Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015--Week 17

Hey everyone,

This week was one of the busier weeks yet. I feel like every week we just get busier and busier. We don't have time to fit in all the stuff we need to do and so a lot of times we don't have time to contact. The only problem with that, is we have been mostly busy with the English program and we need to focus more on the Korean program. So early in this week we realized that and have been putting in a lot more emphasis on the Korean program. We taught about 10 Korean street lessons this week on top of our usual English lessons. 10 lessons might not seem like a lot, but from what we have been doing that is a ton. Because of this, I feel like my Korean is getting put to the test a lot more and I am actually not too upset about it. I am in no means able to communicate well, but this week I held my first real conversation with someone for about 5 minutes by myself. 

Oh and another good thing on the topic of Korean, our ward mission leader just started helping us with our Korean. He is giving us Korean lessons once or twice a week which is really helpful because we don't have too much access to native speakers outside of teaching. Other than language, this week has been really awesome. Like I said before, we've found a pretty successful way to contact the Koreans and as a result, we are teaching more of them. 

As for our English investigators, Li is really the only one who is moving forward. We taught him the Word of Wisdom a few days ago and it went alright, but he isn't too sure about following it. He said he would pray about it and consider it so hopefully he actually does so. 

We don't have any super good Korean investigators but we have a few people we think are going to do well. There is a part member family and the husband is really interested and has been going to church for a couple of months straight now, and our Branch President is going to ask him when he is ready to take the discussions (we would have asked him, but the Branch President told us to wait). We also got a few hopeful follow up appointments from street contacts this week and we will see how those go. Oh and on Thanksgiving, the Korean Branch did a lunch at the church and invited a ton of their friends. And so we went and one of the guys is really interested in what we do and said he asked us if we could meet to have a discussion about our church. So this week please pray that all of our potential appointments and meetings follow through. 

We're excited though, this work is moving. The Gospel is true. Plain and simple as that. Jesus Christ is our Savior. He made everything possible for us. I am again reminded with the beginning of this Christmas season how thankful I am for his church and his teachings to all of us.

I love you all, have a wonderful week!
-Elder Jacob Nickerl

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015--Week 16

Hey everyone,

This week has been awesome. The work is really starting to pick up, especially in the Korean area. 

On Tuesday, we got our semi annual temple trip and we went into NYC. That was super cool and pretty foreign to me. The city is HUGE. I have a few pictures I will send. We went to the temple via the subway and then went home on the bus. It was a really awesome experience and a relaxing morning/afternoon. After that, we went and got some Korean food with an investigator and member from the Korean ward. We do that every Tuesday night. 

Wednesday, we taught English class and one of the ladies there kept asking us questions about missionary work and so we are going to invite her to take the discussions and see what she says. Thursday and Friday I don't remember at all, but they were busy days. 

Saturday, we taught Li. We are super excited about him still, he won’t commit to anything, but he has gone to church 4 times now and loves the Book of Mormon. He reads it every night. Later on Saturday night, we taught English class, but no one showed up. We were on exchanges, I was with Elder Trask. We went and contacted in Korea town and had a pretty good experience. Neither one of us speaks very good Korean (since we both just got here) but we didn't care. It was pretty cool because normally when we contact Koreans, no one listens. However, when two white people are walking through Korea town trying to speak to all the Koreans in Korean, I guess it was pretty funny cause pretty much everyone stopped. We talked with like 5 people and taught a lesson which doesn't really happen from what I've seen. 

From that I learned a lot. 1. I can speak enough Korean to help out this area (not much, but I can contact people, small talk, teach them a lesson, get their information, and schedule a follow up appointment. 2. Koreans listen when we actually try to talk to them ALL. Normally we just talk to the ones who say hi back. We talked to them all. 3. Koreans think it's funny when white people speak Korean, and they even stop us to talk to us if we speak Korean to each other. 4. I love Koreans. Seriously, they are amazing. They are all so loving, and funny people. I'm like 75% sure I'm going to live in Korea when I get the first opportunity. Saturday night was probably the best night of my mission because that right there is evidence that we can find success with Koreans. 

Sunday was amazing too. We had 3 investigators at church (2 of which were Korean) and a few less active members. Afterward we had a little party (we do that like every week) and the members were super helpful with fellowshipping them and being really friendly. It was amazing. 

This morning, we had interviews with President Taggart, and he was super happy to hear that the Korean program is really finding results. President Taggart is awesome, he's just a really down to earth, relatable person, but still is like a "walking spiritual faith bomb." I love it here. It's awesome, we are doing well, and we are looking forward to a lot more good in the future because right now the members are all super excited about missionary work and are helping out like crazy. I know that this work is God's work. He loves us all very much. He knows what is best for us, and he has given us his instructions so that we can be the happiest we possibly can in this life. 

Have a wonderful week everyone and thanks for all your support!

-Elder Jacob Nickerl

Manhattan and the Manhattan Temple

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015--Week 15

This week has been the busiest of my mission. We have been in a trio, because Elder Owens is gone and so Elder Kahng, Koo, and I have been covering two areas. We had no time for anything, but appointments. No contacting or anything else. 

We have been working with a new guy all week. We met with him 4 times all for like an hour. We try not to stay with anyone longer than 30 minutes, but he is an exception. He is awesome. His name is Sean and he isn't in our area, he is in Elder Trask and Kahng's area. 

For Elder Koo and I, we have been working with Li still. We were invited over to some members house with him and that was awesome. He is doing really good, but he was really struggling this weekend because of all the horrible things that went on in Paris. He was having a really hard time seeing how God would allow something bad to happen to all of those innocent people. That's a really hard question because it is one I wondered for a very long time in my life and honestly haven't really been able to understand until quite recently. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and after the lesson, he really seemed more at peace. During the lesson he told us his one purpose in life was to help the people of China. And we believe him. He is an outstanding person, legit everything he does is to help others. He came to church this Sunday for the 3rd time and he says he will always go because he likes it so much. 

We have another new semi-investigator. He is Korean, his wife is American. His wife is a member and they have the cutest kid I've ever seen in my life.  He’s like 2-3ish and he speaks Konglish. We've been working with them recently a little bit. 

Then there's Quan, we don't really know how to help him because he just won't keep his commitments, but he wants to get baptized and meet with us, but he can't if he won't keep his commitments. That's about it for our investigators. 

I'll go through my daily schedule. We wake up at 6:30 and exercise for 30 minutes then get ready then eat breakfast. Then we study scriptures and missionary books for an hour on our own. Then we do companionship study and study scriptures and the missionary books. This week I’ve been reading through Mosiah and the first half of Alma. After companionship study at 10:00 we start language study for an hour. I usually read Korean out loud for a half hour and then I figure out the vocab that I will learn for the day. After language study, we don’t speak English until 9:00 PM. After language study, we eat lunch (which is always rice with whatever food we have leftover from the Korean people who feed us non stop). After lunch, we do an hour of practice role playing lessons to each other in both English and Korean. And at around 12:45, we leave the apartment and go to appointments that we have. If we don't have appointments, we go find new people. We usually pack snacks to get us to dinner and then go back to our apartment at 8:45-9:00 then eat a quick dinner. After dinner we plan for the next day and then we do some more personal study time and get ready for bed and go to bed around 10:30. 

I don't really know what else to say in terms of things here in New Jersey. It's getting cold, but it's a late winter coming up. It still hasn't snowed. I'm excited for that to come. Then we can sweep people's driveway and stuff. I love serving people. Honestly, I know that sounds weird, but in all honesty, I always just come away from these things feeling good. I know that when we try to help others, we draw closer to the Savior and when we draw close to the Savior, we can more fully appreciate all that he has done for us. I see the Atonement working in people every day and it’s amazing that we can just leave our mistakes behind and just keep trying. It truly makes all the difference. 

I love you all! Until next week!
-Elder Jacob Nickerl

P.S. Last week of fall in New Jersey:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 9, 2015--Week 14

Hey everyone,

It's been a hectic week as always, but we had a lot of good stuff going for us. I don't remember a lot of what went on because it has been busy, but I will give most of the important details. 

So we had a lot of good contacting time this week and we taught a lot of good lessons. One case early in the week, we were on our way home for lunch from a cancelled appointment, and we saw a lady who needed some help in her yard. We took about 30 minutes and helped her. I don't know what happened to her after that, but we thanked her, and went on our way. It was just the feeling after helping her, for nothing in return, that made that experience so important to me. It made me think a little bit. That is how we must feel about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is his church, if it is true, and it is, then sharing it with other people is all helping them. It isn't as much that I hadn't thought of this before then, but it helped to change my mindset a little about the work that I am doing. 

Other than that, most of our early week was giving out fliers for a basketball tournament that we put on for the Korean branch in order to get some Korean youth, because there are none. So we did a lot of advertising for that. That brings me to that event, we had 6 people show up, which is a lot less that we hoped for, but it was a really fun event and that is 6 people who were there who weren't before. 

Also we had our investigator Quan there helping out. He is Chinese, and he is on baptismal date as of last week, but he is still pretty iffy on the whole thing. He is doing everything we ask him to do and I think he is putting in the effort, but he is having a hard time accepting the answers that he is receiving. He helped us with the tournament and we taught him two lessons after that. At church yesterday, we had our other Chinese investigator Li there. He is golden. Everything he tells us is perfect and he knows he is receiving answers and acknowledges them. He just wants to finish the Book of Mormon before committing (which he is going through crazy fast now that we gave him a Chinese copy). He has been being fellowshipped like mad by all of the members which has been amazing for him because we have a couple families in our ward who speak Chinese. Next Saturday we have a lunch appointment with them and him and then a lesson following (which was super awesome because the member family set that up without us even asking them to). Also after church, he attended the baptism of two of the kids in our ward, and he loved it. He told us after that it was "fantastic" and that he felt the Spirit. We are really excited about Li and I think the ward is as well, so please keep him in your prayers specifically that all goes well with him, because he is an awesome guy and could really be a huge blessing to all those who he will meet. I know this because he has already blessed me with his sincere desire to find truth. 

After church we went and did some contacting that didn't get us anywhere in the immediate future, but who knows what will happen? Those were the major things that went on this week. We also found out what is going to happen with the Korean program this next transfer which was a huge question mark to all of us. So that will be interesting. Elder Koo and I will be in a trio with Elder Kahng this next week while waiting for the next incoming Elder who Elder Kahng is going to be training. Elder Owens will be leaving to go to the English Program for now. I'm excited to move forward in these next few weeks. 

I feel like the longer I am here, the more I love what I do every day. It isn't easy some days, but honestly, is anything that we do really easy? This week I have been thinking a lot about why missionary work isn't easy and I just keep being reminded of Elder Holland/President Eyring's video on missionary work and the Atonement. And I know that missionary work (or any other part of our lives) "is not easy, because it was never easy for [Christ]" who paid the price for all of our happiness. I am more and more thankful each and every day as I begin to understand better what Jesus Christ did for me and for all of us. I am so thankful for God's perfect plan, to allow all of us to return to live with him again. 

Thank you all for your support. If you have any questions for me, or anything you need from me, don't hesitate to ask.
--Elder Jacob Nickerl

P.S.  Here is the link link to missionary work and the Atonement video mentioned above.  It is about 10 minutes long, and it is an amazing video. Whenever you have time, I would highly suggest watching it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015--Week 13

I don't really ever know what to say in these emails. We just work all day long every day and it doesn't really change all that much from day to day. 

I love the culture, food, and language of the Korean people, but I hate learning to speak and understand people. It is still a challenge and will be probably for the rest of my life. What makes it the hardest to be able to deal with, is when I hear that I won't ever learn Korean completely. Or when people tell me that I won't even be conversational in the end of these two years. I refuse to accept that as true and sometimes when I hear it, I want to get angry, but I do my best to not. I just do not accept that I was called on a Korean speaking mission to not speak the language of this people that I have come to love. I tell people every day that I want to be Korean because they are truly just the most genuine people you can find. Even when they reject our message in a rude way, it doesn't bother me, because I love them as a people. So with that in mind, I hate when I am told that I won't ever be able to communicate with them because I am going to make a promise that I will speak Korean and I am going to be able to teach and talk to people. 

After my rant there, I'll talk about miracles. This week, we had two of our investigators move forward in big ways. Both of them happen to be Chinese. We actually are teaching more Chinese people than Korean. But anyways, we are working with Li and Quan and they both went to church. Quan accepted out baptismal invitation and Li is getting there. Both of them are very willing to learn and are super great people. They both just still need to receive answers to their prayers. Li we think already has, we just need him to accept what he knows already as an answer. 

The coolest experience I have had on my mission though came last night. We were out contacting and we were trying to contact Koreans exclusively. I was getting frustrated and not feeling adequate, when my companion made us stop and say a prayer. I kid you not, right after the prayer, we sat down next to two Korean ladies on a bench and just starting teaching them and they loved that I was trying to learn Korean. They even slowed down what they were saying so that I could kind of understand. After that, we had two people tell us to call them back and gave us their contact info. After our prayer for help, we had three lessons and got 2 peoples contact info. 

It has been an awesome week. I apologize for my scattered thoughts here, I feel like I'm writing the worst letter ever, but I don't have time to go through and think about what I am saying or fix mistakes. 

One more thing though is we have transfers coming up next week and we have no clue what will happen to the Korean program. It is going to change big time and we are all pretty anxious to see what happens. We are excited, but it might bring for big changes next week. I don't have time to say much else, but I want to share my testimony real quickly that God lives. and he loves us. He is not just someone looking down at us hoping things go one way or another. He is leading us and guiding us. He is doing all he can to help us, but still letting us make our own choices. I know that if we just trust in him and his timing, all will be well. 

Have a great week!
-Elder Jacob Nickerl