Monday, December 22, 2014


We would love to have you all at Cole's homecoming address on December 28. The address of the church is 3350 North 1050 East in North Ogden. He will speak at 10:45 AM. Thank you all for reading along and supporting Elder Nixon!

Elder Nixon's last letter from South Korea

Well here we are on the last email. Nothing short of crazy to think that this is the last one I'll be writing. I decided for this last one that I would briefly write about my mission as a whole and how I feel about the 2 years I spent out here. I already know that whatever I write probably won't do justice to my experience, but I'll try my best.

Like most of us that grow up in the church, I had an idea of what serving a 2 year mission was and had some expectations to go with it. I don't want to say it wasn't anything like I anticipated, but looking back I think my expectations were just really vague. "Yea you just get up, you preach the Gospel, then you go to bed that's all there is too it!" Starting out, I was a little surprised that it wasn't just like a day job that I clocked in and out of each day. I knew, of course, it would require my heart and my testimony, but I never could have anticipated how much of my heart and testimony was needed to serve as a missionary. I learned that what was in my heart was central to the work and better yet would ultimately determine my experience as a missionary. Realizing these things wasn't always easy and caused me to look inside myself over and over again. As a result, my testimony became more and more internal and eventually I stopped looking at my heart and my testimony as two separate things. I can't say it was easy, but it was beyond worth it to me.

The time went by so quick. But thinking about it right now, I can't help but just smile and think of how deciding to come out here was the best decision I could have ever made. I know it's so cliche and I didn't think much when people said that to me before my mission. I guess what it means to me now is there is no way anyone could understand completely exactly what a mission could do for them until they go and come back. The lessons I learned, the people I got to interact with, the culture I lived in, and most importantly the testimony I gained for myself and helped others gain will be unforgettable. The longer I spent here in Korea, the more I realized that this was where I was supposed to be and that I was sent here for specific reasons for both myself and others. I know I already said it, but I just can't imagine what it would be like if I never came to Korea and lived like this for 2 years. I know that the effects of this decision will resonate for the rest of my life.

I know that God lives. He is first and foremost our Father that takes us, his imperfect children, and helps us become happier. He sent his son, Jesus Christ to suffer in an unexplainable way so that I can get up after falling down time after time. Doing this work cut me down and required the help of Jesus Christ more than anytime in my life and now I know that there is real power behind the Atonement of Jesus Christ and I've felt it endlessly. I know through reading The Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith truly did restore Christ's gospel to the earth. My testimony has been strengthened far beyond what I ever expected and I feel that the result I feel like my life is full of love for God, and for all people. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. I can't thank all of you enough for the support you have given me. It wouldn't have been possible without the support from all of you and all the encouragement you gave. Thank you so much for the prayers, the letters, the emails and the interest you showed in my missionary work.

From수원, with love. Elder Nixon

December 14- 사랑하는여러분!

This week was freezing and it snowed a whole lot. I slipped on ice and fell flat on my back, twice, hah. Luckily, all the weight I've gained on my mission absorbed most of the blow so nothing was really hurt.

I can't believe how fast it's all going! I know I said that last week, but because it feels like I emailed you yesterday, I'm going to have to do my best to recall all that's happened this week. We did more exchanges this week. I feel like I write about these exchanges every email. But lately, we've had to do 2 a week, which usually takes 4 days out of the week. It always seems to be about what is worth writing about. This week I got to work with Elder Bryan from Las Vegas. We strangely had tons of things in common beginning with both of our names being Cole. So we called it the "Cole" exchange. Anyway, during the exchange we had the chance to meet with our less active I've previously talked about, Brother Kim. We got to his office and he said that he wanted to take us out to dinner and introduce us to his friend who had never met missionaries. He took us to a really cool restaurant that was mainly a meat butcher shop and had tables with gas grills where you could just cook the meat you bought right there, and that's exactly what we did! It was soo delicious! More importantly, it was so great to meet his friend. He had seen missionaries before, but never knew specifically what we do or how we live. It was great to share about our purpose and answer his questions. We were getting to know him when he mentioned that he liked soccer. I asked him if he liked Ji Song Park who is the most famous soccer player in Korea. He then told me that Ji Song Park was from Suwon and that he grew up going to the same school and playing on the same soccer team! I couldn't believe it. Anyway, it was a great experience getting to meet him and something I didn't not expect to happen that night. I don't know if I'll get to teach him, but I was just happy to get to know him and tell him about the missionaries. I sometimes forget that these less actives we meet with have testimonies and are ready to help us do our missionary work.

We also exchanged with the AP's later in the week and met up with Brother Jeong. We're focusing on the fundamentals lately, so this time we taught about receiving answers to our prayers through The Book of Mormon. He says that he feels like he has received answers to his prayers, but not specifically through The Book of Mormon. We decided to read the same chapter separately throughout the week and then when we meet, discuss how it helped us that week and resolve our concerns. Another missionary brought up this idea of keeping the commitment you give to your investigator that week. So, if you invite him to pray about Joseph Smith, you as well pray and study to strengthen your own belief and testimony. I loved this idea and wish I had done it more on my mission up until now. It seems a lot of investigators don't like turning in their homework to us and a lot more like walking the path together helping them come closer to God.

Christmas feels in full swing now! This Saturday is the ward Christmas party. The Bishopric decided that they wanted to make this a spiritual meeting, so we are doing the narration but a little less traditional style. We're going to show the new Bible videos involving the Savior's birth that have come out recently and have someone narrate while they play and sing hymns between videos. I think it will be a really good idea. It came from our bishopric member, who is Japanese. He said he still remembers a particular Christmas ward party they did this in California and that it was really spiritual. Then next week on Tuesday is our mission conference! It should be fun!

Thanks for everything peacenblessins! From 수원 with love. Elder Nixon

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 7- Christmas Season!

Wow, I can't believe it's December! It sure does feel like it here, but I still can't believe it. Everything I heard about the last portion flying by is 100% correct. I feel like I emailed yesterday!

We had a good-really busy week! We had lots of exchanges, meetings and such. It is tradition in these meetings that all the missionaries going home soon have to stand up and give a "last testimony". It felt so weird giving mine. I always saw people give theirs and thought that I still had tons of time till mine and never thought much about it. But, 2 minutes before starting our meeting at the mission home, President asked me to give mine. I totally didn't realize that it was already my turn and that I was the oldest missionary there. It was on the spot, but I ended up talking about the way the mission has changed my life and made me much happier than I ever could have imagined.

There seemed to be a lot of "lasts" this week. It was also my last trip to the Seoul Temple. I randomly met Elder Jensen there with his parents, which was a surprise. I also saw Sister Jeong as a missionary for the first time. She got baptized in Bong Cheon ward 2 months before I got there and was a recent convert while I was there. She got called to our mission and came last week! Her name is really common among Koreans so I didn't think much of it when I saw it, but I was so surprised when I realized who it was. I never thought I would be her zone leader, haha. Anyways, I've had the chance to go to the temple my entire mission every 6 weeks. Among the many things I've learned and experienced out here, I've really come to love going to the temple. I never really anticipated learning a lot about the Temple or even going to the Temple while I was a missionary, but I have so much. I feel like those times I went really did affect my missionary work and gave me strength. It helps me understand the importance of going often and making it a part of my life. I'm sad that I won't get to go to the Seoul Temple as often, but excited to continue going regularly when I go home.

This week Brother Jeong sent us a text asking about why we have to go to church and if believing Christ is enough to be saved. It was ironic, because we learned in our mission meetings this week that this month's focus was stressing the importance of church attendance to our investigators. We had a really good lesson mainly focused on the Sacrament. Our number one purpose in going to church is to remember Christ and to learn his teachings so that we can remember him throughout the week. We mentioned that people can say I have Christ in my heart and don't need church, but it seems really hard to remember that our whole life without any reminders. And in a lot of ways, that's what church is for. It is a reminder that Christ is in our heart. It was a lesson that I felt like I learned so much in!

This time of the year is such a special one for missionary work. I feel like just because it's the time of the year that we celebrate the Savior's birth, I am that much more inclined to share the message of his gospel. One day this week, we prayed in the morning and I specifically asked that we might have an an opportunity to serve someone who needed help even if it was small. That night, we on our way to visit a less active transferring through a big subway station when I noticed a big group of Americans who all looked confused and frustrated. I asked if they needed help and they asked how to get to a certain station. I told them they were on the wrong platform and guided them to the right direction. They were really appreciative and seemed so relieved. It was extremely small, but it was so big to me to have an answer to a prayer come that way.

As I wrote earlier, lots of we are going to my last meat buffet!!! I have to eat like I never have before! I love you all so much and appreciate all the support!

Peacenblessins From 수원, with love. Elder Nixon

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


November 30- It Snowed!

It's December 1st here and we got the first snow of the year this morning! I thought I was skipping out on winter, but it came early for me. I froze my butt off on the 10 minute walk from our apartment to here. I'm really happy it snowed though!

This week was pretty good. It was a pretty slow week so we spent a lot of time all over our area confirming addresses of less actives. We were doing this last Monday night when we had a random miracle happen. We were deep into some old neighborhood I'd never been to before when a man came up next to us. I was sick, so the Korean came out all weird sounding and I was pretty sure he couldn't understand me. I got about 3 lines out that pretty much any new missionary coulsay and then he immediately told us to visit his office. He said that he wanted to help us. We didn't really know what he meant by that. So, we asked and he had to run and catch his bus, but we got his business card and found out he was the head manager of the neighborhood office building. We tried to visit his office a few times this week, but we wasn't there. We are going to try again next week.

So this week, we told Brother Jeong that we would have to postpone his baptism. Going into the lesson, our main goal was to get an appointment to meet his parents and that's what we focused everything on. We got in there and he told us just as he had before that they would never allow it and that it wouldn't work. At that point, the lesson took a really interesting turn that we didn't plan for at all. We just started talking about his relationship with his parents and whether he talked with them about his future plans his hopes and how he feels. He said that he never really did and never really thought about it. I feel a little dumb looking back now thinking we were so focused on getting his parents permission so that he can be baptized that I never even thought to talk about the bigger problem with him. Baptism is such an important step in coming closer to Christ, but should never be something that separates someone from their family. I'm sure that's why the church made the rule requiring the consent of spouses and parents. For now, we decided to focus on his faith and going back to the basics of coming to church, reading and praying. At the end of the day, he's still amazing and progressing well.

We also met Brother Park this week. He's the one who likes to study religion all day long. Our lesson this week compared to the the first one was much better. Every time we brought up the Book of Mormon the first time, he would just say 'I don't study that' and not really care. But all of the sudden, during the second lesson all he wanted to talk about was the Book of Mormon. He has clearly read it because he was reciting themes of stories and characters names, but the question that he had was, ' What does the Book of Mormon have that is missing in the Bible?' I immediately turned to Alma 40 and started talking about the spirit world and he loved it. He then asked for more, but everything else we seemed to find was at least mentioned in the Bible and brought into greater detail in the Book of Mormon. It was a really cook experience to see how much the Bible and the Book of Mormon support each other. It helped me realize once more that the Book of Mormon that we study is not bringing all these foreign concepts into Christ's gospel, but merely enlarging and clarifying it. Brother Park still may have a ways to go, but strangely enough, he is progressing.

I read a simple quote by President Hinckley this week: "Sacrifice is the very essence of religion." I thought this morning about what I was forced to give up in order to come out here on a mission and what blessings have come of it. Surely there are missionaries that have been forced to sacrifice so much more than me, but I realized today that I've gotten so much more in return, way more than I have given up. I loved how President Hinckley refers sacrifice as a fundamental part of having any kind of belief. I've seen so many people on my mission that have sacrificed and been blessed whether it be investigators members or missionaries. This photo is from my front door this morning!!

I love you all! stay warm. From 수원,with love. Elder Nixon

November 23

Hello Again!! Another week has flown by. I can't believe it's almost time again to hear about all the delicious things you ate for Thanksgiving in next week's emails. Last year we had it set up so that all the missionaries got Thanksgiving with American families, but this year Thanksgiving falls right next to transfer day. So, we're on our own for meals. This week begins the last transfer! I can't believe it! it feels so weird. Elder Lee is officially my last companion now that we stayed together.

This week we found out some bad news regarding Brother Jeong's baptism. It was always somewhat unclear what the exact determination was for becoming an adult in Korea, but many members and other missionaries told us that it was once you took your big final "ACT" type test in high school that you were officially counted as an adult. We were going by that. But, we looked a little closer and asked President Morrise and found out that you have to be 19 American age to be considered an adult in Korea, which for Brother Jeong doesn't happen till next June. It's hard to postpone it at this point, but it looks like we are going to have to. I'm sad, but not heartbroken, because I know he will get baptized regardless of when it is. He has waited for almost a year now. The absolute best situation would be his parents approval so that is the only thing we are going to focus on for now. I've heard so many stories of members baptized in their teenage years without their parents approval and then having lots of problems after they eventually found out. So this week, we are going to try and meet his parents.

This week Brother Kim, our less active, wanted to have a BBQ at the Church. So we got an active family in the ward that he is closest with and had a huge meal together. As we were eating, I realized that these Korean BBQs are different than American BBQ in a few ways. Mainly, I feel like American BBQs have lots of different components like salad, drinks, buns, snacks, fruit etc... Korean meat parties have usually 3 components: meat, rice, and kimchi. Because it's that simple, you end up eating a whole lot of all 3, hah. We all had a good time and it was really good for Brother Kim. He really does take care of the missionaries well and has a lot of love.

So we were trying all week to find new investigators and coming up with little success. It was one of those weeks where every number in your records that you call doesn't answer and every person on the street just doesn't want to talk. But at the very end of the week, we were blessed with a referral from the Seoul Mission! He met missionaries there and asked to be contacted where he lives, which is our area! His name is Brother Kim and he seems to have a lot of sincere interest. He is in his 60's. His wife has passed away recently and his daughters have all married and moved out. He doesn't have a religion, but for some reason has always wondered about our church since it seemed different. We met for the first time yesterday and our meeting was just him asking us questions about when he can come to church and what we do at church. He said he will come and try it out! The only problem is that he is headed to Mongolia this week and said he doesn't know when he will be back. So we might have to wait a little longer on him, but we'll see!

Last Monday, we had a zone p-day all together going to a Korean traditional folk village. We had tons of fun seeing all the traditional looks of Korea. We all joked that this is what we were expecting when we were called to Korea. Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving by going to a sushi buffet and then going to a bath house...there's a first for everything right?

Thanks for all the support! peacenblessins From 수원 with love. Elder Nixon