Monday, March 31, 2014

Transfer 6, week 6 - Transfers...? (March 31, 2014)


So transfer week's come around again. I kind of thought that I might transfer (since, to be honest, 서귀포's not doing too hot right now (though to be honest, I think because of the lack of people, it's hard to be really busy here)), but Elder 강상욱 (Sangook Kang), our district leader, said that I'll probably stay. He used to be AP, so he probably knows really well about how President Gilbert thinks. So, who knows! I guess only time will tell. Elder 강상욱 is going home, so someone will come to fill in his spot, but other than that, if I don't transfer, all of Jejudo is probably going to be the same. Everyone on the island is pretty young in terms of how many transfers served on Jejudo.

This week, in a strange turn of events, we (kinda) picked up Brother 양군수 as an investigator again, and (kinda) dropped 전충식. We called Brother 양군수, and he picked up, so that was a relief. He said he was attending a funeral somewhere on the mainland, and left his phone at home. So we met with him this week, but he says he'll be busy the next, so we can meet with him, but not until like 2 weeks from now.

As for 전충식, he moved to another town (maybe an hour away by bus?) for work temporarily. It seems like he kind of migrates with where there's work; he came to Jejudo to work as well. He'll be there until the work is done, which is sometime in April. So we can't really meet with him until then, which is a bit annoying. We gave him a picture of Christ, and he said he took that to his new house, so that's a promising sign!

We spent this Friday with a sister in our branch, Sister 홍은신 (Uunshin Hong), and the sister missionaries from Jeju City. She drove us around a bunch, and we tried to find and meet with some less actives (most of them are women, and we're not allowed to meet with women only, so that's why we called the sister missionaries over). We unfortunately couldn't meet with any of them, but we know their addresses, and a bit more about each person, so hopefully our next visits will be a little more successful.

English class was really good this week; we have more people come than I've ever seen! It was strange - the class felt very alive, which kind of means that all the other English classes I've taught have felt dead (영도's English class usually has 1 person... 2 at most. I think maybe 8ish came this week?). And I think the new people that came intend to keep coming. I'm excited. Hopefully, we can find some investigators (though, again, most of the people that came were women, and women are hard for us to meet.)

As far as differences in church meetings, I feel like they're fairly similar. With fewer members, people have to do more, but that's about it (members give talks really, really often). 서귀포 church is only 2 hours long, so that's pretty different. I know in other areas, missionaries tend to teach a class, and they bless/pass the sacrament depending on the branch. 

Sunday school's pretty much the same as well. I think we all study the same material; we're on the Old Testament, right?

Sometimes, we all each lunch after church, which is something I've never done in Idaho. We clear all the chairs in the chapel (which is also the cultural hall (?)), set up tables, and the sisters bring food and cook it for all the members. That too depends on the branch; some branches don't ever do it, some branches do it every week, and 서귀포 maybe once every 1-2 months.

Working on Sunday...? I think a lot of our members work on Sunday as well... there's a couple of people we know that moved in from somewhere, are active members and want to come to church, but can't because they've got work. Talking with Sister 홍은신, maybe 80-90% of less active members go less active because they get busy with work, and just kind of forget about church. Most of them have good feelings about our church as well, but they just can't or don't make to our Sunday meetings.

Elder 허 is 22 in Korean age, which means he was born in 1993. Not sure how old he actually is. :D

We climbed Mt. Halla with the Jeju City Elders today; Mt. Halla is the highest mountain in Korea. We woke up at 5:00, rode a 6:00 bus to get up there. I think we took 3.5 hours climbing up, and 2.5 getting down. I'll be sore tomorrow! Here's a few pictures. As always, sorry I didn't take more.

Here's a few of us hiking, and me and Elder 허 at the start of the trail.

That's about it I think! Love you all!

- Elder Luke


서귀포: Seogwipo, the city he's in.

AP: Assistant to the president, a missionary that works closely with the mission president.

양군수: Yang Kunsu, the man Andrew mentioned last week that they hadn't been able to contact for a while.

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the man they've been working with for several months now.

영도: Yeongdo, his previous area.

서귀포: Seogwipo again.

Elder 허: Elder Heo, Andrew's companion.

Mt. Halla: Tallest mountain in Korea, 6400 feet high, the volcano that is the center of Jeju-do. Andrew climbed it (not to the summit, I think) back on January 6. It looks a lot warmer now than it did then.

Note: The banner says "Seongpanak Trail." I'm guessing the first word is a proper noun; Google Translate doesn't seem to find an equivalent for it.

Pictures of us taking a short break in one of the shelters on the way up,

a picture of me like 90% of the way up,

  and us eating food at the summit.

Just more pictures of us on top!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Transfer 6, week 5 (March 24, 2014)


Kind of a slow week this week as well. I think Brother 영군수 dropped himself. He hasn't answered the phone or responded to any texts since last week. He might just be on vacation or something, but we don't know. We'll probably contact him a couple of more times, and then have to give up on him. That really, REALLY hurts our teaching pool...

Oh, but we had someone new come to English class, and we set things up with her and the sister missionaries so we can meet outside of English class. She says she doesn't have a religion, but hopefully she'll be interested in learning more. We've got a few other contacts that are kind of potential potential investigators, so we'll have to work on getting in touch with them as well.

This week, we spent a lot of time going to and coming from Jeju City. They had a baptism, and so Elder 허 and helped with special musical number (they made me sing :( It turned out oooookayish), so we went up there like 3 times more than normal so we could practice.

Thank you for the questions Dad! I'll try and answer a few of them:

I don't really know if there's a huge difference between people in 서귀포 and 영도. There's definitely less of them, haha. I've heard from people that 서귀포 is a bit stronger religiously (I don't know the history of 서귀포, but I think someone said something about history...?), and anyways, people don't care as much about religion. I can't really see a HUGE difference between 영도 and 서귀포, so I don't know how true that is. 서귀포 somehow feels a little different though; it kind of feels more like everyone that's outside is trying to get somewhere. Less people kind of just chilling, so it feels harder to talk to people (not that's it's easy to start with...!)

I heard a lot of scary stories about the 제주도 accent (our district president said that it's different enough from Korean to be considered a separate language), but it's actually not really a problem. Old, old people use it, but anyone younger than like 60 uses normal Korean, so I think it's been a problem only once. I was calling people, and an old lady picked up, and had no idea what she was saying. My companion says that he doesn't understand it either though, so I don't feel bad about that.

Oh, and I guess with modernization and all that, the accent is kind of dying off. Like 30 years ago, everyone on the island spoke differently, but nowadays, most everyone speaks the standard Korean. They had the World Cup in 서귀포 a few years back, and the government tried hard to clean up the language, so that other Koreans could understand them, and I guess that really hurt the 제주 accent.

It's kind of weird in that it's not really an accent. Like, in English, if you think of an accent, that means you pronounce the same words differently. But on 제주도, the grammar forms they use are different. It's difficult to describe, since English doesn't have grammar forms like Korean does, but basically, it's not that the words are said differently, it's that the words themselves are different. But I don't need to know the "accent" to function in 서귀포, thank goodness.

So to answer your question, yes I can notice it, but it's something the people choose to use or not when they speak (unlike, say, a New York accent which is always there). Does that make sense?

서귀포 is almost exclusively touristic (?). The only really big industries (is that what you call it?) here are tourism and farming clementines. Really, I haven't seen a whole lot of fishing going on (there was a lot more in 영도), or really, anything else. So 서귀포 is a fairly quiet little place. :/

Hm, one thing that I noticed about Elder 허 is that he thinks big. He has big dreams, I guess. I think he sees possibilities and potential in people much more than I do. When we're planning, he sometimes goes really far - like, "If we can help this guy come back to church, then we can meet with his brother, and then, and then...". Stuff like that. It's a good thing, for sure. We've made a lot of plans for people that I hadn't considered, or people I kind of just forgot. I need to learn to think like that too - he's made me realize that we have a lot more people to work with than I thought.

Elder 허 is from 수원, which is south of Seoul I guess. Not really sure, haha.

We speak Korean like 98% of the time. I feel like his English is pretty good, but he doesn't really speak it. And I have no idea how good my Korean is, since I don't have anything to compare myself with. I like to think it's at least normal! :D

Um, as far as names goes, I'm not sure what the rules are - I don't know what proper. I tend to call people by there full names, because Koreans have a lot of common names. Out of like the 6 men in our branch, I think maybe half of them are "김"'s, so I use their full names so it's not confusing. In normal Korean, people tend not to use names - you use titles instead. So in church, most people call me "Elder" not "Elder Luke." Likewise, they usually call each other "Brother" and "Sister" without their actual names attached. The reason why I type out the full name is because that's what I'm used to - just parts of names takes a lot longer for me to recognize and understand.

Well, that's about all I have time for. Sorry there's not a lot of actual content about what I'm doing. This week was kind of crazy, and so this email is probably all over the place. Hopefully, I'll be able to write a little bit better next week...!

Love you all!

- Elder Luke


영군수: Yeong Gunsu, a man Andrew first mentioned on February 24, and talked about again on March 10. Previously he spelled his family name as Yang (양).

서귀포: Seogwipo, his current area.

영도: Yeongdo, his previous area.

World Cup in 서귀포: This was in 2002. The Seogwipo Stadium is about three miles straight west from where Andrew lives.

제주도: Jeju-do, the island he's on now.

Elder 허: Elder Heo, his companion.

수원: Suwon, Elder Heo's home town. A city about 20 miles south of Seoul, which happens to be one of the two places I've been in Korea.

김: Kim, the surname of half the men in the Seogwipo branch.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Transfer 6, week 4 (already!?) (March 17, 2014)


This will probably be a bit shorter of an email; not because there's no time, but because I don't have a whole lot to write about. ;o;

Fairly normal week last week, except we had trouble will plans falling through. We had one day where we had a plan set, and then two backup plans in case the first one didn't work, and all three of them fell through (we were going to help Sister 정여훈 move, and if that didn't work we were going to meet the branch president, and if THAT didn't work, we had planned on meeting 전충식 but...). So that day was hard, but sometimes it happens. We managed to make it through, haha.

So exciting news about our English class - the sister missionaries were able to make time and come over to teach with us, so English class was really crazy. We had a ton of missionaries, we had new people show up, we split the class in 3, so we had a lot of talking going on... it was good!

Now, there's a problem, and Elder 허정헹 and I have talked a lot about it. Really basically, the main purpose of our English class is to find investigators. If people aren't interested, then we teach English as a service, but since we've got a lot of new contacts, we want as many as possible to become investigators. So the problem is, most of our contacts are women, which make them really, really hard to meet. And the sister missionaries are pretty busy, and can't come to 서귀포 often (it takes like an hour, hour and a half by bus, so it's pretty far. And expensive). Even if we have a ton of people coming to English class, we need to help them become investigators, and that process is a bit difficult. We'll keep talking about it though, and come up with a solution.

Brother 김경봉 came to church yesterday! (He's the guy that comes to English class, and talks for unreasonably long periods of time. He's a nice guy though, just kind of hard to deal with when we teach English) We didn't invite him or anything, he just showed up (I think first time since I've been in 서귀포), payed tithing, attended sacrament meeting, and then left directly afterwards.

Hopefully, we can keep in touch with him, and he'll start coming to church more often, but he's kind of hard to read.

Brother 김경봉's English is kind of funny - I was talking with him on the phone the other day, trying to see if we can't meet him this week. He told me to call him today, but he didn't say it as a request or a command, just as a statement. He said "You will call me on Monday." He says a lot of things like that, that are understandable, just a little strange. I think he told me that he watched a lot of movies to study English, so maybe that's why... (I think he also said that he watched Ocean's Eleven several times a week for like a year to study English. It's a good movie, but I don't really see it as a stellar teacher of English.)

If you have any questions, please email them my way so I have something to write about when I have nothing to write about. Thank you!

- Elder Luke


정여훈: Jeong Yeohun, a lady who is the friend of a member, and who has come to church a couple of times. Andrew first mentioned her on January 20. He hasn't said much about her recently, but apparently they are still in touch.

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the man they've been working with for several months now.

허정헹: Heo Jeongheng, Andrew's companion. I wonder if in Korean they tend to call people by their full names; Andrew always writes out people's full names rather than just saying, say, "Elder 허."

서귀포: Seogwipo, the city Andrew is in.

김경봉: Kim Kyeongbong, the talkative member of the English class who learned to speak by watching "Ocean's 11."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Transfer 6, week 3 (March 10, 2014)


This week was fairly normal, not too much to report on. Sorry!

We spent a lot of time sticking up 전단지's (I guess they're just called flyers in English, but the kind where there's strips of papers with phone numbers on the bottom, so people can tear off a piece and take it with them) around 서귀포, to try and advertise our English class. I definately said this, but in Elder 허정헹's last area, he did a lot of that.

Anyways, we were really blessed with that - on our second day of sticking up the papers, while were were out putting up the 전단지's actually, we got two phone calls from people who were interested in our class!

That doesn't seem like a lot, but I remember in on night in 영도, where my trainer and I handed out little English class flyers. We had maybe 200-250, and we gave them all out, but never got a single phone call. So it was really good to be able to get these contacts as early as we did, and to be able to get them at all! Oh, and one more person called today as well (Elder 허 says its much more fun when people call you every once in awhile. Our phone is kind of dead most of the time so...).

We're hoping that as we keep putting those up, we'll be able to grow our English class, and from there, find a few investigators. It's still kind of a long shot, but we're one step closer now! And if we get enough people, we might make another English class, and hope that through more advertising, and people referring their friends, our classes can keep growing.

Oh, but the contacts we've recieved so far are all women, which is annoying, because we can't really meet with them easily. We might just have to refer them to the sister missionaries, and hope we can find some men to meet with and teach...

Speaking of which, the sister missionaries in 제주시 called us yesterday, and they said that they want to start coming over to 서귀포 now! I think either our mission president or district president asked them to, and Elder 허 and I are really, really excited. There's a lot of things in 서귀포 that the elders can't do (oh, we have a rule that if we meet an investigator that's a woman, we have to meet her with a man. So we would normally go with a member, but that adds another schedule to work with, and it's a little bit awkward visiting someone with a gang of people), so having the sisters working with us will be great! So that's another little miracle as well - hopefully, we can get a lot of work done in 서귀포!

Ah, and other little miracle would be our English class. We had a couple of new people show up last week - one lady that we've been contacted for like 5 week now, and an aunt (or something) of one of the girls that show up. I'm used to seeing the same people come to English class, so it's exciting to see some new faces. Again, them coming to English class once is very very different from them having interest and joining our church, but it's a start (oh, and since they're both women, we'll probably let the sister missionaries figure out how best to work with them...).

We couldn't meet with 전충식 this week - he went up to Seoul for his sons's graduation from college, and then had other plans, so that's too bad. We'll start meeting him again regularly after this week.

Met 양군수 (newish investigator we first met a few weeks ago). Elder 허 says that 양군수 probably didn't go to college, and probably didn't get a good education. He says that 양군수's spelling is terrible, which is something I didn't (and probably coudn't) notice. It doesn't really matter, but it made me think that Koreans have the ability to notice things like that. Maybe someday I will too!

Uh, anyways, the lesson went fine. 양군수 is a nice guy. He gets a little distracted sometimes, and is a little bit hard to read, but Elder 허 says that he has a very pure heart, and while I don't really understand what that means exactly, I agree with the feeling behind it.

We also attended the mission tour this Thursay. That day was exhausting - I was kind of sick Wednsday, so I wasn't 100% percent to start with (much better now though), and riding a bus, sleeping over, plane, taxi, meeting, car, plane, bus was a looooot of travel to do over 2 days. But it's totally worth it if they don't make us watch it over Skype, because that is not at all the same. I've expereinced one meeting like that, and you simply can't get the same out of a meeting if you're not there in person.

We had a few talks - we heard from President and Sister Gilbert first. They both talked a lot about action. Sister Gilber kind of focused on praying for things like faith and charity, and then using those gifts. President Gilbert talked about a lot of things, but I guess really basically, the centralness of the Book of Mormon to our religions, the conversion process, and trying to work with the Spirit.

Elder Ringwood's focus for the meeting was Moroni 10, so we all studied that chapter beforehand. I thought we would talk alot about verses 3-5, since we use that a lot as missionaries, but we didn't really talk about it. We discussed spiritual gifts for bit, but basically, he just opened it up to questions.

And so what we talked about/what I personally learned/what impressed me the most was the fact that God asks us to to our best, and he helps us when we do. It's our job to try hard, and trust God to make up the difference when we fall short.

He said something that I really like, so I'll kind of paraphrase it here...

"God doesn't really care about yesterday. He cares very much, however, about today and tomorrow. He cares about what kind of person you are becoming, and what kind of person you will become."

That kind of ties in with repentance, and trusting God and doing your best; if yesterday wasn't good, it doesn't matter because today and tomorrow can be better.

I don't really know exactly how I think about al this, but the mission tour gave me a lot to think about. It was a really good meeting.

Well, I think that's it for now. I ended up writing a lot more than I thought I would, but I'm sure you all don't mind. It's because none of my friends emailed me this week. ;o;

Thanks for everything! I love you Mom, Dad, Rachel, Lisa, Daniel! Be good!


- Elder Luke


전단지: jeondanji, the flyers with the tear-off phone number slips on them. Do we have a special word for those in English? I don't think so. Anyway, FWIW Google Translate just says that word is "leaflets."

서귀포: Seogwipo, the city he lives in.

허정헹: Heo Jeongheng, his companion.

영도: Yeongdo, his first area.

제주시: Jeju-si = Jeju city, the main city on the island of Jeju, which is where the other two sets of missionaries on the island are based.

서귀포: Seogwipo again.

전충식: Jeon Chungsik, the man they've been working with for several months now.

양군수: Yang Gunsu, the newish investigator. Andrew mentioned him in his February 24 letter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transfer 6, week 1 (March 3, 2014)


So, I found out my companion's name! Last week was a closeish guess, but I think the name is really strange in Korean. Anyways, his name is 허정헹 (not that you can really tell the difference even if I type it out...). 

He's a really good guy. This next transfer will be good I think. He's got a lot of ideas for finding, and has also asked members to get some basic information about the area down (for example, there's almost nobody in their 20's here, because there's no college in 서귀포. Every goes either to Jeju City, or else to the mainland to study. I didn't know that, or notice that...).

Last week was kind of bad, because it rained really hard, and we made a lot of plans, so we were kind of inside a lot. But this next week, with a lot of planning already done, we should hopefully get things to pick up a bit more. To start off with, we're going to put up a bunch of flyers for our English class - Elder 허 did that in his last area, and said that it was really, really effective, so we're hoping to see the same results here as well.

Speaking of English class, things have kind of taken a turn for the worse, haha. So we basically have 3 groups of people - one older man, a less active family, and a less active girl and a few of her friends. I guess the problem basically is, we used to have an American, Sister Wager, help us teach English, but she's busy for like the next 4 weeks, so I'll be the only one teaching. The mother of the less active family doesn't like the older man, and she demands one teacher for her entire family, which really isn't feasible (and we have a rule that we have to have a man present when we meet women, so we need to have the older man). Oh, and the group of girls speak English well, but not as good at the other two groups. So they're hard to teach together as well. Elder 허 and I need to figure out something fast... :D

Worst case, we'll move English class to another date, and invite other missionaries to help us out (or we cancel English class forever, haha). We'll see. Best case... mm, not sure what that looks like yet. Probably finding a bunch of new people to come to English class.

So, anyways... not too terribly busy this week. Next week, we get to go up to the mainland, and hear Elder Ringwood speak, so that'll be fun. I'll be the first time I've been off the island since Christmas.

For P-day, we went to 마라도 (Malado) (we went with all 7 missionaries in our district, one member from not 서귀포, and a couple investigators also from not 서귀포), which is kind of a lonely little island. My district leader told me that 마라도 is good for two things - it's the southernmost part of South Korea, and it's famous for it's (jajang - not sure how to spell it in Korean... it's some kind of soybean based sauce on like ramen noodles. Kind of like hayashi rice, but not rice) noodles. So we went there, and basically, there's nothing there. We ended up taking the boat to get there later than we thought, so we ended up only being on the island for an hour, and spending most of the time there eating noodles. My district leader was disappointed that the noodles weren't that good - basically, we paid $23 for a bowl of mediocre noodles, and a lot of pictures, haha. That's fine though. It was a good experience, though I don't really care to go back again.

But, on the bright side, here's some pictures!

I think that wraps it up... thank you all for your prayers, your letters, your "happy birthday" emails!

- Elder Luke


안녕하세요: Anyeonghaseyo, the standard Korean greeting.

허정헹: Heo Cheongheng, Andrew's new companion. Last week he was unsure of the name, thinking it might be 호종행, or Ho Chonghaeng. Pretty close, but the vowels are a bit different.

서귀포: Seogwipo, the city Andrew currently lives in.

English class: With Elder Brower being replaced by a native Korean, and the American sister unavailable, that makes Andrew the only native English speaker available to teach their classes. That would make things a bit more difficult...

마라도: Mala-do (or Mara-do) is a pretty tiny island about five miles south of Jeju-do. It's the southernmost point in Korea, and from the Google Earth photo, looks like it's about 3000 feet long and a bit over 1000 feet wide. The population is about 90 people.

jajang: According to Wikipedia this is 자장면 (jajangmyeon) or 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon), wheat noodles with a dark bean paste sauce. I'm pretty sure I've eaten this before in Korea, and it was quite tasty, but (like everything else) way too spicy.

Sorry, as always, for not having more pictures of me. We were kind of pressed for time on the island, so we couldn't take a ton. I might be able to snag a few pictures from someone else, and if I do, I'll send them your way!

Andrew with Elder Heo. This is probably on the bus on the way to the ferry to go to Mala-do.

At a restaurant on Mala-do. The first three characters on the main sign on the building are 짜장면, the name of the noodle dish.

The jjajangmyeon. The reddish orange stuff on top looks like kimchi; the yellow food in the other dish looks like takuan, a type of pickled daikon that's popular in Japan too.

Andrew's comment on this: the water really isn't that blue, it was just really bright today.

Mara-do in the background.