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