Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nokbeon Week 13 - 추석. 재미있다.

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was absolutely spectacular and fun.  This weekend is part of the Korean Thanksgiving which is called 추석(Choo-seok).  So basically for this weekend, since missionary work was going to be less than effective, we had a conference and a cleaning day.  For the conference on Friday, our mission President rented out an entire bowling alley and we all bowled together.  It was super fun and afterwards we had a conference on Korea and mission work here.  I was reminded of how much I have come to love these awesome people.  During regular missionary work, it's easy to get caught up with how frustrating people can be sometimes, but the conference really helped me to realize how much Koreans and their country have come to mean to me.

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to clean our house.  We usually have big cleaning days twice a year to make sure that our houses are a place where the spirit can reside.  Well, the four of us went all out on our house and it looked so good afterwards.  We cleaned from 11am to 9pm with like a 20 minute lunch break because there was just so much to do.  There is a picture of me below lying on the floor relishing in the cleanliness.  Unfortunately, we didn't have any time to do missionary work, but Sunday went super well.  

Because of the holiday, we had maybe about 50 people at church on Sunday, opposed to the 160 people we usually have and most of them just showed up for the last hour of church.  It was pretty surprising, so the Bishop just had us all meet together for the three hours.  Well, during the last hour, sacrament meeting, our investigator who doesn't have a phone just randomly decides to show up.  It was so shocking to see him there.  We also met with him after and he asked the one question that every missionary wants to be asked.  "How can I know if these things are true or not?"  I just got the biggest smile on my face during the lesson and proceeded to answer the question I have been waiting for.  He also committed to a baptismal date on the 25th of October.  His name is Se-Young.  It was truly quite the 추석 miracle.

Other than the Holiday this weekend, we spent more time visiting members this week and trying to help them do missionary work.  We had family home evening with a family of 8 at their house and brought Jee-Hoon along.  It was super fun and our message of following the spirit's promptings and tuning others' voices turned into a wrestling match...luckily it wasn't serious.  It amazes me how the parents in that family do it.  We also visited a couple other members who just shared really amazing conversion stories.  The parents of the six children actually have a crazy story.  The wife got baptized in her youth and her future husband was a 17 year-old priest at the time and baptized her.  They ended up getting married after he served a mission.  The members here are so amazing.

This week was really awesome and just helped me see the Lord's hand in all things.  Thanks for all the love and support!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Wrestling at Family Home Evening - looks familiar!

Ward member, Chase, Jee-Hoon

Chase with the ward mission leader

Elder Collins, Elder Lee and Elder Lee
at the mult-zone bowling activity

Elder Coleman (Elder Lee's companion who both
live in the same apartment with Chase and
Elder Collins).

This is what a clean missionary apartment looks like!

Chase has a new found appreciation for cleanliness!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Nokbeon Week 12

Dear Family and Friends,
Hello from wonderful Seoul Korea.  This place just continues to amaze me.  It contains so many different surprises and great things.  This week was definitely one of them.  Before Elder Song left, we spent time this week saying our goodbyes to different people and eating together.  It was definitely sad to see Elder Song leave who is just so full of energy and excitement.  On Wednesday night, we had a trainers' training meeting in which we learned about how to help the new missionaries who are coming in.  President talked with us for a while and put the pressure on for us to do well. 
On Thursday, we had our transfer meeting and I got a new missionary from Wyoming.  He just graduated from High School as a state champion wrestler.  His name is Elder Collins, and he came in with Elder Apigo who is also getting trained in our district.  In other news, President also called me as the district leader, another thing to stress out about.  There are currently 6 Elders and 2 Sisters in our district, and three of them are new missionaries.  Basically, I haven't been able to get off the phone for the past three days between all the stuff that comes up....
Training has been going pretty darn well this week.  Let's just say that I am in the learning process, but I really enjoy the mix of pace, especially how excited new missionaries get about everything.  I am continuing to notice all the cool things that actually happen that I have gotten used to.  I can't even begin to imagine all of the blessings that God gives us without us even noticing.  This week we tried a basketball class for the first time and 3 of the youth from our congregation showed up.  Two of them came late.  Unfortunately, none of them brought their friends, but we are planning for an increase next time.  Luckily, I got some tips from Elder Yetter before he left  on how to run a basketball class, so it went well. 
On Saturday, after basketball class, we had a pretty packed day.  We were in the middle of lunch when we got a call from a Sister at the church saying that an 80 year-old man showed up at the church wanting to learn and meet with us.  So we rushed out of the house and met him, only to find out that he came to us looking for money for his hospital bill.  We can't give people money as missionaries, so it was a little awkward situation, plus my companion had no idea what was going on.  We tried to explain our message, but he had no interest in what we were sharing.  Then we taught the 26year-old, Jang-hyeon, that we have been working with for the last month.  It was super good to actually meet him again, and my companion committed him to baptism for October 11th! Jee-hoon helped us out with a great testimony and Elder Collins did a great job.  We then shared messages at English Class and Family Night.
To finish up the week on Sunday we had a 2 hour ward council meeting after church.  I went with Elder Jeong to the meeting for my first time and it was really interesting.  I also realized that I was the youngest and only foreigner in the room...  The meeting went a little long, but it was nice to get a feel for the direction that the ward is moving in.  The best part of the night was a visit to a member named Brother An who has a wife and two little kids.  We shared a message about serving like our Savior and talked about why that is so important.  He gave some really great advice that really struck me.  He talked about how when I leave this area that what he wants to remember about me are not my talents, looks, or speaking ability, but just how much I acted like and resembled the Savior.  It was a great reminder of the thing that matters most is how well we act in harmony with our Savior's teachings.
Thanks for all the love and support from back home! Missionary work is so great!

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Wheeler
Nokbun District before transfers
Elder Lee from Nokbun Ward serving in Seoul until his
US travel documents come

Elder Collins and Elder Apigo

Elder Wheeler and Elder Collins

Chase runs into Kay Wing from our Stake shopping in Seoul!

Elder Collins, Elder Wheeler and Kay


Monday, September 7, 2015

Nokbeon Week 11

Dear wonderful Family and Friends,

This week was wonderful and definitely finished off with an amazing fast Sunday.  On Thursday, we had a conference with Elder Whiting from the 70, along with our mission president and his wife.  The conference basically went from 9am to 3pm with a lunch break in-between.  Frankly, it seems pretty long, but the Question & Answer session along with the training was super helpful.  Our leaders again pushed the fact that the church can experience more success in Asia. The quorum of the 12 apostles has stated that, and our mission President has continued to train on "The Faith to Baptize."  Basically, during the conference, I was able to hear a lot of the things that I needed and get some more ideas for how I can boost my faith.  One thing that I have started to do is basically pick faith promoting scriptures during personal study and then read them throughout the day to pump myself up.  It's working pretty well.  Although it may not be the best method, I have received lots of blessings for trying.  There was one point this week while I was talking to a lady on the street, that the scripture preparation seemed to help.  She was talking without stopping or really letting us share our message.  Usually, in that situation I would at least feel a little frustrated, but the opposite was true.  I was super surprised to feel no frustration at this older lady, instead just complete peace.  It was cool to recognize the blessing of patience directly from a loving Heavenly Father.

On fast Sunday, we enjoyed a day filled with miracles.  First off, Brother Jee-Hoon came to church in a white shirt and tie on Sunday.  We have been preparing this outfit for him and he looked so good.  All the members gave him some sweet compliments.  One even asked if he was a new investigator....  We also headed out and did street boarding again on Sunday.  Randomly, while we were standing outside of one of the subway stations, I saw one of our investigators and two or three potentials.  Then we randomly ran into a guy that previously came into the church one early morning while we were exercising.  We met him later that night for dinner to break our fast, but apparently his house was a mess, so we ended up just cooking Ramen at the church.  The lesson lasted for a pretty long time because he just kept asking so many different questions.   Anyways, he seemed super prepared and it looks like he is going to come to church on Sunday.  The whole experience to me was just a testament of the power of fasting and prayer.

As for other fun things we did this week, we biked to the Han river and back! I'm getting better at this whole slack-lining thing that is actually surprisingly fun.  We also spent some time knocking on doors as a district and handing out lemonade to get people's attention.  I think we are going to try and start up a basketball class this upcoming week.  Mixing up our schedule makes missionary work so much more fun.  

Thanks for all the support!

Your favorite missionary,

Elder Wheeler

The Han River

Elder Yetter and Elder Song

Someone has mad photo skills!

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

Elder Yetter, Elder Song and Elder Wheeler

Elder Wheeler and Elder Lee

View of Nokbun area

Chase with the city in the background

Chase and the ubiquitous peace sign

"The biggest dog Chase has seen in Korea"
with its owner

Elder Song and the "big dog"

A ward member, Jay-Hoon, and Elder Wheeler

Elder Lee and Elder Yetter

Pig Legs given to Elder Yetter and Elder Lee by an
investigator which are, apparently, an expensive delicacy.