Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mission Life: May 2014

We received a huge batch of pictures from Elder DeMille last night! I love that they are allowed to use Dropbox in Korea. It makes things so much easier and is super fast too. He sent over 200 photos while he emailed his friends and family for the week. Yes ... I'm in Heaven! Love this kid!!

For better picture quality, watch it full screen and change the Settings to 720 HD.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's you who climbed the mountain; It's you who reached the peak.‏

So Monday, we went to Mansu with Elders 박 (Park), Godfrey, Berry and Meeks, and traveled to these random wetlands for some sight-seeing! It was super fun, and I took LOADS of pictures, don't worry. There were tons of crabs, mudfish, bird-watching huts, and adventures! We were there pretty much ALL day, and it was super fun to spend time with those guys. I love seeing Elder Meeks (who I see all the time now), Elder Berry was Elder Higham's last companion, and Elders 박 and Godfrey are the greatest company!
Tuesday was Zone Conference, and we hiked a "mountain" up to a sweet ancient Korean mountain fortress. (Loads of pictures there too, don't worry) It was so rad! We received various trainings along the way, mostly about faith, hope, charity, and love (things that qualify us for the work), and how we can improve ourselves/learn more about those characteristics. I got to hang out with Elders Meeks and Munk a TON which was incredibly fun, shared my recently prepared no-bake cookies (thank you Elder Morgan for the delicious recipe), broke an apple in half with my bare hands (literally pulled the halves of the apple apart) for Sister Blickenstaff (I know, I know, I'm amazing..) stood on top of a super crazy tall wall overlooking Korea (#fearless), had a really rad testimony meeting, got to hang out with Elder Clawson a lot (my man! He's going home soon..) and talk to Elders Bryan, Witt, Pruner, Lynn, Westbrook, and Thomas a ton as well! Great Elders. The hike was really, really rad, and it was such a good opportunity to relieve some stress, as well as get some time to ponder some things. It's not so often you're up in the mountains with a bunch of friends during your mission!
This week was really something special - although each week is challenging - because we started to see a difference in a lot of different people. Elder Higham and I took some silly pictures and printed them out throughout the week to deliver them to Ward members who had birthdays this week, and we got a lot of love back in return! PKS and his family pulled us in and prepared a full dinner for us, while tons of other members are wanting to come to our English class and receive our daily English message we send out!

We got 2 new investigators this week, along with a ton of other potential investigators too. Plus, on Wednesday we did a sweet "finding opportunity" in Kajung in which I did an exchange with Elder Ellsworth and later wrote a letter of recommendation to the U.S. Embassy for his recent convert. ..No pressure.
I'll be honest, I've gotten a little caught up in my own stress this week, but all of these new experiences have given me a new sense of hope. ..And I think that's really important. President James E. Faust taught that, "Hope is the anchor of our souls." I believe that we only have hope because we have opposition (as it is with all things); without opposition, hope wouldn't be necessary. ..But, I also believe that God- Our Heavenly Father- often puts us in situations where we are given the opportunity to make a decision. We can struggle for our lives through our trials without calling upon that Being that created us, or we can call upon the Lord, and trust in Him to reach out to us and lift our hands which hang helplessly down. 
When we can take advantage of a difficult opportunity and turn to the Lord, we will consistently be able to work through trials and difficulties with confidence and assurance that all things will work together for our good. Because the Lord loves us, He has given us hope, and many opportunities to strengthen that hope. The better our understanding of God, the better we'll be able to look to Him and more easily handle our trials. As we often or occasionally let ourselves think, "If He loved me, this would be easier", let us think for once that perhaps the opposite is true. "Maybe the Lord loves you too much to let your life be easy. If your life were easy, you wouldn't grow a bit. You wouldn't learn a thing. You wouldn't become strong, courageous, and experienced. If everything happened the way you wanted, you'd become a weakling, and you'd never know what you were made of." (John Bytheway) ..But, "None of the trials and tribulations we face are beyond our limits, because we have access to help from the Lord." (Elder Paul V. Johnson) 

So, have hope. Because you are so much more. And with that hope, let us reach to lift the hands of others who, like us, have been hanging so hopelessly down.

All the love,

Elder DeMille

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's The Work

This week has truly been something else. It's easily been the longest week of my mission so far; and I think it's needless to say it's because I got to see my wonderful family last week. Haha seriously, few things are better in this world than seeing the bright, smiling faces of the people you love, and hearing their sweet, excited voices 6,000 miles away from home!
But, work is work, and we've been working pretty hard to get our hearts and minds back in the right place - simply focused - so that we can bring some miracles around in Bupyeong. This week we visited (more like attempted; no one was home) over 15 less-actives, talked to more than 170 people on the street, got just over 10 phone numbers (although we found some old records, boosting that number up to about 80-90) invited more than half of the people on the street to keep some kind of commitment, got 1 new investigator, attended 2 rounds of Stake Conference, and even performed at one of them. We've seen incredible love from the members as we've really busted our tails to get things going again in Bupyeong, and are really hoping we can find more people to teach. With 2 new/additional appointments this week, it's looking good! It's really been quite the test of diligence, and teamwork.
I'll admit, my patience, humility, and will have definitely been tried this week, but I've been given way too many things in life to be hindered for long! What an opportunity this is - to really learn how to love and serve others. If you are preparing to go on a mission, buckle your seatbelt. haha. This ride is something else. Study Preach My Gospel, read the Book of Mormon, practice teaching, and strengthen your testimony. Smile all the time and learn to recognize the many wonderful opportunities you've been given that have led you to this point in your life. You won't regret it! This past week, as well as last week, I've been really focused on how I can become better. I mean, I might as well grow as much as I can while I'm out here, right? Anyway - through my various studies (yikes, I sound like a professor..) and trainings, I took down a ton of notes and thoughts that I had, as well as plenty that others had shared, and made another poem. Surprised? Hahaha. If you don't enjoy my poems, I'm really sorry. ..But, hey, maybe one day it'll help you out in some way. You'l recognize a few stanzas in the beginning. Love you all!
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 only as bright as your faith.

Now the work isn't convenient, soft, or mundane;
We can't afford to be pretentious, presumptuous, nor proud;
You have been set apart, but what's the reason you came?
What are the things that embolden you now?

Go to the edge, where you feel you are more;
Then thrust in your sickle - sacrifice all your might;
For those treasures in Heaven you must lay up in store
While we keep to the faith, and we fight the good fight. 

So make the decision - now is the time - 
Verily thus saith the Lord unto you whom He loves,
He sees who you are, deep inside your mind's eye
and yet He knows, who you are is not who you can become.

Through every conscious though, ounce of energy, drop of passion and hope,
He sees our potential though we catch but a glimpse;
To those 82,000 he'll throw down His rope - 
So their bright, shining countenances can never be dimmed.

They carry no white flags, they hold nothing back;
Willing to pay the price of repeated rejection,
They are never content with the things which they lack,
For their unquenchable quest is consecrated perfection.

Wherefore, they labor while it is still called today,
Thought he fabric of their world often tears at the seams
The fog has been lifted as we understand we are they;
And we know, deep inside, we are who we choose to be.

You are more than 'one more' you are God's son or daughter,
So take these few moments, and give Him your all;
Only you can leave the altar signed with your honor-

For upon the rock of our Redeemer - there's no way you can fall.

Elder DeMille

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mothers' Day Gift

It was so good to talk to our sweet missionary last night. Thankfully, there were no technical glitches and we were all relieved to see that he is healthy and happy. This was a special part of our conversation where he shared the talk he gave in Church mid April. And of course, we had to snap a few pics during the whole event!

Note: Please leave us a comment hear and there. Elder DeMille would sure like to feel the love out there. We now have over 2,700 views from sweet readers in 19 different countries! We would love to hear a little bit about you. 
I couldn't resist ... after all, it was Mothers' Day!
Double high fives!
Peace out, Elder DeMille!

Consecration is a Path

So first, can I just say that Elder Higham and I have been KILLING it? Man, I love this guy! We work so hard, and see SO many miracles!! Even just last Monday, we ended up being able to go to a Professional baseball game (the SK Wyverns vs. the Lotte Giants) and through Elder Higham's English message he sends out each morning, got two free tickets to the game! We had already planned to buy tickets but.. this random guy chased us down amidst the crowd, told us he gets our message in the morning (just useful English phrases translated into Korean), and gave us two tickets!! It was so rad!! Haha. We've been seeing miracles all week long. Our hard work is starting to pay off, we even challenged our only investigator, KDM to be baptized, and he said he would prepare for baptism! No date yet, but we're pushing for him! How sweet is the work!
This week, I've learned a ton. I found that if I focus my studies, the Lord seriously pours out his blessings, helping me understand so much more. I read almost half of 3 Nephi this week, and came across the Beatitudes; a perfect building block for how we can become more like the Savior, with a full purpose of heart. President Harold B. Lee taught that the Beatitudes embody the "constitution for a perfect life." The first thing the Lord says in these chapters is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." The poor in spirit, like you'd think, means those who are spiritually needy; who feel so impoverished spiritually that they reach out, yearning for help. Every one of us, if we would reach that goal of perfection, must at least one time ask ourselves this question.. .."What lack I yet?" ...I have found that I lack a lot. And that's what my focus was this week. What are the qualities I need to understand, and how can I become.. well, better? What is it that I really lack?
Something that always got me in the Beatitudes was that the "meek shall inherit the earth." I couldn't ever understand how that would be, thinking that being meek meant being timid and shy, quiet and actionless; almost a punching bag for life. But, I learned that it's almost the exact opposite. Spencer W. Kimball explained that meekness is not weakness. .."If the Lord was meek and lowly and humble, then to become humble one must do what He did in boldly denouncing evil, bravely advancing righteous works, courageously meeting every problem, become the master of himself and the situations about Him and being near oblivious to personal credit. Humility is not pretentious, presumptuous, nor proud. It is not weak, vacillating, nor servile.. 'Humble' and 'meek' properly suggest virtues, not weaknesses. They suggest a consistent mildness of temper and an absence of wrath and passion ... it is not servile submissiveness, it is not cowed nor frightened."

So how does one get humble? ..One must be constantly reminded of his dependence. Dependence on who? On the Lord. ..Just like it is with so many other Beatitudes as well. To 'Hunger and thirst after righteousness" we have to accept and understand that dependence. Our ability to hear spiritually is linked to our willingness to work at it. President Hinckley has often said that the only way he knows how to get anything done is to get on his knees and plead for help and then get on his feet and go to work. That combination of faith and hard work is the curriculum for learning the language of the spirit. Hungering and thirsting translate to sheer spiritual labor. ..So how can we labor better? How can we better be on the path to truly becoming more? ..We have to have the need to strive for perfection. We won't ever reach our destination, exaltation, unless we are perfect, and now is the best time in the world to start towards that goal. Spencer W. Kimball also said, "I have little patience with persons who say, 'Oh nobody is perfect', the implication being, 'So why try?' .. Of course no one is wholly perfect, but we find some who are a long way up with ladder."
Now, for me to aim towards perfection is pretty difficult; I'd beat myself up all day for not being able to ever truly be satisfied with my results that day. I'm far too imperfect, haha. However, in a training this week, Elder Clawson said something that really stood out to me. He said, "Every missionary has been set apart, but a consecrated missionary is the one who sets himself apart." ..So what is a consecrated missionary? And how can we become one? President Tad R. Callister wrote one of the most amazing talks I've ever read, entitled, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary". He explains that there is a difference between good, even great missionaries, and those who are consecrated - those who are willing to lay everything on the altar of Sacrifice. They hold nothing back. To be consecrated is to have a willingness to give every ounce of energy, every conscious thought, and every drop of passion into this work - to submit our will to God's will whatever it may be. ..And whether or not you are a missionary, you can become consecrated. Tad R. Callister shares a lot of things that can help us to become consecrated, many of which require great sacrifice, and as he says "leaving it on the sacrificial altar."
The first is our fears. We can leave our fears on the altar and open our mouths to everyone. There are so many reasons we hold back, and why we are afraid to speak, and do everything we are capable of doing, but whatever the specific reason may be, he assures us it is never good enough. Sometimes in life we just have to square our shoulders and do it; there is no magic pill that makes us courageous, no passage of time that strengthens us, no memorized approach that embraces us. Sometimes we have to be like Nephi and say, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." ..But sometimes, we have to do more than just tell the stories of the Book of Mormon. We have to live them.
Later, he makes mention of putting our romantic passions on the table. A consecrated individual or missionary has a locked heart and a focused mind, whether the heart be locked to yourself or one back home. He is never flirtatious. He does not have an eye on the cute blonde laurel or the friendly single adult, nor is his prime focus the young women after sacrament meeting. He rises above all that. As hard as it may be, he disciplines his passions. His eye is riveted to the work. He does not allow his mind to focus on the past. ..Consecrated individuals must also sacrifice their pride, as they hunger and thirst to know how to become better. They must put negativity and sarcasm on the table. Whatever the world throws at them, they throw back a smile, because they know they have the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even more, we must be selfless and obedient, and strive to change our nature rather than just our behavior. I've learned that becoming consecrated is much more of a path, than a destination. I believe that God always recognizes and appreciates every step we take forward, however small it may be.
At first consecration may seem like Mt. Everest, unconquerable, unapproachable, unassailable. But every step we take forward, however minute it may seem furthers our ascent until one day we have reached the summit. May we not be content with being a good, even a great missionary or individual, when we have the capacity to be consecrated in all we do. May this be the burning and unquenchable quest of us all! 

Elder DeMille

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Life in the Field


..Once upon a time, there was a fierce captain of one of the bravest pirate crews in all the land. When other pirate ships would attack, this fierce captain would put on a scarlet-red shirt while he fought valiantly with his crew. You see, the red shirt would hide the captain's blood if he were wounded, and so the crew, always seeing their captain fighting alongside them - seemingly untouched- never lost hope! Whenever a ship would challenge them to battle, he would call to his shipmates, "Yaarggh! Fetch me my scarlet shirt!" ..As time passed the crew continued to fight valiantly with their invincible captain. Then, one day, just across the horizon the Captain saw the biggest ship he had ever seen. ..It was two, no, three times the length, and twice the height of their own! The Captain was suddenly terrified. The ship drew closer, cannons drawn and swords in the air - The Captain turned to his shipmates, and said with a slight uneasiness, "Yaarggh.. Fetch me my brown pants."

Haha this week, I can gladly say that I had no need of such brown pants. My new companion, Elder Higham, is an incredible missionary, and we are doing some serious work!! The week was really simple, as usual, and I decided today that instead of telling you what went down on each specific day, I'd rather tell you what I learned as a missionary this week. This week, my study was really centered on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
..When I wake up each morning, I workout, shower, get dressed, and put on my name tag. ..Then, I recite my missionary purpose in Korean. ..Our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Then, when the day comes to an end, I take off my tag, look myself in the mirror (take a few minutes to soak in all the handsomeness..) and recite our mission scripture, 3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life.”

Most of my days here are really good; but that's what gets me sometimes. It's the feeling that I'm settling for "good" rather than trying to achieve a certain kind of greatness exclusive to those serving with everything they have. ..Through reflecting on a lot of my recent experiences out here, and even some from back home, I've learned that for me, fear often holds me back. Fear to fail, fear to open my mouth, fear to tell someone they can do better, even fear to succeed. But, I've also learned that most importantly, faith in God overcomes fear in every occasion. Preparing ourselves, or even just myself for challenges of the coming day, week, month, or years requires us to replace fear with faith. In D&C 6:34 the Lord says, "Fear not, little flock; do good; let the earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock they cannot prevail." Elder Russell M. Nelson even said in our most recent general conference so firmly that "Faith is the antidote for fear.”
If we think deeply, or long enough, we realize that the first principle- faith in the Lord Jesus Christ- underlies all else; it takes faith in Christ to repent, be baptized, or perform any other ordinances of the gospel. He made saving repentance possible, baptism more meaningful, and so with faith in Him and fear tossed aside, our lives become focused on doing things of eternal value, rather than focusing on our temporal hindrances. A disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ - learning to think, feel, and act as He does and did. To fulfill that task is probably the most demanding regimen ever.. it involves the total transformation of a person from the state of the natural man to that of a saint; one who loves the Lord and serves with all of his heart, might, mind, and strength. ..And, as we all know, it truly is a daunting task. We often let the adversary do indirectly now what we refused to let him do directly in the pre-existence. We struggle every single day in keeping the commandments of the Lord; the battle for our souls is incredibly fierce. However, we all have in us the powerful spirit of a son or daughter of God. If we pay more attention to our spiritual selves, which are eternal, than to our mortal selves, which are temporary, we can always resist the temptations of Satan and conquer his efforts.
But, what about those we see ... those individuals who go through life consistently doing the right things..? When difficult choices need to be made, they seem to somehow invariably make the right ones, even though there were enticing alternatives available to them. We know that they are subject to temptation, but they seem oblivious to it. ..Then, we also see others who are not so valiant in the decisions they make. In a powerfully spiritual environment, they resolve to do better.. yet they are soon back to doing the same things they resolved to abandon…
The difference is true conversion, and being a real disciple of Jesus Christ. Being 'converted' isn't just when a sincere individual decides to be baptized, but is also a mental acceptance of Jesus and His teachings, paired with a motivating faith in Him and His gospel. True conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience, folks. Through these few powerful things, we can grow, and develop a love for God in place of things which seek to be contrary to His word. Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve once said, "Certainly one of our God-given privileges is the right to choose what our attitude will be in any given set of circumstances. We can let the events that surround us determine our actions- or we can personally take charge and rule our lives." My mom sent me a quote that relates well too. It says, "People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend your years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” - Mother Teresa
..It's between you and God. You are a disciple of Jesus Christ, in every thought, word, and deed. Do your best to make valiant choices, and you will feel the endless blessings start to flow into your life. The Lord doesn't expect immediate perfection, but He does expect immediate progression. "Dare to be a Mormon; Dare to stand alone; Dare to have a purpose firm; Dare to make it known." Let this be your unquenchable quest! You are who you choose to be. Choose to be great. 

Love you all! Keep fighting the good fight!

Elder DeMille