Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Thursday, January 30, 2014

9 Weeks down!! Can anyone say.. Korea?‏

I can't even believe it!! Haha! We've done it!!

Weeeee... are the champions... my frieenndd.... 


This week, was.. well.. antsy. Haha. We are all freaking out and just absolutely ready to get out of here! How exciting it will be to be on a 14 hour plane ride to Korea on Monday! ..After a 3 hour plane ride to Detroit! ...Did I mention I get really motion sick..? ..Haha it will be an adventure nonetheless. I'm stoked out of my mind. A lot of our older group of Elders have emailed me back and are absolutely loving it there. It makes me even more excited to go  knowing that they are all okay! The biggest events this week included Elder Shaver's 20th birthday, Skype-teaching a "real" Korean in Korea, and another really neat experience between our investigator Brother Kim and ourselves. 

Shall we begin?

So first, Elder Shaver's birthday was on the 22nd, and it was absolutely awesome. We celebrated all day long, and his parents even sent him a whole birthday cake in the mail!! It was SO delicious. Family, please note that raspberry filled chocolate cake is now incredibly high on my favorite desserts list. He got some sweet presents, including a bunch of Canadian candy and sweet decorations. We sang to him in English, Korean, at Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, after hours, and pretty much just had a swell time. ..As you can see, we don't really get out much here in the MTC.. haha.
Friday was pretty rad. There's not much to say about skype-ing a person in Korea, other than their Korean was much better than ours, and it was hard to hear them, haha. We taught them about the Book of Mormon, and had quite a few laughs as we tried to sing a hymn with lots of internet lag. ..'twas a good time!

Also, throughout this week, Elder Grossgebauer lost his prized Sock-Monkey.. hahaha. Probably the cutest little sock monkey that he got from his girlfriend, and supposedly smells like her too. Hah. We looked all over for it, and decided to make "Wanted/Missing" posters for it. Too funny! We made 6 or so, and then the building administration got upset, but let him keep one up so that he could find it, and a day or so later this evil cleaning man came and yelled at Grossgebauer for the sign, so he decided to make 10 more. I was dying! The story of the sock monkey thief traveled at light speed from then on! The branch presidency was informed, and was then discussed among security, and ended up getting all the way to the MTC Presidents! Haha! The whole MTC is on the look out for this sock monkey!! Way too good. We're hoping it turns up before we leave!
To be honest not a whole lot else has really happened this week. I have one last story, and it's specifically for Steven Paul, although I thought the rest of you might enjoy reading this. 

In preface to this story, my "Pops" Steven Paul gave me a really special coin right before I left. It had the Armor of God on it, with correlating scriptures and sweet colors. It was honestly the coolest coin ever. Really big, kind of heavy, and super cool to have to carry around. He told me that he had quite a few of them, and that he wanted me to give them to people I felt could use that reminder in their lives. ..and so, this story was born.
Elder Shaver and I went in to teach Brother Kim on Saturday, and, like usual, decided to focus on him rather than preparing a full-out lesson. However, we studied the Plan of Salvation before going in just in case he didn't really have any needs to tend to this week. We went in, and started talking. Things were going really well as we just casually talked about work and life and such, and he started to mention a little bit how he feels lonely so often. ..This made me super sad, but I didn't really know what to say.. ..Instead (without really knowing why and feeling pretty inconsiderate) I switched topics and asked him if he was still reading the Book of Mormon, and he replied excitedly that he has. I asked him where he was, and he shared that he was in 1 Nephi, chapter 14. Elder Shaver then asked if he had a favorite scripture so far, and he shared with us 1 Nephi 14:14. It reads:

"And it came to pass that I , Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descends upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the Earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." 

We asked him why it was so special to him, and he started to explain how he loved the power of it, and how it helped him understand why the members of our church seem like they have so much more than everyone else. I immediately thought about the Armor of God coin in my wallet. ..Thinking about how I could even come up with the vocabulary to explain it, we continued talking for a while. We asked him if we went to church, and how he felt there. He said he loves it there, and feels like he has so many friends. I asked him if he felt alone there, and he said no. I then asked him if he feels alone when he reads his Book of Mormon, and he answered again, no. He explained that he feels really alone in all the time inbetween. When he is home, with no family, he feels alone. When he is at school, or doing much of anything else, since he doesn't have many friends, he feels alone, and at work, he especially feels alone. ..I took out my coin from my wallet, and gave it to him to look at. He held it in his hands, and I slowly started to explain that God is always with us. ..The spirit, the Book of Mormon, the Gospel, Prayer, friends.. they're all pieces of armor that we are given from him, to protect us from feeling alone and sad. I told him many times that we are never alone. ..He and I both started to tear up a bit (I'm the biggest cry baby ever, thanks mom..) and he offered the coin back to me. I told him it was a gift for him. I told him to keep it, and to always remember that he is never alone. ..It was pure awesome.

..About an hour and a half after the lesson, Brother Campbell (Brother Kim) had to conduct departure interviews, and had told us beforehand that he'd start with me. So, we went in to a room, and basically cried our eyes out. Typical. ..haha. He asked me about my family, and my MTC experience, and if I had any questions or concerns. ..I explained my feeling of inadequacy and how I felt like I was so nervous and scared to go to Korea, while at the same time knowing that everything would be alright. It was a really deep conversation, and he pondered for a minute and then said to me, "..I want to share with you something somebody just taught me," ..He paused for a moment with tears in his eyes and said, "..that we are never alone."

 ..He turned to 1 Ne 14:14, Hebrews 4:14-16, and 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, and I felt the power of each and every scripture. He explained to me that as I taught my investigator, the Lord was most likely teaching me at the same time. I was blown away, and so grateful. ..We concluded the meeting later, and as we walked back to class, he asked me if I wanted my coin back, and in turn, I told him that I wanted him to keep it, because it really was for him and Brother Kim. I told him (like, seriously commanded him in polite-command form) to always remember that he is never alone. He thanked me so much, and told me how special it was to him and that he wanted to keep it more than anything. What a rad experience. 

Next week, I'll email you from Korea, and I wish you all the best in your endeavors at home! I love you all and want you to know that you are never alone! Steven, I hope you're okay with me giving him that coin! I love you all so much!! You can do anything!!

Elder DeMille

Thursday, January 23, 2014

So... 11 More days! HOLLA!

Alright, this week has been absolutely insane!! First things first, we get our travel plans tomorrow, and are headed to Korea in 11 days!! We received our Korean tags and everything! It's gettin' REAL up in here! I was even called as our new District Leader! ..I really wish I could say that I remember every day of this week but.. let's be honest, I'm stuck in limbo at the MTC. However, last friday, the day right after P-day (which always happens to be amazing) was ...well.. amazing! Check this out. Most spiritual experience ever.
However, first, to keep you drooling in suspense, I'm going to tell you about last Tuesday. (hehehehh..)

Tuesday was.. incredible. We met a new Elder who had flown in from Australia (Queensland) named Elder Dixon. He is straight skuxx. (New Zealander for "Swag", although you can't have Skuxx, you are Skuxx.) We also received a whooole new bunch of fresh missionaries on Wednesday, but .. well.. we're talking about Tuesday so.. they're not quite here yet. Anyway, on Tuesday, during classtime we had some good teaching practice and then had an incredible discussion with our teacher, Brother Campbell. He is amazing. His spiritual countenance is unbelievable. His capacity to love, understand, and help is so Christ-like, and I look up to him so much. Our discussion was about a topic that's rather difficult to explain. As a missionary, and normal human being, you feel inadequate almost consistently. We all know the feeling. It's really hard to stay positive, especially when you're learning a new language. 

We, as missionaries, get so hung up on trying to understand the words coming out of our investigator's mouth that we fail to give ourselves time and allowance to make room for the Spirit and God's will. That's what we talked about today. "How can we understand anything if we don't know everything?" As the discussion began, unlike most discussions, Brother Campbell asked us how we felt about this dilemma. How were/are we to cross this impassible bridge of understanding if we don't know what everyone is saying to us? We had a few comments here and there, and then he had us take some time to prayerfully turn to our Preach My Gospel's for an answer. This was a new approach for sure. To my surprise, almost all of us had found one in around 7 minutes. We shared, every other person in a companionship, and the Spirit was starting to find its way into our classroom. More comments, more questions, and then the as the discussion came to and end, Brother Campbell testified of his knowledge of this, and asked if there were any more questions. Sister Hoffman then humbly raised her hand and asked if he had any experiences with this out in his mission. He was almost immediately brought to tears as he replied that he had. Brother Campbell almost never speaks English to us, and he told us his story the same way he always speaks to us, almost entirely in Korean. 

Through intense pauses, and perfect words, Brother Campbell told a story of a man he had met while on his mission. He said it was 8:50pm, and he and his companion decided they would try to find one more person to talk to before they were supposed to be homeward bound at around 9pm. They walked a block or so, wound up in a park, and found a man taking a break from work walking by himself. They approached him, told him who they were, and got a reply from the man that they would never forget. He said, I know who you are. I was baptized as well, many years ago, after being taught by missionaries like you. I then became a missionary, and served a full-time mission, was married in America to an incredibly worthy woman, and was sealed for eternity in the temple, and later returned to Korea for work. He then continued to tell his story as the missionaries sat with him on a bench, giving their full attention to this lonely man. He explained that when he came back to Korea, he got caught up in work, and lost everything. He got into drugs, alcohol, smoking.. he was unfaithful to his wife, and he lost every blessing God had ever given him. After he told his story, he ended by stating that he was sure the missionaries wouldn't want to talk to this man anymore, because of his heart-shattering tale. 

At this point in class, Brother Campbell had almost begun sobbing, and explained to us that he didn't know what to say to that man at all. All he could feel for him was love. Never had he experienced such love for someone in his whole life, nor understood what love truly felt like. But this night, and that man changed all that. All he could say to the man was how much he loved him, but he'd only known him for 5 minutes. Later, the man left, and Brother Campbell never saw him again. Brother Campbell was torn apart. You could see the agony and sadness for this man as he sat in the middle of the classroom pondering the story he just shared. He then said a few words in the heart-breaking silence that I will never forget. He said, "Open your eyes to the people around you. ..Notice them. Invest in them. Love every single person. Love everyone. That is true happiness." ..He was so right. My dad told me countless times growing up that "You can never have too many friends," and that, "You never know someone's story, or what their life is like." My father, of all people, has found that happiness in loving each and every individual for who they are, regardless of how they act, think, or speak like. Forget how they look too. None of it phases him and today I am so grateful to be reminded of Christ's pure charity and love for everyone on earth. When thinking something like, "How could God love that person?" instead.. turn inward and ask, "How could God love me?" ..Love everyone. Even as He loves you. That is true happiness.
..Now, I bet you're pretty stoked for what happened on Friday, huh?

Haha. Here's where we get to the good part. ...Most spiritual experience.. ever.

The moon rose slowly, the dust settled upon the earth, and the planets all aligned...As wolves howled at the moon, and my companion and I walked epic-ly to 18M to teach a man whom we had never met, our minds were collectively blown. The experience caused us both to level up simultaneously. ..However.. ...let me back up. 

...I couldn't sleep at all the night before Friday. Nightmares, sickness, the usual. I woke up and all I wanted was good health and more sleep, tempted to say I wasn't feeling well enough for class. Our first class went well, and as I began to wake up we had a great teaching experience with Sister Lee, our female progressing investigator, and later had an opportunity to teach fellow classmates. As I taught Elder Meeks, I found a great scripture on "light" and how the scriptures can show us the way in Luke 1:78-79. It tied in really well with what I was teaching. ..However, all day I hadn't been able to get this particular story out of my head. It was the story of how I became really close to Zac Wilson. ..I don't have time to share the whole story, but basically, as most of us know, Zac had a tragic incident at the Grand Canyon and was hospitalized. I was in Colorado with my dad at the time, and had the opportunity (because of my father's kind heart) to go and see Zac in the Flagstaff Arizona hospital on my way home, about 2 1/2 hours out of the way. As I made my way to his room, a nurse stopped me from entering. She said only family was allowed in the room. .. Before I could say a word, Cari Wilson (Zac's mom) was right by me, telling the nurse that I was his brother and permitting me to go inside. ..As I entered, Cari told Zac that I was there to see him. ... for the first time since he had entered his coma, he stirred, and spoke. I approached him and called him by name, and he opened his eyes and looked right at me as I came toward his bed. He weakly thanked me for saving him, in a humble voice, and I told him with teary eyes that it wasn't me, but him. He wouldn't have it. ..He told me he heard my name, and all he could see was light as I walked toward him. He called me his Savior. ..I'll never forget that day. (True & Zac on choir tour 2012)
As we talked/taught our investigator/volunteer at TRC that friday night, we made small talk, introduced ourselves, and decided to teach about the Book of Mormon, and it's power. We started off alright, and then came to a loss of words as our investigator became more and more intimidating, and emotionless. I felt the spirit prompt me to share 2 Ne 4:35-35, about trusting in the Lord. We talked a little about it, and I received a very strong impression to share Luke 1:78-79, the scripture I had just barely bookmarked a few hours ago. I turned there, shared it, and saw complete astonishment and sincere emotion in our volunteer (Brother Brandon). He was deep in thought, so I asked him how he felt. He said he had read the Book of Mormon and Bible many times, and had never seen this verse. He confirmed that they had never stuck out to him, and thanked us so humbly (literally the way you thank Heavenly Father in your prayers). He said it was a scripture that he really needed. His sincerity was unmistakable. Then, I had an even stronger prompting to share my story, so I did. I tied it together by saying that just as I was my friend's light, the Book of Mormon can be our light, and in turn we can be the light for others. He was blown away, and I (being my mother's son) was sobbing. Then he shared with us something so incredibly personal. He shared that a "brother" of his had died three months ago in an ATV accident and that this was something he had really been needing to hear. He thanked us so humbly, and closed with a beautiful prayer. That day was unreal. I know the Lord made me arrive at TRC at that time, think about that story today, and find that scripture for Brother Brandon. He needed help, and we were the Lord's tools to get the job done. How wonderful this work is. And how true this gospel must be. I know it is, with all my heart!

I love you all so much, and wish I could tell you everything from every day here. Press forward!! You are all so amazing!

-Elder DeMille

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Two Weeks and Four More Days, Son!

So.. I'm pretty much a veteran missionary by now, right?

This week, was SO hard. Now, not particularly "hard" in the sense that it was emotionally tolling, or that I was incredibly homesick, or anything like that, but man did I catch quite the illness!! I told you I was sick before but... that was nothing. A word of advice... if a member of your district catches a cold... RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!!! Hahaha. The odds of catching that same illness here are ridiculous! You're spending pretty much 24/7 with the same people here in the MTC, and boy oh boy did the plague hit here. Everyone is sick, although I'm pretty sure I got the worst of it. Last Friday I was feeling too ill to go to teach at our TRC, and the day after that I felt like I was going to die.. as I got to class I spent a fair share of time in the beginning throwing up in yonder bathroom. Wahoo. I was excused from class and was able to sleep most of the day, trying to fight this inane illness, all the while not being able to go and buy any cough syrup or things of that sort. Elder Munk shared some with me, and I've been getting a little better each day, today being the best of days so far! I did have to give up my assignment to bless the Sacrament last Sunday, but Elder Grossgebauer (as our Sacrament coordinator) has asked me if I would do it this Sunday, so hopefully I can make that happen.
Alright, time for the highlight reel. ..At some point this week (for whatever reason I absolutely cannot remember which day) we committed our investigator, Brother Kim, to baptism!!! It was by far the most incredible lesson I have ever taught with my companion, Elder Shaver. We KILLED it! It was so so so neat. We prepared a lesson for him on the Commandments to Pray Often, Study the Scriptures, and Keep the Sabbath Day Holy, and we went in feeling great. We talked to him for a while, and made sure he still wanted to learn more about the commandments, and then explained that our church has a lot of them, but not too many. To help him understand them all, we told him we had prepared to only teach him three that day. He thought it was a great idea, and was all for it! 

We started off with Praying often, and had a scripture ready for each commandment that could help him understand each one a little more. He understood praying often very well, and asked how often he should seriously pray. We told him at least once in the morning, and once and night, and whenever else he felt like he needed help. That was most important, to just become close with Heavenly Father. He was feeling good about it, but seemed a little down today, although he was so very appreciative of our concern for his understanding. Next, we taught about studying the scriptures, and reading every day. We shared the scripture about "feasting upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3) and all Heaven broke loose. We had him read it, and he sat there, for maybe about two minutes pondering this scripture SO deeply. He wouldn't look away from it, and as I asked him (absolutely inspired from here on out) how he felt, he looked up at me with tears in his eyes. He couldn't quite explain it. ..Then, I asked him if he felt something in his heart, and he said yes. I asked him next how we could help him, and as he was a little bit taken back by our generosity and kindness he started to explain that his life was good, but there was something missing. ..Work was hard, and he can feel happy, but not really .."happy". He said it was hard to explain and that he just knew something was missing. ..It was so cool.
Next, still pretty sure I had no idea what I was saying, I explained to him and promised him that through this gospel, we can be happy. That's all our Heavenly Father wants, is for us to be happy. In 2 Nephi Chapter 32 verse 5, it says that if we "enter in by the way" the Holy Ghost will tell us all things that we should know, and I pointed that out to him. Next, I explained that entering in by the way meant being baptized, and then I looked at my companion, and back at Brother Kim, and asked him if he would accept baptism. ..He said yes!! He wanted to know how he could become prepared, and we told him that we just had a few more lessons to teach him, and invited him to come to church with us on Sunday. How awesome that was!!

Next major thing was that on Tuesday for our devotional, we were called as the Ushers for the devotional, and Elder Bednar came again!! Remember how I told you that he had us ask questions via text? Well, turns out he received about 1,000 questions, and came back to answer some more of them. He drew from the large pot he had, and answered some really good ones for us. One that really stood out to me was the third question he answered, "Why does God have good people go through hard things?" He shared the story of Spencer W. Kimball and the challenges he had to go through with throat cancer, thoroughly impairing his voice. He had surgery, and was almost unable to speak for a very long time. Prior to this, Elder Bednar explained that if he had learned one thing about Apostles and Prophets, it was that all they need is a voice. They don't need to have gone through hundreds of mind-shattering experiences to become an apostle or prophet, they simply have to be capable of heeding the word of the Lord and sharing the gospel. I was blown away as he told us that this was the one requirement, and Spencer W. Kimball had lost his requirement. Through much adversity, he was able to speak again, and spoke many times thereafter, but it really made me think. We have so much around us, and are so blessed in so many ways. As missionaries, no matter how inadequate or ill-suited for the task we may seem, we too have voices. We have been called of God and have the one thing we need to share this gospel. How wonderful that message was! He also talked about how the Priesthood is not just for men, as wonderful as that question was. He told us to picture the Priesthood as an umbrella, and the men are assigned the task of holding it so that all others may stand underneath and receive it's blessings. He said the Priesthood isn't something to think of someone having that takes it away from someone else. Using it multiplies it in the lives of everyone around you.
Anyway my wonderful family and friends, I can't wait to leave for Korea, and am thriving here in the MTC!! Thank you all for your wonderful support and love! I know this church is true,and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. No human mind can conceive the truths and concepts that you find in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith translated that book in about 65 days, with no errors, flaws, or inconsistencies, and I would challenge anyone, anywhere, at anytime with any resource they could ever possibly need and all the help they could get plus a hundred years ...and they could not create this. I know this gospel is true. And I love this work with all my heart. Until next week! 

Lots of love, 

Elder DeMille

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Good Timber by Douglas Malloch

This is a beautiful poem featured in a talk entitled "I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee" by President Thomas S. Monson. It was given in General Conference Fall of 2013. This was the first conference after his sweet wife, Frances, passed a way. It is truly beautiful. Here is an excerpt if you don't have time to read it. I'm guessing from True's illustration that they've studied this talk recently.

"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.

This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow. Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life ...
Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change.
My brothers and sisters, may we have a commitment to our Heavenly Father that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. We should not need to experience difficulties for us to remember Him, and we should not be driven to humility before giving Him our faith and trust.
May we ever strive to be close to our Heavenly Father. To do so, we must pray to Him and listen to Him every day. We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain. May His promise ever be our watchword: “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
With all the strength of my soul, I testify that God lives and loves us, that His Only Begotten Son lived and died for us, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that penetrating light which shines through the darkness of our lives. May it ever be so, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week 5 Complete, Nerds!

Bring it on Week 6! ..Haha I'd love to say that these weeks are flying by but.. .well.. it's more of a trot. Things are going well here, although almost our entire District is sick (the cold is getting around.. sooo fun..) but we are stoked to be getting closer and closer to experiencing civilization again! Some interesting things sure have happened this week, and that, at least, has helped to spice things up a bit. 

Let's see here.. last Friday, on P-day, we got locked out of our room after taking showers (someone decided he should close the door for some reason.. haha) and we all sat in the hallway, half-scandalous while Elder Ross and Elder Peterson ran to get us a spare key from the Main Office (in 1M). We got into our room and were late to class, but, it was a good story to tell. Later that night we taught our TRC (Training Resource Center volunteers, we teach them and it's the best thing ever) and since there were hardly any Korean volunteers, rather than teaching two 40 minute lessons, we only had to teach one! Well... Shaver and I only had to teach one. Our teacher decided to have other Elders teach us individually as we were excelling in class and were prepared for our lessons that night. It was super cool! Munk and Ethington taught me that night and the spirit they bring is phenomenal. If they can just get a better handle on the language they will accomplish so much!! After Ethington and Munk taught me, Shaver and I taught a young Korean woman and got the most killer review! I took a picture of it, and I'm sure my mom will get it sometime soon but, man.. I've never felt like I've taught so well in my whole life! It was totes awesome. 

Let's see.. I've also seen Grace Gochnour around these parts, and run into her all the time! I can't wait to see T-Jolley and Gabriella Gonzales (who are coming in soon). I also just BARELY (like seriously.. 15 minutes ago) ran into Matthew Blake! We went to Elementary together and I haven't seen him for.. what.. like 9 years? So crazy! I couldn't believe that we both recognized each other too! We both did a thrice-take, it was pretty funny.

Speaking of funny things, you would never believe what happened to our companionship. ..So.. Shaver and I are pretty good teachers, right? Right. ..Well.. we were trying to teach about faith, or something of the sort, and we had our Progressing Investigator read a few verses in what we thought was D&C 9:7-8 but.. you know those Korean Book of Mormons.. ...all Korean and such.. ..and we had actually unknowingly had them read Moroni 9:7-8 which is actually about cannibalism, the slaughtering of women and children, and chastity. Surprise! It was pretty embarrassing, but we had a good laugh and moved on well with the lesson.  Also, a few days ago we learned our first Korean children's song about 3 bears. (You can listen to it here) It goes something like,

There are 3 bears,
that live in 1 house.
There's a poppa bear, momma bear, and a baby bear.
The papa bear is FAT.
The momma bear is skiiinny.
And the baby bear is cute.
Shrug, shrug.
Good job! 

It's pretty silly, but we like to sing it because it makes us feel that much more a part of the culture I suppose (and like we know what we're saying ). On a side note, we have a teacher named Brother Wade (who is absolutely incredible) and when he speaks Korean he speaks in this really low voice. One day, he was in class and sat in my seat, and was telling the district (in Korean) that he was now Elder DeMille! So, I, being the rambunctious child I am, decided that I would be him, hahaha! I stood up, buttoned my suit, and started imitating his low Korean voice while I introduced myself. It was hilarious! He started dying, and another teacher who was helping us was almost crying! That poor sister. She looked at me and said in Korean that suddenly Elder Wade had gotten much more handsome, and I started to laugh like he does (the silliest little chuckle you've ever heard) and that was the last straw. Everyone died, hahaha! It was sooo funny, and now Elder Wade can hardly teach us without teasing me about it. My face went as red as a red carrot (a silly Korean saying) because I thought for sure he was going to kill me!

What else, what else.. ah! I'm officially huge. Yup. I've gained 14 lbs these past 5 weeks, and it's unreal how much bigger I feel! It's a problem, haha. Everyone is gaining weight like nothing else. Watts and Munk are both at 15, while Hendricks is at 17. Pants are getting tighter and tighter, and we are all so in denial that we can actually eat less at meals. Pride.. gotta love it :P Other than that, not much has happened! Just another week learning Korean and serving the Lord. What a wonderful opportunity it is! 
Ah, I wrote another poem to share with you last night, before I sang my Elders to sleep (they requested a lullaby, believe it or not, so I sang some Death Cab For Cutie just for them, haha. You could say we're pretty cute) and.. well.. anyway, here it is. Try to figure out what it's about. (obviously the point of a poem) .. Love you all!

It falls
Upon you like any other thing 
For a moment
Not to stagger nor stumble
But to find refuge

Within the soul of something not quite so cold
With room to feel alive
Never had it been held so close
Felt so awake
It had never been held at all
Except by Him
His wounded soul
In the beginning

Feel the incredible intricacy
In a way that transcends
The five senses
Unheard   unseen
Yet simply somehow always there
And soft
How will you feel when it leaves
Your soul to find another 
Iridescently drifting in the bitter wind
When you often cannot feel its presence at all
See its beautiful symmetry
How does He spend so much time
On such simple things
Feel it
As it melts upon your softened heart

"Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life's fight, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then overcome." -Thomas S. Monson

Keep on going! You can do it!!

-Elder DeMille

Friday, January 3, 2014

One down, 23 to go! ..It's been a month, ladies and gentlemen!‏

Wow! How time sure flies! 

You see, I'm actually on my fifth week here... haha.. surprise! The MTC likes to pull this nasty trick and tell the missionaries that the little half-week we were here in the beginning counts as week one. ...So.. truthfully, I'm almost done with my fifth week! We've got just over 4 weeks left, and I couldn't be more excited. I absolutely CANNOT wait to get out to Korea! I've learned recently that the Seoul South mission is the smallest, richest, and most heavily populated mission in Korea. We will be eating well often, and will have some of the largest fashion industries and "Mega"s in our area,(picture... really, really, really giant malls, where everything costs less than in America) AND is at least twice as stylish. ...Because that's what the mission is about right? Being stylish? ...Hahaha maybe not. ..But I am pretty stoked about it regardless. 

So, honestly and truly, this week's letter is going to be pretty lame. Not much has happened around here, and things are returning to normal here at the MTC. From last P-day, I forgot to mention we had the opportunity to clean the Provo Temple in the morning, as a double dose of service, and can I just say.. what an amazing opportunity that was! When we arrived at around 8am, the 'man in charge' said, "Alright, I need two Elders for hazardous duty. Who would like to volunteer?" Haha, of course mine and Elder Fowler's hands shot straight up into the air! Hazardous duty?! Count us in!! .... Turns out, our "Hazardous duty" was to be security guards for the temple and sit in a chair for three hours checking temple recommends for contractors entering the temple. It seemed super lame and disappointing at first, but turned out to be such a blessing. I was able to sit there and just think, in the stillness and quite of the temple for three solid hours. No companion, no other Elders, not anyone else but myself and the Lord. I flipped through Ensigns, read all of 1 Nephi, and drew six temples. Pretty impressive right? Seriously, it was some much needed quiet time, and I loved every second of it. (Not saying that being with people all the time is bad, quiet time is just reeallly nice). After the three hours were up, the staff took us on a tour of the Temple and it was absolutely wonderful. We saw the Celestial Room, Bride's Room, Sealing Room, and Chapel. All so stunning and absolutely incredible. 

The rest of this week has been pretty mellow. New Year's Eve and New Year's were nothing special in the MTC, although we tried to make the best of it! We celebrated New Year's at 10pm with New York, and had a solid 30 minutes of confetti-throwing, face-stuffing, noise-making, silly-string-shooting, deep-cleaning (afterwards) celebration. Hahah it was a really good time, and Mom.. those summer sausages were divine. Thank you to all who sent so many goodies and treats! We thoroughly enjoyed them, and had quite the blowout for that 30 minutes or so. 

I don't really have much else to say, although I would like to share with you a poem that I wrote last week when I was feeling pretty down. The MTC is a little rough if you focus too much on yourself, or those at home. There comes a time when you need to truly decide to give yourself to the Lord, and trust that He will take care of your loved ones, and make a more perfect instrument out of you so that you can better touch the hearts and lives of the people around you. Anyway, this one is without a title thus far (maybe someone can help me with it?) But really, truly explains my experience as best I can in my own poetic words, haha. I love you all, and wish you the happiest of New Years! Make the decision to change today, for each day afterward is the first day of the rest of your life.  

Just as the clouds veil the midnight moon,
How restlessly, the light they sever
Enclosing me swiftly, night falling soon,
My light is lost, and gone forever.

Or like forgotten voices, whose dissonant tunes
Give various response to things of the past,
To thoughtful words - replaced by swoon,
No reminiscent thought to make it last.

We rest. -- A dream has power much more than sleep;
We rise. -- A wondering thought defines our day;
We feel. -- Hope and reason, laugh and weep,
Embrace the absence, and let it stay.

It is the same! Be it joy or sorrow
Of that lover lost or friend to be;
Our yesterday never like our morrow
Nought may endure but eternity.

To think that in life, you ever have stalled,
The time is now, was then and will be;
If you have any sense of why you were called,
You ought to feel the inadequacy.

This is the way, walk ye in it;
Whatever your struggle, we are as one;
In the abyss of both dark mind and spirit,
Dawn will break brightly as we welcome His Son.

We are infinitely more than our limitations foretell;
As we harvest thy souls all shadows will flee;
In the hands of the potter, a broken vessel
Shall be mended of all its inadequacy.

So hope on, journey on, for we are as one;
He is still with us, His promise kept safe;
What a thrilling moment that will surely become,
For the future is but as bright as your faith.

-Elder DeMille