Wednesday, January 20, 2016

First Baptism!!!

Yes, it finally happened! He was able to be baptized this week and he will be confirmed a member next week :-) I guess I should kinda tell all that happened from that and how it ended it up happened and I'll get to that but I want to first say that I witnessed a miracle. He truly changed his life, I don't think I could ever express how much he changed or how much he sacrificed to go down this path but I do know that he has never made a better choice. It makes me want to see it again and again. I guess I'll just start with my week and kinda explain how it got to that point :-) 


So this week was full of so many different things and ups and downs. So I don't know if I mentioned this investigator last week but last Sunday he called us and asked if he could meet us, so throughout this whole week we've met him a total of 5 times I think and we've taught him the first 3 lessons and has been doing almost everything he can to learn more about the church and about everything that we can teach him! One of the lessons we began to teach him about the Word of Wisdom (which is probably Korea's biggest problem) and we told him that smoking was against it. He then sat there for a moment and looked at us and asked, "Where is the trash can?". He pulled from his pocket a full box of cigarettes and a lighter and threw them away. I was completely shocked! Normally when you have to tell them that they've gotta stop smoking they think you're crazy!!! But we experienced a miracle and watched him give up his habit so quickly and so obediently, that is what faith is. I don't know if I mentioned this but I believe this transfer is the transfer of baptismal dates! So far that is ringing true, including the baptism that happened this week we have 4. 4 people who are closer to God, 4 people who are changing their lives to become happier, 4 people that I've watched become happier. I can't really explain it but in Korea it is really stressful for people because you have to study your hardest to be able to find a stable job, but I've seen that worry and stress lightened because of what we teach, it's a miracle within itself! :-) 


Every week we do what's called a district meeting which is with a couple areas and we get together to just talk and hear announcements, classic meeting stuff. Anyway I was in charge of the spiritual talk that was supposed to last about 20 minutes. Now the kicker was they wanted it all in Korean. I've learned a lot, and I know that 2 months ago that would be impossible for me, but it was still nerve racking! I mean I was one of the youngest in the district so my Korean isn't where it will be, so it made it difficult. However I did make it through it alive and had some great things for them to think about, I'm starting to get a little more comfortable talking to people, I can talk to people on buses no problem! But having a talk, haha, still kinda scary!


Mom wanted to know about english class so I'm going to explain that real quick! So Every Wednesday and Saturday we do a free english class open to whoever wants to come, it's designed for service and meeting new people. Ya they teach english at school for the kids but I don't think any of you understand when I say that Koreans study a lot. I mean A LOT. I know a college student who studies upwards of 10 hours a day. Competition is fierce in Korea for jobs. So there are all ages at the class, there is no average age, all kinds of people. It also is so fun! We teach the way we learned, having a teacher only speak the language to you! Haha so ya we for the most part only have to help them understand if it's a weird word or a expression that doesn't really make sense.

So as for the baptism! We drove with (SongJuneYoung) and (ShinManSheek) to Busan in order to receive a baptismal interview from President Barrow. It went perfect, he was passed for baptism and President Barrow asked us to try and get him baptized that Sunday, it was Friday that day... As we drove home He played some music (He loves american music), I swore I listened to 10 different versions of Star Spangled Banner haha :-) I also got to hear some Jack Johnson which made me feel right at home! 

 That night consisted on calling a million people getting it planned, that next morning we went over to the church to clean out the font (hasn't been used in over a year...) And after 2 hours it was finally ready!!!

 That Sunday came so quickly, the night before he asked me to perform the baptism so you can understand that I was extremely nervous, I really worked on my pronunciation of the Korean so I didn't mess up :-) It went pretty smoothly except the water was a little lower than normal so I had to practically lay him down and then push him under haha :-) Afterwards he just kept saying how great he felt and that he was so happy. He came in a suit today and he practically blended in with the members. I couldn't be more happy for him :-) I swear I'll send more pictures, I am going to have to try and steal them from other Elders though!

 Mammas and Pappas your package came and since there were 4 elders in the house they were practically devoured in a day. They were so Good!!!! Thank you so much :-) They tasted just like home even though they were stuck in customs for a month ;-) 

 Misty and Ryan, please know that I am praying for your family and Deegan, don't worry to much, I know that everything is going to be okay, don't ever be too scared to ask for help from my family or anyone else because I know that they'll gladly help :-) I love you!!!

 Thank you so much for the support, I promise I pray for all of you daily. Please keep me in your prayers so I can serve more and be put in the paths of others. I love you all so so much!!! Keep writing :-) 

All my love, 

Elder Fox


Monday, January 11, 2016

The week of Lessons!

Well I can just say this and that is this week was filled with lots and lots of teaching!!! Last week we wanted to hit a total of 20 lessons and we hit only half of that. We decided it was probably because of new years but this week we were DETERMINED to do it! And we really set out to do it. We decided the way we could do this was try to meet and talk to everyone we met and have multiple lessons with everyone of our investigators! As we did this, we saw some of the best success ever, more than seemed possible! So of course with all these lessons there also came stories. So let me just start out with a few, I'll start with our investigator with the most potential, that is (SongJuneYoung).


So like my emails have said he was supposed to be baptized this week but unfortunately we didn't believe he was ready just yet, but he is so close! I am about 99% sure it will happen this month! So now that we are giving him more time to prepare we have been reading and explaining the Book of Mormon with him and helping him understand it more, apparently the BoM in Korean is kind of a difficult to understand translation. He has made so much progress, he has come to church for the last 3 weeks straight, he reads every day, prays every day, and researches too haha. I'll be honest he probably knows more about Wilford Woodriff than I do! But he his just all around a great guy, he has honestly changed his life, he has told us that before he met us he didn't exactly have any direction, like he was at a dead end, but that is how the Gospel and Heavenly Father's love helps people, it gives them that direction and guidance they need to understand their purpose here. So anyway, we were teaching him and one of his friends, and as we were driving over to the church his friend wanted to show us a Korean Buddhist temple (Tour guide he called himself haha). Anyway it was up the mountains about 5 minutes and was very old and a very culturally interesting experience! As we were leaving the man that's kind of equivalent to the bishop walked in and lets just say his car was not exactly what you expected, it was luxurious. The friend told us that the bishop man made more money than any of them could imagine, which was kind of interesting because he made his money from services at that temple, but all in all, amazing cultural experience. 


So our investigator named (KimJuneSok), The one who was my age and listened really well, he left for 근대 (gunde) Which is the military. Every male has to 2 years for the country in order to stay in the country so it puts a damper on lots of investigators... Anyway we gave him one last lesson and it was probably one of the strongest lessons we've ever taught. I was exchanging with a different Elder then, Elder Godfrey, then so the investigator only really talked to me and I promised him if he wanted to find truth he'd find it in the Book of Mormon, and he said he'd read it during military. I gave him my email and then we said our goodbyes, I'm really going to miss that kid. 


Then English class happened. And that was crazy, The other elders went home because one of them was feeling sick so then it was just me and Elder Todd. Normally we will have max about 4-5 people, but that day we had 10 people! I taught specifically 3 little kids and they were just too cute! It was kinda unfair because the little girl who was 2 totally reminded me of Jessica when she was young so it was just too much adorableness to handle hahaha. The mother is an English teacher and was actually being taught about 5 years ago from missionaries but then she had her kids so stopped taking lessons! We are hoping we can teach her soon :-) Oh also her English name is Julie so yet another good laugh right mom? :-) She is really nice, she bumped into us on the street while we were walking around and offered to buy us a little snack! It's amazing how nice people are to missionaries, it really is nice seeing how people recognize us as representatives of Christ  and because of that they always try to offer us things and are commonly really kind! 


We also had 2 new kids find us and want to receive lessons! They are really great and I believe that they have loads of potential. We asked one of them to read the BoM and write down questions, then he came back and loads of questions!!! He also is majoring in Physics so we had a huge discussion on how God works along with natural and science laws! Super cool lesson and really spiked his interest! "The more I learn about science, the more I believe there is a God" -Albert Einstein. 


As for everything else, we hit our goal for lessons, with 1 to spare, hitting 21 lessons this week. The most Elder Todd has ever seen in his mission and hopefully just the beginning. Lots of people have the mind set of, this is not a baptizing mission, I call bologna. I believe this transfer is the transfer of Baptismal dates, I truly believe within the next 3 months, there will be more than 5 baptisms, and I'll work my hardest for that. I love you all! Thanks for the emails, they really make everything so much better knowing how all your lives are going!!! :-) 

Elder Fox


Happy New Years Everyone1 2016!

Well it is absolutely insane thinking that I have been here long enough for the whole new year to begin! I mean I the weeks go bye faster and faster (except this one kinda was longer) and I just can't get enough work in when the time is moving this fast! We are looking forward to having a baptism on this Sunday!!! We still have to get some things sorted out for him but if it's not this week it will most likely happen next week! I will make sure that I send pictures of him at the baptism!!! I know I need to do better and send more pictures I promise I'll try harder! I'll talk about him a little more a little later. but for now I wanted to talk about what happened all over the world this week and that's NEW YEARS!!! So In Korea Christmas is not nearly as big as New Years. New years is HUGE here! It feels kinda like Christmas in America. But the really cool tradition that is common there is not what happens new years eve but the morning of new years day! So the tradition is that everyone goes to these parties and watch the Sunrise of that new year. So we and a few of the ward members went to nearly the top of Masan mountain (we practically live at the top so not too long of a walk) and went to this party where everyone was handing out balloons to let of the moment the sun raised of the hills! I thought that was a really cool tradition and I would love to keep it going when I get back from Korea. But when we tried to proselyte on new years we had no success because it just was like a ghost town everywhere! Anyway that was one of the coolest things I've done for new years that's for sure haha.


 At the beginning of this week, since it was half way through my transfer, we went to Busan to go and have a half-training meeting. It pretty much consisted of me seeing all my MTC friends again and talking about how crazy missionary work is! One thing that I noticed really quickly is that a lot of people have accepted how difficult it is to do missionary work and to baptize in Korea. It kinda made me think of why Elder Todd and I have had so much success. I truly believe it's because I won't accept that it's hard to baptize here. I know that it is harder than other places, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen! During our meeting it really helped me realize how much I've changed since I've left the MTC. I mean everyone has and everyone has had amazing experiences but It seems like I one of the only people still PUMPED to be doing missionary work! Now that may not be true, I hope it isn't at least, but that's the feeling I got and it was kinda disappointing. At the end of the meeting we had some great food for lunch with everyone and then me and Elder Todd and to leave the meal a little early so we could make it back for an appointment. We have had a pretty successful week although not everything went right, it helped us work harder! 


So our investigator 송준영(SongJuneYoung) He has been making leaps and bounds in progression. If you can tell me anyone who fasted on fast Sunday before they were a member then I'd be impressed. He has learned all the lessons now and so we are just helping him understand the Book of Mormon as he reads. I think that is something that has really grown my testimony this week. I don't think I've ever really appreciated that book for all it was, That book contains the most truth of any book on this earth, and Heavenly Father has given us the chance to have it and be able to read it every single day. That book, if ANYONE wants to find the truth, if they are lost, or confused, or just have no idea where they need to go, the answer is so simple put before them. That book can answer the questions of your soul. It can guide you, comfort you, and lead you to the truth, and all you have to do is truly want to find the truth. Isn't that just amazing? 


I am so happy that I was able to have this crazy week :-) I mean the crazier it gets the harder I want to work! I am so happy I was able to hear from all of you for christmas and I just wanted to say again that I love you all so much.

Elder Fox

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone!

(Sorry these took so long to get up...Been a busy few weeks....Pictures will be posted soon)

There is only one way to describe this week. Unforgettable, really absolutely unforgettable. Christmas week was filled with small tender mercies and miracles that I probably wouldn't of noticed in past years, but I noticed them this year and I was beyond grateful for the chance to have my eyes opened to them. I always wondered why people said that they receive their favorite gifts for Christmas out on their missions and I didn't know why, I know why now. Looking back, I would of traded almost any gift I had ever received just for the chance to stay on that Skype call; that is a miracle. Even now thinking about seeing you all it warms my heart and makes me think of how much I took for granted before my mission. The fact that just seeing their faces, hearing their voices, and just simply talking to them had such an impact on me really opened my eyes to how much I miss them and love them all. Haha I'll tell ya one of the hardest things I've done is hit the end button on that call. At that point I was just crying with joy and the only 2 things I could muster up after that call was to hug Elder Todd and to offer a prayer of gratitude. I have never been so thankful for anything in my life and I can't wait for the day that a gift tries to compete with that. The one thing that I realized was that I want a lot more pictures from you all, just last week I bought a Flash drive so I could have Mormon Messages but also so I could get all the pictures sent to me and have them so I can get them printed out! I am really grateful for everything that I have gotten but nothing will compare to that Skype video call and I am looking forward Mother's day that's for sure :-) 

So this week before that amazing moment was pretty much filled to the brim! So I'm just going to tell you some of the smaller stuff then talk about the bigger stuff! Last week this member who is really nice gave us these free certificates to go eat at this super super fancy buffet that was at the top of this wedding expo center and looked out over the ocean. The food was fantastic and I actually got to eat some steak! mmm it was so good haha :-) 

One of the gifts that unfortunately got scheduled right around Christmas was transfer calls! every 6 weeks we find out if we are moving locations or staying. I am lucky enough to be staying and training with the same trainer, but the crazy thing is now my area doesn't have sister missionaries! So now we are in charge of somehow teaching some of their investigators which is really tough because we have to have a member of our gender there with us just because of missionary rules so we aren't sure how it will go.

We have been working extremely hard lately. We took a couple hours of planning to organize ourselves and we are starting to realize that we're doing really good! We have about 7 investigators now and probably 2 more by the end of the week! A couple of them came to church too! We have 2 weeks until the baptism so we better get moving on preparing him. This week we are shooting for 20 lessons which is double what we did this week but with the spirit boost of seeing our families I'm about positive we can do it ;-) We got another baptismal date this week as well, it's 송준영's (Songjoonyoung) friend! He seems like a family man now and I think he is really determined to change :-) In fact the lesson we taught him was on Christmas and it was a Christmas miracle. We sat there amazed as Songjoonyoung started to teach his friend about the Restoration and the Word of Wisdom with very little fault. Very rarely was I as impressed as I was right then, it was amazing. 

We had a Christmas party this week with our ward and it was great, we had a couple investigators come and being able to have some fun was a real nice relief. Our missionaries actually put on a play and it was pretty good! my main line was, as translated "My Boss is Evil". Haha all the kids got a kick out of it and it was nice seeing the warmth the spirit brought to the party. 


I love you all so much and I wish I could just Skype you all all the time but I know that it will all be worth it, I am so proud of all of you for the great support you've given me. Please don't forget the Savior this Christmas time, I know that I would be nothing without him. I love you all so much, please write! And please tell me about your wonderful Christmas season! (I already know about the snow) Love you guys :-) 


Elder Fox

Preparing for Christmas and Baptism!

Wow it is crazy to see how fast these weeks are flying by! It felt as if this week lasted about 3 days. That's it! Although this week has been filled with some pretty big things that I'll talk about, but for the most part, this week has been filled with a lot of hard work, it wasn't as productive as we hoped, but it was really focused in on our currently most progressing investigator! He is fantastic and he just becomes a bigger teddy bear every time we meet him haha! I'll make sure I get a picture with him sometime this week! Oh I also wanted to say that I am SUUUUPPPPEEERRR Jealous of all of you who have seen star wars!! It just isn't fair haha ;-) But it's fine because I'll just have days on end of just lazy relief when I get back where I will watch EVERYTHING!!! Oh I also wanted to say thank you for the Christmas calendar! It is the perfect little reminder of home and it makes me smile every time I see it! But what I would love even more is if dad could reliably finish the family calendar this Christmas so I can see my family on the calendar every day ;-) Just some motivation dad!


Haha I guess I probably should tell you about the week haha :-) So the biggest thing that happened this week was that about half the missionaries in the mission went to the Christmas party I was at! It was super great because I got to see some of my 동기 (MTC District). They sound like they all have been having super great experiences! But just like all of Korea, it sounds like they have had trouble baptizing. I'm not too worried though, because I know there are people out there who are waiting to here from me and I know that with the Lord's help I will find them :-) At the Christmas party we had the opportunity to hear from a lot of people and sing songs (I may send video). We also got to watch 17 Miracles. I realized something very fast... Why had I not seen this before??? That movie was fantastic, it made me cry so hard haha, there are few times I remember hearing my tears hit the ground but that was one of them! I suggest everyone should watch it, and just remember and appreciate the amazing and unforgettable things these people went through in order to make it possible for such a great foundation to be built. After the movie we all talked a little more and then we all headed out! There is no rest here! I mean sometimes I get a little breather but for the most part we are working our hardest to talk to everyone we can. I've really overcome that obstacle, I feel like even though I can't speak their language at all they all are willing to listen to me! 


We have seen a couple of investigators this week! one, his name is 신사무엘(sounds like samual), anyway he is this owner of a Baskin Robbins. He speaks really good English and has this crazy long hair!!! Anyway we went and met him and he gave us free Ice cream in a darth vader piggy bank! So I got a little taste of the star wars craze ;-) Our other investigator, our gangster, haha he is doing great. I can't tell you how much he has progressed! He has had a slip up once or twice but for the most part he is on his way of becoming a new man! He is just growing so well! Haha we have spent so much time with him! We'll take about an hour to teach him a lesson and then he'll offer to pay for our meal so then we go eat with him! Actually one day we went with him and his friend and they wanted to show us this really tasty chinese restaurant, they forgot to mention it was the next city over!!! So we were in the car just sitting there and then we realized that we didn't know where we were hahaha! We also last lesson had a member pop his head in during his lesson and just came in and helped out and started spitting out a LOAD of Korean! It was super helpful and really helped him with his questions :-) 


Food has been really good here, there hasn't been anything I couldn't handle just yet haha :-) I have had a couple run ins with shellfish but nothing bad! Makes me wonder if I'm even allergic to it haha :-)