Sunday, August 25, 2013

한국에서, "안녕하세요!" (August 25, 2013)

여러분, hello!

I think this is my 4th P-day in Korea, which means I've been here for a whole month. My "12 week program" (basically, a training program for new missionaries to get up to speed) is 1/3 done. The goal of the 12 week program is to be able to train other missionaries when I'm done, which is a bit scary (though training someone else after 3 months is something that doesn't really happen since knowing Korean is a very very important part of being a trainer...). The days are long, but weeks are short - it's weird.

I still haven't received any more mail from you guys, so that's a little disappointing. I can't answer the questions you might have, or respond to what's going on in Boise! I've got to go to the mission home for a training meeting this Thursday though, so I'll probably end up getting like 3 letters then. I'll try to ask the office missionaries about what's up with the mail, and so hopefully I can figure out what will work best.

Well, here's a bit about our English class...

English class is one of the easier ways to proselyte - once a week, we teach an English class for free. (focused mostly on everyday conversation, since that's something that's easy for us, and something that other English classes have a hard time offering). Most people have at least a passing interested in free English.

One man who attends our classes is really, really good at English. He's been attending Church-sponsored English classes for some 10 years now, and I think he visits several different areas to attend multiple classes.

Our goal for English class is to try to share about the gospel, of course. We always share a spiritual message, and try to find people interested in the Gospel. If that fails, we're still doing service for the people of Busan, and hopefully help the Church keep a good reputation. 

Anyways since we don't have any real, progressing investigators so far (although we gave a pamphlet to a guy who later said he'd be interested in talking about it, and we planned to meet him. We set a time and place, but he never showed up and we can't get in touch with him again... why!?) , our activities have been focused on finding people, whether that means just contacting people as we meet them, or trying to visit less actives, or whatever it might be.

But I know that the Lord blesses the obedient. God's promised to the obedient that He will bless them, and there's no way the God won't keep his promises. If I work hard and do my best, we'll be able to find the people who need the gospel (well that's everyone, isn't it!), and are willing to hear it. We'll keep trying!

Thanks for all you do! Hopefully, a week from now, I'll have received your letters, and will be able to answer things that you're interested in!


- Elder Luke


The e-mail title says, as near as I can tell,

In Korean, "Hello!"

The word written in Korean in the salutation means, as near as I can tell, "you."  Maybe in this case it means "everybody," as in "hello, everybody"?  I don't know, Andrew's language skills are soon going to surpass what I can figure out with help from Google Translate.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

1/8? (August 18, 2013)


Just a thought: if you consider the time in the MTC, I've been on my mission for now 3 months, which means I'm about 1/8 of the way done (unless my math is off, which is possible since I haven't used it for so long...). Whoa, and here I am, not even able to understand people! But from the emails I've been getting from other people in my district, that seems to be fairly normal, so I won't worry too much. Just do what I can now, and the rest will work out.

Thanks mom for the recipes! Hopefully, we'll be able to make like real food now - we've basically just been taking whatever we have, throwing it in a frying pan, covering it in Korean hot sauce, then eating it with rice and kimchi and calling it a meal. It works.

Oh, and thanks for the picture of Brad Pitt. I can see the resemblance in the picture, it's it's a little off-putting...

As far as mail goes, 조 장로님 said to keep sending it to the mission office, and they'll forward the letter to wherever I am. I haven't been getting that many though - if there's some meeting that we have to go to the office for, they'll just hold it. I'm not sure what's going on, but I've only received a post card from South Carolina the letter you wrote on the 28th of July (which I got on the 14th of August by the way). So, uh, just keep doing what you're doing. If there's anything really important that I need to know or a question you want answered sooner rather than later, emails are going to be better.

Okay, so some stories:

I thought I met this really friendly Korean on the bus - he yelled "HELLO" from halfway across the bus when he saw me, and told me to sit next to him. I was really excited - he seemed to recognize that we were missionaries, and he seemed to speak a little English. He kept talking to me, and I understood maybe 10 words out of the probably hundreds he said. I think he told Elder Jo to take care of me, and then he said he had to get off. Right before he did, he told me that he was drunk (I understood the work "alcohol," and he mimed drinking. Oh, it was 3:30 pm on a Sunday afternoon...), so hopefully, that's why I couldn't understand him, not because, like, you know, Korean's hard. He was a nice drunk though!

Some elders in my district are teaching a Buddhist monk; "A legit monk," as they've told me. He actually lives in a Buddhist temple and does whatever monks do in temples, so that's pretty cool. We're still not currently teaching anyone at the moment, but we have a couple of contacts that if we could actually contact, seem likely. Oh, and we got a referral last night from other missionaries - one of their investigators are moving or returning, or somehow coming back to Yeoungdo, so hopefully, we can start teaching him. 

We met this kid (I don't know what to call him) while we were going to drop off some stuff at the church. Since we were going there anyways, Elder Jo invited him to take a quick tour of the chapel. Surprisingly, he said he had time and, sure, he'd do it. We walked in, and Elder Jo pointed out a picture of Christ on the wall. They talked a little bit about that, and we both felt the Spirit (and hopefully he did too). We took a look at the baptismal font, explained a little bit about the importance of baptism, and concluded with prayer. It was really good - we'd never met him before, and he was willing to take a look at our church with us. Hopefully, he had a spiritual experience too. We've been trying to get a hold of him again to see if he can meet again, but no luck so far... We'll see!

Thanks for everything! Korean and Korea is still tough, but I'm learning a lot every day!

- Elder Luke


The Korean word is "Jo-jangnonim," or "Elder Jo."

Hello~! (August 11, 2013)


How is everyone? Good, I hope!

I don't have a ton of time today (I spent a lot of email time writing to people in my district...), but I'll do what I can.


First, a few questions...

How do you want me to send pictuers? Elder Jo says that while the computer at the church can do pictures, it's really slow and kind of on the other side of the island. I was thinking I might just send them physically. It's pretty cheap to print them off, and so whenever I have enough pictures that it's worth sending, I'll do so. Other people won't be able to see them though, but I guess we'll see. I haven't had a ton of chances to take pictures...

Oh, and Mom, can you send me some recipes? Cooking is harder than I thought without the internet. I don't even know if I can print stuff off, but maybe some ideas? I don't know. Pork and eggs are pretty cheap in Korea, and then chicken is a little more expensive, and beef seems to be a no-no.

Along with that, what's something that we could cook or bake that Koreans would like? We've had a few times where we would visit a less active, and they didn't want to see us. Maybe if we brought like some pumpkin bread or something to them, we could tempt them to at least open the door and talk to us a little... I don't know, what would be good? There's a Costo here, so we can buy most ingredients if we have to I think.

And Dad - I might need the bishop and stake president's email. I'm not 100% sure, but I figure I might as well ask so if I need it later, I'll have it on hand.


Back to a little about missionary work...

For some reason, I think my testimony's grown a lot just being in Korea. Maybe it's being away from home makes me think more about families and God and things like that. My studying's really been good here. It makes me a little sad to think that my scripture study before wasn't as good as it is now. The Book of Mormon just seems to make more sense. I can't explain it very well, but study diligently, and you'll learn a lot!

It's kind of weird - we haven't been super successful in 영도, but I'm still happy. I get to see little miracles every day, and so even if the day doesn't turn out exactly how we wanted it to (like we go to visit people, and everyone's away from home or something like that), I still feel satisfied. Now, there's still a lot more that I need to work on, but the work isn't as hard as I had feared it might be.

I still don't know what people are saying when they talk, but I've met some really nice people. There was this one man that we met on the bus - he was taking a look a Elder Jo's nametag, and so he started talking to him. The man was really kind - he kept interrupting himself to tell me that I was handsome (which is kind of weird, but I'll take a compliment any day. Oh, and as a side note, I've had 2-3 people tell me I look like Brad Pitt. I forget what he looks like, but I'm pretty sure he's blonde, and no, I don't look like him...). Anyways, no idea what they talked about, but the man offered to shake my hand before he got off the bus, which I happily accepted. It's little experiences like that that make me want to find others like him and I don't know, just be friends with them and talk to them about the Gospel.

So I'm still working on talking to people, and I'm improving bit by tiny bit. We were on the bus, and things worked out so that I was standing in a place where to talk to this guy, I had to be the one to say hello. I did (it was scary!), and talked a tiny bit. Elder Jo continued talking to him, and managed to give him a Book of Mormon, and get his number. We texted him later that night, and he said he read a little bit! I don't know if we've heard back from him since, but that makes me realize that simply put, if I don't say anything, people can't hear the Gospel.

Thanks for all your prayers. I know it's because of your faith that I get to experience these tiny blessings! I'll keep trying to improve!

- Elder Luke


The first Korean word is "anyeonghaseyo," the standard Korean greeting.  The second is "Yeongdo," which of course is the name of the area he's in.

Hello from Korea!!! (August 4, 2013)


(Sorry this email kind of jumps around. I've got so many things to say and I'm not sure how or when, so I just kind of threw it together. Ah well.)

It's been almost 6 days since I've been here in Korea, and maybe 4 since I've been in my area.

I've been assigned to serve in 영도, which is maybe, oh 45 minutes from the mission HQ (which is kind of sort of far in Korea I guess). It's an island, but it's close enough to the mainland that there's bridges to and from it. Because it's so close to the ocean, it's pretty cool - still humid and hot when the sun's out, but there's usually a refreshing ocean breeze coming in.

My companion's name is Elder Jo, and as you can probably guess from the name, he's a native Korean! His English is actually pretty good (although sometimes, it's a bit confusing. He told me once that "water-things and ice-things are good." I guess he's basically just saying that it was hot and that we should buy something cold, but I don't know. I suspect my Korean sound the exact same to him), but he always tries to speak to me in Korean first, which I'm thankful for. I think if I had an American companion, I'd be tempted to only speak English, but that's not going to help me here in Korea. Elder Jo's been in 영도 for 3 months now, so he's a seasoned veteran - he takes good care of me :). We get on buses and I have no idea where we're going or where we're at - that's something I'll hopefully pick up sooner rather than later.

Anyways, he's really nice, and knows all the rules by heart. It seems to me like he's got no fears talking to people (well, he DOES speak Korean...), which is yet another thing I need to learn. It's hard for me to want to talk to people when I'm lost after "Hello" and "Where are you going?", but I've been praying a lot to get over being scared. Worst case, I guess I can just say, "Sorry, I'm American, so I can't understand Korean well." I will very likely be making a lot of awkward conversation in the future...
Anyways, back to area assignments...

Some other people in my district got some pretty crazy first areas - one elder got sent to Jeju (no idea how to spell it in Korean correctly), which the mission president called the "Korean Hawaii." It's also an hour away from the mission home, but by plane instead of bus and subway. I hear it's very beautiful - kind of a touristy area - but also wicked hot. Our teacher was telling us that they have a really thick accent down there. Most Koreans don't even understand it, so I hope the elder will be alright down in Jeju.

A sister from my district is opening up a new area. I forget what it's called because we started getting ready to go as soon as we got our assignments, but that's pretty exciting.

I forgot to take pictures, but my apartment's actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be, so that was a relief. It's still a bit cramped, but there's enough room for everything. I will try to remember to take pictures sometime, but we'll see I guess.

Church was interesting - our branch is pretty small; I think maybe 30 people attended this week, and 10-15 of them showed up late, and just to Sacrament meeting. Since the branch is so small, and there's very few men, the elders have a big responsibility to help out. We showed up early to clean the church and prepare the sacrament, and we also taught Sunday School and Aaronic (spelling...?) Priesthood. My companion told be about this like 9:30 the night before, so the Aaronic Priesthood lesson was suuuuuper short (there was only one member there though...), but my companion was kind enough to take over when I was done, so things worked out okay. He also taught Sunday School though, and he's in charge of giving assignments for talks and things. I don't know it it's just 영도 or just Korea, but missionaries seem really busy at church!

The members were really nice though. I can't remember anyone's names, but they all tried their best to speak to me in English and I tried my best to speak my Korean. Basically, I told them that I have 6 people in my family and that I'm from Idaho. Surprisingly, even Koreans (at least some of them) know that Idaho grows potatoes. Some things never change...

We had lunch afterwards as a branch - not sure if that's every week or just Fast Sundays - so I got to eat some real Korean food (we usually eat really simply as a companionship - frozen gyozas, eggs and pork, and for some reason, bananas and toast at every meal). I have no idea what I ate, but most of it was red vegetables and a lot of rice. It was okay - still don't love kimichi and kimichi's many many red-vegetable cousins, but I was hungry so I ate everything.

Oh, and since it was fast and testimony meeting, I was planning on (trying) bearing my testimony, but the Branch President actually announced it/invited me up to specifically. I don't think I spoke my best Korean - I was a little nervous :) - but I hope the members appreciated my efforts if nothing else. Oh, and the person assigned for opening prayer didn't show up, so I did that too. It was kind of a stressful Sunday, but it was fun!

I've learned a lot about "real" missionary work, and how it works in Korea. At the MTC, all I learned was how to teach, but that hasn't really been something we've done yet. At the moment, we have no real investigators - Elder Jo was teaching a man, and he said that the man was pretty receptive, but the man hasn't been answering phone calls or texts for a couple of weeks now. Staying in touch with investigators is something I hadn't thought about, or even worried that there would be problems about. We do a lot of vising less actives, trying to keep up on people who might be interested ("I'm busy right now" is a reeeeaaally common response, but we don't really learn much from that - it's basically a maybe that we have to call later).

Oh, and I have pictures, but we're using free computers at a Lotte department store (it's huge, and really nice) so I don't have access to a USB drive. We probably won't get around to being able to finding a place to send pictures, so it might have to be next week. I'll hopefully have a lot to send over.

Anyways, Korea is cool - it reminds me a lot of Japan, except less crowded (maybe because Tokyo is worse than where I'm at). It's fun, and as 미국인, and especially as a new missionary, I'm not expected to understand that much. My poor, poor companion has to carry me until I can stand on my own :).

Thanks for all you do, and thank you for all your love and prayers! Korean is a little bit impossible for me right now, but I'll do what I can. Hopefully, in my next email I'll be able to say that I understand a little bit more.

Until next week -

Elder Luke


The first word written in Korean (and repeated twice later) is "Yeongdo."  Yeongdo is a part of Busan city, a "gu" (which is about the same as a "ku" in Tokyo and other large Japanese cities; kind of like a borough in New York City).  Busan is the second-largest city in Korea, with a population of about 4.3 million.  It looks like the island is a bit less than two miles by four miles, with about half the area taken up by fairly large hills.  It looks like maybe four square miles of buildings, so kind of like McMillan to Fairview, Maple Grove to Cloverdale.  But with a much higher population density (Yeongdo's population is about 140,000), and almost infinitely more kimchi per square mile.  See it on the map here:

The branch he is in is part of the Busan Stake, which has six wards and five branches.

The Korean word in his second to last paragraph is "Miguk-in", which would be probably 美国人 or 美国員 for you kanji/hanja fans, and means "American."  Looks like he's learning to type hangul. :)

Hello from Korea! (July 30, 2013)

We've made it to the mission home in Busan! It's 9:00am over here, I'm in the mission home, and the mission president's given us 5 minutes to email home to say that we made it here safely.
There were a few scary moments, but everything worked out fine, and we got to Busan on time. Our flight from San Fransisco to Salt Lake was supposed to be delayed 3.5 hours (not sure what the problem was, weather maybe), which was really scary. That got reduced to 1 hour, but we only had an hour layover in San Fransisco. Luckily, there were enough missionaries that they held to plane to Tokyo for us, for which I'm really grateful - I don't know what we'd do if we missed the flight!
After that, everything went pretty smoothly, really nothing to to mention.
We have some introduction-type stuff today; double-checking our information, interview, setting up bank accounts. It seems that we get our areas and trainers tomorrow, so that'll be when I get started!
Luke jangno

Safely in Korea

Here is Andrew and his travel group, newly arrived at the airport outside Busan.

Bonus: photos

Here are a few bonus photos of Andrew taken by other people while at the MTC.

Last MTC Letter (July 27, 2013)

Note: Andrew sent us one final, actual dead-tree letter.  Two sections of it were in Korean; the scans of what he wrote are shown, with English translations.

27 Sat 2013


To My Family-

How are you doing, everybody?
I appreciate for giving me your love and attention while I am staying in MTC.
I am very happy to get the letter and package from my family.
I am not fluent in using Korean now, but promise to try my best.

Anyways, I figured since I was going to send a letter anyways, I might as well write a real letter to say thinks for all the letters you sent me!

I've learned a ton here at the MTC -- looking back, I always thought that my job here was to study Korean, but I know so, so much more about being a missionary now than 9 weeks previous. I don't know, it's still hard; trying to always teach with the Spirit, focusing on the investigator... there's a lot I need to improve on! There's a lot to remember, but I know the Lord won't let me stray too far away before helping me out and pointing me in the right direction.

MTC's been good. I'll miss my district though -- after struggling and learn together for 9 weeks, you can get pretty close to people. I think most districts (as far as I can tell anyway) tend to go to the same mission, so it's too bad our district is split. I'll miss Elder Diede a lot -- most of the others that I'm closest to are going to Pusan as well, so I'll see them around.

I'm nervous about being in Korea (of course!), but excited to go and get started. And having permisson to sleep with reckless abandon on the plane is nice too! :)  I don't know if anyone's going to get sleep Sunday night though -- we've waited so long, and now it's time!

Anyways, thank you for all the support and encouragement! I've been so blessed here because of all the prayers being said for me and the rest of the missionaries in the world. When the work gets tough, I'll think of everyone rooting for me. I know that God is watching over me, and each and every one of you. If we do our part, God will bless us to be able to fulfill His purposes. All he asks is that we don't give up.

I want you to be happy every day.
I believe we can be happy by trying to obey His words.
I know He wants to bless us always.

I love you,
Elder Luke

Now the question is, is Dad going to translate my Korean or no? :D

MTC Week 9 (July 26, 2013)


My MTC training is coming to a close! This is my last P-day before departing, and so I've been pretty busy today, trying to get all our last-minute errands done with. Real quick, here's what I did today:

Woke up around 5:50, headed to our building to do our P-day service which started at 6:05. I vacuumed today, which was a pretty easy job. Breakfast at 7:25, then we headed back to the residence real quick before our pre-departure haircuts (I just got one like 3-4 weeks ago!). Since I wanted to follow up on coughs and since Elder Stapley wanted some medicine as well, we stopped by the health clinic, (it was a new doctor, and he wanted me to stop by the BYU health center to get an x-ray to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong), and then a nice shower. I did some ironing, and then some shoe-polishing, and Elder Stapley and I headed down to the health center.

We got the x-rays done pretty quickly, but the technician talked to us about our mission and his mission for like 30 min (he served his mission in Idaho!). It was fun and interesting to hear his stories, but it took us much longer than it should have to be done and out. Anyways, then we had laundry, recheck with doctor to follow up on x-rays (no problems with lungs), lunch, more laundry, and then back to the health clinic to pick up medicine (the doctor says it's probably a sinus infection, so he's prescribed antibiotics).

We went back to the residence and started packing along with the others in our district. It took us only like an hour to do - I've got one suitcase pretty much done, and it's at about 40 pounds. I'm pretty sure that the other is going to be nowhere close to being full, so I don't know why I had two full suitcases worth of stuff when I got here... But I've got enough done that I can probably finish packing in, oh, 15 minutes or so. We wrapped that up, and now I'm here.

Busy, busy day - normally, our p-days involve preparing lessons a little bit, or maybe taking a nap for awhile, but this is my last big chance to prepare to go, so I guess it's good that we're actually using it.

I'm allowed to call home from the airport, but I don't know how it will all pan out - I bought a phone card, so I'll just use that to pay for my call. I don't know when I'll be able to call though; I would guess in Salt Lake, depending on time and phone availability. I may be able to in San Fran, but I don't think we have enough time. And I'm pretty sure things get tricky once we reach Tokyo. I'll to my best to call, but I can't promise that things will go smoothly enough to guarantee it. At best, I'll have maybe and hour to call, but if there's other missionaries who need to call, that'll be cut short. Who knows, we'll see. Somewhere in the range of 8:30 to 10:30 seems to be the most likely.

We've had a few picture-happy days, especially since we've been thinking about heading out, so here's a few more pictures. We'll probably end up taking a ton of them on Sunday. If I have time, I'll try to upload them like Dad said, but I'll likely end up sending the best ones by email anyways.

Speaking of emails, how do you plan on writing me in Korea? I think there's been new rules that you can email as long as you think you need on P-days (not 100% sure though), so emailing will work fine by me, but it's up to you. Letters are more fun in my opinion.

Since Dad asked about teaching, here's what happens real quick - both our teachers are our investigators. They choose one investigator that they had on their mission (someone they worked a lot with), and pretend to be them. By doing this, they already know about what problems the investigator has, what their needs are, background about the person, maybe habits, things that worked to help convert the investigator, things like that. Basically, our investigator is a person who once was a real investigator, but looks like our teachers. We usually teach 1-2 lessons per week (it might supposed to be more, but we've had things get pushed back several times); it kind of depends on how things work out. I think we've taught one investigator like maybe 9 times, and the other around 11. I'm glad we're able to do this though; if I had to head out with almost no "real" practice like Dad did, I would be much, much more nervous about going to Korea.

We usually spend, oh maybe couple or a few hours total (including reviewing last lesson, planning next one, and then looking up words and scriptures to teach them) to prepare each lesson. They're supposed to go 25 minutes, but that depends on whether the investigator has a lot of concerns or not. Hopefully, I'll learn to prepare lessons faster, because two investigators is a handful for us right now!

It's frustrating at times though; we taught one investigator about the Restoration, then about some concerns he was having (we covered the Doctrine of Christ, focusing on repentance and prayer). We thought he was progressing alright - he said that he prayed daily and committed to read the Book of Mormon. But we asked maybe our 7-8th lesson in what he remembered about the Restoration, and he said he had forgotten everything. That was really disappointing for us. We gave him a few hints, and then his words were, "Oh, yeah, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and wrote the Book of Mormon, right?" He apologized for his bad memory... I don't know if that means we didn't teach it super well (it was one of our first lessons, so that's likely), or if the actual investigator had a bad memory.

But there's exciting times as well. We asked him how he felt when he prayed, and he very sincerely told us that he was grateful that we could come and teach him lessons. I think in every prayer we asked him to give, he mentioned the same thing. He said that before met ting with us, he never prayed, and now he's starting to. I know it's my teacher, but it made me really happy that we could have made a difference, even if it was a small one, in this man's life.

We do a little bit of practicing teaching with other members in our district, but they're usually parts of lessons ("practice proselytizing" or "teach the pre-Earth life"), not full-blown lessons. We also have what's called "TRC," where volunteers come to be taught a lesson. These tend to be more of a discussion than a lesson, but we get to try to teach people as members instead of as investigators. I think one companionship in our district taught a real investigator there once though, which is kind of cool (but kind of scary. There was a member there to help out though).

Oh, funny story about the McMurrays, since Dad mentioned them in his letter. I was hosting for the new missionaries (when the new missionaries come in, the older missionaries can volunteer to "host" and to help them find their residence and classroom, get classroom materials, answer questions, that sort of thing), because it was my last chance, and I hadn't done it yet. I hosted one elder going to Mexico, and another to Italy, and I was back at the curb wondering when I should be done and go back to class. I went to ask the others about their plans, and I was in the middle of talking to my district about when they were going to be done, and guess who I saw? The McMurrays pulled up the the curb right where I was! They were still in the car when I said hi, and then we chatted for a bit. I'm sure they've already told you about this though.

To Dad - I'm supposed to send you a copy of the receipts of the medicine I bought, so expect that in the mail sometime soon. Sorry I don't send real letters...

Oh, and thanks for the airport information and Japanese money! :) Hopefully, there'll be enough time to poke around a bit in Narita.

Thank you also for the donuts. I was not expecting to get 24 of them when I went to pick up my package, but I shared with everyone and they were gone pretty quickly. I talked with Richard and he also says thanks for the food :).

As for the missionary scripture, I think I'll stick with the D&C one. Teaching with the Holy Ghost and how to do that is something we've talked a lot about, and it's something I've been pondering over for awhile; I don't know, it's a hard thing to do, but I like how these scriptures promise that if we do have the Holy Ghost, we'll be doing what Christ would do, and that that's a promise from God. It's through the Holy Ghost that we have the power to convert.

To Lisa - I asked my sisters about shoes, and boy, did they ever have a lot to say about shopping for shoes. I took some notes, but there was a lot said that I didn't really understand, so hopefully you do! :)

The overall consensus was that shopping for shoes are hard, and there's very few shoes that are both missionary appropriate and cute. They said to shop in the off-season (whatever that means), but I guess you have plenty of time to do some shopping around before your mission. Reds, blacks, and browns are the most common colors to get shoes in; one sister was particularly proud of the fact that she found gold shoes that she could wear. They said it's probably not a good idea to buy cheap shoes, because they fall apart pretty quickly (they're not meant to be super sturdy). Price range for most sisters was $65-$85 per pair of shoes, but it depends on the brand and quality. Speaking of brands, Toms are apparently not that good, but Taous (may be expensive), Clarks (something about Ashlynn Avenue?), and Naturalizer shoes are pretty good. For sandals, Dansko, Chacos, Keenes, and Merrels are recommended. Other than that, buy shoes that can match many outfits, expect shoes to be a little bit ugly (my notes say "ugly" about 4 times), walk around beforehand first to break them in and see how comfortable they are, and if you reaaaly want cute shoes, save them for a Sunday, or some day when you don't need to do a ton on walking. Also, start looking for skirts now, and get ones with pockets.

I hope you learned a lot. I learned much, much more than I ever cared to learn about women's shoes from this, so appreciate it! :D

It's good you had so much fun at SOAR. It sounds like with that and your ACT, you'll be able to easily make it into BYU. Then we can go to school together! <3

To Daniel - I know you've mentioned it in a previous letter, but how long is it going to take for your toe to heal? Is it getting better, or can you even tell? How long ago since you broke it again, and what did you do to break it? At least it's summer, so you can take it easy a bit. It's probably a little bit more of a problem during school. What, other than your foot, is going on in your life? I love to hear about everyone else's normal, everyday life, since I'm not allowed to have one. :D

Aaaand I'm out of time. I hope you enjoy the pictures! Thanks for all you do for me!

Luke jangno

Andrew with some of his district members

Andrew and his companion, Elder Stapley

Traditional "pointing at the map" photo

Andrew with Richard Roylance, who is headed to Kobe, Japan.  You can see how close they'll be -- Richard is pointing at Kobe, and Andrew is pointing at Busan.  Busan is about 200 miles from Kobe, and only about 30 miles from the closest Japanese island.

Andrew with some of his district.


Anyunghashimnika: A more polite version of his usual "anyeonghaseyo."

MTC Week 8! (July 19, 2013)


We're almost done here at the MTC! We just got our travel plans today, and so everyone is super excited to get out and get going. It looks like the plan for people going to Busan is to leave the morning of the 29th (for me, around 7:30), fly to San Fransisco, and then from there to Tokyo, and then there directly to Pusan. The layovers don't seem too bad either; 1 hour in San Fransisco, and then 2 in Tokyo (since Mom talked about airlines a bit in her letter, I'm flying Delta and Japan Airlines, according to my travel plan). I'm excited that we get to go to Japan! :D I don't know if 2 hours is enough time to find our gate and have some time to poke around, but if so, I definitely want to get some food at the airport. We're not supposed to leave the international area, and I can't remember what we can buy in that area, so I might have to explore a bit, but it'll be fun (do you know if they accept dollars there? or do I have to get myself some yen? That seems like it might take awhile to do...). Everyone else seems pumped to get to stop by Japan as well. There's the 7 from my district plus 8 from another that are going to Busan at the same time, so we'll have a pretty good group of people travelling together.

Sadly, the people going to Seoul (5/12 of our district) have different plans, and so we'll have to say goodbye to them early. They fly to Dallas and then straight from there to Korea. I have no idea how long that takes, but ouch. I think they were a little disappointed when they compared travel plans with us ...

Other than that, it looks like we've been assigned someone who's in charge, and will help us out if any problems arise, so that's very comforting. Hopefully, no flights are delayed, and we won't end up having to stay the night somewhere, or getting lost, or missing a flight or anything.

Thank you for the letters and postcards from everyone! It's always exciting when I get mail, and I'm happy that you all haven't forgotten about me yet. :D

No pictures this week, but I will try to get more of the district, especially since it's almost time for us to go our separate ways. Richard is trying to organize a picture of me, Elder Jones, and himself together, so if nobody forgets, that should be sent next week.

In class, we've been slowly winding down. We spend a lot more time practicing sentances than before, and the grammar forms we're learning are generally prefaced with a "You probably won't need this grammar, but you'll hear it a lot." So it seems that our teachers think we know enough Korean grammar to properly express what we want to say, and now we're just learning things to help us put a little more feeling into sentances, and understand the feelings that whoever we're talking to is putting in. Some forms we've learned recently translate roughly in English to "...", mild suprise, adding "momomo, right?" to the end of a sentance ("momomo" is Korean's "blahblahblah" or "naninaninani", and lightly covering middle polite and middle form.

We've only got at most a couple lessons with our investigators as well. I'm not really sure how the other groups feel about their progress with them (there's a companionship of sisters that have apparently been hitting the nail on the head every time), but let me tell you, teaching isn't easy. As we've grown better in Korean, Elder Stapley and I have been asking more and more questions to try to figure out where the investigator is at spiritually, and we've found that there's a lot of things we've missed. It's hard; there's a lot of gaps, especially the lessons we've taught early on; a lot of "Sure, I understand the concepts"-s but not a lot "Yes, I believe it's true"-s.

It's definitely been good practice though - I feel like Elder Stapley and I have been working really well together, trying to figure out what the investigator needs to hear, and what he needs to do. Rarely does a lesson go 100% according to plan; we just taught a lesson review everything we've taught because we wanted to make sure he knew and believed the concepts before we moved on, and found out that he didn't understand how the priesthood is passed down. He believed that through good works and faith, anyone could receive the priesthood, which means he didn't really believe the apostasy was a big deal, which means he didn't think that the Restoration was that important it was just a "good thing", which means that when we ask him how he thinks about the Book of Mormon, he just says it's a "good book" and ughhhh we weren't expecting all this and we still need to figure out how to help him get all this down. But I think it's definitely realistic, and I'm really grateful that we have the opportunity to practice. Apparently, back in the day, missionaries didn't get to practice teaching at all before heading out (and back in back in the day, you learned the language in the country you were supposed to serve in!), and I can't imagine how difficult that would have been; it's scary to think about going to Korea now, and I've had so many different resources to help me to learn!

I'll miss the MTC. Like everyone else, I'm excited to go to Korea, but it's hard to leave the teachers and my district behind. I've learned a lot here, more than I though I would; I've learned so much Korean, so much about the gospel, so much about who I am, how I work as a missionary, how other people work, being a friend, how others through the Holy Ghost can help me even when they don't realize it, how to teach, how powerful our examples can be, whether postive or negative - I know I watch what other people do far more than they realize, and I'm sure they do the same to me. We've all had our share of hard times and concerns, but we've had so much fun, so much bonding, so many spiritual experiences. I was talking with some of the others about the MTC, and I remember someone said in the first few weeks that "nobody comes home from there mission saying how great the MTC was," but I don't feel the same way. I'm sure the "real" mission is a lot more exciting, and a lot more investment goes into it, but the MTC experience is still part of my mission. I don't think I'll ever be completely ready to go to Korea, but the MTC has brought be much, much closer to ready than any other way could have. I know the Lord has blessed me and everyone else here to learn and to grow. I hope I can continue to keep growing in Korea.


To Mom: No, I haven't gained a lot of weight here. I weighted myself a few days ago, and if I've gained any, it's just a pound or two. My teachers tell me that they've never heard of anyone actually gaining weight in Korea though, so don't worry about me! I'm not sure how companionships work on the way over there; I assume I'll be with Elder Stapley, but there's an elder in my district whose companion is going to Seoul while he's going to Pusan (which is pretty rare, having a split companionship, but apparently having a split district is weird as well), so I don't know what'll happen. There might be another solo elder that he gets to be with, or he might just join another group to make a trio. I guess we'll see. I'm sorry to hear Barry Manilow's concert got cancelled. You were so excited to go! :D Oh, and I got the package you sent me. Thank you for everything! People were curious about the pictures, so I showed some of them, and it seemed like everyone seemed to comment that "your sister (Rachel) doesn't look that Asian...". I don't know why that stood out to them that much, but apparently that's noteworthy. The ties you sent me are great! I'm excited to get to wear them. I like all of them, so I don't think I'll be giving any away, although I know that a lot of elders will trade ties with others to get ones they like.

To Dad: Your residence had a window that could open? I'm pretty sure the only purpose of the window in my residence is to let light in. Maybe it's because those in charge got tired of people keeping climbing in through windows... I forgot to ask Bro. Sung about thermals, but I assume I can buy them in Korea (Korea's definately urban enough that there'll be a store somewhere that sells them, and my teachers told me they did most of their shopping in Korea), so don't worry about it. My travel plans say that I can bring 2 suitcases weighing 50 pounds each, so I might have been confused about what I need to pay for, but having a little extra money for emergencies is fine by me.

Oh, and don't worry about my backpack. I'm still using it here, (and I want it for the airplane ride over there) so I'll just bring it to Korea and buy a side bag there then. My teachers said it's probably still a good idea to have a backpack for transfers and whenever I need to move a lot of heavy stuff; it's just during the daily routine I shouldn't be using it, I think. Besides, I don't think I'm allowed to give anything, even if it's temporary, to my teachers (they're not allowed to give us anything either; believe us, we've tried to get them to bring us kimchi to try eating, but no luck). According both of my teachers, there's not a whole lot of biking to get to places; Korea's got a really good system of transportation, so between buses, subways, taxis, and walking, it's pretty easy to get around. Each area (I think that's what they're called) tends to be pretty small too. Maybe out in the country (we asked where Provo fits in the Korean urban scale, and he answered that Provo would be considered "countryside/rural"), there's more of riding bikes, but I don't think it's that big in Korea. In any case, I'll keep my backpack, so you don't have to do anything about it.

The "niem" in hyoungjeniem is a marker for respect. Basically, you add it to pretty much anyone that's not yourself. If I were to introduce both me and my companion, I would say that my name is "Luke jangno" and my companion's is "Stapley jangnoniem." There's another marker to show even more respect, "geso," but the district isn't 100% sure when it's appropriate to use. You would use it when saying "God," or "Jesus Christ" (oddly, when just saying "Jesus" you just use the "niem"); one teacher said it was for "Gods, prophets, and kings." However, the other teacher would use "geso" to talk about his companion, and he also uses it when talking about a bishop. It's pretty confusing, and whenever we ask about it, our teachers try to teach it for a bit, then just kind of give up and tell us it's a "feeling-thing" that we'll likely pick up in Korea. Let me tell you, there's a lot of "feeling-things" - we've learned about 7 different ways to say "because," and each has a slightly different nuance. It seems like every time we ask how two similar words are different, we hear "Oh, it's a feeling-thing," which is followed by a lot of groaning from the district. I'm sure other languages are the same though, and we really can't afford to spend a lot of time covering minute details.

Getting to home teach the Tuft family seems like fun! Lucky! :D

Anyways, I think I've got one more P-day before I jet off, so just one more email from the MTC. As always, I'm grateful for your love and support, and your prayers. I know God hears them and is blessing me for everyone's faith.

Anyungheekeseo -

Luke jango


Yes, he really did send mail titled "week 6" one week and "week 8" the next; there's not a letter missing.

MTC week 6ish (July 12, 2013)


Thank you for all your letters! It sounds like everyone had fun this Fourth of July, which is awesome. I wish I could have been there! Just keeping busy living our normal summer life sounds wonderful :).

I don't have much to write about, so here's some stories about MTC life...

Korean is hard, and we're still learning. Whenever we're done with a lesson, we usually share how the lesson went with the district. Usually, it's just "good," but sometimes, people have funny stories to tell.

I guess this isn't as funny as the other stories, but it's made me realize that even though we're all missionaries, we're all still 19 year old boys. Recently, people in my room have been locking themselves out with alarming frequency. For the past 3 nights, I'll be studying out in the hall, and I hear a "Luke jangnoniiiiiiieeem?" When they find out that I've got a key, they all give a huge sigh of relief. It seems like everyone else assumes that someone else will either be in the room or have a key on them, but the "someone else" thinks the same thing. I just find it funny that at times, 5 out of 6 people forget to carry their key on them.

One companionship of elders were trying to get the investigator to pray, and so they wanted him to read James 1:5-6 ("If any of ye lack wisdom..."). I guess they weren't very thorough in making sure that the scripture they opened up to in the Korean Bible was correct, because they read John 1:5-6 instead (something about "God is light"). The investigator was confused what this meant and what this had to do with prayer, and the missionaries were confused why the investigator was confused. He would point up to the lights in the room and ask if it was God, but they just thought he was pointing to heaven, and so naturally the answer was "yes." Anyways, it derailed their entire lesson, and I think they spent a good 20 minutes on that one question.

One companionship of sisters asked one of our teachers about funny things we've said, one companionship, when trying to say "we want share about our Christ-centered beliefs," actually said "we want to share our capitalistic beliefs." I have no idea how the teacher managed to keep a straight face, but the group that said that didn't notice anything was wrong at the time. My teacher also mentioned that the sentances "where is my backpack?" and "my granpa is in the room" are either spelled the exact same, or sound very, very close. I'm curious what things I've said that I had no intention of saying.

Just the other day, Elder Stapley and I were teaching our investigator about baptism and the Holy Ghost to try to get him to commit to be baptized. I made the invitation, and he agreed to be baptized, but he seemed a little confused. In Korean-Chinese, 3 and 4 sound very similar, so I think I asked him to be baptized on July 40th instead of the 30th. He still accepted, which is good, but he definately was not sure about what I was trying to say. He then asked me if that (the after we resolved the fact that I was trying to say "30") was a Saturday, because he had time then. I hadn't thought that far ahead (July 30th is the day after we leave, so I assumed that was a safe day...) and so I could only answer "Um, maybe?" He thought for a second, and then told me it was like a Tuesday. We agreed to make it the Saturday after that, but from this, I've learned to plan for every detail...

To answer some of Mom's questions: I have no idea what our travel plans are going to be as far as going to Korea goes. Rumor has it that we get itineraries next Friday (the 19th), but I don't know how true this is. I think the other older districts got theirs 3-5 days before leaving, so it might be awhile before I know what's going on for certain.

I haven't stopped taking the medicine, so I have no idea if my coughs are gone, but it seems that I'm still coughing a little in the evening, so I'm not sure that it's gone (the doctor says he thinks it's allergies, so it might not go away until summer's done/I go to Korea). We'll see I guess. Other than that and being tired sometimes, I'm doing fine though! :)

Yes, I've opened the package you sent me. Thanks for all the food! It was interesting to try them out, and I ended up sharing a lot of it with my district. For some reason, everyone compared them to cornflakes - "Oh, these taste like salty cornflakes! And these are cinnamon cornflakes!" They were a little strange at first, but they were delicious! People in the district especially liked the white grape hard candy. I left it in the classroom on P-day so whoever dropped by could take one, and the whole bag was all but gone in around 6 hours.

I don't think there's much more I need before going to Korea. Worst case, I'll probably be able to buy it there.

Since you seem really curious about dessert, here's the answer: We have dinner at 5:40 most days, and while we're at dinner, they have a cooler with ice cream in it (ice cream bars, fudge bars, that sort of thing), so if I want, I can get dessert then. I'm usually not in the mood for more food directly after dinner, so I don't get any. We've got class from 6:25 to 9:25, and I think the cafeteria is open during that time, but nobody wants to leave class to get food, so we don't get dessert there. Everyone on our floor shares the food they get though, so at nighttime, there's always people wandering around with like a pan of brownies, or a box of doughnuts, or a bag of cookies looking to get rid of it, so most people can get some sort of dessert if they're hungry.

To Jim - Yes, there's an Elder Jackson in my zone. I'm pretty sure he's from around here, so if I get the chance to talk to him, I'll ask :). And yes, apparently, knowing Japanese helps with learning Korean. I was talking with another elder about learning Korean (someone somewhere said that in a survey/study they took at the MTC, Finnish was the hardest language to learn for English speakers followed by Korean. I think Chinese would be up there, but they just learn the Romanized sounds for Chinese; I don't know if they actually learn how to read characters), and I was trying to explain why I thought that learning any language would be about the same level of difficulty. I told him that all you have to do is accept that sentences go "subject-object-verb," and the sentences should make sense, but he told me that he couldn't think that way. He literally had to skip over the object, read the verb, then read the object to understand what the sentence was saying. I thought that because I didn't actually learn Japanese (I just grew up with it), it wouldn't affect me much learning a new language, but I guess it has helped me to be more flexible in new sentence structures.

To Dad - You mentioned in your letter about giving lessons from notes. Just so you know, in order to do that, I still have to practice a lot and know roughly what I want to say before the lesson. It's not really "extemporaneous" like you said. It'll be awhile until I get to that point...

Oh, in case you were wondering, I've been getting your Dear Elders. I was a bit surprised at first, because I had no idea who would send me a Dear Elder; I didn't know you knew about it! Anyways, I haven't asked Bro. Sung directly about whether I need thermals or no, but he's mentioned how cold it can get in the winter (To paraphrase him, "The cold goes through all your clothes, no matter how much you wear, and goes into your bones."). I'll definitely need them, but I think I'll just buy them in Korea. Sung hyungjeniem recommends just buying what we need in Korea because it's better quality for a cheaper price, so I'll just do that when I get to Korea. When we were talking about it, everyone seemed disappointed that they had already done so much shopping (apparently, and "big" things like suits and jackets are better bought in Korea) - we thought we were off the hook for two years! So yeah, I'll figure out what I need in Korea and get it there.

Speaking of buying things, have you heard about the new missionary dress code? The main thing is that missionaries aren't allowed to wear backpacks anymore (one of the more sane theories I've heard about that is that it makes you look like a student instead of a missionary, especially in countries where school uniforms are standard). Side bags are pretty much required now, so that's something else I'll need to get in Korea. Other than that, just things like more specific instruction on what ties are allowed (no skinny ties, no unprofessional ties, no complicated patterns, but bright colors are okay), wider range of pants colors (khaki and light grey pants are acceptable), and I guess we can wear more sweater colors (reds and lighter blues are okay now it seems). If you want to check it out, it's on under "Resources" and then "Missionaries," I think.

For the missionary scripture, how about D&C 68:4-5? I think it's 10ish lines. If that's too long (I don't really want to edit scripture...), then just go with Alma 5:33, which is almost exactly what the Jacob scripture said, but in fewer words.

One more thing - I don't know how much money is on my debit card, but I'm pretty sure we have to pay for the airplane luggage fees by ourselves (it gets reimbursed later), so can you make sure that I have enough money for that, as well as some extra for emergencies (I think that needs to be in cash, so I'll just take some from the ATM)? I'll try to figure out more specific details this week. Thanks!

To Lisa - If I remember, I'll ask about shoes. I doubt I'll understand the answer thoughts. Women's shoes are not my forte. As for your story about the temple, I've waited 2-3 hours once when I went to do batisms in Provo, so an hour and a half isn't too bad!

The MTC is a place of many small miracles. It's awesome to see how much prayer changes things - it's easy for Elder Stapley and I to forget to pray before planning lessons, but whenever we do, I notice that we work better, and our plans fit together much better. We said prayers before planning yesterday, and I can honestly say that I yesterday's plans are some of the best that we've ever had. Things just seem to come together and connect the way we need them to be. Sometimes when I'm really tired, I'll say a quick prayer to help me get through class without spacing out, and by the end of the class period, I feel completely awake. I've had times where I'll be looking for a perfect scripture to share to my investigator, and I just can't find it. If I pray before the next study session, I'll be able to find an awesome scripture while studying something unrelated. It's hard to explain, but I know that the Lord hears our prayers, and is contstantly answering them. Sometimes it's hard to notice all the answers and inspirations we're getting, but they're there, and as I've begun to notice them, it just makes me all the more grateful for all that I have and have been given.

Thank you for your support, love and especially prayers! I know that God is helping me and blessing me for it, and I'm grateful for that.

- Luke jangno


"Dear Elder": A service in Provo that allows you to send e-mail and they'll print it out and deliver it to the MTC the same day.  Usually we wrote Andrew letters and sent them by normal USPS "snail mail," but a couple of times I had questions or information I wanted to get to him quickly so I used that service.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

MTC Week 5! (July 5, 2013)


How was the holiday for you all? Did you get together as a family and light some fireworks? Here at the MTC, we had special devotional where we talked a little bit about patriotism and service, and then watched the movie "17 Miracles" (the devotional was okay, but I've already seen the movie...). Afterwards, we all went outside to watch some fireworks that were being shot by a nearby concert/celebration. The trees at the MTC are pretty big, and a there were a lot of people trying to see them, so I didn't have an awesome view, but it was still nice to be outside and be a part of the festivities. They let us stay up nearly 20 minutes past our normal bedtime, which is pretty crazy.

I realized this the other day, but around a week from today, my district and everyone who came here at the same time as me are going to be the oldest group here. That's weird - we're going to know the most Korean in our entire branch!

Korean-wise I'm still learning a lot. My teacher said that at this point (around 5 weeks in), any lessons we give shouldn't have a script written out; they should just be English bullet points, so I've been working on that. It seems that because it's easier to write notes instead of a script, I have time to practice and go over what I'm going to say, so the lessons have gone smoother than I've expected. The notes I bring in are pretty detailed though, so eventually, I hope to get to a point where I can give 8-15 minutes worth of lesson with around a half-page of notes.

The MTC (or at least part of the MTC) recently made some changes in their foreign language program, and we've been challenged to memorize Joseph Smith's first vision - I think like verses 16-20ish. It's a little difficult - there's a lot of words and phrases we've never used or learned ("pillar of light," "directly," "brighter than the sun"), and written Korean is in a different form than what we've learned. Like in Japan, how polite you are when talking depends on who you're talking to. As missionaries, we've mostly learned the "high form" which means you honor whoever you're talking to (there's also a "king form," "middle form," "middle polite form," and "low form"). The first vision is in low form, because Joseph Smith is writing about himself and there's no need to be polite, so it's not something we're used to. For example, sentences end differently, and the word for "I" is different. I'm memorizing by a weird combination of memorizing the sounds and trying to memorize a few of the more common words, but it's coming along.

I've come understand how blessed me and my district are to have the teachers we have. Brother Sung is an awesome teacher - natually, his Korean is really good, but he also teaches in a a way that we can understand, and does a really good job in general. He always corrects the mistakes we make, but never in a way that feels like we've made one. It seems like Bro. Sung tells stories all the time; whether it's funny or spiritual, we all love it when he does. He's really easy-going, and I know that the whole district will miss him when we leave the MTC (a couple people have said that they hope everyone in Korea is exactly like Bro. Sung). Bro Campbell is maybe a little bit more strict - he doesn't tell as many stories, and almost never speaks in English. This is a good thing though; it forces us to listen and try to understand his Korean. Bro Campbell is also really spiritual - whatever we're talking about, Bro Campbell has a scripture that fits the situation and helps us with the discussion.

Bro Sung says that Bro Campbell has really good Korean - he says he was surprised to hear an RM with pronunciation like Bro Campbell. My district's noticed this too - we had a RM substitute for us one day, and it was really obvious that he wasn't as fluent in Korean as our other teachers. A couple weeks ago, one of the members of the branch presidency gave a talk in Korean, and we all noticed that he had an accent, which made us all really excited that we knew enough Korean to know when someone wasn't fluent (sometimes, we make fun of the other districts; part of the American accent is to pronounce the "liul," a letter with a sound that mixes an "r" and "l," with a really hard r-sound. This is especially funny when other people say the marker for plurals - the digut-gutslash-liul should sound like "duul," but people pronounce it "durr." It's really hard to focus on talks in church when all we can hear is "durr" being repeated over and over. We probably shouldn't make fun of them though; like I said, my district's been extremely blessed to be taught by Bro Sung and Bro Campbell; the others are doing what they can with what they've been taught...). When a Korean gives a talk or says a prayer though, we have a very hard time understanding. They talk really, really fast! Bro Sung says that he goes maybe 80% of his normal speed when teaching us, but I feel like he's being generous in that number. It's probably closer to like 60%.

I talked about the sickness going around at the MTC a couple weeks back, and it seems like that's settled down. We're still technically not supposed to shake hands (so I don't with the branch presidency), but it doesn't seem like people are feeling that sick anymore, so that's good. I've been feeling pretty healthy for about the past week as well, so hopefully I'll stay that way.

This last Sunday, the cafeteria was really full (the MTC wants the minimize how many people work on Sundays, so everyone eats at the same time), and so there was no space to sit with my district. I wandered over a bit, and found a seat by Elder Roylance! I finally got to actually talk with Richard, and that was fun. He says that the first couple of days have been hard, but that's probably to be expected. I see him around every one in awhile.

To Dad - I definitely should have mentioned this earlier, but could you send some photos of our family? I know I'm supposed to have some to bring to Korea, but I kept forgetting to ask in earlier emails. For some reason, a couple people in my district want to see pictures of our family too; probably something to do with seeing how Japanese everyone else looks. I was going to write about our Sunday meetings, but I'm out of time, so maybe next week? And as for my missionary scripture, I did a bit of looking around, and I think I'll go with Jacob 6:4-5. I got the scholarship-deferement thing, and I'll get to work on filling that out. Thanks!

Just one quick thought before I wrap things up: as a district leader (although I think it's almost time for me switch out with someone else), I've noticed that everyone in the district has something to contribute. There's a few people in the district that don't really get along, and so these people don't really listen closely to others. Since I've been a district leader, I've been trying especially hard not to do this; as I've tried to listen to everyone and tried not to make hasty judgements. As I do this, I've found that I can find good things about everyone. Sure people aren't perfect, but then again, neither am I. There were a few people that I was a bit apprehensive about dealing with, but as I've tried to be friendly and not dismiss them, they've responded the same way and I've learned that the apprehension I had before was never really an issue. I guess my point is - it's important to understand that everyone is different, don't judge others for how they're not like you, but appreciate them for the strengths they have that you don't.

Here's a few pictures I took: one with me and my district at the temple, one with me an Richard at them temple, and one of my room. The sun was really bright at the temple, so everyone in the pictures are squinting, but at least I have pictures this time :). Really quickly, from left to right: Sister Jackson, Sister Pope, Elder Frampton, Elder Pickard, Elder Harris, Sister Bussio, Elder Killpack, Sister Segovia, Elder Diede, Elder Stapley, Elder Redd, and me!

You'll notice that my room is tiny. The beds take up a lot of space! My bed is the one in the middle, bottom bunk. The people in my room aren't in my district, but the one on the bunk bed is Elder Stapley, the one flexing is Elder Gee, the guy in the red is Elder Demordant, and the one in blue studying is Elder Perry. We're all going to Korea, but I think everyone else is going to Seoul.

Thanks for all your support, prayers, and love!
- Luke jangno


The fireworks they saw were from the "Stadium of Fire" show put on every year at the BYU football stadium, which is fairly close to the MTC.

RM: "returned missionary," e.g. someone who has served a mission.  Here Andrew is using it to contrast the pronunciation of somebody who spent two years in Korea with that of a native speaker.

MTC - one month down! (June 28, 2013)


I apologize for the late email. I got greedy with my nap, and my companion was too nice to wake me up, so our normal p-day schedule kinda got off. This email will probably not be as long as some of the others I've typed.

It's week 4 at the MTC, which means my stay here is roughly halfway over! I'm scheduled for 9 weeks technically, but I think the first half-week counts as one week. In any case, tomorrow will be exactly one month since I've been at the MTC, which is crazy; in someways it feels like it's been much shorter; in other ways, it feel like it's been waaay too long.

So real quick about my district: I've said this before, but there's 12 people, 8 elders, 4 sisters. We've got a 5/7 split between Seoul/Busan. Everyone is really nice; there's nobody that I can't stand or anything like that, though naturally, I get along better with certain people more than others. He's a little bit about everyone, so hopefully you can kind of get a feel for what the district's like:

Elder Luke - Me! District leader, etc.

Elder Stapley - My companion! Elder Stapley is from Manhattan, Kansas, loves reading the Book of Mormon, loves taking long showers in the morning, likes studying ahead to be able to say what he wants to in Korean, generally dislikes the food here, and suffers from migranes every so often, which is too bad. Apparently, there's not much he can do about it (other than medicines when it happens). I don't know if that's why, but he tends to space out a little bit during lectures, so I've retaught a few grammer forms for him. He's really nice though; he doesn't like to mention anything when his head hurts, because he doesn't want to take me out of the classroom to go back to our residence. I've told him I'd rather he be not suffering during class, because I can always catch up, but I don't think he's entirely convinced...

Sister Pope - Quiet girl, was in my ward at BYU. I don't think I've ever spoken to her there though. She loves singing, doesn't understand why others don't, and was disappointed when I didn't join choir, and also when like 3 other elders joined me in non-participation.

Sister Jackson - From North Carolina, also loves singing. She, along with some other sisters, makes our hymn-singing sound really good. She laughs at everything.

Elder Frampton - Elder from Pennsylvania, and is proud of it. He also likes singing, and is trying to convince my teachers to sing with him for a musical number in our ward. I don't think either of them will be convinced though. Has a girlfriend waiting at home, which means he's very interested in when I get the mail and how often. I'm probably going to end up reducing the number of times I hand out mail from twice a day down to one. He will not be happy. We went on splits once, and he told me the highlight of his day was going to check mail with me. I sincerely hope he's joking.

Elder Pickard - Kind of quiet elder, but knows what we've learned. He loves baseball, saying "Good morning" and "Good night" to an elder that I'm rooming with (he made it a goal to say one of the two phrases every time they meet, I think). I'm pretty good friends with him. I think our personality is similar. When we have questions about Korean, we tend to ask each other if the other person think it sound alright. To be fair, we don't know enough Korean to know when something sounds weird though...

Elder Diede - Tall, blonde, loves giving "high form high fives" where people have to jump to slap his hand. He and Elder Pickard are the two I'm closest to. He's patient with his companion, and is generally a nice guy. He loves basketball, but has a healing knee he keep reagitating. He walks with a limp right now (messed up his knee again like two days ago...), so I hope he'll be fine, and nothing terrible will happen to him now or on his mission... Hates it when other people complain about food, which I agree with. It's not terrific food, but it's good sometimes, and okay most of the time, and complaining doesn't help the meals out any.

Elder Redd - Talkative, loud, maybe a little ADD, and loves Germany. He was a little hard to deal with at first, but he's grown on me (Elder Diede says he's starting to like him more too). Whenever I've talked to him about spiritual things, he's always got good advice, so I respect him. I think he's gotten better at focusing since he got here, so that's good.

Not much time left, so I'll kind of speed through these...

Sister Segovia - Don't know much about here. She's really nice, like everyone else. She's from Mountain Home though, so there's a fellow Idahoan in my district!

Sister Bussio - Last email, I wrote about the sister who knew a lot about grammar; this is Sister Bussio. She studied Greek at BYU for awhile, so she knows exactly what an "indirect discourse" is when nobody else does. Out of the district, she probably helps other people the most, usually with understanding new grammar forms. Doesn't like the fact that there's some things in Korean that you have to understand how it "feels" to figure out if it's appropriate. Anyways, nice like everyone else, and seems to have a pretty good grasp on Korean.

Elder Killpack - Don't know much about him. Former DL. He's pretty sarcastic (I think...), which makes him a bit difficult to understand at times. Speaking of which, apparently Koreans don't use sarcasm, and think that Americans tend to lie a lot when speaking ("Where are you from?" "China." "Oh really? Cool! Which part?").

Elder Harris - Loves basketball, hates the food here, and is scared of Korean food. Even though he's a little picky, he's still a nice guy. I'm friendly with him.

Well, that's my district. There's still a LOT that I could have said, but it's getting late (by MTC standards that is), so I think I'm done about my district.

To answer Mom's question - I went to go see the doctor, and he said that it sounded like allergies (something about mucus running in the back of my throat irritating my throat). I got to take a trip off of MTC campus (!) to get some allergy medicine and some kind of pain reliever. I've been taking it for awhile, and it's helped a ton. I haven't been noticing any coughing at all, so hopefully, problem solved. I got sick for a couple of days, probably because of the sickness going around here, but I took it easy, skipped a meal because I wasn't feeling hungry, slept, and I feel fine now.

As far as things to send goes, I got a package from home today (haven't had time to open it yet...), so I assume it's what we've talked about earlier. Earplugs are fine, but a few neckties would be cool. When you wear one every day, having like 8 gets a bit repetitive. Next time you go shopping, maybe pick out a couple of ties as a family for me? :) A bleach pen would be nice - I don't have anything to clean my white shirts with. I checked the bookstore for one, but they were either sold out or they don't have any there... Other than that, nothing really comes to mind.

To Dad - Sorry about not sending anything for the missionary plaque. I still haven't found a scripture I want to use yet, but to be honest, I haven't really been thinking about it. I'll sit down one of these days during a study time and read some scriptures to find one.

To Lisa - I've met both Elder Jones and Elder Roylance at the MTC! Both times, it was a quick "Hey, how's it going, sorry but I have to be somewhere"-type conversation, but I'll probably end up running into them sometime later. I don't know what building the Japanese speakers meet in, or what their schedule is like though, so maybe next time I see one of them, I'll ask.

To everyone - Sorry for the lack of pictures! Like the missionary scripture, I've just been so busy that it's slipped out of my mind. I'll try again this Sunday to try to get a picture of the district together, but if not, I might have to take some during class; not sure if that's even allowed...

Thank you all for your love and support!
- Luke jango