Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week 6 of transfer 6. 장마 season is here

Elder Wedam will be serving in a newly formed mission.  How exciting! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to grow and so many more missionaries have been recently called to serve.  I have already sent an e-mail to inquire about a new mission address.  His e-mail address will remain the same.  Send him some love.  Let me know if you need his e-mail or physical addresses. Love to you all! M  

June 17, 2013

Well everyone, some exciting news.
I'll be opening a new mission with 20 missionaries from Korea Daejeon and 80 missionaries from Korea Seoul.  Yes, I'm being moved to the Seoul South Mission.  It's no longer just a suspicion, but a hard reality.  And, I'll be going with virtually every companion I've had in the field thus far, minus two (Elder Houston and Elder Miller).  All in all, I'm super stoked.  I've spent most of my mission in the portion of our mission that would become Seoul South.  I just happened to have a brief 9 week stint in Gwangju (Best kimchi, by the way).  But 수원 zone all the way.  I love this stake.  I'm secretly hoping that I stay for at least the rest of the year (and Heavenly Father has this great habit of fulfilling our righteous desires.  Just saying... but if I get transfered out before the end of the year, I'll be fine).
Anyways, this last week has been one giant miracle.  We found a new investigator (and by we, I mean Heavenly Father provided us one), found via a member referral.  His name is Rodrigue.  He's from Camaroon.  And he's learning Korean, studying Chemistry (at a college in my last area), and loves soccer and cooking.  He came to church yesterday, and he set up an appointment to meet with us tomorrow.  All in all, he's super cool.  And nice.  And a bright point.  I love him so much ^^  I'll keep you posted!
And, Elder Oman and I have been seeing more miracles as we've been setting up and trying to see plans through.  We've had more success in street contacting recently, and our ward/branch is starting to have a different feel.  They're taking a deeper interest in our missionary efforts, and it's been such a blessing to have such a great ward that wants to support the missionary effort.  Our ward mission leader is great; he's proactive in trying to get us to meet our members, and our members are inviting us to participate in ward activities and inviting us over to eat dinner with them (SUPER huge in korean culture).  It's been really good.  I've never been so exhausted, but Heavenly Father sees it fit to give us more strength every day.  It's been refreshing, really!
I'm super sad to hear about Aunt Jerri's arm.  I really hope she recovers fast.  And while we're at it....
Okay, now that that's out of my system... Mom, thanks for the pictures.  I really enjoyed looking at them.  Vera has gotten so big (Alisa and Nathan, you have one darling daughter.  I expect that my nephew shall be just as cute.  And well, yeah - Nathan, work hard at school.  What's dentistry to a foreign language?  Mad props by the way).  And Terry and Whitney, push through the 108 degree weather.  And keep being awesome.  Study hard, work hard.  Enjoy the good weather.
Speaking of which, monsoon season has commenced.  It hasn't started raining just yet, but there are clouds coming, and they look rather ominous... umbrellas for the win, right?
OH hey, last thing for the week.  I've really been focussing on charity this last week during personal study.  I've realized that everything I've ever really wanted as a missionary... to really come to know my Savior, to be an effective in my efforts, to find those who may be sad or lonely.... really hinges on how charitable I am.  And we're not talking charity as in learning to love the people I teach, but learning to love everyone.  We're talking about developing a Christlike love for all men.  To see them as God sees them and to love them as God loves them.  To really be able answer yes to Alma's profound question, Can ye look up with the image of God engraven on your countenance? (See Alma 5:19).  Really, I just want people to trust me.  I want people to know that when I say I'm a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ sent here to serve them, that they believe it because they can feel God's love for them.  And it's hard.  Charity is so hard to have, because it encompasses every good thing.  It requires patience, humilty, faith, hope, knowledge, obedience and diligence.  It requires us to be able to love other people; not just peacefully tolerate them, but to love them as I love my own family and friends (and fanclub members, and stalkers, and former companions). 
Out here in the mission field, I, like Mason, have never felt so close to God.  I don't think I've ever had to trust Hm so much before in my life - to rely on Him so much to make up for all my weakness -  whether in the language or in other areas.  I've never realized just how unable and incompetent I am, but I've never felt so hopeful.  I'm literally running off of what seems to be an endless supply of hope; hope for fulfillment of promised blessing, hope for eternal life, and hope that when all is said and done and the dust settles, that all will work out how it's supposed to be.  I've come to appreciate that God is in control, and that nothing can stop His Work from going forth.
God lives.  I promise you that.  He loves us.  He knows us.  I know the Book of Mormon is true; it is the Word of God.  I've felt it.  I've learned it.  I testify of these things, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Until next week, my beloved peeps.
Elder Elliott Wedam

Mother's note: By the way, Aunt Jerri would like everyone to know the broken arm had something to do with salsa dancing and high heels, which may or may not be true...(hint-I am still searching for said high heels).

And the Fifth Week Begins

We grow and we change.  That these changes stem from love based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ makes this letter so happy. Have a great day!

June 10, 2013

Sup Everyone?
This last week has been super great.  Barring some weird stresses from emailing today and trying to help Elder Lion get a haircut he would be happy with (my Korean has come a long way from just saying hello.  I can actually make conversation.  Qualifying that.  I can make conversation when God feels I will make it). 
We've seen miracles abound this week.  Really, there's something to be said about doing all you can to share the gospel.  Basically, we picked up this new investigator.  Her name is Mrs.  Taylor.  The senior couple in the area found her (Elder and Sister Riding), and we are helping them with her.  She's a Korean Widow, married to an American Serviceman.  Lived in Florida for a bit.  And speaks English with a Floridan accent.  All in all, I feel like I have a grandmother from the south.  Holy cow, she's the nicest lady.  Super happy to have company over, and just so giving.  I'm super happy ^^
Another miracle this week came in the form of a street contact.  A super awesome street contact.  Before I continue, Thank you mom and dad for signing me up for tae kwon do and for helping me see it through til the second degree black belt. We met this really awesome kid named 명현호 (Myeong Hyeon Ho).  He lives in a farming community (yes, my area is pretty rural for korea), and he does tae  kwon do.  Not just does it, but he works part time at the Kukkiwon (if you see Master Church in the near future, he may be able to tell you more about it).  But, from what my understanding is, it's the headquarters for the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation).  Needless to say, we hit it off pretty well.  He's in high school, and just super busy right now.  But he liked us, wanted to learn English, and really wanted to help us with Korean.  And he was shocked that I've only been in Korea for 7 months.
Enough about me though.  He's just awesome.  Super awesome.
Anyways, that was pretty exciting.
This week also has been one of great personal reflection.  In my continual study of charity (a really awesome topic for study), it's ironically been crucial to really understand how the mission experience and gospel has changed me.  And I've come up with this list:
1)  I pay more attention when I read the scriptures.  There are some really cool phrasings in their that are super memorable.  Alma 36:17 (I think).  It says "Jesus Christ, a Son of God".... not "Jesus Christ, the Son of God".  A really neat phrasing that teaches a lot about our relationship with God.  I'd explain more, but I'm low on time (email is stressful in public areas... some Korean men are just not overly patient with American kids learning Korean... he said recognizing the irony in the statement)
2)  I rely more on God than I ever have.  This is God's work.  He is in control.  As I'm faithful, He'll bless me.  Really, I'm beginning to understand the phrase "Man is nothing".  Everyday having the confidence that the ruler of the universe has your back has been one HUGE blessing.
3) I can openly admit I'm not perfect.  I never was.  Nor will I pretend to be.  I am comfortable with this not being perfect thing.  In fact, I'm fine with having weakness for the very fact that I CAN IMPROVE.  With God, all things are possible.  He created the entire universe.  What's a language and culture barrier to that?
4) I have a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn a language that I wanted to learn for a long time.  This one was more of a side note than anything.
The church is true.  I'm still super happy.  Still doing super great.  I'm beginning to feel like all the talents that I've been blessed with are coming into full use.  It's been a blast.  It's been hard.  It's ust been a good experience.
I love you all!
Elder Elliott Wedam

See what's Cookin"

I must admire Elliott's courage, cooking Korean food for Koreans.  See what else is cooking as you read his news from the beginning of the month of June. 

June 3, 2013

Family, Friends, Former companions, Fan Club Members, Creepy Stalkers, Closest Allies,

This last week.  Well, best put, I am learning a little bit more about Korean Culture and how to be a little more effective.  We'll start with the great news first:

The dinner turned out great.  I tried my hand at various Korean Dishes (Bulgogi and Cucumber Kimchi... and Kimchi Stew.... Oh, I bought a Cookbook last week, and my reading skills in Korean have improved rather dramatically).  I received many a compliment on the food (the food tasted fine to me... I don't think I grossly mistranslated the recipe), and the ingredients were relatively cheap (quantity jacked up the price).  I don't know how many elders ever cooked for members or investigators, but I think they enjoyed it.  It was a good segway into a lesson.  About priesthood.

Then came the lesson.  Elder Oman and I put a lot of thought into the lesson plan (we had it down to what we were going to ask and who we were going to ask).  The lesson went alright.  We answered their questions (what did Joseph Smith do to bless the family?  Answer... through Jospeh Smith, God restored the priesthood to earth).  We explained that God is our loving Heavenly Father, emphasizing that He wants to help us, that He gave us families to help us, and that He gave us the priesthood to help families, and that the priesthood authority is on earth again today.  We then bore testimony, and invited them to come to church.  Our members then explained what the typical church experience is like and clarifed a few other questions that my broken Korean couldn't quite explain.  But, our investigators felt some 부담 (I'm betting).  Long story short, our investigators didn't come to church and have been much less responsive to our texts and phone calls (which is a REALLY bad sign).  We may have just been dropped (a recurring theme this last week... which made reporting stats from this last week SUPER depressing).  All in all, dinner was fun, and knowing how much love went into planning that lesson is the main reason why I'm not an emotional wreck about this.  I did the best I knew how to love people into the gospel.  And I hope that it will be enough for 김종윤 and his family to want to keep learning about the gospel and progressing in it.... anyways... heartache is good I guess. Let's me know that my heart is in the right place.  I realize this is a bit of a downer of a a story.

On the plus side, my culinary skills have improved dramatically.  It's been fun working with Elder Erekson and Elder Lion and helping them bring some of the people they teach unto Christ.  They are teaching this really awesome woman named Julie (who is the NICEST person ever... she literally was the driving force behind Elder Lion's recovery from pnemonia).  She gives us a ton of food and feeds us a lot.  So,  to return the favor, I've made her a chicken pot pie from scratch (mom, that hamburger gravy recipe was the inspiration to get it to turn out).  It was good.  She loves the missionaries, and really is giving the Book of Mormon and Church an honest shot.

Time is running short, but I want to end on this neat little tidbit. I've been studying a lot about charity recently (Mom, sounds like you've been in Moroni 7 a lot too... I've been on verse  47 and 48 a lot this last week).  There's a really cool promise in verse 48... if we obtain charity, we shall become like God, and that we shall see Him as He really is.  Think about that.  The principle is so much deeper than Charity is the pure love of Christ.  It's that charity never faileth because as we develop Charity, we become more like God, more like Jesus Christ.  And as we develop it, we can see God and Jesus Christ as they really are; we can come to personally know them BECAUSE WE WOULD BE JUST LIKE THEM (capitalization is the only way I can emphasize something via email.  Pretend it's italics).  So, how can we come to know our Savior the best? By trying to be like Him.  By developing His attributes.  By taking up our respective crosses and serving our brothers and sisters with all our heart.

The church is true.  The work is hard.  The statement that I've never been at so much peace with myself is true.  It's also true that I've never been so concerned and anxious about other people.  I love you all.  Stay healthy, stay safe.

Elder Elliott Wedam

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Short and Sweet

May 27, 2013

Family, Friends, Fanclub Members, Devoted Stalkers, Former Companions, Sort of Semi-Relatives, and the what not,

This past week was super good.  We managed to visit members, built some great relationship with investigators, and managed to get this week set up nicely for a few plans to go through to build people's faith in Christ.  I'm also super lucky to be in a four man house and be able to learn from a missionary who has far more experience than I do in the field.  (Elder Erekson... he's essentially a rockstar.  In EVERY sense of the word).  Yeah, I'm pretty blessed to be in 평텍 right now.

But, let's get onto the more exciting stuff.  Things that will be happening this week.  We set up a dinner party-ish thing at the church... we'll be inviting a family that we teach and a member family to eat with us on Thursday.  We're hoping to have a wonderful dinner (made by me and Elder Oman), and then to talk about the priesthood and how it blesses families, and then we'll invite them to come to church... that's the big event this week.

God lives.  He loves us.  He answers prayers.  He is in control.  He knows what He's doing; this is His work.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.

I love you all.  Know that I'm doing great.  I've been more and more at peace with myself and with God than I ever have before.  Take care, work hard, and be healthy!

Elder Wedam