Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

I got both your and G&G Stapley's packages before my birthday.  The card was great! I didn't really do anything for my birthday but I had a chocolate cake for lunch.

I can't think of anything good to write.  In this area we spend a lot of time just walking around talking to people.  We always find a bunch of really cool people who nevertheless have no interest in what we have to say.  Or they don't respond afterwards. Sometimes we go our entire week like that.  A few contacts, a few street lessons but none of the really important things.  Just being obedient and hopefully planting a few seeds.

We did have one good lesson this week.  One of our English students, Hong Gwan, has some interest in learning about our church.  We met and ate dinner and talked about God and commandments.  He says he doesn't have much belief and doesn't want to but he was very concerned about the Ten Commandments and how Korean culture breaks them.  I think he has more belief than he thinks and I'm hopeful that we can help him realize that.

Next week is transfer calls.  Anything could happen.

I love you all.  
Elder Stapley

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9, 2013

Right now I'm reading about the snow in Kansas and looking out of the window at the snowstorm outside in Busan.  We never get snow this far south.  It's not sticking of course but its been going all morning.

As part of an effort to help the ward be more united we are going to have a scripture study group once a week.  We expect about two people to show up this week.  Oh well.

Have I talked about how I feel about the Gospel of Christ yet?  I can't remember.  My favorite lesson to teach is the Gospel of Christ.  I'm sure it just because I understand it more than the others.  Before my mission it seemed like my answer to every question was faith.  As a missionary my favorite subject became repentance.  And recently I have been seeing how much happier people are when they keep their covenants and have the Spirit in their lives. 
Every part these first principles of Christ's gospel is a great blessing all on it's own but when you put it all together you get the remission of sins and spiritual healing.  If we have faith to trust God and are willing to act to become better and progress we receive help and support from God.  We let our covenants guide our priorities and we can know what is most important in life. The Spirit guides us and protects us from danger.  Through the Atonement of Christ our guilt and our weaknesses are taken away.  As we see the power of these gifts at work in our lives our testimony of these things becomes stronger and we can know that God does forgive us of our mistakes.  I'm incredibly thankful to have access to such great gifts.  Its important now that we share them.

I might have a bit more to write but that's all I can think of right now.  It was a fairly slow week.
Love you,  

Elder Stapley

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

 With a recent convert at our Christmas program.  I refused to wear the make-up.

A fountain thing we drank out of while hiking in Jinhae 

Kim Min-jae's baptism, with his mom and Elder Wilson

Pday in Miryang

I brought my robe?  I'd forgotten!

This last week has been pretty slow.  It is Chinese New Year, one of the biggest holidays here.  During this time all the people have big family reunions, usually in Seoul, and they eat for three days straight.  Visiting people and proselyting don't really work well so we cleaned the house thoroughly for a whole day and into the next.  Thankfully today most people have returned and are back to work.  We will need to get back in touch with the people we are working with this week so hopefully we can be fairly busy.

Have I talked to you about Edward yet?  He is a Chinese man working here in Korea for a few years.  We haven't been able to meet him much because he has been back in China with his family and then he had to scramble to meet a deadline at work.  We met him a couple weeks ago but now he's back in China and he won't get back for a few weeks.  However out of all our current investigators he has been the most prepared.  He has a Chinese and an English copy of the Book of Mormon that he reads side-by-side to help him understand.  He really wants to believe in God and the Plan of Salvation.  He loves the idea of eternal families.  Because of his culture he has a really hard time understanding some things and he's not sure that he can ever really believe in God.  He's trying though.  That's more than most people.  He hates the ward here (he knows zero Korean) and is worried about making commitments that would be difficult to keep when he returns to China.  He is in my prayers every night.

This morning I made a cake in a bowl in the toaster oven.  It mostly worked. It sort of looks like a volcano because the bowl wasn't quite wide enough for that much batter and the outside cooked faster.

I'm still waiting for the computer that can send pictures but I will definitely do that soon.  I might write some more but this is all I can think of for now.

Love you,

Elder Stapley

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

So, Kim Min-jae was baptized!!  He wanted the missionary who had originally taught him to come down and do the baptism.  We weren't sure that this elder, Elder Wilson, would be able to make it because he is assigned a couple of hours away but he was able to get permission and made good time to get down here after church ended.  Then Kim Min-jae had trouble getting his parents to come to the baptism.  Eventually his mother was able to come and she was welcomed and seemed very happy.  While this was going on we were trying to fill the font.  We couldn't get the boiler to work and it looked like we were going to have to do it in freezing cold water.  The Bishop and some of the other ward members wanted to put it off till next week but when we told Kim In-jae he just wanted to go ahead and do it.  He didn't even hesitate he wanted to get baptized immediately.  After a bit of struggling the Bishop and church maintenance guy were able to able to get the boiler fixed and fill the font with warm water.  The whole thing was super stressful but the program and the actual ordinance went very well and was well attended, more than twice the sacrament meeting attendance.  My companion mentioned that the adversary seemed to be trying very hard to stop that baptism.  Not that Kim Min-jae would ever let that happen.

We also were able to confirm him yesterday.  We got really worried when the Bishop said that that's how we were going to do it.  "Umm, Bishop that's not how it works..." But he said that both President Gilbert and the Stake President had signed off on it.  So we went ahead and did it. I'm still not sure why they felt we needed to confirm him immediately but it was really cool.  And President participated in the confirmation so we really did have permission.

Sacrament meeting yesterday was the best I have seen in this ward!  The topic was on fellow-shipping, something this ward really struggles with.  They are not at all supportive of investigators or converts usually but yesterday they really made an effort.  They talked to Kim In-jae and the sisters recent convert!  We are going to push for a bunch of member lessons this next little bit and we'll see if we can help them get into better habits. If they can welcome and support more people this ward can turn around and start growing again.

I'm glad that Emily is taking the mission prep class.  It sounds like the missionaries were teaching from page 161 in PMG.  That suggests teaching members the message of the Restoration to build excitement and faith in the missionaries and the Message.  My last companion liked to teach the Plan of Salvation to members.  He had heard President Monson promise that if we discussed the Plan with members they would be more likely to think of someone to share that message with.  I could never get him to understand that "discuss" didn't mean to teach them as you would an investigator.  So when a missionary teaches you a lesson like that just get excited for missionary work and then try to think who would benefit from hearing that particular message.

Love you all!  Keep sharing the gospel at every opportunity.
Elder Stapley


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 6, 2014

Dear Family,

I've heard so much about how cold it would be here but it is actually fairly warm right now. Weird that it is so incredibly cold there. 

Our church key just stopped working recently and we have been getting in through one of the windows. When we got to the church to get ready for district meeting this last week we found all of the windows on the first floor locked.  The Sisters key also wasn't working and we might have had to meet outside.  Then we remembered that the last time this had happened to the sisters they had climbed up some pipes to an open second story window.  We had to climb these pipes and then scoot along a thin ledge to the window.
Kim Min-jae is getting baptized next week!  We just have to teach a couple of commandments and the baptismal interview, which he's going to ace.  The biggest worry is still whether his parents will have changed their minds.  We gave him the papers to take to them to get signed. He seemed confident.  
A couple of weeks ago he mentioned that he still drank coffee.  We didn't have a good opportunity to teach much about that then and made a note to address that in the next lesson a week later.  I was on exchange at the time they taught him that next week but apparently they had an amazing lesson. 
They went in prepared to address this problem only to have him tell them that he had quite coffee a week before in response to that quick, weak commitment we had given him.  He is still not drinking coffee and is seeing the blessings.  He is much less tired now.  He was worried about that because he stays up studying so much(it is winter vacation here but the students still study all day).  Yay, miracles!
Kim Min-jae is the best youth in the ward.  He doesn't even have the priesthood yet.  It's not unusual for him to be the only young man at an activity.  The last lesson we did with him we would start a principle from PMG and then he would just tell us everything about it.  The ward member that we were teaching with didn't know as much as he did.  After the lesson he stayed to help clean up and then went around and locked all the windows(so that's why that was locked) and then pulled out a church key and locked the building(we were going to have to lock it from the inside and climb out the window).  That kid is more responsible than the Bishop.
One miracle is that he is getting baptized at this time.  At the end of vacation he is going to start High School and will be in school till 10 at night!  It would have been even more difficult to meet him then.  Somethings about this country really frustrate me.  He needs all the blessings he can get!
Love you!
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