Week 1 – MTC

Hey everyone!
Its been a LONG week. We wake up at 6:30, have about 45 minutes to shower and get ready, and 30 minutes to eat. From there, we have 15 hours of things to do until 10:30pm when we get to bed and sleep. 9.5 hours a day of pure personal study. ITS TOUGH BEING ON SUCH A RIGID SCHEDULE… Compare that to starting class at BYU at 10 or 11am, and even more, going to bed at 6:30am in Korea over the summer… its a big change.
But the time has been going by super quickly. Except the first day. That was torture. We had a million 1-hour sessions for seminars or orientation, and it just took us all out!
The work isn’t too hard, though. They trust us with our time (I mean, they trust us with the salvation of… eternity, so I dont think time is much of a worry for them). I’m so glad i took 7 years of Spanish, its kind of one less worry for me. I was automatically placed in the intermediate 6-week group, so my district already knows some Spanish, but they always say Im the best, which I’m often unsure of.
 
We’ve had our first practice investigator, Jorge, for four meetings now. Its been a great experience teaching someone in Spanish. Sometimes, Ill say things I don’t even know I wanted to say, and its even more amazing that its in Spanish. You know the gift of Tongues is truly working through the Holy Ghost. We’ve committed Jorge to Baptism on our third lesson, and we’ve seen blessings in his life and our lives already.
 
We’ve had so many seminars, everything we hear from and all the quotes we read are from Elder Holland, he’s pretty much the MTC quote machine. Every one of those however, Ive been on the verge of tears just because I’ve been feeling the Spirit so strongly.
 
Our house is super nice! Theres 50 of them, and each house has 5 rooms of two companionships, so four people. We have our own bathroom and shower amongst the four, and we have our own laundry machines in the house. The weather has been pretty perfect. Air is perfect, the sun is slightly strong in the peak of the day, but its fine. It rains about every night, and sometimes in the evening past 5pm, That kind of sucks.
 
We have Gym day for about an hour every day, so the district and I go work out every other day (MWF) and play basketball, soccer, volleyball, or Jokgu (soccertennis) every other day. One of the other asians in the whole CCM, Elder Yamada who is half Japanese and half American taught us his 15 minute P90X workout, so we’re planning to do that three times a week. We’ve played basketball a few times already, and its good to get some exercise, but some of the people here aren’t great, so it’s tough from playing with people who were on the team to people who haven’t had much basketball experience. It’s still fun, they get surprised each time that a 5’6 Asian kid can ball.
 
I’ve felt like I’ve been here for a really long time, but it’s only been a week. I suppose that’s a good thing; I’m getting used to the ambiance and the rigidity of the schedule. Speaking Spanish is rough, but again, it’s nothing new. Soon, our district is gonna do an English Fast, where we don’t speak a word of English for a whole day, and each word we do speak is 10 pushups. THAT’S gonna be fun.
 
The first few days, doubts and questions plagued my mind. I thought about the possibility of coming home just because I wasn’t sure I was able to do this, but I’m still here, 1 week down, 99 to go. It’s getting easier every day, but I’m sure it’ll kind of reset once I hit the field. Apparently Chilean Spanish is the fastest in the world, so that’s going to take another few weeks of getting used to. I’m glad I stuck it through; I looked through the emails that I got, and I’ve already read so many inspirational words from some of you guys. Thank you all.
 
Anyway, the pictures I sent to my sister this time around was kind of sloppy, as its the first time and I wasn’t really sure how to do it. I figured that I’ll just upload to a dropbox, and my sister will be downloading the pictures and uploading them here and to my Facebook and Instagram, but if you guys ever want to see them here it is: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/em5imil54ojqtx7/AACvT6cjXKoDJI8kkz-IPbyBa
 
In the first part, I was sloppy and I just uploaded zipfiles, but you can download and open the zip files if you want. I’ll be uploading the pictures themselves so you can just view them! You can check out my house, our temple trip, and others. I met a whole bunch of missionaries that were in my 51st ward back at BYU, and I took a picture with them on someone else’s camera, so you’ll be seeing those as well.
 
That’s about all the time I have today! I love you all, and miss you all. Those preparing to serve a mission, I don’t want to scare you, but you won’t be fully prepared for the MTC/Mission. It hits you like a truck. BUT read the scriptures before you leave, and be strong! I hope you guys are doing well all around the world. Until next week!
 
Love,
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ARRIVED!

Brother arrived in Mexico safely! The following message is from him: 
 
I’m at the Mexico Training Center, or the CCM! It’s a crazy feeling to actually be here, and now that I have my tag, it’s surreal. I’m officially a missionary. The flight was boring and long, there’s not much you can do to keep yourself entertained for 13 hours without being able to watch movies and whatnot, but luckily I slept most of the trip. I didn’t eat much, so I’m looking forward to dinner and meeting some people.
 
I was the only one on my flight [he means the only missionary on his flight], and the person who picked me up was here to pick only me up. He picked others up a few hours before me, but the trip to the CCM was just me and the driver. I looked at the list and it looks like theres a bunch of new faces, adding to the 2,000 people already situated in the CCM.
 
I have to say that being off Facebook is a bit easier than I expected, but it has only been like a day or so… I assume my withdrawal symptoms to social media will kick in very soon, but I’ll get over it. I’m nervous and excited about the work. I looked at the schedule they gave me in my welcome envelope, and I have never seen a schedule more full. Every day is packed, and I’ll definitely be needing extra motivation and prayers to get off my lazy butt that I got used to these past summer months. But the work, I assume, will be great, and I am more than happy and ready to start it.
 
I don’t have much else to say as I have just gotten here, but Mexico City is a beautiful place. That is all!
 
Love you all, and hope to hear from you soon.
Elder Joshua Joonhaeng Lee
 
 
PS – just realized that Josh will be experience a year of summer! Once he gets to Chile, it’ll be summer time. 
 
If anyone wants to contact Josh, I’m not sure what his mission rules are in terms of emailing friends, etc… but shoot josh an email and I’ll check it for him. 

D-1 to mission

“You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built’. You don’t start there. You say ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid’. You do that every single day. And soon, you will have a wall” – Will Smith

Some people have been astounded at the hard work I’ll be doing on my mission when I describe it to them. Wake up at 6:30 a.m., study, go out and proselyte and serve until 9:30, and sleep at 10:30 p.m. Sometimes, I’m even surprised that I’m committing to it. But I have to take it day by day. Living each day as best as I can is how I’ll maximize and enjoy my mission.

This reminds me of a movie about a man who can time travel. He travels in time to fix the mistakes he’s made, to try to make what could have been, a reality. And in all the time travel he’s done, he’s found that the best use of it is to at the end of the day, travel to the beginning of that day, and relive that day. Enjoy every bit of that repeated day to its fullest, notice things you didn’t notice before on the first time around. He repeated the days he didn’t want to, and repeated the days he wanted to. He felt pain, agony, joy, serenity, and contentment, but the second time around, he felt more joy, serenity, and contentment. Then soon, he learned to live every day as if it were his second time going through it. To take it minute by minute, and enjoy everything, work hard at everything, and truly put his soul and life into his days.

The mission will be full of days that I don’t want to repeat and full of days I want to repeat. But whatever happens, I will strive to go each day to make sure that when I tuck myself in at night, I’ll be content with it. The mission is tough work, and every day, I get more and more ready to battle the waves and work hard. I’m ready to face what the world and what the Lord has to offer me, and I will go through my mission day by day, doing my best to make every day count. It’s only 730 days of work, and that number will start dwindling before I know it.

Today is Tuesday, and today, I’ll be set apart as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I’ve grown up as a missionary, because every member a missionary, but this is where things get real. Let’s see how I can do it, and I’m glad I have all of your support. Your emails, letters, and packages will do wonders and help me go day by day, by the way! 🙂

D-9 to mission

It’s a scary reality that in one week, I’ll be dropping everything I’m doing for two years. It is a reality similar to one just one year ago, on the dawn of my move from 16 years of Seoul, to a fresh life in Provo, from a familiar high school to a mysterious college. Yet, it is a reality that boasts a change far more drastic. In 6 days, I’ll be officially set apart to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In 9, I’ll be on the plane to Mexico City for a few weeks of training, and soon thereafter, proselyting in the Chile Concepcion South mission.

Yet, the next two years will be give me unforgettable experiences. I’m sure I’ll go through some of my worst times as well as some of my best times, but a flat roller coaster never made a fun and memorable roller coaster.

Chile, here I come.