Sunday, December 27, 2015

Nokbeon Week 26

Dear Family and Friends,

It was a wonderful Christmas spent here in the city of Seoul.  Only about half of Koreans actually "celebrate" Christmas, but most of them usually go out to eat with their spouse or go on a date during Christmas.  We were outside during Christmas, using a sticker-board to introduce our message to people on the street and there were SO many couples, and all the other guys who were alone on the street were going to meet their girlfriends.  Well we did have some good success overall and that night for dinner, we ate with Gyeong-Min and Jee-Hoon and watched the nativity video.  It was great to be able to spend time with them and talk about Christ.  After that, we took a bus out to a less active member's house to visit him, but unfortunately he wasn't there.  On the ride home from the visit, I was a little disappointed that nothing was really accomplished and that no one wanted to talk on the bus.  In the moment of feeling sorry for myself, I looked out the window and made eye contact with an old man at the bus stop, who just smiled big at me and gave me a thumbs up! I felt in that moment that the angels were just cheering me up.  To me, that was a huge miracle because that is a little weird for people to do in Korea.  I really do know that God loves and cares about each one of us.

Also this week, we had our Christmas party on Christmas Eve! Unfortunately, there was no Santa but the kids did get lots of candy in their stockings!  The missionaries had to pull off a musical number, and we did Carol of the Bells which went alright.  I asked Gyeong-Min how it went, and he said the quality was low....(For the record, Gyeong-Min is a little too honest haha).  But, all the other members seemed to enjoy it.  I've definitely improved my singing skills on my mission.  I practice singing the bass line for every hymn that we sing, and its coming along to a degree.  We watched the Christmas devotional which was awesome.  I also got a sweet scarf from an English class member and some socks from the Bishop.  This ward is the best!

Also, lately the Korean language has been coming along pretty well.  Just last Sunday, I was talking with some new members who moved into our ward who I had called earlier.  While I was taking with them, the wife, with her jaw dropped said, "Wow! You're so good at Korean."  I usually don't trust Korean compliments because they tell everyone how good they are at Korean, no matter their level, but that time it seemed pretty sincere.  The complexities of the Korean language just continue to amaze me and blow my mind.  There are so many different ways to express yourself which just makes it so fun to learn.  

As for other news, we had ward council this week and the ward seems like it is heading in a good direction.  W will hopefully have two baptisms this upcoming month in the Nokbeon ward.  The other elders have a sweet investigator, along with Gyeong-Min who are both progressing well.  The ward has also made lots of plans to bring people back to church.  I work with the Elder's Quorum President a lot who told me last Sunday that he feels like I'm his first councilor haha.  I definitely talk with him enough to be his first councilor, and we are working closely together to strengthen these members.  I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people I have met and all the amazing things I have learned on my mission.

Thanks for all the love and support!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Chase wearing his investigator's coat, Elder Apigo and a Korean youth

Chase with a Korean friend

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Nokbeon Week 25

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was exciting and filled with lots of Zone activities.  We've been trying to get more creative as a zone this Christmas and help introduce people to Jesus Christ in a different way.  So I was thinking a couple weeks back and got some sweet inspiration to do "Pictures with Santa."  At first I was tempted to just forget about it because it seemed a little crazy, but we put it into action this week! And it went really well.  I was the cameraman and Elder Ashby was Santa and we went to 3 different areas.  People loved it and we got over 130 emails in just a couple of days.  We're planning on sending each of their pictures to them along with our website and lots of other sweet information.  Long story short, people took some pretty hilarious pictures, and I even met a guy from Phoenix who went to Moon Valley High school and knows Coach Metheny! What a small world.  The guy from Phoenix is pictured below on the left.  He was awesome!

This week we also met with Gyeong-Min and one of the youth for delivery chicken at the church. We talked about the Aaronic Priesthood with him for a bit.  Gyeong-Min is basically a member who hasn't been baptized yet.  He comes every week to church, but we're having trouble helping him to take that next step and make that super important commitment.  It's really fun having the chance to talk with and teach him the gospel.  We also met with a man for dinner this week who had met with missionaries about 8 years ago.  He went to church a ton as a middle schooler, but he never got baptized.  He was pretty cool, but he didn't seem to have much interest.

On Sunday this week we had our music night that we have been preparing for forever.  I was the lights man, and I totally nailed it! It was pretty nerve-racking and about 200 people came.  Jee-Hoon especially loved it, and I got a text from a different member later telling us how awesome our mission was!

Sometimes it's hard to remember the true meaning of Christmas in the hustle and bustle of all the activities and presents that exist during the season.  Even as a missionary, we are busy with all sorts of different things, but I've found that as I've focused on the light that Jesus Christ gives, I've received more happiness and learned more of my worth.  Missionary work is so hard, and it's so easy to just recognize all of your imperfections, but Jesus Christ is the one who makes it all okay, despite the trials.  He can comfort us when we are down and save us when we are lost. That's the beauty of the plan of happiness, and it's definitely why he was born. For you and for me.

Thanks so much for all the love and support this Christmas season!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler

Elder Ashby plays Santa and is very popular!

Santa and the missionaries


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Nokbeon Week 24

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this week was really fun and awesome.  We had an inspiring temple day on Tuesday which really helped me to feel the Lord's love for me.  After the Temple, we headed over to the war museum which is super cool.  It made me realize how heart-breaking the war must have been here in Korea.  It still continues to amaze me that a city that could be that destroyed progressed to the level it is at now in like 60 years.  After P-day, we finished shopping and went to English class.  At English class, we got to give our Christmas message and hopefully bring a little hope into someone's life.

Working with members during this Christmas has just been really fun and super inspiring.  This past Monday, we visited a family with 6 KIDS, which is considered a huge family in Korea.  Most people outside of the church have one or two kids.  Well anyways, we had a great family home evening with them and got the chance to share the Christmas message with them.  They loved the video and each one committed to bring a friend to our Music Night this upcoming Sunday.  The missionaries in our mission who are musically talented got together and prepared an amazing music program with a violin quartet, a cello duet, and a super talented choir.  I'm pumped to watch it this Sunday.  They posted a little bit about it on our mission Facebook page.

Also during this week, we got the district together and caroled out by 연신내, a populated and popular area in our boundaries.  We gave out lots of Book of Mormons that we wrapped up and spread some needed Christmas cheer.  Most people just walked by awkwardly, but it was fun getting to do missionary work in a way that we don't usually do.  After that, we went to the Stake President's house with our investigator, Gyeong-Min, who is doing really well.  Luckily, Gyeong-Min has gotten to know the members a lot better and it pretty close with the Stake President.  Gyeong-Min is also pretty friendly with another recent convert in our ward.  The recent convert took Gyeong-Min out to dinner without us which was pretty awesome.

One super cool miracle we saw this week was definitely when Brother Jeong (26yr-old recent convert) brought his friend to the church to meet with us.  We will now be teaching his friend as our new investigator, and he seemed pretty interested in the Book of Mormon!  This week was just really exciting and enjoyable.  I got to work with the Bishop on Sunday morning during PEC, and with our Elder's Quorum President who works really hard.  I love this ward, and I am super glad that I will be able to spend Christmas here.

Thanks for all of the Support and Love!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Seoul at night

Elder Wheeler, Elder Collins, Elder Apigo and Elder Jeong join
the Yoo family for Family Home Evening.

Chase got his Christmas package!

Temple Day!
December 8, 2015

Elder Yetter and Elder Wheeler at the temple

Elder Policky (from the MTC) and
Elder Wheeler at the temple

Elder Coleman, Elder Jeong, Elder Wheeler, Elder Lee,
Elder Collins, Sister Robertson, Elder Apigo and
Sister Brian at the temple

The War Museum

Elder Cable and Elder Wheeler
at the War Museum


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Nokbeon Week 23

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week we had some really cool and crazy experiences.  The best experience we had this week was probably taking Gyeong-Min to the temple on Friday.  I was on exchanges with Elder Apigo and we had agreed to meet with Gyeong-Min at the Temple in ShinChon, but his phone was dead, and we hadn't agreed on a time yet, so we just decided to do our back-up plan and visit some less-actives.  Anyways, he called at about 6:30 asking if we could still meet at the temple, so we went and showed him around.  Well anyways, he loved it and he totally just wanted to go inside.  When I told him that we could only go in with a temple recommend, he was pretty ready to get baptized.  Anyways, we had a really great conversation, and the Stake President, who I am pretty good friends with, came out and taught our investigator a little bit about the temple.  The Stake President works at the temple, but lives in our Nokbeon ward.  Gyeong-Min said he would definitely get baptized, even maybe in December.  It was a huge reminder to me of the power of the temple and the effect that it has.  We went home that night with joy in our hearts.

The next day, while I was still on an exchange with Elder Apigo, we were walking to an appointment, when I felt the need to talk to this guy.  He was pretty busy going to play pool and didn't have a lot of time to talk, but I was pretty persistent.  So then out of nowhere he insisted that we come up, so he could introduce us to his friends.  Luckily, pool houses in Korea are pretty clean and don't sell alcohol, so I felt like I should go up with him.  Long story short, we ended up teaching the owner and the guy a lesson and giving them both Book of Mormons.  They loved it and were super interested.  I feel like I find the coolest people in the most random places that I could have never predicted. 

Also this week, we worked in more creative ways with the members.  We actually did a role play with a family and they loved it.  It was of course a little awkward at first, but it was a great learning experience.  We got quite a few members to share the Christmas video on Facebook which also went really well.  I feel like I'm starting to have a bigger effect on missionary work as I do it more and more with the members.  Additionally, this week we had a training on how to help everyone catch this Christmas spirit.  We have to use the holidays as effectively as possible.

On Saturday, we had English class and a super fun family home evening at the church.  We played a game called Mafia, where the mafia are selected at random and they choose one person to remove from the game each "night".  The next "morning" everyone tries to figure out who the Mafia is and kick them out of the game.  Well, it is just really fun, especially because I was able to persuade lots of people.  It was also the night before transfers, so we also ordered chicken to eat.  Only Elder Jeong is getting transferred out of our district. The rest of us are staying which is pretty exciting! 

Thanks for all the wonderful wonderful support and prayers.  I can clearly see all of the miracles happening because this is truly the Lord's work!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Elder Apigo at the palace the missionaries visited
last p-day (November 30, 2015)

Elder Wheeler

Elder Collins and Elder Wheeler

Elder Wheeler practicing his door approach as
Elder Coleman looks on

Elder Collins

Elder Collins

Elder Collins, Elder Apigo, Elder Wheeler and Elder Coleman

Elder Wheeler and Elder Coleman

Elder Collins at the local "Pizza School of deliciousness"

It's snowing in Seoul

Elder Collins, from Wyoming, is surely used to living
in snow. 

Elder Wheeler, from Arizona, not so much!

The Seoul temple at night

Elder Wheeler and Gyeong-Min
at the temple

Elder Apigo and Gyeong-Min at the temple

Elder Jeong with a member at
Ward Family Home Evening

Missionaries and members at Ward Family Home Evening.