Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ripping My Shoe

Dear Family and Friends,

So basically I have four more days left in the MTC, and I can't believe it.  It's crazy to think that I entered the MTC about two months ago.  The group of about 20 missionaries headed to the Seoul South Mission left this morning.  It's even weirder to think that the group I spent so much time with has already left.  For all who don't know, I'm flying to Seattle on Monday morning and I'll be leaving from Seattle at about Noon.  Then after a 15 hour flight to Seoul, I'll arrive at the Incheon Airport at about 3:15pm on Tuesday.  I will lose a day because of the international date line.

So in other news, I have had quite a few uplifting experiences this week.  For example, during class with Brother Christensen, we talked for about three hours, the entire class time, and discussed ways to deal with difficult companions.  We talked a ton about never judging others for the mistakes they make and especially not talking bad about them with others.  Nevertheless, it is our job, as companions, to step in between your companion and Satan in order to keep your companion safe.  Luckily, at the MTC, I've been blessed enough to have two companions that I don't have to worry about.  Beyond that, Elder Bluhm always makes sure we're making the right decisions and acting as representatives of Jesus Christ.

We also had a great devotional that outlined some really great points.  One of those points was on forgetting yourself and getting to work.  Each day here, I've continued to work harder and harder in order to learn Korean and become better.  I have had many failures, but I can see my own personal progression.  I always thought that I was working hard at home, but as always, my parents were right.  I wasn't able to see the potential or the capacity I had for myself, but God was definitely able to see it.  I'm not saying the I'm perfect because I'll be the first one to tell you that I'm far from it.  I'm just saying that with God, we can make monumental improvements in our lives.  I've got a long way to go and the task seems very daunting, but I know that God has got my back.

The Korean Language is coming along fairly well.  Every once in a while, I'll have a discouraging day or one where I can't seem to make progress.  However, it amazes me how much I have learned in these few nine weeks.  I've learned hundreds of vocab words, tons of grammar forms, and how to pronounce and read this difficult alphabet. This is quite the testimony builder to me of prayer.  I have spent a lot of time on my knees praying, more than I ever have in my life.  And I have received more guidance, direction, comfort, and power from God than I have also ever received in my life.  Our Heavenly Father listens so intently to our prayers and He wants us to speak with Him.  All we need to do is reach out to Him, and He will always be there for us.

This week, instead of skyping Korean members for TRC (Teaching Resource Center), we just taught each other.  This occurred because they didn't have anyone available.  It turned out well because we spoke only in Korean for a straight hour.  It was great practice.  It seems like we are always teaching which really helps me so much.  It really builds my confidence and shows me what I need to work on.

It has been raining a ton here at the MTC, more than I've ever seen in Provo during the summer/fall.  It always seems like there are dark clouds above our heads.  I greatly appreciate it because at least I'm not getting roasted alive back in Phoenix!  One of the things that I don't appreciate is how everything I wear seems to be falling apart. I have ripped a huge hole in my shoe which I proceeded to duck tape.  Don't ask me how this happened because I have no idea haha.  I have also ripped holes in my socks and lost buttons on my suit coats.  However, I was able to get my suit buttons sewn back on.  Overall, the MTC has definitely been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but I've grown immensely because of it.

Thank you all again for your daily prayers and letters of support.  I am extremely grateful for them.  I send my love and prayers to you on the daily!

Love your favorite Elder,

Elder Wheeler

Thursday, August 21, 2014

11 Days and Counting

Dear Family and Friends,

So it was another interesting week at the MTC!  Elder Harvey left Tuesday morning at 4am and Elder Bluhm and I had to get up that early to help him get on the bus to the airport.  I was pretty tired that day to say the least.  It was really sad to see him go. I realized that my perspective on him and this whole situation has changed from the first week he joined us.  I went from seeing him as a burden to seeing him as a blessing with the help of the Lord.  I've also noticed that when you serve a person willingly, you can't help but love them.  Elders that I didn't initially get along with have become some of my best friends here in the MTC because of service and charity.

The service this week was interesting, to say the least.  On Saturday, with three minutes left in our designated service time, the service leader came up to me and had me start dusting the walls.  Then three minutes later he came up to me and asked how far I got!  I was like "really? I basically did nothing"- well at least that's what I was thinking.  I've never been more confused in the MTC...well not including our Korean classes everyday.  We also got our fully Korean name tags this week! Unfortunately, mine was spelled wrong.  So I asked them to fix it because I'd rather have a name tag right that I'm going to be using for two years.  It was spelled 위러 instead of 윌러.  The second one produces more of an "L" sound.

So we had some pretty great devotionals this week; although, I still hoping that one more apostle will speak to us before we leave.  Jenny Oaks Baker, an amazing violinist, showcased her skills along with talking about the power of music.  It was a great reminder of how the right music can really bring a peaceful spirit into the room.  The Young Women's President of the Church also came and spoke to us.  She mentioned how no one ever regretted that they worked too hard on their mission.  I really need to continue to work harder every day to serve the Lord and do his work.

Because I leave for 한국 (Korea) so soon, I have a ton a mixed emotions.  I know that I am progressing in the language by leaps and bounds each day, but I still know that when I get there, I probably won't have a clue as to what each person is saying.  I'm so excited to get out there (particularly because the food here is getting worse and worse everyday).  I just can't wait to share this wonderful and joyous gospel with people who need it!

During class this week we did an interesting activity.  We practiced street contacting with our teacher who was walking around the first floor of our classroom building.  All of our interactions were pretty awkward, but the slowly improved.  At one point, "the person we met," or our teacher, ran out of the building as a pair of missionaries in our district were trying to talk to him.  Apparently, he had to catch the bus.  Also we taught over Skype this week!  We taught a Korean girl who was really great.  It amazed me how we could feel the spirit through the computer.  It was great practice for "the real deal" in Seoul.  We practice teaching every single day here at the MTC and sometimes the lessons are great and sometimes they're not.  We had both this week and after one of our better ones, our teacher brought us in and complimented us on all the progress we have made.  Brother Christensen and Brother Sung are such great teachers.  They really do care about us, and they always take the time to help us out when we are struggling.

My testimony of this gospel has grown so much here at the MTC!  I have seen the wondrous things that the Lord has done for me and I have started to learn how he works with me.  I know he is always helping us and encouraging us to come closer to him.  I love Him and my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I have never been so joyous as when I do the Lord's work.

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler

Thursday, August 14, 2014

18 Days Till Seoul!

안녕하새요 Family and Friends,

Well quite a bit has happened this week at the MTC.  Let me first start out with my companions.  Elder Harvey leaves this Tuesday and that will be quite weird to not have him around as usual.  I have learned a lot from him.  Elder Bluhm is sarcastic as always, and he is picking up the language super quickly.  Everyone in our district calls him the "Vocab King.'  It really helps me a lot to have him around to correct me and push me.  So the older group of missionaries headed to Korea last Monday.  So now we are currently the older group, and this is pretty weird because all of the other missionaries look up to us.  And with that older group leaving, a new group headed to Seoul and Seoul South replaced them.  It continues to amaze me how many missionaries come into and go out the the MTC every week.

The devotional we had on Sunday was really great.  Richard E. Heaton (Main Administrator of the MTC) gave an amazing talk about how God is always looking out for us.  He showed an amazing Mormon message entitled "The Hope of God's Light."  I encourage all of you to watch this inspiring 6 minute video on He continued to then talk about how we as missionaries are here to strengthen people's connection with God. Their connection with God, along with our connection with God, is really what it is all about.  

This week during TRC (Teaching Resource Center), we had a great lesson with a member.  We had a talk about receiving revelation and guidance at church.  At the end, the members commented on how great our Korean was.  I responded by saying that I knew as much as a Rat's tail (쥐거리먹음...I think that's how you spell it).  Apparently, Koreans think that is really funny for some reason.  They burst out laughing which was great.  It is so much fun to crack jokes in Korean.  They're way funnier.

So every week on Preparation Day we go over to the temple.  Even though a nap sometimes sounds better, I am always glad that I went.  The peace at the temple really helps me calm down and not become as frustrated with Korean.  As I have been here, I have started to recognize all of the small (or big) things that God does for me each day.  I could not be more grateful for this gospel and for God.

One thing that I'm proud of is that I finished memorizing the First Vision in Korean. It was long and tough but I finally got it.  And while that was going on, our teachers introduced indirect questions to us in Korean. Definitely some of the hardest things that we have learned so far.  However, we don't get too discouraged with our teachers' "Cultural Tid-bits." We learn something new about Korea every day that just gets me more and more excited to leave.  We learn about stuff from "Korean Bath-houses" to the many unique relationships in Korea.  I feel ready to experience all of these great new things, yet I feel uncomfortable about the language.  I have this feeling that when I arrive, I wont understand a word of what they say because of how fast they speak! Overall, It was another great week here at the MTC.  I play basketball here everyday at the MTC. And I always manage to sustain some bruise or small injury.  It's still a ton of fun.  I even got to play with Elder Mitchell who I played a ton of basketball with at home.  The food here is continuing to take a toll on my body.  I honestly can't wait to get to Korea where I will be able to eat something that won't destroy my insides haha.  Thank you for all your prayers and support.  I really need them to learn this difficult language.  I've actually had a few dreams here in which I got home and I couldn't speak Korean or remember my mission.  Whether its one thing or another, the MTC always keeps me on my toes.  If you have any questions, just email me at  I'd love to hear from you!

Your favorite missionary,

Elder Wheeler

Thursday, August 7, 2014

4 Weeks Till Seoul!

Dear Friends and Family,

I don't know about about you guys, but the weeks are going by so fast now.  It really seems like yesterday that I sent my last e-mail.  But anyways, I have continued to get closer to my companions.  It's going to be sad to see them leave.  Elder Harvey, who is going to Anaheim, leaves in two weeks.  He will have stayed in the MTC for 8 weeks with only 6 weeks of Korean.  He really works so hard everyday so he can be ready in this very quick period of time.  He, along with Elder Bluhm, keep me focused everyday to meet my goals.  I tend to have a hard time completely focusing, but I make progress everyday that brings me closer to the Lord and helps me to continually serve him.

This week in our classes, we learned more Korean and more about this wonderful gospel.  The Korean language sentence structure is Subject, Object, Verb (Don't worry, I learned this a long time ago, but I'm still getting used to it).  And each week we make more and more complex sentences that are really hard to remember, unless I continually use them.  To do this, our teachers constantly encourage us to SYL (Speak Your Language).  It's very hard to remember to do this, but as I have focused on it I have seen miraculous progress.  Everything that has been put in place here at the MTC has been inspired to help us learn more than we ever could have imagined.  

Additionally, we have continued to practice progressing investigators each day.  These lessons take tons of time to prepare for and immense focus.  It is definitely difficult to listen to the investigator, my companions, and the spirit all at the same time.  What's even more difficult is that its all in Korean and I sometimes I have no idea whats being said.  Even with these circumstances, I have seen miracles.  The other day, when an "investigator" told me about a concern of his, I found myself responding with exactly what he needed to hear, all in Korean.  It amazed me what was coming out of my mouth.  It was so surprising that during those sentences I was thinking, "Wow, this is the Holy Ghost."  My companion also commented that he was shocked when he heard a complete change of voice followed by flawless Korean and no stuttering.  This was quite the testimony to me of the scripture in D&C 84:85 which states that "it shall be given you in the very hour" by the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for experiences like this that remind me that God truly does care about me.

The devotionals this week were great, again!  On fast Sunday, we watched a video of a Jeffery R. Holland talk that he gave on Thanksgiving.  The talk touched on the fact that we are really so lucky to be living during this time when so many great things are being brought to pass.  He talked about how Prophets from the beginning have seen our time and worked towards this moment even though they knew they would fail with their own people.  I can only imagine what it must have been like for Prophets like Nephi and Mormon who knew that their people would fall into wickedness and be destroyed. We must take advantage of this time where the fullness of Christ's gospel is on the Earth. 

Quite a few funny things have happened this week.  Yesterday, Brother Christensen accidentally ripped his shirt while flexing.  I almost died laughing.  And our other teacher, Brother Sung, drove to the MTC without his glasses because he couldn't find them and he was going to be late.  He seemed blind during class; however, he still thought he was a better driver than his brother who also works at the MTC.  

I am doing really well at the MTC.  I almost have the entire first vision memorized in Korean.  Hopefully, I'll have it by the end of the day.  Thanks again for your prayers.  I feel the strength that comes as being a missionary of Jesus Christ.  My testimony grows of this wonderful gospel everyday.  I know it is true.  If you have any questions, just email me!  I'd love to hear from you!


Elder Wheeler