Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Transfer 8, week 2 (May 26, 2014)

Dear family!!!

This week's been really weird. It feels like I've been with Elder Boome for like a couple of months now, but it's only been a week! Ah, strange how the time goes.

This transfer is only 5 weeks because President Gilbert is leaving, but the next will be 7 weeks, so I don't think it'll really affect me. Elder Boome and I will probably be together for that time anyways.

Our first week went well - I'm excited to be with Elder Boome! Also, I didn't get us lost yet, so that's a relief. I think I know enough to get by (except I don't know like anyone in the branch...). Anyways, this week we kind of seemed to have a lot of time. Brother 전성호 (Jeon Seongho) is still up in Seoul, and so we we're able to meet with him (we've been kind of wondering whether he needs to be dropped anyways...), and Brother 공인후 (Kong Inhu) was busy so we only met him once this week.

We were able to meet with Brother 이창준 (I Changjun) twice though, which was good. He seemed to take the fact that Elder 이영호 (I Yeongho) kind of left without a word pretty well (actually Elder 이영호 (I Yeonghotold pretty much nobody that he was going home - he said that he wanted to leave quietly). Brother 이창준 (I Changjunseems like he's enjoying learning English more - he seems more comfortable, and he laughs more. We're not sure if it's because there's two people teaching him English, or if he's just finally gotten used to missionaries. Unfortunately, the Family English Program (Our not-English-class English learning program which really should be used to meet families but is usually used to meet individual people) goes for six weeks, and his sixth week is this week. So we have to talk to him and ask if we can continue meeting, but only talk about the gospel. Elder Boome and I have some (perhaps unfounded) high hopes for him though. If nothing else, we both really like him, haha. He's a good guy.

That's one thing Elder Boome and I have talked a lot about; we've really been seeing a weakness in the Family English Program, which is the fact that you meet a lot of people not really interested in the gospel. I think Preach my Gospel definately works on the assumption that your investigator is interested in learning about at least some part of the gospel.

As we plan, we almost always talk about investigator's needs, but it seems like a lot of investigators have the need "feel the Spirit and start finding faith," which is really, really, really hard (we're supposed to find out their needs and then teach to said needs to help them feel the Spirit, but "becoming interested" is not really a good need). We're not really sure how to go on - if you teach a lot of English, you can teach a lot of people who aren't that interested, which isn't that great. But if we try to focus on talking to people only about the gospel, well, it's hard to find people who are interested.

So we kind of need to pray and think a lot to try and figure out what God wants for Pohang.

Haha, so our investigator situation isn't too great (basically 3 men with strong English interest and a willingness to hear about the gospel), so we're trying to focus on finding new people (we were looking at old records, and it was a little sad to see so many investigators picked up and dropped and picked up and dropped. It seems like finding new investigators - who have never met with the missionaries before - is really hard). Luckily, I think we're the companionship to find a bunch of people!

I really love working with Elder Boome - it's only been a week, but it feels like we both want really badly to be able to improve as missionaries, find people and baptize someone. We talk a lot about how to do things efficiently so that we can make the most of our time, about how we teach and how we can improve, and trying to always work harder.

We've been trying really hard to talk to a lot of people - we've been able to hand out a lot of pamphlets, but it's hard to find someone on the street, and then talk to them until the point where they're willing to meet and learn about the Gospel.

Well, that's how things are looking right now, but I think if Elder Boome and I keep trying to do our best, and we keep working hard, we'll see a lot of miracles in Pohang. We'll prooobably be together for at least 3 months, so we're trying to make the most of the time we have together. We've made a lot of good plans, and we just hope to be able to set them into action and grow a lot these next transfers!

I still have some time, so let me write a quick story.

I don't know if I've mentioned William before - but he's someone who came to our English class like 2-3 times. He's just this super nice guy, and (like everyone else) we wanted him to teach him. He seemed really solid as an English class member, but he stopped coming, and we didn't know why. We got a text the other day, and he said he found a job and is working somewhere and couldn't come, so we pretty much had to give up on him since we didn't really know how to proceed with him.

Well, today we were walking around the downtown area of Pohand after having eaten lunch, and guess who we find! It turns out the the place he works is super close to our church (like within 5 minutes walking), and he was really happy to see us again, and even invited us to come by anytime and chat. We're really grateful to have been able to find him again!

We've been seeing a lot of little miracles like that - there was one guy we met who asked us for directions (I'm not sure why any Korean would ask two foreigners for directions, but I suppose that's where the miracle lies), but we didn't really the directions really well. Anyways, we continued to talk to him, and it turns out he's interested in English and we had traded numbers by the time we finished talking.

Ah, I think that's about it for time.

I'm really thankful that I can serve as a missionary in the Korea Busan mission! I've learned a lot, and (I hope) I've helped other to learn a lot as well, whether it be members, other missionaries, or our investigators. God loves each and every one of us, and he is looking out for us.

I'll write to you all next week~!

Elder Luke

Oh, and I think I promised to send a picture of Elder 이영호 (I Yeonghoand I, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. Here it is!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Transfer 8, week 1 (May 19, 2014)


This will be kind of a short email, because we need to get back to 포항 (Pohang) and do some other stuff, and I'm kind of tired but...

As expected, I'm staying in Pohang, but I'll be serving with Elder Boome! My companion told all the members he's a "tall handsome guy from England." He's been in Korea six more weeks than I have, so I think today is basically his year mark in Korea.

Anyways, I'm excited to be able to work with him; things will go well in Pohang!

We'll probably have to focus a lot on finding, since the investigators we have are kind of iffyish, so we'll have to see how that goes. Honestly, even if you have a ton of investigators, you need to focus on finding, so that's not that different.

Sorry this is so short, but I'll write you all next week!

Elder Luke

Monday, May 12, 2014

Transfer 7, week 6 (May 12, 2014)

안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo)!

오늘 여러분이랑 통화할 수 있어서 좋았어요근데 이미 이야기했으니까 쓸 일이 없네요…

It was good talking to you day! I feel like the hour went by fast; maybe next time, I think of some stories or experiences to share so you can hear something that’s a little bit more fun. And I’ll try to remember to get Skype set up, though I’ll probably be in another area by then, so who knows how things will go!

We had branch conference this week, which seemed to go really well. The branch presidency really pushed for people to invite others to come to church, and for members to visit less actives and invite them as well. We normally have 50 people come to church, and we had 70 this week – around 10 less actives and 10 nonmembers showed up, so I think it was a huge success. Elder 이영호 (I Yeongho, his companionsaid that it was the second most “대박” (daebak = "jackpot"?branch conference he’s been a part of. We invited almost all the nonmembers we’re working with (investigators and English class people mostly), but our turnout wasn’t great. We did have one English class member show up a little late, so at least someone showed up!

There’s this one English class member, 전옥근 (Okguun Jun), who’s shown up to English class a couple of times. She’s been busy or something, and hasn’t been able to make it the past few weeks. She missed out the English class where we invited everyone to church, so she wasn’t invited.

We got a feeling that we should invite her though, and so we gave her a call and did. After a bit of confusion (I called her at first, and she for some reason didn’t understand a word I said apparently… she called back later because she was confused, haha), she said she would come to church – she even said she would cancel another appointment to make it!

She didn’t make it. Another English class member did, haha. Anyways, I guess the impression we got to call her gave her the chance to use her agency, right? We were pretty disappointed when she ended up not coming to church, but we did everything we could.

That’s one of the big things that I’ve learned, and am still learning, on my mission. We do what we can, and we trust that God will bless us to turn our work into His work.

We really wanted 이창준 (I Changjunto show up to church, but he didn’t come. We invited him twice, but he just said, “I’ll think about it.” I guess with this too, we have to let him exercise his agency.

He’s been doing good though – last last time we met, he had prayed and read the Book of Mormon. He’s read up to chapter 8 now I think – we were surprised; he read much more than we had expected. For example, we gave the introduction to the book of Mormon as assigned reading, but he read all of the stuff in the beginning of the Book of Mormon, and read up to 1 Nephi 2. He prays better now too – at first, he only said “Thank you for letting us spend good time with good people,” but now he says like two sentences instead of one. :D

Last time we met, he was busy and couldn’t forgot to pray and read, but we have an appointment with him today, so hopefully, all will go well and he’ll have remembered to do those things.

So this is Elder 이영호’(I Yeongholast week as a missionary. He says it feels really weird, but it’s weird for me too. I don’t have confidence in getting around, so we’ll probably end up getting pretty lost a few times. Maybe I’ll be companions with a Korean, and then I won’t have to worry as much… Come to think of it though, I’ll probably be with my next companion for at least 2 transfers (3 months), since 3 transfers is usually minimum in an area. We get to find out what happens this Thursday!

Oh, this is kind of random, but I wanted to write about our eating habits here. In my other areas, we would almost always eat lunch and dinner at our house, but we really don’t do that in 포항 (Pohang). Our church is like 10 minutes by bus from our house, with busses coming around every 20-25 minutes, so it can be a little bit time consuming. I don’t know if that’s why, but we’ve barely gone shopping – maybe like 2 or three times this transfer?

Normally, we eat lunch at our house, and then dinner somewhere outside. There’s this really cheap restaurant right by our church – you can get dinner for like $3 a person, so it doesn’t really make sense to spend a lot of time on a bus, and spend money on bus fare when we can eat right there. Granted the restaurant isn’t thaaat good (it’s not bad), and it seems a little bit on the sketchy side, but the price is good.

Anyways, I don’t know what will happen next transfer, but I hope we go shopping; I hate feeling like there’s no food in the house, haha (or should I say, I hate there being no food in the house?). But we survived for these past 5 weeks, right?


I don’t know what else to write, so I think I’ll end it here. I’ll send a picture of me with my companion – it’s like the only picture I have of us together so far.

I’ve learned that God blesses us with joy in life as we do our best. It’s not easy, but to paraphrase someone in General Conference quoting someone else (…?), “God gives us, along with the commandment to love, the ability to love others.” Likewise, God had told us to do our best, as we strive to do our best to do what’s right, to keep the commandments, and to help others, we’ll be helped and lifted. I know that the gospel was given to us so that we can be protected, blessed, and happy in life!

Thank you for all your prayers and support and love!

- Elder Luke


According to Google Translate, the first line means "Today you can be talked to the good! Marilyn was already written but the story happens eopneyo...."  Clearly, the first sentence is probably "It was good to talk to you today!" I have no idea what the second one is supposed to be.

대박: Daebak = "jackpot"? I'm guessing this means "successful."

이창준: I Changjun, an investigator mentioned by Andrew two weeks ago.

"I’ll send a picture of me" -- he didn't.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Transfer 7, week 5 (May 5, 2014)

Sorry, we don't have much time to write today; we're kind of in a weird place.
President Gilbert lets missionaries who are on their last transfer go back to old areas and meet with investigators/other people they know. So we're travelling back to Busan today to meet someone who I think was Elder Lee's first investigator. We're emailing from kind of a pay computer, so I have like 20 minutes to write this email, so it might be short...
I can't remember what we did for Christmas, but I think if you call us the same way you did then, all will be well. Like I said, anytime is fine for me - we start our morning study at 8:00 Korean time, and then we just have P-day the whole day, so just call like sometime bettween 8:00 and 12:00 or like 1:00, and we should still be in the house. Since you're getting this email a bit early today, please write back, and I'll try to find some time to double check when you're going to call. I totatally spaced on the Skype thing though, so I didn't ask anyone at church. :( It, uh, might not happen.
Ugh, 15 minutes left.
Let's see, we just kind of had a normal week this week. Our recent convert, Brother 김지원 (Kim Jiwon) is doing well. He attended a single adult meeting/activity and he said he had a lot of fun there, and he got a calling in the Young Men's presidency, so that's really good as well. We still meet with him like 3-4 times a week.
We talked about our investigators during weekly planning, and we're a bit concerned about Brother 전성호 (Jeon Seongho). My companion's met him for almost 3 months now, and he's not reaaaaally progressing one way or the other. We kind of decided to meet with him until the end of hte transfer, and then we'll decide whether to meet him or not. It's too bad if we have to drop him - he's a really nice guy. But I guess our job isn't to just meet nice people, haha.
We cancelled our English class for a couple of weeks to try to figure out how to run it better. My companion says that when he first got here, some 10ish people were attending English class, but we had just 1 last time we taught. So we'll be making a lot of phone calls to old English class students, and will try to figure out how to take it from here.
We do have some good news about English class though - we've kind of accidentally created a new class that's been going suprisingly well. We do a "free talking" English class on Thursday nights. Originally, I think it was just one person that wanted to speak English, and the missionaries met with him because Thursday evening happened to be time they had. He brought a friend, and they atteneded together for awhile. My first week in Pohang, someone they met on the street showed up (I believe she approached the missionaries and said "Can you teach me English?"), so we had 3 for awhile. Anyways, long story short, we have 5 solid members who seem like they'll show up every week.
We had a new guy show up last week, Will. He made friends with the people in our English class incredibly fast (in like 30 minutes...), and we all went out to dinner together after we finished the class. I still can't believe it, but he was trading phone numbers, things like that.
And the other English class members kind of did missionary work for us. One of the ladies that attend was telling Will about how our English class helps her to focus on what's important in life, and how she loves to hear our spiritual messages. We were on exchanges that day, and my companion ended up giving a Book of Mormon to Will, and another class member started telling him how good the Book of Mormon is (oddly, I think the guy that said that is someone who used to be a former investigaor, but decided he's interested in religion, but not our church).
Anyways, the free talking class is doing really well, and the conversation is really good. It feels like we can solve the world's problems by meeting and talking to each other, haha. (Of course, we're hoping to find investigators through our English class as well...)
I don't have a lot of time left now, so I'll have to end it here, but we'll be able to talk to each other next week! Have a great week, and I love you all!
Elder Luke!