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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6, 2013

Thanks for the pictures and for sharing Uncle Ethan's Email.  I wish I could give you some pictures but I left my camera charger and battery at the MTC.  I have no idea when I'm going to have time to get another. Hopefully I'll have time next p-day.  Sorry.

I would like to bear testimony of the gift of tongues.  My Korean is bad.  It was bad at the MTC.  But the moment I started doing missionary work my ability to speak and understand jumped.  We went out proselyting on my first day and I was shocked that I understood more from these native Koreans than I did from my teachers.  Not that I did well but it was still really cool.

I don't know how much you know about my area, I think you got pictures at least from my mission president.  I am in Masan.  My companion is Elder Hall from St. George.  We live with another companionship and also have a pair of sister missionaries.  We have one native in our apartment and he's way cool.  His companion is the district leader which makes things super easy.  

Missionary work is doing well here.  We have a really small ward but it is a ward.  The week I arrived they had three baptisms, a woman and her 2 daughters.  I missed the actual baptism but I got to participate in the confirmations Sunday.  They are so great.  They fit in really well at church.  The oldest daughter went to a Korea wide youth conference and this Sunday she got up and bore her testimony.  It was way powerful (not that I understood her) and then told her Dad "If you could join the Church that would be great."  The dad is not sure about the church but we're working with him.  It would be wonderful if the entire family could be together in the Gospel.

We have been working with some less actives in the area.  Most of the addresses we were giving are really outdated and don't exist anymore but we did visit one brother.  He is really poor and lives in a tiny house in a back alley.  He invited us in.  We sat down on the floor in his tiny entrance room and listened as he talked to us.  I understood very little and even my companion could only get the gist of it.  We shared a message about the importance of the sacrament and invited him to church the next day.  He did come to sacrament meeting the next day.  He took the Sacrament and then escaped while I was giving my introduction and my companion was translating for some Americans.  I get the feeling that he isn't getting much support from the ward so we're going to follow up on that.  Its hard cause he doesn't work and Koreans tend to judge that.

We have a few more investigators but the problem with Korean men is that they are always working.  They are rarely home and they never have time for us.  We aren't supposed to proselyte to women so that isn't very effective for us either.  In Pusan there were enough people that we could find someone to talk to but here when we walk down the street or get on a bus it is all women.  The Sisters are so lucky.

I have been excited for real Korean food ever since I got here and couldn't wait to try everything.  However since I got here we have had American food, Chinese food, Japanese food and ramen.  Finally today we had a lunch appointment at a member's house.  It was really good.  We had some sort of soup.  I wasn't sure what was in it so I asked my companion.  He didn't know either.  "Well, I think it came out of the sea but.......".  Anyway it was good and not too chewy so I'm guessing it wasn't octopus. The only problem was that they put all this delicious food out in front of us and then gave us a massive bowl of rice that we had to eat all of over the course of the meal.  It was really hard getting it all down.  I just wanted to eat the tasty food!  I somehow ate it all and then they cleared the food away and brought in desert!  How do they eat so much!?  Anyway I said a prayer and ate a respectable amount and was blessed to not feel terribly sick. Another witness that the Church is true.

I'm out of time.  I love you,
Elder Stapley

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3, 2013

Korea Busan Mission
Dongnae P.O. Box 73
Busan, Korea 607-600
3 August 2013
Brother Craig Scott Stapley
Jennifer Ruth Stapley
Dear Brother and Sister Stapley,
Recently Sister Gilbert and I had the choice opportunity of meeting your son at the airport and welcoming him to Busan.  Even though his flight had been lengthy and he had little chance to sleep, he was still cheerful and smiling.
We have been anticipating his arrival and it was wonderful to finally meet him.  We spent two days together and had an opportunity to visit privately together in the Mission Home.  We also enjoyed a very spiritual training period where Elder Stapley expressed his desire to serve the Savior and the Korean people.
Elder Stapley was also able to meet his new companion who is an outstanding missionary and an excellent trainer.  We know that they will grow together in service and love as they teach investigators and members in their new area.
Missionary work in the Busan Mission is new and exciting, and  our missionaries find great rewards in serving the Lord here.  Elder Stapley will learn much about himself, our Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel as he serves with all his heart, might, mind  and strength in the Lord's work.  He will come to understand his role as a disciple of Christ. (3Ne. 5:13)
We are grateful for his willingness and his worthiness to serve.  We thank you for preparing him and for sharing him with the Korea Busan Mission.  We know that his devoted efforts will richly bless the lives of your family.
We thank you for your support and ask you to write regular encouraging letters and send faith promoting experiences to him .  (Please use this address -- Dongnae P.O. Box 73, Busan 607-600.  While serving in other areas, mail to this address may be quickly forwarded without additional cost.)  We know that as Elder Stapley works with all his heart, might, mind and strength he will have a most amazing missionary experience.  We know  you will experience the miracle that is missionary work through your son's fine diligent efforts.
Packages from home are always welcome and most products will arrive safely and not incur any customs fees.  Please do not send beef jerky, it would be confiscated, and it is available here for purchase at Costco.  We have also found that sending packages by international mail is generally preferable to using international courier services such as FedEx or DHL.  Courier packages come to the street address of the mission home and there are times when no one is available to sign for them.  Courier packages are also much more likely to be subjected to greater customs scrutiny, delay, storage fees, etc.  US International Priority Mail is fast and provides several fixed-price boxes that do not have specific weight restrictions.  We check with our post office every day, so if you use the PO Box address above, your package will be picked up immediately and delivered quickly and safely.
Please feel free to call or write at any time if you have questions or concerns.  Sister Gilbert and I are honored to stand beside these tremendous young men and women in this sacred calling.
Thank you again for your sacrifice and service.  We pray that the Lord will continue to bless you and your family and keep you ever in His watchful care.
Faithfully yours,
Lynn A. Gilbert
Korea Busan Mission President