Sunday, January 26, 2014

Transfer 5 Week... 3? (January 27, 2014)


I can't really remember what I did this week. Sorry. Uh...

So we met with Brother 전춘식 again, and I'll be honest, I don't really know what went on. We had a member there, and so he kind of took control, and they talked for forever about something (I was really tired that night too, so trying to understand everything was hard...). Basically, our investigator says learning about religion is hard, but he's willing to read from the Book of Mormon, etc. And that maybe in the future, he'll find time to think about God and religion, but his first priority now is to work so that he can provide for his family.

So, nothing's really changed. He can still meet, he's willing to do what we ask him to do, and all we have to do is help him to understand why religion, and learning about God is important to him.

The referral we got last week didn't make it to church, so we couldn't teach her. I hope she didn't get scared off or anything...

Met with our usual 2 families for dinner/service/English/gospel study/family home evening things, which is fun.

This next week is 설날, which is this huge Korean holiday, so everything is kind of going to come to a halt from like Wednesday or Thursday until Sunday. On the actual day of 설날, we've been giving 8 hours to clean our house - basically, President Gilbert said "you're not going to be able to get anything done on this day, so just keep yourself busy with useful things." That day will be hard, but hey, our house will be clean!

In 서귀포, since there's only like 25 members, the adults give talks like once a month. One of the members asked me about how things work back home, and this is kind of how it went:
"So how often did you give talks back home?"
"Mm, maybe once every few years."
"What!? But then you much be really excited to give talks, since it's such a rare opportunity!"

And speaking of talks, this one like 10 year old kid gave a talk last Sunday, and it made me think that someday, I'll be able to give a talk in Korean as good as that kid. Someday!

Alright, sorry I don't really have anything to write about... probably about the same for next week as well, haha. I hope you're all doing well back home, that you're healthy and happy and stuff.

Elder Luke


전춘식: Jeon Chungsik, their investigator originally described as an "English spaz." Andrew spelled his name differently again this week... I used the Romanaziation from last week's version.

설날: Seollal (the hangul actually looks like it should be read seolnal, I'm not sure what rule changes the pronunciation like that...). Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year), which is defined by the second new moon after the winter solstice. From the Wikipedia article here, it looks like it's a three-day holiday, reasonably similar to the celebration in Japan (except Japan celebrates New Year on the Gregorian calendar, not the lunar calendar).

서귀포: Seogwipo, his area.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Transfer 5, week 2! (January 20, 2014)


This week was really, really good! We kept really busy, and so time just flew by. Missionary work is so much better when you have a busy days!

Let's see, as far as investigators go...

So we couldn't meet with Mike this week, and we gave him a call, and it seems like they'll be busy for the next couple of weeks. I kind of get the feeling that they don't really want to meet with us, so we might have to let them go...

But on the bright side, we got a referral this week (referrals are really, really rare; this is my second one, and I think maybe Elder Brower's 3-4), which is sweet. One Brother 김성진 (Sungjin Kim), brought a lady to church with him. She attends an English academy with 김성진, and that's how they met. Her name is 장여훈 (Yeohoon Jang), and she seemed to like church. We had a lesson with her afterwards, but we didn't have any time to prepare, so I don't think it went that well... Oh well, we'll do better next week.

Speaking of member missionary work, apparently, Koreans are super intense. I've heard horror stories where missionaries teach along with the member, and the member pushes too hard and scares the investigator away. Hopefully that won't happen with her, haha. But we met our district president (fun fact: most missionary records refer to him as "K-1 Fighter" for reasons unexplained; for example "Met the investigator with K-1 Fighter this week") again (I guess it was a weekly thing, so we get fed every Sunday~~), and he was reporting to us about what they talked about. He said, "I talked to her about prophets, and Joseph Smith, and why there is need to be a true church." If nothing else, it just means that the members are excited and try really hard to help us out. :D

We met with 전충식 again (we got his name wrong; it's "Choongshik Jun", not "Joonshik Jun"), and it went well. We wanted to set a baptismal date with him, but he told us that he didn't want to commit. He said that getting baptized and joining a church is something that he can't decide lightly or easily, and so he wants time to think. We were a little disappointed, but it means he understands that religion is important, and so that's fine.

(Mm, as far members go, our branch president asked for his number, and just randomly called him to say hi, I think. Again, the members really love trying to get to know and help investigators out.)

He asked if we had any night worship meetings; said it would be sweet if we could meet, teach him English, study about the Gospel together, and then meet with the members for a service, but unfortunately, we don't have any such meetings... :(

But he seems really sincere. Elder Brower and I decided to try to meet with him more often, to see if that helps him progress more, so we're shooting for twice a week instead of just once. He's got time, so he said that it works.

So basically, we're excited for him! He's got a couple of issues; he works on Sundays, and so he can't come to church; and he seems a little suspicious of big church organizations (especially where money is concerned), but he's super nice, open minded, can meet with us often... He's a good investigator!

Other than that, we've been given a couple of "lost members" to find. Does that program exist in America? Not sure what the deal is; I think we're looking for people who are rumored to live somewhere (or maybe people who are long gone, and we're trying to see if we can't find anything out about them). So we tried to visit one, but the house seemed abandoned; it was on an orange farm, but harvest season is over, so no one was home. We wanted to ask neighbors, but he didn't have any; one plot of land was just a dirt field, and the next closest house was gutted and abandoned, so sadly, we couldn't do any detective work. :(  (though it appears that the house didn't have any electricity going to it, so it's more than likely nobody lives there...)

Yup, that's about it. Busy week, went well! I'll write to you all next week too!

Elder Luke


Transfer 5, week 2: The second week of Andrew's fifth six-week "transfer" period. They must use the "transfer" and "week" for some sort of mission reporting or something for him to be so aware of it. I don't remember ever having any particular awareness of that when I was a missionary.

안녕하세요: Annyeonghaseyo, the standard Korean greeting.

김성진: Kim Seongjin, aka Sungjin Kim, the member that brought the lady to church yesterday.

장여훈: Jang Yeohun, aka Yeohoon Jang, the lady that came to church.

"'K-1 Fighter' for reasons unexplained": This is 윤성조 (Yun Seongjo, aka Sungjo Yoon), the man Andrew described last week as being a martial arts teacher with a dojo on the first floor of his house. I don't know that he actually does K-1, but at least the reason for the nickname is kind of clear. Or maybe Andrew has no idea what K-1 is?

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, aka Choongshik Jun, the "English spaz" that Andrew has mentioned several times over the last few weeks, but had his name slightly wrong -- 전충식, not 전준식.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Transfer 5, week 1! (January 13, 2014)


So this transfer I'll be staying in 서귀포 with Elder Brower as expected, there's an elder coming into my district who's younger than me, as far as time in Korea is concerned. This will be my first transfer with me not being the youngest in the district. I feel old.

Oh, and I haven't been getting letters recently. The last one was the letter with the Stake Presidency's Christmas message in it. But they had to do some reshuffling with postal stuff, so maybe that's it. If I don't get anything for the next couple of weeks, I'll complain to the office Elders :).

So... this week...

Yesterday, we got invited over to our District President (he lives in our branch), President 윤성조 (Sungjo Yoon). He's a really nice man - he teaches martial arts, and so the 1st floor of his house is kind of a dojo. His English is surprisingly good; I think he studies on his own. They fed us dinner, we taught the family English, and then we shared a message.

Afterwards, President 윤성조 asked me a bunch of questions about classic rock music. I guess he's pretty into to that kind of music, plus like country or something. Anyways, he was asking me about the lyrics to one song, and whether they were clean lyrics or not. He seemed really confused; he told me like 3 times, "Some members say that this is bad song, but other members say that this is not bad song." It's a good thing that he's concerned about his music I guess! :D

We couldn't meet with Mike this week, which means we met with him only like twice in six week, which is a really bad rate for meeting investigators...

But we did manage to meet with Brother 전준식, and he's doing well. He said that what he really wants is to learn English, but he's open to religion as well. A lot of the things he believes seems similar to ours; he kind of went off last time about how bad alcohol - as a matter of fact, I think he said that one of the reasons why he started learning English is so he'd have something to do other than drink.

Our teaching is going a bit slower than we had hoped, but last time, he agreed really heartedly (is that not a word?) to try praying every day, and read from the Book of Mormon. His actual words were "해봐야하죠," which translates to something like, "Of course I have to try!" So it seems like he's doing well. We want to set a concrete baptismal date with him soon, but we'll see how things go...

Oh, and do you remember 이효성? He was our only student in English class for awhile, back in 영도. He gave me a call for some reason (just to say hi I think?), which was a little surprising, since I haven't been in 영도 for a month and a half. I don't know why, but he called everyone "the." He told me that "the Platero" said I was down in 서귀포, and asked if I was "reunited with the 창영 (my trainer)."

Other than that, things are pretty normal this week. We're going to start trying and visit less/non active members, but I think most of them have moved at this point. We tried calling everyone, and out of a list of maybe 200 numbers, like 175 of them are what we call "없는  번호"s, which basically means that the phone number no longer exists. I forget what it's called in English... disconnect number? Dead number? Something like that.

Alright, that's about it I guess! This week's been good. We've been keeping busy, which is all we can ask for! I've been a little sickish this week, but through prayer, I been able to get over the worst of it (mostly when I don't feel like doing anything, but there's things to be done). Gods answers our prayers; I've never had a moment where I was like "Wow, just at this moment I've received strength to do missionary work!!!," but I always make it through the day, and even if I'm exhausted, I don't feel like it when teaching a lesson, or meeting with a member, or whatever it might be.

Thanks for everything! Tell Keiko-obachan thank you for all the food. There's way too much for us to eat! :D

- Elder Luke


서귀포: Seogwipo, his current area at the south of Jeju Island.

윤성조 (Sungjo Yoon): "Yun Seongjo" in standard Romanization, the classic rock loving district president.

전준식: Jeon Junsik, the "English spaz" he mentioned before on December 23 and December 27

해봐야하죠: "Haebwayahajyo," which Google Translate renders as "Must do."

이효성: I Hyosang, a college student Andrew met in Yeongo. Andrew talked about him in his October 7 letter.

영도: Yeongdo.

서귀포: Seogwipo again.

창영: Changyeong.  I think this is the given name of Elder Jo (Cho), his first companion.

없는  번호: "eobsneun beonho." Google Translate renders this as "wrong number," but according to Andrew's description it must be more like "disconnected number."  Entering just 없는 into Google Translate results in "no; absent; unavailable; empty."  번호 is almost certainly 番号 = ばんごう = bangou ("number" in Japanese).

Keiko-obaachan: A friend of ours from Tokyo who visited Seoul a couple of weeks ago and sent Andrew a package from there.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Transfer 4, week 6! (January 6, 1014)


I'm really sorry, but there's no time to write anything long today. We went up to this huge frozen wasteland of a mountain for P-day, which was kind of a disaster. We left our house at 9, and got back to our area at maybe 4:45, so we're in a rush to do everything we have to.

This week was alright. We managed to meet with both of our investigators which is good; I kind of feel that they both only have a passing interest in what we're saying, but they're willing to listen, and so hopefully we can help them along until they understand why what we're saying is important.

Here's a few pictures to make up for the lack of text though!

The first picture is of the New Year's sun. We were waiting up at the top of a mountain, but it was kind of cloudy, and the youth were getting impatient, and we had a meeting to get to, so we headed back down. Of course, the second we finished climbing down the stairs, the sun came out!

The other is of the mountain we spent far too long on. It kind of reminded me of Bogus, with all the snow and all. There were a surprising number of hikers on the trail; Koreans are really, really into mountain hiking - they have stores with hiking clothes and equipment everywhere.

Sorry, that's all I have time for!

Elder Luke!


The mountain they climbed was almost certainly Halla-san, a large volcano which is the center of Jeju Island. Halla-san is 6400 feet high, and is the tallest mountain in South Korea.