Monday, January 28, 2013

WOO HOO! Finally, Some pictures should be arriving!

I wonder if Elliott realizes how impatiently I am waiting for the promised photos AND a couple handwritten letters he promised to send!  Send him some love if you have any time.  Valentine's Day is right around the corner and his birthday is early in March.  I know he would love to hear from you! In the meantime I will figure out how to add photos to his blog. Love to you. Elliott's Mom

January 28, 2013

Heya family, friends, devoted fans, and unknown stalkers,
This past week has been most elightening.  Sorry to hear about the sickness, Alisa (a scene from The Invasion comes to mind with your description of your sickness this last week), and Terry and Whitney, high five on internet this week!  It's always exciting to receive emails and hear about life down in good ol' Arizona (...and yes, I regret not being a more diligent letter writer while you were serving =/)
Aight, so I need to hurry up... we have two super impatient Korean men waiting to use the computer (I realize how judgemental that sounds, I don't mean for it too... they keep telling us to hurry up)...
This past week, we managed to find one new investigator.  His name is 양호진.  Super cool guy - he's 27 (Korean age... so born in 87), and just an all-around super nice person.  He went to Australlia when he was 15, and ever since then, he's always been super nice to foreigners.  He speaks SUPER good English.  I really hope he has some gospel interest/chooses to be baptized at some point.  He made this entire last week worth it.
I'm learning so much.  This morning was super good - I love Alma chapter 1 and DC 1:19-24,28.  Really good advice on how to be humble and why we need to be humble.  Without taking a lot of time to sugar coat (see insert about impatient Korean men), I'll just lay it all out on the table.  This morning, I realized just how weak I am.  There is no way I'd be able to learn this language as fast as I need to without some divine help.  Example, yesterday I prayed for help to understand just enough to seek enlightenment from church.  What resulted was a lesson on how to seek knowledge (I don't have enough time to explain the entire thing.  If worse comes to worse, I hope you can see it after 2 years in my example), and understanding some really crucial parts of the sacrament hymn.  All in all, it was a good meeting.
I love you all.  Before I forget, mom, your photo album arrived last Monday.   Thank you so much =D.  And I'll pray for Grandpa and Mason.  I'm really seeing the power of prayer and the promise that Christ offers in 3 Nephi 18.  Verses escape me.
I wish I could explain more, but alas, this will suffice.  PS.  Mom, I sent pictures home in a letter... memory card.  Let me know when you get it/how you like the letters that come with =)
-Elder Wedam

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


"Dropped baptismal dates and such.  But the work goes on" reports Elder Wedam after 12 weeks in the field.  I love the work he is accomplishing and the insights he receives as he strives to live and serve as a consecrated missionary. I am very proud of him, happy for him!   Monica

January 21, 2013

This last week was rather crazy.  Our one baptismal date dropped us... 최상섭 dropped us.  Sort of.  I'll quickly explain - he met with a preacher from another church, and what transpired was a drop.  But, he still likes us and isn't opposed to us dropping by once in a while.  It's not over, though.  As disappointed as I am in dropping the baptismal date, I really just hope the the other church's preacher has his interests at heart (meaning sincerely wants to help him overcome his addiction to alcohol), and not just trying to get another member to her congregation to earn a bit more cash.

But, in other news, we have two progressing investigators.  Both of which are primarily English interest (at least initially.  I get the feeling that it's developing more into gospel interest though).  These two people, 남성현 and 이청용, are super cool.  성현 comes from a Buddhist family, but he's not opposed to learning about the gospel, and 청용 has a Christian background, and is really good at English (not fluent by any means, but he's one of the few I can keep a natural, albeit slow, flow when I speak.  But he can pick out when we English speakers slur sounds together.  In other words, mom and dad, I think you would feel fairly comfortable speaking to him if you used simplified vocabulary and what not - the need for translation wouldn't exist)  Anyways, they're really neat, and they also make missionary work in Suwon super enjoyable.  They both read from the Book of Mormon and take care to try to understand what it says.  It's been a good experience =D

Also, I finished up the initial part of the mission language program this past week, known as Pass-Off.  This translates to that I'm fairly free now to study Korean how I want to as long as I keep teaching the lessons in Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel in mind.  The new plan, reading the church pamphlets in Korean (which, I'm able to do now, and pick out words I don't know/guess meanings based on context and remember the gist of the English pamphlets).  All in all, I'm super excited.  It'll be fun.  I'm really banking on as I continue to read to myself and aloud that listening and speaking will come a little more quickly.  And, 청용 offered to help me with Korean - if I have a question on how to say something in Korean, he's more than happy to help/he has no problem introducing us to his friends who speak Korean (and telling them to speak Korean to me.  One of the few times I've been super grateful for just how important of a role age plays in Korean culture).  So, the language will come =)  Slowly, but surely.  As long as I've got a plan, I've got a reason to hope (used here in the same sense as Mormon uses it in Moroni 7 or how Preach My Gospel uses it in Chapter 6).

These last two days, I've read this most amazing talk, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" By President Tad McCallister.  I hope that's the right spelling, and I hope that it's on  If not, a half summary will have to suffice.  The talk outlines things that missionaries need to do in order to become a consecrated missionary - that is, a missionary who puts all of his or her soul into the work, holding nothing back, and is ALWAYS thinking of the work, how to improve, etc.  And it talks about the things we need to sacrifice as missionaries: our fears, romantic passions, weaknesses, and disobedience.  It puts things into perspective.  The commandment we have to talk with everyone doesn't come our district leader, zone leader, mission president, Preach My Gospel, or the Brethren, but it comes from the Lord Himself (it also cites specific parts in the Doctrine and Covenants).  And because the Lord commands it, He will provide a way (see 1 Nephi 3:7).  But it then explains (and this is the part I really liked), "there is no magic pill, no amount of time we can wait, or memorized approach that will embolden us," but sometimes we have to just buck up and do it, to just do the work.  And it's true, there's no instant solution to gain courage or substitution for work, and as we work and fulfill the Lord's commands, He will bless us.

The talk then concludes by stating: "I don't think that the Lord expects us to be perfect immediately, but He does expect immediate progression."  And it's true.  Therein lies the secret of being a consecrated missionary, working towards becoming the missionary the Lord has called.  And it extends out beyond the missionary experience.  The secret to living a life consecrated to the service of God is simply striving to become the person that Heavenly Father knows we can be, to work towards our full potential.

There was one more line I loved.  "I don't think there is one missionary who's weaknesses outweigh his strengths because we are all children of God; His divine potential is woven into the very fibers of our being."  What does it mean to be a child of God?  I don't understand the weight of the answer of this question completely, but I know that because God is my Heavenly Father, I can accomplish great things with His help.

I love you all!  Take care!  Until next week!
-Elder Elliott Wedam

Super crazy, exciting, awesome progress and perspective!

I just snagged a few words from Elliott's e-mail to create this title.  It's a good read!  Have a great day!  M

January 14, 2013

Quite a bit to talk about in this email.  This last week has been crazy.  And I mean that in the super good way ^^

First off, sorry that this is coming a little later - we have two missionaries going back home this transfer (they fought a good fight and are returning with honor), and today is the day we were getting transfer calls.  Thought I'd give you all more up-to-date information.  Considerate, right?  Anyways, I'll be in Suwon for the next six weeks at least (I'm feeling fairly confident about this too - remember how I said there were 7 elders coming at the end of the transfer?  Yep, there's another three-some in the country, and I probably won't have an emergency transfer in three weeks).  I'm now sitting at a nice 3 different comps in field and starting my 3rd transfer.  I'm still averaging a new comp a transfer, but at least it's a nice ratio, right?  Elder Miller and I are still together, and he's a district leader now... Elder Campbell is going home (he's one of the two aforementioned missionaries... and he was the our District Leader), and we have a native, Elder Kim Il-Soo, coming in to take his spot (fun fact, Elder Kim was the assistant zone leader.  He's good at English, and he loves to help missionaries with Korean.  I'm pretty happy about that ^^).  So, to summarize, our house goes as follows:  Elder Miller, me, Elder Paskett, Elder Kim.  Yeah, that's the super exciting stuff about transfers.

Secondly, great stories.  I've seen some super awesome miracles this past week.  We found 4 new investigators who we can meet regularly, we managed to get 2 of them progressing, and we walked away with 1 baptismal date.  I'd be lying if I said the first half of the week wasn't miserable, cold, and just plain hard.  The second half, however, really picked up.  Quick story about our baptismal date... we were heading to church yesterday morning, and we saw this man (who incidentally looks like Uncle Jack... sort of.  Except Korean), and he looked like he wanted to talk to us.  We started talking with him, and the conversation went sort of like this:
"Are you going to (I can't remember the name of the church)?"
"No, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
"Oh, I met missionaries like you before.  When's your worship service?"
"Right now.  Do you want to come?"
"No, that's okay.  I just want to drink right now."
"Alright then.  Can we call you once to see if you have interest in our message."
"No, that's okay."
"Then can we give you are number, and if you have interest, will you call us?"
So we give him our name card, 명험, and we don't think anything of it.  Nobody ever calls off of them (so the rumors go - I've had quite a few calls off of them.  True story).  Then, Elder Miller got two phone calls from this random number during Sacrament meeting... he doesn't answer but calls back before Gospel Principles, and it's this guy we met.  But there wasn't a ton of talk about anything super serious - just fielding a few questions.  Then come Priesthood.  We get a call with like 20 minutes left in Elders' Quorum... it's the same guy (his name is Choi Sang Seop... 최상섭), and he wants to meet.  ASAP.  He told us he'd be at the church in 10 minutes... so we go and meet him in front of the Church, bring him inside, and Elder Miller explains that our meetings our still in session, but if he wants to see the chapel, we could go and be in the last part of High Priests' Group.  Choi Sang Seop wants to, and long story short (here, this means "what transpired isn't mine to tell over email," on grounds that it was most definitely his spiritual experience), we wind up at his house, teaching him about the Book of Mormon, inviting him to be baptized on February 24, and promising that through Christ's Atonement, he can overcome his vices and get his life back on track.  I must say, I wasn't expecting that to happen so quickly... but it was a great end to an amazing week (or, a good start for an awesome week).
Then, our other investigators are pretty aight.  We've got one who's 27 (Korean Age), and wants to learn English.  And I think he has gospel interest - he sometimes speaks English to us in lessons, but I don't think it's for extra practice, but because he wants me to understand what he's saying (because the things he's said in English were super important... and still not mine to tell), but it's helped me see just how much the gospel can help anyone: both the sin-sick soul and the son who may be seeking the answers to where we came from, why we're here, and where are we going.  It's also helped me remember that everyone -  Americans, Koreans... anybody and everybody - has had experiences that have prepared them.  Experiences that have softened their hearts enough to want to listen to our message.  It's been a real faith-building experience - a prayer to find somebody who is prepared to hear the gospel goes a long way, or a plea to help me learn the language becomes an opportunity to speak to somebody on the street who knows enough English that I can, with some effort, communicate.  It's been nice, and it's been helping me realize that missionary work in South Korea isn't just possible, but it's fun.

I'm starting to learn the value of having a good attitude and putting things into perspective.  I may not be fluent, or even halfway decent, at Korean, but I can catch the gist of what's being said (when people don't talk to me directly), and can teach (with a ton of preparation) in Korean.  And with a little warm-up, I can communicate and share some simple experiences with natives.  And this is at the end of my second transfer (Elder Campbell had a pretty sick analogy... missionaries who were at the MTC for 12 weeks have 16 transfers in-field... and there are 16 hours in the missionary's day.  So, each transfer is like an hour, and each week is 10 minutes.  Right now, I'm halfway through personal study).  So, compared to where I was when I first arrived, I'm making progress... it's like what mom told me - if you take two steps forward and take one step back, you're still 1 step farther than you were.  Progress is indeed progress.  And little by little is how we improve.
I've decided that if I spend the next 2 years fighting tooth and nail to learn this language, I'm totally fine with that.  Last week, I realized that a lot of things have come easy to me in the past, but learning a new language isn't one of those things.  It's hard, but you know, it's rewarding.  It's helping me build an empathy that I didn't have before, or at least one that wasn't super well developed.  It extends deeper than, "be nice to people learning your native language;"  it's more of, "be patient with other people as they strive to overcome their own difficulties and challenges, whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual."  It's been a blast - relying on grace to help me accomplish the work the Lord needs me to accomplish, and knowing that it won't come easily always, but it will mold me into something better than I was.  It's not just working towards meeting goals, but working to become the person that Heavenly Father knows we can become - in other words, it's about living up to your full-potential.

I love you all so much!  I pray for you daily, and I'm grateful for your prayers in behalf of me.  I really appreciate them - there's strength in knowing that you have a fan-base the whole world round determined to see you succeed.

Ciao!  Until next week!

Elder Wedam

Monday, January 7, 2013

His Heart is in South Korea

Happy news from Elder Wedam in Suwon, the walled city just about 20 miles south of Seoul.

January 7, 2013

Greetings family!  And devoted followers!
So, I probably should explain what happened a little more with the emergency transfer... so my new companion was training, but his missionary had to go home because of a foot problem.  This missionary was a native Korean... and when he was younger, his foot was run over by a truck, so one foot was fairly flat.  The pain was bad enough that he couldn't stay in the field anymore, so he went home, and I went up north.  Everything is fine... that missionary is going to get surgery, but rumor has it that he won't be coming back out again.  Fun, right?  So, all in all, nothing super concerning (at least as far as my safety and spiritual health goes), but unfortunate for the Elder. 
Oh, and Mom, funny story about your letter.  It arrived.  I haven't had a chance to look at it... mostly on account of that it landed in Songjeong.  So, Elder Anderson and Elder Houston are sending them up to me.  I'm convinced the mission office isn't aware that I transfered.  And as for my hand-written letters (I promised you two in the past week...), they're written, I still need to send them.  You may be getting two letters in the near future, possibly even three?
This last week has been amazing.  Elder Miller is a great companion for me.  He's really helping me progress as a missionary - he's helped me feel comfortable speaking on the street more, AND he does a really good job of not making me feel a lot of pressure (like the bad type of pressure - the type that nobody really likes).  He's a blast, I like him a lot.  And it's been fun seeing Elder Paskett again after MTC.  He's awesome.  He reminds me of Mason a lot ^^  And Elder Campbell, he was an AP when I arrived (now training Elder Paskett), he goes home at the end of this transfer, but he's been working super hard.  It's been a real treat; all three of them are angels.  You can totally see how Christ-like they really are.  They're committed to the work and render service without guile.  All in all, this transfer, as inconvenient as it was, was good for me.  I've learned quite a bit in the last two weeks - and missionary work has become even more fun because of it.  I even got a phone number on the street yesterday, and I almost taught a street lesson.  It's been so fun and worthwhile!
I'm glad to hear that New Year's Day was fun.  Portland is always a blast, and being with the entire fam can only make it better.  Fun fact about South Korea, New Year's is a bigger deal than Christmas.  We went hiking with our ward New Year's morning, and there was a nice little drum beat thing going on.  And we ate some traditional New Year's food for breakfast - we're talking 떡 soup.  It was delicious.  Then, yesterday at Church, we had a nice little "Shake Everybody's Hand in the Ward" event right after sacrament.  It was fun.
Yesterday, I read in Alma 31.  Somehow, I got from studying about fasting to Alma's mission to reclaim the apostate Zoramites.  There was a good little twist - the Zoramites were proud; they had the attitude of, "We're better than everyone else because God elected us to be saved, and nobody else will be."  Then, we read Alma's prayer, culminating in Whitney's favorite mission scripture (I'm running off of memory right now)... "Behold, Oh Lord, their souls are precious and many of them are our brethren."  That's the attitude we need to have, both as a missionary and as a child of God.  When we understand that God is our Heavenly Father and that we are all His children, it's easier to keep that attitude of loving everybody.  As members of the Church, we can't afford to be proud... even in Alma 7 (I think, it's early Alma at least), we read that pride was a great stumbling block to the Church.  Now for the personal tie in...
Last week, I said that one of my goals was to develop humility and charity.  My action plan is to simply do missionary work.  To teach the gospel, and as I teach, have the attitude of Alma... that the people of South Korea's souls are precious.  They may not be the apostate Zoramites, but the principle of loving is still the same.  I'm working towards the mindset of share the gospel with everyone, and invite them to learn more about it.  As I do this, I'm hoping that I'll gain a better appreciation for God's work and glory... to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His childrent (see Moses 1:39).  I'm hoping that as I seek to make His work my work, then I'll be able to emulate Christ better.  What better way to become like Christ than to seek to do the Father's work?  As of now, those are my clear stones =)
I love you all.  The homesickness disappears day by day, and even though I miss you and Oregon, my heart is in South Korea right now.  I can feel the beginning of something big about to happen, and I'm excited to see what it is!
Until next week!
Elder Elliott Wedam

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year from Suwon!

Elder Wedam begins the year in Suwon with new year's goals in mind! I am certain the Lord will help Elliott realize the wonderful Christlike characteristics he hopes to develop. May each of us thoughtfully reflect on our heart's desire, make a plan to help realize that desire,  and then work hard.  There are so many willing to help us, especially the Lord. mw

December 31, 2012

So, funny story.  I'm no longer in the little three-some.  I emergency transfered north on Friday morning (your Thursday night).  So, the last few days I haven't been in Gwangju... I apologize if you Google Mapped in hopes of finding me walking about.  Alas, I'm in Suwon now, serving in the Shingpun ward (since I hate romanizations of Korean words... 수원 싱푼).  I now live in a four-man house.  My new companion's name is Elder Miller.  He's half Japanese, half American and hails from Provo, Utah (but he's lived in Japan, Hong Kong, and in a few spots throughout the states).  He's nice, helpful, and committed to doing missionary work.  And the other companionship we live with is Elder Campbell (one of the AP's when I arrived) and Elder Paskett (See the MTC saga... apparently, we're roommates for life).  It's different up north than it was down south.  It's colder.  And there's this pretty tight wall that surrounds part of the city.  Google map it... it'll show Suwon better than I can describe it.  Oh, and fun fact, one of the wards in our zone meets in a building that's part of the Seoul Mission... that threw me for a loop.

I love New Years.  It's my second favorite holiday (after Christmas).  It's just fun being able to reflect on the past year and see all that's happened.  And 52 weeks goes by fast.  Really fast.  But SO MUCH HAPPENS.  This time last year, I was at the Brouillette's New Year's Bash with Grant, Jordan, and Nichole, and this year, I'm on the other side of the world.  Turning 23 (Korean age... how I love it.  Fun fact.  I'll spend a good solid 16 months of my life being 23... and a good solid 20 months of my life being 24.  Hope they're a good age =P... or something like that.  I'll work the math out later.  Maybe.)  And a time to set new goals.  Or more like a yearly mission statement at the very least.

I know what things I want... I want to be charitable, patient, humble, diligent, and full of gratitude.  The thing is, I don't know a good action plan yet.  Whenever I plan, though, I remember the story of the Brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord.  In Ether 2, we find that the Brother of Jared wants his people to have light when they cross the waters to the promised land, and God asks him, "What will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"  What a good question... God asks us to make a plan to accomplish our desires.  And He doens't tell us, "Do it on your own," or even, "I'll do everything for you," but He asks, "What would you have me prepare for you?"  He's willing to help us - to make up the difference of what is needed to accomplish our goals and what we actually have.  I imagine all the cliche stories of children wanting some toy that they don't have enough money for, then confiding in their parents what they want, and the parents telling them to work hard.  And as the children earn money, they still fall short of having enough, but miraculously, they count their money again with their parents, and there's enough money all of a sudden (because the parents slipped it in).  That's the same principle.  It's the principle of grace - we are saved by grace (or we receive divine help) only after we do all we can do.  In my own case, I imagine Heavenly Father asking me, "what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may learn charity, patience, humility, diligence, and gratitude?"

And, what does the Brother of Jared do?  In Ether 3:1-6, we find that he has come up with a plan.  He has found 16 clear stones ands asks God to touch the stones so that they would bring forth light.  God does, and the stones bring forth light.  I love this passage for a couple of reasons:

First off, when I was younger, I thought that this was a terrible plan... it didn't seem like a good solution to the problem at hand... but we read in this passage that the Brother of Jared says in his prayer, "Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this.  We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men."  Having God touch the stones may seem like a terrible solution to the dilemna of not having light, but it only seems terrible because it's so simple.  And, because it's so simple, the result may seem dismissable.  It's not a large miracle by any stretch of the imagination (don't get me wrong, stones giving off light would be fairly impressive to me... but compare that to the plagues of Egypt or to Jesus raising the dead, or Elijah calling down a pillar of fire... it sorta pales in magnificence), but it's a miracle nevertheless, and it's what the Jaredites needed at the time.  That is, God gives us what we need if we ask for it, and even though it may not seem all that impressive at first, it has personal meaning to us.  The miracles in my life haven't been super big, but they were exactly what I needed when I needed them.

Second, the humility of the Brother of Jared.  I'm sure he recognizes that his solution wasn't the most extravagent, but it's the best he could come up with, AND HE STILL ASKED.  He swallowed his pride and asked God to make his plan work.  He also knew that the Jaredites weren't perfect (see verses 2 and 3), and HE STILL ASKED.  And despite the the plea and the Jaredite's spirituality, God still answers.  A good principle here... are we willing to consult with God with everything we do, despite how uneloquent it may sound or how unworthy we feel?  I can add my own testimony that He does answer.  He does love us.  He wants us to succeed, and He wants us to progress.  We may not see the finger of the Lord, but we can see miracles every day (interestingly, this was the only sentence I could understand in Sacrament yesterday... We can see miracles everyday).

I love you all, and I wish you a happy new year.  Time goes by fast.  I'm hitting my 5 month mark super soon.  As you set goals and make plans, I invite you to ask yourself, what are your "clear stones" that you take to the Lord as you strive to accomplish your goals?  I don't have a plan yet, but I'm working on making on to be more humble, patient, chartitable, diligent, and gracious.  Take Care!

-Elder Elliott Wedam