Thursday, August 30, 2012

Letters from Elliott

Our dear Elder Elliott Wedam has been in the Missionary Training Center for 3 weeks now.  Enjoy excerpts from a couple of his letters so far...

AUGUST 21, 2012

This week has FLOWN by.  Everybody in our zone (for those who don't know what a zone is... the groups used in organization of missionaries are as follows: companionship, district, zone, mission) told us to just stake it out until Sunday, and time will just start flying by.  It's true - the first three days felt like a month, and know here we are, almost two weeks later.  The language is coming along.  I'm a lot better at speaking Korean and making up sentences on the fly than I ever was, and I expect that I'll only improve (translation, I know for a fact that we're being blessed to learn this language).  We've covered some advanced material... yes, I am now officially capable of saying virtually anything I want to... provided I know the vocab.  Still, I need more practice speaking and listening... reading too.  But hey, progress is progress regardless.  Speaking of vocab, I'm aiming for 115 words a week.  Totally doable, without getting too specific, I'll be doing 20 words a day, 15 on Sunday, and then just reviewing and catching up on Tuesdays.  So, for you math enthuists out there... 10 weeks of this crazy pace yields 1150 words in my vocab arsenal.  Boom.  Awesome (and oddly not enough).  I'm really starting to love flash cards.  I always have a set on me now.  They're super helpful in learning these words.
On a related note, we're teaching two lessons a day now... still in Korean (Spoiler alert, we're teaching them to our teachers.  Whitney, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting the Asian Language teachers, Sister Judd and Brother Routt are teaching us).  Yesterday, Elder Bowman and I went out on a limb and invited one of the investigators to be baptized.  While our conversation was super awkward at first, we were able to identify some of her concerns, and even better, were able to improvise answering.  And, Elder Bowman is improving drastically in his language ability.  He was able to follow most of the lesson we were teaching yesterday, and the parts he wasn't able to, I filled him in.  He is such a good companion.  I know I always talk about how amazingly humble he is, but my goodness, I have never met anybody so humble.  And willing to follow the direction of the spirit.  During the lesson, he essentially told me what we needed to do next... like what to say, or what topic our next lesson would need to be.  It's been quite the experience.
Alright, 12 minutes left, so I'll make them count.  Some awesome stories this week... we had a missionary go A-Wall last week in our zone, we've had native Korean speakers arrive, and Bowman and I were locked out of our room and in no position to go venturing out onto the MTC campus.  Yes, it has been quite the week.  On the plus side, I still love playing soccer - defense for the win.  Actually, our entire zone loves soccer, and our district has some pretty good (like uber awesome) players.  Yesh, it's a wonderful MTC campus.
It's been super fun talking to everyone from the other districts, and I'm super excited to be serving in Daejeon - everyone who is going to Daejeon is awesome - there are some really cool people who have some pretty good experiences and talents (we have some very funny people, some awesome singers, and some super bright people).  And, everyone comes from slightly different backgrounds.  One elder has no active extended family members, one sister comes from a very complicated family background, and some come from pretty strong families.  It's really neat to see how everyone teaches and relates to people slightly differently.
On a more personal note... it's more difficult than I thought it would be being a slightly older missionary.  It's not a bad different, it's just different.  I think the hardest thing is that I'm not able to serve the other missionaries in the capacity that I'm used to serving in.  It's been hard trying to figure out how best to help out... but I'll manage.  Oh, and something fairly important... while reading from Preach My Gospel, I've had two very important insights.  First, it doesn't matter if I'm the best at speaking the Korean or if I'm perfect at it.  I know and the Lord knows I'm trying my hardest to speak and learn the language.  That's all that is required of me, and I'll be able to learn the language because of that.  Second, I know that everything will be alright. Like everything - I know that I have no reason to worry if I'm doing everything I can to be a good missionary and a faithful servant of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I love you all so much.  Take care, and I'll be sure to write again next week!
Love, Elder Wedam

and the second...

AUGUST 28, 2012
Hello Everyone!

So, Whitney, I'm totally guessing on your email address.  I forgot to bring it again, but I looked at it earlier this week and thought, "that's not that hard to remember."  So, if I got it right, YAY!  If not, I'm super sorry, random stranger, but welcome to my circle of friends. 

This week has flown by too.  I really appreciate the letters =D  They are still like candy on Christmas, or like randomly finding a 20 dollar bill on the street.  Yes, they are that good.  And mom, before I forget, don't worry about finding Sister Sarah Snow's mailing address for me.  She sent me a letter this last week, and I seem to have it now!  Funny how that works out.  And I really would like somebody to send me nathan and alisa's email address (maybe they can through DearElder?  just a thought.  I like adding names of family to recipients).  Brace yourself, I've got quite a few stories to tell... all involving slip-ups with the language, or just proof that we're blessed with the gift of tongues.
So we have a new teacher for our Korean class... our other one got transferred over to a different district.  Our new teacher is native speaking, and he insists on SYL-ing (I'm stoked - listening comprehension about to sky rocket =D  This has been something I've been needing for a while), and yesterday, he asked us to briefly introduce ourselves.  Elder Bowman, my companion, tried saying that he was a painter, but instead said he was a cougar... we all got a chuckle out of that, but then Sister Lawrence introduced herself.  She tried saying she like playing soccer (축구하다, pronounced Choo-goo ha-da), but instead pronounced it as goo-joo ha-da (구주하다). While I'm pretty sure this isn't a verb, goo-joo means Savior, so it sounded like she likes to be the Savior.... awkward moment in the introduction, no?  (I really hope Whitney is getting this email, and not some random stranger.  Out of context, this might sound a little weird).  It was really funny, but then again, I hear that everything at the MTC is funny after 2 weeks.
On a different note, I've been spending the better part of the last 3 weeks looking for the Elders going to Reno, Nevada... mostly cuz Whitney be teaching them.  Turns out, they lived on the floor right below me.  Figured this out by total happystance.  What was even funnier, as soon as they figured out I was related to Whitney, EVERY Elder in that district came out to see.  It was nice being oogled at for a few minutes.  Actually, it made me super happy - kinda put me in a super good mood because I was thinking, "Man, I have a connection to these Elders!  They know my family!"... which was super nice because most everyone in my district is from Utah and knows like half the people serving, so it was nice meeting some people who knew somebody I did.  It's hard to explain, but it made me just super happy.  (notice how my writing ability has decreased dramatically?  I blame Korean =P)
Something spiritual for the week.... bare with me, I don't have the verse memorized, but it's in 1st Nephi 17.  Actually, I just love that entire chapter.  It's the scripture story that demonstates best how to use the Priesthood... especially the verse, I think 50? that states something like if the Lord commanded me to say that this water become dry land, then it would be dry land.  Basically, it made me realize that I need to be in tune with the Holy Ghost - and have the faith that if I'm prompted by the Spirit to say something, I need to say to it, and it will come to pass.  It's a super good chapter demonstrating that there is power through obedience to the Lord's commandments.

Last thing, so I'm working on a photo-ish project (literally takes about 5 seconds a day, but I need to do it every day).  I won't tell you the details or specifics, but know that I've got a project to show you when I get back.  It'll take some time to prepare after I get back, but it'll be super cool.

-Elder Wedam

Well, I hope that helps you all get your Elliott-fix for now!  He sounds so happy and his letters bring giant smiles to our faces.  We miss him like crazy, but feel so proud of him, too!  Please feel free to send him a note if you have some time, either by snail mail or an email via I know he would love to hear from you! Have a great day! Love, Elliott's Mom

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Just wanted to drop Elder Wedham a line on but need his MTC box number. I also tried finding his address on his Facebook but couldn't seem to find it. Could we get that?