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)