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