The Path of Christian Discipleship

The Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bugs in a Can ...

Hello everyone,

I suppose I will first answer some questions that have been asked ...

Brenna, I will answer yours here too, because I have a lot of emails to answer this week that I've been putting off... sorry! I will email you next week if I run out of time this week. Thank you so much for writing me though, it is nice to hear from you! 

Koreans do eat salad, although the most common use they have for lettuce is at meat buffets, where they wrap meat in the lettuce. It is delicious! The craziest thing I have ever eaten... I ate pig intestines and a common food called 번대기 (I have no idea how to spell it, but is is just a bunch of bugs in a can). I haven't tried dog meat yet, but I'm assuming I will soon, as it is fairly common here. I go to a barber shop to get my haircut, there is one right outside my apartment. It gets hot and moist in Korea I've heard ... My last comp's clothes started to mould last summer :P And my current apartment building isn't very tall, only about six floors. Oh, and there are about 60 people in my ward (local church congregation), I would say.

Now for mother's questions ... 

All missionaries indeed sleep on those mats that you see. They are fine, you don't need to send me anything! Korea is indeed a proselyting mission. We have to report our contacts every week, which not all missions do I've heard. But the majority of our time as missionaries in Korea is spent on the streets! We don't really go out sight-seeing on pdays. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I've had very "old" companions, so they've already seen it all! I don't mind though, we do fun things on pdays. So no, I've not yet been to 강남 (Gangnam District). 

I love the food in Korea! At first it was quite the adjustment, but now I can hardly fathom being without some of the things I eat here! I've had three meals with members on my mission so far... so not that many :P ... but elder 박 (Woo) makes us food everyday, so I am happy!

This week was much the same, exerting similar efforts as I previously mentioned. Through all of my seemingly lonely moments struggling to convince others of the eternal love of our Heavenly Father, I have felt the Lord's presence in a much more real, almost palpable way. In the midst of so much doubt and negativity, I have come to know for myself the indisputable fact that there is a God, that He does love us, and has a deep desire to communicate with us and help us. There is no question in my mind. 

On my mission so far, I've seen several parents mourn for their children who slowly drifted away from the gospel. In that light, I wish to grant my parents perhaps the greatest gift I am capable of bestowing. That is the assurance that there is no force on earth or hell that can thwart my testimony in God, and in this work. I have seen the Lord's hand too many times and felt His love too profoundly to deny it. Thank you for the wonderful examples you have been to me; it has been a great strength to me and has solidified my testimony.

I love you all very much and pray for you everyday.

Love, Dallin

With President and Sister Morrise and my awesome trainer, Elder Miller.

My treasured family and missionary name tag.
One of the blessings of a mission - dedicated time every day to study the gospel.

At a local restaurant with the gang.

Korean food is an adjustment, but now I LOVE it!!


Homemade Korean soup made with fresh ingredients.
This is what I eat pretty much everyday for breakfast - eggs and rice.

Outdoor fresh seafood offerings.

Okay ... nothin' says nummy like good ole Baskin Robbins - dig in Elders!

Missionaries out on the streets!

Who needs a weight room?!

Monday, 24 March 2014

There is a famine here!

Hello everybody,

I hope you are all doing well. Say hello to Marcus for me! He is a great guy, I hope he is doing well!

We had new missionaries in our district come this week. Elder 우 left and elder 박동규 moved into our house. He is a wonderful missionary! I look forward to serving with him. The first day he came though, he opened our fridge and exclamed painfully: "There is a famine here!" ... He came home that night with 60 dollars worth of groceries! :)

With this new elder in the house, it seems that we will all pitch in to buy food together (which I don't particularly like), but he does know how to make some delicious Korean food! The other "newsionaries" in our district are Elder Thomas, in 연수 and sister I-can't-remember-her-name-but-she-is-a-greenie and sister Hammerl-from-Australia-is-training-her in 연수.

Ask me more questions, because I am getting to the point where I don't know what to say in these emails anymore! Anyways, I will include the email I wrote to President Morrise this week, because it took a good chunk of my time:

"I want to first start by recognizing some of the blessings that God has granted me this week. I witnessed first hand the realization of God's promise to fill our mouths as we open them in faith. I had a three hour conversation with Elder B during weekly planning on Friday regarding missionary work and faith, in during which I was guided by the spirit to mention things I had not even realized myself about the gospel until that moment. I am so grateful to see the Lord's hand so often; I know He is mindful of our situations. 

I recognize that a part of my responsibility to seek revelation is to demonstrate the humility to seek advice, so if you have any suggestions for me, I would deeply appreciate it. I'm sorry for taking so much of your time with this letter, I know you are very busy, but I am still learning and don't know much else to do. Thank you for your wonderful example and influence. You are a great strength to me."

Hope you all have a great week back at home!

Love Dallin

With my new comp!!

Cooking up Korean food in our apartment.

New missionaries in our district on our prep day.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mountains to Climb

Hello everyone:

To answer your questions: I haven't cashed my money order yet, but I still have it and will try and find a bank in which to cash it as soon as I can. 

We teach English class every Saturday, from 3-4. 

And I am terribly sorry, but I did not get the camera situation fixed yet, I discovered that I left the charger in my last house, so I am waiting for an opportunity to retrieve it from Elder Miller. Seeing that it is Elder 우's last week here, I asked Elder Knapp to take lots of pictures and send them to me, so I will have some soon, hopefully. 

Thank you for getting that blog set up, it looks good! Sorry, I have been very preoccupied lately, with certain things, so I have not had much opportunity to attend to some of the things you mentioned, or send any letters. More people keep popping up on my email, I find it somewhat difficult and stressful to keep up with everyone, so I apologize to anyone if I miss you sometimes.

My companion is indeed very good at Korean and my language skills are improving, I think. We did have transfer calls on Saturday and I am staying with Elder Berry. Since Elder 우 is going home, Elder Knapp is getting a new companion, Elder 박동규, who's sister just moved into our ward three weeks ago! What a coincidence! I was in the MTC with him for a while and he is a great person and I'm sure a great missionary.

I have dedicated a good portion of my personal studies lately to the topic of improving our efforts and dedication in missionary work. I have tried a few different things, but I'm not sure how great an influence I am having in the work. I read a talk this morning by President Eyring entitled "Mountains to Climb," in which I felt a sweet confirmation that God is mindful of my situation and that He will help me. 

Sometimes, I feel the burden that I am carrying is too great for me to bear, with the constant testing of my testimony and the responsibility I feel to uplift and inspire, while trying to accomplish what we are supposed to do here, but I know that I have someone who knows perfectly how to succor me and help me accomplish what I need to do.

I love you all so very much and pray for you everyday.

Hangin' with Elder Hodges at the train station.

With a member of our local ward.

Study area in my new apartment - sweet set-up!

My desk - notice the family Christmas calendar up on the wall ... love it!

Our awesome kitchen - with a regular table!!

We just fold our beds away like this during the day. =)

A view outside our apartment window.
On my mission, I discovered the 11th Commandment!

Who knew that Shrek and The Hulk spoke Korean?!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Camera Died

Hello everyone!

I know you are going to hate me for this, but my camera died and I can't seem to find the charger for it right now, so I didn't take very many pictures this week. But I will do my best to find it, or buy a new one! And just so you know, the picture with all of the couples and families on the desk was a joke for elder 우, as he is going home at the end of this transfer. We are focused on the work, I promise! :) haha

Sorry dad, I did see the question, but I forgot to answer it. Perhaps it might be better to wait until I get home, as it is fairly expensive to ship things here and we have lots of blankets. But thank her for me please! Elder Berry knits, so he knit himself a scarf and a tie, they are pretty cool!

Just wondering-did you get the letters that I sent for Jacob's birthday? I sent them a while ago and I haven't heard anything about it, so I was curious. By the way, congratulations on getting your patriarchal blessing Jacob!! How exciting. I treasure my patriarchal blessing more than any earthly possession. It has been the source of great strength and inspiration to me especially here on my mission, as I have studied it and pondered it. I am so excited for you!

This week, seeing as our investigators started university and were a little busy, we had a week of 전도! It was tiring, but rewarding nonetheless. I think I expressed my slight frustration last week in having to refer so many investigators away; we referred another two away this week before Father blessed us with an investigator that lives in our area! I am so grateful for this blessing and all the blessings that I see everyday. I learned a lot these past few weeks about keeping my perspective in the right place. Looking back, I realized that we were the instruments in offering several people a chance to hear the gospel, regardless of whether or not we got to teach them. Then, our new investigator was like the icing on the cake! :) I am very happy.

We are having a bit of a struggle getting our investigators integrated with the ward. They keep commitments and are still very interested, but they are a little scared of our members. Apparently the Sunday before I came, Elder Berry and Elder Warnick taught 이상래 with a member, who ended up leading the lesson and giving our investigator a two week baptismal ultimatum... I am thrilled with the willingness of the ward in helping us teach, but I suppose we just have to train them to be less of a threatening presence in our lessons :P Please don't be pushy with the missionaries' investigators at home, be their friends, that't is the most important thing they need!

Anyways, I love you all and pray for you everyday! Oh, tomorrow is my six month mark! Crazy right? A quarter of my mission gone already. Its going too fast!! :P

Have a great week! :)

Love you all!

With three of our investigators in front of the Seoul Korea Temple.

Seoul Korea Temple

With father/son investigators and trainer Elder Miller.

At a ward service project - making Kimchi for the community.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Korean Greetings

Ahnyunghaseo yuraboon!

Chargenesayo? Chosumnida! It feels so weird to write Korean in  English letters. Anyways, hello everyone! I hope this finds you all well. It looks fairly cold in Red Deer! I haven't worn my winter coat here in a while, it is very warm! 

I feel terrible unprepared to write this letter! I don't recall very well what has happened this week and I haven't taken very many pictures! I'm sorry! The more immersed and focused I become on the work, the less often I tend to think about these things... But I will try to do better, I promise!

We invited our investigators to the temple this week, so after we got out, we showed them around and talked a little bit about the purpose of temples and what happens in them, generally of course. They seemed to really enjoy it! We then went to Ashley's which is a very  nice American buffet, then to a 목굑탕. It was a nice pday! This week, I also went on exchanges with Elder Pruner, our district leader Elder Griffin's companion. Our Korean level is perhaps roughly the same, so that was an adventure. We 전도'd past an American war monument, so we stopped there for a bit and met a really nice man! He expressed his gratitude and love for americans, after which I felt a little awkward admitting that I was Canadian... :P haha. But we got his number for the 연수 elders and set up a time to meet with him.

The past two weeks have been a tad frustrating in terms of finding. Perhaps I shouldn't feel this way, but everytime I call someone or meet someone who is interested in meeting, I have had to refer them! We have refered two investigators to the sisters, two to 연수 and one to 부편. I even called a man from Canada, who has a stellar interest in the gospel, but he lives out of our area now. At first I was very frustrated, but then I realized that all of these people have been found and are now having the chance to hear the gospel. So I am happy! And I will keep working to find people for us to teach as well :)

Anywas, I hope you all have a great week! Love ya!

Here are some pics:

A view from our apartment window.

All Koreans carry umbrellas with them at all times! 

This is about as bad as it got as far as winter weather in Seoul this year.

A typical week in my first area - stats we submit to the mission president every week.

We sleep on mats on the floor (in background) and eat at mini tables low to the ground like this one (although, after my first transfer, our apartment had a real kitchen table ... What a treat!)

Not a bad spread for a bunch of missionary elders!!

Street in Chinatown - in Seoul! :)

A view into the harbour - the East China Sea.

With a member of our ward in my first area in Seoul.

A view from on high!

With my first ward mission leader - he was the best!!