Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 27, 2015--Week 3


I figured out how to type in Korean, but it's a pain to find the symbols on the keyboard. So English for now still. This has been a really long week. Elder Vidal and I taught a lesson every day still, but we have two investigators now so it's a little harder to work with both. We committed one of them to baptism, but we are only 4 lessons in with him so we don't know where it will go. We are excited though because we were able to actually get to that point speaking Korean. I love my teachers. They are so awesome. Last Sunday, I was called on to give a prayer in Sacrament Meeting (in Korean because we have a full Korean branch). I never thought I would be so scared to say a prayer. Apparently though, I said everything right and didn't make any mistakes. So I am pretty stoked about that. It is amazing to me how much I can learn in a 3 week period of time. 

Question 1: My companion has lived in Salt Lake his whole life, so he is American, but his parents came from Venezuela. We teach very well together. He is basically a dictionary and knows every single vocab word ever been said to him. He is awesome. 
2. Korean is going well all things considered. I understand the missionaries who give talks and most of what my teachers say, but they all use hand signals so it makes it easier, I know enough to be able to ask questions in class and get the point of the lesson. I'll send a picture of some Korean writing with the translation so that you can see the grammar structure. The sentence structure is Subject Object then Verb, so it is very different from English and makes it hard to understand for us. The cord you sent me still doesn't work at the MTC. I don't know how people send pictures so I still can't send them, but I'll do my best to figure it out, I just don't want to spend my computer time doing so.
3. We do service projects twice a week. Usually cleaning different buildings. 
4. I have six people in my room. It is really crowded and I don't know why we have 6, because every other building in the MTC has 4 to a room. They are all in my district though and I like them all. 
5. I am sleeping pretty bad because everyone has been really sick and coughs all night long. So no I haven't been sleeping well. It makes it hard to focus in my night classes, but I do my best.

I never remember what to really say when the time comes to send emails, but I'm still making it through each day. They all blur together except for Sunday. I love Sundays. I have never really appreciated the value of resting from your labors until now. Maybe I wasn't working hard enough pre-mission to understand, but I sure do now. My Branch Presidency is awesome. President Perriton is from New Zealand and so his Korean is super cool. Also we got a new batch of Koreans yesterday. I want to try to be as helpful to them as possible because I remember being in their shoes and being that overwhelmed. Pray for them hahaha. Anyways, it's been a long, but rewarding week. 

-Elder Jacob Nickerl 

A day in the classroom!

Korean testimony phrases and their translations.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 20, 2015--Week 2

Wow time flies! The first week here went by incredibly slow, but ever since last Prep Day, the time has gone so fast. The language as expected is still a struggle, but it is coming and I know that the Lord has been helping me because there is no other way I could have been able to progress this fast. Yesterday, I taught my first lesson without any script to read from. It was hard, and it didn't flow as well as some of the other lessons Elder Vidal and I have taught, but it felt amazing to be able to speak from the heart in my VERY basic Korean.

In answer to a few questions,
1. Yes we learn Korean similar to other languages like Spanish. Except there are so many more conjugations than Spanish. I swear they have a conjugation for everything. And yes we have been memorizing a lot of vocab. I think I learned probably 200+ words this week.
2. My district is half in states and half in Korea, but the other districts who came with me are all going to Korea. My companion is going to Korea, I can't spell the word in English and in Korean you can't read it anyway so I'll just say he is going central/southwest, South Korea. Three other Elders from my district are going to California Korean speaking and I am the only one going to NJ. However, there is one elder in the oldest group who is going to my mission. I've met him.
3. Sundays are truly the best day of the week. We go to church (in Korean so I don't understand much) and then Priesthood. Then later in the day we have choir and devotional. This last Sunday we sang with the Nashville Tribute Band and that was for our devotional. It was super cool. 
4. My clothes are all great. 
5. My district is all elders, but we are the only district that way, the others all have sisters.
6. For our gym time, we usually play volleyball or soccer. It's pretty fun. We are usually outside in the park in front of the temple, but every once in a while we are in the gym. I try to do pull ups, handstand push ups, and push ups every night before bed, to stay in shape. We have a pull up bar so that is nice.
7. There are a couple things that would be nice. 1. another laundry bag so I can have a white and color bag. 2. Another pair of jeans. Just one of the ones in my box. 3. Another pair of my stance socks (or new ones I don't care). 4. The NT Made Easier books, especially part 2, but all would be good. I think that is all for now, I don't really know, but if I think of anything I will let you know. 

I'm so excited to continue my study of the scriptures, preach my gospel, and Korean. My teachers here are awesome, they are also my investigators, but they are really awesome. Brother Nemelka just came home from Korea, and he is really good at speaking the language. He is such a good teacher and truly makes me want to be a better missionary every time I leave his class. Sister Gardener is my other teacher and she is a super good teacher as well, but Brother Nemelka is just the best. 

This week in our Tuesday night devotional we had Elder Echo Hawk of the 70 speak to us. He reminder us that we never know how much good will come from our teaching. It was an awesome devotional. I love this church and am so glad to be here as a missionary. I know this is the Lord's work. I have felt his love for me this week, but more importantly, he has helped me to feel the love for all of the people I will be serving. I know that New Jersey is where I am supposed to be teaching the Gospel. That is why I wake up and continue on every morning. I know that there are people there who need to be found. In Korean, the word investigator, translates directly to seeker of the road. There are Korean people in NJ who need to find the right road to take. I can't do this on my own, but I was not asked to. Jesus Christ, the most perfect being who ever walked this earth is with me, and with you, every step of the way. And that is why this Gospel is so important. And that is why I am serving, because I want everyone to know exactly what I do. I love this church. It is true. Nothing will change my mind. I wish you all the best of luck.

Until next week,

Elder (Jacob) Nickerl 4

August 13, 2015--Week 1

Hello all,
      I would love to give you all a taste of my first week in the MTC here by typing in all Korean and not translating anything, but I can't type symbols on the computer here, so I'll just have to deal with typing in English. This week has been probably the longest week of my life, but it has been really awesome. I love the language study, it's crazy hard, but I am making progress very quickly thanks to the gift of tongues. Within the first two hours of the MTC, I was sitting in a classroom listening to Korean. Ever since, it hasn't let up. Even better though than listening to Korean for hours on end, is the time I get to study the gospel. I have grown more spiritually in the last week than in my entire life. I love the peace I feel as I am able to sit and ponder or read from the scriptures. 
      My normal schedule is wake up, workout, prepare for the day, eat, personal study, companion study, language study, lunch, Korean Language Classroom Instruction time, more language study, dinner, go teach a lesson to investigators, more study, then bed. It's a lot of work, but this isn't my time I'm on. This is the Lord's work and his time, and anytime I start to slack off, I remember that and continue to focus. My district is awesome, I am truly humbled by all of them, most of them pick the language up faster than I do, and they have really strong testimonies. Some of them really struggle with punctuality, and so we have a very hard time getting places on time... But they all work really hard and I love being with them. 
      If I were to pick highlights from this week, I would have a really long list, so I'll try and keep it short. 1st--we listened to Elder Bednars MTC Christmas devotional from a few years back. It is called "Characters of Christ" and I would recommend taking the time to watch it. It has so many important lessons in it. 2nd--Personal Study. I love the time I have to sit and be one on one with the Spirit and the Scriptures. 3rd--In the MTC Choir we are practicing a song to sing with Nashville Tribute band. I don't really know the whole thing, but it is apparently the first time the MTC has ever done something like that, so we are making history. 4th--Watching all of the new missionaries enter the MTC yesterday. I don't know what it was about it, but watching all the new missionaries come in with huge smiles on their face really made the rest of the day great. It made me remember when I entered. That seems like forever ago, but it was such an amazing day. 5th--my first lesson on Friday. Oh it went so bad. Hahahaha I literally only knew how to say God loves you and will you get baptized, so I said both of those to him. I don't even know what he said back to us in response. We are getting much better though and tonight we are going to actually give him a legitimate baptismal invitation. 
      I have so much going through my head right now, so I don't really know what else to say, if anyone has questions I'll do my best to answer them next week. 
      I love this work. I know that where I am right now, is the right place for me to be. I am excited about learning Korean and maturing in the Gospel and my personal life, but this isn't for me. This is my time to give back to Jesus Christ for everything he has done and continues to do for me each day. I can truly testify of the truth of this Gospel. I also know that Jesus Christ is not sitting cheering us on at the finish line (as Brad Wilcox said), but he is with us every step of the way. I know that Christ died for all of us and that through him we can be made whole. Through him, we can become so much more than we are. I love this church and the peace and joy it has brought me.

Elder Nickerl

The new missionaries in the Korean MTC branch (Jacob's at the back).