Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hark All Ye Nations, (Elder Stapley in the choir at 3:03)

June 28, 2013

Anyoung Haseyo,
Sorry I didn't send this earlier but we have been super busy.  I'm writing this after class.  I don't even know if that is allowed.  No one told me.  I never got the passport holder.  I did turn in my visa stuff though.  I saw Will.  He seems to be cool here.  The Salina missionaries will have to get a picture next to the big world map.  I'll send it along when it happens.  When does Essen come in?  
The plague seems to be winding down.  We already had a ton of hand sanitizer thing all over the place.  Also today was the last day we had to go to the temple.  It is closing for cleaning:(.  I got to do sealings though.  It was really cool.  Our Sealer took a lot of time to explain everything to us and I learned a lot about the temple.  There was one Sister from Colombia doing work for her mother.  It was awesome to be there.
I'm so glad that Emily is able to go out with the missionaries.  Emily, take the time now to learn how they teach and study PMG, all of it.  During the missionary broadcast all I could think about was how bad a member missionary I was.  I felt like I was a good example and talked a lot about the church but I wasn't very effective.  PMG is really good at teaching how to teach.  I wish I had born testimony more and taught the important doctrines when I had a chance.  Practice being a missionary now.  Try to teach actual principles.  It doesn't have to be wierd or missionary-y but I had opportunities all the time when I could have invited the Spirit, taught a principle and born testimony just in class with my friends.  You're probably already doing this and it was just me wasting my opportunities but at least pray and study how you can improve.  Padres, I don't know If you have read PMG.  I know you've been missionaries already and were amazing at sharing the gospel but you might want to look it over.  I have a great testimony of it's inspired-ness and helpfulness.
I didn't take any pictures this week except the time we walked into class and found our teachers in street clothes.  You're welcome to them.  I'll also include one of me writing this letter.  You're welcome to send me pictures too you know.
Sorry for the short letter but I have to be getting back.
I love you and am missing you,
Stapley Chang-no
Oh never mind about the pictures they aren't working on this computer.  I did try though.  I'll get them next week.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013

I have been here for three whole weeks now.  I have in fact managed to get a haircut but I have to get another before we leave.  I just got some of your dear elders from earlier in the month.  They didn't have the right number on them so that's why I didn't answer any of those questions in my emails.  It's funny you got those pictures.  The ones in my apartment at BYU were taken without my knowledge.  I didn't find them until I got here.  The guys in those pics are actually here now.  I have some more pictures for you.  Most of them are of what we do in our free time in the classroom.  There is also a picture with my favorite outgoing missionary.  I'll try to get some more from temple walk and the devotional on Sunday.

We got to teach and be taught by some of the outgoing Elders.  It was really encouraging because even though we didn't understand everything we definitely felt the spirit a ton and it was awesome.  They left this week and we got a new batch on Wednesday.  I have become much more spiritually aware and have been able to develop a much closer relationship with God.  I have also become obsessed with the scriptures to the point that I just want to read them all day.  I'm probably focusing on them at the expense of my language study though.

Happy Father's Day, Father.  I was going to include something last email but ran out of time.  Hope it was good.  Sorry you got sick though.  Speaking of which, we are apparently sinners in need of punishment because we have been struck with the plagues.  Plural.  Colds, headaches, hurling, random rashes, infections and spontaneous nosebleeds.  The bathroom on our floor resembles a midieval hospital with people kneeling by the toilets, leaning against the walls with vacant expressions and washing up blood by the sinks.  We have recieved official instructions to not shake anyone's hand.  So far I've just had a cough.  I'm righteous.  Doesn't Will come in soon?  Warn him to repent or be struck down.
Korean is getting easier.  I can understand most of what is said in the classroom and can answer our investigator's questions.  I fear I'm offending the english speakers when they ask me a question.  Yes in Korean is nea which sounds like nay which causes confusion.  "It's the MTC.  We're all trustworthy here right?"  "Nea."  We keep swearing when we practice chinese numbers but our teacher won't tell us how.  Just to be careful with emphasis on numbers 3,7 and8.  Great.  

Ah I'm out of time.  Love you,

Stapley chang-no

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013

Anyung Haseyo,

Don't worry about the camera cord they sell them at the bookstore here.  Don't worry about the cd either.  I'll send you requests once I know what I'm allowed. 

Today I got to go and get a money order to pay for my passport.  We were driven to Smith's and went in for the order.  It was cool walking in there with our tags on.  Everyone was super nice and a mother started talking to her children about missionary work.  It will be different in Korea. 

The foreign language part of my brain has kicked in.  Interestingly it’s not just Korean.  I found a paper with a bunch of Spanish sentences and I was able to understand almost all of it (Dad, insert Spanish joke here).  I still can't do that in Korean.  I feel like I'm finally getting the language down.  I can come up with semi-complex sentences on the fly now.  They seem to pick Korean missionaries because they have studied other languages.  In my district there are multiple people fluent in a second language.  We have lots of Spanish as well as Portuguese, Greek, French, German and Japanese. 

We are teaching a couple of "investigators" almost daily and we have TRC tonight.  There are rumors that they might have us skype people in Korea to teach, possibly some real investigators.  I'm kinda scared for that.  I can speak Hangulmar but I can't understand it very well yet.  

Have you guys talked about the broadcast on the 23rd?  Some people are saying that they are going to make a huge announcement but they've only told us that it is a leadership training for everyone involved with missionary work.  I bet you guys can see it.  They are going to post it to afterwards.  You might be able to see me with the choir. 

I'm getting really excited to get to Korea.  We have a district of natives here and they are the coolest people ever.  And the food is no longer tasty here.  The MTC is so full right now.  Everything is falling apart or is too full and they are too swamped to fix everything. 

I've gotten into a schedule now and each day is actually going at a normal pace.  The first week and a half everyday felt like ten.  I was wondering if it was some sort of miracle to enable us to cram more stuff into our brains.  I ran into Zac Saueressig.  It is great how many people I know are here. 

My favorite part of the week is definitely Devotionals.  We get a devotional on Sunday and Tuesday.  The speakers are always amazing and I get to sing with the choir.  I'm sorry this wasn't a great email but we ran out of time.

Stapley changno.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 7, 2013

I definitely don't sing in the morning at all. (This was a response to me asking him if he started each day singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”?)   I hate mornings.  I had hoped that I would get used to the schedule by now but I haven't.  For the first time in my life eight hours isn't enough sleep.  I am really tired and we won't have an opportunity to catch up on sleep, ever.  Sorry to start out my letter sounding grumpy but I still haven't woken up. 

We do get devotionals twice a week and I've joined the choir that performs in the Tuesday session.  I got here just in time.  They told us Tuesday that there is going to be a world-wide broadcast in a few weeks with the entire Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency.  And I get to sing in it!  I think it's sort of a missionary themed pep rally for the Bishops and Stake Presidents so you might not be able to see it.  My companion and most of my district don't like to sing though and we aren't allowed to play any music while we're here.  I really miss music.  If we sing in class it is in Korean and that’s not nearly as much fun.  At least the showers have good acoustics.  Can you possibly forward Kelsey's emails to me? 

My companion is from Boise.  He was actually raised speaking Japanese.  There are a surprising number of half Japanese missionaries to Korea.  Almost all the missionaries speak another language.  Every week is new record for the number of missionaries entering the MTC.  This last group had 200 more than mine did.  There are so many of us that we actually maxed out the Provo Temple for the first time in forever.  When are the Shurtleff’s entering the MTC?  Oh and I need Pres. Knapp's email address.  My mission pres. wants it.  There are so many people from my ward here.  It is really cool seeing all of them all the time. 

I found out why Korean is so hard.  There are an uncountable number of grammar forms.  We'll have to master 40 of them before we get to Korea.  My schedule is way busy.  We've been teaching a lesson in Korean almost every day.  It's really stressful and I'm not learning very much because we're so focused on writing these lessons out. 

I am writing in my journal quite a bit and I now have an actual testimony of the practice.  Writing my thoughts out at night is a really good way to think about the things that I did during the day.  I learn a lot and receive revelation about certain things every time I write.  It is really good to do before I say my prayers because gives me things to talk about and ask God.
I am enjoying this experience.  Love you.

Stapley chang-no

Monday, June 3, 2013

May 31, 2013

Anyoung Haseyo (I'm guessing at the Roman spelling),

-My p-day is Friday!  First off,  I'm loving the MTC.  We're really busy and I don't have enough time in the day but it is still great.  Maybe I just like being productive for once.  My comp is great.  Elder Luke is very similar to me.  Doesn't talk much and not athletic.  Works out great.  Interestingly he is half Japanese and speaks that language.  Kinda wierd that he's going to Korea.  I'm crammed in a four person room with 5 other Elders but it works.  The bathroom isn't nearly big enough though.  We have 9 showers that we can use and another without a curtain that was introduced to us as the Glory Shower.  I haven't met any one I dislike yet.  It is so cool seeing so many people I know here.  Lots of friends from BYU. 

-I'm already learning quite a bit of Korean and teach my first lesson in it tonight.  It's easier than I thought.  What do the Spanish missionaries do for six weeks?

-I received both Dear Elders.  Thanks.  It was cool getting those. 

-Last night I had my first "Wow, God is helping me out" moment.  We had been trying to find a way to teach someone the idea that God has a body and Genesis wasn't cutting it.  I was worrying about how little I knew about the Bible when I got into bed and opened my scriptures.  They opened to Hebrews 1 which talks about Christ being in the image of God the Father.  I still want to get to know the Bible better but I know that God will help me to overcome any weaknesses that I have.  This on my 2nd day!  I'm a missionary! 

-The food is great. 

-I'm getting more excited about Korea.  The natives I've met are so great.  Apparently they have a pork product that is to bacon like the gospel is to other churches.  I'll believe it when I taste it.

Love you tons,

Stapley 창 로 (Chang-ro, I think that's Elder)