Concepcion, Chile

Alright. Its been a really long week! Well two cause I couldnt really write much last time. But Ill talk quickly and concisely cause i dont have much time. Excuse the grammar, typos, etc, cause yeah.  [I corrected most of them..]

So the last weekend in the CCM was our last time seeing our teachers, so we said bye to them. It was so tough; they had taught us so much stuff, and really did their best to prepare us for the field. They are examples to me, Hermano Fernandez, Terrazas, and Garza, and I hope I can be missionaries like them.
On Monday, we said goodbye to our fellow Elder Larsen, going to Bolivia. It was such a hard goodbye. He bore his testimony in our classroom before he left to get his stuff while we continued to have our class, but the class was tearing up, and the Spirit was so strong. Elder Yamada gave him a blessing, and it was amaaazing. I miss him a lot, and Elder Larsen if you’re reading this, I hope you’re doing well and you’re safe. I know youre a strong lil buddy and I know it’ll be hard, but you can get through it and become the best missionary of all of us!
Then we slowly said our goodbyes between that and the Santiago Airport. First was Elder Fuge who stayed at the MTC a few more days, then Elder Batemen, Furner, and Andersen who are serving in Santiago South. It was so hard to say goodbye to all of them. They’re not in the same mission so we really won’t see each other for two years, but I know that in those two years, they’ll do well, and they’ll be amazing missionaries. We’ve all grown together and become a family, and I’ll never forget them for being my first mission family.
Then we arrived in concepcion. We had a small tour of the city which isn’t even our mission, then went to the mission office, home, and a chapel to do our presentations, orientations, etc, throughout Tuesday and Wednesday morning. We slept in Holiday Inn, best we’ll have for two years. It was a glorious bed… But Wednesday morning, we met our trainers, and mine is Elder Wallace. From Cottonwood Heights, Utah, so very near my birthplace. He’s an amazing missionary, been here for 11 months and knows the language backwards and forwards. IT’S TOUGH. Chilean is a whole new language. They cut their ´s´s from their words, so mas o menos becomes ma o meno, and they speak quickly, so its just maomeno. Then, they say no mas in like every sentence at the end, so it becomes ´maomenonoma´. What on earth. I’m trying my best, and I’m learning a LOT under Elder Wallace. I’m his second hijo, or kid, or ahdul in Korean, and he definitely knows how to train someone. It’s super hard, but it’s fun.
Our first day, Wednesday in the field, was tough. We got home, I dropped my stuff off, went to get lunch with some members, then we went to go proselyting. We met a future investigator and she seems very curious and interested. Then it rained, and poured, and rained, and poured even more. And I was in my suit. And nothing else. It. was. so. cold. and. so. wet. It took like 3 or 4 days to dry my shoes. Luckily I found a poncho that my Dad gave me (THANKS DAD) and I used my boots the next time it rained. So it’s all good! Everythings dry.
The weather here is amazing. It’s quite chilly in the mornings and nights, but great throughout the day with the sun out. It sucks though because we usually have our coats because were out until its late at night, so when were walking, I’m sweating a LOT. My sleeve, once, was drenched. Not from rain (though it was sprinkiling a little), but from sweat. Gross.
Over the next few days. we had our fair share of lessons, not enough to satisfy our goals, but enough for my first week i suppose… I got to know some of our investigators, Natalia y su mama, Lorena, Yaryxa, and David. Natalia is 17, Yarxya, im not so sure, i think like… mid 20s? and David is 11. I love them all, and I love teaching all of them, and I love helping them. It’s only been a week and I already love all of them and everyone I meet on the streets. We do a LOT of tracting. On Sunday, we focused the whole day after midday on tracting and doing contacts because we were falling a bit behind in the week. So we meet many people, and I’m still shy especially because I can’t understand nada, but its fine! I’m learning and working hard.
As for schedule for those that are curious! Here it is. We wake up at 7, get ready, exercise, shower, eat, until 830, when we start studying, personal and Companion until 11. Then we go out and proselyte, whether thats appointments already made, or contacting, or trying to see if an investigator or a future investigator is available. We come back at 130 to eat lunch, and each lunch except monday, we go to a members house and they feed us. and feed us. and feed us. For example, its soup, then potato and meats, then some small thing after, then ice cream. Every. Time. And all they have is Soda. The only water I’ve had was the water from my water bottle that I fill up every morning before we leave. SHOOT. OR Chuta, in Chilean. Choooota. But then we walk a lot because we only walk in this sector. We walk about 15000 steps a day, but this week has been a little abnormal, so I would assume we would normally walk anywhere between 15000 and 25000 steps. My legs hurt.
As for my house, i like it! We live in a little apartment with two other missionaries (one companionship), who serve in our sector and our branch as well. It’s very small and humble, but It’s all we need. The houses here of investigators and members range from very very humble, to super nice. I guess I can’t really put much to words, but you’ll have to wait until my pictures are up.
I love it here so far, everyone. Thank you all for your kind words and your prayers, its really been helping me. I’m doing well, and I’m learning a lot. I don’t have too much time to write on my PDAYS (email), so I’d enjoy letters, so please send me some letters!  [Remember, his address is on the right of the blog, if you want to send him anything]
A little bit I forgot:

So Im the first Korean in the mission. Elder Yamada [He’s the half Japanese Elder, he met at the CCM] and I are the first Asians in the mission! WOOHOO
My small town of 1800 people, Curanilahue (prononuced cooraneelaway, has never had an Asian in it, and everyone I meet is SUPER super super super awed at the fact that I’m Asian. Its weird. It’s funny. And everyone makes the Bruce Lee joke just cause of my last name, but that’s nothing new.
anyway, that is all!
Love you all,
Elder Lee

WEEK 6 – Last week at the CCM (MTC)

So this past week has been a little eventful!

I’ll start off with Monday. Monday was national independence day in Mexico, so after our morning and afternoon classes, we had dinner and then something called “Mexican Night”. We went into the auditorium, and a whole bunch of performers came in and performed some traditional dances, sang some songs, etc. There are some pictures and videos in the folder “September 18” (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/em5imil54ojqtx7/AACvT6cjXKoDJI8kkz-IPbyBa?dl=0)

One of the things we’ve been practicing the past few weeks was the mexican national anthem, which in its entirety, is about an hour and a half, so we only sang two verses and two choruses. We had a flag ceremony, and our MTC President, President Pratt, came up, took the flag, chanted some things in honour of special people who helped gain independence, and we all sang the Mexican National Anthem together. It was so awesome, especially celebrating another country’s national holiday.

Prior to the whole fiesta, a bunch of people were waiting outside the auditorium, so my friend and I decided to hop up to the steps near it and shout “SELFIE TIME!” Everyone turned around, and we snapped a few selfies. https://www.dropbox.com/s/wlya1iaynqrxvc5/IMG_0271.JPG?dl=0

That was actually on my friend’s camera, which I took from him without knowing. I went around taking selfies with random Elderes, Hermanas, coches, and whatnot. Totaled about 120 pictures, but he deleted most of them 😦 But yeah, https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6hz3kvjldqz27sa/AAC_YFnKybZM4YFuPHW_eQdqa?dl=0 is the link to all the selfies I took with that stolen camera.

Then after the show at about 9:15, we went home, changed out of our nice clothes, and climbed to our roof! It was awesome just to see some fireworks here and there, just chill and have a nice overhead view of everything. Eventually, we got in trouble for it, but whats done is done.

After Monday, we went to some more normal stuff, unfortunately. More learning, more classes. Tuesday, we finally got our itineraries to get out of here to Chile. So we’ll be flying from here to Santiago, have a 2.5 hour layover, then flying to Concepcion South, wherever the closest airport is. I think its a total of 10 hours of flying, which isn’t bad. But no movies again.. 😥

Wednesday, nothing happened, really… and Today is Thursday, and I took a glorious nap today. YES. FINALLY. NAPS. AHHH

So one of my friends, who is my roommate (not my companion), Elder Andersen who is always biting his ties in our photos, is most likely going to the University of Utah, so he’s planning on going to the U’s campus in Songdo, Korea, over a semester, and I hope he goes during summer so I can have him in Korea. Then, we’re gonna do an Asia trip, and go all over Asia with his current companion, Elder Yamada, and their SOs and my lonely self. Just goes to show some of the awesome people I’ve met so far.

The MTC is so boring, but I’m still learning a lot. Most of my friends who have left the MTC to the field have said that it’s super busy, so I’m trying to make use of the free time that we have left! Once I get out there, I promise I’ll have many, many more interesting things to say, but until then, you’re stuck with my boring MTC experience.

I’d also like to finish by bearing my testimony in Spanish, just because this is my last pday here. Yo sé que todas las cosas que estoy haciendo son las cosas que Dios quiere para mi. Todas los difíciles, los desafios, y también, el gozo y la feliz que yo siento cada día, las dudas qué tengo cada día son de Dios. Para que yo pueda aprender y progresar en mi vida, para que cambie mi personalidad, mi corazón, y mi alma y mente. El trabajo en el misión no es fácil. Pero cuando veo que hay 800 personas en el CCM in México, y 75.000 misioneros en el mundo, Hermanas y Elderes, yo reconozco que el trabajo es verdadero. El camino que estoy caminando es el camino que Dios me quiere tomar. Y cuando tengo los dificiles, los dificiles que hé tenido, los que tendré, yo puedo y podré pedir a Dios y Jesucristo para su ayuda. Por qué yo sé que Ellos me aman, y quieren el mejor para mi vida y mi camino. Quieren que yo logre toda que pueda lograr en el campo misional, y Ellos me dieron ustedes, mi familia, mis amigos, los otros misioneros, personas en cada parte del mundo para apoyarme. Y por eso, estoy muy agradecido. Nunca podría servir el misión o estar aqui sin ustedes, sin su amor, y sin su apoya. Gracias.

Yo sé que la iglesia es la verdad. Qué José Smith fue un profeta verdadero, y por eso, el Libro de Mormon qué él tradujó es verdadero también. Y a través de el Libro, puedo aprender mas de los deseos de Jesucristo y Dios. El profeta hoy, Thomas S. Monson es un profeta quién puede recibir revelacion directamente de Dios, y él es una guía.

Yo lo comparto en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Until next time,

Elder Lee

____________________
For you non Spanish speakers, I did google translate for ya’ll:

I know all the things I’m doing are the things God wants for me. All the difficult, the challenges, and also the joy and happy I feel every day, I have doubts every day what are God’s. So that I can learn and progress in my life, to change my personality, my heart and my soul and mind. Work on the mission is not easy. But when I see that there are 800 people in the CCM in Mexico, and 75,000 missionaries worldwide, Sisters and Elders, I recognize that the work is true. The path I am walking is the way God wants me to take. And when I have the difficult, the hardest I’ve ever had, which I have, I can and I can ask God and Jesus Christ for help. Why I know that they love me and want the best for my life and my way. I want to achieve all that you can achieve in the mission field, and they you, my family, my friends, the other missionaries, people in every part of the world to support me gave me. And for that, I am grateful. I could never serve the mission or be here without you, without your love, without your support. Thank you.

I know the church is true. What Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and therefore the Book of Mormon which he translated is true too. And through the book, I can learn more about the desires of Jesus Christ and God. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson is a prophet who can receive revelation directly from God, and he is a guide.

I share in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Week 4 – almost time to leave the CCM

Friends and family, whoever may be reading this!

Hello again, another week has quickly gone by, and once again, not too much has happened.

A missionary in our zone, Elder Kelly, sang at our Tuesday devotional. Background about him. He’s 24 years old, he went to Juilliard for a semester for Opera Singing, and before his mission, he was performing at Opera Houses and Cruise Ships. His performance was sooooo good, wow it was amazing.

The weather this week was pretty unfortunate. It’s been raining a little, but only during our gym times, so we couldn’t play too much futsal too much this week :/ On top of that, I lost my scriptures, and frantically searched everywhere for them, but found them. Thank Goodness. AND I lost my debit card -_- but luckily I had a backup, and solved it with the bank. WOO

The most exciting thing this week was getting some awesome MTC gear. I’ll have photos up soon, but they’re three tshirts and a case for my scriptures.

As for a spiritual experience, it was such a simple one, yet so powerful. We were preparing to practice teaching each other, and half of us were outside being told what kind of investigator to play by the teacher. While they were out doing that, we were praying individually, as we always do. In this prayer, I decided to focus more on my thanks, and as I thanked Heavenly Father for the plenty of blessings he’s poured onto me, I felt so much of the Spirit. I shed a tear as I knew and felt God’s love for me, his constant care. “For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; they walls are continually before me” 1 Nephi 21:15. I read that scripture many times this week, and each time I read it, I knew it was more and more true.

I’ve gotten a lot closer to my district, especially Elder Andersen and Elder Yamada (The half japanese guy and his companion). They both have girls back at home, and they’re probably all gonna get married when they get back. It’s kind of crazy, they’re a year younger (straight out of high school), and they’re actually talking about marriage…

Also, every week, natives leave the MTC to go the camp, and whenever they’re out in front of the cafeteria taking pictures and see us, they’ll stop me and my half-japanese friend and ask for pictures. Never knew them, never talked to them, but they were so delighted to see Asians in Mexico. It’s weird, workers, receptionists, every native, missionary and nonmissionary, has been curious about me. Some have asked me for my mission address. It’s a weird feeling… Going to be weird as one of the only Asian missionaries in Chile.

Anyway, I really don’t have much to talk about at the MTC. Once I get out in the field, I promise that my posts will be much more interesting! If you do want to know anything, shoot me an email!

Until next week;

Elder Lee

Music requests!

Hey guys!

This week has been a rather boring one. Of course we had our investigators, of course we met  more people, but nothing amazingly new has happened, so I don’t think this will be a long     email.

 

I’ve heard a few more stories about my mission in Chile. Actually just one. Apparently almost every missionary in my mission gains 20 pounds in the first sixth months because they’re fed a LOT of food, its really rude to reject the offering of food, and the bread is supposedly the best bread ever. Cooked in lard, stuffed with lard, so ew, but delicious. There goes my hopes of being fit.

 

Language here has been easy. We have a lot of time allotted to learn the language, including time in the computer labs, but I’ve already learned everything the 6 week course has to offer, so I’m just reviewing… Kind of boring. I’ve been helping the other missionaries in my district and zone as well with language. It’s awesome cause I was reading my patriarchal blessing (If you don’t know what it is, its a blessing given by higher authority that essentially is divine personal revelation. Someone blesses you and says words of guidance of your life), and a large part of it talked about my proficiency of language on my future mission, which would then help not only investigators but also missionaries in hastening the work. This was given to me 4 years ago, so its awesome reading it now and seeing how true it has become.

 

We’ve hit the halfway mark in the MTC, and time is flying. It seems like only a few days ago I was writing you guys. It’s bittersweet; I’ve become so close with my district and other districts in my zone that it’ll be a bittersweet moment when we all leave. I hope to see them all sometime soon after the two years; some will be going to BYU which will be great, but some people are thinking about USC, the U, ones going to Stanford, and one is playing baseball at SLCC. He’s insane, 6’7 half Venezuelan who pitches 92mph. WHAT.

 

Our district has started playing futsal during our gym times and PDAY, which is amazingly fun (missed it a lot) and tiring cause our gym time is at the hottest time of the day (which isn’t too hot. Just a lot of sun to give me that farmers tan mhmm). Another missionary we play with played football (soccer) at BYU, so he’s super good, but definitely not first string.

 

As of my take on everything mission-wise is interesting. My faith of the whole Church has grown SO much, My testimony of Christ and the things I’m learning has increased tenfold, and my diligence and work ethic is shooting out the roof. Some missionaries and I wake up at 5:30am every other day to go lift, and I spend all day studying (except every now and then, cause lets be real, I’ll never be able to not fool around). I never thought I’d be able to do a 16-17 hour day and be so happy when I go to bed. I’ve really been given power by the Lord to do His work. As of how I feel about my religious stance when I get back in two years, it’s definitely changing. I went into BYU and the mission with a very vague, “lets cross the bridge when we get to it” attitude, but now, I’m looking somewhat forward to staying steadfast and continuing work in the Church. But it’s only been 3 weeks, so we’ll see where that leads in the next few months and years.

 

I’ve given my sister (Sandra) links to the dropbox where all my photos are, and I think she’s posted it on here last week, but here it is again. There will be two links; the first is a shared district folder with my and my district, and they will be uploading as well, and the second will just be my uploads.

Shared District: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wictadw1pjycqyn/AACD2Ey7_90dKI5OOjvuiCtOa?dl=0

Mine: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/em5imil54ojqtx7/AACvT6cjXKoDJI8kkz-IPbyBa?dl=0

 

Also, I have a request for you guys! I’m in need of more songs on my iPod. If you guys can message my facebook with a song (link or file, doesn’t matter), I would greatly appreciate it. I’m going to try to see if my sister or someone could download those songs, get me and iPod shuffle and load it with your songs and send it over. Anything acoustic, piano, instrumental, mellow, chill. Nothing too loud, no bad words/messages, etc etc. ❤ ❤ ❤ Some songs I’m hoping to get: Allen Stone (Any new album), Sam Smith (I only have a few but I want them all!), Yiruma, anything acoustic like Jack Johnson or people like John Legend. And a load of just really nice piano, instrumental music.

Anyways, I hope you all are doing well. Sorry my posts haven’t been too interesting, but when you’re stuck in a the training center with the same schedule every day, you can’t really have many interesting stories. Except that right now as I’m typing, its raining an INSANE amount and a lot of hermanas (sister missionaries) are going around without umbrellas, shoes, and rainjackets.

 

Take care, all! 3 more emails until I’m in the field! Then you guys can start sending me packages (ahem ahem).

 

Love,

Elder Lee

P.S. – If you guys have any questions about the Church or literally anything that you’re curious about (my experience, etc), shoot me a personal email. I can’t post everything here and expect it to answer everyone’s question, and I really enjoy hearing from people.

 

❤ ❤ ❤ peace out ya’ll

 

Please FB Josh any good music you want to send his way, and I will check it for him.  Thanks!

Week 2 – CCM

Hey all!

Another week has gone by. This time, the week flew by, it seemed like only yesterday I wrote a post. That being said, there hasn’t been too much going on at the MTC. Just a LOT of learning. We have 4 teachers. Hermano Garza, Hermano Fernandez, Hermano Terrazas, and some other dude I can’t remember. Garza and Fernandez are our main teachers, but Terrazas subs in on Saturdays cause Garza attends university. Earlier last week, we had two hermana teachers, Hermana Vasquez and Hermana Vargas helping Hermano Garza out, so we had 6 different teachers thus far, when we’re only supposed to have like two… But holy COW hermano Terrazas walks like a bullet. We have to jog just to keep up. Missionary pace indeed.

I’ve been having companion troubles since very early. He’s a cool guy, funny and many similar interests, but he is not focused. I’m busting my butt here trying to work hard, actually do what I”m supposed to. Keep to the schedule, focus on the work. After all, we’re here on the Lord’s time, not ours. But this kid is NEVER focused, never is on time, and has very little motivation to do things. He fools around a bit too much for the workload of the MTC here. I’m sure i”ll have worse, but it’s not easy when your first companion is not doing anything properly. He’s the kind of dude who never has his own pencil, folds papers and important documents and keeps it in his pocket, and always keeps his mouth open. LOL it bugs me so much. I pray every day to have the strength to stay calm, and so far so good.

Someone in my district and in my house (but not my companion), Elder Delamare (half American Half Venezuelan, he’s also 6″7) and I decided to work out in the mornings before everything cause no one in our district wants to work out during out allotted gym time. So we started on Monday, woke up at 5:30 and worked out from 5:50-6:20. We had to be back by 6:30 cause that’s our wake up time and we need the time from 6:30 to 7:15 to get up and prepare for the day.

I think it was last Saturday or Friday that it rained like no other, almost monsoon-esque. In the main plaza, the ground bricks weren’t laid evenly, so there were a few huge puddles of water. I was running by with my umbrella, jumped the first one, didn’t see the second one, and stomped right into it. My whole right shoe and probably a few inches of my slacks got soaked. Gotta get used to that.

The workload is still high, and we’re starting to do an English Fast, everyday after lunch and before dinner, and all day Sunday. I’ve been doing alright, and my Spanish has REALLY gotten better. Some people don’t even try (companion ahem). It’s funny, some of the guys always complain how they suck at Spanish, but never take any of the study time, language time, or free time to learn anything. They expect to receive the gift of tongues and the Holy Ghost to help them,  but they forget that without preparation, they won’t be blessed with such things.

As of spiritual, missionary experience, I have 2 for you guys this week. On Wednesday (27th), we had our first real investigators in a class called TRC, Teaching Resource Centre. One of our investigators is a close friend and classmate of our teacher who attends university, and that teacher, Hermano Terrazas, has already introduced the Church and the Gospel to her, Jasmine. She agreed to come to the MTC (CCM) and be an investigator. She’s never had previous missionary or church experience, so we were fairly crucial in her search for the truth. It made it all more nerve wracking that during our lesson, Hermano Terrazas came in and listened to our lesson. Nevertheless, the lesson was one of our best ever. She was SO attentive, and she loved Christ so much already. It was easy to let the Holy Spirit speak through us and address her needs. I have no doubt that soon, through not only other missionaries but Hermano Terrazas as well, she will be baptised.

The second experience happened because my roommate was sick. Elder Yamada hadn’t and hasn’t been feeling too well this past week, so his companion, Elder Anderson, me, and my companion, Elder Kirk (we all sleep in the same room and are in the same district) decided to give him a blessing. For those of you who don’t know, we believe that we hold the true Priesthood, or the power and authority to act in God’s name. THis allows us to do such sacred work on missions, baptise people, and give blessings to other people, those who are sick, and those who just need help. To do this, we use a drop of consecrated oil and lay our hands on Elder Yamada’s head, and Elder Anderson gave the blessing and prayer. We are new to this authority, so blessing someone who is sick was somewhat unprecendented to us. Nevertheless, as soon as Elder Anderson started the prayer, we felt the Holy Spirit fill the room. He spoke clearly and simply through Elder Anderson, expressing feelings of love and care. When we closed, we were all on the verge of tears. Elder Anderson opened his eyes, really confused as to what had happened, saying “I had no idea what I was doing.” His eloquence, love, and care testify of the truth of the Holy Spirit.

Anyway, that’s enough religious mumble jumble to you guys! I’ve learned a lot so far, and my faith has grown a ton since i”ve been here. I’m excited everyday to do the Lord’s work and see how I”ll change, and am motivated to not only do the best I can do, but also become the best I can be.

Anyway, that’s it for today! I am thankful for all your emails, showing of love and care, thoughts and prayers. I hope you all are doing well, and I am keeping each of you in my prayers as well.

 

Until next week,

Elder Lee

________________

Note from sister:

For those of you who may not understand our beliefs in Christ, as was mentioned in Elder Lee’s blog, I suggest starting out by reading these two talks:

1. “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent” by Elder Jeffrey Holland (this one is a little more intense, and Elder Holland has a tendency to be very… intense, so if you’re not LDS, take it with a grain of salt, and if/when you understand more, his talk might make more sense).

2. “The Way of the Disciple” by President Uchtdorf (Uchtdorf is always very soft, I think.  You can relate to what he talks about a lot.)

Start here and look around and find out what you think you believe in!

I encourage you to email Josh if you are interested in knowing how he’s doing!

 

Here are some update pictures: Most of them.. I don’t know what’s going on or what’s happening… so enjoy!