Wednesday, October 28, 2015

102815 Temple, food and Halloween

Hey everybody! 
This week was good. I probably start all my emails with that, but I just want those who only read the first line to know that I am good. :) 

For my birthday we went to a chicken place for dinner. It was delicious. Though my birthday started off a little rough. We were meeting with Joshua. We told him to meet us at the subway station. We showed up like a minute late. And since we were on exchanges I was supposed to have the phone, but I am not used to having the phone so I just left it in the apartment. Elder Kim also forgot his. So we just waited for like 20 minutes at the station. In the meantime he just went to the church. So by the time we finally went home and called him back it was too late to meet, and so that was a little rough. But he doesn't seem too offended. But it got better!  It was a good day. I also bought my self some orange juice and a milk shakeish thing to celebrate. 

I loved what Dia said in her email and I have felt that too. I often let my pride and Satan get in the way of unity or just relationships. It is hard because I want to be unified but I also sometimes I feel like my way in honestly better. So finding a balance between keeping unity and trying to like be more obedient can be hard. But just giving people the benefit of the doubt, or trying to see from their perspective is hard. 
My thought is just from what I read this morning, and from Elder Holland. Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief. I want to believe and trust God perfectly, but I don't. I trust myself more. So I ask God to help my unbelief. That is powerful, and something I am working on.

On Thursday we went to the temple,
which is exciting by itself, but even more exciting because it is in the other mission so I got to leave the mission boundaries. Plus my bishop lives across the river as well, so this week we will probably have dinner with them, so I will go do the other mission twice in like just over a week. So that is exciting. Transfers are on Wednesday. Everybody meets at my church building and does the switch thing. Because we do the first 12 week program neither my companion nor I am getting transferred. Though one of the two sisters in the district is. So no big change for me. Our apartment stays the same. I will probably get the birthday package then, because I think they bring mail that day.

So the rest of Thursday was our P-day. We went and climbed most of a mountain near Seoul. It was beautiful, but a little foggy, so we couldn't see a lot of Seoul which you are supposed to. Climbing mountains is just a little bit of a different experience when the elevation isn't a big deal. You can just go a lot faster.

We had fun though. It was a pretty steep climb actually but most of the time it was really solid rock so not too dangerous. It is called 관악산 I believe if you want to look it up. I forgot my camera so I didn't get any pictures, somebody may forward me
hem though.

So both Mom and Dia asked about the food a little bit. I haven't fallen in love with Korean food yet, but I have never been like grossed out by it either. I think I am getting more used to it though, Ever restaurant gives free Kimchi as an appetizer generally with a few other things. The red sauce that is on Kimchi is like on most all of their foods. So most everything has a bit of spice. But nothing too crazy. It just means my nose stays cleared all the time. One of my favorite foods thus far is called like military soup. It comes from the Korean war. It is like ramen, vegetables, spam, and some other stuff in that red sauce soup. It is good. American soldiers would give the starving Koreans spam and probably some of the other ingredients, and they would add ramen. That is similar to kimchi soup, which is similar but just with Kimchi as the main ingredient. This probably wasn't what you were looking for, but my favorite food moment this week happened during district meeting. We got a call from some other elders and they said some guy was wandering around the church trying to find us to give us food. Eventually, after running around the church real quick, we figured out that a member had bought a big box of groceries for us but had the other elders’ phone number, and the delivery guy was actually in the parking lot. But we got a box with eggs and snacks and tomatoes both big and small and grapes and stuff. Plus I found out that we have a tab at a restaurant. That means we go to the restaurant and just put it on the tab and a member pays for it. I still haven't used it since we aren't supposed to use it much. But in another area they have like 5 and the members get offended if you don't use it. So I want to go there so time haha.

We also had a Halloween party on Saturday for the young single adults in the stake. We were put in charge of a game. We made that game where you put a tissue box on a belt and put ping pong balls in the box and people have to shake them out. It was fun. They had quite the party. Games cost money, and depending on how you did, you make money as well. The money is in form of candy. All the food for dinner cost money. So it was cool. They made a cool party, although nobody here really celebrates it. For English class we just talked about Halloween and where it comes from and what we do in America to celebrate it.

Handy Choice reads all of his assignments and always asks good questions. I am pretty sure he will get baptized in a couple weeks. We also are meeting with a Chinese lady who is just starting to learn English. She didn't come to church this week since she had to work, but she seemed to like reading the Book of Mormon and that is good. 
Hurrah for Israel, 
 Elder Sabey

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Monday, October 19, 2015

101915 Ponderize

First here's Daniel's letter to his president:

Hey President!
This week was good! We have been teaching more people and have stayed pretty busy. Plus I had my first exchange which is kind of funny since the zone leaders are in my apartment. But it was still fun. With Elder Swanson we made several good contacts that all enjoyed me attempting to speak Korean to them. I want talking to people to become more of language study time, and asking them to write down things they say that I don't understand. I think that will make it easier to talk to more people, because I can then view it as a learning opportunity rather than solely an attempt to get investigators, in which case I feel more pressure to speak Korean really well. Plus as I relax more people seem to enjoy me more and are thus more willing to talk. After conference, I choose to ponderize a scripture. I chose Hebrews 11:24-26, which in short says that Moses chose to sufferer and do God's will rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while. At the mission tour, the beautiful musical number "My Kindness" or whatever it is called, made me think about that verse again. I love several of the lines. "For a moment I have forsaken thee, but with everlasting kindness will I gather thee... How long can rolling water remain impure? ...The son of man hath descended below all things, are't thou greater than he?" I love the imagery of the rolling water here. It then reminded me of Joseph Smith, a rough stone rolling. From D&C 121-127 ish, Joseph goes from kind of complaining and saying that "where are't thou? and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" To saying "that deep water is what I am wont to swim in" and as did Paul that he "glories in afflictions." And looking at the dates that is about 2 years. So hopefully wrapping this all together, my goal this mission is to glory in affliction, to glory in the price of salvation. I want to be like rolling water, and never stop moving, no matter how hard the things I hit. For if I do, how long can I remain impure? I want to learn to find joy in working with the people of God rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. This moving forward is faith. It is belief put into action. Anyway those are some of my thoughts that have impacted me this week.
Elder Sabey
Hello everybody!
This week has been good. Handy Choice got permission to attend the English Branch, which is nice. It just takes the awkwardness away of having to try to force him to go to the Korean Ward. I went on my first exchange on Friday. While I was with Elder Swanson, my companion and Elder Kim met with Handy Choice. Apparently several times he said he wished I were there. And then when we taught him again on Sunday, he said he missed me. It was kind of funny. But it still feels good to be appreciated. We had a mission tour this week. That means somebody from the Seventy comes and visits our mission. His name was Elder Whiting (I don't know how to spell that) who I guess gave one of the prayers in conference is you want to see who that is. He was good, but wasn't life changing for me. He told about how one apostle, and now two of them are apostles, came to the area head quarters for their yearly meeting. They have to make a presentation about their area. They thought it was good but part way through Elder Ballard was like "are you done?" They were like, no, but if you want us to be done, then yes. He then turned to them and asked, why are there so few baptisms? He said that they only send the best and the brightest to Korea and Japan (#nbd) so they can't understand why there are so few. They talked about the language, culture, etc, and he said those are all excuses. Basically they ultimately decided it was because we lack faith. So we talked about faith and that we need it. He said several times, do you have the faith to have a baptism once a month on your mission? But the real highlight was the special musical number. It was just awesome. We have a competitive piano player, some amazing singers (one who apparently had a song that went big on itunes for a little), and an amazing song. It just hit me. It fit perfectly into what I have been thinking about lately.
Because my trainer is the district leader, and the zone leaders are in our district, we are going on exchanges, starting tonight as well, so I will be on exchanges for most of my birthday. Plus we are going to the temple this Thursday, so today isn't p-day, after emailing it goes back to a normal day, and then we will have the rest of P-day after going to the temple on Thursday. We are going to get some delicious Korean chicken for my birthday, and I am making pancakes for breakfast, so yes Josh, I will find ways to enjoy the day. Thanks everybody for the birthday wishes. It should be a good birthday week.
I hope grandma is doing well. Send her my love. Those are always scary moments.
Another cool thing that happened was that on the exchange, Elder Grossgebauer found another lady who doesn't believe in God but for whatever reason is more curious now. She committed to come to church and did. That was the first time she has ever been at church in her life. She is Chinese but studied Korean growing up and has lived here for the past 10 years. So we had 2 investigators at church. That was solid.
Anyway another good week. Hopefully my whole letter to the mission president makes sense. It really hit me strong this week. So this next week I am ponderizing the how long can rolling water remain impure scripture.
Last week I went to Gangnam. So I have been to the place in the song. It is like the super rich area I guess. It was cool. We just spent a few hours there looking at the Nike store and having some food. We had some raw beef. Beef tartar, if that is what it is called. In a rice thing with veggies. So that is exciting. Also on Tuesday we had the twelve week follow up. That means we went to the mission home with the new missionaries and talked about things we what to do differently and stuff and it was a good meeting. Between that and the mission tour it basically took almost two days away from missionary work this week. But still good, worth while things.
So I love you all.
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Sabey

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Monday, October 12, 2015

101215 Korean Joke about Grandpas and finding Love

Where do Korean Grandpa go to find love?  So the answer is It is funny because grandma is harmony in Korean. Hahaha... Yeah that was my companion’s joke in the MTC. Anyway somehow this week it got up to the mission president and he sent it out to the whole mission. So that is exciting.
Happy birthday David! And belated happy Birthday Brook! Memory of David- I remember just looking at David when we biked Slick Rock together. He just said a little thing about why he loved slick rock. How it was hard--just you and the bike. I was so impressed by that attitude and the ability to enjoy pushing yourself. Memory of Brook- I am sure this was mentioned, but I remember when we were camping and I checked his belt and Dad didn't so as he was repelling off the edge Dad stopped him and asked him if his harness was correct and that must have been freaky, but Brook remained totally calm, though he may have been freaking out on the inside. Impressive.
Yeah this week was good. It turned out that we just watched conference at the same time as church, just in a little room so we could watch it in English. It was cool, yesterday when the English ward normally starts a couple came in to church. They were in Korea to solidify everything for their adoption of a Korean baby. So we stopped in between the two Sunday sessions and talked with them, and explained why there was no church, and why the temple was closed. Yeah they were unlucky. Anyway it turned into an hour long talk about the whole story with the adoption. They were just a really sweet couple. Their names are the Whites. Anyway they felt very inspired. And their kid's Korean name is "white" or something close to that so they felt that was confirmation of what they are doing. Funny thing about the whole adoption process here: you can only adopt if you  are Christian, but you have to sign a thing saying you will not force a religion on the child. I just think that is funny.  But anyway it is always nice talking with vulnerable faithful people. One other funny thing he said was that when we go home our assignment is still the same. Expanding our priesthood was his main point, but then also he said just like transfers to go to your assigned area and find you new companion as soon as possible. Haha. So yeah, my companion is excited :). [His companion goes home in just over a month]
The main investigator we have now goes by Handy Choice. He is a little weird, like maybe some psychological problems. He met with the missionaries before, but would only want to learn in English, so they worried he was only doing it for the English, so they dropped him. Plus when they refused to teach in English he freaked out on them. He came back and so we met with him. He still will only do things in English. He says he thinks to himself and everything in English. I have never heard him speak Korean, and neither have the other elders. But his English still isn't fluent for sure, but it is hard to tell if that is just learning disability or what. He hates Korean for some reason. He honestly does seem like he wants to learn about the Gospel. He doesn't work or anything so he spends most of his time at home, reads scriptures and researches things. So we give him longer commitments and assignments that he always does. He has a baptismal date,  but we want to find out more about him before really moving forward. But the good news is he likes us and so we can teach him a little in Korean he said he will help us with some practice lessons, so I will see if he speaks Korean there or how that goes. He seems sincere to me, but he may be a little hard to have no matter what ward they let him join, so it is just an interesting situation. We will see. He seemed excited to teach me Korean, so it is interesting.
Any thoughts on Joshua or Handy Choice? It is cool, we have two people who want to, or are at least interested in baptism. I told David this,  but our mission has 150 as our goal for baptism's this year, which is less than one per missionary per year, so having two solid potentials is pretty solid!
Conference was great. I am just so impressed with all of our church’s leaders. Nowhere is there a more humble, intelligent, and faithful group of people. It is really amazing. I liked the ponderizing thing. I have wanted to memorize one scripture a week but  haven't been good at doing it so I will start doing that now. Plus by pondering  it will hopefully stick for longer and become more meaningful. A few things I noticed. There was a lot about faithful women, and the value of women. Also a lot about death, or death stories. The apostles and prophets seemed so real to me. I could feel their love and felt as always that they are indeed inspired of God. The first scripture that I am going to poderize is Hebrews 11:24-26, inspired by Brian. I have memorized it before but wanted to ponder it more. So I studied about faith. Faith is powerful. I feel like I lack so much faith. I listen to my own will, I doubt God's promises and blessings, I judge people, etc. I want to develop a more childlike trust and faith in God. So yeah that is my goal, this week and on my mission, and throughout my life.  I feel like I don't really understand what true faith is. I mean, I know what it is, but I don't feel like I have ever had to really rely on it, or have ever chosen to really consciously and deliberately cultivate it. So, perhaps my test is to choose to rely on faith when I don't have to. That sounds bad, but hopefully you understand what I mean.
Anyway I love you all!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Sabey
P.S Yes, Mom, we do work out, but mine aren't great. It is hard for me to really get going and motivated to work out right when I get up. But we do have soccer and basketball once a week, so those are good work outs. And I haven't been meditating here. I honestly wasn't ever super tired. I slept a lot of the flight over so I adjusted pretty quickly and well. Plus there is so much English I think it isn't as mentally exhausting I think. But I am going to try to just force myself to speak more Korean. I think it isn't super fun for my companion to listen to me try to put sentences and stuff together or to try to explain what he is saying, so I will work on working with my companion  a little too. I got the Dear Elders! They just go to the mission home and then when the zone leaders or we go the mission home or people from the mission home come here we can pick them up. And I think you are supposed to send it to the mission home.
Hey President,
This week was good. We are meeting with some pretty interesting people. I definitely feel like I am doing more worthwhile things now. Although our two main investigators that are progressing speak English  I feel like I am not learning as much as I would like in Korean. The one I find most interesting is a Nigerian named Joshua. He is in Korea for work and has a lot of faith in God. He has felt God's blessings a lot in life. He said he sometimes just smiles and laughs because he sees the difference God has made in his life. He recently was reading in the scriptures about baptism, and had a desire to be baptized again because he was only baptized as a baby. So he said he was considering being baptized in our church. The problem is he is very involved in an international church that he attends. He is like their youth pastor. He believes the book of Mormon is true, but he also feels like God inspires and leads lots of churches. He thinks the church he grew up in has the same doctrine as ours, or are both at least true. Any way he asked if he could get baptized, and we explained what had to happen. He wants to, but he doesn't really want to leave his old church. He said he wants to keep his eggs in multiple baskets, where he can make more of a difference or something. We said that probably wouldn't work. He wanted us to ask you about what you can do for him. I know he will have to participate and be involved in our church, and probably can't be a pastor and proselyte with another church, but we said we would ask you, so I am. What are your thoughts?
I loved having conference. It was a powerful and spiritually rejuvenating. I want to be able to feel the spirit more consistently in my life, so I want to work on keeping my thoughts on spiritual things. My companion, I have noticed, tries to do this. He isn't perfect, but I have noticed as he makes mistakes or has harder days, he tries to refocus and that is something I appreciate and can learn from.

Monday, October 5, 2015

100515 Fireworks, repentance and Korean

Hey President,  [Daniel writes to his president and us weekly.  He sends us what he sends the president to help us know even more about his experience.]

This week has been good. Elder Grossgebauer [Daniel’s companion] contacted some people he knew from when he served here before so we should be having more meetings and lessons. So that is exciting! We went to a few of the poorer areas in our area, and we met some cool people. I feel like it is often the poor people that are more humble and thus more willing to accept the gospel. 

Here are some cars in Korea--but not in the poorer areas

When my companion was talking with a religious guy a younger guy listened for a little and came over and started talking to me. He seemed genuinely interested. He asked why we are out and I explained that we don't get paid and are just here to help people to come to Christ. He seemed impressed and gave me his phone number. So I called him later and tried to set up an appointment. He seemed more hesitant than he was before. However after reassuring that we aren't forcing him into anything, he set an appointment and ultimately said he would go to church. However he didn't show up. I just figured he decided he wasn't interested, but this morning he texted us apologizing and said he still wants to meet. That just made me happy. My interpretation is that he was prompted to listen and ask about us, but as happens with all of us, he doubted and got busy with life. However, he apologized and will hopefully decide to meet with us. That process of recognizing, changing, etc. is the repentance process. Hopefully that made some sense. But it is joyful to see somebody repent, or at least show the beginnings of the repentance process.
Another thought is back to the mission conference. I was really impressed with how my companion was really loved by a lot of people. He seemed to have loved and helped lots of missionaries. I think the missionaries around us are people we can definitely impact for the better. Just by being positive and saying good things like Elder Grossgebauer does.  He builds trust and the ability to work well together.
Elder Sabey

Hello everybody!
This week was another good week. Teaching English is always a highlight of my week. I teach the intermediate class with one of the zone leaders. He asked about what they did that was fun that week. Anyway one of the ladies shared about her holiday and cooking with her children. She paused a lot between words and had to think a lot about what she was saying.  Anyway, as she was talking I was like that is what I sound like in Korean. Speaking slower than normal, having to think about what I am saying a lot, but they can understand me and it really isn't that annoying! However I think they understand more in English than I do in Korean. I am getting better though. Church wasn't as exhausting as is it was last week. I am getting more and more. I feel like I know a lot of the most common conjugations, and I know quite a few of the words they use at church since it is religious. But still they speak so fast that it feels like words are flying at me and I get every 3 to 10 words and have to try to put them together. Plus I miss a lot of words still. However we still don't speak a bunch of Korean, which I will try to do better at, just because English is so much easier, and I think it isn't super fun for my companion to have to explain all the words and things I don't know.
One funny thing about my area. We have a Costco. It is funny because the food court thing is SUPER popular. It is packed with huge lines. So when we met with a guy Elder Grossgebauer knew from a different area, he wanted to take us out to eat. He said he wanted something American and suggested Costco. Anyway fun stuff.

 So yeah missionaries say my area is kind of like a mini America. There is a little box where people can leave stuff for us. So when military people leave or people just want to be nice they leave us food. Not many people do it. But some of the members in the English ward each week or so gives us two boxes of American cereal, normally cinnamon toast crunch. So that is lovely. 
In Korea they always have new people do introductory remarks at the beginning of sacrament. So my first week here, I had to do that in sacrament. I kept it pretty simple, but people seemed relatively impressed. The bishop said something like “This is his first week in Korea so that was really good.” Then this week he asked me to say the opening prayer. It is funny how things like that, even though you are among the most loving and supportive people in the world, are still nerve racking. 
In Seoul they had a world firework thing. There were teams from America, Philippines, and Korea. It was on the river between the north and south side. We went with a new convert who is amazing and is trying to get into BYU. There were like millions of people so we were pretty far away, but it was still cool.

 Koreans claim they are super busy, which to some extent they are. However most weekends everybody seems to have time to go out with friends and get drunk or go to firework festivals. It is kind of funny, and sad. Drinking and smoking is a huge cultural thing. So is religion. There are a bunch of churches. Mainly all Christian. There are Jehovah’s Witnesses, God's church, and others that send out missionaries as well. We met one of the guys from God's Church. It was funny. He argued a bunch with us. They claim that Christ and Heavenly mother are on earth or something. Though I think one of them (the person that claimed to be Christ) died or something. So he tried to get us to come to his church, only then would he meet with us. Or there are people who hand out flyers and people who stand on street corners and cry repentance to the people. I think I get why most Korean's don't love missionaries. Most missionaries are really forceful and outspoken. We are the opposite. We really want to help people in any way possible. We are here full time to help. We don't get any benefit whatsoever if they chose to join or not. In fact we are paying to be here. My companion kind of jokingly suggested we make a pamphlet explaining that. I actually kind of like that idea. If we can clearly explain our purpose and why we actually want to meet with people, I think we would be different enough from other missionaries that we could get some people to listen to us. I don't know it is probably harder that I make it seem.
Anyway I love you all,
Elder Sabey