Sunday, February 23, 2014

Transfer 6, week 1 (February 24, 2014)


So, transfers happened... and I'm staying in 서귀포, but Elder Brower's leaving to 대신 (it's actually the same district as 영도, my first area. They're right next to each other, so I've been in 대신 many, many times). I'll be staying here, and a Korean will be coming. Not sure what is name is exactly (haven't meet him yet, he'll arrive to Jeju Island in like 4 hours), but I think it's 호종행 (Jongheng Ho). This is is first transfer which means, yup, I have to be senior companion. He's only 2 transfers (so 3 months) younger than me as a missionary, so I'm not THAT much older. Besides, he's Korean, so we all know who's really in charge, right?

So we dropped off Elder Brower at the airport, and I'm spending my P-day with the other Elders on 제주도.

Here's a few pictures. One at a restaurant, one at our house, and the last just a group picture with the distict (I'm not really looking at the camera, but it's the best I got...).

Our kind of big new for this week (other than transfers, of course) is that we found a new investigator! We were calling a bunch of former investigators, and I happened to call one 양군수 (Goonsoo Yang). His record kind of made it seem like he wasn't interested, but he was nice enough, so we met with him once. He's a really nice guy, but maybe gets a little bit distracted. But he wants to learn a little English, and is interested (at least midly) in gospel disscussions, so we decided to meet with him once a week on Sundays for a the next little while.

Brother 전충식 is still doing well. Our lessons have been going really, really slowly, but we managed to finish the 2nd lesson (the Plan of Salvation) after meeting with him for like a month and a half. (We were talking about the kindgdoms of glory, when he said he had a question. He said, "I heard that scientists say that if we didn't have the sun, we would all die. It would be too cold, and plants wouldn't grow; the sun help keep the earth alive. But if the moon wasn't there, it wouldn't really make that big of a difference." I don't know what his question was...).

We tried to set a baptismal date for him again - roughly in a month, but that didn't really pan out. We talked about how this date is a goal to prepare for, and if he's not prepared by that date, that's fine. But I guess it's just his personality; he says if he sets a date as a goal, he wants to make it the first time. And there's one big problem right now; he works on Sundays, and so he can't come to church. It's really hard - 전충식 is really, really into getting money, but it all goes to his family, so that his sons can go to college. We've seen where he lives, and it's just this tiny couple of rooms - he doesn't have a TV, internet, anything like that, so it's been really hard for Elder Brower and I to tell him to stop working on Sundays to come to church.

But he was talking last time about how he needs to change, that reading from the Book of Mormon, he's learned alot about things he needs to do differently, but he doesn't know if he can commit to making these big changes. It's hard, but we'll see how things go from here on out. Hopefully, we can help him to have faith to give up work on Sunday, and trust that God will bless him to be able to make it through.

So that's where we're at right now! We weren't able to meet Mike at all this transfer, but we've made some phone calls, and hopefully we can revive him as an investigator. :D

And Sister 정여훈 hasn't come back to church, so she might be a dead end, since we don't actually have a way to directly contact her... -_-

We'll see how things go. We had a really busy week (with Elder Brower having to pack and all), and we hope that that will continue, and we can continue to be busy! The Lord has blesses Elder Brower and I to see many, many miracles in 서귀포, and we're really grateful to have been here to experience them. I'm excited for next transfer as well!

Love you all!

- Elder Luke

At a restaurant with his district -- that looks like fruit on the table, so it's probably dessert at the end of their meal.

I don't know why the goofy face, but at least he looks happy. :) In their house, with Elder Brower in the background.

With his district, the six missionaries that are on the island of Jeju-do.


안녕하세용~!: Annyeonghaseyo, the standard Korean greeting.

서귀포: Seogwipo, the city Andrew where is (still) living.

대신: Daesin, the area Elder Brower is going to, that's next to Yeongdo.

영도: Yeongdo, Andrew's first area (an area on the southeast corner of Busan city).

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the man they've been teaching for a couple of months now.

정여훈: Jeong Yeohun, the lady who attended church a couple of times, mentioned by Andrew on January 20 and February 10.

The restaurant they're eating at in the first photo is a noodle restaurant called 자매국수 (Jamae Guksu -- "Sister Noodles"), which appears to sell what is maybe a Korean version of ramen. Anyway, here's a clearer photo of the menu that you can see at the upper right of Andrew's photo:

They've got some inflation going, apparently -- notice that the prices have all been changed. I found other photos of the menu where the prices are all (at least) 1000 won lower.

Here is the outside of the restaurant:

The restaurant is in Jeju city, fairly close to the airport. (Parenthetically, the Internet is amazing...)

It seems that their living allowance is sufficient for them to eat out occasionally at places like this that are fairly reasonable ($5-7 for most of the menu items). That's more than we could afford in my day. :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Transfer 5, week 6 (February 17, 2014)


Not too busy of a week this week either. We're just kind of doing our normal thing, which you all kind of know about. But here it goes anyways...

Monday - Had p-day as a district together. We went to a Mexican restaurant, because one of our sisters really, really wanted to, and because Mexican restaurants basically don't exist in Korea. It was good, but expensive - it would like maybe $25 to fill you up completely. We all bought "super burritos," which were only 12 inches, and that was $10.

Then we went and played board games together, at Elder Brower's request. It was fun. We were planning on going over by 우도 (Udo) again this week, but it's raining (not snowing!), so we'll probably just play the games again this week.

Tuesday - Met with a less active, Brother Nelson. He's from Hawaii, and married a Korean, so that's why he's in 서귀포. He's hard to call a less active - his parents were members, but he stopped atteneding church when he was like 12, and I think had only been back like 2-3 times since. But he's a really nice guy - whenever we meet him, he buys us lunch, and then we go over to his house to talk. He believes in God and Jesus Christ, but just kind of feels like all he needs to do is live well and treat others well - he doesn't think things like scripture study, and going to church are important. That's hard to deal with, since he already has beliefs, but hopefully we can help him see things differently.

After that we met with our branch president. We realized that since I've came to 서귀포, we haven't shared a message with him, so we did that. We vistited another less active with him, and then he took out to a Korean "고기 집" (literally "meat house") and we ate until we thought we were going to die. It's sooo good!

Wednsday - We had district meeting, though I don't remember much of that. Normally, we have someone give a lesson about Korean, someone give a talk, and then someone does teaching practice, where we practice teaching (of course...), trying to focus on a certain skill or goal.

Then we met with Brother 전충식 at night. The lessons didn't go all that well, and Elder Brower and I kind of talked about when we should drop him (it's a hard situation since he's keeping commitments, he's doing the things he needs to to gain a testimony, but I don't know if he's all that interested in the Gospel, at least not spiritually. He likes history though.).

Thursday - Weekly planning. Basically, we talk about our investigators, and then set goals for our stats for the upcoming week. It usually talkes a couple of hours, but it makes life easier for the next week, to have plans set for what we're doing when.

And then we went to President 문경호's house for a service project. He cleaned out a closet, so what we mostly did is carry the garbage into his truck, and then we drove out to throw it all out. He did most of the work though, since there could only be one person in the closet at a time. Had dinner, studied some English, had our spiritual message.

Friday - Met with another sort of less active lady. She comes to church maybe 1/3 of the time. In any case, she is hard to work with, because she had a really, really, really heavy accent. We don't know what she's saying like 90% of the time, so mostly we agree with her. She likes the missionaries though, and thinks that everything we say is hilarious. Mostly, we visit her because she calls us and tells us to visit. She's a nice lady though.

Met again with Brother 전충식, this time with a member. It went better for sure, but we're still not sure about how to help him progress and find faith and all that. We talked about Christ, and his centralness in the Plan of Salvation. He seemed to understand pretty well.

Saturday - Spent some time trying to follow up on some potential investigators, but they were all busy, so we'll have to get back to them later. Taught English class, which might be a problem in the future. We have a member help teach (she's from America), but she goes back in a few months, and so we now need to figure out how to teach English class without her. Basically, the problem is, we have one English class member, 김경봉 (Gyeoungbong Kim) who really, really likes to talk. So much to the point that we can't really put him in a class with other people, because the others don't like it. We have been teaching in 3 classes - our member teach one family, one of the elders teach kind of a basic level class, and one of us go toe-to-toe with the Brother 김경봉. But that's someting to figure out later I suppose.

And after that, we visited a recent convert/less active, 은샘. He's like 15, but just hasn't been coming to church. We have members drop by before church starts, but nobody comes to the door. We don't really know what the problem is, but he meets with us every week.

Sunday - Church, of course!

And dinner at President 윤성조's house.

And that was our week! Any remaining time we used to do kind of our normal "we have time" activities, whether that be calling former investigators, trying to find people out on the streets, or looking for less actives.

Thanks for all the prayers, the love and support! I miss you all, but I'll get to see you all shortly enough. I've been in Korea for 7.5 months now, and I can hardly believe it. That's like 1/3 of of my time in Korea! Wow.

Love you all!
- Elder Luke


서귀포: Seogwipo, the city he's in.

고기 집: Gogi jib, "meat house." (Google Translate renders this as "meat home," which sounds kinda cool.) I'm guessing this is "Korean barbecue," or what in Japanese would be called a 焼き肉屋 (yakinikuya). Pasting that Korean text into a Google image search turn up a lot of photos of what appear to be fairly typical Korean barbecue restaurants.

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the main guy they've been teaching for a couple of months now.

문경호: Mun Gyeongho, second counselor in the district presidency. Introduced before by Andrew two weeks ago, on February 3.

전충식: Jeon Chungsik again.

은샘: Eunsaem, the fifteen-year-old.

윤성조: Yun Seonjo, the district president, who is a martial arts teacher. Andrew has mentioned him several times before.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Transfer 5, week 5 - James Bond edition (February 10, 2014)


Nothing too much this week, so a few stories...

Like I wrote last week, we were really, really sick, and so weren't able to fast (we figured we needed a little food in us, along with water). So we decided to fast last Sunday to make up for it. Anyways, we went to church, did our normal stuff, and we planning at home when we got a phone call from one of our members. He asked if we were by the church, which we were, and then said his wife was going to come to the church and give us "something." Some 20 minutes later, we met her, and she gave us steaks!

Apparently, her husband thought we looked really tired and a little weak at church, so he bought us meat. I don't think we're going to be able to tell him that we were actually fine, just hungry. :D

We met with Brother 전충식 with our branch president, and that, uh, didn't work so well. We met with our branch president (he's a stonecutter, which is pretty sweet), and explained what we wanted to teach about. Fast forward a few minutes, and he kind of um, hijacked our lesson. He talked for like 40 minutes, and we couldn't get a chance to stop him, so that lesson was badly derailed. He talked about the iron rod, tower of babel, word of wisdom, food storage, everything.

Ugh, that was hard to sit through. We need to explain things better next time...

And finally, I want to talk about James Bond.

James Bond is a member in our branch, and he has some mental problem, I'm not really sure what it is. Like, he seems to understand pretty well, but conversation doesn't progress any more than what we did that day. In any case, he really, really, really likes foreigners, and so he sometimes hangs out like in front of our house. We've had several times where we had to run away from him, because you can't like visit people with a stranger hanging out right behind you. Basically, he bothers us a lot.

I think he spends most of his time in busy areas, trying to talk to any foreigner that passes by.

We were in the middle of a lesson on Tuesday (at our church, with Brother 전충식), and there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to find James Bond standing there. I was going to tell him to wait while we do the lesson, but he said he brought a friend. And indeed, he did!

He had met someone on the street, and invited him to come to church. The man's name is Jerome, and he's from Sri Lanka. He said he didn't know where James Bond was taking him, haha.

But we talked with Jerome for a bit, and he says he's interested in learning more English (he speaks really good Korean and English), and that if he has time, he'll try to drop by. He's met with the missionaries before as well!

Member referrals are really hard to get, but we were really surprised to get one from James Bond of all people. We haven't met with Jerome yet, but we're trying to set something up.

Oh, and we haven't met with Sister 정여훈 again yet - she showed up to church, but didn't have time afterwords a lesson, which was too bad.

And, our district meetings are in Jeju city, maybe 50 minutes by bus.

I hope you are all doing well in the US!

-Elder Luke


안녕하세요: Annyeonghaseyo, the standard Korean greeting.

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the investigator they've been working with for several weeks.

정여훈: Jeong Yeohun, a lady who is a friend of a member and has come to church a time or two. Andrew met her for the first time on January 20. Previously he spelled her family name  (Jang).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oh, and some pictures (February 3, 2014)

Here are some pictures that we snagged from other people in our district.

Note: These three are from Andrew's trip to U-do, the small island east of Jeju-do, which he wrote about on December 23.

Note: This is Halla-san, the large volcano that's the center of Jeju-do. Andrew wrote about this hike on January 6.

I don't know what happened in the 2nd picture.

Note: This is Andrew's "district," the six missionaries on Jeju Island. Andrew and Elder Brower (front right) are in Seogwipo, on the southern half of the island, and the other four live in Jeju, the main city on the northern half of the island. I'm guessing this was taken in the church building in Jeju, and that they get together there once a week for a district meeting.

Transfer 5, week 4 (February 3, 2014)


First, to answer some of the questions sent to me...

So we're meeting with two families every week - our district president, President 윤성조 (Sungjo Yoon) and our district 2nd counselor President 문경호 (Gyeuongho Moon). 

President 윤성조's family has 5 people, and I think the oldest is in high school, with the youngest in elementary school. They like playing games; yesterday, we played a sort of matching game to study English. They had a bunch of cards with a picture on one side, and the English word for the picture on the other. We would say the English word, and they had to find it based on the picture. There was like 300 cards, and we probably played for a good 45 minutes, but they were all really focused, and really, really competitive the entire time.

President 문경호's family is a little bit younger. His oldest is maybe 9 or 10, and the youngest is just starting to say words. They're a little harder to teach since they get bored really easily, but they love brownies. They talk about brownies like every time we come over - "Mom, are we making brownies today!?" President 문경호 owns a "pension" (is that what it's called in English as well?), so basically a huge party cabin that he rents out. We do service there for a couple of hours (he uses a wood stove, so usually finding wood, and then moving said wood around), and then have dinner, sometimes study English, and then a spiritual message.

For 설날, we didn't get to see a whole lot of what goes on. 서귀포 was just kind of quiet; I think most people just celebrate it by getting together with family and eating a bunch; I'm not sure it there's a lot of other traditions that they do. For sure, the stores got into it with a bunch of sales on random stuff, but no decorations or anything.

And yes, I got the mail, so don't worry about that.

As far as birthday stuff goes, I still have a bunch of stuff from Christmas, so I don't really need more food or anything. Hmm... but Elder Brower has this one card game, Citadels, that I kind of want. We play it on p-days when we have time. If you can find a copy of the game, please send it over! :D 

What we eat at home is usually really, really simple. I think I wrote about it back when I was in 영도, but we eat the exact same things. Gyoza/pot stickers with rice, curry, eggs and rice, sometimes sandwiches, frozen tonkasu, things like that. Recently, since the members have been feeding us fairly often, we haven't had to do much cooking at all (oh, and after every district meeting, we go out to eat somewhere, so that's another meal we don't have to cook), which is lovely~~.

Members tend to feed Korean food of course - Korea had lot of side dishes, so usually like whatever's sort of the main, along with kimchi, kimchi like things made of radishes, kimichi like things that are made of kind of grassy stuff, any kind of meat cooked in eggs, seeds, sweet beans, weird picked nasty stuff, bean sprouts, hot peppers. Any given restaurant will serve kimchi, something called "water kimchi," hot peppers, and raw onions and garlic with this fermented soybean sauce. As far as main courses go... spicy stir frys, spicy meat stews, and kind of Korean tradition meat, are the most common.

The food here is good. I definitely don't love every single thing on the table, but I eat well for sure. I think they eat more rice in Japan than in Korea though, and so that's one thing I kind of miss - I kind of tend to eat until my rice runs out, even if I can eat more food (because you don't want to eat kimchi without rice. We had a branch activity once, and this less active woman made some kimchi, so she made me eat it. Of course, she gave a huge piece, literally a mouthful. Oooh, I thought I was going to die; it was strong. I seriously considered walking about, and spitting it all out, but I made it after like 4 minutes of chewing through it. Elder Brower suffered the same unfortunate fate as I did. I remember both of us told her, "No, we can't eat it; that's too much kimichi!" but that didn't stop her).

As far as this week goes...

설날 was fine; cleaning wasn't really fun, but we kept busy.

The day right after though, Elder Brower and I got terribly, terribly sick. We both had bad stomachaches, throwing up, things like that (I blame the kimchi soup a member fed us the night before...), so Saturday we did nothing but lay down in our house. That was hard.

But by Sunday, we both felt much, much better, went to church and all that. And today, Elder Brower feels fine, and I'm at like 85%, so thankfully, we were only really out of commission for a day. 

And on Sunday, our investigator, 전충식 (name confirmed to be correct!) was able to come to church! He got back from Seoul early, and so he stopped by. He missed most of sacrament meeting, but stayed for Sunday school. We learned about Cain and Enoch, and so I'm not sure how much he understood, but that's fine. I gave him a quick outline about both, so if nothing else, he understood that Cain was a "bad man." (he was flipping through the scriptures, and found a random one about Cain marrying his brother's daughter or something. He was really shocked, showed us the verse, and told us "So evil. I cannot believe this bad man."). But it went well I think. The members were all really nice, so hopefully he had a good experience.

And I guess that brings us up to today! Hopefully we'll be able to spend this week a bit healthier. And hopefully, you all will be healthy this week too! Being sick is no fun (especially as a missionary...). Thanks for all your letters and love and support! Love you all!

- Elder Luke


설날: Seollal, Lunar New Year = Chinese New Year.

서귀포: Seogwipo, the city he's in.

영도: Yeongdo, his previous area.

weird picked nasty stuff: I think he meant to type "pickled."

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the "English spaz" investigator they've been working with for a month or two now.