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. ^^