Monday, December 30, 2013

December 29th Email & pictures

메리 크리스마스 (Merry Christmas) everyone!
It's been a while. Sorry I haven't had time to write the Big Email the last few weeks... I know you were all just dying to hear from me! haha
Anyway, This last week has been excellent! It was Christmas! We had an excellent Mission Conference and had some great training, as well as some fun times with the other missionaries serving here in Seoul South. President Morisse talked a lot about being Messengers of Joy, and that has become sort of a new watchword or theme for me. I am so blessed to be entrusted with the Gospel, which blesses my life, and I have been given with that Gospel a responsibility and ability to share it with those who don't have it. It has been amazing how well the Lord has helped me incorporate this theme into my missionary life. I have been so joyful ever since, and have seen so many more miracles when talking to people. The best part is, I know that you all are messengers of Joy, too. Even if you're not a full-time missionary right now, God has given you the same blessing, responsibility, and ability to share these Glad Tidings of Great Joy! Let's be His hands in moving this work forward.
So, we had P-day on Christmas day this week, and the conference all day Tuesday, so this week has gone by faster than usual. It could just be "Missionary-Time", though. I am approaching the 3-month-in-country mark, and I still feel like I just got here last week. But, we have hastened the work a little bit in this area during my 3 months here.

We have a great Progressing Investigator, 박준규 (Park Joon-Gyoo), who is 20 years old and working a parttime job. He started off as english interest, but as we teach he gets more and more involved in and excited about the Gospel portion. We have been blessed with him, and we now have a Baptismal Date with him. However, He stil has a long way to go as far as preparation. But, he is keeping commitments, came to church with us once, and has a great understanding of how the Gospel is the way to "perfect happiness", in his words. We will meet him this week again, teach about some of the commandments and invite him to come to church every week with us. Wish us luck, and even better, pray for him!

We have met with lots of Potential investigators lately, and because our days are packed with meetings, we have been having a great time. We have 2 appointments today, both with potentials. Very excited!
So, some funny stories of this week: We got yelled at by our bishop (not really, just scolded a little bit) because the other Elders left a pizza and a bunch of trash in our meeting room that our ward is renting until our Church building gets done with construction in late February.

Then, when it snowed a lot, and there was lots of Ice, we were sliding on the way home, and I totally ate it and landed flat on my back! It knocked the wind out of me, and I couldn't breath for a minute. Neither could my companion, Elder Oman, because he was laughing so hard!

Also, one of the Potential investigators we visited turns out to be a member! We had to make a different lesson plan on the fly, but I think it went well, and now we're good friends with him and his family. He is a recent convert named 양일선 (Yang Ir-Sun).
I can't believe that this next week is 2014!!! I hope you all have a great New Year, and with this new year make a new plan to be a Messenger of Joy in whatever situation you find yourself. It is my testimony that as you really try with concentrated, continual effort to engage in the work of the Lord, He will grant unto you more miracles than you have seen before. I love this quote from Pres. Henry B. Eyring: "You cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return." This is the way to improve ourselves. Give the Lord all you can, and He will give more capacity. We can then give even more back to Him!

I know my Redeemer lives, and I am ever grateful for this Christmas season because it allowed me to focus more on the Author and Finisher of my faith, and to recommit myself to His service. I have made it my New years resolution to keep the Spirit of CHRISTmas with me all year round, for the next 2 and ever after.
I love you all, and I love hearing from you! Have a happy New Year, and may the blessings of the Lord be with you! Be His hands! ^^
Elder Wilcox

Christmas Package from Home:)

With Elder Moon

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22nd Email

Twas the week before Christmas, and all throughout 수지 not a person was interested in the poor missionaries (bad rhyme, sorry!). But seriously, the first part of this last week was dead. We basically walked around for 7 hours a day. We talked to a few people, don't get me wrong, but no one wanted to meet, and the numbers of people out and about were dramatically reduced. Koreans hate winter, so they stay inside their houses, shops, stores, gamerooms, etc. Grr...

But, the end of this week became amazing (wow, that sounded Korean...)! I had a few really good personal studies, and learned a lot! My Korean has been slowly improving, too, and that brings confidence in the Lord's calling to me.

We also had a crazy day on Saturday (2 days ago, now). We did our new Saturday English class, which more people came to (Elder O. and I taught; it went really well!), and then we had 2 appointments in the evening. 

 We picked up a family of new investigators! ^^

 The week finished great with an amazing Christmas Sunday! We had our normal sacrament meeting, then a 1 hour ward Christmas Talent show-ish meeting, then watched the Christmas broadcast from Salt Lake (in Korean, naturally). During the last 2 meetings, I felt the spirit so strong, due mostly to the music (our ward has some amazingly talented youth, and the Christmas Devo music was spectacular!), and because the meetings were so centered on the Savior. I love this time of year more than ever as a missionary, because worshipping the Savior by my every action so focusedly (is that a word?) every hour of every day brings the reason of Christmas (and my mission) more clearly than ever into my mind and heart. Remembering Christ is part of what made me feel better after a dead week.

Also, during the Ward talent show section, the ward members presented us with some gift bags (real santa-style red, draw-string bags!) of food and trinkets. It means so much, and I feel such love for this ward. They had us perform "Silent Night" A Cappella in exchange for the bags, and I felt the Spirit so strong during that. We sang in English, and I felt such a feeling of Love for the ward members. They are truly amazing! ^^

The best part about this Sunday, though, was that we came with an investigator!  He had a pretty good time, and met the ward members. He is still going to meet with us this week again, so church didn't scare this on off like it did our last investigator to come to church. I am so happy! we have a baptismal date with him, too, for the middle of January! We'll see how he goes; he is progressing well! ^^ #miracles

Well, that's last week! This week is full with mission conference, a split, Christmas, ward meetings, and lots of other stuff, so it should fly by! 
I hope you all have an amazing Christmas Eve, and tell the family I love them for me! You are all amazing, and I feel your strength and love. Thank you for your prayers and love!
I love you!
Elder "D" Wilcox

December 15th Email

I am indeed happy and well! The weather has turned cold and snowy, and I feel like a little kid again, playing in the snow! Haha so great! Your coat is excellent, so I am fine.

I think the only advice I can give to Preston now is to push hard, and always give full effort! I thought this "Race would be a 2-mile, long enough to find your stride, but it really is more like a mile! It goes by so fast! I have already been out almost 5 months, which is basically 1 lap outta 4 in my mission life! I can't believe it! I know he will push hard, because he's learned well how to. Just trust in the Lord and give your energy to His guidance, and have fun! It is truly the best time of your life! ^^ Tell him to email me, or you give me his email when he goes in. So exciting! ^^

I don't know what we will do for Christmas Day, because that's our P-day, and we haven't planned anything yet. Probably a zone-wide activity, though! ^^ Christmas eve from 11 AM to 7 PM is Mission Christmas Conference, and we will be caroling! I get to be in the Choir for it, too! I am soo excited!!! ^^ I feel like I have gotten to know President and Sister very well already. I love being close enough to our mission office that I can see them a lot! ^^

Our investigators are doing well; 

The Language is still as hard as ever, but now I have reached the point where I can (usually) comfortably converse on the street with people, but it really depends on the day and the person I talk to. Something that helps is that I read aloud from the BoM every day after I shower, and I feel like God blesses my tongue. A prophet said if we read the Book of Mormon in our mission language, we will master it, so I am banking on that promise! On my current pace, I should finish about 1-2 months before my mission ends. Sweet, huh? Everyone I talk to is very surprised at how quickly I have learned, but honestly, it is the Lord, not me. He has blessed me to have the mind for this language. It's still a work in progress, but with His help I can do it. ^^

I love you guys so very much!!! I cannot wait to talk to you next week! Have a merry Christmas, and let the Spirit of Christ enter your hearts.
Love you all, again! ^^
Elder "D" Wilcox

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 8 Email

Hey Everybody! Time is short, so I gotta do this one quick...

This week we have been having a normal week as far as meeting with people goes, which means we had a few lessons and went out to talk to people a lot. WE do have 2 solid investigators, though, who both meet us twice a week. They are great, and one has mostly Gospel interest and one has mostly english interest and friend interest. They joys of being a foreigner... haha! Lots of Koreans want a foreign friend, because they are crazy about us. It makes it a strange situation for us, because they want to be seen with us, but don't want to talk Gospel with us. Grr..

This week, we visited a lot of less actives. We have a Korean living with us, Elder 문 (moon),  and he is doing what Koreans do best and organizing the tar outta our records, so we have to visit them to see if the addresses we have are still right. It's great to visit Less Actives because they usually let us in or talk to us, whereas others just reject us when we knock doors. Refreshing change!

I have been having great experiences in Personal study and church lately, and I feel like God is helping me to change and learn how to become a better person. It is a skill to become better, and does need to be learned. I feel like when I act with my all on my desire to be better, even if the "all" that I can do is pray sincerely, God will help me take the next step. He has been helping me learn that lesson recently, and I am deeply grateful and happy to be here.

I love you all! Hope you're doing well! Thanks for the emails, sorry I can't always email you directly. I do love to hear from you, though! I wish you luck in your ventures, especially those that are leaving on missions or will get there calls soon. Your stories are inspiring, and I am amazed and grateful to be your friend.
Talk to you later! Peace! 평화!
윌콕스 장로 (sorry I put 님 last time, big mistake!! ^^)
Elder Wilcox

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1, 2013 Email

안녕하십니까, Everybody! It's already December! Wow, time flies. I have been on my mission for 4 whole months! wow.

Sorry I missed last week. It would take to long to write all about it, so I will shorten it to one sentence: God helped my a lot with Korean, we met some great people, and I love the Work of Salvation. Bam.
This week was really weird, because we have had a lot of activities and meetings that don't normally happen all in one week.

We had a split on Tuesday (I got to go with my Korean roommate, Elder 문호빈 (Moon Ho Bin), who is super cool and super good at english. I got some great Korean practice from him!) Where we met lots of cool people who are interested in our English class! We need more people there, so we have a pool to draw investigators from. Then we had a 식사 (meal appointment) with a member and we ate 갈비, which is super good and bad for you. I am so fat. ^^

On Wednesday, we had a freak snowstorm and we had to stay inside. So, we made message cards (for member's doors, think "heart attack", It's very very common in Korea) and I called some of our former investigators from the Area Book and invited them to English class that night. My Companion and I didn't go, because we had another appointment. And so, when 2 of the people I called showed up to English class, the other 수지 Elders got to pick them up as investigators, and not me. But that's fine! As long as they learn about the Gospel, right?

Thursday was Thanksgiving, and we got to celebrate with President Morisse and his wife, with a few other missionaries. I ate sooo much! I really am fat!^^ And, I am not used to eating American food anymore. Because of Thanksgiving and the travel, we couldn't really do "missionary work" except on the train, which we did by talking to people. So great.

Friday was Zone Conference! That meant more travel, and 7 hours of training! It was super good, and we learned a lot about how to make our efforts more effective. I especially liked President Morisse's training on "full purpose of heart." If you want a good scripture study, look that up and study what it means in the Topical guide. We also had a delicious, huge, unhealthy lunch, and guess how much I ate? Right, A LOT! My stomach still thinks I have a runner's metabolism, but my body knows otherwise. I pretty much just stick with push-ups and ab workouts now, because the weather is too cold to run in the mornings now. But I want to go hiking sometime! That is a hugely popular pastime here.

Saturday was weird, too! We went and did service with the youth in our ward at an Autistic home. We chopped wood (for firewood, which is really how they heat the house!) and prepared packages of razors (shaving razors), which is what they have all the Home's residents do so they can get an income. Wow. It was eye-opening, but I loved going out and using what little muscle remains! I just love helping people!

Yesterday was fast Sunday, and I got up and bore my testimony about the service activity we did saturday (in korean, yes, and I am a little proud I can say that ^^). Our Bishop mentioned it in his talk later with all the adults about hastening the work. His talk was incredible! We watched Hastening the Work of Salvation, and I get so pumped up everytime I see it! He exhorted our ward to help us as missionaries to do God's Work of Salvation! Our ward really needs help getting started, so they are a big focus for us missionaries. I love serving the ward members, and I love helping them get going in the same work that I am in! This is such a joyful work!

Unfortunately, Fast sunday didn't end on a good note. We were offered a ride home by a member, and he, being Korean, felt the need to feed us. But, his home wasn't ready for visitors, so he took us to a restaurant. We ate there, and unfortunately we didn't protest enough for fear of offending him, but my companion and I felt really bad that we didn't honor the Sabbath like we should have. The other thing is, this member did the same thing with us a few weeks ago when we brought an investigator to church, but we assumed it was a special occasion because we were with an investigator. I think I showed a bad example to this member by allowing him to take us there. I didn't stand up for my standards, and I felt so bad last night. We plan to apologize to him for our conduct and hopefully help change his commitment to keeping the Sabbath day holy. So, you guys don't do stuff like that to the missionaries, OK? Haha.

I love you all! I love being able to write to you guys! I want to remind you of President Monson's challenge to have one person ready to be referred to the missionaries by Christmas as a gift to the Savior! I am thinking about who I can refer, too. This kind of diligent application of time and effort is really what the Lord needs from us in these last days. If we ALL do our part, missionaries, members, everyone, then God's work will hasten. The work of the Salvation of God's precious Children will hasten and we will be blessed to be a part of it! I see so much more now how much we all need to do, and I am beginning to see how to do it. But the biggest thing to get started in this work is simply to open your mouth. Share the gospel literally whenever you can. Strengthen members, invite non-members to come and see. This is what This Work needs from us, what God needs from us. Lets all do our part! I love this job! ^^
Love ya all! 화이팅! Talk to ya next week! ^^
윌콕스 장로님 (Elder Wilcox)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pictures November 24, 2013

"Say, Kimchi!"

Seoul Temple

Elders playing 'Settlers of Cataan' on P-day

Monday, November 18, 2013

NOVEMBER 17, 2013 Email

안녕하세요, 여러분!
Have you spent your time well? (Korean greeting) ^^

This week has been pretty crazy. Lots of stuff happening, and not happening. Definitely a "Missionary" week. ;)
We met with a potential Investigator whose English name is James Bond on Monday! He is mostly English interest, but we did our 30min/ 30min program with him and when we taught about the Gospel he was actually interested!  We gave him a pamphlet to read and will meet him in a few hours, actually. Pray for James Bond, everyone! (never thought I'd say that...^^)

In other news, our many appointments for the week almost all decided to cancel, so we ended up not getting to teach as much as we would have liked. We are sorely lacking in lesson practice, because real true investigators are few and far between. We plan to start practice teaching the members of our ward this week so we don't forget all the Gospel words we know! That way is good, though, because honestly your can get much better investigators from the members than you can from just walking the streets talking to everything that moves. Referrals are the best possible way for missionaries to find people here. We have planned a lot about how to work with the ward, and Referrals have been a huge part of out planning. As church members, we all need to help do our part! Please, help us out!

Anyway, we had a combined mission conference with 서울 (seoul) mission! I got to see my MTC District mates that went there, as well as my old friend Elder Black! They're all doing well, and we all have dark circles under our eyes. The mark of a missionary! Haha ^^

We learned a lot in that conference, and we heard a lot about new developments in missionary work that I'm actually not allowed to divulge! Things really are speeding up, though! The Work is hastening! ^^
We met with (Lee), our marathoner friend, for a 식사 (meal appointment), but we couldn't really talk about the Gospel because time was very short by the time we found each other. It was good to meet him outside of running so he could se that there is more to our purpose than that. We met him to run the nect day, and tried to explain the Book of Mormon to him, and he listened, but he said that he is fine with his "religion", which he said was 마라톤교, or "marathon-ist". We are devasted, and we plan to discontinue our running visits because they require a lot of time spent in changing clothes, etc, but we are trying one more time tomorrow to give him a pamphlet about the restoration. We'll keep calling him to see how he is doing, but I think we can just plant our seed in him and move on for now. ㅜㅜ

We also might have to drop our other investigator, Thomas, whom we brought to church last week. He was kind of overwhelmed by the ward members, who haven't seen an investigator at church in a while, and now he says he is more comfortable with his church. He says we can still meet every week for dinner, but he doesnt want us to talk about anything Church-related. It is very agonizing to watch people turn away for what I know will bring them happiness, but I can only invite. The beauty of God's plan is that each of His Children can choose for themselves what to do. I did start worrying a bit too much about my teaching skills, though. We need more practice!
With these things happening, and a seeming relapse of my Korean to MTC status, I was feeling very down on friday night. But, the other elders in my house helped me understand that as long as I do what little I can, the Lord will use me as His instrument. I just need to keep the faith, hope, and desire to continue to improve in my abilities, and He will assist me as I strive to assist His children.

This week we had Stake Conference on Saturday night and Sunday. This meant that combined with the Mission conference Saturday morning (which we needed to travel about an hour and a half for), we woke up at 5:30 and went to bed around 11:30 on Saturday. Now, normally, I can handle this kind of thing, but the next day during Stake conference, where it's all in Korean, so I can't understand more than a few words and phrases, sitting still for 2 hours, and not allowed to study anything else, I started nodding off a few times. Suddenly, the Sister in front of me turned around and gave me a note (in english). It went something like this: "I think the reason you're here in Korea is to serve for God, not to sleep. Isn't that right?" I was shocked, and immediately felt awful that I had possibly affected this sister's view of missionaries. She took the note back, and wrote, "Don't be upset; Read Revelations 3:19. Be the Good Missionary!". I read it. It's about God rebuking and chastening those he loves. Now I felt even worse. Needless to say, I couldn't really focus the rest of the meeting, and I even had to resort to reading PMG, which apparently is 안돼요 (not good/ dont do it). I couldn't stop thinking about the note all during the meeting. When it was over, I got the sister's attention and tried to apologize, but she just started going off on me like a bad dog. I couldn't even understand more than half of what she was saying, and that just made me feel worse. I know I lack so much, and I have SOOO much room to improve, but that is one of the reasons I was sent here. To become better myself. Anyway, I decided that I can't go ruining the Member's views of me any more, so I won't fall asleep in any more meetings. Afterwards, the other elders were talking to me about how I should have responded, and I realized that I hadn't felt any anger or indignation, as their suggested responses would have indicated. I only felt sorrow for my weakness and a desire to change and do better for her sake. I felt better realizing that that feeling was a small improvement. I later learned that she had been an investigator for about 4 years, and thought she knew the difference between Bad and Good missionaries. She's not in my ward, but she apparently has done similar things to other missionaries. Oh, well, I guess sometimes we need a kick in the pants to get us moving, right? ^^ I am glad she provided it!

Anyway, that was this last week. This week, we don't have P-day (because we go to the Temple on Thursday), so I gotta finish up and get out there! We meet with James Bond today, and have a few new finding activities to try. I am looking forward to the temple, and I am glad for the strength it provides. I need a refill! Haha ^^
I look forward to your emails! I'll try to answer if you send one, it just might take a while.
Love you all! Work hard,everybody! ^^
Elder "D" Wilcox

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10th Email

안녕하세요, everyone!
I am sorry it has taken me this long to do this, and that I haven't been able to respond to all of you lately. What can I say, I am popular! Haha, just kidding. ^^ But, I want to make sure you all know that I still remember you and want to tell you about my adventures. So, I hope I can be forgiven and start now. My Wonderful Mother has created a blog that has previous emails on it, so if you are not a missionary, I encourage you to read it! Unfortunately, I don't know the web address, but you're smart. You can find it! ^^

Anyway, This last week was sooo crazy! We have been working super hard, Elder O and I, since the time that I got here in 수지 (suji), my area. We haven't seen a lot of success, but a few miracles along the way (one of which being the opportunity to run with a potential investigator, Lee!!! He is a marathoner, and he lets us run with him once a week. We only do the warm-p with him ( 50 minute jogging), and then share a short spiritual thought. He is super cool and likes us a lot. Through him, we have contacted other runners on his team! Also, He has agreed to meet with us and hear our message this week!!!! Pray for us! ^^

Anyway, this week, we decided to call all of our people that had given us their number (that phrase is so much easier in Korean...) and we reached a lot of them. When we called, we talked about our English class, our message, and asked if they wanted to meet. Suddenly, all of them had time and wanted to meet us again, and now we have several investigators that we will meet this week, a few in just a few hours! Huge Miracle!!! ^^

Also, another huge miracle was that one of our investigators (the only one we had before) came with us to church yesterday! His American name is Thomas, and he is very good at English. We have only met about 3 times, and only taught once, but he still actually suggested to us that he come to our church for a day. So, we met him an hour before it started and taught him about the Sabbath and our church, and then did the 3 meetings with him! He was super cool about it, and even though the members were all over him, he enjoyed it. In the 3rd hour, we took him into another room and taught him the whole first lesson.  We had a member of the Bishopric there at first, and Thomas was kinda clammed up around him, but once he left, Thomas opened up and let us know his needs. We taught pretty well and felt the Spirit. We asked him to pray about or church and he said he would. Then, we went and had a 식사, or meal, with a member of our stake presidency, Thomas, and the other Elders serving in 수지 with us. Then, I was exhausted and slept very well. We were with our investigator for a total of 7 hours, and he was taught 3 lessons! Wow... I hope he remembers it all!

So, those huge miracles have been the highlights of my first Transfer in the mission field! I still can't speak the language well, and my teaching skills are nonexistent, but the Lord is still using me as His instrument to further His Kingdom here in South Korea. The work is hard, and the days are long, but the miracles are many and the weeks fly by! I have learned so much, and will continue to learn so much more. I love my Father in Heaven more everyday, and I learn a little better how to help His precious Children here. 

I know that all of you can likewise experience the great blessings of missionary efforts wherever you are, be it in School, work, at home, on your computer! There is always something to be done to help God's Kingdom grow, and He has given us the responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity. That has become one of my unspoken mottos here: Take advantage of every opportunity, even if you lack confidence or competence. God will not let us fail. He will take us higher and higher, and lead us by His Spirit to speak to the hearts of His children to their understanding. This is our duty: to bring the spirit to their hearts, where they can then accept it and live, or reject it and face those consequences. We do not do anything more that inform. The Spirit teaches, and the Investigator chooses and acts. I love being a mouthpiece of the Lord, and I encourage each of you to act and experience the same joy! Let us ALL press on in the work of the Lord.
I love you all! Keep writing to me if you have time!
Elder Wilcox
윌콕스 장로

November 3rd Email

안녕하세요! 한국말 잘하시는대... ^^ (I'll make you google translate that one...)

I have been doing awesome this week! We have had lots of meetings and planning sessions, so our contacting was down from last week, but that is ok, because we met several incredible people that may want to meet!
Korea does not do daylight savings, so we don't get that extra hour, as bad as we need it! Darn...

Our marathon friend, has been great! He got his goal in the last marathon, and he is running another one soon. He runs about 13 every year! What a beast! He is also 65, and still incredibly fit! We have a tentative date set up when we can eat and share a gospel message, but he is very busy, so it wont be for a few weeks. I hope we can meet with him! My companion and I decided to run with him once every week, either tuesday or saturday night. We did tuesday this week, and shared a very very short spiritual thought about running. I hope I can share more later, because running is a huge part of my testimony as you know. I hope I can really connect with him and help his life improve though the Gospel message! With God's help, I know I can, if he is ready. No matter what, I have planted a seed that can be harvested later. Thanks for your prayers for him and the others we meet! They need those blessings! ^^

We got to meet up with our MTC 동기 (missionary "generation", the people we came to Korea with. They were all in my MTC district that came to my mission) on Tuesday, too! It was so great to see them! They are improving rapidly in Korean, and they have been in very similar situations to me. it is really hard to get investigators here in Korea, because everyone already has a bad impression of us, so they don't wanna talk to us. But, when we do talk to people however, it is so amazing and rewarding! I love going out and smiling and talking and laughing with these people. There are no friendlier group of people that I have met on this earth than Koreans (you guys and my team excepted, of course... ^^)!

I had a great, natural conversation with an older gentleman on the subway yesterday, and I didn't have time to get his number but he really enjoyed my company! I could understand and reply to his Korean, too, so I was very happy. Those little miracles happen all the time! They are in your lives too, as you try to do God's glorious work. 

Answering questions:
Say hi to Bro. G and B for me! 수지 does have some countryside, but we don't visit very often because it takes precious time to get there. It is so beautiful, though!! My 동기 missed 추석 (Korean thanksgiving) by a few days! I was disappointed, but now I have something to look forward to at my year mark! It sounds fun! Everyone goes to family's house, so missionary work literally becomes impossible for a few days, so they have a mission party. We'll have one of those for Christmas, too. ^^

Yes, we use Chopsticks, but they are flatter than Chinese ones. I still struggle to use them, but I am passable now. It is so good! We do have little tables you sit at, but I have only eaten at a place like that once. My bed is a 요 (yo) and it's a mat on the floor, but really thick and soft. I love it! Really easy to make you bed, too! ^^

Love you all always,
Elder "D" Wilcox

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28th Letter

Hello, Family!
It has been a great week of missionary work here in Korea! I can't type any cool Korean words because this keyboard is tracs. So also don't judge any spelling or punctuation errors... haha!

We actually didn't have P-day last monday when I emailed, because we had a temple visit later in the week.
On thursday, we woke up at 5:30 and went to the Seoul Temple! It was really really cool. We did an english session, after a powerful testimony meeting. I got to see one of my MTC District-mates, Elder Thomas! So good. We have 12 week follow-up this week, so I will get to see my district again tomorrow! So excited!

So, after the Temple, our P-day was pretty much riding the trains and talking to people. We got off on the wrong stops and basically got lost a few times, so we had no time to rest or do anything else besides our Gospel study that night. It was really good, though, because we got to talk to a lot of people about our church. It was fun, but not a P-day feel. I really need today! We plan to go bowling to celebrate our Zone Leader's birthday. Should be fun. I also want to get my first Korean Haircut! I will send a pic next week.

Anyway, Thursday night we had a huge miracle. We met with a guy who is training for a Marathon with his team last week and he invited us to run with them on Thursday. We asked President Morisse, and he okayed it! We got to run for about 6 miles with him and his team, and we got lots of phone numbers and got our name out. Now, these people see that we are normal people, not just "jundosa's" (a street preacher common in Korea, and one reason why no one wants to meet us!) who don't really care. It is so hard to break that first impression when they read the nametag and automatically assume, "oh, preacher." But, I am not ashamed of who I am or who I represent.

We evaluated the running activity as per president's instructions. and decided to do it again this week. We are going to try and get them to let us share a spiritual thought while they stretch out. I think we could get an investigator out of this. Since running is a big part of my testimony, I hope I can help this man (his name sounds like Lee Deh Yun) come unto Christ! I feel a special connection to him, and I am wondering if the reason I was inspired to run was to make a connection with him? We will See. Pray for him, please!

The rest of the week was good! On saturday, we had another miracle. We decided to visit a Less Active's house out of the blue (kahp jaggi (I hate not being able to type Korean!), and they let us in! We brought a box of Choco Pies for them, and they fed us little cakes and hot chocolate. We were able to share a short message with them, and the less active husband said he will come to church when he is ready. They really liked us, and I feel like we helped them feel the savior's love. They will contact us again sometime this week.

I was super tired yesterday (Sunday) because we had lots of meetings. It was fun, though. I am glad it is P-day, because we're running low on food again. Awesome. Haha!

Korean is hard, and I struggle to learn, but the Lord is helping me by giving me a sound mind and enthusiastic attitude. I love speaking this beautiful language. But I do need help!  Please pray for me and the other Korean missionaries to be able to say what the Lord needs us to in order to touch the hearts of the people here. Pray for the people's hearts to be soft and receptive to our wonderful message. We are imperfect servants, but our message is perfect. We are not the way they get to salvation, Jesus Christ is the way. So, as long as we can lead them to Him, we will be doing his will.

We will meet with a few potential's this week, and we will be diligently preparing! If we have the Spirit with us, then that is all we can do. I am constantly trying to be better so the Lord can work through me with His Spirit. It is a hard, hard process, but so is everything worthwhile. It took a long time to get in shape physically, and it takes at least that long to get in shape spiritually. Consistent effort will enable me to change. I learn so much every day, and I hope that some of it sticks and I become like my Savior a little more every day!

I want to serve these people here in Korea, and I am trying to learn how to do it. I pray that you will all be able to help the people the Lord places in your path back home. At least you get to speak English, right! :) Just remember to Open Your Mouth when you feel that prompting to share, and start speaking. Then, listen to the Spirit and do as He directs. God will use you more and more to touch His children once you show your willingness. Keep up the good work, and get better and better! I will be improving with you.
 I love you all! You are in my prayers constantly, and I thank you for your prayers for me. They are a huge blessing to me. Can't wait to call you at Christmas, which is right around the corner, right? Wow, time flies... ^^
Love you again! ^^
Elder "D" Wilcox

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Korea - Week 3

안녕하세요, Mom, Family, and Friends that may be reading this on the blog. Isn't my mom great for doing that? Thanks mom! ^^
This week has been very very missionary-like. Which means lots of hard work, lots of eating, lots of praying, a few miserable trials, and overall a sense of still being lost but guided at the same time. 혼란스러우세요? (Confused?) Me, too. It is definitely fun, though. ^^ #everydayisanadventure #missionarylife #한국말
Ok, this week...
We went to a 목욕탕 (one of those public bathhouses) for P-day last week, right after I wrote. It was super relaxing, and I felt so clean afterwards! It was a little strange, but fun. not something to do every week, though; it makes you tired as all get-out!

We went to a Korean Folk Village on Saturday for a Youth Combined activity (Our Bishop wants us to spend time with the youth and help them want to go on missions). It was so fun, and beautiful! I took lots of pics, which I will hopefully send today! So fun to get more of a taste for Korean culture!

A hard thing this week was that I epically failed when we were trying to teach a potential investigator. She belongs to a different Christian church, and the common attitude here and everywhere among Christians to us is, "We're already Christian, go find some Buddhist, and good luck!" So, I may have accidentally implied that her church was wrong. I was just trying to tell about the 1st vision, which always brings the spirit, but she wouldn't hear it. She took offence, and it was totally my fault. She told us not to 전도 (preach, negative connotation) to her anymore. I felt like I had cost her the chance of every accepting our message. I was so discouraged for the rest of the night that I could barely function. I slept in the next morning because I lacked the motivation to work out. But, my Companion, and a little note in my scriptures from my Mother years ago helped my get straightened out again. I knew times like that would come, but I didn't actually expect to feel like I caused someone to reject the Gospel! But I realized that I still planted a seed, and I still just gave her a chance to use her agency. It is not my fault she didn't listen with her heart, so I feel better. I can still improve so much on my presentation of the message, though. My job is to present the message of the Gospel in the best way I can, and I am slowly learning how to do that.
Ok, Question-answering time...
My Comp, Elder Oman, is from Idaho, and he likes to run! We get to do that a lit more than I did in the MTC with Elder Newbold. He has been in-country for about 6 months, and unfortunately it is hard (and sometimes impossible for either of us to understand others when we speak to them in Korean. It is good though. We work well together, and he is a hard worker!

I am adjusting to the food really well. The culture is remarkably similar to the US, but more polite to everyone. I adjusted really quickly. The food is healthy (for the most part) and so that, too, is easy to adjust to. I love rice! I have a pic of one of my home meals. I'll try to send it. We make most of our meals at home, and we live close to a supermarket where they have cereal and peanut butter, so I am happy! We eat lots of rice, and basic foods in the house. We have at least one 식사 (meal appointment) with members every week, and this last week, we had 6 this last week! The food at 식사's is super delicious and there is a lot, so I get really full. So, I am eating well. Don't worry! ^^

I have been able to shop a little, and grocery stores are pretty similar to the ones back home. My area is pretty westernized, so lots of the same stuff. Ice cream here is cheap and very good (Yes, I indulged. You get hungry as a missionary!). The exchange is very easy. It is about 1000 원 (won) to the US dollar ( a little bit more, but basically the same). I have a pic of some money! It looks a lot like American money. Korea is a cash society, so everything is paid in cash. my missionary debit card is basically not accepted in stores, only at ATM's and banks to get cash. I can put cash on my T-money card (the "Travel-Money" thing I mentioned in a previous email), but other than that, it is cash. So, my wallet looks like a Bible! haha ^^

We have 4 potential investigators, and so far, have not taught a real lesson to anyone besides our roomies for practice. But, the people here are so nice! Korea is a very polite and kind country to 외국인 (foreigners) like me. They are just well enough off so it is not like some places where investigators and baptisms just crawl out of the woodwork. No, Korea is a very difficult country as far as conversion goes. But there are people here that I can touch! So I will find them! ^^

Thanks for reminding me that every effort is a success. If you think I put it that way, my subconscious must be really wise. I need to remember that after my epic fail with our potential. As long as I try my best with what little skill or talent I have, God will help me out. I just need to listen harder, or something! I do love this work, though. I want to share this love and happiness, and so I try my best every single day. There is nothing more exhausting or more rewarding than sharing the Gospel with others. Even if we don't know how to do it, just open your mouth, and let your love for God and His children come out. He will help you articulate your heart's thoughts (as long as your heart is in the right place!). I am learning this more and more everyday, every hour! It's fantastic! ^^
Thanks for telling me how everyone is doing! I love hearing about life back in the States. It sounds like everything is going well. I am so glad that the Lord is blessing you guys! He is certainly blessing me a lot! He is so Great and Wonderful! I am studying the Character of Christ, God and the Holy Ghost in Personal Study and I learn so much about Them every day. It is amazing. They love us without reserve, and I am trying to emulate that charity. God will bless us with that gift and others as we pray sincerely for them, consistently and wholly follow the commandments to show Him that we are serious about it, and be patient in our timetable. The Lord will give to us in His own time. Alma 14 has a great example with Alma and Amulek. They didn't receive strength until near the breaking point of their faith in prison, and then God gave them what they asked for so as to strengthen their faith in Christ to an even more unshakable level than before. He does the same with us. He is the Master Refiner, and he knows just how long he can "heat us" in trials to make us strong like He is strong. It is amazing, and I love it! It hurts, but I love it. Just like XC!!! ^^

Tell everyone Hi for me, and keep looking for Gospel opportunities. The work is hastening, and the missionaries can't do it all alone! Lets do this together, just like God wants us to. His prophets have commanded, so lets do it! I am working with my ward here in Korea. It is so great to be involved in this work! I love the Lord, and all of you! Can't wait until next week! ^^
Elder "D" Wilcox

*(No Pictures were sent this week :/)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 2 in Korea- October 13, 2013

My second week was great! I feel like I am adjusting well, and I am progressing 척음식 척으식, or little my little.
There is a lot that is different from home, for example we use public transport to get EVERYWHERE! My "T-money" card (short for "travel-money") is like my lifeline. It provides good opportunities to talk to people on the bus or the subway. Fun, fun. I wish we could ride bikes sometimes, though... haha!^^ Also, there' a LOT of smoking. But, we can help them with that problem... ;)

Things are also pretty similar to home. I was surprised at how normal it felt to be here. The people here could fit in perfectly back at home, except they are speaking a different language. The weather is starting to change, and just like at home it gets to be moderately warm in the afternoon, and the temperature drops like crazy at night. We are wearing Suit coats full-time after Conference, so its not to bad. And we look more classy. I plan to buy a Korean suit soon!

The language is hard. I know very little, and I understand even less. I am reminded of that every day, multiple times per day. But, language skills are not in the requirements for missionary service listed in D&C 4, and neither are  teaching skills! So, if I just trust in the Lord, and do my best to share His love, I can be His instrument. I progress little by little in this are, too.And I absolutely LOVE speaking what little Korean I know! SO fun! ^^
We just finished watching Conference (or 연차대회) yesterday (sunday) &was super good! There was so much in there about members uniting with missionaries in the work of inviting others to come unto Christ! I know that the members of this church can do it! I whole-heartedly endorse studying Preach My Gospel as families and individuals, because it really teaches more than just full-time missionaries like me. Valuable teaching skills, and effective guidelines on how to become better yourself are abundant in that manual.
We watched Conference in English (fortunately or unfortunately, take your pick), so I was able to get a lot out of it. I found so much that I could use to share the Gospel with my future investigators! "Recently, our living Prophet said..." So good. I loved the speaker's thought that our message can be summed up in 2 words: "God Speaks". The things the prophets and apostles say in General Conference is for sure a great way to share that.
We watched it at 분당 church, which is about an hour by bus/ subway from our house, We also watched all 3 Saturday sessions and the 2 sunday sessions basically all at once on their respective days, so that we could also get our studies in. So, conference and travel and study was basically all we did for the past 2 days. But we got to talk to several awesome people, and get our number out there. I hope they call us!
In response to your other questions, We use the local computers at either a PC 방 (just a room full of computers where teen gamers gather, and it smells like cigarettes) or here at the 주심 center, which is basically the same thing minus the lack of light, smoky smell, and teens. We get a half hour to email President, and an hour to email friends and family. Just about enough time for a week, right? Wrong! But it's ok. ^^
Thanks for keeping me up-to-date on everything that has been happening at home! It's so great to hear about and talk to you guys through email. Tell everybody to keep up the good work, and that I love them! Tell Jake and Mi to go run an extra mile for me and my out-of-shape self. I really wish we could run more here, but that is ok. Enjoy the fall colors! They are starting to appear here in Korea, too, and it is just as beautiful as, if different from, back home. 
Thanks for keeping me updated on the extended family! I wish them all good luck in their various endeavors, and I will add them to my "praying pool". It is harder, but they told us in Conference to pray for people by name specifically. This may mean my newfound "prayer calluses" get bigger and bigger as I spend more time on my knees each night, but more time on my knees is never a bad thing.
I do know how much you guys pray for, care about, think about, and remember me. I know because I do the same things. I keep you, my Eternal family, in my heart at all times, and it's like carrying a piece of Heaven with me wherever I go. I can draw from your strength, love, and support whenever I need it, because there is no doubt in my mind that you love me. I am beginning to see more and more that God's plan is all about families like ours: not perfect, but sanctioned by an Eternal power and based on Eternal principles. We can last forever, literally, and I want to help others learn how to do the same with their families. As I learn how to share this message, I begin to recognize more and more how truly blessed we are to have each other as a family. Each one of you has shaped my life, and we have taught each other so much that it has shaped our Divine nature! We are truly meant to last for Eternity!
So, 21 &1/2 months until we're reunited doesn't seem that long, does it? ^^
I love you all, and I know you love me. I know God loves all of us more than we can ever know. It is His work we are all engaged in, and it is His Will that brings love and peace to the hearts of His precious Children. "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Yes, we shall.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, Amen.
Elder "D" Wilcox
P.s. I will send pics next week! Me, and Korean Money! ^^ Ran outta time...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

First Week in Korea! - Oct. 6, 2013

Korea is Beautiful!!! I saw the mountains poking through the clouds as wel flew into 인전 airport, and I fell in love. This place is so calm, and the people are wonderful.
When we landed, we met Pres and Sister Morrisse, and then went on the subway for 2 hours and did 전도, or proselyting. I talked to several people, and even gave away one book of mormon! I didn't get any people's numbers, though, so no way to follow up. Darn. 괜찬아요. It's OK. ^^
My Trainer is Oman 장로님, and he is a great missionary! He talks to everyone, and even though he has only been in country for about 6 months, he is not afraid to talk to people. We don't always understand what people say (and in my case not at all), but we're trying. We have no investigators as of yet, because our area, 수지 (suji), just went from a 2-elder area to a 4- elder area. I room with my companion, and Bishop & Sorenson 장로님들. They're great, and we get along well in our tiny apartment. We sleep on 요's (Yo), and they are super comfortable. I have not ever slept as deeply as I do now. But 6:30 is still to early. Hahaha ^^
My Companion lets me run every morning, but it takes a while to get ready, so we only run for about 10-15 minutes. It's OK, though. I have accepted the fact that I am out of shape for good until the end of my mission. I can focus on the Work now!! ^^
We get to watch General Conference (연차대회) this coming week (so a week later than you back home). It should be fun! I look forward to it a lot!
We had our first 식사 (meal appointment) with our bishop (감돈님) and his family on Saturday. It was delicious! I really can't understand Korean, though.
We had our first Korean Church meeting, and it was fast and testimony meeting. I got up and did a short introduction and testimony, and everyone freaked out when I said I had only been in Korea for 5 days. I guess I used a more advance grammar form or something... haha! ^^ I couldn't understand basically anything, until priesthood class (with the youthm because 감독님 wants us to befriend them and get them to want to serve a mission). I understood though the spirit the basic message of Christ's character. It was so cool.
We had another 식사 that night to break our fast, and it was spaghetti with other Korean foods! It reminded me of home and mom's excellent cooking. Yum!
Today, we are going to play some soccer with another zone! Should be fun.
I love you all, and thank you for your prayers! I feel them so strong! Keep praying fo the missionaries! We need it.
I gotta go, my time is up. I love you all! 

"디" 일칵스 장로 (Elder "D" Wilcox)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Officially in Korea!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We finally got word that Elder Derek made it to Korea!  He looks safe, happy & ready to get to work.  

We enjoyed very much talking to him on the phone, Monday, September 30, in the morning from SLC & then in the afternoon from Detroit.  He got to fly from Detroit to Inchon, Korea, flying over to north pole or near it.  (Long 22 hours of travel).  

He reached his goal to place a Book of Mormon with one of the other missionaries while on the layover in Detroit.  We LOVE our Missionary^^!  

Welcome to the Korea Seoul South Mission!

Your missionary has arrived safe and sound here in Korea, and is full of energy, ready to work! We are thrilled to serve in Korea with your missionary. The work here is moving forward as our elders and sisters diligently serve the Lord. Thank you for your support and prayers in their behalf. As our missionaries study, pray, and follow the mission standards, the work will progress, many lives will be changed, and the gospel of Jesus Christ will be spread far and wide. What a wonderful time it is to be serving in Korea!

Attached is a picture taken with President and Sister Morrise at our training for new missionaries yesterday morning. 

Thank you,

The Korea Seoul South Mission Office Staff