Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 28, 2014 ----"Big Breakthrough"

This is it, the end of my only full calendar year in the full-time nametag-witnessed service of God!
This week was truly a Christmas gift for me.
Not only did we have a spectacular Mission Conference, a great ward party on Christmas Eve, and a Christmas Day of Caroling and spreading Christmas Joy, but we also received the gift of the most prepared investigator I have ever had the privilege to teach. He came to church yesterday after meeting for the first time the night before. He's looking for a new religion, and found us on the internet, usually a hostil place for us Latter-Day Saints. He stopped us in the middle of the lesson after church and asked how he can become a member of our Church. Can you spell GOLDEN?!?!? ^^
Also, the biggest blessing was the Breakthrough. The reason for the title bar. Up until now my relationship with my Korean Companion, Elder Lee, has been pretty rocky. He's the tough-guy, don't want to let anyone in, kind of Korean man. But yesterday after church, he opened up and let me know what he thinks about me. I was able to find out things that I was doing wrong, despite my pure intentions of loving and helping this Son of God reach his potential. And from that time, for the past 24 hours, we've been tighter than ever. I am even learning how to show love in the touchy-feely way Koreans like. Thats taking some getting used to. ^^ 
Changing through prayer and striving to be like Christ!
Bring on this next year! 세해 복 많이 받으세요! (Receive lots of New Sun Blessings!)
Elder Wilcox

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 21, 2014 Email

Hello Friends, Family! Long time no type! 

Things have been great here in Anyang for the past few weeks. Lots of preparation for Christmas in the mission, the ward, the missionaries. Even as full-time, name-tag-wearing representatives of Jesus Christ, there are still a plethora of things trying to distract and take away from the meaning of this special season. Trying to overcome them can seem impossible.

That's one thing that's been on my mind lately, is the question of How can I handle all of the trials, responsibilities, duties, and other things that life entails? How can I do it in a way that is right and balanced in God's sight? Lately, as my personal responsibilities increase and new facets that require energy and effort open up, I've been wondering how I can handle it all. I know I'm not the only one, either.

As I studied this morning, I read the Liahona for December. There is so much in there about Christ, of course, so I was reminded of Him and His life, and suddenly it came to me. The way to handle all the different things in life in a way that God is happy with is to become just like Christ. His perfect example is just that, perfect. If we were able to think as Christ would, to act and speak as He would, then we would naturally handle each situation we were placed in with Love, Patience, Hope, Faith, Diligence, Virtue, Knowledge, Kindliness, Humility. Developing Christlike attributes is the way, the only way, to know for certain that our lives are good with God.

At least that was the revelation that I've needed lately. As we approach the day that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I hope that we all can reflect not only on His wonderful example, but on His eternal sacrifice through which we can be cleansed from sin and enabled to do things that we could never do alone. It makes me realize how I can introduce this Gospel to the Korean people. There are so many people who are satisfied with life how it is, but if they could just taste the joy, the true joy that comes from living according to this Gospel, they would never stop seeking it. 

I am always bad with remembering quotes and scriptures, but I want to close with one I read in the Liahona this morning, from a former prophet. It said something like this: "True Joy can only be found by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ." We can find out that gospel, and point ourselves more and more in that direction by daily studying the word of God's servants, the prophets, and by praying with real intent, desire to receive, and faith in Christ. And we can truly begin to emulate the savior's example by consciously making the decision to love someone, forgive someone, to do something that we normally wouldn't but that Christ would were He to take our place. I want to spend the last 7 months of my mission, and the rest of my life following my Master. He will lead me in the right paths to eternal life, to Joy. This I know and promise to all of you in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you get some snow in Utah, and spend some great time with each other. Eat lots of good food, and partake of the Spiritual feast made possible by the Reason for the Season. ^^ I love you all! 

Elder "D" Wilcox

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014 Big Email (Annyeong from Anyang!)

Hello everybody!!!

Long time no type! A lot has changed in the past 2 weeks. Elder Jensen and I got transfer calls, and I had to leave my little countryside village of Anseong and move to a big city center (at least by comparison) called Anyang. This is very similar to the word for "Hi" or "Hey" used among close friends or youngsters, which is Annyeong (An-nyung). Hence the title bar. ^^

I am also with my first Korean companion! Elder Seung Bong Lee, who is 25 Korean age (24 american) and the former companion of my former companion Elder Braden Perry, as well as my trainer, Elder Jordan Oman! We both served in Shingal, and have lots to talk about as far as missionary memories. 

~shout out to Braden, Your pics look great! I got your letter. ^^ Congrats on your engagement and wedding soon! ^^~

My Korean has already jumped up a few notches due to the constant flow, and I am loving it! Elder Lee and I don't have many investigators that meet every week, but we're looking to find more Through members, Less Actives, and street contacts. 

Our ward is superb, with a very active and energetic Bishop leading it out in the Work of Salvation. 
We were able to have a Baptismal service for the sister missionaries' investigators this week, the third baptismal service I've yet attended on my mission. We'll make some more soon.

This morning, to start off the month of December, there was a big snowstorm! I am soo happy to see that gift from heaven. Every time I see it, I am reminded of the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, which can make us as clean and pure as a snowflake. I am infinitely grateful for this sacrifice, and for the perfect example He gave us to show us how to live in this confused and confusing world. I am able to bring this example to others everyday as I wear His name on my chest and in my heart. He fills me with his love, giving me a bigger heart with room for my members, investigators, companions, and all of you. I love you, and so I invite you to come unto Christ! Let Him take you in His arms of love and make you better than you were. It is glorious. In His name, Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Wilcox

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 16 & 23, 2014 Email excerpts & picture :)

Good news this week, we taught one of our member families a really inspiring lesson in family home evening. It's called The Gospel Feast in English, and something funny-ish in Korean that won't make sense. The word for Gospel and the word for a popular dish are quite similar, so I made that a wordplay. Anyway, it shows how just plain rice is everyday life, and God wants to give us a tasty life, so he provided various side dishes like Commandments, Repentance, Faith, Prayer, Scriptures, and Ordinances like baptism and the Sacrament. Then, if we show by diligently and regularly eating of those dishes, God grants us the meat buffet of the Gift of the Holy Ghost! It's all you can eat, but you have to get up out of your chair and go to the church every week and sometimes to the temple to get refills. But this Gospel feast is sooo much more delicious than just plain rice. There are so many people just eating plain rice out there, longing for a more delicious existence. It's our job, as (member)missionaries, to advertise and invite people to come to this buffet. And the best part is, they don't even have to pay, cuz Christ already did. This lesson really helped that family, and will help tons more throughout the rest of my mission! I got this as inspiration a few weeks ago.

We also had stake conference! It's forever travel from my area, so we spent the night at another area's elders' house. I really got a lot out of the conference, even though it was all Korean. I was just starting to get a little prideful about how i could understand, so for the Sunday session, God had me try and translate. That's super super tough, and I was quickly brought down to humility again.

Well, that was this week! Next Saturday, we will get transfer calls. I have been here in Anseong for a while, and Elder Jensen is all trained, so I could leave, or he could leave, or something unexpected could happen. I'll let you know next week. ^^ Thanks for the prayers and thoughts and email and love!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! ^^ <3 another="" div="" great="" have="" week="">


Elder "D" Wilcox

Family we taught the Gospel Feast to :)

November 23, 2014

You guys are great! Love ya!!!! ^^
I've got some biggish transfer news! I am going to be leaving Anseong after 8 months here. I am going to an area named Anyang, which is in Anyang zone, and I will be zone leader over there! My companion will be 이승봉, Elder Lee, my first Korean companion! I am soo excited! I just sent my luggage in the mail (they have great delivery service here) and I will be headed over there on Wednesday morning. Wish me luck, and the Spirit! ^^
This week was a tough one, though. I kinda knew I was going to leave Anseong and so I was reflecting on my work here. I looked too much at physical evidence, things that I can see, and took that as my success here. It's not very much, so I was wondering if I really did God's will here. But, after a really nice lesson with Mr. Jeong in which he thanked me for all the help I have given him and said a really really spiritual prayer for me, I realized again that its not the baptisms I can count, the number of people attending sacrament, or any physical thing like that that matters. What matters is that I was a representative of Christ and showed His love to people. I have been blessed with great relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime. I feel like God has accepted my work here. No use getting down on things that I can't control! Just go out there, do your best, Elder! ^^
The rest of my Anseong brotherhood will be staying, and my companion's new companion is someone relatively new in the mission. Things will be hard for them here for a while while they adjust and struggle with the language and the branch, so I would like to ask you to remember Elders Jensen, Ely, DeSpain, and Bryner in your prayers.
It's going to be weird leaving Anseong. This is like my home. When I think Korea, I will always think of this place first.
Anyway, that's all I've got to say. I have some time today, about half and hour, so since you guys are all smart-phoned up we can do some back and forth messaging if you want! I don't think I'll write a Big Email yet, just cuz transfers is the only big thing that happened this week. ^^ Just in case we cant message back and forth, I love you all and thank you for the prayers and love! ^^

Elder Wilcox

Monday, November 10, 2014

큰 일이 났다! A Big Event came out! November 9, 2014

I wanted to share a Korean expression with you all. This can be roughly translated to mean something REALLY BAD happened. But I just needed a subject bar. Things have actually been really good.

It's been a while! Sorry for neglecting the Big Email; I hope those of you who are allowed to are following the blog my Mother is running for me. I have been well, how are all you?

I am still in the beautiful little town of Anseong. I have been here for a total of 7 months now, and the people on the streets start saying hi to me now because I have seen them so much. I have almost been adopted into the close-knit society here in the southernmost corner of my mission. 

Elder Jensen, my awesome, less-green-than-he-should-be-for-only-one-full-transfer companion and I are still doing work here, and we have currently been blessed with baptismal dates with 2 of our investigators. We are working with them to be baptized at the end of this month, but more time may be necessary for conversion. 

Last week we had a great Zone Training, and among other things I was reminded that conversion happens between the lessons, not while we're sitting there with them. Decided to focus on our investigators' personal study and prayer.

Also, yesterday we were blessed with inspiration during companion study. I heard one time, and it makes sense to me, that God doesn't send prepared investigators to missionaries, but to wards and branches that are ready to receive them. It makes sense because the ward is there with the investigator much longer than the missionaries. So, especially in our tiny branch, each member needs to do 2 things: Prepare to be a gospel leader, not just a follower, and Participate actively in the work of Salvation with the full-time missionaries. The members of our branch vary widely in their faith, but the way that we missionaries can help them to prepare to become the fellowshippers that our investigators and other prepared people need is by sharing the Love of Christ with them thru service and meeting them, sharing the words of the prophets and encourage them to study them on their own, and invite them to do something with us in the Work, all while having a humble attitude and love for them. Our Mission President has emphasized that our work is Strengthening Wards and Branches, as taught us by Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 in a conference earlier this year. So, here in my little branch, I am starting to prepare my members to be the leaders necessary to support all the prepared people we will be blessed to find as we thrust in our sickle.

Speaking of Thrust in your sickle, we got to do Farm work for the first time in a few months. The other Elders, Ely and Despain, have been taking care of it while I train Elder Jensen, but we went Saturday. The Less Active sister we do it for is starting, little by little, to change and become more happy. She knows we love her and want to help. She's started praying again, too. ^^

We are looking forward to Stake Conference this week. It's the second I have attended as part of Anseong! And I have seen 2 general conferences here. Been here a while. But here is where I have come to realize my faults and learn how to improve the most. I love this little middle-of-nowhere town at the edge of our mission! Even if it means lots of travel and separation from other missionaries. I have come to love the people here that at first I resented. God has blessed me to change thru the enabling power of the Atonement as I put forth my effort.

Also, I have been humbled here. I have been blessed with more lessons and investigators than ever before, but have therefore discovered my weaknesses with teaching, testifying. I have been brought low, and doubted whether I am doing things right in God's sight at all. But this week I found 1 Corinthians 1:27 and 2:1-5. They taught my soul that it is alright if I can't speak the fancy eloquent Korean that convinces the wise, my job is just to convey the spirit by my testimony, the one thing that no matter how much others may rail and curse, no one can deny, that I know God lives and loves me, and each and every one of us, His Children. His Son, Jesus Christ, payed the price for our sins, and will forgive us completely if we just meet the standard set by Him to have faith in Him, repent, be baptized and make other covenants, and live so we can follow the Spirit until the day that we die. 

That is what changes and improves us, and gives us power and authority to teach others. That's why I can stand up to a trial with faith and say, "Someday it will turn out alright, because I know what I am doing is right." I do. I also know that God is hastening His work, and we as His Church need to follow His lead. It will take all our strength, it will take away some free time, but it is infinitely WORTH IT.  There is nothing God can't do in His work, and He invites us all to participate, to be changed and bettered in the process of bringing souls back to Christ. That is the lesson I have been learning for the past 14 months, and I testify in the name of our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer that this is the True Church of Jesus Christ. I am His servant and representative, and though I lack a lot, He has made me more than I ever could be alone already, in only 19 years of life. I stand forever indebted to and awed by Him. Amen.

Thank you all for the support, thoughts, prayers, words that you give to and for me. I love you all as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope you all have a great week, and find ways to let the Lord guide you as you act in this great, Latter-Day WORK. It is work. But it is sooo fun! ^^


Elder Derek J. Wilcox

Here's a pic of us today at our lunch restaurant. we plan to go hiking today, so dressed down. ^^

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 26, 2014 Email Excerpts

This week was pretty awesome! We had a Zone Conference on Friday, that was the highlight. We learned so much about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Elder Bednar's talk in October 2010 General Conference is super good! Check it out. It basically says that the reason for every thing we do, for us coming to earth, is to obtain the Holy Ghost in compliance with the divine command in the Confirmation ordinance: "Receive the Holy Ghost". We talked about Living by the Spirit, especially by Studying, Planning, Finding, and Teaching by the Spirit. Sooo great! Our President and Assistants and Zone Leaders did a great job, and taught by the Spirit. ^^

We also had a crazy week with meal appointments mostly because of one man, our investigator of about 55 who meets with us to study English and the gospel. He couldn't meet with us 2 weeks ago, so he wanted to make up for it by meeting with us 3 days in a row on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evenings. This man is notorious for feeding missionaries too much. Ever since I found him, he loves to feed us copious amounts of snacks while studying, and insisting upon a meal afterwards. So, on Wednesday evening, to cap off all the other huge meals he fed us, he took us to a buffet. But not just any buffet. This place had all you can eat and lots you don't have room for of the 2 most delicious of the Korean meals: Samgyupsar (a pork cut like thick bacon but slightly more healthy) and Syabu syabu (originally Japanese, the soup that you cook veggies, meat, then noodles and last of all rice porridge in). It was literally the most I have ever eaten in my life. I was dying walking out to his car. But it was also the most delicious meal I have ever had. Elder Jensen and I both agreed to hit running a little harder in the mornings.

Things are going well with our investigators for the most part. They need to start progressing, but we are evaluating what we can do to better help them keep commitments.

If this isn't too late, tell the family Hi and Grandpa & Eric Happy Birthday!

You asked what jobs Koreans typically have.......The typical Korean has a desk job, a cubicle, computer, etc. That is the stereotype. Also, they work longer hours than Americans. And at their company, they sometimes are forced to go out and drink with their coworkers cuz if they don't their boss will fire them. interesting predicament! It's a good thing that Latter-Day Saints usually rise to leadership positions, or at least valuable-enough positions to not be fired, pretty quickly.

I love you!!! Have a spectacular week! I am going to the temple this Thursday, so that will be my P-Day. ^^ Thanks for your prayers and love! Keep it up! ^^

Elder "D" Wilcox

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 19, 2014 Pictures!!!!

Anseong Brotherhood after "Healthland"

Anseong Brotherhood at English streetboarding!

Elder Jensen & Elder Wilcox at the Seoul Temple

Anseong brotherhood in P-day attire in Pyeongtek

Anseong and pyeongtek elders at an ultimate Frisbee P-day activity!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 12, 2014 I've got an investigator the size of a tank --

Hello Everybody! Another week has come and gone here in Anseong, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea!

The subject bar has reference to Do-Gwon, our investigator of about a month. Elder Robinson and I met him one day by a bus stop, and he talked to us for about an hour. Later, Elder Jensen and I call him and set up an appointment, meet, and find out that he's a strong believer of Christ, and is sick of Korean churches and their members who don't practice what they preach. He lived in America for a few years as a kid, but forgot a good deal of english. So, he communicates in a strange mix. Fun! He enjoys talking about fights he's seen and clubs he's been to, and loves America. He loves Jesus Christ more. He has been coming out to church for the past 3 weeks, including yesterday when we watched General Conference. We set a baptismal date with him for the 26th of this month. He loves our church because of the genuine friendship of its members, and its emphasis on Jesus Christ. He wants to make it a part of his life. And he likes meeting american missionaries.^^
We taught him the Word of Wisdom on a prompting yesterday after conference, and we think he'll keep on following the savior. He is about as big as a collegiate football athlete, though more fat-to-muscle ratio. Anyway, he's bigger than most Koreans, due to his healthy (or unhealthy?) appetite for American food. Personally, I like the veggie-rich Korean food better. ^^ So that's why I wrote about him in the subject bar. Cool guy!

We watched conference this weekend! It was wonderful!! I hope you all got as much out of it as I did, which was soo much. It felt like every talk was given to me to help me in some way, whether it was to point out a course change in my life or a talk given to me with my investigators' names on it. It also stood out to me how the prophets are really just missionaries! We all teach the same doctrine, the same lessons. It's the Gospel of Christ!^^ I have a strengthened testimony of the Prophets as God's servants and mouthpieces here on earth. Christ leads this church through them.

Anyway, I have been spiritually uplifted and recharged, and with this energy I will shine my light and invite others to come and see what I have come to see and know. My testimony has been strengthened, my doubts and fears removed, and I am peaceful in the knowledge that I have of my Savior and His gospel. I feel, as did the boy in Elder Bednar's talk at the end of Conference, that I want to seek out my friends and share the cleansing, soothing, strengthening power of the Atonement with them. Now that I am a little better in the language, I can seek and take those opportunities to teach, testify, invite in everyday situations. And I feel excited! I am so grateful for our Church leaders, and Master who guides them and us.

I can't remember who said it, but it was mentioned in Conference that missionaries are simply disciples of Christ who testify and witness of Him and invite others to come to Him and see. So, that should include all of us! I can testify that there is nothing more important than sharing and living this Gospel, and that God is raining opportunities to share it and live it if we just pray and ask him to show us them and help us take them. He does it for me, and He will do it for you. Ask, Seek, Knock. You shall receive, find, and opportunities and blessings shall be opened unto you. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love you all! Have a great week, wherever you are and know as I do that all is well in the peaceful current of Christ's Gospel! Take care, go hard, have fun, be safe, remember who you are! ^^

Elder Wilcox

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 5, 2014 Email: "Big Miracles after Big Trials of Faith"

It says in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. These past few weeks have been tough, not in any particular way, but just lots of struggling and striving to do the will of the Lord. Elder Jensen and I have been pushing ourselves in every aspect of the work, from our morning run to study to language excellence to teaching. I have come to know many of my weaknesses, and had to be chastened a bit due to my shortcomings. I have had trials coming from all sides, the people I meet here, the news I hear from home. I have decided to face these trials with faith and trust in the God that I know without a doubt loves me, even if He seems to take a long time in fulfilling promises. I've done a lot of enduring, pushing through.

But, this week, the Lord has blessed us with a witness that He is indeed the Lord and Master of this work, and He does lead and guide us if we just surrender our hearts to him.

The big miracles didn't come until just yesterday, so for the sake of time, I will just explain those ones.

We found 2 new investigators in the past few weeks, Do-gwon and Gwan-oo. We were expecting them to come to church yesterday (we don't see conference until this week, so normal sunday). Gwan-oo couldn't come until later, but that turned out to be a blessing, because 4 other investigators came who I wasn't expecting. I invite them every week, but they said they were busy. But, they came, we had the chance to do member exchanges and teach them seperately in 2 Gospel Principles classes. They attended sacrament, and built great relationships with the branch members. They felt the spirit, and exercized faith or the desire to believe by acting on the invitation we gave them. We then had a member lesson (one of my first in this area, Anseong) with a member of my last ward, who has received the assignment of attending our branch for the next 3 months. He helped Do-gwon understand the Plan of Salvation, a really difficult thing to grasp the first time. The Spirit was present as Elder Jensen and I worked together with the member and the needs of our investigator, and we were able to set a baptismal date with him for the end of this month. He's got lots of potential, lots of faith in Christ, and a love for the Book of Mormon already, and with the friendship of our members, he feels home here and wants a place in our society. That was great!

Then we met Gwan-oo, who was late due to a visit to his aunt in the hospital. She had a stroke, and isn't looking good. But he wanted to come see us. We met him on the bus last week, Elder Jensen, the fiery greenie started to him. He has heard of our church before, and something attracted him to the missionaries he saw before. We were prompted to share the message of the Restoration, a real, strong prompting thats among the first I have ever felt of that nature, and we did so in a way that he could feel the Spirit. We invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and we knelt as he said the closing prayer. He prayed simply, sincerely, and as he did, I felt the most overwhelming love for this man, not much older than me, the love that Heavenly Father has for him. I have been praying for this kind of love for the past 14 months. After he left, Elder Jensen and I talked about the lesson and we both had felt the same thing, the same spirit guiding the lesson. I have been looking for this kind of experience of being led in a lesson for a long time, we are promised it, but I haven;t felt more than little pushes before this. This time, I felt so surely God's loving spirit, and felt as if he said to me, "i have trusted you with this child of Mine because now you are ready to lead him to Me." I knew why the past few weeks have been like a refiners fire, because now God has given us these children who need the message we bear. When I finally learned to trust God, not my own strength, then he makes me His hands.

In the words of my companion, Elder Jensen, I feel my purpose. I know, firsthand, why God calls teenage kids to share this Gospel message in a language they don't speak to people who most of the time just reject them and turn away. Because He truly loves them. Because there truly are those who are prepared to receive this life-changing message. And because participating  in this work changes those teenage kids into men and women of God. 

I am honored to be in the ranks of God's army in these last days with all of you. whether or not you wear a name tag, you are a witness of God. As you surrender your will to his, He will use you to fulfill His eternal purposes. Even if you feel like it's taken a year and 2 months. ^^

Jesus is our Savior, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His Church. I know it, and I will do my best, no matter how little it may seem, to tell it to all the children of God I am blessed to meet. It will be hard. I will be long. But It is worth it.

in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Wilcox

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 21, 2014 Email excerpts

This week we had a great one! We worked hard, and saw some progression in Jeong Hoon, our former golden turned new investigator. He originally didn't want to read the BoM, but read a little, and said he found himself wanting to read more! The Spirit works on these people!! We'll meet him tonight and do farm work on his farm tomorrow. ^^ Also a great restoration lesson with Hye Jeong, our lady-investigator. She still has lots of questions, but we helped solved a lot of them. We'll teach her the Plan of Salvation tomorrow. ^^
At the end of this week, we went to help Handsome Lee (Hyo Chang), our English-teaching investigator, with his English academy students. We had a "camping activity with about 40 crazy elementary kids! He told us to not speak Korean to them, which was really hard, because they talk to you like a dummy if they think you can't understand. But it was great! We found a lady and her son who want to learn our Family English Program/ Gospel study from that. We also picked up 2 new investigators this week. That was all before Saturday. Then, Sunday, we lost a lot of things.
Sunday, I realized I lost my Book of Mormon at the camping activity the day before. I got that back when Lee came to church and brought it with him. Then, We lost our baptismal date with Jong sun, because despite a confirmation call, he didn't out to go to church with us, even though we walked 2 miles out to meet him. His date was the 5th, but now he can't get the necessary 3 -in a row sacrament attendance. He also doesn't have any recollection of the doctrines of the first few lessons we taught him, so he wasn't even ready anyway. We were going to give him a priesthood blessing at church for his memory, but he didn't come! I am starting to wonder if his handicap is big enough that he isn't our responsibility but God's after the resurrection... ㅜㅜ
We also lost a Zone Leader that night. Elder Brewer had to go home suddenly because of health issues, and that shocked us out of our minds. Now, our new zone leader and his companion are both new to Suwon zone, so I dunno if they know our needs... But we'll trust the Lord and our President! Still, really depressing. Sunday was a hard day, but there were miracles. A woman in our branch who is your age, mom, and has been struggling with faith and testimony for a long time and still hasn't been sealed to her family due to the husbands indifference towards the church, went to the temple and realized that the Gospel should be the center of our lives, not an appendage. If we do it that way, we have enough strength and time for the truly important things. We have been meeting with her family for the past few weeks for family home evening, and the words we shared from the scriptures and Liahona magazine really are helping. God is using us to strengthen this poor family!! I am so glad I have a fundamental testimony of living the Gospel as a family, because it provides my testimony power and force when I share it and think about you guys. Keep it going! You'll need this testimony later, I promise.
Well, that's my week! Looking forward to this one! I need a temple P-day... ^^ Time to spiritually recharge.
 I love you all, and pray that the Lord keeps you and leads you every day. Everybody keep being the best family a missionary could have! ^^ Take care.
Elder "D" Wilcox

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 7th Email Highlights :)

Things are awesome in Anseong with Greenie miracles! We have a baptismal date.

Elder Jensen extended 3 baptismal commitments this week! What a stud!!! Who's his trainer? Oh, yeah... haha! ^^ He is still super dedicated and very patient with me. I don;t really speak English anymore, because President is worried about too many less-than-capable Korean speakers, so we are all picking up the SYL . My companion loves it! He's gonna such a great Korean speaker and missionary! ^^
We've also been blessed to pick up a lady from the sister missionaries who closed this transfer. She is super golden!! She read the Restoration pamphlet we gave her and prayed about our message (before we could even teach! WE had just introduced our lesson and did How to Begin Teaching in Preach My Gospel) and then said God started helping her remember things like scriptures and hymns from her religious childhood that she has long since forgotten. She said that was the answer, and she thinks our message is true. We gave her a Book of Mormon (we try to introduce it and set times to study it together before just giving it out to anyone) because that's where our message is! She seemed super excited to read it. Now the trouble is, we need one of our ward members to come teach her with us cuz she's a lady. We have met the past 2 times in public places, but I still feel like she needs a fellowshipper and to come to the church for a lesson. Please pray for her and for Chan-Shik Park's family (our branch mission leader) to have time to meet her and help her progress! ^^ Thanks.

Today is Korean Thanksgiving, Chu-Seok! That means that everyone is gone from the streets and is visiting their families so we cant' meet them, even members. 

We are gonna meet a less active family every week in family Home Evening and teach them the lessons. But nothing will change until they realize that while they have been struggling, they aren't completely trusting God yet by putting him first. I was stressed after the lesson cuz I can't speak as fluently or clearly as I want, but I realized that I had shared scriptures and bore testimony, and directed them to the words of the prophets to learn for themselves, and that's all I am commissioned to do.   I will continue to help this family, and your prayers would be appreciated.  I realize how blessed we are in our family, to know the gospel and have so many faithful members around us to help if we are in need. Hard to do that in a branch with only 20 people on a good Sunday, all living far away from each other! I will do my part in this Branch of Zion to give these poor travelers rest and hope by leading them to drink from Christ's fountain!

Anyway, busy times here in the middle of nowhere! I love this town!^^

I am still great and LOVING the work! Nothin better anywhere! ^^
The food is WONDERFUL!!! In Anseong, we get lots of fresh produce cuz this is farmland. This is a 풍년, a year of plenty, for fruit! So our fridge is packed with delicious apples, grapes, and bananas. ^^ The food we eat everyday is Korean food I have learned to cook, mostly rices and spicy soups. YUM!!

Have a great week and be safe! Love you!
Elder "D" Wilcox

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August 31, 2014 Email

Hello, Everyone! Long time no email! Sorry about that... ^^
As you can tell from the subject bar, I have a "Son"! My New Missionary's name is Elder Kyle Jensen from Richmond, Utah. He graduated from Skyline High and will turn 19 next week. He is a super dedicated and ready-to-work-hard missionary, which means he fits well with me. We are diving into Korean, teaching, inviting, and otherwise mission life headfirst, and he's taken it magnificently. I am so extremely excited to help this Messenger of Joy learn the ropes and improve himself through this marvelous work of Salvation.
In other news, the work in Anseong, Korea is hastening for us. We have been blessed with a former investigator that wants to learn again, and we have been teaching him completely from the Book of Mormon. He has had problems with it in the past, but now it is starting to make sense that God would bless the world with more of his word. His name is Jung-Hoon, for those who want to put him in their prayers. ^^ Also, our wheelchair-riding investigator is still struggling with memory problems, so please put "Jong-Sun" in your prayers, too.
Our "Anseong Family" district came to an end this last week with the new transfer. Our sister missionaries, who worked really hard and suffered a lot for the Savior's name here in Anseong, were assigned to different areas and there arent enough sister missionaries in our mission to keep their area open. Also, my last companion, Elder Robinson, went to my last area, Shingal, and Elder Song, our Korean, went to Seoul. Since we dont feel like a "family" without the special spirit that sisters bring, we are now reduced to the Anseong Brotherhood, name courtesty of Elder Ely of the Elders #2. But, despite the tough goodbyes and empty feeling, we are ready to pour our heart might mind and strength into our Branch and strengthen it in anyway we can! All 4 of us elders are ready to work hard and sweat it out in this the last part of the Korean Summer.
I just want to share with you all how much I love this work and this opportunity I have to serve my Father here as a missionary. I have learned more in the last 13 months than I ever have before, and I still have such a long way to go! There is never a boring moment, because there is always work to be done. This work is becoming my work and my glory, as it is for our Father. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts and love. Keep on hastening yourselves in this work! Feel the FIRE!!!! ^^
Elder Wilcox
Pic: Elder Jensen and I this morning! Time for a Hike! ^^

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 24 Picture

The Anseong Missionary "Family" August 2014

Elder D Wilcox is doing Great & loves the work!  He will be training a new missionary starting this week. He's excited & up to the Challenge.

We love our Elder!!!!

August 3 Big Email

Hello, everyone!! This is the now-old and grey Messenger of the Gospel of Joy Elder Derek James Wilcox. This last week on Thursday, the 31st of July, was my 1 year mark since entering the ranks and the MTC. This time has caused a lot of reflection for me, and lots of sincere and thankful praying for all the miracles I have seen and taken part in in the past 365 days.
But, because of time, I can't type all my thoughts down for you.
So, I will just hurry and tell you what happened this week!
Monday: Soccer for P-day with the other Anseong Elders. I love exercize! New Investigator, Champ from Thailand!
Tuesday: The Biggest Tonkatsu (돈까스) of my life! Had a meal appointment with a former investigator and his wife. No interest in the gospel, but love foreign missionaries! (Pic)
Wednesday: Gave a brand new investigator to the other Anseong elders through a ping pong less on that went really well. The others don't have as many people to meet as we do, so we gave them this guy. He is super Golden, wants to learn, and his mom is an inactive! Also, a day with 4 lessons! One was a super great Salad bar buffet meal appointment that kind of happened by accident! ^^
Thursday: Zone Training and my year mark! Celebrated with Zone Leader Elder Preisler and MTC Companion Elder Newbold (both in my zone) and went on exchanges with Elder Preisler. We gave a blessing to a sick young man in my branch, and he started getting better almost immediately! Huge Testimony builder! Also, they gave us delicious fruit! ^^
Friday: Farmwork on our Less Active's garden and ice noodle soup for lunch! Lesson with our investigator Jong Sun, who has memory problems due to a car crash 9 years ago, but is soo prepared to receive the gospel. If only he could remember to come to church... ^^
Saturday: Ate Shabu Shabu (샤브샤브, Hot Pot?) with Elder Robinson (My companion) for lunch to celebrate my year mark! The Best meal of my life... ^^ No Joke! Then, cleaning the church with my district and our branch president, who then took us out for some kimchi soup. Yum. Then teaching Korean class to some of the many foreigners in Anseong.
Sunday (Yesterday): Fast sunday. Missionaries sang a primary song medley we had prepared in our sacrament meeting, I had a solo! Fun to sing and perform again, even for only 20 people. 3 Investigators came to church, 2 left early. Still awesome! Then Weekly planning since we were too bucy before that day. Elder Robinson was feeling sick, so we stayed home in the evening and made phone calls.
So that's this week! I am so happy to be a missionary and be serving exactly where I am now and learning all that I am! God has blessed me so much in this first year, and I know He will continue to bless me as I serve Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. He will bless you too if you do that. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
Love you all, thanks for the prayers and fasting! God bless you!
Time to Kick,
Elder Wilcox
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014 & Picture

Our District!! Elders: Me, Robinson, Song Gyun-Won, and Ely.
Sisters: Kim Yoon-Ha and Johnson 
We are eating Boo-Deh Chee-Geh, a soup that soldiers made during the war out of the leftover scraps of the american's meat (spam, hotdogs, etc) and their Kimchi and other native ingredients. Very spicy and delicious! They eat it boiling hot! ^^ Elder Robinson makes it in our house, but sometimes we go to this restaurant as a district and eat. Super Super good! I am hungry now... ^^
Yaaah!!! I hit my year mark this week!!! Where did my time go??? It feels like only a few weeks, since I was at Philmont with all ya'll, and then the MTC and then the blur of missionary life. It surprises me how fast time goes, even when I keep my eye on it. I've heard it said that the days are long but the weeks are fast as a missionary, but now my days are fast and the weeks are faster! Why?? ^^ I don't want to leave this. I have learned too much.

What I have learned is less the things that can be explained with words, but more the kind of things that take experiencing it firsthand and practicing. I have learned how to open my mouth and speak, even if I don't know what to say. I have learned how Alma felt when people wouldn't listen to his message. I have learned a little more patience, maybe not with myself, but with others. I am learning how to live with someone different than me in a peaceful and happy way (still not perfect at that). Other things include: study habits, time management, shopping and cooking and cleaning, how to sleep fast, and eat hot food faster. ^^ Among the biggest things I have learned or am learning is how to love. I still feel like I have made little progression since the MTC, but it is some improvement. It isn't easy for me to love people I don't know well, and whom I may not be with for long. But I have learned to recognize that God would have me love all men, regardless of how much I know about them. That's another big thing I have learned: What God expects of me. It's a high order to fill, but as I learn how to act, speak, love according to His commandment, He helps me learn more and faster and deeper than I even have before. And that is why I don't want to leave this time of intense pressure that elevates me to higher and higher heights than I have before imagined. But, I still have a few days more than a year to enjoy and put my back into this working time. And of course all the time after the mission. ^^ So, mostly I am learning how to learn, and preparing to progress for the rest of my life and beyond.

May the Lord keep and bless you and grant you the same progress-stimulating experiences that He allows me to have here in Korea doing the work of Salvation. There is always something to be done, whether to make ourselves better or to help someone else find the eternal path to perfection through Christ. Let's not waste a moment!
Elder "D" Wilcox

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 13 Email :)

Hello and 안녕하세요, everyone!! This is Elder Derek James Wilcox, typing from a computer room in Anseong City, Gyeonggi-Do Province, South Korea. This last week has been a huge one as far as stuff Elder Robinson and I did, and so it could take a while to type it all. I am prepared to sacrifice my remaining email time for this. It better be good. No pressure on me. ^^
Well, to start off, on Monday, we went to a 목욕탕 (public bathhouse) with about 10 other missionaries. There is a semi-famous one in our area about a 50 minute busride away from our house. My companion hadn't gone to one yet, so that was a priceless experience. It's always awkward to new missionaries to sit around in hot tubs with naked Korean men. I doubt this is legal for any other missionaries in the world, huh? But it's super refreshing. And I can kinda swim laps in the cold pool. hehe
On Tuesday we met with a new potential investigator named Jong-Sun. he is about 47 and I actually found him with Elder Hale, but he gave us a bad number and punked our appointment. But Elder Robinson and I found him again in the exact same place as before, but 4 months later to the day (last sunday). He gave us the right number, and we met him tuesday. He is super incredibly prepared!!! HE almost immediately accepted what we taught and we had a great How To Begin Teaching Lesson, where we introduce our message and show how it can bless their life. See Preach My Gospel. He even wrote down our next appointment himself, and asked what we would study! Restoration! ^^ We met him again Thursday.
But first, Wednesday! After great studies, which seemed to fill the week, we had District meeting. I gave what I thought was my best training yet, and we had really fun role plays on following up on a Book of Mormon reading assignment in a way that helps the investigator gain a testimony. Fun, Fun! Then Elder Fullmer from my district and I went on exchanges. While we were on exchanges, the other elders (my comp and elder Song) met 2 of our investigators, one of which just wanted to bible bash. After that lesson, they were discouraged, but the nest one they met was another Nepalese guy who is good at Korean. He was soo accepting! He decided to take the lessons, and they taught a basic Restoration lesson! ^^ While they did that, Elder Fullmer and I went hiking with a potential investigator who is 64 and runs marathons. #mydreaminvestigator ^^ It was raining, and really pretty. We testified a lot, and he fed us deliciouc meat for dinner. But when we invited him to take the lessons, he said he'd rather not be a burden on us and was firm when we persisted. But he decided to come to english class the next day!
Thursday, we started off doing some Farmwork!!! Something you can only do in my area and maybe 2 others in the mission, but none as frequently as us. We usually do it about 2 times per week. We helped a less active lady, and when we sang a hymn afterwards, she was crying. Maybe she'll feel something and come back to church! So sweet. Then, we exchanged companions back, and Elder Robinson and I met Jong-Sun again. We taught the restoration, all in one blow, in Korean, which was actually a first for me. All of my previous companions have gotten me in the habit of breaking up the lessons into parts, but you lose the power of the first vision when you do that. So, the lesson took an hour and a half, but we taught it all, shared scriptures, asked questions, and otherwise had the best lesson of my mission. And Jong-Sun accepted all of it. Wrote down his homework again (read, pray about BoM, etc) and said he would come to churchon Sunday. I even remembered what I trained on the day before and got permission to follow up every day with him! Such a prepared man. A huge miracle, and the coolest person I have ever taught. Then we had english class, and since lots of new people came with not very good english, I taught beginner with elder Song. Fun stuff. Then, in advanced or Free Talking class, our class members found out it was Elder Robinson's birthday on friday, so they bought a cake and lots of icecream, which is absolutely delicious in Korea (I know, I just got lower in some of your sight, I eat desserts now). They are super awesome, and 2 of them, michelle and gina decided to come to church on sunday for our new idea from the branch mission leader, an english Gospel Principles class. This is huge, because they have been coming to english class for almost 20 years, and never progressed at all or anything. So, another huge blessing. ^^
The next day, Elder Robinson's birthday, we wrestled for exercize (he's a wrestler, and we have a system: every other day we switch off between running around the park and wrestling on our mats. We sleep on mats called "Yo"s. hehe^^), and after studies, did our weekly planning meeting. We got done in time, and had our most effective planning yet. This next week will be a blast!!! We do work, son! ^^ After that we met a potential investigator, and ate Pot-Bing-Soo, a delicious Korean Icecream snack that's not too unhealthy. Then we played a little Ping Pong at our church (it's small but it has a ping pong table).  He started talking about his views on God and stuff, and I got hold of the conversation very well with some scripture verses I had memorized in Seminary. Everyone still in High School: Study hard!! We introduced our message in a way suited to his needs and the verses I shared, and invited him to take the lessons. But he got scared and said no, just call me later. Soooo close!!! We still pray for him and will try one more time. Then as a district, we went to a lessactive sister's restaurant, which sells mexican burritos with a Korean twist. My first mexican buritto in Korea! Delicoius, and she gave us lots of free food. She wants to come to church and send her kids on missions, but her husband is a nonmember and wont let her. We'll keep working on him, though, he seems nice enough. and he gave us free fries. ^^
Saturday was a special day, we got ready for sunday by holding a Soccer activity for our young men and their friends / our potential investigators. But no young men came out!! We only have 3 in the ward, but yeah... but we got referrals from our potentials! Lots of appointments made for next week. ^^ Then we attended our Korean class for foreigners (only in Anseong can you find american missionaries teaching Korean in Korea). I taught beginners class while our 2 Koreans taught advanced. I am sad I missed it, but I helped a Taiwanese less active! ^^ The Nepalese investigator, Tilak, came out and kept our commitments! Progression!! He's so cool. We need him to translate for Dharmaras, our other nepalese investigator who can't really speak Korean or english. We found out that in the whole world there are 2 branches that speak nepalese, one in Salt Lake city, and one in Nepal's capital. There are no BOoks of Mormon or pamphlets in Nepalese, so we have to either teach these guys korean and help them survive in a Korean branch, or teach english and send them to PyeongTek (a city next door with american service men and amrmy bases).
Sunday was hectic, as it is every week in the morning. We called our investigators who were planning to come, and Jong-Sun cancelled!!! He was in PyeongTek and couldn't make it. Michelle and Gina both came, and Elder Robinson and I taught Gospel Principles class in English. Super weird... but really good! They felt the spirit and committed to pray and ready every day to test God's promises to bless them. So great. They both had to leave before sacrament though. After sacrament (we say the prayers every week, and 2 of our young men pass), we had to go to a restaurant with a less active returning to activity. She was baptized a ffew years ago and did this kind of semi-shady stuff with missionaries then, so she thinks its OK, and if we say know, it could push her back away from the church. So, we did our best but went out to eat on the Sabbath. I have done that 2 times now on my mission. I am a sinner. ^^ Then we went to meet Jong-Sun, because we made a different appointment for the afternoon, but he forgot that one, too! I am starting to think he has memory problems, cuz he was late to our last appointment, too. He rides a wheelchair and could be partially handicapped. But he is all there. We made one last one for the evening. Then we taught another Korean class! Foreigners from nepal, phillipines, indonesia, sri lanka, etc are abundant here, but only have sundays off work. They work like crazy in factories, but I guess its a better chance then their home contries provide cuz i havent met one that was excited to go home. These guys were Cambodian and they agreed to learn about the Gospel too. We have Cambodian pamphlets and BoM. ^^ Then we got a surprise appointment with Dharmaras, who I mentioned earlier. He is still so super accepting and feels the spirit so easily. WE taught part of the Plan of Salvation through pictures and committed him to come to Korean class to meet Tilak, so he can translate our lessons for him. We're doing all we can to teach these guys!! But we meet with more foreigners than with Koreans. Funny! That evening, Jong Sun forgot the appointment again. Grrrrr..... So we made one for tuesday. We decided to call him about 1 hour before each appointment to remind him. Still soo much potential and he keeps commintments cuz he writes it down! We finished up our day with some street contacting, which surprisingly we haven't had time for all week! We feel like American missionaries, with so many appointments they don't know how to schedule everything! IT's awesome!!! ^^
Well, that was our week. We are working hard here in the Land of Anseong, and God has blessed us to start seeing the fruit of our labors. My companion recently asked me what I did in the pre-earth life to deserve all these appointments, but I was quick to correct him and not boast in my strength, for I know that I am nothing, but I boasted in God, who helps us and gives us power and wisdom to bring these our brethren again unto Him and work with Him in the vineyard. That is on huge blessing I have felt recently, is the blessing of not being tired, to have energy, enthusiasm, and zeal for the work. Until now, I have always been tired and just in the mindset of "make it to the next meal time". But now, I am blessed with the power and desire to give my very heart and soul to this work. I have worked to my best ability up until now, and God has finally heard my cries and given me the gift that I have desired. I testify that He pushes us to the very breaking point, but if we endure still even then, He blesses us with what we despereately need and builds us back up again. This week was a rebuilding week, for my testimony and my teaching skills, as well as KOrean and overall energy level. Elder Robinson is working with me and both of us are seeing so much improvement in ourselves. I love this gospel and the Atonement at it's center, through which all who are diligently seeking to improve and serve with all their heart might mind and strength can become servants of the Lord, Instruments in HIs hands to bring to pass His great and Eternal puposes. ELder Bednar gave a talk I read today in personal study for last General conference called Bear up their Burdens, or something. It talks about the burdens we all bear, and how the burden allows us to move forward on this path of disciplship of the Son of God. I love that talk and know it is true because I have seen it in my own life this week. I hope all of you read that and apply it to your attitude and your prayers, let the Lord lift and guide you in your personal journey to Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love you all so much!! Sorry to talk your ears off again, but I have almost typed my fingers off... whew! THis is hard work. Time for a little P-day work out session. We have no better plans today. See, I still haven't changed beyond recongition, right? haha I am so grateful for this opportunity to change for the better. Talk to you all later. Have a great week.
Elder Derek Wilcox
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