Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nokbeon Week 10

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow so first things first this week, the sister missionaries had a baptism planned for Sunday.  It was a pretty crazy story because the woman was scheduled to get baptized right after church, but she didn't pick up her phone for the first two hours of church.  The sisters had no idea what was going on, so the left right after the sacrament and headed to her house.  Turns out, she had worked late the night before and was sleeping.  The sisters woke her up and brought her just in time for the baptism.  Although there we quite a few difficulties... everything turned out alright. Satan is hard at work, but the sister missionaries work harder! haha

This week we put some of our new finding ideas to work.  On Monday, we all headed out to an apartment complex in our area, and each companionship took one building and went top to bottom.  It was looking a little depressing until Elder Song and Elder Yetter (on splits) got let in by an 18 year-old kid and talked for a good 20 minutes.  They felt like it was time to leave and as soon as they said good-bye and walked down one flight of stairs, the parents got out of the elevator.  It was quite the miracle considering the fact that the parents definitely wouldn't have given them the chance to share this wonderful message.

One of the best parts this week was the chance to go to the Seoul temple! We went on Tuesday morning and I was again reminded of the wonderful privilege of the time we have to just sit in the Lord's house, think about things, and feel peace.  It was shortly followed by a trip to one of my favorite places in Seoul, the three dollar tie market! I wouldn't say the ties are the best quality, but I picked up a cheetah print tie for when I get home and a silver leather tie. 

Unfortunately, this week our investigators did not show up to our appointments, so we left to teach on the street. The biggest disappointment though was the three investigators we invited not showing up to watch "Meet the Mormons" on Saturday.  We called all of them a day before and confirmed, but then randomly, they all were super busy when I called them 30 minutes before we were showing the movie.  On the other hand, it was an amazing movie. The one person who didn't stand us up this week was our beloved recent convert.  He is doing really well.  The bishop bought him some good dress pants, so he should be looking fresh this upcoming Sunday.  Plus, the bishopric has been working hard to find him a job and it looks like he'll start working in October.  It still amazes me how these small steps that the gospel teaches makes such big differences in people's lives.  Countless times on my mission, people's thoughts and desires have changed through prayers and reading the scriptures.  Really cool.

Thanks for all the wonderful support that I have received this week!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Elder Song and Elder Wheeler in their apartment

Elder Song

Elder Wheeler and Sister Gu

 A young woman, Sister Lee, Sister Gu, a new convert and Elder Yetter

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Nokbeon Week 9

Dear Family and Friends,

This week started off super well on Tuesday when we met a new investigator at the park close to our church.  We basically taught the guy the entire first lesson, and he came to church that Sunday for two hours.  I don't think I've seen that big of a miracle in my entire life! Well, not to go that far, but I was pretty excited to see Brother Ha when he came on Sunday.  What's even better is that we are showing "Meet the Mormons" at our church this Saturday, and he committed to come.  I think that movie would do so well here in Korea but, unfortunately, it's not showing in theaters. As a total this week, we are teaching two new investigators.

On Wednesday, we had our weekly district meeting and heard a lot of cool ideas for opening people up to our church, rather than just stopping people and asking to shake their hand.  So we plan to try some different things this week such as English Flyering, Lemonade Stand Proselyting, District Tracting, and Street Boarding.  Lately, we've been thinking a lot about how to mix it up more during the day.  Speaking of mixing it up, we actually got a text from the assistants to our mission president  on Thursday night, telling us that we had to stay in our houses for the rest of the night.  President didn't really tell us much about the whole state of affairs with North Korea, but he had us in our houses for safety precautions.  We had no idea what was happening at the time.  But everything is just normal on the street.  The Koreans don't really seem to be alarmed, so we really weren't very worried either.  We heard from a couple of members about the tension between North and South Korea, though.  

The funnest day of the week was probably Saturday, because this half Korean, half American family showed up after family home evening and made us all delicious food.  The father of the family is originally from Mesa, but he served his mission in Taejon from 2000-2002. He then married a Korean woman and right now they are back in Korean raising their family.  He is ridiculously good at Korean, especially since he is a lawyer here.  Long story short, he has been to North Korea and back, and he told us some pretty cool stories.  It's always amazing to see the interesting things that pop-up or occur during the regular life of a missionary.

Sunday, on the other hand, was a little more difficult.  I'm pretty sure one of God's main goals for sending me out here to Korea is to increase my patience.  I see the importance of patience in every situation, yet I lack so much of it.  Well, Sunday was just one of those days where we tried to help a really old woman, and I'm talking in her 90's.  Basically, she was looking for this place, but she didn't know where it was, and neither did we, so we walked with her for about an hour and a half stopping people on the street and getting them to look it up on their phones  However, when we figured out where this place was, the lady didn't believe us and didn't let us taxi her over to the place. At this point, I was thinking that we should have left an hour ago, because we didn't seem to be much help.  In the end, my companion got a hold of her son who was super thankful because he was worrying a lot about his mother.  We also dropped her off at the Police Station to get some proper help. Luckily, my companion is like ten times more patient and loving than I am, so he helped me a lot.  On the bright-side, we were hugely blessed by the Lord by finding 3 really cool and seemingly prepared people on the way back from helping this lady.  We even talked with the son of a pastor who set up an appointment with us to meet on Wednesday Night.  It still amazes me how God continues to bless us after seemingly small trials.  Although I didn't have a great attitude, God still loved me enough to bless us with peace, comfort, and success.  What a wonderful work and how little do we recognize it's greatness!

Thanks for all the Love and prayers this week.  I needed them for sure!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
This is the room where the missionaries teach investigators at the church

Elder Lee and Elder Yetter

View from an apartment of an investigator

Elder Song with the kids who are in the English class

Elder Cazier with some kids in the ward
at Family Home Evening

I have it on good authority that that is Elder
Cazier wearing a horse head!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Nokbeon Week 8 - High Five!

Dear Family and Friends,

So basically this week was again very interesting.  I would say probably that Saturday was the most interesting, starting with exercise in the morning.  We headed out with the other Elders in our district to play soccer in the morning at the church, when randomly this guy walks through the door really drunk.  He had met Elder Song about 3 months ago on the street.  Well anyways, he comes through the door and begs to hear our message and already wants to become a missionary.  He was about 45 years old.  He was honestly super nice and we spent an hour just talking with him about Christ right there in basketball shorts, dripping in sweat.  It was a super cool miracle, especially since our mission President on Wednesday set a Standard of Excellence of 3 New Investigators per week.  So we set an appointment for 3 o'clock that same day, but unfortunately he didn't show up.  Talk about ups and downs in one day!

Another thing that happened this week was that I had the privilege to go on an exchange with Elder Yetter, my district leader.  It was such a great opportunity to do missionary work with him, and I learned so much from his boldness, honesty, and hard work ethic.  We also got a training on Wednesday from President about the new vision for our mission.  The whole thing was about faith, hard work, and raising our expectations.  He set some really lofty goals for all of us that were at first pretty shocking, and then a big opportunity to improve.  His phrase was "The Faith to Baptize."  What was worse was walking home after the conference.  I gave a kid a high-five on his bike as he rode past, but he accidentally went down pretty hard. I never knew high-fives could be so dangerous.  Fortunately, he was all right and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with him. God works in mysterious ways.

On Saturday, we got a call from the AP's (Assistants to the Mission President) saying that Elder Song would have to go to a military base down in Ursan on the other side of Korea.  Each Korean male has to serve in the army for two years, and after they serve for two years they have to do regular check-ups.  So Elder Song left today for that check-up, resulting in me joining Elder Yetter and Elder Lee's companionship.  Elder Song should return sometime tomorrow. After we left the station, we had another drunk guy chase us down the street yelling at us that we were fools...Some people might be offended, but I thought it was pretty funny. 

On Sunday, we visited a super awesome member family, who's son recently received the Aaronic Priesthood.  We had the chance to share a message with them and learn of their marriage story.  Apparently, he proposed to her after two dates in front of their entire ward at the Seoul Temple.  She couldn't say no!  I gave him a high-five for that one haha.  Jee-Hoon came to sacrament meeting this week, but left early because he was feeling pretty sick.  Unfortunately, we didn't have anyone at church this week, but we are hoping to get one of our investigators to come out next week.

Thanks for all the love and support, especially the prayers!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler

Bowling on P-day 8-10-15

Elder Song

Elder Song

Elder Jeong, Elder Cazier, Elder Yetter, Elder Wheeler, Elder Song and Elder Lee

Elder Wheeler holding a member's old Bible

Elder Yetter with a cat

Come here, Kitty!

Elder Song, the very large cat and a member

Chase with an "awesome family" from the ward

Saying goodbye to Elder Song who was temporarily leaving for his military obligation


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Nokbeon Week 7

Dear Family and Friends,

So first I will start off with an update of what happened this week for Transfers.  One area in our district closed, so now we're down to 6 Elders and 2 Sisters.  Elder Yetter is the district leader and Elder Jeong is one of our Zone Leaders.  We also had the surprise of a Korean missionary moving in to be Elder Yetter's companion, so now we are split 50/50 Koreans and Americans in our apartment.  Oh and Sister Lee's new companion is a new missionary, which brings back tons of memories of when I first came to Korea.  I was so scared, especially since I couldn't understand anything.

I just want to start off by saying that we ate really well this week.  One member family had us over for dinner this week and we got to go to the High Priest's grill party with our investigator.  They were planning on having lots more people come, so we were just left to eat lots of meat.   Well, besides eating a lot, we also talked to tons of people this week.  I'll share just one short experience.  

On Thursday, before MCM (Missionary Correlation Meeting), we were walking by a nearby station when we approached this guy who was smoking a cigarette and didn't seem to want to talk at first, We tried to keep the conversation going and he ended up having some amazing questions.  We talked about repentance, and explained basically the whole restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to him right there on the street.  He was super excited to hear and he kept mentioning how he felt in his heart.  He said that he hadn't heard one wrong thing come out of our mouths from the time we started talking to him.  It's so amazing to have that connection with an investigator.  As it says in D&C, "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."

Jee-hoon is progressing well, although he didn't come to church this week, because he wasn't feeling well.  The members have given him shirts and are planning on giving him pants to wear.  Jang-Hyeon, the guy who randomly showed up this past week to church, is doing well.  We met him this morning and we set a baptismal date.  He said he wants to meet so he can go to Heaven! Really nice guy!

I continue to find so much joy in this wonderful gospel.  I honestly have come to love studying the scriptures and recently the Old Testament.  I never thought I would find myself loving the stories of Moses and Joseph.  I have come to learn so much about God's love for us as I feel it so strongly when I read.  I have also realized how many blessings the Lord truly has in store for those who are faithful.  All the Lord requires is a willing heart and he can make us each great.  I love the story of Joseph, who continually turns his terrible situations into learning experiences and never once blames God.  How easy would it of been to be angry about being thrown in prison for keeping the Lord's commandments?  He just set an amazing example.

Thanks for all the wonderful support!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler

Meat Buffet!  Elder Song and Elder Hansen with a Korean friend

View from a building Elder Wheeler and Elder Song tracted

Elder Song

Back row:  Elder Hansen and Elder Song
Middle Row:  Elder Wheeler, Elder Mattingly, Elder Pons, Elder Yetter, Sister Lee and Sister Gu
Front Row:  Elder Jeong and Elder Cazier

Elder Wheeler on Elder Jeong's shoulders

Chase with his ward mission leader who is one of his "favorite members of all time!"

Elder Lee and Elder Yetter

Playing games at Family Night

Elder Lee at the pulpit