Friday, December 27, 2013

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all of the wonderful parents of the great missionaries serving in the Korea, Busan Mission. Please enjoy seeing your son or daughter singing or performing at our Christmas Meeting on December 18th. The following is the link to the video:

Thank you for your love and support of your son or daughter.

President and Sister Gilbert

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 23, 2013

I don't know what I want to write about right before I talk to you on the phone.  I'm really excited for Christmas morning.  (It will be like 5 on Christmas Eve for you, right?)

This last week was the primary program.  There were 6 kids who participated and one of them was our recent convert.  They actually did a pretty good job.  Two of the kids had a violin part and they asked my companion to help them prepare.  It was really nice because we never meet with the members aside from Sunday.  This last week we had two nights of meeting with these kids and their mothers.  The other missionaries here have it fixed in their heads that doing a lot with the members doesn't work well in this ward but I loved how those two meetings helped our relationship with them and increased their trust in us.  I'm trying to keep a look out for more opportunities like that.  I just wish my Korean was better so I could actually have conversations. Most of the time I just fake it.

Kim In-jae, one of the students that studies at the church, just got permission from his parents to be baptized!  We just walked in to say hi one day and he just casually told us to start teaching him the lessons.  "What?!"  I still have no idea how he got his parents to change their mind.  Up till this point he has been forbidden from even taking lessons so we haven't been able to consider him an actual investigator.  He spends a lot of time with church members and we've read the Book of Mormon with him so he knows a ton but we still have to teach him all of the lessons before he can be baptized.  There won't be any problems getting him ready so I'm just worried about his parents changing their minds again.  We should see a baptism this transfer. Miracles!

I got my Christmas package but I haven't opened it yet.  I also got a small package from the cub scouts.  Many thanks to them.

For Christmas we are having our weekly p-day.  There is going to be a small party at the mission home for us serving in Busan.  The rest of the day we will be at the church listening to Christmas music and making and eating food.  Last night we went caroling with the sisters.  My companion played the violin.  It was great.  We tried to pass out some Book of Mormons to the people that stopped to listen but few would take them.  One dude gave us some cans of coffee though.  We gave them to some of the grandmas selling stuff on the side of the road.

That phone number is right to call.  I can't wait!

Love you,

Elder Stapley

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

Tristan seemed to be in a rush this week.  Most of his comments are in answer to questions we asked. 
 Me in Masan with Seung-hyun an Meen-gwan.

Elder Neilson grew up in Coppell, Dallas Texas but his family currently lives in Katy, Houston Texas. He entered the MTC September 2012 and has been in Korea for exactly a year. I have never seen him wear burnt orange... He says he does not usually.

We won't be able to Skype but you can call me at 011-82-10-9680-3542.  If you could call at 8 in the morning Korean time that would be great.  We are allowed an hour to talk.

This week I got a letter from Gma and Gpa Waite.  Thanks so much!  I also got the small package from the youth.  I loved it!

I don't know what happened with that bishop.  I would need to ask someone in the ward.

We don't have a family history center here but we did in Masan.  We don't do a ton with family history work as missionaries.  Elder Hall and I looked into it and talked with some missionaries that were really good at it.  There isn't much we can do right now but apparently president is getting training regarding family history work and we will be focusing on it in the near future.

Last week one Elder in my district got an email that his ldsmail facebook account was ready and he had some notifications of friend requests.  When he called the zone leaders they said not to touch it yet.  Apparently that is happening a lot sooner than we thought though.  We haven't heard anything else about it. 

I'll try to send some Christmas cards and letters but they might get there a bit late.

I'm sending a picture of our Thanksgiving.  Also a picture of from Masan with Seung-hyn an Meen-gwan. 
I'm really sorry for the terrible email.  I love you!  I know that you are praying for me.  I feel your support.
Love, Elder Stapley

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 9, 2013

My new area is very different from Masan.  We have a ward here but not really.  It used to be really big but a bunch moved away and a bunch more left the church with an apostate Bishop. We have a sacrament meeting attendance of about 20-30.  Many of the members travel a lot and some are insane.  This area seems a lot more exciting than most.  One of the members is aggressively insane, one of our less actives is waiting for a wife he ordered from Vietnam to arrive and there are a few prostitutes in the area that like to try to seduce Mormon Elders.  The Bishop is unemployed (but awesome) and his 1st councilor spends most of his time in Seoul. The members are really discouraged because they have seen their ward go from a hundred members to where it is now.  We have a lot of work to do.

The biggest bright spot is an older unmarried sister in the ward.  She runs a free study group out of the church.  Korean kids usually have an academy after school where they study together. This sister puts one together and feeds these kids dinner every weekday for free.  She always includes a spiritual message and has the missionaries come by as often as possible.  We sometimes help them with English and we say hi every time we pass by the church.  Because of her efforts this area actually has a lot of baptisms.  In her class right now there are a number of recent converts and one kid that is just waiting for parental permission to be baptized. Unfortunately, it probably won't happen anytime soon.

The church building here was the second built in Korea.  This week was the 50th anniversary of when it was built.  The Book of Mormon was translated into Korean in one of the classrooms.

The apartment is smaller and the faucet sprays all over the place when we turn it on.  The downstairs neighbor smokes a ridiculous amount that leaks up through the bathroom floor.  We have air conditioning, oh yeah, its winter.

I did get the package from Sister Weyland and the Halloween letters from the Waites.  Thanks!

Despite the success here in the past I got here at a very slow period for the Elders.  The students at the academy have all been converted or can't get permission so we need to find new investigators.  We do have one progressing investigator but we haven't been able to meet with him because he is in China.  He is actually Chinese and doesn't speak any Korean.  He was doing really well but it sounds like Satan was doing all he could to discourage him before he went to China.  I sure hope he has continued reading the scriptures and praying while he has been away.  We should be able to meet with him this week.  In the meantime we have been proselyting a whole lot.  I thought it would be easier here in the city but I think it is actually harder. When there are lots of people they are more hesitant to stop and speak with us.  This last week we only got one good solid contact.  He really is solid though.  We are meeting with him tonight.

How are you all doing with missionary work?  Do you have anything that I could share with the members here?
Elder Stapley

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Seung-Hyun wasn't able to get baptized.  He had his interview and passed just fine but wasn't able to get permission from his parents.  I really think he can get it soon though.  I'm going to keep praying.  They said they would think about it.  We had Seung-Hyun give them some family pamphlets and church material.  I bet they come around. 

Unfortunately I probably won't see the baptism.  I'm writing from Busan right now.  I got transferred!  My new companion is Elder Nielsen.  He was in my district when I first got here.  He's from Texas and played the violin at BYU.  President doesn't like leaving missionaries in their training area for long.  I worry that Elder Jo didn't have enough time to develop good relationships with the people yet but there isn't anything I can do now.

My new area is Soojung (the romanization of that isn't right but that's how it's pronounced).  It is in Busan and we have a Costco in our district!  There is a team of Sisters here as well.  Sister Taylor and Sister Hingano from my last district transferred here as well.  It is a fairly big area and it's in the city so there is a lot of stuff.  

I did get a copy of the conference edition today.  I've been waiting forward to that more than Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I was able to eat a sorta Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.  We had a party at the church and had a bunch of investigators over.  No turkey but we had fried chicken from a restaurant and the Sisters made stuffing and mashed potatoes.  I was able to make an apple pie and a sort of chocolate pie.  I used the pudding I got in the package from G&G Stapley in the chocolate pie.  The Koreans loved the chocolate but had problems with the crust on the apple pie.  It was hard for them to swallow (that's to be taken literally).

Are there any Jacquiers in Manhattan?  I was talking to an Elder Richardson and he has family in Manhattan.

I don't know yet how calling home is going to work.  President is trying to get permission for us to Skype but that hasn't happened in the past.

I'll try to send some more pictures next week.  There is just one computer that sends pictures here and it's busy.

Love you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

Me, reclining, in front of a cool gate
Gnarly Buddhist Pavilion thing.  It is supposed to be one of the best in Korea.

View from the pavilion

Me, in front of a cool gate

Cool picture on the cool gate
The view from our apartment

I'm so sorry I didn't email last week.  I had hoped that we would have a lot of time to spend on the computer that day but then our plans changed last minute.  One of the missionaries is going home next transfer and we had a zone p-day and climbed a mountain.  We got permission to leave early so we could shop and email but your email hadn't come yet.  I wrote some other emails and got my companion to promise that we would have time later.  We didn't.  There were problems getting back to our area and we couldn't write without breaking rules. I got some cool pictures though.

We do get typhoons here but they aren't anything to be worried about.  The Koreans like to predict typhoons a few times a month that never actually happen.  "Why can't you meet us Saturday?" "Because of the typhoon."  One day we actually got hit but it was super disappointing.  I had found myself missing real storms like in the Midwest and really wanted to be out for the typhoon.  We were.  It wasn't even as good as a thunderstorm.  I guess a few years ago they had one that the missionaries had to stay inside for but that's about it.

We usually teach a few lessons on the weekends but Koreans are too busy the rest of the week to meet usually. We are getting better at teaching lessons on the street.  We can sometimes get one of those a week. That's it.  Some Korean missionaries dislike watching The District DVDs because their stats are so much higher than ours.

Excellent news!  Seung-Hyun is going to get baptized this Saturday!  We practiced for the interview yesterday and he was super confident.  He gets interviewed this Wednesday. We really wanted him to get baptized with his friend Meen-Gwan but we're losing hope that he will actually get baptized so we're just going to go ahead.  Our church building is under construction so we're going to have to go into 창완 for the baptism.  This is perfect timing for me.  I'm probably going to leave the Monday after.

Our two-story church building is getting an elevator.  That's why we are under construction.  The bathrooms will be unusable for the next several weeks.  I sure hope I transfer.

It's not worth it to send a monster package.  I found out you can send by boat and it's cheaper but it takes forever.  Next year that's how I'm going to send you a Christmas package. Sorry but I won't be able to send one this year.  Expect a large letter.  We can't get cheap beef so taco seasoning wouldn't help much.  I have no problems staying warm here. We have some gnarly floor heaters that run through the night.  So I don't really need a blanket.  I remembered I brought my robe anyway:)

I found a note from Mom in my coat pocket last week.  It made me really happy.  It was about your favorite scripture.

I can access but only on p-day.  If you have good talks to send me I would love them.  I'm sorry that my letters aren't as spiritual.  I am getting less and less time.  I hope to get caught up soon so I can put thought into these.  I'm going to try to write some more in response to the emails I missed.

Elder Stapley
P.S.  A few weeks late I'm going to finish responding to a question in one of your emails.  Bak Hee-Sung is the same as ever.  He isn't making any progress and I still can't understand a word he says.  We try to show our love for him but there isn't much more we can do.  We are cutting back on how often we visit him because of that.

Funny story.  We found a bottle of honey for super cheap in the store.  We have know idea why it was cheap but we bought 900 grams of the stuff.  I was so excited and my companion was excited too but then he got this confused look on his face.  "How do you eat it?"  "You put it on toast or cook with it." "Oh." He went right back to being excited.  I guess he wrote his family about the honey and they did a bunch of research about it.  He is talking about all the health benefits right now.  Now he's got an idea that its some kind of super food.

An English question.  What nouns need the/a in front of them.  Sometimes you don't use either.

Okay so there wasn't that much to talk about here.  Have another picture. This is the view from our apartment.
Love, Elder Stapley

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Buddhist temple in Miryang

I have very little time today.  The rest of the district isn't as big about email time as I am and every once in a while they have to have a district p-day.  So we went to Miryang and now we have no time.  I won't be able to answer all of your questions well so I might come back to them next week. 
That pan is only to be sent if you were going to send a too big package anyway.  It might have been a mistake telling you about that.  Not all the mission houses have ovens and I'm going to transfer soon, anyway.  But the important thing is the glass.

Hope you get my letter soon, Emily.  They said it will be there next week at the latest.  I included a small super cheap birthday present.  Hope you enjoy the English translation on it.

I can print off past emails received and sent.  If I have my way we are going to have a computer p-day sometime soon.  President has loosed the rules on email time.

I took a bunch of pictures today.  I hope they make up for the really short letter.  I also have videos I will try to send.  It's allowed.  These were taken at a Buddhist temple in Miryang.

Love you bye,

Elder Stapley
P.S.  I'm out of time. I guess you're getting a crud ton next week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

Answers....I honestly don't want you to send anything big in the mail.  It's too expensive.  I would like my mp3 player with music and speakers.  President just barely changed the rules on music and now anything goes as long as it's uplifting.  "I don't want to hear that you're listening to AC/DC though."  So load that thing up with everything.  If you're not sure if it's appropriate put it in anyway.  I'll sit down and delete a bunch when I get it.  Josh Groban, Celtic Woman, soundtracks, classical, religious, Disney, acapella.  Most of what I play will depend on my companion and what we are doing at the time.  Could you also send my small hymn book.  Like I said I don't want you to send anything big.  If your super determined though you could send me a Pyrex pan.  I only tell you that because I'm afraid your going to be stubborn and send me a big package.  I will not be happy with you if you do though.  You could also send me some honey.  Elder Hall got a jar of creamed honey and it was delicious.  If you find any cool extracts think of me as well.  I have root beer extract from one of the office elders and I'm loving it.
Wow that paragraph on things you could send me was way easier to write.  Some missionary I am.

I got your package, thanks so much.  The pictures and letters were awesome.  Thanks for the tie, Emily.  It's my new favorite.

Our investigators still aren't really progressing.  Until they come to sacrament meeting we're not going to try setting another date.  승현 is super excited to be baptized though.  I really want his enthusiasm to be genuine but he is just so eager to please us that I'm not sure he actually believes the stuff he says.  Aargh.  He did bring a friend though and we taught them together.  The friend had a Christian background and understood quite a bit.  He might actually have the most potential.  민권 has finally said that he will get baptized but he has shown even less interest in church than 승현 so that will be hard to help him.  Its difficult because all three are friends and we sometimes meet with them together but they are all at different levels.

We met an old catholic grandpa who invited us in to talk.  He gave us some muffins and challenged me to an arm wrestling match.  He is seventy one but I couldn't beat him.  It ended in a tie at least.  I was actually trying too.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and will go back later.

Today my companion really wanted a hamburger so we and the sisters walked across town and got McDonald's and then went to the ocean and ate there.  There were a ton of jellyfish and we watched some crabs fight over territory or girls or broken promises or something.  We couldn't really tell.  If I don't finish all my letters today that's why.

We don't have daylight saving time here.  My companion thinks it's a stupid idea.

I hate smoke.  In the apartment just under ours, and next to ours, and above ours, there are smokers.  This entire country smells like cigarettes.  It's also one of the highest alcohol consuming countries.  Right behind Russia according to some missionaries.  It's a real problem. 

I have a rather difficult question for you.  When do we use a or the in English.  I really have no idea what the rule is supposed to be.  Our English class is confused about it.

What is that picture of Mom as a missionary about?  Those look like white people.

I found out this week that Koreans consider me blonde.

I left my camera cord home, sorry.  I didn't have any good pictures anyway though.
Elder Stapley

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 24, 2013

 Elder Jo Chan Yung, my companion

Flower Festival in Masan

Our apartment is in the middle of the picture.
 From the MTC with my

I got a camera!  It was the cheapest one at the store but it's still super nice.  I will attach pictures. I hope you are excited when you open your inbox! You should be happy now!

Cool pics sister!  (He's talking about Emily's senior pictures.)  I'm not sure what we will do for Thanksgiving. Probably nothing.  I don't know where we would get a turkey anyway.  They don't exist here.  We can get a whole roast chicken from street vendors though.  Recently with my Korean companion we have been eating a lot of ramen.  It's pretty much the same as in the US but spicy.  It's also over a dollar a pack, I don't understand.  We also eat frozen.. um I don't know how to spell it in English.  It's fried pork cutlet.  Dad will know, it's Japanese.  Today for lunch we went to a buffet.  I ate some noodles, squid and a crud-ton of mandoo, dumplings.  I have yet to have any as good as what we make as a family though.

To bad about that investigator.  It's so frustrating.  You know that if they just do what you say, read the Book of Mormon, come to church, pray sincerely, that they will know the truth, but they don't put in the effort so they never receive the blessings that are just waiting for them.  We are having the hardest time getting our investigator with a baptismal date to come to sacrament meeting.  It's too early and he has to sleep or he has to do something with a friend.  You're not going to get baptized that way!  I don't get it.

My companion is super great.  He is a convert.  He actually lived in Missouri years ago and his family came into contact with the church there.  After returning to Korea his family got baptized.  He talked about it in a lesson with some less actives the other day and it was way powerful.

I am sending a picture of my companion, pics of the Flower Festival here in Masan.  Those were from today. Oh, now its having a cow, I'll send the rest in another email.  I've got a pile.
Much love,
Elder Stapley

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

I'm really sorry but I have no time today.  We just got back from transfer meeting in Busan.  I am staying Masan but my companion became an office elder.  My new companion is a Korean. Elder Jo Chang Yung. He actually trained my MTC companion Elder Luke.  He is super funny and understands English really well but doesn't speak it very often.  I can already feel my Korean getting better.  This is going to be a great transfer.  I won't have time to buy a camera this week but I will next week.
Thanks a lot for the recipes. I use them all the time.  Could I have a biscuit recipe?  We usually walk and take buses.  I got a letter from Grandma and Grandpa Stapley today.  I'll read it tonight.
Thanks! Sorry for this crazy short letter.
Elder Stapley

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom!  I'm sorry I haven't written.  I really will try to do that.  I keep trying to have a p-day where we don't do anything so I can get caught up but my district just wants to do activities.  They insist on it even if it is a game of uno.  Dang it.  I want to prep on prep day!
To answer your question I haven't received any letters from the family yet.  I have received some letters which I will respond to (eventually).  I should be able to get a camera next week.

Conference!  I loved General Conference!  The entire stake, including our whole zone, came to Masan to watch conference.  We got to watch the whole thing in English with the other missionaries and a few more English speakers. It was weird watching as a missionary.  Afterward we were talking to a member who was surprised by how few of the talks were about missionary work.  I was also surprised because I thought most of them had been about missionary work.

If you get Will's letter I also noticed the same trend about internalizing commandments.  If we see them as someone else's ideas we are going to resist them.  (Will is a friend from our ward who is currently serving in Brazil.  This is what he said in his last letter home that Tristan is referring to.)  "Something that really stood out to me in conference is the importance of internalizing goals. You have to want something for yourself. Even if your mission president, your companion, and God all want you to be obedient, if you don't want to be obedient... you're probably not going to be. That's the beauty and struggle with agency. It's all up to us. So, I've been working on internalizing the things that I should do as a missionary... not because everyone wants me to, but because I want to. I want to read my scriptures, I want to work hard. I want to help people gain greater faith in Jesus Christ."
(Back to Tristan's letter)
I also really liked when they talked about repentance.  Recently I have been studying the Gospel of Christ more in depth and I have learned so much.  It is the most basic of doctrines but there is always more to learn.  It helps when you are studying with other people in mind.  As I think about how this would help our investigators I learn more that I can also use for me.  Awesome.

I loved Elder Ballard's talk about missionary work, Put Your Trust in the Lord. Here is my favorite part; "Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and the full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities. Then, we must demonstrate our faith and watch for opportunities to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father’s children, and surely those opportunities will come. These opportunities will never require a forced or a contrived response. They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters. Just be positive, and those whom you speak with will feel your love. They will never forget that feeling, though the timing may not be right for them to embrace the gospel. That too may change in the future when their circumstances change." 
After hearing that I thought about a section of chapter 10 of PMG.  It is about listening and includes an amazing quote from Elder Holland (pg 185).  Take a moment to look that up.  Okay so, if we are prepared by study and prayer and if we listen with love we will find an opportunity to testify about the Gospel as we talk with others.  Obviously this isn't just about missionaries and investigators (notice the use of the word "friends" in that quote).  My goal as a missionary is to be able to sit down with an investigator and just talk with them.  Help them out and invite them to Christ without them ever realizing that they are being taught a lesson.  This can be your goal as well outside of the mission.  You don't have to use special language when bearing testimony (I'd like to bear my testimony.  I know.....).  Just talk from the heart.  We love the Gospel.  Why wouldn't we talk about it?

Anyway.  I think that is the thought I'll be using in member visits this week. Thanks for the support.  Be happy.  I love you,
Elder Stapley


Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Thanks for the info on my name and for the recipes.  Thanks to G&G Stapley for the package.  It was way good and we still have some of the food.  They also included a note saying that they had sent a longer letter.  When was that? I haven't gotten that yet.  I haven't gotten anything from you all either.  I have been meaning to write letters for a few weeks now but never have the time.  I'll try to do that today.

My clothes are doing good.  My short sleeve shirts have this weird habit of vanishing for a couple of weeks and then showing up in the wash.  No joke.  One week I had 4 shirts and then did my laundry and hung up 6.  All have my name in them and everything.  I might be going crazy.  The bottoms are coming off my shoes though and I've already worn off the tops of them.  I don't think any of  them will last the whole mission.  Maybe the penny loafers if I find someone to fix them.  Apparently clothes are cheap here though.  Not sure why, nothing else is.  Except pans.  We found a good frying pan for 12 bucks.  I'm currently looking for a pyrex pan to carry with me the rest of the mission.

You asked about my living conditions.  When we were in the MTC we heard about all the tiny apartments that missionaries live in in Seoul.  They study and sleep in the same room and have a tiny bathroom.  We have a lot more space.  We have a bedroom, a kitchen, a study room, another room and a sunroom sort of thing.  And a bathroom.  We sleep on mattresses but that is unusual.  Most missionaries sleep on yos.  I'm not sure how to spell that.  They are just pads on the ground.  I tried them once on exchanges.  They're pretty uncomfortable if you want to sleep on your side, like I always do.  The kitchen is likewise fairly western.  We have an actual table with chairs.  Most Koreans have little short tables that they can fold up and put away.  They eat sitting on the ground.  Our stove is a gas stove and I like it a lot.  The oven is small and untrustworthy and doesn't have any temperature markings on the dial.  We have okay desks and some fold-up chairs that must have been taken from the church.  The sunroom has a cheap recliner that some missionaries got somehow... and somehow got it into the elevator and through the door. There is also an expensive looking leather armchair.  I can't understand how those were obtained.  That's our apartment.

We're going to watch conference next week at the normal times.  We might be able to watch in English since we have a American sister and a French sister who speaks fluent English.  
That French Sister is really interesting.  She speaks fluent French and English but went Mandarin speaking.  Then she married a Korean man and lives here.  She doesn't know much Korean and her husband doesn't know French.  They just speak to each other in English.  Even stranger, their kids speak Korean and French but not English. Crazy.

We have been working with less actives and members mostly this last week.  I know that I seem to talk a lot about us learning to help the members to do missionary work but they really are doing a great job on their own.  We got three unasked for referrals last week and just looking at past records they have always referred a lot.  We talked to one brother who regularly sends out large group texts to non-members and includes a spiritual thought.  Often out of the Book of Mormon or from modern prophets.  I feel like if we had a lot of members who were new to the area.  These members are interacting with the same people that they have for years but still find a few referrals to give to us.  The ward has been really focusing on missionary work.  They had a couple families move out and they have decided not to wait for people to move in.  They are going to baptize more people to replace those they lost.  Wow.

I know that we can have opportunities to share the Gospel if we are willing to act and create those opportunities.  Thanks for trying so hard.  If you study and pray for ways to do missionary work you will be able find those ways.
I love you,
Elder Stapley

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Hi family!  If you send a package can you find one of those mouth guards to stop you from grinding your teeth at night.  They don't exist in Korea.  I'm fine without it though.  I know packages are expensive.  

I never remember what I have written to you yet.  Did I tell you about the two high schoolers yet? We have been trying to teach these two really shy high school kids, Seung Hyun and Meen Gwan.  I really like Seung Hyun especially.  He loves music and will pull out random English songs and sing them for us.  When he came to church for the second time he showed up in a suit and really nice shoes.  He was so proud but his friend just seemed embarrassed.  They're so funny. They were coming to the church and coming to a bunch of the ward activities. They even brought a friend to English class!  Seung Hyun committed to a baptismal date on the nineteenth of October, but we couldn't get much of a response out of Meen Gwan.  Since then they just stopped coming to most of the stuff. I think that Meen Gwan is bored of us and Seung Hyun never comes alone.  We can't get them to sacrament meeting either because it is apparently too early.  Yesterday they had to go to the bathhouse for some reason and we didn't see them at all.  We're worried that we are losing them.

Kim Hee Sook is doing so good.  She is at church every week even though she is super busy. Her husband also comes sometimes.  Her daughters are somewhat iffy though. One is addicted to computer games and doesn't do much else.  This is the one that gave such a powerful testimony in sacrament meeting.  The other daughter is just way hyper.

It is really frustrating when people don't answer our calls!  Even the people that were always wanting to meet with us and were calling us have suddenly stopped answering our phone calls. The members even answer our calls only about half the time.  Koreans are so busy!  I'm not sure why I wanted to talk about that.  Be good, do good, call people back.
Love you,
Elder Stapley


Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Hello family,

You asked how I knew what Will was doing.   I'm getting his weekly email.  I just saw his last one saying that he was leaving for Brazil.  Say congrats to Sam and Kia for me.

We are allowed to listen to church music. No classical or Disney.  That changed the week I got here.  Most of the missionaries have their songs on mp3 players.  My companion has all the
Mo Tab songs though so I'm good for now.  I do sort of want a brownie pan but I don't think it would be worth sending. Thanks for the recipes.  A cake donut would be great.

Those kittens look massive!  I thought they were the full grown cats.

Thanks so much for trying out my challenge.  I never tried what I am asking you to do before my mission.  I'm not sure what I would do.  Emily, learn and experiment with member missionary work now.  I'm just sorting of guessing here in the mission field.  One of the most important things is that we be prepared for opportunities when they happen.  If we are praying for, thinking and studying about being a missionary we will be ready to teach and testify when we are called on.  The better prepared we are the more opportunities we will be given.  I also find that as I am studying for someone else I learn so much more and am blessed with additional treasures of knowledge.  

I am so proud when I hear about your missionary experiences.  Invite all to come unto Christ!

Thank you for writing about that devotional.  How to tell if what you are thinking is your own thought or the influence of the Holy Spirit?  That was one of the major topics of conversation in the MTC.  I like your point about how it doesn't matter if it is your thought or the Spirit.  If it inviteth and enticeth to do good it is from God.  If we are keeping our baptismal covenant and living worthy of the Gift of the Holy Ghost I'm not sure we should be able to distinguish between our own thoughts and the Spirit.  I am so grateful that we are able to have that gift today.  I have become more aware of how much that gift is worth and how few people have been able to receive it.  That's part of why I'm doing what I am doing.
I'm sorry for how short my emails are.  I wish I was better at writing. (I'd quote Nephi but I'm not much better at speaking).
Much love,
Elder Stapley

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

Sorry I didn't email yesterday. I forgot to tell you that we would have zone conference on Monday so today is p-day.

Thanks for the feedback about my challenge.  That's why I send you these things.  In the District there is a bit where the Sister missionaries sit down with a member and help plan out how to approach a certain person.  Have you seen that?  It is sort of what I had in mind.  It is in the first district.

Wow Japan sounds hard.  The members are pretty chill here but I can see how that kind of pressure would have a negative effect on member-missionary relationships.  I'm not a huge fan of the setting a date thing either because it doesn't help members know how to share the gospel effectively.  It is just pressure.  We want people to know how to share the gospel.  We may not even get a referral but if we can help the members to share church literature and share specific doctrine with their friends then it would be worth it.  I know how hard it would be to refer a friend to the missionaries.  I've never even done it myself.  Our biggest fear is that we won't be able to speak Korean well enough to help them.  This idea might have to wait until we have a native.

Will is going to Brazil!  Yay!

Camden killed a bear?  I didn't know that was legal.  Is he getting it stuffed?

OK so about culture and language.  I'll talk about food this week.  Everything is too expensive.  I could never live here after my mission because we can't get good food for cheap.  Even rice, kimchee and ramen are expensive(relatively).  I'm fine with expensive kimchee but why is rice so expensive?  We have to get the members to buy it for us!  We eat a lot of ramen because it is still cheaper than most things.  I'm cooking a lot of pancakes and stuff but they never taste right.  I think the flour here is somehow acidic.  I have to pour sugar into everything or it doesn't taste good.  Can I have the recipe for German pancakes, breakfast cake and fried donuts.  Is there a breakfast cake recipe that doesn't have to much solid fats(butter and crisco are too expensive).  It would be good if it didn't have the sugar stuff on the bottom too.  I'm going to try to make it in the rice maker overnight and the sugar stuff would burn.  If such a recipe doesn't exist then never mind.  Wow, I think you can tell how I deal with stress.
Sorry for the short uninspiring letter,
Love you,
Elder Stapley

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 9, 2013

I'm fine with long emails. Out here we have an hour and fifteen minutes.  Today president also told us that its cool with him if we go over.  I love hearing about whats going on and it helps me find things to talk about. My companion says that it takes about ten days to get letters from home.  You haven't sent me any right? Just making sure they didn't get lost.

How did the Foreigner concert go?

Hooray for Hannah!  That's so cool.  I think its a great idea to put up links to her and Kelsey's sites.  Thanks for helping with that stuff.  Does my account have a picture yet?  It didn't show up when I checked at the MTC.

Mom, that's a really good lesson idea.  I might adapt that for member visits. This transfer we really want to focus on member missionary work and referrals. There is a book about member missionary work that recently got translated into Korean.  The Power of Everyday Missionaries.  The leadership is really excited about it and my companion thinks it will help a lot.  Can I give you a challenge?  Remember when I talked about goals and planning?  Could you set a goal for a specific person to share the Gospel with and then sit down and have a missionary style planning session on how to accomplish that goal.  We are experimenting with the best way to help members share the Gospel and that is one thing we have talked about.  We are not sure how effective we will be at helping the members plan in Korean so it would be good to know if the principle is sound.  PMG talks about planning and there are lots of things in the District about it.  Could you do this for me?

Can I have the recipe for German pancakes?  I made something up but it wasn't as good.  Although I think that was because of the oven and pan.  The oven knob doesn't have any markings so we have to guess.

Today is the first day of my second transfer.  My companion and I are staying but the other team of elders are leaving.  They aren't going to be replaced either.  Masan is going to have just one team of elders for at least a little while.  We will have the house to ourselves which will be nice but boring.  It will also be harder to learn Korean without a native.  I really liked teaching him English.  His use of the language was hilarious.  Last week he announced that he was going to be a "skinhead".  He meant that he wanted to shave his head.  Sister Ellsworth, the American Sister missionary is moving and we are getting another trainee.  It looks like she is going to be a Polynesian.

What does Stapley mean?  The Koreans always ask me that question and I don't have a good answer for it.

Have I talked about Elder Bednar's talk, The Character of Christ?  It was given at an MTC devotional and still plays every week after devotionals.  I'm not sure you can find it online but it references a talk by Elder Maxwell on the character of Christ.  I haven't read that one.  The important thing was that Christ, when he experienced trials and suffering "turned outward".  He served others.  You can see this as you read in the Bible.  I have been reading the New Testament recently.  A focus on understand the Character of Christ has made it especially inspiring.  I have been working on become more like Christ in that regard.  I have seen that thinking of and serving others when you are suffering or sick helps you feel better.  When one of the Sisters got sick she called Sister Gilbert.  Sister Gilbert told her to go out and serve others.  She would feel better.  When I feel sick I can take all the medicine I can.  I can skip language study to take a nap but I won't feel better until I leave my apartment and get to work.  President Hinckley gave a talk on this.  It is the one where he spoke about "forget yourself and go to work".

Thanks for everything,
Elder Stapley

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1, 2013

Hey family,
I'm in the the Changwon Stake, Masan ward.  I'm not sure if I told you anything about the ward here.  They are amazing!  The entire ward is like a big extended family.  I can't tell whose kids are whose because they all take care of each other and are all really good friends regardless of age.  It makes everything really fun. 
Saturday we had a ward music night.  All the missionaries, the youth and some non-members from English class all performed and then we ate rice cakes and kimbab.  The ward mission leader, Carter (that's his English name), put the whole thing together and we spent a lot of time last week helping him get ready.  Its purpose was to get non-members to church.  We got some people from English class, a less active, some random dudes off the street, and Carter's family to come.  It was way fun.
We keep running into Nepalese people here.  They are super nice and want to hang out with us but never in ways that missionaries are allowed.  Hopefully we can meet some interested in our message.
This is the last week of my first transfer!  I don't expect to be going anywhere though
Sorry to hear about those investigators cancelling.  All of ours (except the Jehovah's Witness) have cancelled every time this transfer.  Until yesterday.  I finally met Kang Sung Hoon.  He has the most potential out of everyone we have met with so far of becoming a potential investigator.  He has been busy studying for a big test and hasn't been able to meet.  He took it and we thought he was done but it turns out it was just a practice and he failed it.  He has a little time before he gets busy again though.  We hope for a baptismal date this week!
I have been better fed this last week than any previously.  Some rich members took us to a really nice buffet.  It had statues and fancy waiters in bow ties.  More exciting was the cheescake and ice cream and beef!  Anything that comes out of cow is expensive here and we save all our money for milk each week.  Worth it.  Anyway I ate until I got sick and was happy.  The next day we had another lunch appointment at a member's home and on Saturday Baskin Robbins had a sale and we got half a gallon for dinner.  Today we have plans for a meat buffet!
As for other names of people we are working with; we have Bak Hee Sung, the old less active we have been visiting.  Kim Hee Sook is the recent convert.  We are trying to meet with her husband Kang Yong Ee.  There is a boy, Pang Hyun Oo, who recieved all the lessons and comes to church but faces opposition at home and isn't sure about baptism.
Stapley 창로

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 26, 2013

YAY for baby Adelaide and her family!  Thanks for the picture.  I like pictures.

Thanks for the recipes and substitutes.  I am baking more than I ever have in my life because there is no cheap alternative.  Our baking pan is terrible though and everything burns to the pan but is raw on top.  We don't have enough time to bake at a sufficiently low temperature.  I haven't really had time to look for camera stuff but I have been told it is hard to find anything that isn't a Samsung.  How much would it cost to send it to me?  It might not be worth it.

I wasn't really sure why I shared that part about planning in my last email.  It wasn't something I had planned on or thought about before hand.  Then, the next day, my companion and I were talking about what we could do to help the members do missionary work and I remembered what I wrote.  I know that before my mission I always wanted to share the Gospel but didn't know how to do that effectively.   I tried to set an example for my friends and I would talk about the church when it came up but I didn't have a plan.  In the District 1, the Sister Missionaries were talking to a member and planning out how she was going to share the Gospel with her friend.  They picked a specific person and came up with a very specific plan for how she would share the Gospel with her.  I remembered all these things and suggested to my companion that we meet with specific members and hold a missionary style planning session with them.  We would set goals and come up with a plan to accomplish these goals.  As a companionship we're still not sure how exactly we're going to do that though.  What do you think as members?  Would that help much?  

Thank you so much for all your prayers.  I have been amazed at the small subtle miracles that I see everyday.  We live at the top of a massive hill (it's actually a well developed mountain) and we have to hike to the top multiple times a day.  It is really steep and often we are in a hurry.  It is exhausting but I have never gotten sick from it.  The gift of tongues is also clearly present in my life.  There are time in the lesson when I don't understand any of the words but I somehow know what is being said.  When comparing notes with my companion afterwards there are some things that even he missed that I was able to get the gist of.  One of the less actives who come to English class every week showed up to church the past two weeks with her daughter.  The members all gathered around after sacrament meeting to welcome and talk with them.  It was amazing.  I feel that your faith is part of making these miracles happen.  (This paragraph was his response my my earlier email about how much we pray for him.  I told him about specific things I had prayed that day.  They are some of the things he mentioned in his reply.)

About being busy; we're struggling there.  Our teaching pool is really small and most of them are so busy that they can't meet us often.  I haven't even met our one real progressing investigator yet (although we have a promise that we can next week!).  Our not yet progressing investigators and potentials haven't lived up to expectations so we have a lot of free time.  We are almost through our less actives list and just last night we called all the former investigators that we felt had potential.  I don't know what we are going to do next week.  Proselyting is just sad and disappointing and I'm not looking forward to a week of just that.  Oh well, the Lord will provide.
Thanks for the support, share the Gospel with everyone,
Elder Stapley

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 19, 2013

Thank you for your scriptures and thoughts.  As I prepared some thoughts for some family of members that we were going to visit I thought of how much better it would be to be able to share your testimonies as well. If I can bring the Spirit and teach these truths, while showing my love for my family and bringing up another witness it would be so much more effective.  If you come up with any more please share them with me.  I will use them.

We have kept visiting that old less active I told you about.  He is still not coming to church regularly but I have grown to really love him.  He is really poor but he always offers to feed us and finally insisted on it for next week.  He is really lonely and just wants to make us happy.  His house has no air con but he pulled out a hand fan and started fanning us.  I want to make him cookies or something.  He has started coming to English class every week and he stays for the spiritual thought.  Unfortunately he isn't getting much support from the members.  There are so many less actives that there aren't enough to home teach everybody.  We are basically given that assignment for certain members.

Our recent convert is golden.  She is outstanding and always gives us tasty drinks.  We are having FHE there tonight.

How do you replace buttermilk and shortning in recipes.  Is there a way?

Can I just say how proud I am of Emily.  I bet she is a great example to those around her.  I imagine that she inspires and helps out the Sister missionaries so much.  Emily, I want to help you out anyway I can but you already seem ahead of me.  I know that you have a while till you are a missionary but if I can talk about missionary life for a minute.  The eighth chapter of PMG talks about using time wisely.  On page 146 it talks about setting goals and has a quote from Elder Ballard.  Here's my commitment for you.  Read it and think about how to apply it.  I'm sure it is a lot harder to do outside of the mission but I know that I don't want to lose daily goal setting after my mission.  I find it most effective when I do it with my journal writing and nightly prayers.  I have been looking back on what happened today and preparing for tomorrow.  I can see much clearer the things I really need to do and improve on.  Record your long term goals in your journal.  You have many gifts and there is a lot you can accomplish so you should be able to come up with something good to work towards the next day.  There are always ways to progress personally and ways we can help other people out that require planning.  If we take the time we can accomplish these things when otherwise we waste the time and ability we have been given.  Check out the Parable of the Talents.  All we have is from God and we should be willing to give it back when He calls on us.

Wow.  I always learn more from email time than personal study. I'm sure I needed that more than you did. Thanks for being there for me and writing to me.  I'm very grateful for the opportunity to write back.  Sorry this is short.  
I love you,
Elder Stapley

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Letters and packages can just go to the P.O. Box that you already have.  I don't know how much it would cost to send me camera stuff.  I don't really need it for anything but emailing you.  If you want to send it then that's cool but otherwise I'll try to find it when I have time.  We don't have a lot of money for sweet treats and Koreans don't like them much.  If you ever want to send me stuff then sugary stuff is good.  You are allowed to make videos but I may not be able to play them on this really old church computers.  Do it any way though, sometimes we go to computer labs.  

Cool news about Dad's calling.  We have a whole family of missionaries!

I assume you found Masan on a map and know where it is but we are on the ocean.  There is a lot of topography and we live in an apartment on top of what is basically a mountain.  Every time we want to go back home we have to hike back up it and I have never reached the top with any energy left.  Our apartment is fairly big for Korea but it's pretty trashy.  We don't have any hot water in the sinks but the shower tries to make up for that by burning us alive.  There's no air conditioning but at least we expected that.  I thought it was just that Korea didn't have much air conditioning but I guess every one has it but the missionaries.  We have fans though.

The other missionaries names are Elder McBride, Elder Moon, Sister Ellsworth and Sister Choi.  The member call me Stapler changno-nim.

The work here is kinda frustrating.  Koreans tend to be really busy so we rarely meet with even our best investigators.  I haven't had an actual lesson yet or met most of our investigators.  Hopefully it will get better in a few weeks.  The students are all studying for the big standardized test right now.  Finding is hard as well. Missionaries have a bad reputation here.  Other churches like to send out missionaries and they are all crazy. They tend to stop you in the street, ask what you believe and then attack it.  I hate this practice intensely.(the sin not the sinner)  We had a run in with some yesterday.  They were actually pretty pathetic but we found out later that they were from this one really scary cult church.  I guess that counted as a lesson so I lied earlier.  He was trying to convert us as much as us him.  Apparently they have a book about Mormons and how to confound them.  Whoever wrote it had never tried it on actual Mormons before because they were easily answered.  He came with some questions about verses in the Book of Mormon that seemed to contradict the Bible.  When we explained them to him he tried to pull out the anti-Mormon book to look up more questions but my companion started asking questions before he could.  He was much more thoughtful after that.  We have another appointment but we'll see how it goes.

One good thing about my area is we have the best Ward Mission leader in the world.  He is a convert of about 5 years but still shows us lifelong members and full-time missionaries how to do the work.  He is busy but he does most of our fellow-shipping and always comes to all of our English classes.  He has all sorts of inspired ideas and makes sure we don't forget anything or anybody.  He also speaks really good English and gives us food.  I thank Heavenly Father for him every night.

Could you do something for me?  Send me some of your favorites scriptures and some thought about them. Could you try to find some that even non-Christians could understand and relate to?  I would love to be able to share my family's favorite scriptures in spiritual thoughts.

Another request.  I didn't bring any recipes.  I would like some easy ones that don't need much dairy.  We do have milk but we try to go easy on it because it is more expensive.  I also haven't been able to find any shortening.  Is there a good substitute?  I would especially like sweet recipes.  As I mentioned before we don't get a lot of sweet things.  Most of what we eat is rice and eggs and ramen.
I have more to say but I'm out of time.  I love you,
Elder Stapley