The Path of Christian Discipleship

The Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Free Hugs ... Free Picture!

Hello again,

First of all, mom you didn't spell 감사합니다 right, because you wrote it in English ... but it means "thank you" (editor's note: mama wrote "kam sam ni da" but couldn't remember if it means "please" or "thank you"). I hope Jacob is doing alright - that swollen ankle sounds painful. Congratulations on winning bronze at provincials though!

Dad's calculations were indeed right, we did get transfer calls this weekend. I wasn't too anxious for the last one, as I figured that I would be staying put. However, I had no idea what was going to happen this transfer, so I was a bit nervous. I am being transferred to 부평 (Bupyeong), as a senior companion to Elder DeMille, who is going into his third transfer (or as we say in the mission, I am "greenie breaking" him). Elder DeMille will be my fourth companion from Utah. :)  My new area, Bupyeong, is actually one of ten "Administrative Districts" within the city of Incheon, with a population of 553,000 people crammed into an area slightly smaller than the city of Red Deer!

I was terribly intimidated when I got that transfer call, as I still feel much less than proficient in Korean and we are the only elders in the ward, but I am indeed thankful and excited for the wonderful opportunity this is to learn and grow. Also, I have been curious to see what it would be like to be the only set of elders in a ward, and this is one of the few areas in our whole mission where there are less than four elders and two sisters in a ward. There is one set of sisters in 부평, and they are both "young" as well. I'm very sad to leave 만수 (Mansu, my current area) and Elder Berry, as I have gotten close to him and the ward. I have full trust, however, that the Lord is sending each of us exactly where we need to go.

Oh, before I continue, I thought you might like to know that Elder Miller actually does have my camera charger after all! I talked to him at a conference we had this week and he said he found it, so I will have it soon. The conference to which I refer featured Sister Linda Burton, who, as you know, is the Relief Society General President. It was a great conference. I also found out that her husband was the last mission president of the former Seoul West mission, so they know a lot about Korea. We have Elder Cook coming in May as well, so that should be fantastic. I was actually with Elder Miller when Sister Morrise told us during interviews a while ago that Elder Cook is coming soon, and Elder Miller started chanting: "We want Holland, we want Holland!" It was quite humorous, but perhaps does reflect my personal desires :) ... but I am very grateful to have the opportunity to listen to Elder Cook as well!

I was reading a talk by President Eyring this morning entitled "Mountains to Climb," in which he referred to some of President Monson's favorite scriptures. Well, he only referred to one (Joshua 1:5, the one that says "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee"), but reading that scripture stimulated my remembrance of another scripture that President Monson frequently quotes, in Doctrines and Covenants 84:30? - I can't remember the verse exactly, but it says something about the Lord going before your face, on your right hand and on your left, with angels to lift you. I really appreciate those two scriptures. I think we would be wise to consider their relevence in our personal lives, since our prophet mentions them so often. They have had special meaning to me recently, in conquering my feelings of inadequacy and doubt regarding my assignment in 부평 (Bupyeong).

I am having Elder Berry send me some pictures of our district, taken during our last 전도 (proselyting?) activity together. We made some "free hug" and "free picture" signs and gave free hugs and took free pictures with people on the street ... don't worry, the sisters hugged the ladies and the elders hugged the men. :)

It was an activity that Elder 박 came up with to improve the image of the church here ... churches here generally have a very bad image, since the people are bombarded by 전도사 (payed, professional missionaries who do the same things we do) on the streets everyday. That is a major point of focus in our mission: differentiating ourselves from all the other churches who are out on the streets of Seoul. Koreans really like that "hug and picture" sort of thing, particularly with foreigners, so it was quite successful. :)

Anyways, I hope you all have a great week! Love you and pray for you all,

Dallin


A popular street contacting activity here in Seoul ... Koreans love to hug and take pictures with foreigners! 

From left: Elders Knapp, Park, Higham, and Berry.


At a local park in Incheon.

I do "photo-shoots" in my spare time ... here's classic missionary attire for spring 2014!

Catchin' a few zzzz's ...

Elders from my first area.

We look like Secret Service guarding the "President" ... not!



Monday, 21 April 2014

Happy Easter!

Good Afternoon and Happy Easter everyone!

It is Easter right now for you right? I have to admit, I didn't even realize it was Easter yesterday until I went to church and listened to the talks! :P It was quite the happy surprise! So Happy Easter!

Alright, first things first. Since nobody asked me any questions this week, I have some for you. I'm sorry that they aren't missionary related, but I am just so curious! I see posters and ads for american movies sometimes, so I was wondering if you have seen any of the following: Noah, Son of God, Transcendence, and Captain America. I am a little skeptical about Son of God, so I wanted to hear what it is all about. And how is Noah, if you have seen it? Sorry, that was my non-missionary time for the week :)

Let's see, for p-day last week, we decided to do some sightseeing, since we basically have a tour guide in elder . We went to 여의도 park and saw the 한 (Han) river again. It is quite the sight indeed! It is an enormous river. Perhaps the other elders will send me some more pictures this week, as I had them take some of me. :P

Elder Berry and I had a fairly neat experience this week. One of our church members is going to China this week for a business trip and wanted us to give him some Chinese Book of Mormons (Books of Mormon? ... I will never get that right!). We went to his house to drop them off, but he wasn't home, so we started talking to his neighbor who was outside. Midway through our conversation, our member called us and told us he was at a restaurant down the street, so we left to meet him, during which we mentioned talking to his neighbor briefly ... at which point this member told us to go back and talk to him again.

We caught his neighbor just as he was climbing the stairs to his house and started a fairly awkward conversation from the street below. We found out that he and his wife had been to Utah and knew a little about our church. After he turned down our offer to tell him a little more about our church in his home, and after reluctantly giving us his number, he resumed climbing his stairs as we turned to leave. Just as we were about to turn the corner, however, we heard him call out to us, inviting us to come into his house after all. He is a very nice man and I have high hopes for him!

I will include one more experience this week. One of our other ward member's father passed away this week. We had the opportunity to attend the funeral and actually were called to be the pallbearers, as it is Korean custom to have family members refrain from carrying the casket. Seeing as this ward member is the only member of our church in his family, we had a split funeral, both our church and another church holding separate ceremonies. 

It was interesting to note the different reactions in the family members. Our ward member exuded a wonderful spirit of peace and calmness in his grieving, while several other family members were uncontrollably hysterical. Even though that church does teach the basic principles of resurrection and life after death, they do not have the same fullness of the gospel including the eternal nature of families, temple covenants, and ongoing revelation, principles which, when understood correctly, bring such peace and comfort in times of distress. I was able to witness that this week. What a blessing it is to have that knowledge and witness of the fullness of the gospel.

Dad, I really appreciate what you shared about the Preach My Gospel manual. Your studies are in fact quite closely related to mine and seem to have similar results! I was touched by the way you applied what you're learning, as it is precisely the same thing I'm trying to do, within the same topic as well. Thanks Dad!

I will look at my camera this week and get you the model number for next week's email.

Love you all!

Dallin

p.s. I'm learning well the principles of follow up on my mission, so ... David & Jacob: How did seminary go this week? Did you have it this week? Perhaps you were on spring break? I can't remember. 

And Brenna: how is your little assignment going? It is very important to me, so I would really appreciate if you emailed me some time to let me know how it is going! :) Thanks everyone and have a great week!

Here's a few pics ... will get more for you next week. :P

Standing in front of the Han River ... It is massive!!

In front of the South Korean Parliament building in Seoul.

Okay, kind of embarrassing, but I'm trying to fit in with Korean culture as best I can! It's some sort of volcano ash mumbo-jumbo that elder  (who lives in our apartment of four elders) puts on his face every night. I tried it once for the cultural experience!! :P



Monday, 14 April 2014

Small Miracles

Hello all, 

Conference was so good!! Before I talk about that though, I will mention some other things. In answer to your questions mom:

1. My being able to Skype relies completely on ward members being willing to give us a computer to use and seeing as we are not supposed to ask to use their computers, it is unlikely that it will happen, but we'll see.

2. I have looked around a few places, but still have not been able to find a charging cable for my camera, so I am having my housemates send me some pictures this week. I will keep looking.

Let's see, nothing too exciting happened this week, other than Conference and President interviews, which were two big events, I suppose! :P Interviews with President Morrise were a great experience - he has such a wonderful spirit and demonstrates such love and concern towards each of his missionaries. Indeed, it was a great strength.

I forgot to mention an experience I had last week, however, and only remember now because of another related one. After reading a talk by President Eyring in personal study one day, in which he talked about having a vile of oil with him all the time, I decided to start carrying around my vile of oil everywhere I went. That very day, a member asked us if we had any oil, because he needed to go give someone a blessing quickly, and I was able to lend him mine. Then later that week, Elder Berry and I had the opportunity to give a child in our ward a blessing during Conference, using the oil that I had prepared. Small miracles, but still significant enough to recognize and be thankful for.

What have you learned in Preach My Gospel lately? I trust that all of you are reading it, now that Elder Ballard asked us to during his conference talk! I look forward to hearing all about what you have learned. Recently, I have been studying Christlike attributes, most particularly patience. I have discovered that most of my learning while I study PMG does not come from PMG itself, but rather from the scripture references that I study and the praying and pondering that follows.

To reiterate my previous statement: General Conference was so good! I finally experienced this week what I have so frequently heard others remark about Conference: the feeling that the talks were directed personally to them. I was almost overwhelmed with excitement when they announced Jeffrey R. Holland would be speaking first! How I love listening to and reading his talks. I enjoyed this one thouroughly as well. Most particularly, I appreciated his quote regarding the price of discipleship: "Sometimes, we are called to worry, warn and simply weep." Indeed, that is the price of discipleship! I'm not sure why this touched me so profoundly; perhaps simply out of a realization that the Lord is perfectly aware of the situations that we are sometimes called to be in, and that as a result, knows perfectly how to succor us.

I also found President Uchtdorf's remarks about being tempted to fly Airforce One and having President Monson set him straight quite entertaining. :)

My very favorite talk, however, was given by Elder Bednar, about loads to bear. I found his comments about our loads providing traction in our lives pertinent and inspiring. Specifically, I enjoyed one quote: "Happiness is not the absence of a load." This is so true! There is so much joy and satisfaction that comes from relying on the Lord during our trials and from noticing the progress that we make as a result.

Above all, my testimony that President Thomas S. Monson is God's chosen prophet was again solidified throughout this Conference. I love the scripture that says something along the lines of "by their fruits ye may know them." No one that properly observes the fruits of President Monson's lifelong service can disregard the legitimacy of his prophetic mantle. What a beacon for us in the perilous adversities that are so common to human existance.

Anyways, I love you all and I pray for you everyday!

Love, Dallin

Here are some interesting pics ... spring is beautiful in Korea!


Walking along a path lined with cherry trees in blossom - spectacular!

My second area, Incheon (a suburb of Seoul, where the international airport is), is less concrete and more green space, trees and flowers. So lovely.

Breathtaking.

This is me doing a photo-bomb! Sorry Elder. :) 

Also a typical Aisan tree ... don't know exactly what it is.


Beautiful little waterfall in the park we were walking through.


Seems like you've left Seoul, but this is my new area Incheon, which has a lot more "countryside" green space than the concrete jungle of Seoul where green space is at a premium. I like the two elderly ladies in their stylish walking hats!

Interesting shot ...  at first glance looks like the moon, but it's actually the sun.

A local Arboretum we visited.
Inside the Arboretum feels like a tropical jungle!

Remember the fire I wrote about last week? This was taken from far away .. smoke was intense!

Intense.

Traffic is crazy here in Seoul - all the time.

This man has the most remarkable story ... he's a member of our church here in Incheon who flies kites for a living! He treated us to a lovely lunch cause he has a "tab" at this restaurant. He's originally from North Korea and somehow managed to escape, but his parents are still in N. Korea. 
Sad story ... he doesn't even know if they're even still alive.

Good ole Mickey Ds! ... these are very popular motor bikes they deliver fast food to your door with ... you don't even have to get into your car or our of your home, cause Mickey Ds will come to you!

This one's for you Dallin!! Ben's been on such a "bobcat" kick lately ... everything is bobcat this or bobcat that! Thought you would enjoy it. We love you! xoxoxo
Remember this little angel? Where have the years gone Dallin?! We're proud of you son and pray for your well-being and happiness constantly ... Have a great week! =)


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Continue in Patience

Hello everyone,

To answer mom's first question, I've not yet watched conference!! Korea doesn't get it until next week, so that's when we'll watch it. I'm dying to see it, especially with all the emails that I'm reading about it! But we'll watch it in English, along with the other missionaries in our ward. 

The Korean people, to my knowledge, do not sleep on mats. (Although, I've never seen a Korean bedroom, so I am not entirely sure!). And missionaries sleep on mats because we are missionaries, I suppose! I'm trying to learn how to sleep on my back, rather than my side, as I fear I might have some back problems soon if I don't change something! It is a work in progress. :) 

About pdays ... let's see, we used to play sports sometimes on pdays in my old area, but here we normally just go to a bathouse or just stay in the house and sleep. Today we are going to eat Taco Bell and go bowling. I called Elder Miller the other day and he can't find my camera charger ... he says he might have thrown it out, not knowing what it was. So, I'm not sure what to do :P Sorry. 

And to answer your last question, we go to the temple once a transfer (so every 6 weeks). ;)

Seeing as I've not told you about all of our investigators, I suppose I'll mention them now. We picked up two new ones recently, other than 김진영 and 이상래. The first, 신영빈, is the son of a woman who stopped us on the street and asked for our card. He goes to some strange Korean church (I was quite surprised to discover that there are many churches here in Korea that claim to be the "restored church" of Jesus Christ, so we have to present our message a little differently when talking to some people).

신영빈 goes to one of those "restoration" churches, but he believes that the second coming is coming as soon as his leader-prophet-person dies, which is likely going to be soon as he is fairly old. 신영빈 knows the bible several times better than I do and therefore pretty much takes over talking during gospel time teaching us about his church (we have a 6-week english/gospel program that we told him we would do with him, so we still meet with him). We've invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, but he insists that we must prove it's true before he reads it.

I have learned something significant during our meetings with 신영빈 however. I noticed a different feeling as he taught about his church. Constrasting that feeling to the way I normally feel, I recognized that I feel the spirit much more frequently than I thought I did. Since the spirit cannot testify of something that isn't true, I couldn't feel it as I listened to him teach us about his church, yet I feel the spirit almost all the time here on my mission, save those times that my thoughts or actions aren't in line with God's standards. It was an interesting experience.

Lastly, I will mention some ways the Lord answered my fervent prayers both for inspiration to help my companion and for his well-being generally. I was reading conference talks during my personal study time and came across two talks in particular which were heaven sent. The first was by Elder Bednar entitled, "Watching with all Perserverence." He outlines some things that parents can do to strengthen their children, but I strongly felt this talk was equally applicable to me in my current situation. You can look up the talk if you want, I don't have time to include the points he mentioned. 

Second, was a talk by President Uchtdorf. I don't remember much of what he said, but I do remember the force with which the title of the talk hit me: "Continue in Patience." I have been endeavoring my best lately to suppress feelings of frustration and replace them with cheerfulness and positivity. Doing such has not only tremendously blessed me personally, but has also, in some degree, made an impact on my companion (as evidenced by his question to me on wednesday).

One last thing I want to mention: we saw a fire yesterday! It was huge! 

We were walking over a bridge and saw some smoke coming from a building, so we walked towards it a little bit and saw a massive fire! We saw the firetrucks come, but didn't see them fight the fire, as we got smoked out and had to leave to preserve our lungs! YIKES!!

Love you all, sorry that I don't have any pictures. I'll try to figure out something to do.

Love, Dallin