Terry and Alisa, to answer your questions, the food is great.  I love it.  So much.
So, jumping back to the potential investigator.  Her name is Lynne, and she hails from the Phillipines.  She has quite the story about how she wound up in Korea (I think it's worth mentioning that South Korea feels like what I imagine Palmayra, New York to have felt like in Joseph Smith's time.  We're talking thousands of different denominations... some a little more colorful than others).  Anyways, through some crazy connections and experiences (crazy in the good sense... I really think the Lord has brought her to South Korea), and a very recent tragedy (her father just passed away, and her husband passed away a year prior), and a desire for her son to believe in God (he's atheist)... she wanted to meet.  She doesn't live in our area, but since Elder Anderson met her first, she asked to meet with Elder Anderson, and we invited the Elders who live in her area to come so we could pass her off to them.  She speaks English and feels more comfortable with English than with Korean (she knows Korean though... her son only speaks Korean, but she wants him to learn conversational English... oh, I should mention, we taught the plan of salvation both in English and in Korean.  This was one crazy appointment and circumstance).  She accepted the message well, and wants to continue meeting with the other Elders who live in her area.
Yeah, here's the crazy part, the above stories and fluff isn't even why this last week was so educational.  But I have to backtrack to last Monday and Tuesday to explain why...
So, last Monday (P-Day... Sunday for you), you may have caught on to that I was a little discouraged and frustrated... and that feeling didn't subside until Tuesday when Elder Ringwood of the First Quorum of the Seventy came for a mission tour.  Two things I learned: a new intepretation of "Charity endureth all things" and a new appreciation for the Pearl of Great Price... namely, Moses 1.  As I listened to President Furniss talk about charity, I thought that if I want to make it the next 21 months of my mission, I need to seek and develop charity... because it "endureth all things;" that is, with charity, you can endure all trials.  Then, I realized that this time in which I don't understand Korean is really a blessing... as I learn to speak Korean, I have this wonderful opportunity to learn how to be charitable and develop this pure love of Christ and show it through deeds, not just words.
Second, Moses 1.  Elder Ringwood taught and expouned on the scripture that says "and I shall make you stronger than many waters."  He explained that the Lord has blessed us with everything we need to be successful.  That blessing for Moses was very specific, and Moses needed to be stronger than the many waters in order to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians.  Similarly, the Lord has blessed us with everything we can possibly need as we serve Him.  That was another wonder bit of counsel.
And then came last Thursday... I'm getting better at goal setting.  So much so, that I'm starting to see the value of goal setting.  I've also learned the danger of setting only long-term goals, but the beauty of setting both long-term and short-term goals (a lesson I still remember Master Church teaching a couple of times... I never appreciated it until now).  Part of the reason why I was so discouraged last week was because I only had long-term goals... but no short-terms goals to help me progress to acheive them.
Example, I have a mission goal of 75 baptisms (Bishop Mortenson may or may not have committed me to this one).  Last week, this has been my main (and only) goal.  And I knew that in order to acheive said goal, I'd have to get better at the language and understand the doctrine of Christ.  And I was frustrated because I only had the long-term view in mind and wanted it to happen now... in short, I was impatient with myself (still am, but I'm working on it.  I actually have a plan =D).  Then, last Thursday, I made several daily goals to help me progress.  Like exercise, other missionary goals (like how many people I will contact and how many street lessons I will try to teach... thus far, 1 without the help of Elder Anderson... or organizing the Area Book) language study, scripture study, and personal goals (like writing in the journal, doing laundry, dishes, breakfast, lunch, dinner... etc).  And as I've done this, my days have been noticeably better and productive.
I really think that the key to overcoming homesickness is to be productive.  Not busy, but productive.  It's to set goals each day and work as hard as you can to acheive them.  It's like the story of the man pushing on the boulder (from a sacrament talk in 3rd ward a long time ago).  As long as we strive to improve and work our hardest to acheive what we want to accomplish, then the Lord will strengthen us, and we can't help but to improve!
I love you all so much!  I enjoyed hearing about bats, halloween, beavers, ducks, job offers, arizona, and general good news!
Take care!
Elder Wedam

Sunday, November 4, 2012


So, Elliott's letter made me laugh really hard twice.  We miss him like crazy, but he is having quite a wonderful experience! He will overcome the language barriers soon enough. Until then, I feel grateful he is humble enough to share his struggles with good-natured humor. Have a good read!  Monica

Hello family, friends, people following the blog just for the fun of it...

Week 2 in Korea.  Before I keep going, let me just say, this mac that I'm typing away on has officially driven me to wit's end.  It sporadically says "Firefox."  I've tried muting it, but alas, the keyboard is wired weird.  So, if I type gibberish halfway through, I apologize.  Blame the computer.

This last week was tough.  Mostly because I have no idea what's going on.  Like ever. Because I still don't understand Korean all that well.  So, I'm still plugging away at it, hoping that I learn enough to be able to carry on a conversation rather than say some rehearsed door approach.  But until then, I'll be happy with said door approached.  It's varied slightly.  I've been using "We're missionaries from America" and "We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" fairly interchangeably.  I think I'm going to try "May we share a quick message with you?" today.  And then I should probably have a quick message to share.  Boom.  Language study goal for the next couple of days.

On a related note, I'm starting to develop some real empathy for foreigners trying to learn English.  As hard as Korean is, I'm sure English is just as hard to learn (and it's a real treat when somebody wants to speak straight English =D).  It's been a real test of learning how to be patient with myself as I learn to speak and listen... and read and write.  I don't know if I'm passing said test, but I'm giving it my all.  And mom, I found the reference to the ever wise scriptural advice you always give me... Mosiah 4:27 - It's not meet for man to run faster than he has strength.  This has been a real doozie for me to try to apply.  I want so bad to be able to speak and listen, but I'm starting to realize that it's not going to happen all at once.  Bonus, I'm understanding a little more each day - so there's some hope right there.  And I'm super grateful that Elder Anderson is my trainer.

Subtle transition to a different, yet related topic (subtle indeed).  Yesterday was the first fast and testimony meeting in Korea.  I tried to bear mine (in Korean).  That was super hard and terrifying.  I remember being that terrified only once in my life as I was bearing testimony... and that was a super long time ago (like maybe fifth grade?).  All in all, it was a good meeting (I enjoyed the portions that I could understand), and Elder Anderson went up to bear his testimony (at the request of our recent convert, 조영상.  I enjoyed his testimony (I understood maybe half and was able to fill in the blanks as needed).  The next two hours were a blur.  I only understood that they spent the first part of Elder's Quorum talking about home-teaching (that was a pure guess too.  I literally had to think about how Priesthood meeting usually went like in a family ward.  Then a list went around with ward member names, addresses, and phone numbers).  Then came the lesson.  I thought they were talking about people we can share the gospel with.  Elder Anderson informed me afterwards that they were talking about things that people might regret on their deathbed.  I was close.

After Church, Elder Anderson and I received our first invite to a member's house for dinner (so, Terry, to answer your question, the Korean food I've had has been sitting well with me.  But I hear that restaurant Korean food and homemade food are two different ballgames.  As in, the members feed you a ton.  Just a rumor though).  And we were invited to lunch on the same day.  All in all, Wednesday will be a good day.  I'll report on said experience next week.

A few more things... so we have mission tour tomorrow.  Elder Ringwood of the Seventy is coming.  That'll be fun.  A spiritual feast.  President Furniss asked us to read Moroni 7 in preparation.  I'm excited.  A day to really get to understand faith, hope, and charity a little more in-depth, and there are some pretty good gems about missionary work in there too (I read it today.  Picked up on a few extra things I haven't noticed before - read verses 29-31... made me feel pretty good after I picked up on them).  And I'm excited to get another glimpse at it tomorrow and pick up even more things that I missed.

And this last week, there was a Halloween Party for the YSA aged people.  It was fun.  I worked down in the Haunted House. I pretty much spent 2 hours scaring people as they searched for things we hid throughout the church basement.  I got a couple of good screams.  We also had some good props.  Like a real dead cat just chillin in the basement.  That's exciting.

Oh, and Elder Anderson had me share the thought at English Class this last week.  I went with 1st Nephi `17:50-51.  I talked about how if we have faith that God will help us, He will.  What I didn't share, right now, my ship is learning how to speak Korean.

Despite how hard this last week has been, I'm still loving every minute of this mission call.  It's been quite the empathy building experience already.  And quite a humbling experience too.  Prayer is fast becoming my favorite part of the day.  I love how close I feel to Heavenly Father as I pray.  It's been a real comfort to know that He hears my prayers and that Jesus Christ knows exactly how I feel right now.  I realize that parts of this email may sound overly negative, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated sometimes, but I know that every hardship I'm facing now is only for a short time.   What's happened so far is that I'm learning to really love the Book of Mormon and to rely on God and trust that He knows what He's doing with me.  For instance, I love 1st Nephi 15... I feel like Nephi in verse 5 right now.  And I love what he did in response to how he felt.  He worked hard.  He taught with the Spirit, and really just immersed himself in the Lord's work.  That was a great find in personal study too.  I can't even begin to describe just how tender of a mercy that was... I really know that God is mindful of me and my needs.

Anyways, I love you all so much.  And I miss you all.  Sometimes I'm homesick, but I really am trying to work hard through the homesickness.  Terry, good luck on second round of interviews and job hunting.  Dad, I'm looking forward to watching Phineas and Ferb in 2014 =D

Before I go, one last scripture reference.  This one has been on my mind for quite a while.  Ecclesiastes 3:1.  I'll forever be grateful that Elder Bowman unknowingly helped me find this scripture while we were teaching at the MTC.  The Old and New Testaments are super tricky to navigate in Korean.

Well.  I've just about had it with this computer.  It's a bit nutskey.  I can't even count how many times I've heard the word firefox...and the entire wHTML address I'm on during the course of this email =D

Elder Elliott Wedam

Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Area, First Trainer, First Accomplishments

Well, Elder Wedam is hard at work already!  I remember exchange students we hosted in our home feeling exhausted at first, because it takes quite a lot of mental energy focussing so intently for an entire day.  Before we know it, Elliott will not be so lost! Sure grateful he has a kind, enthusiastic companion.

October 29, 2012

Starting week 2 in South Korea.  Yeah, this language is a lot tougher than I thought.  Some personal accomplishments this week include not crying in frustration because I have no idea what's going on, looking cute, and figuring out where the church building is in relationship to our apartment.  But that's getting ahead of myself.  First things first.
So my new companion/trainer is Elder Anderson.  He hails from Pleasant Grove, Utah.  He's nice.  Enthusiastic.  Encouraging me to keep talking to people in Korean.  He's been out for around a year, and this is his first transfer as a senior companion.  He's doing well.  And translating for me often... as I'm always lost.  I like him a lot.  He swam in high school too.  And he plays soccer.  Good combination.
My first area... since I don't know what map you're using, it can be spelled a few ways.  Gwanju, Kwanju, 권주.  Take your pick.  We're on the west side, where city meets country.  It's kinda nice.  And by kinda, I mean really nice.  There are a ton of high-rise apartments to tract at (or, in Korean 가가호호).  We had some amazing experiences while tracting.  We've been door knocking this one particular apartment building.  The first night, we found two older gentlemen (I should mention, Korean people develop a pretty strong accent as they age.  I was able to pick out a few words).  The first actually let us in to talk (yes, we do sit criss-cross on the floor while teaching).  The second gave us a phone number.  And, we found a recent convert who went inactive (and is from the land up north... relative to my position.  Not Canada)
But then came yesterday.  Not a single door slammed in our face... as a matter of fact, of the three we knocked (I realize that may sound like not a lot... to be fair, we were not expecting to spend 20 minutes at each door talking about the gospel).  The first door, the lady who answered didn't have time because she had a guest (she seemed like she would have heard us out had she had more time), but the second door, another elderly gentleman answered (he's Buddhist), and was super friendly.  As we were talking, another man came walking down, and somehow, we started teaching two lessons simultaneously (I should mention, I was of very limited help at this point... oh, and the second man is also from the land up north).  That was crazy.  It was awesome. Then came door number 3.  AKA, another miracle.  The man who answered wasn't intially interested, but we offered him a pass-along card.  At that point, Elder Anderson just bore a simple testimony, and the conversation changed compelety.  The man who answered was super interested after that.  We taught him a little more about the restoration, got a phone number, and are planning on meeting with him this week.  Yes.  Faith brings miracles.
Oh, and all the while, I've been doing my best to follow along with the conversations/lessons/meetings.  Sometimes I can follow along.  Other times, meaning almost always, I have no clue as to what's happening.  But hey, it's not MTC anymore.
One more awesome experience.  Yesterday, the ward I'm serving in (송정) had a primary program.  Obviously, I had no clue what was going on.  But, the spirit speaks the same in any language.  It was such a spiritual sacrament meeting.  Despite not knowing the language, I could feel the spirit super strong because I was trying to understand as best as I could.  I wish I could really describe just how overwhelmingly awesome it was.
Anyways, I need to wrap up, I love you all.  PS, my P-Day is Monday.  Considering I'm 16 hours ahead, be prepared to receive emails Sunday night.  And mom, dad, Terry, Whitney, Alisa, Nathan, Vera, and anybody else who reads my blog, feel free to use any material you want to.  I wouldn't share it if I didn't feel comfortable doing so.
Elder Elliott Wedam

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ACROSS THE PACIFIC: Safe and Sound in Daejeon

What a welcome surprise to receive this little note from Elliott so soon after his arrival!

October 23, 2012

Greetings from South Korea

Bonus! You get an email from me!
I've got to keep this brief, so I'll share a few quick things:
I made it to South Korea all safe and sound.  I slept super good last night.  I was exhausted after being up for 36 hours straight.
When we arrived in Daejeon, President Furniss had us pair up and proselyte.  Elder Gu (he's not my companion, he and I were paired up though) and I placed one Book of Mormon last night.  I didn't get the name of the person we gave it too, but he was super impressed with the limited Korean I knew (I spent the better part of the plane ride preparing something to say... I heard rumor that we would be proselyting when we landed).  He also said that I had a good voice (fun fact, that was the first of two times I've heard that in South Korea in the past 24 hours.  The day is still young.  Self-esteem boost?  I think so).

President and Sister Furniss are super nice.  I like them a lot.  I might not have made the best first impression, but to be fair, I'm a bit of a goober when I'm super tired.  I wasn't mean, or anything bad, just a total goober.  Like the epitome of one.

Last thing.  I already love South Korea.  It's really quite beautiful  It looks super similar to the states, expect in a way I can't quite describe, it looks different.  I already love the people.  And I love the culture.  Today we went to a bath house.  That was quite the experience too.  I liked it.

Anyways, I got to go.  Busy day ahead of us.  A lot of training and orientation to go.  I love you all so much!  Ciao!

Elder Elliott Wedam

I am so grateful he's safely arrived, happy and hard at work already. Bathed, too, it seems! I wonder just what the epitome of a total goober is, though. Hakuna matata on that one, Mom! I cherish Elliott and his letters, and hope you love them too! Love, Elliott's Mom

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Forthcoming Farewell, Flight, Phonecall (eek! so excited), and FAITH first

Hey friends and family! This will be the last post before Elliott leaves the Provo MTC and arrives in South Korea. Because South Korea is 16 hours ahead (ahead of PDT) I imagine he will arrive sometime Tuesday.  Hopefully the Mission President or his wife will let us know he arrived safely. I don't expect him to have time to send an e-mail until his next p-day (preparation day) there, which is probably the following Monday, October 29.  Until then, enjoy the strong testimony borne in this uplifting letter.

October 16, 2012

Alright, so before I dive into the fun stuff, I've got some super important information that I'd rather that you get today rather than whenever my letter would come.

First, I fly out next Monday.  I'll send the flight numbers in the mail so if you really want to track my progress, you can.  However, what's more important than flight numbers is that missionaries are allowed to call home from the airport before they leave.  Why this is important... I'll be arriving in San Francisco around 7:00 am.  I need to check in to my gate, maybe grab some breakfast, and then locate some pay phone to call.  All in all, expect a phone call sometime between 8-8:30.  Now, I just need to know which phone number I should call.  Considering how crazy the last couple of weeks have sounded from the DearElder letters, I just need to know where you will be.  And if it's elsewhere besides dad's office or the house, then I'll also need the phone number to go along with it.
Second, Dad, your email last week made much more sense when the package came.  I really enjoyed the cinnamon roles and the candy.  Thank you so much!  And mom, that pie was really delicious.  Not as good as yours, but still, pretty good.
Terry, I'll be sure to tell Brother Kim what you told me.  Don't take it personally; we've caught him sleeping in our lessons too =P  Joke.  Sort of.  It's been more of an exercise in seeing how our 구도자 responds to the message.  I consider it a personal vicotry when he looks engaged and interested in what's being taught.
Speaking of lessons, yesterday may have very well been the best lesson Elder Bowman and I taught.  Ever.  Here's the context.  The 구도자's name is 신주영, and he's not a member, but the rest of his family is.  We've been talking about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and were planning on teaching him about Joseph Smith.  However, when we got in there, he told us that he got into a fight with a coworker that day.  So instead, we taught him about how God loves us so much that if we ask in faith, He will answer our prayers.  We shared Moroni 7:35-37 with him... essentially, Moroni teaches that "the day of miracles" aren't gone, that God is a god of miracles, and through our faith, He works miracles.  I could really feel the Spirit in that lesson - I walked away from that lesson feeling edified.  I really hope that 신주영 felt the Spirit too.
I want to talk about that scripture just a little bit, and add my testimony that I know that God still works miracles in our day.  He really does work miracles according to our faith...  I love that the Savior teaches multiple times that He works miracles according to our faith.  Yes, that might sound terribly redundant, but I know that it's true.  Here's some more background:
The past few weeks, I've really been trying to figure out how to offer sincere prayer.  I've realized that it requires at least two things: humility and faith.  The times that I have felt the Spirit the strongest have been when I asked God in faith... believing that He would give me an answer, or that He would help me.  I think back to senior year when mom and dad were in Texas for a class and I got a flat tire at about midnight.  I remember that I was really quite stressed out, and I remember that I asked God to help me to know what to do and for help.  Then, I called mom and dad... I felt really bad since it was 2 am in Texas... but mom answered.  Both mom and dad helped me out... mom later told me that it was a miracle that the phone rang as it was on silent.  It really was.
Or there was the time right after Vera was born and I ran out of gas on I-5 coming back from Portland.  It was past midnight.  It was foggy.  I knew I was within 20 miles of Eugene.  I had no idea how far the nearest exit was.  And I just ran out of gas (the gas light never turned on...).  I remember pleading with Heavenly Father that I would be able to get the car started again and be able to make it to the next gas station.  I tried to turn the car on, and it started.  It turns out, I was less than 2 miles away from the nearest gas station.  But my prayer was answered.
What's more important than the outcome of these two experiences is what happened before the miracle, no matter how small they may seem.  I prayed, asking in faith.  The reason why this is significant; I remember that my mindset was different when I prayed these times.  The difference was that I knew that there was nothing more I could do and I knew that I needed Heavenly Father's help in order to get out of a bad situation.  That is, I trusted in Him completely, and what resulted was the miracle I needed at the time.
I know that Heavenly Father is a god of love.  I know that if we ask in faith - trusting competely in Jesus Christ - and if we have done all that we can and come as far as we can, then it is through the grace - or divine help - of God and Jesus Christ that we will receive an answer to our prayers.
That being said, I may take Brother Heiner up on his suggestion to study the topic of grace.  I love 2nd Nephi 23:25 (or 25:23... dyslexia may or may not be killing me right now)... it is through grace that we are saved only after all we can do.
Alright, I've got to go.  I'll try to send a nice, hand-written letter today.  Can't make any promises since I have a ton to do.
I love you all so very much! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have a strong suspicion that the countdown began much earlier!  Elliott answered several of my questions in this letter, but I asked more.  Still wondering which General Conference address touched his heart the most, among other things. If you have a minute or two send him some love.  He is still at the Provo MTC, mailbox 82.  You can send a quick note for free via or send one by snailmail.  Find the address on this blog's first post.

OCTOBER 9, 2012

So, 13 days until departure.  I think.  We get travel plans this Thursday (so pumped.  hoping for Korean Air).  Anyways, if the abruptness of this sentence is any indicator, I'm really looking forward to getting them; that will make Korea feel that much more like a real place that we're going to.
This last week was rather crazy.  Starting with getting the news about Mason (BTW, one of the people in my district is going to Aneheim, Korean Speaking... one Elder Hogge).  Unfortunate about the accident, but he's and the other man involved have been in my prayers (so much so, I figured I should probably figure out how to ask in Korean).  But it's good to hear that Mason is doing better.  I'm glad he was able to receive a priesthood blessing (another fact that motivated me to learn how to give a priesthood blessing in Korean.  It might not be obvious, but my language study plan has changed quite a bit).  Here's some news that he might find fairly exciting.  During conference, I ran into one Elder Quinn Neilson.  That was a bit of a shocker; it's been rather crazy thinking about how many people I've run into here at the MTC that I know.  It's been really nice though.
Mom and dad, thanks for the pie package yesterday (I have no idea what Dad's email was about... I clearly recieved a pie yesterday from DearElder, courtesy of two benevolent parents; maybe dad is taking up Korean?  I don't know...).  And mom, thanks much for the elaborate description of Vera's birthday party.  I could vividly imagine the look on Vera's face when everyone was singing Happy Birthday Dear Vera (...we sang happy birthday yesterday to one of the sisters in our district.  In Korean.  I don't think I'll ever sing it in English again =P).  And how she responed to the elephant pillow.  I laughed when I read that.
So, I'll respond to Mom's many questions.  First off, I'm feeling fine.  Sinus infection is gone completely (back to my regular stuffy nose.  I'll spare you the details), and the pink-eye is a thing of the past (though, I'm always on the look out.  Long story short, these last two months haven't been good for my contacts.  In August, one lens tore, and pink-eye last month.... fortunately, that all happened within a month of each other.... and I have my glasses again, so if worse comes to worse, I can manage).  However, the last two days, it's felt like there's been something in my eye, but my eye hasn't been red, pink, or any other color besides white.  I'll run some saline solution through it again today (wearing glasses right now, seeing if it would clear up... maybe I just need a good cry to flush it out?  I might ask Elder Bowman to punch me in the nose =P)
As for the sleep, I'm in bed at 10:30 (sometimes a little later, but not because I'm messing around... saying prayers.  White handboook says it's alright if you're praying past 10:30, but to try not to make it a habit... I'm donig all within my power to be meeting this standard, but alas, everybody has their agency... we'll leave it at that.  Cryptic, yet oddly accurate).  And then the other companionship still wakes up at 5:30 (...not super thrilled about this, mostly because I usually can't get back to sleep.  I'm running off of a little less of 7 hours of sleep every night).  I talked to them about some sort of compromise, and I'm usually able to sleep-in (not really, I'm up when I'm supposed to be when this event occurs) to 6:30 some days.  Bonus, the other companionship is getting quieter every morning.  Which I have thanked them for.  So sleep situation is improving.
Eating right... I'm eating as right as one can in the MTC - the food is all super heavy, so it just sits all day.  I'm making sure to drink plenty of fluids and juices, and eating green vegetables and fruit at every meal.  I'm not over-eating, and I eat only until I'm full.  There are some pretty good meals here; the soups are usually good (barring the loaded baked potato.  I tried it once, it tasted like bacon grease.  That was a let down), the salads are great (sometimes they have a super weird dressing), and the bagels are awesome (I <3 Jalepeno bagels).  I also am rather fond of the tater tots here.  I love tater tots.  I've been trying to get my fill of them these last few weeks.  But I digress...
So, I'm running low on time, I've got one more topic to cover, and then I'll send home another wonderful hand-written letter....
Exercise. I love soccer.  I wish I played it more in high school.  I wish we had more evening gym times.  Elder Bowman and I usually go to one of the indoor gyms when we have morning gym... he stretches (he was a dancer if you recall), and I usually ride one of the bikes and read a book (like Our Search for Happiness... almost done with that bad boy).  I could be exercising more, but I always give 110% during soccer.
Anywho, time is up.  I love you all, and I love receiving letters.  Thanks much for all your prayers and support in my behalf.
-Elder Wedam