Archive | April 2013

Apr. 29 2013

Dear friends and family,
Wow this week has been absolutely nuts! (this will be a short letter bytheway…sorry)
On Saturday it was my first time ever in a rice field! it was way fun, we planned to only serve for a couple hours, but….we were there till 7pm…whoops! So we started the day at 8am driving to the field. It was a field owned by one of the members and his family here. Before we started, he asked if my clothes were okay to throw away. I was a little confused, but then got the hint that they were literally going to be destroyed by all the mud. Anyway, he gave me some clothes that we about 3 sizes too small and 4sizes too small to my companion who is bigger than me. haha! We get to the field and we start on the starter trays. So what we did was fill these trays up with this special red dirt then level it out and stack them alongside the field. That took about 4 or so hours. We thought we were done. But no. The next step was to lay them out on the field which was all mud. So we get them all layed out, then we had to lay the seeds. The entire time this was happening, I had no idea what anyone was saying, and they were all yelling at each other and trying to explain to me what I was supposed to do. Agh! I was SOO confused! There was also the really old grandma doing like ten times the amount of work I was doing. She was really active!! She was bent over because of her back, but she was still treading through the mud like it was nothing! Haha! Anyway, right as we started to lay the seed, it started to rain. Then it started getting worse and worse. Sooner or later it was like someone turned on the faucet to full blast! All the while, we were working at full speed and all engines on! I almost fell in the mud a couple times! So once we finished laying all the seed then the dirt on top of the seeds then the bird covers, we get out as quick as possible so we could possibly get to our English class in time. That wasn’t going to happen though. Anyway, we finally finish and head back to the house to wash up. We were totally soaked and mud was all over our legs and I found a deep gash in my foot! Apparently I stepped on a broken piece of glass in the middle of the mud! I didn’t even feel it though because my feet and everywhere on my body was numb. haha! It’s okay now, but there was a little bit of mud in it. Anyway, we get back, having to change our english class to 7:30. Only one person showed up, but she brought a friend. And what’s cool is that she wants to learn about the Gospel!! Way cool! Anyway, that was the highlight of the week. I hope everything went well for all of you! Have another great week and keep smiling! =D

Your Elder,

Elder V. LeVan Smith
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Apr. 22 2013

Hello! Did you all have a good week? What’s Spring like there? Here in Korea it’s starting to get warmer and everyday I can’t tell what the next day is going ot be like. The weather goes from rainy all day and cold one day, to sun-shiny and warm and a nice breeze the next day. The weather here reminds me A LOT like idaho actually. It makes sense cause they’re both near the same latitude. Anyway, just the other day, my companion and I just got up for the morning and Elder Rice just got out of the shower and I was about to get in. Right then, our phone rang. It was our ward mission leader. He said, "I’ll meet you outside in 5min. And bring some gloves." We were both in towels and hadn’t even had breakfast yet. So we scrambled to get clothes on and be out the door as soon as possible. Haha! Finally we got outside and it was raining. I had no idea what the heck we were going to do at 7am in the pouring rain…so we waited at the store by our apartment complex for him. He finally arrived and took us to his work place which is WAAY out in what’s called the 시골(shi-gore)it means "country" or like Dad would say, "out in the Boonies" Haha! Anyway, He works for a bathroom tissue distributing company. He and his co-workers had to unload a truck really quickly for some reason. I never figured out why, but we helped anyway. It was fun. Then when we were all done he took us to what’s called a 감자탕 (Kahm-jah-tahng) It literally translates to Potato Soup. They have them everywhere here. Their specialty is, you guessed it, 감자탕(Kahm-jah-tahng)!!! So what this is, is a boiling, (no joke, it’s boiling when they place it in front of you) bowl of super spicy soup with pig spine, onions, sesame seeds and only one small potato. Why they call it Potato soup if it only has one potato in it, I have no idea. Anyway, this stuff is SOOO good! You pick off all the meat off the spine into a small bowl and then put it back into the soup. Then you take the rice that they gave you and put it all in the soup and eat it like that. I’m not joking, this is absolutely delicious! Anyway, I want to learn how to make it so I can make it for you when I get back. All of Korean food is way simple to make. Anyway, progress with our investigators was stalled this week because we weren’t able to meet with any of them. Just lots of proselyting and member work. I also went on a Split this week after Zone conference with the AZL(Assistant Zone Leader) Elder Zaleski. He’s on his 5th Transfer. I learned alot from him and was able to do alot of work with him. Anyway, gotta go. I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder V. LeVan Smith
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Apr. 15 2013

안녕하세요!!
Everything down on the homefront sounds like it’s getting VERY exciting!! Wow! You are all going to have a GREAT time at the Extravamanza this year. Lots of planning and preparation to make sure it’s safe and fun. It seems like it gets better and better every year! Wow and mom and dad! You got a new computer?! That must be so cool! Here in Korea, some of the computers also have Windows 8 on them, and even I have a hard time understanding them. Haha! Anyway, I hope everything continues to shine and be amazing in your lives! This week has been a week of progress and learning. Especially right after General Conference.
So for missionaries on Conference, we went up to the Stake Center to see conference in English. All of my zone was there so we had a bunch of fun! So right before it started, before we left our apartment, my companion challenged me to go into conference with a few questions, write them down and he promised that they would be answered. So, I did just that. I wrote down my questions and guess what?? They got answered!! it was so cool! Before my mission, I wasn’t really involved with Conference very much. That was a bad idea. You can learn so much!! And, not only that, it’s modern day revelation for US. I never took advantage of it. I went in there only expecting to answer one question, if not that, but because I listened and prayed right beforehand for the Spirit, every single one of my questions was answered and I can now take that insight and revelation, and solve my problems! I think it’s sooooo cool! I would invite you to always review conference. Make a part of your scripture study.

So after the Saturday conference ended, it was about 8:40 and we had to take a bus back to 정읍(Jungeop, my area) and the elders who were there, wanted us to stay the night. We tried telling them that we had an appointment tomorrow with an investigator and that they might come to Conference, but they weren’t listening(they also took the only money we had left and held it hostage, haha!!) So my companion is trying to negotiate with them to give him his money back so we can get back home, anyway, after about 15min of bantering back and forth and joking with eachother, we finally convinced them to give us the money back. We finally get on a taxi and get to the bus station. Right before we get on the bus, (we had about 20min) my companion notices a guy speaking english to the ticket lady. We could clearly see that he didn’t know Korean and she didn’t know English. So my companion jumps in to save the day. We got the problem solved and then we were able to talk to the guy a little bit more after that. He was from Thailand and was traveling to various parts of Asia on a vacation. It was so cool to help him out and share our message with him. I definitely saw a difference between him and koreans. He was WAY more open and receptive. He listened very intently and was very respectful. Not that koreans aren’t, but Koreans are definitely different than other people. Anyway, I don’t know what kind of effect that experience had on the guy, but no action in missionary work is EVER wasted. I was really cool to help him.

Anyway, I hope you all have an outstanding week and have fun! "Keep on the sunny side of life!" I love you ALL!!!

Elder V. LeVan Smith
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p.s. Sorry if I haven’t replied. I’m trying to keep all my emailing within an hour and I type really slow…and I also could’ve forgot that you sent a letter to me…

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Apr. 8 2013

So this week was a little stressful, but fun. On tuesday we went to district meeting, the first one directed by my companion. He was really stressed out about it and wanted everything to go perfectly and wanted his training to be awesome. He did great but he still thinks that it wasn’t good enough. He’s sorta like that all the time, he beats up on himself and I try to counsel him about it and try to help him. Our companionship unity has grown these past couple weeks. We hit the bottom a couple weeks ago, but that only meant that it could grow. So we’re really bonding now. Then on Thursday we had to travel all the way up to Daejeon to go to a trainer/trainee meeting with Pres. Furniss and the assistants. We learned alot and I was able to talk to the missionaries who were in the MTC with me again. It was way fun to talk about our experiences and everything.
Then originally we set an appointment with the Kim family to meet at the church on Sunday at 7 but yesterday the dad called and cancelled because the kids were sick. Bummer. BUT, we’re still going to meet with them next week. They’re still really interested, so that’s good.
So everyweek we set the goal as a companionship everyweek to proselyte to at least 140 people everyweek. And that’s hard in 정읍 because there’s like NO people and yesterday, we met at least 3 people we’ve already proselyted to….so of course we followed up again and tried to set an appointment. Anyway, then on friday we had to travel to 군산(Koon-san) so that my companion could interview a lady for baptism! Yay! Her name is Jessica Mack and she lives on the Air Force Base there and is really solid! The elders who taught her were way surprised everyweek because she would not only read the assignment they gave her, but would ask the other members for more to read. So that was cool to meet her. It was also really weird to talk to Americans…Like, when we got on the base, it was way weird and had a little bit of a culture shock. There were like, white people….haha!! You never see white people here! Haha!, so then, as we’re waiting for the interview to be done, the other two elders and me were talking to the members of the ward who were friends with Jessica. It was fun to actually be a part of a conversation for once, in a while at least. They were really funny and used a bunch of american slang I haven’t heard in a long time. Anyway, I have to go. I love you all and have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder V. LeVan Smith

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Apr. 1 2013

Hello!

WOW! WOW! WOW!!!! This week has been miraculous!! No joke. I still feel a little mixed up about everything! Everything just happened all at once and we’re having a tough time dealing with it!

So first, the start of the week was kinda rough. My companion had me try what’s called a senior day. That is, I’m senior for a day, so I take over and lead the day and make all the phone calls and schedule everything. Let me tell you, that was the hardest, most frustrating day of my life. And what made it worse, was elder rice had a major headache for the enitre day. It wasn’t very successful that day, I’ll just tell you that. But we definitely learned alot. We’ve progressed as a companionship ever since.
Next. So every once in a while, about once maybe every week, we put up flyers telling about our english class with little slips of papers at the bottom, you know what i’m talking about. You know, with our numbers at the bottom. Anyway, so a BUNCH of people called off of those. In 정읍, no one ever calls off of those, well rarely. So we make appointments with them and they’re all way cool! One of them is a family! THEN, one of our investigators reffered us to one of her friends! They are also a family!!! THEN!!!!, while door knocking, we found ANOTHER FAMILY!!! And this is the best thing that has happened this week!….drum roll please……so the family we found door knocking the first week I came here, the dad didn’t want to do with anything about the church. But last night, he came in, a little drunk, but, he started pouring out all his feelings about us and the church and how they used to be christian, but then they reverted back to Confucianism and now they have no idea anymore, But now, he says that he wants to come to church and repent and basically everything!!!!!!! It was super confusing throughout the entire lesson, but I understood one thing. He wants him and his family to go to church. When I heard that, I almost started crying. All of this literally came out of nowhere and just to see his desire and the family’s unity and desire as well, just filled my heart and I had to keep back the tears. When I first met this family, I knew, right off the bat that they were going to be baptized and that they were going to go to the temple together and be sealed for eternity. I didn’t know how, because the Dad never listened in on any of the lessons, but I still knew. And just to see this miracle, I can’t explain in words how I felt. The gospel changes lives and brings families closer and there’s a love established in the home that cannot be explained. There’s a connection that cannot be explained. The gospel TRULY blesses families. Anyway, that was my week. I hope you all had a great week. Sorry I wasn’t able to respond to everyone’s letters. I’ll try to respond next week. I love you all!

Elder V. LeVan Smith

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