Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sokcho Week 22

Dear Friends and Family,
This week has been really hectic.  I guess I'll start off with the sad news.  Brother Jeon didn't come to church yesterday and didn't pick up any of our calls.  This morning he sent us an e-mail basically telling us he has decided to leave our church and not come back.  Unfortunately, he didn't tell us what the problem is and doesn't want to visit with us or talk about it. Luckily, he has been in contact with our branch members about the entire situation and it seems that he has gotten quite a bit of pressure from his family to not attend.  All of us are really heartbroken, of course.

In happier news, this week we had the opportunity to go to Seoul! It was amazing to have the chance to go to the temple again and feel the peace that resides there.  The next day we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Ringwood and his wife.  They spoke to us a lot about Moroni 10 and gave us the opportunity to ask questions.  The whole thing just went really well.  

We also had a super great picnic as a branch on Saturday.  Brother Park and his whole family all showed up and we had a super great time.  We had this huge soccer game and I am currently sore from it.  I'm pretty sure everyone enjoyed it and it brought our branch just a lot closer together.  

As for a cool spiritual experience, last Friday during weekly planning, I had the impression during the opening prayer to pray for the opportunity to give someone a baptismal date. And on Saturday, Brother Jin accepted one!  It was a cool experience and a witness that God continually answers our prayers that are said in Christ's name.

Thanks for all the support and everyone who continues to pray for this small branch here in Sokcho!

Some of the people we are teaching right now are:

Doyeong: The 9th grader who's parents oppose baptism and who's kind of just hanging in there.

Brother Lim: 28, he works for a less active member of our branch who came to the picnic; he's super nice and has come to church quite a lot

Brother Jin: 62, he lives/works in a parking garage.  His life has been super hard. An old friend took him in and gave him food and a place to sleep.  While he works at the garage, he attends a gym to get his health back up.  This week we set a baptismal date for the 24th of May.

Mr. Gwon: In his 70's, We've met him twice and he seems really interested.  Missionaries have been trying to meet with him for awhile.  He seems really interested in the Plan of Salvation, but he is not very good at answering his phone, so meeting is difficult.

Your favorite missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Elder Wheeler, Elder Lanford, Elder Shin and Elder Elwood at the temple

Branch picnic



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sokcho Week 21

Dear Family and Friends,

One thing was absolutely crazy this week: the weather.  One day we were wearing short-sleeve T-shirts and the next day we were wearing sweaters and suit coats.  On Thursday, it seemed pretty sunny outside, but after we had left for our lesson, the weather quickly turned.  By the time we finished our lesson and headed outside, the rain was flying sideways right into us.  We tried talking to a couple of people still, but they just ran away, thinking we were crazy for trying to talk to them in this weather, so we went into a convenience store and bought an umbrella.  The umbrella broke within a minute.  We just took a taxi home and called people because trying to talk to people in that weather was pointless.  Fun birthday though!

We had the privilege of also going to a piano recital for one of our member's daughter's last Saturday.  All the missionaries went to support her as she played a song that she had been working on for a while. I think she was glad for all the support.  She had quite the cheer section!  Brother Lim even came with us. Also on that Saturday, Elder Demordaunt and I went on exchanges together.  He is such an incredible missionary, and I was able to learn a ton from his example.  

This week we met a lot of new people, but unfortunately, none of our investigators came to church.  One man we have been working with, Brother Jin, continues to tell us how much peace he feels when he meets with us.  He lives in really humble circumstances, basically sleeping at the car garage, where he works.  We have taught him a lot about Faith, Repentance, and Baptism.  He has accepted all the steps really well. He has already started to repent and tells us about how much peace he feels when he does.  He wants to be baptized, but he can't come to church because he works everyday from 6am to 10pm.  When we met him today, he decided to ask his boss and pray with faith to get Sunday off so he can come to church.  It is such a wonderful experience to teach him every week.

On Monday night, we taught an interesting lesson to a man who lives in our apartment complex.  We sat down with him and had a great lesson; however his wife was on the floor next to us-snoring a little loudly.  Regardless of the slight distraction, he seemed really interested in our message, and maybe we can teach his wife next time too!

Thanks for all the support and love!

Your Favorite Missionary,
Elder Wheeler

Dinner with the missionaries and Sokcho Branch members

Photo from piano recital of a Sockcho Branch member (middle girl in back row)

Piano recital participants

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sokcho Week 20

 Dear Family and Friends,

This was quite the week here in Sokcho.  This past week we have started to meet with some more really cool people.  One man we met at this parking garage where he works.  After talking for a little bit, he invited us into his little shack and we started to share the gospel with him.  We showed him the "Because He Lives" video which brought him to tears as he talked about his mom who had passed away.  We found out about the tough things he is experiencing and he is willing to try and start fresh.  He is a very kind and humble man.

We also started to meet with a man who currently lives on welfare.  He attends another church because his pastor basically told him that he was saved as long as he prays a lot.  We've met with him a twice and he seems to enjoy our meetings.  Last time we met, he brought in a trap with a fish in it that he put in a bowl of water.  During our lesson, the fish just started flopping around, spraying water all over his apartment.  He also showed up for conference, but he did sleep through quite a bit of it. We also went to YangYang on Thursday for a service project at a member's house.  It went really well and was a ton of fun.

General Conference was super awesome.  I don't know where to start.  Brother Lim showed for 4 sessions! He wasn't so sure about it on Saturday, but he told me that he liked the talks a lot on Sunday.  Plus, he has started to read the Book of Mormon.  What a huge step.  Unfortunately, our other investigators didn't show up mainly because we can't call anyone right now.  Our phone bill has yet to be paid which makes missionary work a little difficult.  Anyways, conference with the chance to hear from our beloved prophet and apostles, really put the pieces together for me.  God answered the questions I had and even gave me answers to questions that I hadn't even thought of.  It is amazing that God knows me that well.  I can't really pick a favorite talk because I got so much from each one.  

Lastly, today we had the opportunity to go to Seoraksan with Brother Jeon and all the missionaries.  It was an absolute blast.  The more and more I talk with him, I just continue to realize how awesome he is.  For example, he gets personal revelation from God really well.  Whenever he has a question, the first thing he does is pray about it.  I feel like I have learned more from him than he has learned from me.  Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Elder Lanford, Elder Wheeler, Member in Yang Yang, Elder Shin and Elder Elwood at lunch after service project

Elder Wheeler with an investigator and the aforementioned fish
Watching April 2015 General Conference at the Sokcho Branch meetinghouse

Cherry blossom tree in full bloom

Brother Jeon and Elder Wheeler on the P-day hike at Seoraksan National Park

Sister Evans, Sister Kim Onyu, Elder Wheeler

Elder Lanford balancing Elder Elwood on his bare hand!

Karate Kid, anyone?

Elder Lanford, Elder Shin, Elder Wheeler, Brother Jeon and Elder Elwood


Elder Wheeler and Brother Jeon

Elder Shin trying to get the right angle for the photo

Brother Jeon

Time for lunch!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sokcho Week 19 - Happy Easter/부활절!

Elder Shin, Elder Elwood, Elder Lanford, Yoon-Seong, Elder Wheeler and Brother Jeon in front of the Seoul Temple
Dear Family and Friends,

This week was filled with many exciting and interesting activities.  On Saturday, we went to the temple as a branch by taking the 2 hour bus ride to Seoul.  It was a super great experience to do baptisms as proxy for those who have died with Brother Jeon and the one young man in our branch, Yoon-Seong.  I was again reminded of the beauty of the Lord's house and the wonderful spirit that resides there.  Brother Jeon seemed to have a great experience and enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Lord's house with us.  It was super cool to see a man who I had taught enter the temple for the first time. Since the temple was in my last area, I also ran into my old ward mission leader and few of the other awesome members who live there.  It was good to talk with them for a bit, especially since my Korean is a lot better than the last time I saw them. 

On Sunday, we had a great Easter and we were able to sit down with Brother Lim and Brother Jo (the 75 year-old member in our ward).  It was super nice to be able to teach with him after church. Brother Jo had some really great comments and helped to explain a lot of things in a well-spoken way.  We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the opportunities that it gives each one of us.  Although he is extremely quiet, Brother Lim committed to read and pray about baptism and following the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This week we spent lots of time talking to people on the street and showing them the "Because He Lives" video that was released by the church this week.  We saw a lot of cool miracles as people saw the video and had a chance to feel His wonderful Spirit testify of Christ's resurrection.  One kid went from having no interest and being quite skeptical of our message to willingly giving us his phone number and asking to meet again.  I was just thankful for the opportunity to be continually reminded of the things that are possible because He lives.  

Reading the Book of Mormon has continued to go really well.  Last night, I came across a scripture that I really liked in 3 Nephi 17:3 that I want to share. This is after Jesus ministers to the people and teaches them.  He then says to them, "Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again."  I really love that advice.  We just have to prepare our minds and ask God. With any problem we may face or when we are looking to learn from the words of God, this principle is so important.

Thanks for all the love and support!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
View of Sokcho at dusk

View of Sokcho at night
Image of Christ and the young ruler at the Seoul Temple
Elder Shin, Elder Elwood, Elder Wheeler, Elder Lanford and Brother Jeon in front of the Seoul Temple

Brother Jeon in front of the Seoul Temple

Temple landscaping

Brother Jeon and Elder Shin in front of the Seoul Temple
View of Shin Chon (Chase's last area) from the Seoul Temple

Yoon-Seong and Sister Evans

Sokcho Branch members and missionaries at the Seoul Temple