Thursday, August 27, 2015

08272015 Picture and letter--Dream of Karl Pierson

                                Daniel's MTC district doing the "Korean/Kimchi Squat
Hello everybody! 
One funny thing about the MTC is that we have "service assignments" which by itself is an oxymoron. I just think it is kind of funny that we have to sign in and out at a service activity. Is that really service? One of the people in charge of our assignment's name is Shawn. He was a funny guy. He would guide us in guided imagery (like a meditation thing) for the first 10 or so minutes of service. It was great, but he just quit since he is starting school, so service just got so much less rewarding. Haha.
We trust our own intuition, our own fears, our own expectations, over the promises of God. It is hard because what we experience and think feels more real than God and his promises so often, despite the fact that the exact opposite is true. God's reality and promises are reality. And I, above all else, I want what is real and good. I often trust my ability to learn or teach more than the Holy Ghost and his gifts. I often trust my ability to get along with people over searching and asking for God's love.  We can all trust our past experience  over the promises of the joy of the Gospel. None of those things are easy to get over, and it may take my entire life, and eternity to do so, but I will do so.

This week I decided to start each personal study with a question. Then to try to go back to it a few times as I read and end asking that question again. Anyway, it has been cool just to see how God does inspire me. Even in small thoughts and emotions. Or just in asking the question. It is cool to see how the questions relate as I am just reading through the Book of Mormon. I am starting to memorize Nephi’s Psalm. I really love that section. A week ago last Sunday I gave a lesson on the Book of Mormon. I didn't feel like I had any amazing insights so I did a close reading of a section of the Doctrine and Covenants that talks about it and then shared scriptures and experiences that strengthen my testimony and asked others to share their own experiences. I talked about the Psalm of Nephi, and my experience after the shooting, and finally calling Dad and getting suddenly choked up, and pretty much as far as I can remember the whole conversation with dad after the shooting was basically us both saying it is good to hear your voice. I couldn't say anything else. Anyway in my head those things related. That is how God feels about us. He just wants to hear our voice through everything. Then for me with Dad and with God, I too seldom recognize how good it is to have a relationship with them, and to hear their voice. I have to go through something hard in order to feel that. Or not hear my parents’ voices for a month and a half... So I guess my spiritual thought is that God truly knows how to give good gifts to us all, even to those who don't ask. The gifts can be trails, or callings, or peace. 

I had a weird dream last night. I don't remember it all. But I went back to Arapahoe with Karl Pierson [the shooter].  It was before the shooting happened or it was the same time but I knew he might do it. Anyway, I had been helping him so he would not enter the school with his gun and all. So I was trying to be nice to him but had a fear the whole time that he would do it again even with my friendship. And the dream was a little weird but that is the gist of it. Anyway, thinking back on both Karl Pierson and Noah Graham, I wish I had done more. I don't think I hurt them in anyway, or caused anything bad to happen. However I wish I knew Karl was struggling and Noah's life was shorter. I would have done more to help them, or at least to get to know them and love them. And my dream meant something to me because God knows who is struggling, who needs people to love them. He can help me support people before they make mistakes. Or can help them make better choices, without me even knowing. Or if nothing else can help me learn from and love people. And to think that all of those at Arapahoe who knew him as well (which is very well, but still) and better than I did, didn't know he was struggling as much as he was is sad to me. That we didn't create healing relationships with each other, shows how much we truly were lacking. And I am truly bad at building deep relationships, but am committed to get better. However, a relationship with God and family has healed my soul. And there is a lot to still heal and change. I have no idea how I will be an effective missionary, and help people make meaningful changes in their lives, but daily I will try to trust in God and raise my voice and cry unto him. And there is no other work that is more meaningful or eternal. Anyway sorry I don't feel like that made a whole lot of sense, it was just kind of stream on conscious writing. So my goal on my mission is to try to learn something, (or heal my soul a little bit) from each of my companions and investigators. And to love them and be there in meaningful ways if they are willing to connect with me.
Anyway, thank you everybody for the letters. I really love hearing from everybody! God and his gospel is amazing. I know it because I have seen the fruits of the Gospel in my life.
Oh how great the mercy of God! Hurrah for Israel!

We are now officially the oldest district of the Korean speakers. Every three week one group leaves and one groups comes into the MTC. There are only  12 missionaries that I can think of between all the missionaries I have been with in the Korean Branch that are going to Seoul South. And 3 of those came in yesterday. And 2 left after my first 3 weeks. Anyway it is feeling more real that I am going to Korea soon and that is a little scary. 

It is kind of funny, I bought a children's picture Book of Mormon, like the same one we had when we were kids (it is in Korean...) Anyway, I still don't understand most sentences in the kids Book of Mormon. It just shows how truly limited my vocabulary is. I am feeling like I can say a fair amount of things, sometimes in a round about way. Listening is perhaps the scariest part though. When I listen to my teachers speak, you have to try to quickly transfer the sound in the the meaning, which can take long enough that I miss the rest of the sentence. Another problem is when I am doing well and remembering words and recalling them quickly, but am so focused on that, that I don't really catch the grammar so kind of have to guess how all the words went together. I feel like since the grammar is just different that it is hard to just follow conversation without really following most everything. However, I am getting better. I can actually pick out the words and stuff that I missed and ask what the verb was or whatever I needed. However actually going to Korea will be scary since they will talk a lot faster and in forms that we don't know well or practice. But I am honestly excited. It will be fun. I am nervous but excited so I was thinking about singing a song called "Nervous but Excited." Haha. 

Anyway for dear elders, my unit number or whatever it's called is 211. I think that is what they need!
My district president is from New Zealand, and yes he did serve in Korea. He was a mission president there a while ago. I think all of Korea was just the Seoul mission back then. Then the first counselor is Korean, and the second served in Korea but doesn't remember a whole bunch of Korean.
Yes Mom, I got the razers. Thank you! Sorry about that. I will try not to lose them again! Also can you give me Rachel's email? Also I was just wondering did you and Dad ever write the Mission President? 
So I feel like I am losing things to say since the MTC is pretty much the same most weeks. Both of my teachers got sick so we had a sub again. So we counted how many people have taught us. We have had 9 teachers. So that is pretty fun. And 5 of them were there long enough to be our investigators I think. Sister Holmes, a substitute we had as Brother Driggs and Sung were sick, I, and my district, think is perfect for Brother Driggs, so we are attempting to be match makers. But seriously, there are so many amazing teachers here at the MTC. They all genuinely love us and care for the work. I think it would be a fun and rewarding but hard job. 
Elder Sabey

P.S. I think the whole Psalm of Nephi, shooting experience would be a cool poem. I don't know if anybody wants to take that up as a project? Josh? Matt? Well anybody in the family? Or you could give me some ideas and I can maybe write it?

Elder Sabey

Thursday, August 20, 2015

08202015 MTC week 5

Hello everybody!
 Anyway I am going to go finish my laundry and be back in like 5 minutes so if anybody wants to respond like right now I will have a little break and can answer any questions.
It is Brian's Birthday! Happy Birthday! So a memory of Brian. I remember when Brian baptized me. That was cool to have my older brother baptize me. More than just a memory though, I look up to his example as a whole. Playing soccer, going to BYU, singing, going on a mission, loving to read, etc. I am so eternally grateful for that. I have no idea what I would have done with no examples going before me showing me the way, but I do not think I would be where I am now, so thank you Brian (and everybody.) Plus I remember finally being at the same school as him this last year and playing on a soccer team and eating weekly meals with him. That was super fun.
This week has been good. Since my time at the MTC has been during summer, especially the end of summer a lot of teachers have been going on vacation so we have had like 5 teachers that we have taught as investigators plus several others who have been in our class for a class or two. But I think from here on out we will have the same two teachers for the rest of the MTC, Brother Driggs and Brother Sung.
So, cool things that happened this week: We sang with the Nashville Tribute Band.
 I think I told you National Tribute Band which is what I thought he said but anyway it was cool. They are like a country Mormon rock band. They only played their more mellow music but that was our devotional on Sunday. A full concert with no applause. It was a little weird but super cool. You should listen to some of their music. And David and Danielle should join the band. :) Another cool thing that happened was our district was selected to be the missionaries who on all the new missionaries first day, when they teach the investigators as a huge group, so we got to talk with some people and see all the new missionaries. It was cool. Plus it made class shorter which was nice.
This last week or two I finished D&C and the Pearl of Great Price. It is the first time I have read them completely. They are really cool. I think reading D&C really gives me a sense of how God works through people. You can see Joseph Smith coming through in some of the sections but there are many, many spots (and as a whole the entire thing) that just seem inspired. I am not sure what one thing I would point to that I learned. I guess mainly that God is merciful and loving, but will not fix our problems for us, perhaps the most merciful thing of all.
I appreciated everybody's thoughts this week. I appreciated Dad's reminder to rely on God. It is so easy just to focus on what you can do. However it is always better to be relying on God, and then doing all you can comes naturally. So, I am working on it. Matt I also really liked the temporary fix thing with Adam and Eve. God's solutions are truly eternal. So thanks. 
Fun story for the week, last P-Day, we accidentally locked our selves out of our room while we were in the shower, so we had to send some elders from our district to the front desk to grab a key. While we were waiting for them to get changed and go grab the key, we decided to play a game where we stood in the hall and kick-flicked our sandals and aimed for the iron on the ironing board at the end of the hall. It is harder than you would think and we kept nailing the ceiling and lights and stuff so we figured we should stop. But I was like ok, one more shot and flicked my sandal and nail the Iron hard enough to hit it off of the ironing board. Yup, nailed it. I am pretty proud of that moment.
So I guess I can try to explain the language a little better. So the "thing" basically makes a verb and -ing verb. So if i said I like running, there are two verbs. like and run. But the -ing makes it a noun. So in Korean, we would say I running thing like. That is a literal translation they would just here it I running like. But you can add more detail like making a whole clause a "thing." Thus allowing more complex sentences. Hopefully that makes sense. And Danielle yeah you got that right. Basically you start with the subject then go least important to most important. If everything is of equal importance they have a set order. Time goes before the subject, then place, object, verb or whatever. But basically you just but whatever makes the most sense given the sentence.
One of my teachers went to my mission. And several people we taught at the TRC went there too. They all loved the president and thought his language program for the first several transfers is amazing. So I am excited for that. I know that during the first two transfers I have to memorize all the full lesson plans in Korean. So I am trying to get a little head start on that. 
So I am just wondering, how long did it take everybody to understand what people were saying on their missions? (I am not going to compare don't worry...) I just want to know what to expect haha. Our class has slowed down a little bit in order to help the sister's a little bit more, at least that is what I suspect. We have been doing activities where we all try to work together. He said we can all be sharks and try to get our own food or we can be Dolphins and work together so we can all eat. So we now do a bunch of "Dolphin activities". I try to help them when we have extra study time, so we work on making sentences together, but then I feel like I get less time to study myself. Again you see my shark/selfish/prideful side. However, I am doing my best to get over that. Really it is all about Zion, isn't it Dad? So hopefully our district is becoming more Zion like.

Spiritual thought for the week: I loved Alma 9. He says 6 times I think, "O, how great the ____ of God" Mercy, justice, plan, ect. And then explains a little bit about that. Anyway I guess what hit me about that is pretty simple. I just loved how he rejoices in the plan in God. I think the plan is beautiful and everything, but I don't feel like I rejoice in it. And I suspect the more I can understand and rejoice in the plan, the more meaning everything will have. Plus another thought is just classic, that humility really is everything. In Korea, they are all about humility. You have to honorify everybody older than you or else it is rude. And to compliment people you bring yourself below them. So as missionaries we always speak up to people, which means we can't call people by their name without their title attached. We also get very few baptisms I believe, which is humbling. So I think God is telling me I have a lot to learn about humility. Christ, in perfect humility, brought himself below all things. However, I guess the Korean members LOVE the missionaries. So, one missionary I guess said that can make it hard to be humble. Anyway I am excited to be in Korea and attempt to speak with people about the gospel. I am excited to be humbled, and rejoice in God's plan. O, how great the goodness of God! O, how great the mercy of God!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Sabey
P.S. On dearelders maybe put sep.14th instead of 15th. They keep correcting it. It still gets to me on time but it might just be annoying to them. Also, do dearelders work in Korea?
Elder Sabey

Thursday, August 13, 2015

08132015 Week 4

Hello everybody!

The days and now weeks kind of start blending in to each other. I am getting into the schedule pretty nicely now. I feel like I am getting a better grasp of Korean. I can put more complicated sentences together (with a fair amount of thought).   I am learning more and more words. I think I am still averaging around 10 or so words a day. So all in all I am probably a little under 400 words. But bringing them out into conversation when you need them is harder, plus quickly recognizing them when they are being said to you while trying to follow the sentence as a whole is hard. But I am getting better slowly but surely. The weird sentence order and structure is annoying. They say it is kind of like an onion. Onions have layers. Haha. But the first subject will go with the last verb then the next subject will go with the second to last verb etc. So a sentence I wanted to say in prayer was "Please bless me to understand how the spirit talks to me." In Korean I would say "Heavenly Father, me, the spirit to me how talks thing (the thing just makes that whole sentence a gerund so you can have complex sentences), understand in order to (to understand) please bless." So thinking through that or sentences similar to that is annoying, but also fun. We have been doing more and more things where they will give us sentences in English and we have to write them in Korean. It is pretty fun. More importantly though, we always try to make class spiritual. One of the sisters was struggling yesterday and after class cried a little bit. And that evening our teacher talked about how we need to be unified as one. We can just focus on our own language ability which is fine, but if we stop comparing and worrying about ourselves and focus on helping others, we will not just be learning missionaries but truly becoming missionaries. 

We were also talking about if statements and can statements. It led into the sentence "if you are not baptized, can you be happy eternally?" which was a question Brother Driggs had an investigator ask. Most people said no. That is true to some extent. In this life or the next receiving baptism is necessary for a fullness of joy. However there is a reason we do Baptisms for the Dead. Because, we believe all good people in all times will have an equal and fair chance to receive a fullness of joy. So the question becomes why do we feel so strongly about sharing the gospel now in this life. It must do something for people here and now that they either cannot do after death or cannot do as well after death. Anyway, I am not sure what I feel. I know the gospel has blessed me so much, because I feel it. But it is hard to pinpoint it. I think it gives me perspective. It gives me higher purpose. It gives me a more accurate understanding of God and reality. It gives me practice using the atonement in a meaningful way. It gives me a higher desire to serve God. So there are a lot of things I think it does for me here and now in this life. But I also believe in true equality, and it doesn't seem fair that I have been born in to the gospel when others were born in the dark ages. So perhaps where I am right now on this topic is that this gospel truly turns the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children. And those who were born without the gospel either centuries or days ago, can use it. As we share it we become closer together. We connect over truth. We build Zion. So more than any blessing the gospel gives me, it gives me a change to truly build Zion. And that is heaven. Anyway hopefully that made some sense. I would be interested in everybody's thoughts on what the purpose of Christ's gospel is on earth?

So a nice thing about Korean is that the alphabet and stuff is consistent. So I can read Korean relatively accurately, though not quickly. However there are several vowels that are very similar in sound. So this can lead to some funny miscommunications. So for example, the words for young woman, child, virgin, and the umm...antonym of virgin  all sound very similar especially when said quickly. So, I feel like that was bad planning. So my companion was talking about Adam and Eve and was talking about children but he said virgins. Anyway our teacher who was acting as an investigator, broke character and just started laughing. All I am saying is that he was preaching doctrine. They were indeed virgins and couldn't have children. So I am not sure what was so funny. :)

Josh, the bridge ropes course thing looks pretty awesome! I am impressed and not at all surprised. And Sarah you have plenty of street cred.  You survived living in Texas you're entire childhood. Wow. I hope the move goes well as well.
Danielle and David I hope the piano survived the trip. And unpacking is going well. You're attitude in you letters is super impressive. And I am super impressed with you're attitude in you mission letters as well as the ability to talk with people in the first month of the mission! We don't ever learn middle or low form in Korean while at the MTC which is probably what most people will talk to us in most likely. So it will still probably be a while before I can really understand what is going on around me let alone really make good conversation while on the bus. Although once we learn high form the others should come pretty quickly. But still it may be a while. David you said you were going to start meeting with people this week? How did it go? What are your thoughts of everything?
So Brian and Dia are gone, right? Brian will be able to say he has been to the highest altitude in the family I believe. It really is sad that Mount Whitney is basically the only tall mountain in the rest of the United States and it beats all Colorado mountains. I don't know if you can send videos but you should try to send me one of Zina Walking.
Matt, I loved your testimony. And I am so happy for Jim and Onita.   Anyway this gospel is truly a gospel of second chances, and I totally share your fear. As always I guess those choices just take a faith and  a trust in God.
Rachel, I still want to hear about whatever is happening with your dance partner. Also, is Seoul or New York bigger? Because I may be the one living in the bigger city....

Mom and Dad, I love you so much. Thanks for the letters, love, and support. I think because I was born into this house I have a better understanding of a parents love for their children. That I think has been one of the things that has hit me most. That this gospel is about families. God is our father. And that means everything. So I have a better concept of how God feels about me because I know how you have treated me throughout my ups and downs. Dad I would love to hear a little about your work. I don't know why but I am excited for the new firm and everything probably more than you are. Well maybe not but I would love to hear about it. Mom, what is the next project, or what has happened with the documentary? 

Well my last thoughts to whoever actually reads my whole letters: I believe in Christ. I know God lives and loves each of us. I feel they are true. Their teaching rings true in my soul. I want to be a better person. I want to love people more completely. I want to get to know and help people. And I think that is why I am serving a mission. 

Hurrah for family! Hurrah for God and his gospel! Hurrah Christ and his atonement! Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Sabey

Sunday, August 9, 2015

08092015 Noah Graham's death

This past week one of Daniel's high school soccer teammates, Noah Graham, was killed in a tragic car accident. Here are some pictures of Noah.  Daniel is aware of this, and of the sadness to all those who knew Noah, but especially  his family.  We believe in life after death, and are also aware that the reality of loss in this life is very hard.   We honor Kari and Chris, Noah's parents, and their strength, faith and goodness.  A few days after Noah's death, they spoke at a vigil with grace, dignity, laughter, strength and compassion for others.




Friday, August 7, 2015

08062015 Week 3

Hello everybody! Thanks again for the letters. It always is fun to get updates from people.

So first answering questions. Yes I do have the adjusting to missionary life handbook. My district has 9 people. 2 sisters and 7 elders. Elder Litster has not been put ahead. They called his mission president and as far as we know he never responded because nobody seems to know what is happening so for the time being he is still in our class. Everybody in our district is pretty awesome and just really well rounded and smart people. Elder Littlefield played football and is just a really hard working and genuinely good and believing person. Elder Baird seemed kind of a "cool kid" to me, which he kind of is. But he has truly been humbled and he is working really hard and it is really cool to see. He bikes and played soccer. Elder Conley was in Marching band but is really funny and good to have around. His companion Elder Polley is from Vegas. He played volleyball in high school and is very energetic and loves joking around. But we all work hard. Sister O'Loughlin's younger sister had some medical problem so was having surgery and stuff as she entered the MTC, so I think that was really hard for her. But after some complications and stuff she (the sister) is back home so that is good news. Sister Fields came from a small school so she was the student body president and played volleyball and basketball and stuff. So there you go that is my district: overall pretty athletic and smart. We definitely can get some fun conversations going, which is a good balance to the hard work and language study. And yes Lexie was in my zone since it is all the Korean speakers. She left this past week to go to Korea though so I probably won't see her for two years. And I have seen quite a few people I knew from BYU. For the most part though you just spend time with your district, so I don't have too much of an opportunity to meet or talk a bunch with people. 

I am very offended that Zina decided to wait until I left to start walking. I wish I could see her! When I can back she will be talking and it will be crazy. Ben and Gabby's backyard sound super exciting. I would love to see some pictures. Also did you send my retainer and razor? Some of the mail has been slow so you maybe have already sent it, but if not that would be great.  It is crazy how everybody's lives are changing. Rachel may have a new dance partner, David and Danielle are in Nashville, Brian and Dia are about to go back to Provo, and Josh and Sarah will be heading to North Carolina sometime soon. I still feel like I am very new here at the MTC so it is kind of weird to think about all that has happened in the outside world since I have come in. Even though it has only been three weeks. 

Funny story for the week: we have a little zone devotional at 10pm on Mondays and Fridays. On Fridays our district president, President Perriton, comes to listen. Anyway, we had just gotten back to our room and were changing into our PJ's. And right as I was taking of my dress pants President Perriton walks in. I saw him walk in and look at me and so I quickly put my pants back on and said "Hey President." So maybe next Friday I will close the door completely before changing!  So yeah that was a good moment from this week. It wasn't like I was breaking any rules or anything it was just kind of awkward and funny.

The biggest things that happened this week were the two devotionals. The first was by Sherri Dew and the second by Russel M. Nelson (who, fun fact, was set apart as the president of the quorum of the twelve apostles on the day I came to the MTC and this was his first speaking engagement since then.) They brought the big guns this week. Sherri Dew talked a little bit about wrestling with God. She said there are three things that are truly worth wrestling over, no matter how long it takes. First, that Jesus is the Christ. Second, that the Holy Ghost does speak to me (and figuring out how he speaks to me) and finally, that there are ministering angels. I thought that was really interesting. I didn't say them as well as she did, but I feel like I do need to have more faith in and testimony of those things. I have prayed a fair amount for ministering angels and for understanding more how the Holy Ghost communicates with me. I don't feel like I have received a direct answer but I do feel like I have been more at peace. And I think that has been ministering angels and the comforter. Russel M. Nelson said different things. But I think one of the most interesting things was what he said our, as in our church's and missionaries', main three goals are to gather scattered Israel, help families get sealed in the temple, and prepare the world for the second coming. The first two in my mind were kind of the same. One is gathering the children of Israel in so they can become a covenant people and family. The other is perhaps the way we truly can gather Israel, and more literally gathers families in and binds them together in eternal covenants. I don't really know how we prepare the world for the second coming. I guess warning people of the consequences of sin is about as good as I can do. So yeah, that was exciting to have two pretty awesome speakers this week.

My main thoughts a lot of the MTC have been on faith and hope. Both require just a firm and unwavering trust in the Lord: something which I certainly need to work on. I really do desire to have my eyes single to the glory of God. However, I have doubts and my trust and faith waver day to day, hour to hour, and minute to minute. So I do love what David's scripture he shared with me. "[Even] if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful." That is a comforting thought. For the devotional we sang a beautiful arrangement of Be Still My Soul. I think that is a beautiful Hymn and applicable to all. The choir director said he wanted it to be for Russel M. Nelson. After having two apostles die, and I am assuming President Monson not being in good health, he has suddenly been thrust into a huge leadership position. He, like me, may have experienced fluctuations in faith or hope. As we are still and know that God is indeed God, our worries and cares suddenly become less hard or more easy to bear and more meaningful. Anyway, this Gospel is true. I love the church, I love and sustain the leaders, and more importantly testify of Christ. He truly is at the head of this church. 

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Sabey

PS That is really sad that Noah died this week.