June 8, 2010
First off I only have thirty minutes and I’m not that fast at typing so I’ll try to tell everything about my first week. Also anyone can go to dearelder.com and can write me and the MTC will print out the letters to me in the same day so that way most of my thirty minutes can be spent writing you instead of reading a lot of emails. Thanks for the emails and letters from mom and from Lauren. I’m glad two people love me. Just kidding but anyways I’ll get to the MTC stuff. Actually I would like to say I’m so sad to hear about Jarred Butler. I cried so hard that whole day and it was rough because I was being thrown from class to class and it didn’t seem like I could just sit there and think about it. I loved him. Despite the problem he had in life, I know he was an amazing person because I had talked to him and he always was the most polite and nicest person you could meet. I’m sorry that drugs lead him to what he did but thanks mom for calling and letting me know. I don’t want to brush over that but I’ll talk about how my week went now.
The first day was mostly just getting situated and then after everyone was here and registered we went to class to meet our district and our teachers. We have 11 other elders in my district and there are two more districts that are going to Korea that came in the same day so we have a lot of Korean elders. Our branch has five districts: two older Korean districts and three new ones (my district). There is in total like fifty elders and two sisters so its pretty sweet for me. I’ll write about each of the elders in my district because there is already so much to write about them. They are so awesome and we are so strong already in just a week. After we met each other we started Korean. Saying it is hard is an understatement. There are like five of the vowels that sound like exactly the same. Some of the letters are two sounds mixed and it’s really hard to make all the sounds. I’m still learning the alphabet but its slowly getting easier. We learned how to read on Thursday, which is basically us slowly saying the words. It takes like five minutes for me to read a line out of our Korean Preach My Gospel and I don’t even know what I’m reading but that will all come in time. We have also learned how to pray and bear our testimonies in Korean, but it’s basically like saying, “I know Christ lives amen” and then our prayers are like, “we are thankful for the church, in the name of Jesus Christ amen.” It is really hard. Oh, Elder Olsen just asked me to tell mom he says hi. He’s in my district. So anyways, the first four days were the hardest thing I have ever done mentally. Just getting more and more Korean thrown at me everyday nonstop. It was really hard to handle but I just kept remembering how worth all this is. President Shin, my branch president, said that the reason why this is so hard and why it requires so much of the young men is because we are the future generation of the church leaders. He said that those who don’t serve missions are least likely to be called to high callings in the church. I thought that was a pretty cool thing to consider. After hearing that from him I calmed down and relaxed a lot. I had been stressing out about the language even though it was my first week because I was having such a hard time with the language.
Yesterday was my first day where I had a perfect attitude and the language went so smoothly. This whole “good attitude” thing really is worth it. But yeah, I’ll definitely keep a good attitude and just let God take care of the rest. I can work as hard as i can and if he wants me to learn the language he will. I just need to keep my patience. Today is finally prep day and I have a bunch of stories and examples of Korean that I’ll send to mom and Lauren. Oh, and before I forget my date to go to Korea is August 16 so change my address when anyone sends letters to 0816 after the KOR-SEO part. I can’t really write Korean on this email or I would. I love it here. I’ve never gone this long with thinking about God twenty-four seven. I know that sounds bad but I honestly think of my mission, my family, and how I can become a better missionary. I love you guys and I promise I’ll write today, since its our only day to write letter, and I hope to hear from you all soon.
Love Elder Chapman