Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bear Up Our Burdens With Ease

This week, among other things, I've learned that each missionary, member, less-active friend, recent convert, and individual has their own, one-of-a-kind, unique burden. We are ofttimes heavy-laden, and feel exhausted. Lost. Hopeless. And a mix of hundreds of other emotions we need not feel! As our mission president might say, "Hard things need not harden us!". I had a few very personal and unique experiences this week where I was able to look at some of my own burdens and decide whether or not I'd let them stop me from doing as much as I know I can do. But -- as Elder Bednar explains, we're never alone, and each person is - at one point in their life - backed up to a wall where they must there take a stand of faith. My stand of faith next month will be in doing all that I possibly can to follow our Savior -- and do 100% of what I know I need to be doing. No regrets.
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12).

The Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us.
There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light."

I testify that Jesus Christ is there for you. For me. For us. He knows and understands our pains and weaknesses, as well as our strengths and heart. I believe that if I ever had to experience, as Alma the Younger had - Hell- it would be something along the lines of meeting the person I could have become, as the person I never became. Hold on to the moments you have. Believe in miracles. Press on with full faith. Use the power of the Priesthood, and push the envelope! 

You are who YOU choose to be!
I love you all, and hope you have an incredible week!!

All the love,
Elder DeMille!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Painted Repentance.

..It was a simple project.

..One new announcement board for English Class.
Two buckets of paint. Two colors. Two Elders. ..Two hours. (ish) ..Too easy.

..Or, at least.. that's what we thought.

In the book of Alma, we read:
"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be like unto (Captain) Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, and the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

..We read about Captain Moroni, and we think: Man! That guy. I'd bet he was flawless. I wish I could be as good as he was! To make the very powers of hell shake forever?? Are you serious?! How cool is that?! What a brave, valiant, Christlike man -- who surely never faltered, not even once! Else how could he be so magnificent, so magnanimous?
Before I had begun my mission, I would read that verse and often think of missionaries. How they serve with everything they have, and have just got to be the most flawless people on the planet. Bringing people to Christ, growing, being alone for two years, and consistently punching Satan directly in the face? ..There's a Captain Moroni if I've ever seen one. 

Surely either of these two glorious examples could accomplish any feat.

But, back to this conundrum. 

Our beautiful Captain-Moroni like souls had a simple task --

..And yet amidst the battle, 
..The paint can won.

One Elder, trying to make the work more effective, was scraping the upper side of a paint-bucket when all heaven broke loose and the can ended up on the floor -- exploding in his face, meaning not only black paint all over his glorious white shirt, but also all over the carpeted floor of our Missionary room in our church. 
And so, while this Elder stared at the mess he had made, his companion, another Captain Moroni-like soul dropped to his knees, despite his also equally-glorious attire, and did the only thing he could to help as fast as possible.

As he scooped the paint from off the floor and into a trashcan with his bare hands, he sent his companion to the bathroom to clean himself off. ..When the other companion had cleaned himself, he came back to make 'restitution' with the room, and with his companion by mopping and vacuuming as a team for several hours.

..That was when I walked in, hahaha.
But, what I saw wasn't what I just explained. The only thing that told me there was paint spilled in the first place was a little bit of paint on the table, and the poor Elders' clothes. All I could see was the hard work, the determination, the diligence, and the resounding LOOK HOW WE DID ALL WE COULD from the smiling look of satisfaction on their faces. It was awesome, and totally changed the way I looked at things. 

The reason I talk about Captain Moroni in comparison to these Elders and this crazy paint-incident is that Elder Miller and I took a trip to Sonpa this week on Tuesday, and while there, I had an amazing opportunity to clean up some paint that I spilled a few years ago. ..It would have been so much easier, had I worked like those amazing Elders did and dropped to my knees as soon as I saw the mess, and did all that I knew I needed to do RIGHT THEN, but I've learned an innumerable amount of lessons experiencing -- well, cleaning up a couple-year-old rock hard paint from off of my carpeted soul, haha.

So, as I was there, President talked to me about Captain Moroni. And he read with me the next verse in Alma chapter 48:

"Behold, he (Captain Moroni) was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea and even the other sons of Mosiah, yeah and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God."

...So, what the scriptures tell us is that this man, who would make the very gates of hell shake and tremble before his presence is like unto those who - in the beginning- were 'stealing away the hearts of the people', were 'numbered among the unbelievers' 'led many of the people to do.. iniquitites' and were 'going about to destroy the church of God'. …Woah.

But, we all know the story. We can see clearly how Alma the younger and his fellow brethren came to a point where they saw all the paint they had spilled -- and though it may have taken an outside force to clean it up -- they did the best they could. Not only to clean up the paint, but to refurnish it all, to make that kind of in-depth restitution and provide the next best thing: a life  of dedicated service to the Lord.
I testify that no matter the mistakes you make -- as I'm sure Captain Moroni himself has done -- you can clean up that mess. People may not recognize it's there, but you do. You can feel it. You can ignore it. You can pretend it. But you can't make it go away unless you get some help and really do something about it. Take that step. Drop to your knees. Scoop it up in your hands and toss it far from you -- recognizing that this repentance, and that feeling of 'Yeah, I did all that I could, and worked SO hard for this' is more important than anything else. 

Be like unto the Sons of Mosiah. Be like unto Captain Moroni. Be like unto a son or daughter of God.

It makes all the difference!

I love you all, and hope you have a fantastic week. The sooner you start doing things you'd wish you'd have done the happier and more whole you'll be. I can promise that!

All the love,

Elder DeMille!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

It's .. so .. bright.

I've got a story for you all this week.

We were playing ping-pong with our lovely Elders Meeks, Doyle, Hollingworth, and Hendricks, when T (our only investigator right now) showed up. He did a quick few leg-wrestling matches with Elders Hendricks and Doyle (Koreans love that kind of stuff!) and then we moved into the next room and started our lesson after seeing T completely destroy the other Elders. …Hahaha.
We talked about his life for a little -- his girlfriend, and how they rode bikes and went to the river this past weekend, drank a little, and had a good time (not exactly what you want to hear from your investigator but.. hey, we're workin' on it!), and then taught about zoos and animals for the next 20~30 minutes as part of our "Family English Program" -- where we spend 30 minutes teaching free english, and 30 minutes sharing our message. I have to say, explaining "Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!" was quite the challenge.

Then, we moved on to the gospel lesson. E.Miller prayed to start us off, and turns out T had kept all of his commitments! Pamphlet read, Mosiah 4? Check. Prayed too! However, he didn't understand Mosiah 4 very well.. so we went back through it a little bit and covered chapter 4.. verses.. 9~13. We talked about how we can find happiness through following Christ and keeping said advice from King Benjamin. ..It was super cool. Then, we asked him about the pamphlet, and he said it was hard too. We were a little concerned, (he's understood all of the other pamphlets 100%), until he clarified that it wasn't necessarily hard to read -- just hard to imagine doing. ..Faith.. Repentance.. Baptism.. it all seemed impossible to him as he read it. He talked about it a little more, and somehow we started talking about things after baptism. Mainly, the spirit, and Gift of the Holy Ghost. We told him what kinds of blessings would be in store, were he to accept Baptism and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and he was freaking out. I asked him, "What do you think? If you could have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, what would it be like?" He said "..우아.. 정말 신기하네요.." Which translates basically to.. "Woah. ..That would be SO cool.”

So, we took out our object lesson.

We brought out a big, clear container of water, and said, 

"All right, T, this is your body. Your spirit, your mind, your heart -- this is you. You're pretty clean, right? And, say you wanted to drink it.. it'd taste pretty good, huh?
..But, sometimes, in our lives, we make mistakes, don't we? ..What are some things that make your life.. not taste so good?"

"Mm.. fighting with my girlfriend?"

"Nice! Exactly. Like that. That's no fun, is it?" 
(At this point, for each negative comment, we add a drop of red, blue, or green food coloring - to represent our bodies becoming .. well, dirty, slowly.)
*Drop of food coloring*


"Okay, what else?"

"Man. ..If I don't work out" (Ladies and gentlemen, he is a big boy.)

"Sure! Maybe, being lazy.. or eating unhealthy too?"
*food coloring drop number two..*

"Yes! Right!"

"And.. what if you lied? .. Or maybe fought with a friend, or parents..
*two more drops..*
Or even drank alchohol..."
*one more drop..*

(Nice little chuckle from T)

.."Now.. what do you think about yourself?"

"I.. don't really know."

"It looks cool though, right? I mean, the colors are pretty, huh?"


"..But.. how does it feel? ..It's a little uncomfortable, right? You can't see through it.. and we don't even know if you can drink it.. ..actually.. you don't even really know what it is, do you? 


"Would it be nice if you could be clean again? ..If you could just kind of.. start over?"

"...Yeah.. I think that would be really good.."

"..T, do you want to?"


At this point in the lesson we bring out a special concoction. (It's really just bleach. ...But shh! -- when poured in, it clears the water up entirely. Giving a new, fresh start to your soul, once again)

"T, through repentance, (add a little secret bleach..), serving others (a little more), faith (a little more), even baptism (tiny bit more..), and the Gift of the Holy Ghost (adding the rest) -- ...We can start over and be clean again."

This is when the water usually becomes clear. Symbolizing a new start -- or rebirth, if you will. ...But not this time. This time the water went clear alright. ...And then slowly turned into the brightest yellow I've ever seen. ..Like... SO BRIGHT!

..All T could do was stare at the water while Elder Miller and I stared at each other..

His exact words:

"어... ...밝다." ..."Oh.. ...It's.. so bright.."

So.. still kinda stunned.. we ran with it. 

We talked about how we can start over -- not only clean, but better, and brighter than we were before. Willing to look past those silly mistakes we made in the past, and do it again. Better this time. ..It was so cool, and the spirit was so strong. ..However, this is also when things got really complicated. ..To keep things relatively short, the man likes his alcohol -- and so does his girlfriend, who is not a big fan of the church. ..We urged and encouraged him to try to make a commitment to baptism, but he just wasn't sure he could do it. He needs to know if God exists first, and so we pushed him to really pray about it. He then learned that you can't drink and feel the spirit at the same time, so we issued a challenge to not drink for one week. To pray every night as hard as he can, and to really ask God if He is real. Then, we promised, he would get an answer.
..It was hard, but after a lot of talking, and reasoning, and even receiving a lot of "there's no way”s, and "I just can't"s, .. he turned to us and said: "Okay. I'm going to do it. I won't drink alcohol for a week straight, and I'll pray every night as hard as I can to feel the spirit, and to know if God is real or not. And if He is, then I guess I'll just have to get baptized. I'll choose this way, because I can see real happiness in it.." ..then came the long pause and a high five -- "But.. if I don't feel the spirit by then, like you've promised.. I don't think we can meet anymore. I'll have done everything you asked me to do. And if God doesn't answer me then, I don't think He ever will.

..And so, ladies and gentlemen, we received our first all-or-nothing situation, in which both of our faith will be tested.

We've fasted 3 times this week, hoping and praying that he can feel and recognize the spirit. ...But I know, that as a representative of Jesus Christ, --when we promise something like that, it's GOING to happen. ..It's the helping him recognize it that is the difficult part.

Hope you enjoyed that, and hope to keep you posted on the future news! I've gotta talk to my mommy now, that wonderful woman! Love you all tons!

Have a rad week!
All the love!

Elder DeMille!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dedication and Diligence

My trainer, Elder Chow always used to say to me: "Elder DeMille. Your dedication to the language shows your dedication and respect for the calling that Heavenly Father has given you.”

..To be honest, every time I think about how hard studying/learning the language is, his words echo in my head and I know that as long as I'm dedicated, and trying-- the Lord will see that and bless me accordingly.

In Preach My Gospel, page 128 it says, "Learning to teach effectively in your mission language requires diligent effort. Do not be surprised if the task seems hard at first. Learning a language takes time. Be patient with yourself." Among other comforting words, PMG says here that we've got to work to obtain this language by exercising "diligent effort”.
..But.. How do we know when we're being diligent? ..What is diligence again?
Elder Doyle, an Elder we live with, once said that "Diligence is an outward expression of our inner devotion". I'd say that falls in line pretty well with what Elder Chow said to me many moons ago. That, and if you go back to PMG on page 121 it reads, "Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest and energetic effort in doing the Lord's work.". I'd say 'diligence' could take on hundreds of different definitions, all relating to the specific task at hand - about learning a concept, overcoming an obstacle, studying the language, etc In the words of Elder Chow, "Keep your feet moving!" and "Don't plateau" were phrases that he'd often say, and in turn helped me personally understand diligence.
Third PMG reference comes from page 128, in the third paragraph. There, it says,
"Strive to master the language throughout your mission and after you return. The Lord has invested much in you, and He may have uses for your language abilities later in your life." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland then expounds, "We would hope that every missionary learning a new proselyting language would master it in every way possible. And as you do so, your proselyting and testifying skills will improve. You will be better received by and more spiritually impressive to your investigators. Don't be satisfied with what we call a missionary vocabulary only. Stretch yourself in the language, and you will gain greater access to the hearts of the people.”
When I hear E. Holland say "don't be satisfied" - I think of climbing to the top of a tremendous mountain. Hiking and ascending to the top.. never being content with anything but my goal of reaching the peak. I think that's what Elder Chow meant when he advised me to never "plateau". On a mountain, as you work towards the peak, of course you'll get tired, and there will be places to rest for a moment as you overcome different "peak experiences" on your way. However, on a plateau, there aren't any "peak experiences". There is no ascension at all after a certain point, and no where to go but.. well, where you've already been. A plateau provides nothing but rest. A sign of loss dedication, drive, and yeah -- you guessed it, diligence.
So, with that in mind, there are a few principles to language learning (and just progressing/diligence in general; feel free to replace 'language' with something else you'd like to improve on) that can help us climb our mountains - and avoid taking the far too anticlimactic "plateau" route. 

1. Take Responsibility.
If you want to regularly and consistently improve, you will need to regularly and consistently create or adjust your language study goals and plans, and strive to use the language at every opportunity. 

2. Make Your Study Meaningful.
If it doesn't mean much to you, you'll never really use or learn it, right? Ask yourself, "Why am I studying this?" "How will it help me communicate better?" Relate what you study to real life situations and daily activities. Be real with yourself.

3. Seek to Communicate. 
If you never speak.. or never try to speak, you'll find yourself on the oh so exciting flat of our friend Mr. Plateau. Take advantage of your opportunities! Don't be afraid of failure or correction -- they are two of the best methods for improvement and success! Find a balance between studying the structure of the language, along with speaking the language throughout the day. 

4. Learn New Concepts Thoroughly. 
..The more you practice, the better you get! They say it takes 600 hours of speaking a language to gain "adequacy" in the language. ...So, start now, and start doing it right! 

I've also learned that culture and language learning are incredibly closely related. Understanding the culture will help you understand why the language is used the way it is. One of the greatest things you can do to gain a people's trust and love is to embrace their culture in appropriate and positive ways. Think about Paul when he says, in 1 Corinthians 9:20,22-23:

" 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
 23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you."
Become as them, so you can understand, and gain them!
Finally, remember that the glorious "Gift of Tongues" is yours, but will not come without effort on your part. Though I promise and know that if you work hard with dedication and diligence to learning the language, you WILL receive it.

Part of seeking things is to labor and struggle and do all you possibly can to find it. ..Like my good friend, Elder Champion said just before he left, "Pressure makes diamonds.”

Whether or not we're all just lumps of coal is beyond me, but my simple message to you today is to encourage you in the quest of seeking the Spirit to help you understand and communicate with the people around you, whether in a foreign tongue or not. As you do so, you will learn the language of the spirit, and "[Though] it is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, [or].. acquired through reading and memorization.. proficiency in this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart."

with all of that said,

..Go get 'em! 

Have a wonderful week! Climb those mountains!!

All the love,
Elder DeMille