Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Sunday, December 28, 2014

To The Roots


I can't even explain how cool it was to be able to SEE my family and loved ones again this year! They're all so huge -- ..and life is moving so fast! TOO RAD!!

This week was sincerely SLAMMED with stuff to do. We had mission conference, Christmas, a big Family History stake conference, and a sweet orchestra performance! This week was TOO cool! Thank you so much to all of those wonderful people out there who sent gifts to their missionaries in the form of presents, thoughts, words, or prayers! They certainly made our Christmas season even brighter! And yes, that includes you Family, Abby, The Stone’s, The Leppard’s, The Paul’s (second family), and the Cali Fam! You rule!

For those of you that don't know, Korea doesn't really celebrate Christmas. There are trees and lights here and there, and sales everywhere, but no one opens presents Christmas morning or anything like that. A lot of people take the day off of work and have a nice dinner with their family, but it's nothing like America. ...Ohhh how I love 'Merica. All the stores are still open, people still go to school, etc. It's pretty lame~ But! They do all go to their respective churches (except for ours of course) on Christmas Eve and worship so.. I guess that's cool. 

On the other hand, our Christmas was SO good. My family spoiled me rotten with gifts, and we were able to work out SKYPE for both my Mom & Scott in Utah, and my Dad, Annie, and Iza in California. Super cool. Not only that, I got to see my siblings, my second parents (the Paul’s), and my girlfriend Abby! ..Could life get any better?!
As the week went on, we focused a lot on our Family History Activity we were having for the stake. I was asked to speak at it since I'm (apparently) the only missionary in our Zone with an exciting family story, haha. It went well. We prepped all sorts of cool visual aids and such, and through talking with my mom a lot about it (she's incredible) -- I learned a TON. 

..And.. I figured I'd share some of it with you, so you can know a little bit more about Mister Sir Elder DeMille and his ties to Korea. ...Ready for this?
Punch it!

My Grandma Kim (Kim Chong Ye; 김정예) was born in Korea in 1947.Growing up, she was always in love with the idea of 'coming to America' -- In fact, she was almost desperate to do it. She and her friends would hand around the Army base to meet American soldiers to see if there was any hope there. Part of the reason she wanted to leave Korea was because she wanted to be treated with respect, and she didn't feel like women were respected there. She really wanted to further her education in Korea, but her parents would only pay for her two brothers to go to school. She and her three sisters were not afforded that luxury. She even ran away from home at one point to attend a secretary school and live in an apartment with a friend. ..In the end, this didn't work out well and, she returned home.

One day, while hanging out with friends and other from the military base, she saw a new young man. She thought he looked sweet and innocent and didn't want him exposed to wherever they were going. She pulled him aside, and told him, "You don't want to go here." She told him what to say to the cab driver to get him back to the base. ..And, after that, they became good friends.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my Grandpa Don.
Grandpa Don had been a member of the Church as a young boy, but as he grew up, as well as through his high school years his family fell away from the Church. He got a little wild in high school (like we all do) and didn’t have the best friends and he knew the only way to break away from it all was to really get some distance between him and his so called peers. He decided to join the US Army and... bam. Was assigned to serve in Korea.
After the previously mentioned experience they started dating and later fell in love. But.. once they decided to get married, things got a little complicated. None of the parents approved of the union. ..However, they were in love and they knew it was the right thing. They waited until Grandpa Don was 21 so he could make the legal decision without his parents' consent, and were married just two days later -- May 13th, 1970. They lived in Korea the first year and a half of their marriage while he was finishing his time with the Army.
They also had Elizabeth, their first daughter ( my aunt Liz) there in 1971. They lived there long enough so that all Grandma's family knew him and loved the baby - then it was time to go. My mom was born later in America in 1972, but after being married for just a little while, my Grandpa Don felt pulled back to the church he attended as a young boy.  He wanted their marriage to be eternal. He wanted their family to be 
forever. He knew they needed Church in their lives. At this point, Grandma Kim was so homesick she wanted to be around Korean people … anywhere. Don did some 
searching and found a Korean church that met in downtown Portland, Oregon, and one day they went.
Grandma hadn’t had any exposure to religion in her life and didn’t know what to expect. She was just happy to see Korean people. She listed to their service … but didn’t understand what they were talking about. It didn’t make any sense to her, even though she could understand all the words of it. No one welcomed her. No one said hello. It was very cold. Once the service was over, the people almost ran out of the room. They all headed downstairs in the church building, so Grandma and Grandpa followed them. Downstairs they were serving a big lunch for everyone. Grandma Kim was so disappointed. She could tell now that no one had been excited to come to church to learn about a gospel; they were excited to come to church to eat good food. She didn’t want to go to this kind of church.
After this experience, Grandpa Don wanted to take her to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He wanted to be able to be married in the temple. He wanted her to learn about the Gospel for herself too. He didn’t really tell her anything about it at all. For example, the very first Sunday they attended the local ward, he didn’t even tell he what she should wear, so she wore pants. She was a bit embarrassed, because all the sisters were in skirts and dresses, but it didn’t matter. They loved her. They welcomed her with open arms and were so excited that she was there. She felt so supported right from the beginning. She felt that this was the right place to be and that this church had something more to offer, something deeper. The Bishop then arranged for the missionaries to start meeting with her.
Grandma was a difficult investigator because she didn’t want to be baptized just to be baptized. She wanted to truly believe everything the Church taught. Grandma didn’t have any problems accepting the Law of Chastity, as she already believed it was right. The Word of Wisdom made sense to her, but it was difficult for her to give up her coffee at that time. She went through 3 different sets of missionaries before she was finally ready to accept the invitation to be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after, she took a trip from West Linn, Oregon, to Oakland, California, to visit the nearest temple and be sealed to her family for time and eternity. She says that it was the most beautiful day and when her daughters, Elizabeth and Lisa, walked into the sealing room she could hardly breathe because they absolutely looked like angels.
...So, this is my family, and this is my tie to Korea. My dream is to one day find and meet the relatives we have lost touch with in Korea. My grandma has 2 brothers: Kim Yong Sun (김용순) and Kim Hak Bum (김학범) as well as 3 sisters: Kim Chong Sue (김정수), Kim Chong Wol (김정월) and Kim Chong San (김정산) -- who are hopefully still in Korea somewhere, with kids and grandkids of their own. Their parents are Kim Gui Yeol (김귀열) and Byeun Ee Deok (변이덕) and are all Kyeung Ju Kim (경주김씨). If you recognize these names or know someone who you think might be related... please let me or my mother know. Thank you all Have the best week ever!

Trying to find my family.. ...And rule the world, of course!

All the love,

Elder DeMille!

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