Elder Houston

The Worth of Seouls – Seoul Korea Mission


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Week 6 – Last week of my first transfer in the field!

Well as of today I am in my 2nd transfer in Korea! Holy cow that is crazy and awesome! I will first take you through my week and then share a few things I have had the opportunity to reflect on about my first transfer!

Tuesday (11/18) – So I didn’t know about this but my companion was going on exchange with our DL (District Leader) so they came monday night and said, “oh you are going to the other elders house……” and I had five minutes before I was going to have to call the assistants to the president because I was late!  I was a little upset with the mis-communication but I packed as fast as I could and sprinted with Elder Lee (the other elder Lee not my companion) to the house. We ended up being late and so he said “Will you call the AP’s?”  and I said “NO”!  Haha, I then knelt and prayed while he called and asked for strength and help to be nicer and be in a better mood.  It was not their fault either.  I did find comfort and I apologized to him and the next day we had a great exchange! We met with a cool Chinese student and taught him and then we had an awesome experience! We were knocking doors and we came to a split and I asked where do you feel we should go Elder? He said that way looks brighter so I said ok. We went and met an awesome lady who we referred to the sisters. Then we went to meet a guy but he didn’t show up so we decided to start where we left off with knocking doors and we got do this same exact split and nothing at all had changed but as I looked I said, “Elder, doesn’t the other way look brighter now? and he said yeah it does.” So we went that way and met several people who had just got home from work within a few minutes and were very nice and got some numbers and had more success then usual. It was a very cool experience!

Wednesday (11/19)- Nothing crazy! District meeting and English class. I taught our investigator English! gongsoonho!

MTC Homies

MTC Homies

MTC  District...Together again!

MTC District…Together again!

Elder Houston & Sederholm MTC Companions!

Elder Houston & Sederholm MTC Companions!

Thursday (11/20)-We went to something called 12 week follow-up! The first twelve weeks we do a special program and we did a follow up on it so I got together again with all my friends from the MTC! It was so awesome to see them all! They are all doing great and it was a fun day. We got some amazing council from President Christensen which I was thankful for! Then after the AP’s said we had packages outside. We were a long ways from home and I went out and had two packages! One from my family and one from Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin! Then I had a letter from Court and her Mom and one from my little brothers! I was like a giddy little boy… who am I kidding I am a giddy little boy sometimes!  Between my comp and I we had our side bags full of stuff for the meeting we just went to, a guitar, two pretty big packages and 2 letters to get back. We get places by public transportation and a lot of walking and so we started our hour long trek back. Unfortunately the walking was the easy part. Because in big city Seoul public transport is: squeeze as many people in a subway or bus and then go fast, fast, fast! So we were crammed in and the packages were just in the most awkward positions and I couldn’t help but laugh! Haha we got back and I opened the one from my family and put all the presents in a basket! I was so happy! you should have seen my face! And My comp and I got those awesome ties and are so excited to wear them together!! Then I opened the letter form Courtney and Mama Allred and then I opened my little brothers letters! I don’t think I could have been more happy with all the stuff I had just got! Haha thank you so much for the love and the packages and letters! They were a true blessing!

Packages from home!

Packages from home!

Packages from home!

Packages from home!

Friday (11/21)-We did a ton of contacting today and that is it!

Saturday (11/22)-We went to a Baptismal service today for one of my companions old investigators! It was really cool too see! That night we got our transfer calls. My comp and I are both staying, but my DL is being transferred and my comp is the new DL! So that is cool!

Sunday (11/23)- Church, I did LPP (language progression program) pass off today with my district leader and it went good! It was fun and I will do it with my zone leaders after I pass a few more things of with my companion as DL! We also had dinner with the Temple presidents 2nd counselor. He is in our ward and it was fun!  My stomach has not been very good lately so I have tried to not eat to much crazy stuff but his wife wanted me specifically to eat so much stuff and I did not feel good after! Haha but that is okay I feel better now and she was happy when I ate all her stuff so it was all good!

Okay, so as I have reflected on this transfer, I am amazed at how much I have grown and how much I have learned. But that isn’t what I was most amazed at. The thing that I realized the most was how much I need to learn and how much I need to grow! I have been sooo soo humbled this transfer and I have been so blessed.  It amazes me that the Lord trust somebody like me to represent him. I have so many faults and short comings and he is so perfect yet he trusts me to represent him and I realize the weight of this calling and am honored to have it!  My relationship with God is so much stronger.  At home it is easy to find comfort in others or distract yourself during a hard time but on a mission you have to face it directly and bravely and I am now so much more grateful for prayer, that precious time I have to converse with my Heavenly Father. What an amazing blessing it is to have at any given time, any moment, any place, any condition, we can address him and He will not forsake us, Ever!  He loves us more than we can understand in this mortal state. I have felt the comfort and love of his almighty hands and the hands of his servants, His “concourses of angels” who surround and support all his missionaries.  I also know and realize what a blessing it is to have modern prophets and apostles. When I was on exchange I approached a guy from Pakistan to see if he spoke english. He did and I started talking to him. He was Muslim and was suprised when I said we have a prophet. He asked who? I got choked up as I told him the beloved name of our prophet, Thomas Spencer Monson. He asked if I thought he was a modern prophet and I was so happy to be able to answer with 100% confidence and say, “I know that he is the Prophet of God because even not having ever met him I have prayed and felt an overwhelming love and confirmation that he is the God’s prophet today on the Earth.” It was an awesome experience and I realized what a blessing it is to be led by a Modern Prophet. I know God loves us and I am so happy to be serving him! I love you all and miss you all!

 Love,

Elder Houston

Cool Park we went to on P-Day

Cool Park we went to on P-Day

Cool Park we went to on P-Day

Cool Park we went to on P-Day


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Week 5 – Korea has a cold Seoul!

My subject is clever huh?? hehe I think so! so yes to answer your questions Korea is freezing cold. I already am close to the coldest I have ever been in my life and they say it isn’t even cold yet….. haha but I am stoked! It is gonna be a party! I haven’t even got my big coat out yet so I will be fine! No worries!

Tuesday 11/11– We took some bebero (which is a popular korean candy) to members and it was the bebero national holiday that day. In korean it is spelled 빼빼로! Then we did 가가호호(tracting) and we met a nice old lady with a super cute dog that reminded me of rusty and we gave the sisters the referral to go to her house because her husband had passed away so we can’t teach her!

My companion and I with 빼빼로 (candy) boxes for our members

My companion and I with 빼빼로 (candy) boxes for our members

 빼빼로 (candy) boxes

빼빼로 (candy) boxes

My companion and I with 빼빼로 (candy) boxes for our members

My companion and I with 빼빼로 (candy) boxes for our members

Wednesday 11/12 – Okay so district meeting today! What a treat it was! Haha we learned about charity and love and she asked if we knew an example of charity and love and I shook my head and nobody else did so she told me to please share…. Haha so I told her the person that popped into my head immediately! Guess who??? I bet you can guess? My MOM!! Haha they asked why and I told them because that is the closest to a perfect unconditional love that I know and that is the closest to a Christlike charity that I know other than christ himself and then I got choked up (note: choked up is different then crying. #manly) when I told of how my mom unconditionally loves and cares for me and always is there for me! I told of how she cares so much to hear from me every week and that she doesn’t even realize how much comfort and peace and happiness her words provide me all the time! Even now! Sometimes I think she knows me better than I know me. But hey that is fine! Also we had english class and I taught a guy who was just awesome and he really liked me so I was happy and I also taught a member and after the lesson he helped get us on a gospel subject and then I took over and taught  brief principles and asked to meet again and got his number and the member patted my back and walked off smiling! This man now has been to church and has been taught all of the restoration and will be baptized on Dec. 20th. Heavenly Father has prepared him and he is teaching him and we are simply here for him to put the spirit into to help him learn from the spirit about Christ! It was way cool! Also we had the first snow here on Wednesday.

Getting ready to get cold!

Getting ready to get cold!

Getting ready to get cold!

Getting ready to get cold!

Thursday 11/13– We met and taught a less active first today and then did 전도 (proselyting) until we had a 식사(dinner appointment) with a kind lady and her husband and a friend! It was delicious! Thursday was also the coldest day ever. Haha brother 박변훈 called us the night before and ran up some nice jackets and one actually fit me great and has been so great! Haha luckily I had it because I didn’t want to get my big coat out yet! Haha but I probably will have to soon!

We found some cool wall pics!

We found some cool wall pics!

We found some cool wall pics!

We found some cool wall pics!

We found some cool wall pics!

We found some cool wall pics!

With a less active member

With a less active member

Don't feed the big monkey in the middle!

Don’t feed the big monkey in the middle!

Cool play ground

Cool play ground

Friday 11/14– Today is when we taught 공순호 (kong-sun-ho) our english class investigator the first lesson and also when he committed to baptism and is progressing nicely! He told us about these cool mountain weight sets that were free close to our house. So we went and checked it out while tracting and it was awesome! It was so nice to be in trees. It was a Korean mountain, but a Korean mountain is about the size of the hill next to our house! My area is very hilly! Very very hilly but no really big mountains so ya! but it was still way cool and there was some good look off points of Seoul and I finally realized I was in the 3rd biggest city in the world and how big it was and was freaking out for a second! Haha it was fun!

Night pic from the mountain(hill)

Night pic from the mountain(hill)

We got a call mid-meal!

We got a call mid-meal!

Saturday 11/15– We just did a whole lot of proselyting even some separated by crosswalks and then a lot of door knocking! We also went to an awesome bakery and I love bakeries and carbs tasted super good and it gave a christmas feel to life and was really nice! I think Christmas is actually going to be really big here so that will be fun!!

Sunday 11/16– 공순호 our investigator came to church this day and also he brought a friend! They only stayed for sacrament but 2 INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH! Holy smoly what a treat! I was praying so hard they would come and then bam! My prayer was answered double time! He was late because he was getting a friend! Haha that was fine! We hope to teach them both soon! That night we had a dinner appointment with the member from english class that helped get us on a gospel subject and it was awesome food but made me and my companion super sick this morning! but that is okay it wore off fast. The Bishop and his family were also there and as we were going to give the thought for the night the kids got really noisy and it is so hard to speak a langauge you don’t know with screaming kids and invite the spirit so I got flustered and embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. This is where I prayed and had an answer in a way I didn’ expect. So Korean kids are so adorable and the Brother’s, whose house we were at, son is so adorable and sweet and everyone loves him and I have never talked to him before because I don’t speak Korean yet but he was being quiet and listening. I would guess he is 2 or 3 max and he was drinking a sippy cup and kept trying to get away from his dad for some reason and come to me. Finally he escaped and we all watched to see what he was going to do and he came over to me and I was sitting kimchi squat (cross legged) style on the floor and he came over and sat in my lap and leaned back and drank his sippy cup. Now we aren’t supposed to pick up kids so I didn’t know if this was picking up a kid or not. My companion and the families said it was adorable and okay. For some reason I felt so much peace. I don’t have a picture but with him in my lap I was able to focus and finish the message. Haha it was awesome. He just wanted to sit in my lap and it was super cute and made me happy. It is all about the little things like that!

A big thing I have learned about this week is sincere prayers. We can kneel and thank our heavenly father for everything for an hour straight or plead and plead with him for help and strength and anything else but if it is not sincere, and I mean truly and deeply sincere then we may not receive an answer. The more sincere we are, the more God knows how much we mean what we say and also how much we truly have desire to talk to him. We can find true answers but we have to have a burning desire to understand and be humbled so much to the point that we can no longer stand but only can drop to our knees and plead to understand more. Or be so full of gratitude that we can only help but drop to our knees and thank Heavenly Father so sincerely and promise to serve him and do something to help another one of his children! I love the gospel and I know it is true. Faith is not  perfect Knowledge but an assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 footnote b.) We don’t need to have a perfect knowledge just a perfect brightness of hope and desire to know and feel the truthfulness and we will be able to find truth and peace and comfort! I think it is really interesting how hope and desire is the same word in Korean. 소망 means both hope and desire. They go hand in hand. If we hope for things we desire for them to come to pass! I learn so much on my mission and just want to tell so much but I only have so much time to email! I love you all so much and miss you! This gospel is so true and makes me happy and will forever and ever! Love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Houston


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Week 4 in Korea – Another Busy Week

Hey family! How are you all doing! Sounds like good! I am so happy to here from you every week! It makes me so happy! I am doing good and all is well! I keep learning more and trying to be braver and better every day of my mission! I will do a day by day email again this week and hopefully cover it all!

Seoul Templ3

Seoul Temple

Seoul Temple

Seoul Temple

Seoul Temple2

Seoul Temple

Tuesday (11/4)– It was P-day today and it was a busy one! We went to the temple and it was so awesome! I didn’t get to see anybody from the MTC though which was hard but it was so nice to be able to go to the house of the Lord once again, what a blessing it is to be able to go there in my mission! After we went shopping at dong de moon and it is big city Seoul and is the shopping center so that was cool! The tie shops here are unreal and so big. I don’t know how you would ever look through all the ties. They have whole malls of ties and it is overwhelming but cool too!

New Tie

Taylor’s New Tie

 

Wednesday (11/5)– We had zone training today and it was sooo soo good. We talked about the role of the spirit in conversion and in everything really which was a question I asked president after our first interview and it was so amazingly answered and I learned so much. We watched a Mormon message that reminded me of my mom and it got me a little choked up and made me really realize that I need to do what the lord wants and not what I want and sacrifice my time and comfort to do his work! It was awesome. After we had a lesson with ee dong hee and it went a little better than usually so hopefully he keeps his commitments

Thursday (11/6)-We did service today by picking up trash and then did a lot of proselyting and tracting.

Friday (11/7)– So remember Brother Bak? He studied in England and can speak great English? His family is there but he is here taking care of his parents because his dad was super sick and we started teaching is mom. I hope you remember him. We had another appointment with them but about an hour before we were supposed to meet we got a text informing us that his father had past away. We were very sad and it was hard. We had given his dad a priesthood blessing just a few days earlier and didn’t know how his mom would be handling this or if she would meet with us. We pray for there family and wish them well! Later on we had pizza with our district and it was delicious!

 Saturday (11/8)– We had English class and all the people there are amazing. They are all just potential investigators but we are so close to all of them! After class a guy wanted to take us all to dinner so we all went to a restaurant and ate. It was so cool. A bunch of missionaries and potential investigators in the community eating together! I was very happy and found some needed comfort from that experience. After we took some investigators to a baebaerow making youth activity. BaeBaerow is a very good candy and Idk how to spell anything in English! haha and it went well but that night I got a little sick for some reason.

 Sunday (11/9)– I woke up and felt a little better but not a ton. We went to church and we were supposed to meet Namsongjew but… He wouldn’t answer and this was very hard for me. We were almost sure he was going to get baptized and all the sudden he has ignored us for 3 days. We hope to hear from him soon. After church we did a lot of our study time and had one meeting with a guy that was a long ways away so we walked for about 30 minutes there and then had an hour lesson then walked back. We then got dressed and went to the funeral of Brother Baks Dad! We went with some ward members in to the big city and to the funeral home. We went in and said Hi to Brother Bak and then saw his mom and she was actually happy to see us. She invited us in and gave us a flower to set by his picture and we sang our hymns and talked as a ward with her and she allowed it and was happy even though she is a strong Presbyterian. After my comp and I walked up and said thank you for letting us come and we will see you later and she grabbed both of our hands and thanked us for coming and wouldn’t let go.  It broke my heart and I really hope to meet with her again soon! They are an amazing family! I wish them the best!

Well that is everything for this week I think! Haha I love you all and I hope you all continue to do good! Family don’t be missing me to much okay! Haha I miss you enough for all of us so you don’t have too:D haha just kidding but don’t get sad! We have plenty of more good times to come in the future! I love you all so much and can’t wait to here from you next week!

Love,

Elder Houston

Elder Houston & Elder Murdock also from St. George

Elder Houston & Elder Murdock also from St. George

Rice Milk

Rice Milk

Night Mode

Night Mode

 


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Week 11 (Week 3 in Korea) – Hey Fam!

Hey everyone! I was so happy to hear from you all! I am going to start by answering all your questions and then see if there is anything I didn’t cover that I wanted too!

1.  How many missionaries are in your area in Jangwii? 

10. Me, Elder Leewonhyung, Elder RosenBerg, Elder LeeHohyun, Elder Bandley, Elder Jarret, Sister Harper, Sister kimonyou, Sister leegeehey, sister hongsonhea

 2.  How is the food?  Your first week you seemed to like it, but just wondering if you are still enjoying it?

 It is really good, I just eat a lot of the same stuff but I still really like it! I have ate pig liver, heart, lung, and intestine and love them all so much! and ya I love it for the most part!

 3.  Are you able to print your emails to take with you during the week?

 nope, not to my knowledge

 4. Have you received any letter from the mail yet?  Just curious how long it takes for you to receive something.  We sent letters before you got to Korea, but I know Grandma Baldwin has sent a couple letters.  I also sent some from Trevor and Tyson this week so hopefully you will get them soon.  

 Ya I got it yesterday and I loved it so much! Thank you so much for that! I haven’t got any from Grandma yet! I only got the first one you wrote at conference!

5.  What else do you do on P-Days?  Do you go do anything fun?  Have you played any sports there yet?  Do you still exercise every morning?

Not much, they are busy! We shop, do laundry and try to have at least an hour of doing something fun. We haven’t got to play any sports on pday but that is part of opening an area and they should get better and better! And yes I exersize every morning! It is way nice!

6.  How is your companion?  I’m glad he is giving you so many opportunities to teach and be a part of the lessons.  I’m sure it is beyond overwhelming but that will help you so much in  the future.  I hope you are learning so much from him and feel lucky to have a Korean companion to help teach you everything.  

 He is awesome! We are close and I am so blessed to have him as my companion

7.  It looks like you have used your credit card once since you have been in Korea.  I’m glad it works.  Please use it whenever you need for whatever you need.  I need to know you have what you need to live comfortably so if there are supplies for your apartment or groceries use it.  Do you get money at the first of every month from the mission?

 I get money 2 times a transfer and it is on a separate credit card and I have only used that and I used my credit card just to see if it worked and haven’t needed it since. I might more later.

 8.  Have you got to go to the Temple in Seoul yet?

 I go tomorrow! Today actually isn’t pday! We just email on monday on temple week and then go to the temple and have pday on Tuesday!

 9.   Is there anything else you have thought of for your Christmas package that you need from home?

my companion wants sour patches. haha but I couldn’t think of anything else! thanks though!

Okay now and investigator update:

We have 12 investigators and I just wanted to update you on one who we met and he is 18! His name is Namsongjew and after our first lesson he accepted our baptismal conference for Nov. 22!!!!! We are so excited! We also took him to stake conference and afterwards he said, “Ya I will get baptized.” Holy amazing! We are thrilled!

We also went to Brother Bak’s house, the guy who speaks English and studied in oxford. His parents are not members and we went over and gave a message. We talked about the restoration and it was a very powerful lesson and the spirit was soo soo strong and his dad is very ill but we taught his mom and after 14 years of being around the church and talking to missionaries she accepted a Book of Mormon and promised to read it and hugged it as she said it. She also asked us to give her husband a priesthood blessing. We were asked to give one to another investigator earlier so we were prepared to give it and so we gave him one and left with Brother Bak to go get dinner with him. We got outside and he was in shock! He said  “I never expected that and his mom has always refused and never allowed a priesthood blessing and then he said, I have never had missionaries care about her enough to press her like that with that message. I never thought it would work.” Then he turned to me and said if you baptize my mom I will buy you expensive dog soup so you can say you tried it! haha he is awesome and it was such a cool experience.

On Tuesday I went on exchange with our district leader Elder Rosenberg and it was an awesome experience and so cool to see a different way of proselyting and all that and he is awesome! The next day our zone leaders came to district meeting and I gave the thought on patience and it was way scary but they are so cool and it went great! It was way cool! Sunday we had stake conference and an interview with president Christensen later too! We made him and his wife cookies and the interview was awesome! He is so amazing and loving and full of knowledge! It is so cool! Afterward his wife shot me a text and thanked us for the cookies and said your mom would be proud! haha….. the cookies were made out of a box…… But I just said no problem, thanks for all you do and left it at that! Haha it was cool!

Another funny thing that happened is our whole district was together and got on a bus and all the people were sayin whooaaa ahhh foreigners and all the little grandmas… (there is a lot) say you are pretty in Korean so I just say thank you and I am to tall too stand up straight on the bus so a guy popped a slot up in the roof  and told me to come stand there and so I did and could stand up straight and it was so nice and they all laughed! It was a fun experience! The old people are so so funny and either love a ton or hate the foreigners but mostly love … I think! haha anyways I think that is all! Not as much this week sorry! 

Love you all so so much! You are the best!

Love,

Elder Houston

Another picture with Namsongjew (our newest investigator)

Another picture with Namsongjew (our newest investigator)

Brother Bak

Brother Bak

my halloween decoration 2

my halloween decoration 2

my halloween decoration

my halloween decoration

Namsongjew

Namsongjew

New Investigator Namsongjew

New Investigator Namsongjew

pig intestines and heart and lungs and liver and whatever else soup!!

pig intestines and heart and lungs and liver and whatever else soup!!

view of Seoul from Jangwii-Dong 2

view of Seoul from Jangwii-Dong 2

view of Seoul from Jangwii-Dong

view of Seoul from Jangwii-Dong

Zone Leaders Birthday

Zone Leaders Birthday