A Proselyting Exchange, a Day of Tender Mercies, and New Investigators with New Potential

안녕하세요!
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Elder Itri and I and the sunset over Suseong Lake.
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Daegu Zone at Zone Conference a few weeks ago
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샤브샤브 buffet!
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Today on P-day we went out with the Bishop to eat a traditional Korean food called 보신탕.  I havent been able to eat it so far on my mission so the bishop said that he would treat us to it.  Let’s just say that it is a food that might not go over very well in America, but if you don’t think about it, it is actually super delicious and super healthy for you.  I’ll let you google it to find out exactly what it is…
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Elder Dobbins and I in front of the 보신탕 restaurant!
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mmmmmm
It was a great week of lots of little coincidences and small tender mercies along the way!

The week started off with an exchange with the 상인A team elders where I was able to serve with Elder Itri back here in my area, 수성.  We had a really great exchange.  The day started out kind of disappointing with a couple of cancelled appointments and a lot of rain, but we decided to head out with our umbrellas, proselyte, and make the best of it.  It turned out to be a day with really soaked clothes and feet and almost 7 hours walking the streets, sharing the gospel, but one of the best and most productive days of proselyting I’ve had.  We had lots of little miracles along the way as well.  We ran into an old investigator who took us out to dinner and were able to teach him a lesson.  We also met lots of prepared people, gave out a bunch of Book of Mormons, and taught 8 lessons in one day.  It was probably one of the busiest days we’ve had in a while.  It really just goes to show that even though things arent easy, when we go out an put in our best the Lord amplifies our efforts.  In the evening we decided to walk to a large lake/park in our area and try to proselyte to the people there and it turned out really great.   We went to an area called 수성못 (Suseong Lake) and ended up getting there just as the sun was setting.  We walked the lake, admired all the beauty, and talked to a ton of different people and even got some phone numbers of people to meet again.  I particularly remember standing on a dock a little into the lake looking at the sunset on the lake and talking to an old man and testifying to him that God lives and he created the beauty that we see everyday.  It is a pretty great opportunity to be a missionary and share these truths with people every day.

On Wednsday we attended district meetin in 상인, and restarted our english class in the evening.  We were suprised with a really high turn out of people.  On thursday we began the day with only one appointment with a recent convert for lunch, but it turned into a super productive day as well.  After our lunch appointment we got a call from a potential investigator saying he wanted to meet and talk with us at a bakery.  We went to meet him, then headed downtown to do some english class sticker boarding with the B team.  On our way home from there we met up with a less active member who hadnt been out to church in a few weeks who invited us out to dinner and we were able to go and talk to him.  After that we got a call from another less active who said he was near the church and wanted to meet and talk with us, so we went to the church and had a lesson with him as well.  What started out as a day with not going on, we spent the day running around busy from start to finish.  Definetly a tender mercy for the week.

Sadly we were not able to meet with a few of our investigators we hoped to, but we were pleased to find some new ones!  On Sunday we had 2 investigators come out to church that we were able to meet with and teach including a new referall we received from another team that serves in our zone.  It is exciting to be finding new people with lots of new potential.

All in all it was another great week.  I love being here in Korea and I love this work!

Love

Elder Lees

More Lessons, Zone Training Meeting, and the Power of Invitation

Hello Hello!

Elder No and I and the B team on the way to Busan.  When you ride the train in Korea you can flip the seats around so they face each other.  Elder No was a little sleepy.DSC03840.JPG
Yep.  The name of our apartment.  Is Winners.  pretty fitting huh?
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Us with the Millers kids after a visit for dinner on Sunday at their home on the military base.DSC03833.JPG
Me and our investigator Mr. Park. DSC03813.JPG
Well it has been another great week here in Daegu.  The weather is starting to warm up to where I can realize why they call it one of the hottest parts of Korea!  The country is beautifully green and it is a great time to be a missionary.  It is crazy to think about just how fast the time is flying, this last week seemed to go by like it was nothing.
Elder No and I had a great week that was really productive.  It was a great week of meeting investigators and teaching lots of lessons.  We probably taught the most lessons we have in a while.  While more toward the beginning of our service together here we spent hours and hours proselyting on the streets, while we still find lots of time to proselyte, we have built up to where we have several people we are meeting with.
One of our investigators, who we met a few weeks ago and that I wrote about last week, came to church again yesterday and we were able to have a really great lesson.  As we explained to him of the restoration and plan of salvation, we could really see it start to click with him and the spirit was really tangible.  He needs to work more to read the Book of Mormon and pray on his own but I really feel like he is on the right track.  It is cool how the truths we teach as missionaries are things that I have known from my youth, but are still so amazingly simple and profound.  Every time I teach the restoration it feels like I am learning more than the investigator.  We are really blessed to have living prophets and knowledge of God’s plan and love for us.
This week Elder No and I also had our Zone Training Meeting where we worked with the missionaries in our zone and taught about the importance of invitations and the role of the spirit in conversion.  I had the opportunity to teach a practice session to the missionaries about inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson, and even when we first meet people out on the streets.  Kind of a crazy concept huh?  But it is something President Barrow has been focusing on recently, and as I have gone out to do it, I have seen great results.  I was able to give a talk in church on Sunday about missionary work, where I was able to share more of my thoughts on inviting.  As missionaries, our job is really just to teach clearly, bring the spirit, and invite others to act.  Everyone has their agency and has to exercise faith on their own in order to be converted.  All we can do is be worthy vessels of that spirit and aid that process.  And the baptismal invitation is the same.  Our purpose here in Korea is to invite and help others come unto Christ, and the people meet have to know that.
As part of my talk I shared this scripture from Matthew 4 and think it is a good example of what we must do as missionaries.
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers
 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Jesus Christ was the master inviter, but if you look here, the invitation he made was simple and clear “follow me.”  It was that Peter and Andrew that were prepared to receive it and used their agency to follow.  Our responsibility as missionaries and also members as member missionaries is to invite, and when people are prepared, they will follow.
I am looking forward to another great week and hope that you have one too!
Love
Elder Lees

A Prepared New Investigator and the 수성 (Suseong) Ward Camping Trip

안녕하세요!

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One of our investigators, 한재영 형제님, and I on top of 칠곡보 (a large dam) during the scavenger hunt.

 

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The chill camping lifeDSC03796.JPG

We headed down to Busan for a Mission Leadership Council Meeting on Friday, but on the way back there were no seats on the train.  I got to spend the hour and a half ride on the floor.  Surprisingly not bad.
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A bad picture of the board of missionaries in the Mission Office.  The scary part is that’s me up in the top left…
Well it has been a great first week of the transfer!  It was nice because Elder No and I didn’t have any changes in our companionship or area and were able to just keep moving forward.  It has also been really cool to see all the new missionaries coming into the Zone and all the progress that come from new companions and new areas.  Sometimes it seems crazy how often missionaries move and change situations, but it really seems inspired.  There is something about trying something new and being put out of your comfort zone that really causes you to grow and learn.
Elder No and I were really blessed with a busy week of meeting investigators.  I suppose the biggest miracle was finding a new investigator, 동동철 형제님 (Brother Dong), a man we met out proselyting on the streets a few weeks ago.  He was a man Elder No and Elder Jung met when I was away on exchanges and they were out proselyting on the street.  The saw him as he was attaching advertisements out on the street and struck up a conversation about church.  He expressed interest, agreed to meet later, and they got his phone number.  Last week we contacted him and set up an appointment but were disappointed when he didnt show up.  However, a few days ago on Saturday we made a second appointment, met him at the subway station and walked together to the church for a lesson.  We had a great discussion.  He expressed to us that he originally had no religious background, but found God and started attending 하나님의 교회 (another Korean church) found a lot of help, and even became a 전도사 (proselytor/missionary) for that church.  He did that for a long time but eventually got fed up with how commercialized Korean churches have become, how much they require monetary donations of their members, and had some deep questions about life after death that he hadn’t been able to find answers to.  We had a great lesson where we taught about the restoration, the Book of Mormon, and our churches confidential system of tithing and unpaid clergy.  He listened intently, asked great questions, agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray, and be baptized when he finds that it is the truth.  We even informed him of church meeting the next day and he said he wanted to come and check it out.  He showed up the next day, stayed for all 3 hours of the meeting, and we had another lesson with him and our ward mission leader about the plan of salvation.  It was really cool to see that our daily proselyting and hard work does pay off and that there are people who are prepared, need, and are searching for the restored truths we share.  We are excited to see where our next lesson with him will take us.
We met with our other few investigators, including brother 윤, a college student who we are preparing for baptism in the end of the month, and things are going well.  He still seems unsure, but is continuing to meet with us and we are helping him to read and pray and come to find the truth for himself.
Another special part of the week was our Ward’s youth Camping trip.  The young men planned to go our camping, and then the young women also decided to come, and the primary, and basically the whole ward.  The bishop and youth leaders tried to make it a good missionary activity and encouraged everyone to invite their friends and almost 15 non members ended up attending.  Of course we were not able to go and sleep over, but us 6 missionaries who serve here in Suseong got permission from President Barrow, rode a taxi at 7am to the Daegu train station, caught a train to 왜관 (Waegwan) – a small rural town outside of Daegu, where our ward mission leader picked us up and brought us to participate in the activity in the morning.  It was great.  We ate a bunch of barbecued meat for breakfast and participated in a large scavenger hunt for all the youth split into groups.  2 less active boys and their 2 friends (who we have been meeting on and off for lessons these last few weeks) both came out and we were able to spend the morning getting closer to them.  It was super effective.  It turned into a fun day out in a pretty part of Korea next to a large river and dam, a time to get closer to the members, and also meet lots of new potential investigators.  I think it is great to find fun and also effective new ways to do missionary work.
All in all life is good here.  The weather in Daegu is starting to eat up, but a great last transfer is just starting to begin!  My time is beginning to start to wind down on my mission, but I am loving every last second and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  This is really where I am supposed to be.  This is really the Lord’s work.
Love
리스 장로

A New Transfer, Gimcheon Exchanges, A Week In Suseong, and Teaching/Learning by the Spirit

안녕하세요!

Lesson with a Kiwi Farmer in Gimcheon with Elder SandstromDSC03778.JPG
Last meal before Elder Glover and Elder Park (our house mates last transfer – Suseong B team) were transferred this morning.
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Well it is the beginning of a new transfer!  The main news is that there haven’t been any changes in our team and Elder 노준철 (No Joonchul) and I will be staying together for another transfer here in 수성 (Suseong, Daegu)!  This should make Suseong my last area and Elder No my last companion.  It is pretty weird to consider that I only have 1 transfer (6 weeks) left!  I am really excited for what these 6 weeks will bring and excited for this to be my most effective time of my mission!
We were able to wrap up the last week really well.  We began the week on Tuesday with an exchange and I had the opportunity to go to 김천 (Gimcheon) to serve in that area with Elder Sandstrom.  It was a killer exchange.  Gimcheon is a small rural area on the edge of the zone, but it was really cool to see a new area and also see all of the hard work and success that the Gimcheon Elders have been seeing recently.  Elder Sandstrom spent the day visiting a less active member in the hospital, traveling to the edge of town to visit another less active who is a kiwi farmer, and then filled the rest of our day proselyting and talking to the people.  We met some really great people and found some good contacts.  It is always so refreshing to go to a new area and see how other Elders are doing.  As a zone leader we go into each exchange with an objective of training and teaching, but I always leave feeling lifted and taught myself.
Other than that Elder No and I spent the week continuing to visit members and teach and encourage them to participate in our ward’s 1+1 member missionary work program, proselyte, and meet with our investigators.  Our investigator brother 윤 (Yoon), a first year college student we have been meeting with the past few weeks came out to church and we set a date for baptism with him for the end of the month.  He still is not totally sure about everything but has a real desire to learn and improve.  We also met another new investigator that we found earlier in the week on the street who took us out to Burger King and told us he is looking for a new church to attend.  We talked with him for a while, explained some things, and are looking forward to meeting him throughout this week as well.  Other than them we also spent a large majority of our time finding, but have some really good contacts to work with and meet with over the next few weeks.
The end of our week was spent doing our transfer deep cleaning of our house and also involved coordinating all of the travel for the transferring missionaries within our zone.  I have to say that is one of my least favorite zone leader responsibilities.  It involved several hours of sitting down with a stack of train and bus schedules, calling all the other 5 zone’s zone leaders, and working out how we will get all of our departing missionaries where they need to be and pick up the incoming ones without anyone getting lost or left behind.  I honestly think the whole process is really really inspired.  Today our P-Day was spent at the train station and bus terminal sending off and receiving missionaries and though we had a couple close calls, got everyone where they needed to go!
I will end my email with a scripture:  D&C 50 17-22
 17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
 18 And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
 19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.
 21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
 22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
I like what these scriptures teach about the importance of the spirit and especially like to emphasize the last scripture.  When we as missionaries preach with the spirit, we also learn together.  I have seen that so much as a missionary.  If you think about it our calling is to serve and work and teach others, but i think that the most learning and teaching actually comes to us in the process.  Missionaries are so blessed to learn and participate in this work.  I know it is true!
Love
Elder Lees

Two Exchanges, 1+1, and A Miracle Knocking on Doors

안녕하세요!

On exchanges in the mission home we had to make a short trip to drive the office elders to the post office, because it had been so long since I have been in the great old mission van, I had to take a picture.
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Elder No and I at our service project.  Twice a week we walk over and visit the home of a paralyzed man and carry him and place him in his wheel chair.
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Today for P-Day we went to a sushi buffet, kind of expensive, but super delicious.
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Traditional Korean market here in Daegu called 칠성 (Chil seong) 시장. I refrained of taking pictures in the dog meat section of the market…
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Well another week has managed to fly by here!  We are coming into the 6th and last week of the transfer this week and it sure is strange!  Despite the time flying, Elder No and I are doing well and keeping busy.
This week was special in that we had two sets of exchanges, one with the 상인 A team (another of our district leaders) and another exchange with the Assistants to the President.  On tuesday and wednesday I was able to stay here in 수성 and serve with Elder 이한결 (Lee), my old trainee from when we served up in Andong together almost a year ago.  It was a really great exchange and a great reunion after being in different parts of the mission for so long.  We met with a potential investigator for lunch, did some street proselyting together and taught a few lessons, met with a less active member at the church and had a lesson together, and then went on the military base in the evening to meet with our ward mission leader for dinner.  It was a very busy day.  It was cool to see how much Elder Lee has learned and changed over time, and especially how much his english has improved!  We shared our whole message in english and then Elder Lee even gave the sister in the family we visited a blessing in english.  It was a really cool experience.
On wednesday, we went to district meeting and then started our next exchange where I got to serve with Elder Trentman in my old area down in Busan at the mission home.  We caught the train down and spent a good day proselyting and visiting a few members.  We had dinner with my old ward mission leader from when I served in that ward, and it was great to walk all of the streets I used to walk almost a year ago.  It was also really cool to serve with Elder Trentman, who is one of my closest mission friends and we were able to teach together and talk together a lot.  We spent the night in Busan and then caught a train back up to Daegu on Thursday morning.
Other than our exchanges, Elder No and I had a pretty normal and good run of things here in 수성!  One special thing we have been working on is visiting the members and teaching them and inviting them to get more involved in our ward mission plan, a plan which our bishop calls 1+1.  The bishopric here actually made a 4 minute interview like video introducing the program, and we have been working to visit all the members, share the video, and invite them to do more missionary work on their own.  The plan, which is based on a few talks from Elder Ballard, focuses on each member thinking and praying and finding a non member or less active member that they can contact, serve, and invite to come to church.  The goal is that each member will be able to do more service, increase the size of the ward, and receive the joy of participating in missionary work.  We visited a few families including our bishop, shared the video, and invited them to get more involved.  It will probably take some time to see the results of this plan, but it is exciting to work together with the members and team up with the bishopric to get everyone involved.
I would like to end with a cool experience that Elder Trentman and I had together on our exchange in 온천 (Oncheon).  We had just gotten into the mission office on Wednesday afternoon and set down our stuff and were getting ready to head out to proselyte when we realized that Elder Trentman needed to get something from Elder George, on of the senior missionaries that serves in the office as the financial secretary.  We learned that Elder George was out but would get back in after about 30 minutes.  Instead of waiting around in the office we decided to head out and try to find a new investigator in the neighborhoods around the mission home in the 30 minutes while we wait.  We said a prayer, read a scripture off of our faith card, and then headed out.  We talked to about 3 or four people we found on the street and had some good conversations but nothing really special when we got the idea to knock on some doors.  As it was daytime, there weren’t a lot of people home, but after a few doors we met an old man in his 80’s who actually invited us into his home for a cup of coffee (which we declined for a glass of water instead).  We sat down on the floor in his living room drinking a class of barley water and started to introduce ourselves and ask him about his story.  We learned that he has lived in that neighborhood all his life and that he know lives alone as his kids have all moved away and his wife has recently been admitted into the hospital with serious cancer.  We talked to him about how he felt, bore testimony to him of God’s love and the Savior’s atonement, and shared with him a scripture about the resurrection and Christ’s understanding of our difficulties and pains.  He told us that he really felt something when he read the scripture we shared, thanked us for our visit, and invited us to come back anytime we were nearby.  We prayed with him, thanked him for his courtesy, and returned to the office to talk to Elder George.  That was the first time on my mission I have ever taught someone by knocking on doors.  I left the visit with a full heart and so much gratitude for the comfort that the message of the gospel brings and the courtesy of such a kind, humble Korean old man.  In just 30 minutes we were blessed to meet someone, help them, and feel the spirit together.  While we as missionaries spend many days walking the streets, being rejected, and not finding those opportunities, it is really those little appointments that make all the difference.  It is appointments like that that this work is all about.
“And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.”

Mosiah 16:7-9

 

I know that this is true!

Love,

Elder Lees

The Weekly Play by Play

안녕하세요!

Eating 돈까스 on Saturday night.  We went to that restaurant because we heard a less active works there, but weren’t able to find him.
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Dinner with Elder Snyder in Gumi between a day of proselyting
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Playing traditional Korean games with the Elderly at a nursing home in 안동 Andong.  DSC03729.JPG
Engraving at a temple in the mountains from our hike
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After a long hike at the top of a misty 팔공산 Palgong mountain
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Well I was thinking about what to write for my email this week and realize that I pretty much write the same email every week.  So this time I am going to shake things up and write about things from a daily perspective.
Monday
Monday was P-day and we ended up going hiking at 팔공 (Palgong) mountain with two of the younger members from the military branch, Kahoi and Kekama who are originally from Hawaii.  We planned to meet with a potential investigator in the evening but because we couldn’t get in contact with him spent the evening street proselyting in the downtown part of Daegu called Banwoldang
Tuesday
We started the day with our morning studies and headed out a little bit early to catch a bus to 안동 Andong (one of my old areas) for an exchange with Elder Powell, one of the district leaders in our zone, and Elder Dickman his companion.  Andong is way out there so we didn’t get in until about 12:30, we all ate lunch together at the bus terminal, and then Elder No and Elder Dickman headed back to Suseong while I started my exchange with Elder Powell in Andong.
We caught a city bus over to the Andong Hospital and proselyted really hard on the way there.  We met a few really good contacts and gave out a few copies of the Book of Mormon.  We met the Andong sister missionaries and were picked up by a member and taken to their service project at the member’s nursing home.  We spent a few hours talking to and playing traditional Korean games with the elderly people there.  The member then drove us to the church and we shared a great message with him about conference and how to gain personal revelation.  We met with the sisters for a bit to plan a branch Family History Meeting they are planning, did a little bit of proselyting around the church, and then had their weekly English Bible Study Class.  The Class was great, we used the Old Testament Stories book in English and learned about Abraham and obedience.  After the class we met one of their investigators, Hamed, an Egyptian man who we committed to come to church the up coming Sunday. We returned back, planned, and ordered delivery chicken and went to bed
Wednesday.
We woke up, did personal and companion study and then headed out to the Andong terminal to catch a bus to 구미 Gumi (another area in Elder Powell’s district) for another exchange.  We got into Gumi, ate a quick lunch, and then traveled over to the train station where we reunited with Elder No and Elder Dickman and also the Gumi elders, Elder Roper and Elder Snyder.  Elder Dickman and Powell returned back to Andong, Elder No and Elder Roper went back to Suseong, and I stayed in Gumi with Elder Snyder.  Elder Snyder and I had a great exchange.  We spent almost the whole day proselyting because they don’t have many investigators but were able to give away 5 copies of the Book of Mormon and teach 4 lessons and get 4 contacts.  We proselyted around the Gumi train station in the downtown for a few hours, ate dinner out at a good cheap Korean restaurant, and then traveled to another busy part of town to proselyte in the evening.  It was a long day of walking around and talking, but it was really productive and successful.  Elder Snyder is only a few weeks into his mission, but he is doing super well. We learned a lot!
Thursday  
We did our studies and then went over to the Gumi church where we were met by Elder Roper and Elder No.  Elder No and I reunited and caught a train back to Daegu.  We got back around lunch time, ate with the B team, and headed out together to do some proselyting for our English class downtown.  We used a sticker board and some pamphlets that our ward had made and were able to talk to a lot of people.  We got about 10 contacts of interested people and 2 of them actually ended up coming out to English class that Sunday!  We ate dinner and then in the evening Elder No and I did some more proselyting but this time interspersed with 2 short member visits.  We were able to meet two separate sisters (sadly their husbands weren’t home) and talked and shared short messages with them about Easter and the church Hallelujah video.  We invited them to share the video with their friends.
Friday
Friday morning was interview day with President Barrow.  President Barrow comes and interviews all the missionaries every few transfers and Friday was the day for our district.  We headed over early to unlock the church and then did our studies in another room while we waited for our turn.  We had great interviews.  We went home and grabbed a quick lunch and then did our weekly planning.  We had 2 appointments, one with a recent convert and another with a less active, which both ended up canceling as well. So we decided to spend some time catching up with potential investigators, calling old contacts, and going through our area book to call former investigators.  We also called all our English class contacts and invited them to class the next day.
Saturday
We did our studies, did our service project where we go to the home of a disabled man and lift him into his wheelchair, met a member for lunch and shared a message, and had English class at the church.  English class was great with 2 new people coming out who seem interested in the class and also said they really liked our spiritual message.  We are hoping to meet them within the next week.  We had an appointment to meet with our high school student investigator at a cafe and teach him, but he canceled and said that his mom wouldn’t let him go at the last second.  It was a wet night, but we set out proselyting and actually had a really effective night of it.  It was pretty wet and miserable, but we met 3 really great people who we shared copies of the  Book of Mormon with and got their contacts.  We went home at 9, planned, and invited everyone to church.
Sunday
We headed right out at 8, cleaned up the church a little bit, and then greeted the members as they came in for church at 9:30.  Sunday is our day of 6 hours of church.  We did the american branch from 9:30 to 12:30 and then the Korean ward from 1 to 4.  Sadly the investigator who agreed to come didn’t make it, but the meetings were great.  We learned all about the temple, priesthood organizations, missionary work, and a lot more.  Our investigator showed up at 4 and we headed over to the Dustin’s, a senior missionary couple who work with the military branch’s house to eat dinner and do a lesson with our investigator.  The dinner was delicious, and we had a good lesson.  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to be baptized and set a date for next month.  He was a referral from the missionaries in the neighboring area, who actually lives in our area.  He is a college student studying Japanese and although he doesn’t have a real religious background is really open and has lots of questions.  He brought his atheist friend with him as well, which made the lesson rather interesting, but it was surprisingly good.  In the evening we called a few less actives and tried to visit a few the bishop suggested that lived near by but weren’t able to meet any of them.  We ended the evening by collecting, recording, and reporting all of our zone’s key indicators.
All in all, a kind of slow, but good week!  We had a few good lessons, a great interview, and 2 great exchanges!
I will end with a scripture that has been on my mind, D&C 136: 32-33
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.
I found these scriptures when we joined temple prep class with a few less actives on Sunday.  I really like how they teach that we need to be humble to learn and that through preparing we can receive more revelation.
I hope you all had a great week!  I am looking forward to another good one to come!
Love
Elder Lees

Zone Training Meeting, Stake Presidency Meeting, and General Conference

헬로 헬로!

It has been another week!  It was a good week of lessons, exchanges, proselyting, and meetings.  I would especially like to share the great things I learned through three of the meetings we held this week: ZTM, SPM, and GC.
Elder no and I had too big meetings that we put on this week that I think both turned out really well.  One was our Zone Training Meeting for our zone which we held on Thursday morning, and the other our stake presidency meeting with the stake presidency, President Barrow, and the assistants, which we had on thursday evening.
We tried to hold a simple, short and sweet zone training meeting based off of President Barrow’s focus and newsletter for the transfer, following and bearing testimony of Jesus Christ We planned elements that included a talk on preparing for and receiving revelation through general conference, a discussion on good methods for finding new investigators, a talk on following Christ’s example, a discussion on the an assignment president barrow gave to us where we read 3Nephi and a parts of the Bible and mark things that Christ did that we can also do, a teaching practice practicing proselyting more boldly using the church’s new Halelujah easter intitiative and cards, and an extended testimony meeting. These assignments were handled by us and the District and Sister Training Leaders. We tried as much as we could to keep the meeting short and made a goal of strengthening our zone members testimony of the Savior. I think it turned into one of the most spiritual meetings I have attended on my mission. To end, we watched a montage of pictures from the Savior’s earthly ministry set to the music Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and then invited the zone members to bear short testimony of Christ. It was very powerful. As we ended the meeting singing the hymn I Believe in Christ I could feel the spirit so strongly and even teared up. It really strengthened my own testimony of Christ, how he is the center of our work, and how we need to teach and testify of him.  It showed me that the point of our meetings is not to be complicated or fancy, but simply and accompanied by the spirit. As a missionary I have really learned a lot about planning and putting on good meetings and am truly grateful for all the great bishops who do that every week.
We also spent a good amount of time this week preparing for SPM, a meeting where we discuss the missionary work and needs of those within the stake and its boundaries.  It actually took a very long time to get everything together but I thought it turned out great. I could really feel like we were addressing real issues and needs and that there would be changes made. I could also really feel the love of the Stake Presidency as they detailedly looked over our missionaries, investigators, less actives, and recent converts and strives to know them and see how they can help them. It really reminded me that those meetings and our work really comes down to helping individuals come closer to Christ.
Other than that the main highlight of the week was general conference.  In fact, both Saturday and Sunday were almost entirely spent just watching all the various sessions.  I learned so much.  I went into conference with a list of detailed and specific questions and I found a lot of answers and am looking forward to finding even more when I restudy again.  I really dont know if I had a favorite talk, but I really noticed a lot of reoccurring themes and patterns.  I saw a lot on children, marriage and family, and going to the temple.  One thing that stands out in my mind was Elder Renlund’s talk “That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me.”  I really like his point about how it does not matter as much how close we are to God and Christ as it does whether we are getting closer to God and Christ.  He said:  “Our absolute distance from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is important, but the direction we are heading is even more crucial. God is more pleased with repentant sinners who are trying to draw closer to Him than with self-righteous, faultfinding individuals who, like the Pharisees and scribes of old, do not realize how badly they need to repent.”  Sometimes as members or missionaries I think we fall into the trap of thinking we are better than others or that we are righteous, when really we should be thinking how we can improve and what more we can do.
I know that this work is true, that the Savior lives, and that God speaks to us through his servants in General Conference.
Love
Elder Lees

Meeting Business, A New Baptismal Date, and the Suseong Ward Mini MTC

(April 4, 2016)

Hello, Hello!

Last P-day we went to the McDonalds near our church to try out the newest thing – they call it the Premium Burger (dont know if it is just a Korean thing or what).  Basically you go into McDonalds and instead of talking to a person, you order from this giant touch screen where you custom select and add different ingredients to your burger.  I went pretty over the top and put bacon and 2 patties and lot of sauces and made a giant burger.  It was probably just a one time thing for the picture, but actually really good.
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This week we put on another Zone Proselyting activity down town handing out book of Mormons together with the Sangin and Jungri Districts.  It was a big success.
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Elder Glover and I eating one of my favorite cheap Korean foods – DdeokBokki (rice cake with processed fish in a spicy red pepper soup, it sounds super strange but is soo good)
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Picture of Elder Suttner, Elder Glover, Elder Park and I last transfer before stake conference P1012019.JPG
Well another week has flown by.  It was one of those weeks where we were busy all the time, but not really the fun finding teaching baptizing kind of busyness.  It was one of those weeks where you used every second you had, but then looking back, arent really sure what happened.  I guess that is just missionary life sometimes.
A lot of our time this week was spent on meetings.  On Tuesday we rode the train down to Busan early in the morning, attended a Zone Leader Training Meeting (a meeting where we learn, discuss, and practice the responsibilities and work of a Zone Leader) and then came back in the afternoon and then found ourselves doing the same thing a few days lateron Thursday for a Mission Leadership Council Meeting (a meeting for all the mission’s Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders where we discuss the needs of the mission and learn what focuses the mission has that we need to relay to our zones).  That made for 4, hour-long train rides into Busan and lots of subway in between, but 2 great revelatory meetings nonetheless.   We also spent some time planning and giving out assignments for our Zone Training Meeting (a meeting for all the missionaries in our zone planned and carried out by Elder No and I) and are focusing on Preparing for General Conference as well as Easter and bearing witness and teaching about Jesus Christ.  That meeting is this upcoming Thursday and we are hoping for it to turn out well.  We also were able to do most of our preparations for the Stake Presidency Meeting (a meeting where the stake presidency, president Barrow, and the assistants and zone leaders meet together) that we have this upcoming week and made all the calls and typed up our report about the missionary work within the Daegu Stake.  As you can see, all in all, it was a lot of meetings and a lot of prep.
While a lot of our investigator appointments didnt really come through, we were able to meet and have a few good lessons with brother Kim, our high school student investigator who is the friend of the 2 less active boys we started meeting a few weeks ago.  We met twice within the week and were able to attend our ward’s guitar class and play some basketball together.  The lessons we had with him went well and we set a baptismal date for him within the end of the month.  He seemed excited and interested in baptism, but our main focus now is to help him prepare and make sure he understand the sacred ordinance’s meaning and importance.  Our other main hope is to get him more involved with the ward’s other young men and out to church on Sundays.  Other than him we visited a few others and spent a lot of time proselyting and searching for those prepared to receive our message.
Another big part of the week was a Mini MTC that we planned and put on with our ward mission leader for the youth in our ward.  There was a big turn out of about 20 of the wards young men, young women, and young single adults preparing for missions and i think the meeting was a big success.  The meeting spanned from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning the next day and ended at church on Sunday at church at 1.  All of the youth met at the church, were split into companions and then had various classes and activities centered on missionary work.  In the evening the missionaries and ward’s recently returned missionaries all taught and instructed on the various principles within PMG, the youth studied and prepared to teach a lesson for the following day, and slept together at various members houses in the ward.  The next day we met together at the church early in the morning, did some practice teaching where the various youth companionship taught the missionaries and leaders based on pre-made scenarios, and then headed out with 2 youth per missionary to practice real life proselyting on the streets.  I went out with 2 of the young men, was able to talk to several people on the street, knock on a few doors, and give out a few book of Mormon’s.  Overall the MTC turned out great.  Even though it was new and difficult I am sure, it was really cool to see the youth practice and learn and hear their testimonies of the experience the next day in Sacrament.  I really learned a lot from working with them as well.  It was cool to see how excited they were and how much happiness and fulfillment they found in missionary work, even doing things that to me now seem simple and mundane – like giving out a business card or handing out a Book of Mormon.  It is weird to think that just a few years ago I was right where they were and now I am an experienced missionary and so used to this great work.  There really is nothing quite like missionary work and I think that everyone who gets involved in it, even briefly, can feel its power, importance, and blessings.  How will you get involved in missionary work?
Missionary work is good.  Korea is good. Life is good.
Have a good week!
Love
Elder Lees

Easter in Korea, a Week of Work, and Goals and Plans for a New Transfer with the Daegu Zone

(March 28, 2016)

Greeting from South Korea!

Elder No and while emailing (plus Elder Park in the background)DSC03628.JPG
We decided to make spaghetti this week but realized after we started that we didn’t have spaghetti noodles, or spaghetti sauce.  So we smashed up gross organic lasagna noodles a member gave us and mixed it with spices and a can of diced tomatoes.  The jury’s still out on whether it was surprisingly good or actually terrible.  DSC03630.JPG
Two weeks ago at Stake conference with my old investigators from Jungri Ward.  Both of my recent converts, brother Jung and BDSC03627.JPGryan came.  It was a good reunion.
Happy Easter!
It really was a beautiful Easter here in Korea.  The sun is shining, the cold Daegu winter is fading away into cool days with a nice breeze, the park and small stream across the street from our church is turning green, and the cherry blossoms are all opening up.  It really feels like a new start and season of new birth.  The perfect time for easter right?
The sad thing about easter in Korea is that if you looked around and weren’t careful you might not even notice that it was easter.  The large church we pass on our walk from out apartment to church put up a banner announcing their special easter worship meeting but that was about it.  As we talked with those around us on the streets and subways on Easter Sunday I was surprised by just how many people didnt even know what day it was!  I guess all of the candy and Easter bunnies dont really represent the true meaning of Easter, but at least it let people know something is going on.  We spent a good day going to both of our church meetings, singing lots of Easter songs, and teaching a lesson to the youth about missionary work for a member missionary work class our ward does, and visited with a few great families in the evening and shared messages about the Resurrection.   Luckily we have an military branch with all the american soldiers in the area that we look over so on we still got our fill of American candy and even a branch easter brunch activity on Saturday with a potluck breakfast and easter egg hunt for all the kids.
Building up to easter Sunday Elder No and I met with our investigators, did a lot of proselyting, and made some quick visits to members as we went around sharing the church’s new easter video “Halelujah.” We met with the 2 less active boys that we first met a few weeks ago, and they even brought out 2 of their friends with them to english class who we were able to teach and get closer to.  It is looking like it might take us some time to get close with them and build up their faith and desire to come out to church, but so far things are well.  We also had a good lesson with a member of our english class, who although he does not believe in God, showed up to our lesson with a whole list of things he wonders about religion ranging from our stance on revolution to where we think that our souls came from.  Even though he is very skeptical and still approaches things from a very intellectual rather than spiritual standpoint and refuses to pray, it was cool to see him express so much interest, see that we can find the answers to his questions through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, help him start to read the book of mormon, and actually come out to church on Sunday as well!  It might take some time, but we are seeing small steps of progression.
Elder No and I also made some good plans and goals for our zone for the transfer that I am hoping will help lift our efforts and faith.  We focused in on missionaries working on their teaching certification program made by the our mission, getting their investigators out to church on Sundays, and teaching lessons on the street daily.  We have been working to accomplish our goals personally as our team and express them to our zone as well.
All in all it has been a good week and a happy easter!  if you havent seen it yet go watch the easter video.  www.mormon.org/easter
Jesus Christ died for us, was resurrected, and lives today. Follow Him and find new life.
Love
Elder Lees

A New Transfer, A New Companion, A Week of New Investigators, and an Amazing Stake Conference

(March 21, 2016)

안녕하십니까?

On top of probably one of the highest apartments in Daegu – SK Leaders ApartmentDSCN0967.JPG
As we were deep cleaning the church in preparation for Stake Conference I climbed down into a drain to clean it out.  The other elders thought it would be funny to close me inside…DSCN0955.JPG
Last District Meeting of the transfer at the Dustin’s Apartment.  DSCN0948.JPG
The roof of the Suseong Church~
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Well it is the dawn of a new transfer and the big news is that I have a new companion!  Elder Suttner was transferred away and is off to whitewash train a new missionary.  We spent a good last week together and ended a really hard working and fun transfer together.  I was sad to see him go but am also really excited to see where me and my new companion will go.
My new companion is Elder 노준철 (Joon Chul, No) from Seoul.  He is actually in the same group of missionaries as Elder Suttner and came to Korea only one transfer after me, but because we have always been in different zones, we haven’t seen much of each other.  We are the same age and he attended 1 year at BYU Hawaii the same time I did my 1 year at BYU Provo.  His major is Accounting just like me!  He is a bit quiet but good at English, super nice, and a hard working missionary.  We only met a few hours ago, but I am excited to see where this transfer will take us.  It has been several transfers since I have served with a Korean and it is nice to be back!
Elder Suttner and I had a really great last week together.  In many ways it felt like all of the 6 weeks of hard work we put in proselyting and giving it our all accumulated into 1 week of finding a lot of great investigators.  We found 3 really great new investigators.  I kind of felt bad for Elder Suttner because as soon as we found good investigators he got transferred, but I am hoping that now with Elder No we can focus a little bit more on teaching and help them to be baptized within the next transfer.  2 of the new investigators that we found were a former investigator and his friend that we found when calling people out of the area book.  They are both college students and the one former investigator met with the missionaries about a year ago, was super interested, was preparing to receive baptism, and then suddenly went to Japan to study and fell out of contact with the missionaries.  He came out to English class, we were able to teach him and he brought his friend with him who is also really interested in learning about the gospel.  The other great new investigator was a friend of 2 less active boys whose mother I wrote about visiting in the previous email.  We went to visit them with a member during the week, had a great lesson, and brought them all out to the church for our English class and guitar class.  They brought one of their friends with them who is interested in learning English and also said that he wants to learn more about God.  He seems to have lots of good potential as well.
The other major highlight of the week was a totally amazing Stake Conference.  A few days of our week were sadly spent in preparation by helping the members to deep clean and reinstall carpet and repaint some of the parts of the church, but it probably turned into one of the most spirit filled and great meetings I have been to.  It was unique in that we were visited by Elder Whiting, a 70 and the president of our area, the Asia North Area.  We brought investigators, recent converts, and less actives and were able to hear from him, our Stake Leaders, and some great members during the Saturday night and Sunday meetings.  Elder Whitings remarks were amazing in that they were really interesting and funny, but also so reverent and spirit filled.  I honestly learned so much.  Two of the things that he taught which stood out to me is that more so than knowledge and standard education, we need to teach our children to learn to feel and recognize the spirit and that young single adults should show their faith and not be afraid to be married when they are still young and not 100% financially stable. I really felt like these were just the messages that Korea needed.  Korea has a ridiculously rigorous education system (probably the best in the world) that although helps their country develop and helps their students be really smart often entails students to study all day and often not return home until about 10 or 11 at night.  Elder Whiting taught that even though that learning is important, nothing should come over our family prayer, family scripture study, seminary, and the things that help us to learn more important things: how God speaks to us through the spirit.  Korea also has a problem of people waiting to get married until very late because of a social expectation for men to have a job, house, and car, before marriage, which Elder Whiting said only prolongs the joy and happiness of marriage and raising children.  He explained that keeping the commandments will bring us joy.  I think a lot of these messages were applied to the members but I felt the spirit a lot and was able to apply things well to myself and how to be a better missionary.  The power of our leaders teaching by the spirit truly is amazing. 
 
Besides Elder Whiting, one of my favorite things of the conference was that my recent convert that Elder Finch and I baptized 2 transfers ago in 중리 (Jungri Ward), 정명한 형제님 (Brother Jung) the high school student, spoke in the conference!  He was the third speaker in the Sunday Morning session and spoke just before Elder Whiting in front of about 350 people.  I was amazed.  He did so well.  He bore a simple testimony of how the gospel has helped him, how he knows this is true through the Book of Mormon, and his desire to share it with his friends and family.  He thanked all of the missionaries who taught him and great members of the ward.  I was so amazed and touched.  He also received the priesthood last month and is blessing the sacrament weekly.  It is so cool to see so much progress in an individual and it honestly makes me so happy.  There truly is so much joy in missionary work and joy in bringing even one soul unto Heavenly Father.  This is a true work. 
 
Well that’s all for this week, here’s to a new transfer and a new companion.  Have a great week!
 
Love,
 
Elder Lees