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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Week 86 - We're Fine Here...We're all Fine. How Are You?

Title - In "Star Wars", Han, Luke and Chewy have disguised themselves as Stormtroopers to break into the cell block where Princess Leia is being held.  When they got into the cell block, they ended up having a shoot-out with the officers in prison. Once all the guards have been killed, there was an alarm sounding and Han picks up the communicator and tells the person on the other end, "Everything's under control.  Situation normal."  The voice asks, "what happened?"  And he said, "there was a slight weapons malfunction.  But everything's perfectly all right now.  We're fine.  We're all find here now.  Thank you.  How are you?" 

Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2016 12:07:12 +0900
Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week was 추석 (Choosuk) which is the equivalent to Korean Thanksgiving so it was a pretty crazy week filled with deep cleaning and conferences.  Luckily we were able to meet with some new people as the search for new investigators continues. 
On Tuesday we met with a new person and it was kind of an interesting experience.  He's older than Elder Jung and I by two years and so according to Korean culture, he can speak to us in 반말 (Banmar; half words) which is the lowest form of speech in Korean.  Even if you're older than someone, people don't usually use banmar unless they're really close or really old so it was kind of weird when as soon as I texted him he texted me back in banmar and then continued to speak to both of us in banmar when we met with him.  Anyways, we talked with him about our conversion stories and introduced the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.  We invited him to read the intro to the Book of Mormon before our next meeting, but he said that he wouldn't do it because he's not interested in religion right now and he just came to meet people.  It was a pretty interesting lesson.  We'll probably try to meet with him at least one more time.
On Tuesday night we had our missionary-coordination meeting with Brother 김영기 (Yung Gee Kim) and afterwards he treated us to meat at a nearby meat restaraunt.  It was delicious.
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, in honor of Choosuk, Korea almost entirely shut down, making it nearly impossible to do missionary work effectively.  As a result, we had our p-day on Wednesday, our deep cleaning day on Thursday, and a mission conference on Friday.  It was a really fun three days and really nice to take a break from doing regular proselyting.
On Wednesday, in honor of Choosuk, Elder Jung was able to call his family which I think was really good for him.  Afterwards, we spent a lot of the day at the church playing ping pong.  We had planned to go hiking, but it started raining all-of-a-sudden so we had to cancel our plans.  It was okay because we had a fun time nonetheless.  I was also lucky enough to be able to get a haircut which I desparately needed.
On Thursday we had our deep cleaning day which was actually really fun!  We were at the house all day rocking out to MoTab and cleaning every nook and cranny of our apartment. 
On Friday we went to our mission conference at the office which was also a blast! Presidnet Sonksen focused the conference on Joseph Smith and remembering him as the incredible prophet that he was.  We also had an arm-wrestling competition which I did not take part in but watched enthusiastically.  It was a little bit scary how intense it got.  All in fun though.  All in fun.
Saturday and Sunday were spent getting back into the swing of things.  We went to a member's house as a district and talked to them about doing family history and it turned out the the mother of the family had already done the work for 10,000+ of her ancestors!  It was crazy!  She said that for ten years after her and her husband got married, they weren't able to have children, but after she did 10,000 names, they were ultimatley blessed with two sons, and she acredits that to her efforts to do family history work.  We all shared our testimonies of family history work, but understandably none of our stories could top hers.  At the end of the meeting, we sang 아리랑 (Arirong) which is a really popular traditional Korean song.  Before we sang it, we told them that we were going to sing a song that they all knew and the dad instinctively guessed that we were going to sing "Families Can Be Together Forever" and was suprised when we didn't sing it.  It was really cool because Arirong has a lot of meaning for the people of Korea and it really hits home for them to see foreigners sing it.  It was really cool.
So I learned a lot this week, but I think that the most important thing that I learned I realized at the mission conference.  As we sat in the middle of the woods and talked about Joseph Smith, I remembered that with enough faith, we too can have angels minister unto us and see extraordinary things.  The words written by Moroni about the Brother of Jared from the Book of Mormon came to my mind: 
"For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things--that it would be shown shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things."
-Ether 3:26
I am so grateful for the love of God in calling Joseph Smith to be His prophet.  I'm grateful for the many sacrifices, including his life, that Joseph Smith made to help bring to pass the great purposes of the Lord.  I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration and that like him, if we have faith, the Lord will reveal unto us extraordinary things.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

Week 85 - Fear Will Keep the Young Men in Line, Fear of My Nightstick

Title - In "Star Wars", aboard the Death Star, there's a meeting of the Imperial leaders going on and Grand Moff Tarkin informs them that the Emperor has just dissolved the Senate.  General Tagge says, "that's impossible.  How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?"  Tarkin says, "Fear will keep the local systems in line.  Fear of this battle station."  

Pics - right before Elder Huckvale left on his mission, I became friends with someone named Holly, who was about to move to Seoul for her husbands' military deployment.  His whole mission, she has been right near him... but never seen him.  She finally ran into him and his companion at Dongdaemun Market buying companion ties!; dinner at his Ward Mission Leader's house.

Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 12:52:10 +0900

Hello My Adoring Fans!
If there's anyone reading this that's wondering about the safety of the young men in the 상계 (Sanggye) ward, don't be alarmed, I'll explain.
This week was pretty great!  It was a lot better than last week.  We were able to meet with a lot more people and even had a surprise teaching appointment after English Class which was pretty cool.
On Monday for P-day Elder Jung and I went to 동대문 (Dongdaemun) to buy companionship ties; a tradition among the missionaries in our mission.  After p-day was over we had a lesson with a less-active that we've been working with named 김종윤 (Jong Yoon Kim) and it was pretty good.  We used the story of Naaman washing himself in the River Jordan 7 times to cure himself of leprosy as a parable for keeping the commandments.  Even though sometimes the commandments may seem annoying at times, as we keep them, especially the commandment to repent, we will become clean.  We taught him about reading the scriptures and committed him to read from the Book of Mormon every night.

My friend, Holly, just happened to randomly run into them on their way to buy companion ties.  :)
On Tuesday we had two appointments.  The first appointment was with one of Elder Brantley's investigators, 손태근 (Tay geun Sone).  He told us to meet him at the subway station closest to our church building, so we gave scheduled the dinner appointment to run for an hour and a half.  When we went to the subway station, though, he ended up taking us to a completely different subway station and we ended up being with him for almost two hours.  Struggily.  We were still able to teach him and invited him to be baptized, but he said that he wasn't ready to make to commitment yet, so we committed him to think and pray about it. 
After that, we rushed to our next appointment with our Canadian investigator, Nathan, which was kind of a struggily lesson.  He has a lot of questions that are irrelevant to what we're talking about and all of his questions kept leading us back to whether the Book of Mormon is true or not.  We think that he wants us to debate with him in defense of the Church which we just can't do.  He has a strong faith in Jesus Christ, but even all the "facts" and research in the world can't even prove that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.  In order to fully come to know that Jesus Christ is the Savior, someone must receive a testimony of these things through the Holy Ghost.
On Wednesday we had our zone meeting which was really great!  We learned about using the Book of Mormon in proselyting and teaching situations.  It was a great meeting and I was able to learn a ton that will most-definitely help me as I strive to teach the fullness of the Gospel.
On Saturday after English class, one of the members named 김봉호 (Bong Ho Kim) needed some help from us to type up some poetry that he had written.  After Elder Jung typped up his poetry for him, we had a really cool opportunity to teach him.  He told us about how he really doesn't like how the people at his church are really fake.  We taught him about church and invited him to come, but he declined.  He's a former investigator, so maybe we'll try to pick him up again as an investigator.  After that, we helped one of the members from the ward clean the church building for Sunday.
While we were cleaning the church building, I found a nightstick in the maintenance closet.  I was kind of concerned for a second, wondering if we had that in case of the zombie apocalypse and so I asked the member we were with what the deal was.  He told me that back in the days the young men would sneak out back to smoke and if they got caught they got a beating from the night stick.  무섭다!
Thank goodness I don't live in the days of physical punishment! 
Anyways, overall this week was really great!  We're slowly starting to build a pool of investigators which is really exciting!  We just need to make sure that we can retain all of them and continue to add to the pool.
I was also able to talk with 김상수 (Song soo Kim) this week on the phone.  I asked him if he had been praying.  He said that he did right after the baptismal interview to know if God exists, but he didn't receive an answer.  I promised him as a representative of Jesus Christ that if he prayed again, he would receive a recognizeable answer.  It's really hit-and-miss when we call so I'm still waiting to follow up on that one!
I know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ!  I'm so grateful to know these things because as I've realized on my mission, we can't come to truly know who we are until we know who God is.  When we know that God lives, and that He truly is our Heavenly Father, then we know that we are His children, that we have the potential to do amazing things.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Dinner with the Ward Mission Leader and his family.

Week 84 - You Will Be Tempted By the Dark Side of the Force

Title - In "The Empire Strikes Back", Luke has seen a vision of Han and Leia in danger.  He wants to rush to help them, and by so doing, interrupt his Jedi training with Master Yoda.  Yoda is trying to convince him not to go.  While he's trying to convince him, Obi-Wan's ghost shows up, also trying to talk Luke out of leaving.  And Luke says, "but I can help them. I feel the Force."  Ben says, "but you cannot control it.  This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the dark side of the Force."

Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2016 11:56:48 +0900

Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week has been so great!  It's been a really hard and disappointing week, a time of trying and testing, but there were still many miracles to be found. 
On Monday night after p-day ended we had a music proselyting activity and it was awesome!  We went to this intersection that has a bunch of academies on it and Elder Pelina and Elder Bradshaw came and performed on the piano and the violin while we talked with people.  There were six members from the ward that live in the area that came out to help which was so awesome!  They kind of just stood there as we proselyted to people, but just them being there was a huge help and they all had a really great time.  I think our ward mission leader, 김영기 (Yung Gee Kim) uploaded some pictures and videos to the Facebook.
On Tuesday we had planned to meet with our investigator who was scheduled to get baptized this week, 김상수 (Song Soo Kim), but he called about an hour before and said he couldn't meet with us that night.  We called a few days later to see when he could meet us, but he told us that because he only has three months before he has to take some big test, that he's going to be really busy preparing for it and it will probably be difficult to meet in the future.  It was a pretty discouraging time.  We've been trying to call him and text him, but since then we haven't been able to get a hold of him.  The struggle.  I think that he feels a little bit discouraged and maybe a bit uncomfortable because we decided to push back his baptismal date.  He had met a lot of the members of the ward and so when I relayed the news on Sunday they were a little bit dissappointed as well.  We'll keep praying for him and trying to contact him.
On Saturday we met with a new investigator who was met by missionaries in another area and referred to us.  He said that he wanted to meet us right in front of one of the giant churches in our area and so we were a little concerned that it was going to be a trap, but it was actually really good.  We met him in front of the church and then we followed him to a nearby coffee shop and talked introduced ourselves and our message to him.  He doesn't have any religious background so we're going to have to take things slow with him, but he's super nice and open to hearing our message. 
On Sunday morning we had our ward testimony meeting and all of the four missionaries from our district went up and bore their testimonies and it was really awesome!  We also had a less-active that we've been working with go up as well and tell his story about how he overcame depression with the help of Jesus Christ and the the members of the Church.  It was a really awesome testimony meeting!  All of the members really enjoyed it and really enjoyed that we all went up and bore our testimonies.
Although this was kind of a struggily week, it was still really great.  The Lord has truly blessed me for having the opportunity to serve here in 상계 (Sanggye), and in the Korea Seoul Mission.  I have truly come to love the people and even though I still have five months left of my mission, I hope that I can spend it here among the members of the 상계 ward.  As I think about this, I am reminded of Ammon's words to King Lamoni when he is first brought before him in Alma 17:
"And the king inquired of Ammon if it were his desire to dwell in the land among the Lamanites or among his people.  And Ammon said unto him:  Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die."
Alma 17: 22-23
I know that this is the Lord's work and that no matter how difficult it is, the Lord is guiding it and as I remain true to the faith, and put the effort forth to do my best, relying on the Lord and His Atonement, He will steer me down the right path, and I, and all those who follow this course, will be able to recieve everlasting life.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

8:30pm 갑자기 Member Visits = Eating Pizza at the Door

English Class

 I thought my mom would appreciate this.  My "1st-day-of-school" photo.  :)

Week 83 - Now the Circle Is Complete

Title - In Star Wars, when Darth Vader and Obi-Wan confront each other on the Death Star in a light saber duel, Darth Vader says, "now the circle is complete.  When I last saw you, I was but a learner, but now I am the Master." 

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2016 13:17:03 +0900

Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week has been great!  There were kind of some struggles this week, but overall it was really great!
On Monday we met with Elder Brantley's progressing investigator, 김상수 (Song soo Kim) and taught him about tithing and fast offerings with the Bishop.  It was an awesome lesson!  Song soo Kim is so willing to keep the commandments and make the sacrifices necessary to follow Jesus Christ.  We taught him about fasting and committed him to fast with us last weekend!  It was great!
On Tuesday we had a skills workshop at the mission office and it was awesome!  We focused a lot on working with members and to my surprise, Family History!  It was a really great training and we were able to learn a lot about the importance of preparing our family history, especially with 추석 (Choosuk (Korean Thanksgiving)) coming up next month.  Even after being told a million times in my youth as well as on my mission how important family history is, I never really realized it until this workshop that we had.  We're going try and coordinate with our ward mission leader and our bishop to try and do a family history night for the ward.  It should be really good!
On Sunday, we met with Song soo Kim again during the third hour of church and had a really good lesson with him.  We focused on the Priesthood and taught about the ten commandments and the baptismal covenant.  It was a really great lesson and he offered one of the greatest prayers I've ever heard at the end.  He is such a sincere guy with such a strong desire to know the truth.
On Sunday night we had Song soo Kim's baptismal interview with the zone leaders.  After the interview was over, I talked with our zone leaders for a while and together we decided that it would probably be best to push back Brother Kim's date.  There are various reasons for this, but it's mainly to help him strengthen his faith and so that he can receive a more firm conviction that God lives.  I talked with him on the phone after the interview and He didn't seem disappointed or anything.  He's still willing to learn and hopefully when we meet him this week we'll be able to set a new baptismal date with him.  I think that as we really try to set a new date, He'll become more motivated to get an answer to his prayers and strive to follow Jesus Christ.
As for another one of our investigators who received a baptismal date last week, we're still not really sure what's going on with him.  We think that he might've gone to his church and his pastor might've scared him away from meeting with us.
Other than that, this week was really awesome!  Elder Jung is doing great and is becoming such an awesome missionary! 
This week was pretty struggily, but as the Fedora Hat Man from the Last Crusade said,
"You may have lost today, kid, but that doesn't mean you've gotta like it."
The work goes on!  As I was searching for scriptures about family history, I found this one that I thought was really cool and helped me to further understand my purpose as a missionary in the latter-days.
"Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; and also with all those whom the Father hath given me out of the world."
-D&C 27:13-14
This is the Lord's work and He is gathering His children for His coming!  How wonderful it is to me to part of this glorious work!  How great is my calling!
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale