Monday, March 24, 2014

March 23, 2014 Email --Happy Birthday Elder!

Annyeong Haseyo, everyone! Elder Wilcox here.
This week, I have a lot to say, and not a lot of time to say it. We have had some big miracles these past few weeks, but I have had no time to write them to you!!! I will try to remember the big ones... ^^

First off, I am finally old enough to go on a mission!!! I turned 19 yesterday (for me) and this morning (for most of you). It's weird to think that a year and a half ago, I had no idea I would be a missionary already!!! I am soo glad I didn't have to wait.

Next, we have an investigator with REAL conversion potential!!! His name is 김한빈 (Han-Been Kim), or Harry, because he grew up in the US. He is my age ( a little younger, but same birthyear), and he is a senior in High school. He is absolutely inspiring. He moved countries a lot when he was younger, so he didn't really have a solid language background. He settled in the US around age 6, and learns english in 4 months. Then, 5 years ago when he came to Korea, he had no Korean background whatsoever! He is already super fluent, though. He has great brainpower, but is a tad prideful of it. But, he recongizes it and want to change his lifestyle around and get baptized. His family situation is hard, too, and they oppose his joining the church. Anyway, he has met with missionaries for about 2 years, and has had a baptismal date before, but didn't follow through because of his parents. Now that he is an adult, and his parents are more comfortable with it, he is determined to get baptized and serve a mission!! He keeps talking about where he wants to go, how he can prepare best for baptism, stuff like that. How inspiring. I knew there were people out there prepared to accept the Gospel, but this boy is the first one I have taught. ^^ We are soo excited for him, and are ready to help him come unto Christ.

We had transfers this last week, and our threesome broke up... ㅜㅜ(Korean sad face).  Elder Taylor went out to Icheon, one of the only branches left in our mission. We (Elder Perry and I) are staying together!! We were so excited, because now we can go out on distance runs together in the morning. Soo awesome. I am out of shape, though. Running with a college athlete, even one 1.5+ years in the mission, is tough! But I feel so refreshed and healthy again! ^^ We have been working really hard and seeing little miracles in appointments, new investigators, our ward, and in our personal testimonies. He is a great guy, Elder Perry, and I am soo lucky to serve with him in his last 2 transfers. I am learning a lot from this amazing missionary. ^^

This week, Su-Ji, my "greenie" area, opened their church building after construction finished. I never got to go inside during my service in Suji, but in Shingal, my current area, we actually share the buidling with them!!! So, we had a huge party with both wards to celebrate, and I got to meet both of my mission wards in their true building!! I had forgotten how much I loved Suji, and I strengthened my relationship with Shingal. ^^ The party included great food, a talent show featuring the members of our wards, and some missionaries with guitars. There was a professional magician from another ward that came just for us. Super cool! We brought with us 2 non-members, Joo-Young Jo and Jee-Won So. They were really impressed with how beautiful the building was, and they got to meet and friendship-build with the members. Parties and get-togethers like this can be awesome opportunities for non-members to meet and fellowship with members, who are their lifeline in the church. We've got some new potential, now, and Joo-young promised to come to church in a fewe weeks when he's not so busy with school. Awesome Birthday present, huh? ^^

My time is short, and I need to write a few more emails, but I am glad I could send this one out!! This is the busiest, most satifying and hardworking time of my mission thus far! I am learning so much, and the skills I am honing now will come into play throughout my life. I love the work, and I hope all of you are enjoying the Blessings of the Lord in your lives. He love you and seeks to guide and bless you. While its hard, following His path truly does bring the most happiness and peace, more than anything else in the Universe. I am amazed and eternallly endebted to my God and King, who made my life and this missionary service possible, and to my Savior, His Son, who enables us all to come back into Father's presence. I am seeing the blessings that come from my covenants with them, and I can testify that They are truly there, all-powerful and all-knowing, engaged in our lives, One of my friends said that God is great at Logistics, and I agree! God will lead us each individually to the most effective, happy, peaceful and best life if we let Him. I know this to be true. I say these things to you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Keep on keeping on that heavenly road!
Elder Wilcox

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 2, 2014 Email

안녕하시나요, Everyone? Hello! It's been a while. ^^
Things have been going quite well here in 신갈 Shin-gal area. My companionship of me, Elder Perry the runner, and Elder Taylor the master chef is working hard to labor in the Lord's vineyard over here. We are quite diligent with our street contacting, and got quite a few phone numbers for our efforts, but are still kinda low on the lessons aspect. We will have a few more this week, though! It's truly exciting to find and teach through your own efforts.
This week has been an up week for me in learning Korean. I think the Lord likes to tease me sometimes, because it seems like one week I am super good at speaking the language, and the next week I can barely string 2 words together. Either way, my english is starting to degenerate significantly (you have no idea how hard that sentence was to put together! ^^).
This week... what did we do? Let me look in my planner. I love that thing, and I have no idea how I lived without my life this organized before the mission! Highly recommended to plan every our of every day. ^^
Anyway, it looks like this week, we:
Went to a Public Bathhouse on P-day. Those things are soo relaxing, and probably not legal for missionaries anywhere else in the world... haha!
Met our new ward mission leader. His son left on a plane for the MTC earlier that day! I love this guy. He 반말's all the time, which is using "Low Form"of speech, used with kids and animals ore really really close relationships. He also makes jokes and stuff. But, he is also extremely dedicated to the Work of Salvation, despite having no job for the time being, and having 6 foreigners who can't speak his language suddnely dropped in his lap! I love brother 이병호 (Byeong-Ho Lee)! ^^
Got a miracle Less Active Member visit on Tuesday, when I prayed before-hand in my heart that she would be there. She was, and was super nice! Said we could come back later. ^^ First direct answer to a prayer like that!! ^^
Talked about "Divine Discontent" in District meeting on Wednesday. That means being happy, uplifted, hopeful, but never EVER satisfied with where we are. Our Mission President has been really emphasizing this lately, and I think we are starting to feel it more and more. Always looking to the next goal, next point, next PR.
Talked to a slightly drunk guy on Thursday while we streetboarded our English program that was just in love with me! He tried to take our sign, and then my pen as a memory of meeting me. He was really impressed with me, and that there were still good people in the world, but I think he was indisposed to talk right then, judging by the fact that he was wobbling and we had to catch a bus in time to get home before 9. But I got his phone number, and we'll call him at sometime in the early after noon before he's too far gone. I hope. ^^
Played Soccer with our ward Young Men and their non-member friends on Saturday! That was super fun, even though I still can't play worth anything. Koreans aren't Brazilian skill level or anything, but they are wayy better than the average American. That's not what they  expect, though, because they hear that all Americans are blonde, tall, have blue eyes, and are super-human athletes. Since I only fit 2 of the 4 requirements, people usually think I am from Germany or some other place. haha!
Had one of the best Sundays of my mission thus far! I had an excellent study in the Gospel of Mark, took the Sacrament, had a great lesson in Gospel Principles, and taught our investigator Dong-Hwa Kim in 3rd hour. This was the first time we've met him without members present, and we found out a lot more basic, necessary facts about him and his life and beliefs than we knew before. He attends church to appease some Power or Energy out there, not necessarily a God, but he has been coming to our church every since he met some of our missionaries about 5 years ago! Wow! He is also from China, so neither his Korean nor ours is perfect, but since it's the only common tongue, we use it. Super cool feeling, by the way... ^^
After church, we went to a Baptism of one of Elder Perry's former investigators! We rode the subway for about 2 hours into Seoul, and met Cheol-Ho Ji. a studly man who gave up his life in the fast lane because it required him to drink every night. He wanted to change, me the missionaries, and was "only Friends" with them for about 5 months, coming to activities in the ward and stuff. But then, finally, he committed to take the lessons. Elder Perry was transfered out about 4 weeks ago to be with us, but he was with this man almost the whole way. So, we got invited over, and Elder Perry got to baptize him. Inspiring!
I also met some people from the deaf branch over there who attended the Baptism, and learned some 수화 Su-Hwa, or Korean sign language (literally translated as Hand communication). Really fascinating! I met a former American Missionary who served in Taejon several years ago, and has now moved to Korea, married a Korean and has a little daughter. He's fluent out of his mind at Korean, and he is a really cool guy, too!  He is a lawyer here, which takes pretty fluent command of the language. ^^ Inspiring!
Then we had some 돼지고기 Pig meat to break our fast. Gogi burritos, that's where its at.
This week I have been a little sick, but now am much better. Still a little cough that interfered with my work a little, but since I pushed through, God helped me see these miracles this week. ^^
I hope all of you are well, and I pray the Lord blesses you in every aspect of your lives. I pray you feel my love and His love, which I know He has for you, and since time is short, I will close that prayer (and this email) In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Amen!
윌콕스 장로
Elder Wilcox