Monday, May 20, 2013

Stuttered Korean is hard to Understand

Well, we enjoyed a wonderful group Skype session with Elliott on Mother's Day.  He looks so happy (although quite thin).  My heart nearly burst with happiness seeing that quirky smile of his (you know the one) surface so many times during our conversation. He told us then that he had been transferred that week a bit to the south of Suwon to Pyeongtaek. He is now a senior companion and two companionships share an apartment there.  The junior companion of the other duo has pneumonia, so Elder Wedam, Elder Oman and Elder Erekson take turns staying indoors with him while the other two work out in their assigned areas.  This transfer, one of their areas includes an American military branch of the Church.

May 20, 2013
Hey Family, Friends, Stalkers , Fanclub Memebers, Former Companions, and Current Teachees,

What a week.  I must say, serving in the 평택 area is definitely a different feel from the last 2.  First, I'm a lot more proactive in the ward & the American branch... I'm really trying to make an effort to learn who everyone is in the 2 units we serve.  Speaking of which, there's this really stressful moment on Sunday when the Military Branch is concluding and the Korean ward is starting... that takes some serious focus to switch between two cultures... and to keep who is in which unit straight.  Plus side, it's a bonus.  Elder Erekson (the other senior) sends positive reinforcement my way... saying that I'm doing just fine (despite how terribly inadequate I feel as a senior companion and trainer).  But, it's fun.  I'll learn a lot (already have).

We get fed American food often.  almost every day.  The Korean members don't invite us over all that often, so Elder Oman and I are going to try something new... we invite our members to eat with us at the church (hey mom, thanks for teaching me how to cook and to be adventuresome in the kitchen).  We have some nights we need to cook on our own, but hey, with how much we're invited over, it's a time to save some MSF and use it to build some relationships with members. Boom.  I'm stoked.

Anyways, this has been a really good, albeit very hectic week.  Turns out I'm more literate in Korean than conversant, but that's been a blessing considering one of the people we teach stutters.  And then takes half an english word and half a korean word and splices them together.  It's hard to understand.  So hard.  I about cried after that experience yesterday.... but he's remarkably easy to text.  Not gonna lie.

I learned a lot.  Commitments are key in missionary work.  And commitment making and keeping evolves beyond an invitation... it's a proactive effort in helping people keep what they committed to.  And, really, my ministry is to help other people come unto Christ by repenting (in other words, by keeping the commandments and living a Christ-Centered life).  I've been thinking more and more how we can help the people we teach, and I've been focusing a lot on what we can do outside of our appointments.  Elder Oman gave me some really good ideas, and I can't wait to see how they work.  I've also been practicing my commitment inviting via training.  It's been a blast. I've noticed a huge difference in how I study after focusing on a commitment.

So, until next week, a testimony (I won't write in Korean... it doesn't do anybody any good if they can't understand it, or even read it)

One of my favorite scriptures is Alma 5:26.  Alma knows that feeling of wanting to sing the song of redeeming love.  I felt that same feeling when I decided to come back to church.  I feel so now.  I know this is God's work, and that He wants each of us, His children, to be happy.  We can be happy by living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Despite all the stress and trials that I've faced, I'm happy, and my happiness is centered on knowing that God wants me to live up to my full potential.  I know that He is mindful of my prayers.  I know that He is mindful of your prayers.  I testify that He lives.  He remembers us.  He loves us.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Elliott Wedam

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The miracle spiggot just won't shut off. Perhaps it sprung a leak?

I guess he's "ready for it."  He sounds thrilled.  Hope all the moms out there have a wonderful Mother's Day!  Love to all. M

Family, Friends, Devoted Stalkers, Creepy FanClub Members, and Former 동반자

This last week was, well, interesting.  Hindsight, a lot happened. But it happened fast.  Last wednesday feels like 3 weeks ago.  But wow.  What a week.

We found 5 new investigators this week.  All of them college students. All English interest.  All of them found from one of two English Fliers we placed up on a campus in our area 2 weeks ago.  Oh, and 3 of them are referals.  All of them are comfortable with hearing the message of the restored gospel, and I LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR INVESTIGATORS.  The week sort of progressed like this...

Monday: P-Day.  We were on a high of finding 3 people the week before and having an appointment set up on Wednesday to meet with a new investigator. Oh and we also met with another investigator and had a sick lesson with him.  Then, we got a phone call from an unknown number.  This person wanted to meet us at his universtiy campus.  His English name is Bobby.

Tuesday:  We go to campus and meet Bobby.  He brings a friend, we'll romanize it as Gun).  They're totally cool with meeting us again and hearing the message of the restored gospel.  They want to meet again on Thursday.  At the Church.

Wednesday:  We head out to campus to meet our potential new investigator (Hoon).  He brings two friends (Tek and Lee).  They're super funny and still not opposed to hearing our message.  They set up an appointment to meet with us next wednesday on campus.

Thursday:  We meet Bobby.  Gun has a cold, so he couldn't make it.  We teach him a little about the Book of Mormon, and Bobby wants to meet with us again on Tuesday.  A little later, we meet with a former investigator (Sang), whom I've never met before.  We couldn't call him a new investigator (no specific return appointment, but wants to meet again for sure), but he feels pretty golden.  We get another phone call from an unknown number, and another universtiy student wants to meet with us (Min), and he wants to bring a friend (Hyun).  They want to meet on Monday (today).  Sick

Saturday:  We contacted another former investigator... who dropped us (I was really sad... but I'm glad we met with him).  We then met with one of the investigators from last week (Hae).  She's the nicest lady... and her husband (Tae) is super nice too.  They hit a bit of a rough patch (he had a brain hemorrage - a long time ago - and is still recovering).  We meet Tae's family, who are really nice too.

So, what this amounts too... we now have a pool of 8 investigators with potential for 3 more this week.  What I've learned.  This is God's work.  He'll lead His prepared children to His servants when His servants are ready for it.  I've learned so much this transfer - and I love missionary work so much.  It's by far the hardest work I've done, but it's SO FUN!!!!  There are days when I can just feel the Holy Ghost so strong - the best way I can describe it is just a feeling of strength and "I'm going at the speed God wants me to... yes, I've a long ways to go, but my goodness, I've hiked a long way up the mountain already"

The church is true.  I've been focussing more on studying the prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon.  I must say, my incredible lack of knowledge of all three is rather remarkable.  But I'm learning a lot.  There are some sick prophecies fulfilled in the first 2 chapters of Matthew that are, in fact, about Christ and events pertaining to His life.  It's been super fun!

I'm learning more and more about how to work in unison with my companion - and how to play nice with other kids in the sandbox.  It's been a real test in patience, humility, and charity, but wow, what a test.  I'm definitely not perfect, but I'm loving the journey.  Every step.

One thing that really impressed me this last week was something I found in Gospel Principles... chapter 18.  Faith.  There's a quote by President Spencer W. Kimball.... it's about the relationship between faith and works.  We want the blessings of health and strength, but sometimes we aren't always willing to keep the laws of health.  We want prosperity and success, but we aren't always willing to pay our tithes.  We want safety, peace, and hope, but we aren't always willing to keep all of God's commandments.  In short, if we aren't willing to work, our faith amounts to day dreaming.  If I want to be more charitable, I need to be more service oriented.  It's exciting no?

Anhyways, I love you!  I hope this week is great!  I'll talk to you in t-minus 6 days!

Elder Elliott Wedam

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nephews, 구도자, and just good weeks

April 29, 2013
Family, friends, stalkers, etc.

This week has been super good!  3 new investigators, and a whole new outlook on how to work with people.  Super sorry that this general letter will be super short... I spent more time writing personal emails this week =/

I learned a lot this week.  I honestly am starting to learn how to play nice with other companions in the sand box... making sure that they and I are actively engaged in planning and working together. It's been a blow to my pride, but hey, I'm willingly giving it up, and I had enough pride to power a third world country (see 북한... they don't need it though).  All in all, I feel like I've been less easy to offend, and I think Elder Benson and I have been working much more in unity.  Last comp inventory was great... I really love comp inventory. It's the best time to boost your comp's confidence and self-worth. We had a really good one, and we opened up quite a bit.  I feel like I understand him a little bit better, and I realize that I myself am a little 부적해요.

But, hey, don't take that as a sign of me being depressed.  On the contrary, I feel much better.  I feel more like a person and less like a robot.  I love missionary work so much.  If anything, I love talking with people at the most awesome of times.  Cross walk, bus stop, bus seat.  I've got it on lock.  I've even pulled 180's on streets and been kicked out of apartments.  All because I want to talk to people about the gospel, and to get to know them better as a person.  It's fun.  I've met some of the coolest people, and I hope that I have a chance to see them again in the future (call me off our 명험... 재발요?)

I also enjoyed getting a letter from the YSA in Eugene.  That made my week!  It's so nice knowing that I now have an international fan club rooting for me to be successful.

Spiritual ponderment for the day:  I'm super stoked for final judgement... not just because of inheriting a degree of glory, but to also see how my life in mortality affected the lives of everyone I met.  I think that's the thing I'm most excited for.  anyways...

I love the gospel.  I love missionary work.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Read it, ponder it, ask God.  That's our invitation to everyone as missionaries.  As members of the church.  It's our proof of our message.  It's central to conversion to the gospel.  And knowing if the Book of Mormon is true is perhaps the single most important information you can possibly come to have, for if it's true, then it tells us what our eternal destiny can be.

I love you all, do well this week.  And until 7 days from now,
Elder Wedam