Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013

 I have a few minutes to write to y'all.  I'm here.  I love Busan.  Right now it is the perfect temperature and the humidity feels great after 2 months of Utah (as long as I'm not wearing a suit).  The President is super cool and his wife makes the best pancakes I've ever had.  
It is way green here.  Out by the airport there were all sorts of trees.  Not at all what I was picturing.  Then we rounded a corner and past the trees was a massive city.  Driving is scary.  They like to tailgate.  We went to the bank and one of the office elders tried to talk to the bank lady in Korean and she didn't understand at all.  He gave up and just spoke to her in English.  This is not a good sign.  Anyway, I'm really excited and ready to get going.

Elder Stapley

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013
Anyoung haseyo, yoraboon,
I got the package!  Thanks a lot.  I was especially glad of the letters and pictures.  The pants will be good to have as well.
It is so great that Emily is going out with the missionaries so much.  It sounds like she and the sisters are having much more success with their real investigators than I am with my fake ones.  In our very last lesson with him one of our investigators said that the only reason he had wanted us to teach him is so we could help him quit smoking.  We'd been asking him what he wanted us to teach him and he never mentioned that.  Towards the end of the lesson he also fell asleep so I guess we need to work on our speed.
One of the more important things I have learned here is that asking God to take our problems away rarely gets good results.  When we ask God for the ability to accomplish our purpose in spite of trials we get miraculous results.  When I am too tired to think in class or I have a headache during a lesson, I have been able to ask God for help and within a minute I am thinking clearly again.
I really wish I had studied the scriptures and church literature more before I got here.  I am reading from the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel daily but I also want to study the Bible more and read all the way through Jesus the Christ again.  I don't have nearly enough hours in the day here and I never will during my mission.
I get to call you Monday!  We should get to the airport at 9ish in the morning and I will call sometime before my flight leaves.  I hope that isn't a bad time for you guys.  There aren't any restrictions except that I'll need to get on a plane eventually.  I hope we'll get at least an hour.  The card I have hasn't even been scratched away yet and it should have a ton minutes on it.  If something doesn't work I can borrow someone else's card.  There are a lot of people that don't want to talk long and get homesick.  I'm more worried that there won't be enough phones available.  I know some parents sent in track phones for their missionaries to use in the airport but I think that is bumping up against the rules.  Its too late now anyway.
We got our all-hanguk name tags!  My name came out five syllables but it actually sounds like it does here when you speak quickly.  I have pictures with some of the Elders in my district and with my companion.  I am also imitating my companion when he thinks sometimes.  Isn't that the kabuki face?  My companion had no idea what that meant when I called it that.
Did you see the official facebook pages for the Brethren?   I want to like them as soon as I have facebook.
I really like getting pictures from home.  Keep 'em coming.  Be sure to include some of you guys in them.
I love you,
Stapley changno.

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013
Anyoung haseyo,

I got the Bank thing notarized already.  I just walked into the Travel Center and my good friends there took care of it for me.  They still know me by name.  

I got the skeeter defeater already.  It should be perfect.  I guess you usually have to keep a fan on your face so you don't hear the mosquitoes buzzing in your ear.  Ha, not me.  Chris rocks.  

I was actually hosting the new missionaries this Wednesday when the Skabelunds pulled up in my area.  We'll have to get pictures before I leave.  Elder Suerresig left before we could get together for a picture.  Too bad.

I'm getting really excited for Korea.  We got our travel plans this morning.  We will leave on the 29th.  We will be flying to San Francisco, to Tokyo and then to Busan.  I'm a little disappointed that we're going to the Busan airport.  We thought we'd go to Seoul and take a train down.  We should get to use the train for twice a year temple trips though.  We'll have a 2 hour layover in the Narita airport just in time for dinner.  My comp has promised us some really nice Japanese food from the food courts there.  I guess they're really good.  I feel bad for the Seoul people.  They fly down to Texas and then fly straight to Seoul.  There are going to be enough people leaving that day that we might actually get to sleep that night.  Generally departing missionaries leave for the airport at 2 in the morning.  We should get to leave at 7 though.  We got a letter from our mission president.  It said that they would be there to pick us up from the airport and we'll have a 2 day orientation before being sent out. 

We have been having problems with one of our investigators.  He isn't keeping commitments and doesn't seem to be feeling the Spirit.  When we ask him he says that this is a "chohun gyo-hwea", a good church, but doesn't think there is anything special about us.  We decided we were going to prepare a lesson to make sure he understood how all the doctrines we had taught him fit together.  We planned to bear testimony and make it the most spiritual lesson ever.  We worked really hard on it and felt sure it would work.  When we got in to teach him it was probably the best lesson we had ever done.  But he just sat there.  We learned a lot about what he understood from the questions we asked him but his responses were still the same.  Good church, good people, interesting doctrine but just another church.  It was so disappointing.  Especially after hearing from the Sisters that they had had an amazing lesson in which he cried and got committed to baptism.  My companion cried but our investigator's eyes were completely dry.  We have one more lesson with him to try to get him to feel the Spirit.  The Sisters read the Book of Mormon with him so I think that's probably what we'll be doing.  It was something we had been planning anyway.  He's read a few verses of 3 Nephi 11 so we'll go over it with him.

Pictures.  I have one of a few Elders practicing the kimchee squat.  The Koreans supposedly wait for the bus like this and find it perfectly comfortable.  My legs start burning after a minute.  I also took a picture of our travel plan.  The times shown are local.
Love you, 
Stapley chang-no

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013

   Anyoung Haseyo,
       Well done on the AP tests Emily!  Those are great scores.  I am also still really excited at how you are teaching with the missionaries.  I hope you continue to have that opportunity.
       I did get my visa so I won't get reassigned.  It will be cool to go to Korea with the rest of my district.   As far as packages go I'm not sure what I want just anything.  One thing I would like you to look into is a mosquito net.  Apparently, even in the city the mosquitoes there are pretty bad and are impossible to keep out of the apartment.  One Elder in my district has a Skeeter Defeater.  It is a net that you can set up like a tent but it doesn't take up much room.  If you could research price and stuff I would be grateful.  I might need one.  Did you see that missionary dress code has changed.  They put the new one up on lds.org.

Dad and Mom, you both learned another language.  What worked for you to memorize vocab?  My retention rate is terrible.
       I have had an amazing week.  I have been really productive and have understood most of what my teachers say.  We also had a great devotional and I learned a lot.  The sisters in our district all sing and play instruments and they tried out to perform a musical number.  We got to hang out in the practice room while they sang "Come Thou Fount".  They sounded amazing and it made my week.
       We had been told that Busan had an accent different from Seoul which is what we are learning.  Our teacher (the native one) assured us that it wasn't that different and we would have no problem understanding it.  He lied.  We taught some natives in TRC and they said that it is really different and we'll only understand a few words.  This was confirmed by an RM working at the bookstore so, I'm toast.  It is apparently easier than the Jeju accent which is very nearly a different language.  That one is in my mission too so I'm scared.
The hardest thing for me at the MTC has been accomplishing my goals.  I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it all in.  I knew when I started that this would be difficult and I would need the Lord's help.  Every night I kneel down to pray and I ask God for help with my goals.  Often I receive ideas of things I can do to accomplish them.  When this happens I go to bed confident.  The Lord is helping me.  I got this.  Then something always happens the next day to prevent me from doing all my work.  I might get a headache or be really tired or have my schedule changed.  I didn't understand.  I am being obedient and I pray for help every night and morning.  Why does it seem like God is trying to prevent me from accomplishing my goals?
      During the devotional on Tuesday we had an emeritus Seventy speak about prayer.  I don't remember what he said but I realized that I was only praying at the established times for prayer, morning, night, mealtimes, before class and lessons.  I was not praying when I ran into problems or had a hard time.  I had already asked God for help in my morning and evening prayers and I called it good.  However we are told to pray always.  I felt it was a small thing but I resolved to do that more.  The difference was amazing.  That next day, when the cafeteria food had made me sick, I said a quick, sincere prayer.  I felt better within minutes and was able to accomplish more in that class time than I had all day.  I continued to pray like that all day and I received help every time.  I couldn't believe that that had made the difference when all of my other habits I had been working hardly mattered.  In the shower the next morning I realized what else had changed.  (I blame the necessity for quick showers for the fact that it took me so long to figure this out.)  It was my attitude when I went to Lord for help in my prayer.  I had been asking for help but once I received inspiration or comfort I decided that was all I needed.  "OK thanks.  I got this"  I wasn't leaving a lot of room for the Lord in "I got this".  I was reminded of the exodus and the way the Lord taught the Children of Israel to rely on him.  He helped them in very direct ways every day.  I don't know if every one already had this lesson down or if it was important specifically for me, but it was clearly important that I get this down.  I am grateful for the way God made things hard for me so that I could learn this lesson.  I know I will need it.
I love you,

Stapley chang-no

Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5, 2013

July 5, 2013
Anyoung Haseyo,
Yay!  Some youth moved in!  The blessings of supporting a missionary.  It was cool to see those pictures.  Keep sending them.  What do my edited letters look like?  I wasn't sure I was coming up with good enough stuff for you to post.  You can't be getting more than a couple lines out of them.  I will try to do the thank you notes today.
For 4th of July we got out of class early and had a special devotional.  I was all pumped for a cool spiritually instructive one like we usually get on Sundays and Tuesdays but it was just a quick story about serving our country and then we watched 17 Miracles.  I'm not sure what that had to do with Independence Day but at least we weren't in class.  Then we got to go outside and watch The Stadium of Fire from a distance.  Most of it was obscured by trees though.  We didn't get back to the residence until 10:50.
I literally just ran into a Brother Stapley teaching in this building.  He is from Arizona.  That's cool.  

      My schedule-
-Everyday I wake up at 6:10 so I can shower without waiting in line.  We try to get to class at 7 for district opening exercises.
-We do whatever till breakfast at 7:45.  (Funny story related to breakfast.  One of the Elders in my district thought it was spelled breakfrast and has been pronouncing it that way all his life.  No one ever pointed it out to him till now.  He says it is too late for him to change.)
Depending on the day we have in some sort of order;
-Personal Study (usually scriptures)
-Additional study (usually lesson planning)
-TALL(Technology Assisted Learning and some other word that begins with L.  It is supposed to let us learn to pronounce vocab like a native but it is terribly inaccurate and not worth it.  We usually just practice sentences in the nice, comfy computer lab wheely chairs during this time.)
-Gym time
-Lunch at 12:45
-Class at 1:25
-Language Study at 4:25
-Dinner at 5:40
-Class at 6:25
-Closing prayer at 9:25 and back to the residence hall.
-Lights out at 10:30
My district has the two best teachers in the zone.  Brother Sung grew up in the States but spoke Busan Korean at home.  He served in Seoul.  He is really funny and tells us all about the culture and subtle things in the language.  He has perfect pronunciation, obviously, and makes sure to teach that to us.  He never had to learn Korean though and doesn't understand why you say some things a certain way.  "I don't know why we say it that way. It just feels right."  Apparently we will develop this "feeling" after a while in country.  Brother Campbell however, was in our shoes two years ago and can teach the reasons behind some of the principles.  He is straight off his mission and is super spiritual.  Our pronunciation is noticably better than the other district, even the RM teachers.
Pictures.  I have one of Bro. Sung in street clothes.  One of my district at the temple.  I am trying very hard to look good while facing the sun and failing miserably.  There is also one of part of my district eating lunch at the residence and then one of my room.  Mine is the top middle bunk with the bed unmade because I took a nap. 

Love you!
Stapley Chang-no