Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Bit Sick

If you would, please pray for Elliott this week. Thanks for your support! He loves hearing from you.  Love, Elliott's mom.

September 18, 2012

Week X + 1


So, I'll be totally honest, I'm sick.  Like literally sick.  With a sinus infection.  And pink eye.  That was a new development last night.  A few prayers for some health would be greatly appreciated (and, I'm grateful for the prayers already in my behalf)!  This being sick thing has been an ongoing thing with everybody in our zone... so mom and dad, I might have to forgo sending a letter again today, but if I feel better and up to writing one, I'll send one.  Maybe put it in the box tomorrow?  I'll play it by ear.

This week had been a great week.  For starters, I finally figured out a really good way to learn Korean vocab.  Guess how many I got down this week (and can still remember).  I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with 210.  Yeah, it's been a pretty epic week.  And, speaking of Korean triumphs, Elder Bowman totally rocked our lesson yesterday.  I had him do most of the teaching (considering I've done most of the talking in the past), and he did super well.  A couple of grammatical mistakes, but I (and the teacher) could understand (and I was able to help out... it was a really good listening exercise!  In case it's not obvious, I'm super stoked about this.  It was a ton of fun!)

Oh, and great story involving foreign language.  Really fast, in Korean, the sentence order goes Subject-Object-Verb... or virtually any order (order signifies emphasis) as long as the verb comes last... as opposed to English (Subject-Verb-Object) or Spanish (Subject-Verb-Object).  The other day, I was trying to say a sentence in Spanish (butchering the accent, by the way.  Whoops), and I threw the verb at the end... I had to pause for a minute or two trying to figure out why that didn't sound right... it took quite a while to figure it out.  So, on the plus side, when I'm trying to say something in a foreign language, I slip into Korean grammar without realizing it.  Huzzah?

And, I ran into my home teaching companion from Eugene - Elder Jones.  He be serving in Denver, Colorado.  As a matter of fact, he's sitting at the computer across from me.  It's been fun catching up with him!  He leaves next Monday (the MTC is a different experience for everyone).  He seems pretty stoked.

As far as gospel goals go, I've restarted the Book of Mormon.  Starting from the title page.  Made it to Chapter 2 of First Nephi.  Reason why I'm doing this (this will make a lot more sense if you've had the chance to see Elder Bednar's talk, The Character of Christ - I don't know if you can though, it's an MTC Fireside... maybe it's on LDS.org?  In any event, it's super good - so much so, I saw it again this last Sunday) is because Elder Bednar suggested that if you have a question, buy a cheap paperback Book of Mormon, read it cover to cover, and mark it up pertaining to your question.  Then, after you're done, think about it, pray about it, and then write a half page summary of what you learned.  I'm sure you're dying to know what my question is... and I hate to do this, but I shan't share until AFTER I'm done with this exercise.  Mostly so I have some really good things to talk about.  Sitting on the edge of your seat, no?

Alisa, I got your Dear Elder yesterday.  A pinkaliscious themed birthday party? That will be so fun!  Take pictures!  I might have to send you a picture of my eye (totally kidding - that's actually kind of gross).  And rumor has it that Vera is growling now?  And she's taking a few steps now?  That's super exciting!

Hmmm, well, this is just weird, I have like another 10 minutes to write (This is strange for me too... I feel like I have a TON of time left), so something significant I learned this week.
I'm really loving the Book of Enos.  He sets out a really good pattern to receive revelation... and on how to better listen to the Spirit and other people.  The pattern I picked up was Ponder (he thought a lot about the words his father spake and what the Lord told him), Act (he prayed for a remission of sins - acting on what his father told him... he prayed to gain further knowledge of what the Lord promise him - so much so that his faith was strengthened), Remember (he remembered the Lord's promise that whatsoever Enos asked in faith, the Lord would grant it unto him... and everything leading up to that was based on prior conversation and revelation before), and Trust (Enos knew that the Lord could not lie... and therefore, when he was given a remission of his sins, he knew he received it; when the Lord promised that Enos would receive whatever he asked for in faith, Enos knew the Lord would grant it).  That's been serving as a great springboard for what I've been trying to do this week... to just listen and slow down.  I've really been trying to give a lot of thought to my responses this last week, and I've been giving a lot of thought about what I've been reading and hearing.  It's been nice... slight understatement.  It's been incredible.

Anyways, time's up (I had to back track a bit - the Spanish story is included in the last 10 minutes of writing).  I love you all so much!  I love hearing from you!  And learn the Korean Alphabet!

-Elder Wedam

His Memory Fades...

Time can be such a mysterious dimension. Sounds like he still remembers people, though.  Enjoy this letter!

September 11, 2012

Week X

Well, it's official, I no longer remember how long I have been at the MTC... I think this is week 5?  Don't quote me on that.  And thanks again for all your letters.  I'm guessing the email gets posted and maybe some favorite lines from the letter home?  So, in any event, Annie, I got both the psalms book and the last few letters of yours.  The last one made me laugh.  A lot.  Thanks for that!  And mom and dad, I really enjoyed the letters - it sounds like the bike ride (that I thought happened a month ago... whoops) went really well.  I'm super stoked that dad and Terry did that!  Bragging rights, no?
So, this week, I've been focussing on finding some funny things.  While many happened (at least I think a lot did - I laughed quite a bit this week), one stands out among the rest.  Whitney, you've already heard this one, but it deserves a repeat.  So the other missionary companionship sharing a room with Elder Bowman and myself is Elders Paskett and Hogge.  Last Wednesday, we were walking to dinner after a long day of class, and Elder Hogge was playing with this really neat belt/batman like gadget that you attach your keys and card to, and it retracts automaticially.  Anyways, the string broke while he was extending it one time, and his keys and card when flying.  Here's where the story gets really good.  Both items nailed another elder who was 15 feet in front of us.  As in, if I wasn't paying attention, I would have thought Elder Hogge tossed them at him on purpose.  Even better, this elder and his companion were the only two people in the hall besides us.  What are the odds?  The story doesn't stop there, Elder Paskett filled Elder Bowman and I on the very end.  In line, Elder Hogge thought he saw the same elder he accidently hit, and apologized.  It wasn't the same elder... so Elder Hogge just had to explain the story to this new elder.  Super funny.  Really demonstrates the level of humor present in the MTC.  I'll leave that one up for interpretation.
Oh, and the Older Districts (the missionaries who were at the MTC before us and going Korean speaking) left this week.  Next Wednesday (not tomorrow... 8 days from now), we will officially be the older districts.  Super stoked - mostly because I want to see how far we've come in learning the language.  Elder Bowman and I are doing a lot better when we teach our "investigators"; Whitney, your advice about making it a spiritual experience for our investigator is paying off really well.  Our lesson plans have changed super dramatically in the last week, and I think we're finally working through some of our "investigator's" needs.  For instance, he would never read the Book of Mormon chapters we asked him to, so finally, we explained to him last time why we wanted him to read.  The converstaion went something like this:
"Why do you think we want you to read the Book of Mormon?"
     "So we can learn about God."
"Right, but we also ask you to read it so you can recieve personal revelation.  Do you remember the first lesson we taught you?"
    "I forgot"
"We talked about personal revelation.  Do you remember why personal revelation is important?"
    "So God can teach us."
"Right, and how can we recieve it?"
   "By praying and studying scriptures."
"Exactly.  We believe the Book of Mormon is scripture, and we want you to read from it so you can receive personal revelation for yourself that it is true.  Do you understand?"
"Good!  I just want to promise that as you read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, God will give you an answer if it's true or not.  Will you read the Book of Enos tonight?"
And then we proceeded to talk about the apostasy.  In any event, I should mention, the conversation went as above almost exactly.  It was tricky usage of indirect discourse and indirect questions.  I was thrilled.  Really thrilled.  Mostly because we were really able to communicate and work around his needs rather than lecture and just spew information.  And this is the approach we're planning on taking.  Answer questions and address needs.   Next lesson, Elder Bowman and I want to invite him to be baptized, and we're planning on explaining why we want to meet with him.  I'm super stoked.
Oh, side note.  Terry, my teacher, John Kim (affectionately known as κΉ€ ν˜•μ œλ‹˜) served in Whitney's mission (a fact I'm sure you already heard).  What I found out, and what you may already know (dramatic pause via compeletely trivial parenthetical insert) is that you TA his economics class (I'm assuming that you're TA-ing this term.  If not, he has you confused for some other doppleganger with a last name of Wedam, which is still a really cool fact).  Anyways, we exchanged this info... in Korean.  Boom.  Still excited.
Running low on time now, only 2 minutes left, but I love you all so very much.  Mom and dad, true to the last X weeks (where X is the number of weeks I've been here), I'll write you another letter today.  You'll get your more spiritually fulfilling content in that.  Feel free to share what you feel appropriate in those letters on das blog.  And some exciting news, they have SD card readers in the laundry room now, so you may be getting pictures in the near future!
Take care, and your always in my prayers, both in Korean and in English!
-Elder Wedam

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Howdy Friends of Elder Wedam!  Here's the last letter from Elliott that I neglected to post until now because of a very BIG bicycling LOTOJA adventure for some of the family yesterday. 

SEPT 4, 2012

This week has been nuts.  Let me rephrase that.  Sunday was nuts.  Fast Sunday at the MTC is super awesome... but then came a huge shocker.  Guess who got called to be a zone leader for the next six weeks?  (I think that should be enough of a hint...), and guess who has literally no idea on how to do it?  (Bit of an overstatement, said someone received some instruction last night.  Said someone still doesn't know what to do, but has a better idea than before).  I think that accurately sums up the last two days.

Oh, but then Sunday's Fireside was amazing.  We got to watch President Monson's 85th birthday celebration.  It was awesome.  Mostly because after 4 weeks of incredibly hard work, it was fun watching something that was a little lighter.  It was a much needed break.  

Oh, and mom, your package came.  Thank you so much!  I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to get it until today... sometimes packages come during the evening, and the post office closes early on Saturday... and is closed on Sunday... and Labor day.  In short, I was super excited when Elder Bowman handed me a slip saying I had a package.  I almost did a jig, but alas, I realized that I had no clue how to do a jig, and I didn't feel like making one up as I went.

Then the weather this week.  Terry and Whitney may have already told you, but we had a good sprinkle for three days (compared to Eugene, everything sprinkles), and thunderstorms two days.  It was fairly epic.  What made it even better, the heavier rain always started right after gym time (I'm super happy about that.  Like, ridiculously happy.  Want to talk tender mercies?  That was one).  On the plus side, I think I may have a new favorite thing about the MTC: Beach Volleyball in the rain.  It was fun, refreshing, and just all around great.  If you ever get the chance to play beach volleyball in a slight drizzle, do it.  You won't regret it.

And I learned a really valuable skill this last week.  How to properly cross reference!  And since it's clicked, I've been going cross reference crazy.  Awesome connections I made this last week... The parable of the unjust servant (the one who received forgiveness from his master for his debt of 10 thousand talents, but wouldn't forgive a fellow servant a debt of 100 pence... Somewhere between Matthew 18-21) cross referenced with DC 64:9-10 (I think that reference is right... forgive everyone); the youth in Matthew who desired eternal life but wouldn't give up his wealth for the poor (Again, around Matthew 18-21... guess what I read this week) crossed with Jacob 2 (I want to say verses 4-5... seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven); DC 121:35-46 (Oath and covenant of the Priesthood... I think it starts on verse 35) crossed with Matthew 19 (I think? ...the part where Christ talks about how people are subject to kings and speaks of authority).  Anyways, I really enjoyed making those cross references... it made for a good coloring project =D

Oh, and as far as progressing "investigators" go... I'm getting much faster at forming sentences in my head.  And by me, I really mean that the gift of tongues is real.  As in, there is no way that I'd be able to say half of what I wanted to say without God's help.  When you bear testimony of the Atonement and then carry one a brief conversation about repentance (and be able to understand the responses) all in Korean, you feel really good.  But then you realize that it isn't really because you're awesome at Korean, you're just willing to work hard and trust that God will take care of the rest.

Elder Bowman is still really awesome - the first few weeks was awkward for everyone.  Now that we're all exhausted 24-7, everyone is either really funny or really testy (meaning they like to push everyone's buttons... when you're tired, it's really hard to not tell them to knock it off politely... hence why I haven't said anything... and I can be a bit testy too.  Planning on napping today =D)

I realize that this email has incredibly short paragraphs, I'm super sorry about that =/

I love you all!  Take care, and have a good week!

Elder Wedam