Sunday, November 23, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

So I guess I will start off with the big news.  This past Saturday was transfer calls.  Most missionaries stay in each area for a while, so I was pretty surprised when they told me I was leaving 신촌.  Elder Julseth will stay, become district leader, and train a new missionary again.  I, on the other hand, am headed out to 속초 (sokcho)!  속초 is located on the east coast and borders North Korea.  I will be serving in the most north eastern part of Korea. I have heard that 속초 is a beautiful area that is centered around a bay.  It is also one of the few places in the world where you can see snow on the ocean; so basically, it's really cold. I will probably have my first white Christmas there which also means I will be shoveling snow pretty often.  The branch (small congregation) there has 6 members in it, so quite a big difference from 신촌. There are currently six missionaries serving there (4 Elders and 2 Sisters) and one is the branch president.  I'll be serving with Elder Elwood.  I'll tell you more about it next week when I get there.  I'm really excited to head out there on Wednesday morning, but I will definitely miss 신촌 a lot.

On Sunday, I said my goodbyes to the ward and bore my testimony to them before I left.  I did okay during my talk, but I must have pronounced where I was going wrong because a lot of people thought I was going to an area in the Seoul South mission, just the typical everyday struggle in Korean.  But I'm really going to miss the people in this awesome ward. And we've just started to continually meet with Jack!  He scared us this week by not responding, but he just hadn't paid his phone bill.  He randomly showed up to church though, and we were able to teach him. Over these past few weeks, I have become really good friends with Jack, and he was super disappointed to hear that I was leaving.  He honestly is one of the best guys I have taught so far, and it seems like he has a really good chance to get baptized.  He just has so many great questions, and he has already made friends with a bunch of people in the ward.

On Wednesday, we met with Thomas for the first time after we ran into him on the street.  He is about 40 years old and is in Seoul taking care of his mother.  I really learned about the vital importance of listening during that lesson.  He told us a lot about himself at the beginning which could have been easily brushed aside if we were trying to push our message upon him.  But because we intently listened and asked questions, he was really open to what we taught him.  It seemed that he was much more willing to listen because he saw that we were there for more than a stat or reward.  

Lately, Elder Julseth and I have been talking a lot about three things that motivate people: fear, a sense of duty, and love.  Our district leader gave us the analogy of two sky scrapers connected with a beam.  He said that a two year-old toddler crawled out onto the middle of a beam.  A pedestrian seeing the situation tried to help, but didn't get very far because he was motivated by fear.  A fireman, assessing the situation, headed out onto the beam because of his sense of duty as a firefighter. But how far will one go just based on duty?  On the other hand, the father sees that his child is in trouble.  He is motivated by the child he has raised and does not hesitate to try and save his child.  As a missionary, I think one of the ultimate goals is to have love be your motivation for all you do, like Jesus Christ.  I think in some ways, I really do love the people here, but its pretty hard to love the person that pushes you away and tells you you're wrong.

Anyways, it was a really exciting week.  Next week I hope to have some amazing photos for 속초.  Thanks for all the support!

Your Favorite Missionary,
Elder Wheeler

Shinchon Ward

Example of poor English

Elder Julseth, Jack, Elder Wheeler

Elder Wheeler and a ward member 

Deacon in Shinchon Ward

Elder Wheeler and Jack before leaving Shinchon
Elder Wheeler and Elder Christensen (District Leader in Shinchon)

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