Friday, June 28, 2013

Week 7!

Hello Everyone!
I don't have a lot of time this week... BUT I will still write. I was downloading a lot of stuff to help me learn Korean. Yay! Because I need to speak this language! Ha.
Anyways. Once again, it has been an interesting week. My Korean gets better every week! I can think more in Korean now. And it doesn't cause me to have a headache as much anymore. Haha.
So, this last week, at a dinner with a member, we had a legitimate conversation about how missionaries who like to eat kimchi learn Korean better than those that don't. Then, the husband said that unless you eat dog, you can't speak it. Hahaha. I really hope I don't have to eat dog. Apparently Koreans don't eat it very much because it is expensive. And some Koreans just choose not to eat it because they think it is gross. I think the worst thing I have seen here in Korea in terms of food happened the other day. Apparently some people boil silk worm larva and sell it on the street. So there are just these big pots filled with silk worm larva. SICK! When I saw it, I thought, "Are those what I think they are?" Yes. They were. Apparently Koreans think they are healthy. But Koreans think everything is healthy.
This last week I have come to the conclusion that Koreans are turtles. Especially the old ones. With their bowed legs and slow movements. And they are all always in their shells: Their cells phones. Ha. But seriously...
This last week, one the members of our ward was talking to an English lady (the member speaks English very well) and they were talking about love. She wanted to say that there was chemistry between them, but instead she said there were chemicals between them. I laughed a long time. It may not be funny in email form, but I liked it a lot. Hahaha.
We met this old man in a wheel chair and he likes us a lot. He wanted us to go with him to get some hair combs because he knew where a giant pile of free hair combs was in Korea. What in the world? I was like, "Sorry we have an appointment, Bye!" But the problem is that he is everywhere. He'll probably ask us again to fetch combs from a mystical free and endless pile of combs somewhere in Korea. Haha.
THEN! This week we met Mayvis. She was a crazy lady that we saw while visiting a member this last week. She is from Canada. We were eating pizza and she walked by. So I asked her if she wanted a piece, naturally. Haha. She did! So she came and ate pizza with us. Oh yeah, the member gave us this pizza, so we had to eat it before we were going to visit someone else. Anyways Mayvis talked for a really long time. She actually had been to our church one time and had a really bad experience because of a mean and prying missionary. But she came out of our conversation with a renewed view of our church in the very least. When she left, she said, "You are much gentler than the other guy." Maybe we'll never see her again, but the Lord fixed a woman's view of the church with a pizza.
So, the sisters in my ward are teaching a woman. And in return, the woman wants to teach them how to dance. I guess, so that she doesn't feel as in debt to them? I don't know. Koreans do this stuff all the time. Anyways so, she was teaching them how to dance in the chapel. They were doing all this weird Korean traditional dance. It looks really funny. Haha. Then the lady remembered she had some English records. So she puts them on. Guess what song the sisters in my ward danced Korean traditional dance to in an LDS chapel?
Like a Virgin by Madonna, of course. It was the Funniest thing when I heard about it. Apparently the sisters had a really hard time not dying of laughter.
This week I have been learning a lot! I have been trying really hard to talk to people. Even though this week has been hard, because it is hard to talk to turtles, I have been doing well. And once you get them out of their shells, they seem fine to talk to you. You just have to get them out of their shell first.
I have been learning a lot about my heart. What things do I want to do? Do I really want to serve the Lord and obey Him completely? Are my desires pure enough? This is a hard question. Because the adversary has some hold of our hearts. I was reading in Alma and the gist of the scripture was like this: If you want it you will get it. If you desire righteousness, you will receive righteousness. If you desire evil, that is what you will receive at the last day. Heavenly Father can't give it to you unless you want it.
I don't say this to mean that I don't want righteousness, but I do recognize that I can want it more. That as I desire to serve the Lord with my whole heart, I will come closer to Him. This means even giving up my righteous desires. I have to give everything to him. It is the only intelligent thing to do. If I give myself to Him completely, He can make me more than I can ever make of myself. What I am really talking about are those silent battles we have in the chambers of our hearts. We don't need to have those battles. As we surrender, we can be happy now.
That is just what I have been thinking about lately. Because this is really hard. But I know this is where I should be. And because of that, I am happy. There is no greater peace than knowing that the Lord is in agreement with the decisions you are making.
I'm trying everyday to become a better missionary. Sometimes I feel like I suck, but I am working on it! Haha.
Anyways! I don't have a lot of time. I love you all! I need your prayers!
Elder Renfroe

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week 6!

(I am intermittently inserting jokes in this letter.)
Afterward, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments.
Sooooo! Transfer one is now done! We had transfer calls this last Saturday. I'm going to Montana. Just Kidding. I'm staying right where we are. Wooo! Haha. One of the sisters who serves in my ward is leaving to go back home because she is done, and we are getting another greenie! Woo! I won't be the youngest in my general area. And that means it could be someone I knew in the MTC. That would be fun.
Yesterday I was fed 2 times by members. It was delicious, but I almost died. Not really. My stomach handled it all well. We had delicous marinated pork and these things called knife noodles for lunch. Then we had a Korean chicken stew made by the man who translated Preach My Gospel into Korean. Haha. It was great.
The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
The Koreans like me because I eat well. Haha. Apparently, the more rice you eat, the faster you learn Korean. I hope it works! I came across my new favorite food this week. It is this stuff called ddeok. It is good, but there is a type that is even better. Ddeok is like this stuff made out of rice.. I have no idea how to describe it. Imagine play-do made out of rice. But not that bad... haha. Well they have this type that has cheese in the middle! I discovered it as I was at a meat buffet. You grill it. It was the best! I want to eat it right now.
 Solomon, one of David's sons, has 300 wives and 700 porcupines
I just got done eating a chicken curry doughnut. Jealous? It wasn't called a doughnut, but that is basically what it is. Haha. It was great. But super greasy and I might die from it in the next 100 years. Who knows?
Moses died before he ever reached the UK. Then, Joshua led the Hebrews in the Battle of Geritol.
Sooooo... Koreans have no concept of germs while eating. Ha. Everyone just eats together and licks their chopsticks and sticks them right back into the same pot out of which everyone is eating. Or you stick your spoon into red pepper paste which countless other licked spoons have been into. It is great. No one cares though. The other day while we were proselyting, contacting at a shopping area in my city, I was talking to some students and he was eating a hot dog. He tried to get me to take a bite. A complete stranger. It was funny. I didn't take a bite, but I probably should have eaten it. I might have offended him. Hahaha. I'm not really kidding about that. They offer food. You must eat.
Thus far in my mission I have gotten 4 contacts in the German Language. Haha! Winner! It hasn't been for nothing. Yay! It was fun. The other day, I was in Downtown Seoul basically. Since my companion is district leader I get to switch all the time for little one day exchanges of companions. I saw some white people. I asked them where they were from and when they said Germany, I said "Wirklich!" and we switched to German. I gave them cards and they left. And I was also reminded how not knowing this language can be a blessing. While I was serving in Seoul for a day, there are a lot of foreigners, so I saw some white people. Anyways they were really rude. But in Korean I don't know the language to be rude. So I can't be offended! Yay! Hahaha.
So the day after serving in Seoul, my companion did an exchange with some missionaries in my district (the Seoul exchange was with the zone leaders). It was really nice. I got to be with another elder who isn't 19 or even 20, but 21 like me! We just were able to talk to each other and help each other. It was great.
The fifth commandment is to humor thy father and thy mother.
So, we met a great guy! He came to church this last Sunday and we are teaching him this next week! He is from Pakistan and is a Christian. He was born a Christian in Pakistan. He said his great grandfather converted from Hinduism. Apparently 99% are Muslim and 1 % are Christian in Pakistan. Also, there used to be lots of missionaries in Pakistan. But after 9/11, it got really hard to be a Christian there, just like it got hard to be a Muslim here. But he is really great. He wants to learn and there was a really great spirit about him. He has lived in Korea for 10 years. He speaks Korean pretty well, but his English is better. Apparently they teach it in school in Pakistan. We are getting a book of Mormon in Urdu to give to him, that is his native language.
This week was a good one, but still hard like always. Something that I learned this week which I really love: I guess I was just reminded how powerful our message is. This gospel is power. The peace that comes from righteous living is the greatest. We have the right to the power of heaven and miracles as we keep our covenants, as we try to live according to what we know to be right. This is power! I have been reading all of the conference talks from the last general conference and reading the Book of Mormon everyday. I always find something in each of them which pertains directly to me personally. It is wonderful. The spirit is the greatest thing. There is nothing like it. The sweet feelings of peace and love I feel from the spirit are of more value than anything else in this world. I always want to be worthy of that sweet connection with my Heavenly Father. When we sin, we forfeit those blessings. We forfeit our relationship with Heavenly Father. He doesn't distance himself from us, but we leave Him. All things that are difficult or confusing in this life can be fixed by having that relationship with Heavenly Father. As we know who we are, and feel His love for us, nothing else matters! Really! Honestly! I never want to leave him. I never want to sin!
But I do. I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants and a verse stuck out to me. D&C 6: I think verse 34. The first sentence. "Fear not, Little flock, do good." That verse spoke to me and has become one of my favorites. We are God's little flock. His little children. He isn't going to yell at us if we fall down. He loves continually. Don't fear. Just do what you know to be good. That is all that matters. Just as a parent doesn't get mad at the toddler who fails to walk, the Lord understands. He doesn't accept sin. It is not ok for us to just keep sinning because we think he will just keep forgiving us. But, as we try, he doesn't condemn us for our weaknesses, but rather he helps and enables.
I know that we can receive great personal help from the scriptures! I want everyone to have it! The spirit will speak to us as we seek Him. We can have a relationship with Heavenly Father. We just have to be obedient so that we can hear His voice. We just have to choose to listen to Him. He is already there, begging for us to hear. But we can't unless we obey and become in tune with the spirit. It is our call. His love is infinite.
I hope everyone is doing amazing! May the blessings of the Lord be ever upon you! I love you all more than you know! I miss you everyday, but I know this is where I am supposed to be.
Pray for me!
Love, Elder Renfroe
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Week 5!

Woooo! So this week was good.
Our one investigator came to church. We aren't sure if he actually has faith or is just doing this for his girlfriend... BUT we are meeting with him next Sunday and will bear such powerful testimony it will all be fine. Ha! But he says he wants to get baptized. We'll see what happens!
Anyways. This week we had some training with the mission president for all of the new missionaries and their trainers. It was really great. This month, our emphasis as a mission is finding. Talking to people on the streets. Talking to everyone. It fired me up and made me less scared of speaking to these people in Korean. That day, I got more contacts than my trainer! :P Haha. I had a lot of really good conversations with Koreans even though I speak limited Korean. My Korean is improving everyday. Most of the time, I am surprised by what I can say. It is great. I understand more than I can say now, which is a better problem to have than being able to understand nothing. That is how it was when I first got here.
So, we actually do seem to get some good missionary work done here and get a good amount of referrals and investigators. The only problem is the referrals live else where. Haha. This week, one of our investigators that hasn't met in a while said his son wanted to meet with us, but he lives like two hours away. So other missionaries get him. Maybe they'll baptize his son and we'll baptize the dad! Haha.
Last night we went to a fireside for a Korean man that has been called as a mission president. He is going to be mission president in Seattle Washington! Crazy. I hope he can speak English. We went with a recent convert in our ward.
Sooooo, I don't have much time but know that I love all of you. I don't think I ate any weird food this week. But you never know!
I miss you all! Keep my in your prayers I need them. I have felt them.  
Elder Renfroe

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Week Four!

This week has been crazy!
I ate chicken feet. Yay! You all would have thrown up. Maybe. The sauce on them was really delicious! Ha! We were at a member's house for dinner and she made us some delicious fried rice and then after we stuffed ourselves, she brought out all of the chicken feet. We all were quite shocked. But we ate them! Haha. There really isn't much to eat on them. Mostly just skin and stuff. It's really weird. But at the same time it isn't that weird. You mostly just lick the delicious Korean spicy sauce off.
Also I got me first Korean haircut today. It looks really spiffy. I'll send some pictures next week because today I am going to go do some sight seeing in Seoul. We are going to see a famous palace. I'm also going to the largest bookstore in Korea. It is HUGE! Mom would probably die in it.
Everyday gets better here. You understand a little bit more. You can speak a little bit more. Little by little I am becoming the representative of Jesus Christ that He wants me to be in Korea. It is great.
This week we had a miracle! We haven't had anyone to teach the entire time I have been here. BUT! Yesterday at church a former investigator of the church showed up and says he knows the church is true! Ha! He said he wants to be baptized. He has met with missionaries in the past and has come to church, but he said before, he didn't believe in Christ, but now he does. He has worked with many missionaries in the past, but he seems ready. Hopefully, if he has time, we are going to teach him on Wednesday. We just need to make sure that he is getting baptized for the right reasons and that he knows what this means in his life for him. I had been really down because we hadn't been able to find anyone and it just seemed like we were in a drought here in terms of missionary work the entire time I have been here. But just work hard and the effects will come. It may take time. It may take until the next life. But no effort is ever wasted if it is dedicated to God. We still need more investigators. But just by having one, I feel like doors are starting to open.
Last night I had dinner at my bishop's house. IT WAS SO DELICIOUS! Oh my.... Seriously. I loved every second of it. Soooo good. Haha. The thing about Korean meals is there really isn't just one dish. Ever. It is like 10 different things and you just eat them all.
I went shoping earlier today and guess what! I FOUND DR. PEPPER. So I bought 5 cans. Ha! I also bought tofu and Korean mushroom and 20 Kg of rice for me and my companion. We split the price. Don't worry. I may live off of rice for the rest of my life. Who knows? I also bought other delicious Korean sauces and stuff.
Things are going well. This is still darn hard. But the Lord is strengthening me. The most important thing is just to be a light. Just be happy. The gospel is good news. We have Jesus Christ on our side. He is always right there with us. There is always hope. Sometimes, we are just too blind to see Him, or we choose to leave Him. His arms are stetched out all the day long. We can always return. We can always feel peace. We can always be happy, even if times are sad. Despite difficulties, they can always be light in our soul because of eternal promise of salvation. This gospel is so joyous! Let it shine through you!
I remember something funny about Korea. Haha. In bathrooms, the toilet paper isn't in the stall. It is outside them right when you enter the bathroom. At least it is a lot of the time. Haha. So you better remember to get it before you go in! Ha. And sometimes for soap, they have bars of soap on metal bars on the wall next to the sink. So, you just grab it and get some on your hands and continue your business. Haha. It is different.
Anyways I love you all soooooooooooooooooooo dearly. I miss you every day! But I'm doing well. Your prayers are helping. Keep them coming.
Elder Renfroe 렌프로 장로

Week 3

Hello Everyone!
I miss you all a lot. Terribly. I miss America and white people. But I still love Korea and Koreans. Have I told you yet how stinking hard this is? I've been thrown right into a fire pit. It really is so hard. But I am learning.
I had my first dinner with members this week! It was so Korean. I'd tell you the food. But you would have no idea what it is... Hahaha. It was all delicious though. We sat on the floor, of course and ate the entire meal at a miniature table. The family we ate with is wonderful. I really love the Mother. She is very spunky and fun. The father is much more reserved, But he is still great. They have 3 daughters and the Grandma lives with them, which is extremely common here in Korea (The grandparents living with their children). Their oldest daughter has autism or something. She can't speak and she really just wanders around most of the time. But she is wonderful. It is great to see their love. They have 6 people living in their home and it is smaller than ours. I want to trade. I really love this family. I shared the spiritual thought at dinner in Korean. And even though I can't speak very well, the spirit was still there.
I have been thinking a lot about hope and diligence as I have been here. This is just so hard. My heart is tender. We work all day with one purpose: To invite others to come unto Christ. But we aren't seeing any results yet.
But I don't think I have been giving it my all. I'm scared. Really only because of Korean. I know that once I feel more comfortable, I will be able to do better. But until then, What I am supposed to do? I have been coming to one conclusion. Try and Try and Try. I need to use my Korean as much as possible in order to get better. I need to talk to everyone. That way we will find, and that way we will have success. I have been holding back because I can't speak this language. But I can still invite people to come unto Christ with the Korean that I do have.
This week has been really hard. This area is really hard. This mission is really hard. I need your prayers.
This next week will be exciting though. We are going to the temple tomorrow. So, my preparation day isn't today, but will be tomorrow. But we still email today. Then, on Thursday, We have a mission activity because the mission is splitting. Hopefully it will be lots of fun! And I'm sure there will be delicious food.
I don't have much to say this week. But I will share some of the things I have learned.
Even in our hardest times, we are giving our all and nothing seems to be happening. God understands. Nothing we can ever go through is beyond what Jesus Christ went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. The only way we can ever find joy is to lean on Him, to lean on His teachings. I know the only way to peace and joy in this life and eternal life in the next is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. He wants to bless us. He loves us. He is always beside us. His arms are stretched out all the day long.
My heart is tender today. I miss all of you. It isn't necessarily a bad thing. The only way we can come to know Jesus Christ is by following his example and living the way He did. I feel as though Heavenly Father is giving me that opportunity.
I don't have that much time. But please pray for me. Please pray for Korea. I need it. They need it. We all need it. I love you all immensely and I miss you dearly.
Elder Renfroe