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.
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