Monday, September 29, 2014

Transfer 11, week 2 - P-day (September 29, 2014)


This week wasn't bad, but just a little bit slower than we had liked. We had planned to teach like 6 lessons this week (which is pretty good for our area, especially considering the number of investigators we have), but things kind of turned out that we couldn't meet with people as often as we like. We set a goal to try to contact people better and set up more appointments. We also had to spend a lot of time working on the "광안 와드 선교 모임" (Gwangan Ward missionary meeting). We kind of filled in the rest of the time with finding activities but haven't been able to meet any new investigators yet...

The preparation for the missionary meeting is going slowly but surely. It kind of reminds me of planning that Christmas meeting in 서귀포 (Seogwipo) last year with Elder Brower. We spend so much time planning and preparing that thing; I don't think ward members realize what a burden planning is - I think the week of the Christmas meeting, we shared a message with a member, and that was the only stat of the week. At least for this meeting, it's very closely related to missionary work, so I can't complain too much. It would be a lot easier if we had a Korean missionary in 광안 (Gwangan) though, haha. Oh, and the meeting thankfully got pushed back 3 weeks, so now we have a lot more time to plan. Hurray!

Let's see... Brother 박신곤 (Bak Singon) is doing well. The lessons with him always seem to go really really well - we get done what we plan, and he's progressing well. We changed his baptismal date to the 19th because of General Conference, and if the lessons keep going as they are, we should be able to get done with everything we need for him. He says he's been praying about the Book of Mormon, but he's still not sure about our Church yet. He came to sacrament meeting yesterday though, and I think he thought it was good. He said he moved kind of far away though, and so it'll be hard to meet with him - he used to be like 15 minutes away, but now has to come 1 hour by subways for lessons. We don't want to make him call all that way to our church, but I don't think there's a better place to meet him. He keeps texting us and so we've been keeping in touch pretty well, which is good - he's asked us a couple of important questions through text, so I'm glad we're constantly texting back and forth (things like "what do you think people can expect to learn from the Mormons?" and "sometimes I think it's hard to believe everything your church teaches. Do you ever feel that way?").

We had Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyoeng) show up to church yesterday, so that makes 2 investigators at church, or what I believe is the highest for that stat that I've gotten so far. Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyoengwas kind of confused though - we had a conversation that went something like this:

"Woah, is that another investigator?"
"Yup, this is his first time at church!"
"You have other investigators?"
"... well, missionaries teach a lot of investigators, but not that many people come to church you see."
"Are you even teaching them right!?"
"Well, uh, we're trying to... it's just that uuuuhh...."

We will have to try harder to bring more people to church to impress Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyoeng).

I mentioned that we had planned for a lot of lessons but we weren't able to get them, and we wanted to teach Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyoengafter church. But we finished our class and stepped out, and we couldn't find him anywhere in the church. So we gave him a call, and it turns out that he had already left for home, and actually had arrived at home. I guess Young Men's ended really early, and since nobody was done with their classes at Church, Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyoengjust left. In hindsight, we probably should have told him that we wanted to have a lesson, so it's kind of little things like that that Elder Lees and I need to improve on.

Brother Steve was kind of a star this week. His real name is Brother 김양춘 (Kim Yangchun), and he comes to our English class. We thought he was an investigator at first (well, a non member), but it turns out that he's a recent convert in a nearby ward. I'm not sure why or how he comes to our English class, but apparently, he really likes Elder Lees and I. So we had lunch with him once, and he took us out for a tour this p-day. We took a toooon of pictures, so I'll send them over!

Other then that, we just did a fair bit of finding. We tried knocking doors for the first time this week - Elder Pickard in my district apparently had some success (finding someone who had heard about our church, and was willing to have the missionaries come around again), so Elder Lees and I gave it a shot. We gave out a lot of pamphlets and stuff, but we weren't able to teach anyone or anything.

We did, however, manage to give out a Book of Mormon though. We were standing in front of a house that had the gate open. Elder Lees and I were trying to figure out whether to ring the buzzer or just go in and knock the door, when a lady walked by. It's really awkward when you're two foreign kids standing suspicisouly in front of someone's house, so we gave her an "안녕하세요! (Annyeonghaseyo!)" She replied hello, and then asked "왜요?" ("why?"). Somehow, we got talking, and she mentioned that her son had served a mission (for a different church of course), and as we continued to talk, we somehow gave her a Book of Mormon. It was kind of cool that something as simple as saying hello lead to us being able to give out a Book of Mormon!

I think I'll wrap it up about here; I'll send you the best pictures of what we took today. Thank you, and have a good week!

- Elder Luke

The first picture is a picture of us at lunch with Brother Steve, the second is me with Brother Steve at the Busan Museum (which was unfortuanatly closed today...).

Here's a few pictures with some sweet statues at the museum...

I'm not sure why, but Brother Steve insisted on the shot from behind. The picture turned out well, so I can't complain...

And a few at the UN cemetery that was nearby...

A few more pictures, with the last being a picture Elder Lees and I took the beach today. The weather wasn't very good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Transfer 11 (!), week 1 (September 22, 2014)


I feel like there's not too much to write about for this past week... oh, and I left my old planner at home, so I've forgotten what we've done. :)

I think the main think for this next week will be adjusting to the new transfer. Elder Lees and I will be staying in 광안 (Gwangan) of course, so no difference there, but we have a new sister missionary coming in. We've had a couple of projects waiting (Sister 이자경 (I Jagyeong) went home this transfer, so we all knew a new missionary would come in) until this transfer to start, so we'll probably be pretty busy.

Actually, our mission's in a pretty crazy spot right now; we're losing a lot of old missionaries, and having a bunch of new missionaries come in. Elder Lees came in with 15 new missionaries, and I think 22 new missionaries came in this transfer (so like today) with another 20 or so coming in next transfer. We had some 10 or so missionaries go home today, with some 12ish last transfer; President Barrow said that once we get the next transfer started, some 40% of our mission will be new missionaries (I would guess that means like 4 or less transfers old). Bascially, everyone who is even remotely qualified to be training is training (meaning they're old enough/experienced enough and an obedient enough missionary to train). There's been a lot of strange transfers, a lot of new teams being added to areas, etc. I might train again in Gwangan as soon as Elder Lees and I wrap up, and another team of missionaries might move into Gwangan.

We dropped Brother 박제휘 (Bak Jehui) this week. Brother 양기욱 (Yang Giuk), the member we usually met with, went to America on vacation, so we met him with a different member. Elder Lees and I really stressed the importantance of coming to Church, but he still says that he can't come because he doesn't like large groups of people. We wanted to talk a lot about prayer and the Atonement, and how that can help him to overcome his fears, but he kind of insisted that it would be too hard for him. He actually asked if we could talk about something that's not coming to church, but our member told him that we as missionaries need to help people to come to church.

We called him back later to offically drop him, but when I called, he said that he understood, and would call us every once in a while to check up on us and set up an appointment if he feels like it, so we're pretty much done with him.

We're kind of looking at dropping Brother 윤영언 (Yun Yeongeon) this transfer if he doesn't progress. That'll leave us with just two investigators - Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyeong) and Brother 박신곤 (Bak Singon), which is kind of too bad. We're trying to do a lot of finding, but it's kind of a long process. Especially if we drop Brother 윤 (Yun) early, Elder Lees and I will have a lot of free time to try and find...

Things worked out such that we ended doing a lot of street jundo this week. That too has been kind of a slow process, but we've been able to give out a lot of Book of Mormons this week (well, a lot compared to what I'm used to givin) as we've done that.

Yesterday, we met a man in the subway station near our house; kind of like that last time I wrote about (I don't know if I mentioned it, but we gave him a call, and he said that he would call us once he read some of the Book of Mormon, and that we shouldn't call him, so he's pretty much a bust), he was pretty much the last person we had time to talk to. We just said "hi" to him, and he said "Oh, the Mormons!" and so we stopped to talk with him. He talked really fast and I'm not sure what he was trying to get at, ("Youmissionariesalwaystalktopeopleandtellthemaboutyourchurchifthey'reinterestedlikeyou'redoingtomerightnowbecauseIsaid"Mormons"toyouandohlooknowyou'reshowingmethatBibleofyours")
and he actually said that he wasn't interested, but he said that he would take a Book of Mormon and give it a read. I think we've been really blessed to give out these Book of Mormons - it seems like every time we go out, as long as we're trying hard, we always find someone to talk a copy. We haven't found any new investigators through that as of yet, but we're working on it!

We've also been calling former investigators from our Area Book (a big book of missionary records), but we've been working though them faster than I thought it would take. We'll probably boil through them pretty quick, and then we'll have to switch up our finding techniques. We can always just call people saved onto the phone, but Elder Lees will probably have a pretty hard time with that (at least with records, he can sort through them and pick out people who look likely), so we'll see.

So I guess what it boils down to is that we really need new investigators... We've got a couple of really good people we can meet though, so that's really good.

Back to the projects I was speaking of, one of the big ones is this "Ward Missionary Meeting" that we'll be having in two weeks. We've been given the last hour of church to have a meeting to help the ward members to do missionary work. We're basically working from the ground up - we don't really have that much to work off of, and nobody in Gwangan was here when they did that last meeting. We'll probably have to do a lot of planning this week.
Brother 박신곤 (Bak Singonhas been doing well. He's been pretty busy, so we've only been able to meet once a week, which is a little too bad, but he's progressing well. If we only meet once a week, we can't teach all the lessons in time, so we'll probably have to push his baptismal date back a few weeks.

We weren't able to teach Brohter 정대영 (Jeong Daeyeong) this week, which kind of hurts. He has school tests going on, so he's been spending a lot of time studying. He came to the youth activity on Saturday and part of church Sunday, but we didn't have enough time to teach a lesson. I guess it's really important for him to come to this sort of normal church functions...

The sister missionary coming in is Sister Broyles, and I believe it's her 3rd transfer. Now in English class, usually more experienced missionaries teach the basic level classes, so I might ended up teaching a basic class, instead of by beloved intermediate class (intermediate class in particular is fun - all the members are friends and they always bring food. Someone bought me a frozen pizza last time.). We're teaching a basic, intermediate, and advanced class now, but since we have 4 American missionaries, we might do another basic class in addition (English Conversation 102). Actually, I think everyone in my district might be American; Elder Pickard is training, and we don't know who his companion is yet, but odds are, he'll not be Korean.

Well, there's a couple of things that really stood out this week - the first is not to give up. We had a 2 hour 전도 (jeondo = street contacting, in this case) session yesterday, and it was really hard. There weren't a lot of people out, and it seemed like the people we did talk to weren't really that excited to talk with us (and there were a lot of people that we straight up couldn't talk to, since they didn't stop). There was actually point where I looked down at my watch and almost laughed because we had so much time left. But we didn't give up, and kept trying, and like I wrote about above, we were blessed to find someone who was willing to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon.

The second thing I learned is the power of study. As a missionry, I've focused a lot of study on the missionary lessons; I know a lot of other people study other things, but that's what I've chosen to do. I think it's easy sometimes to think that we know everything, but as I've continued to study, the lessons have become clearer to me - I guess I get inspired with new ideas to teach that principle, or how to teach it clearer. I remember one study session when I had 10 minutes left, and I didn't have anything in particular to study. I considered to kind of just chill it out, but I felt that that wasn't okay, so I studied about the missionary lessons instead. And in those 10 minutes, I actually learned a lot, and felt like I was better able to organize the principles of the lessons in my head.

I think that's about it! I love you all!

Until next week!!
- Elder Luke

side note: did I talk about Taximan? We met kind of crazy guy this week; he's a returned missionary who fell away from our church after reading some anti-Mormon stuff. He speaks English almost entirely in idioms (anyone know what "hollow legs" mean? I didn't until he explained it. He insists it's both extremely common and useful), prays 5-6 hours a day and sometimes sees the devil even though he doesn't want to, almost has 5 million dollars because he prays so much, and half-shouted at us for like 50 minutes in a Pizza Hut the other day. I'd write more, but actually I pretty much summed him up. That lesson is a good lesson for Elder Lees and I.

Here's some pictures: the ward mission leader wanted pictures of all our investigators, so here's Brother 박제휘 (Bak Jaehui) and 박신곤 (Bak Singon). 

Here's a couple more pictures: one of our district (we're getting 3 new missionaries this transfer!), and one of a 떡파티 (tteokpati = mochi party) we had after English class. It was pretty good, but they served green tea, which is kind of awkward. We didn't say anything and just didn't drink it, haha.


tteok = a type of rice cake (see Wikipedia article) that seems to be very similar to mochi (もち) in Japan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Transfer 10, week 6 - 항상 파티 (Hangsang pati = party all the time?) (September 15, 2014)

안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo)!

Man, this week was really really crazy. Strangely, we were really busy even when we didn't have things to do. It was a week of miracles I think; here's kind of what went down:

Kind of the main thing this week was planning. There's a kind of training curriculum for new missionaries (called "The 12 twelve weeks" or 12주 (ju = week) for short), and week 5 focuses on planning. We watched a bunch of videos about planning and studied from Preach My Gospel about planning as well, and so Elder Lees and I decided to keep better track of our goals. I know in the past I haven't been done a very good job of remembering what goals we set for the week (by goals I mean key indicators, which are things like how many lessons you taught in a week, how many contacts you got, etc.), so I was kind of excited to try.

What we ended up doing was pretty simple. We wrote down our goals on a whiteboard, and then wrote down what we had accomplished - if we taught a lesson, then we were write it on the board, and then see how many we had left for the week, who we had appointments with, and then we would think about what we had to do to complete the goal we set.

We had a few experiences this week where we set a goal, and miracles happened that made the goal possible. For example...

This week, we wanted to get one RCLA (a lesson taught to either a recent convert or a less active). We had planned to spend some time looking for less actives this week to try to get this stat, but we were really busy. Things just didn't work out the way we had planned, so we had no time to look for any less actives. We kinda gave up on the goal, but then on Friday, we got a call from Brother 서민호 (Seo Minho), a recent convert, saying that he wanted to meet with us. He's really busy, and can only meet like once a monthish, and I had kind of forgotten about him. But we met on Saturday morning, and we were able to get the goal.

We also wanted to teach 4 other lessons this week (lessons taught to an investigator without a member present). One of our goals was to teach Brother 윤영언 (Yun Yeongeon), but we couldn't meet on Tuesday because of 추석 (Chuseok). We had contacted him to meet, but he said he wasn't really interested on meeting on another day, and so I was kind of satisfied that we did what we could to meet the goal. But then on Saturday, Brother 양현재 (Yang Hyeonjae) (the troubled kid) wandered into church, and we were able to set up an appointment for Sunday and meet that goal for other lessons.

We also wanted to go do English class 전도 (jeondo = contacting) with the sisters - we were kind of low on contacts recieved, and that's a fairly easy way to get contacts, but the sisters got busy and our plans fell though. We were sitting at home on Sunday, trying to figure out what to do with the last 2.5 hours of the day, when we got a call from the sisters asking if we had time to do some English class 전도 (jeondo = contacting). We were out for a little over an hour, and we got 5 contacts, which was the exact number we needed to make our goal.

I don't know what it was this week, but things worked out really well. Both Elder Lees and I felt that we were able to see a lot of miracles to help us out in meeting our goals. I had to give a talk this Sunday, and while I was sitting up on the stand, I was looking out over our ward. I started thinking about this week, and I felt that I really loved our ward here - it's not perfect, but I think I say now that I really love the 광안 (Gwangan) area. Elder Lees and I are super pumped to be able to serve here and together for the next transfer as well (well, probably).

I think I mentioned him before, but we met with Brother 박신곤 (Bak Singon) (college student), and we got a baptismal date for October 12! He actually accepted the date really easily - he simply said yes and asked what he could do to prepare to be baptised. He's a really really good investigator - he read the pamphlet we gave him several times, asked questions and participated well, and new the materal really well. We think he might have gone online to do some research about missionaries and our church as well. He texts us whenver we have a question, and so we've been able to have regular contact with him. We're excited to continue teaching him.

He did mention, however, that his parents go to a different church. Brother 박신곤 (Bak Singonsays that his parents probably won't allow him to be baptized (he's 30, but I don't think he wants to have a fight with his parents), so that's a problem we'll have to work with as that date gets closer. Oh, we also found out that General Conference is going to be on that date (it's a week later in Korea), so we'll probably have to push it back a week or so.

I wrote about mission tour last time; I don't think I mentioned that I was asked to translate. It was a pretty crazy meeting; Elder Aoyagi spoke in Japanese with a little English here and there, and that was translated into English by a translator sent down from Seoul, which either I or the other missionary translater I was with translated into Korean. I was pretty happy; I understood some 90-95% of Elder Aoyagi's Japanese (and I could understand a suprising about of church words), and so I actually mostly translated the Japanese directly into Korean, listening to the English if I wasn't sure what was said. All the other missionaries keep bothering me that I'm trilingual now... :(

Anyways, the mission tour was really good. President Barrow spoke a lot about overcoming our fears and bearing testimony about the gospel to others. Sister Barrow spoke on the power that even one testimony can make, Sister Aoyagi talked about spreading Book of Mormons (*copies of the Book of Mormon, excuse me) and giving those to others, and Elder Aoyagi talked about how missionaries in the Book of Mormon were successful, and about how we too can be successful like them.

One big push our mission is doing right now is teaching more lessons. I don't know what the numbers look like, but I guess or mission has dropped somewhat in lessons taught. And since Sister Aoyagi talked about giving Book of Mormons, Elder Lees and I go hit the streets to 전도 (jeondo) if time and circumstances permit.

We had like 45 spare minutes this last Sunday, and so we wanted to go and try to find someone to give a Book of Mormon to. We prayed, and headed out. We actually talked to a few people, but none of them really worked out. One guy had to go somewhere before we could even talk about religion, one guy said his eyes aren't good and so he couldn't accept a Book of Mormon, and a few people said politely that they weren't interested (and one person said rudely that they weren't interested, haha). It was time to start wrapping things up - we had to be at church in like 10 minutes, so we were starting to wind down and head that way, when we met a man...

It's kind of your typical missionary story, but he was pretty much literally the last man we had time to talk to (after that we had to jog back to the church), but he was really friendly and open to us. We chatted a bit, and we talked about and offered a Book of Mormon, and he took it. We also got his number, and he said that he would trying reading the Book of Mormon.

At the time we met him, he was checking his mail. His mailbox was maybe 2 steps away from his gate, so we had maybe a 10 second window to meet and talk with him, and we were let to hit that window exactly on time. We were even impressed a few minutes before to knock the door of a house. It's weird to think that while nobody answered the door, the few minutes we spent at the house caused us to meet that man that would gave the Book of Mormon too. I think sometimes we're lead to do things, even though we don't know that we're being let.

I'm out of time, but we were blessed to see so many miracles this week. I've learned to love 광안 (Gwangan), and I'm really excited to continue serving here.

Love you all!
- Elder Luke


항상 파티: Hangsang pati = party all the time? Google Translate says the word is "always." I'm not quite sure what he means by this. It's a play on words with his "meat party" subject line from last week, and I'm guessing what he's trying to say was that it was a crazy week, and every day was like a party (without any literal parties actually happening). Maybe...

주: ju = week. This is certainly 週 = しゅう = shuu in Japanese.

박신곤 (Bak Singon): First mentioned last week.

전도: jeondo = contacting, or missionary work. Almost certainly 伝道 = でんどう = dendou in Japanese. Literally "the way of spreading the word."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Transfer 10, week 5 - 고기 파티 (Gogi pati = meat party) (September 8, 2014)

안녕하세요! (Annyeonghaseyo!)

Happy 추석! (Chuseok)

추석 (Chuseokis a pretty big Korean holiday, and so things are kind of quiet around here. There's still a few cars, but all the stores and shops are closed and locked down. There's like nobody out on the streets! Luckily, it's P-day so it's not like it's a disaster or anything... things will start to go back to normal starting tomorrow, but things probably won't go back to 100% normal until the beginning of next week. I don't think it will interfere with missionary work that much though.

This week we'll have Mission Tour, where Elder Aoyagi (maybe in the area presidency? he's some kind of church leader that oversees Korea and Japan I think) will come and speak to us. So with that taking up most of Thursday, and 추석 (Chuseokuntil maybe Wednsday, things look like they'll be a bit on the slow side this week, but there's not a whole lot we can do.

We had a (almost) missionwide p-day today for the holidays. Apparently, President Barrow and his whole family are runners, so he arranged a 5k for us all to participate in. I don't know if I have ever ran that much before. I ran with Elder Lees though, and he's slower than me, so it wasn't too bad to run. I wasn't able to get any pictures though, which is really too bad. I think the Barrows are planning another 5k (or possibly 10k!) for whatever holiday is next, so I guess I'll have more chances for pictures.

After that, they brought everyone back to the mission headquarters and we got to kind of hang out. They had a barbeque with delicious Korean 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal = ?), but there were too many missionaries and not enough grills. I think they continuously cooked me for like 1-2 hours, but they couldn't keep up with the number of people eating. I got like 5-6 pieces of meat (like bite sized pieces!), and there were people who ate less.

After that, it was kind of scheduled for the missionaries to do whatever; some people played  basketball, some people played board games, and most people just chatted with their friends. Elder Lees and I decided to leave early since we still had to do our emails, so we left as lunch was maybe 70% of the way through. I think it was a good choice though; it's really nice to be able to email comfortablely and not feel rushed for time.

We came home, showered and rested, bought some Ministop ice cream on the way to the church and are emailing now of course. It's been a good p-day!

As far as this week goooees...

Monday - Nothing too special; we just kind of had a normal p-day. We got pizza for lunch, went to the bank to get money, did our shopping and email, and we had like 2 hours left, and so we decided to check out a nearby Buddhist temple. I had heard that there was a temple near our house, but I had been to lazy to go up and look for it. It turned out to be about a 5 minute walk from our apartment, and the temple was pretty cool. It made me think that I need to go out and visit places more on p-days... I took some pictures, so hopefully I remember to attatch them to the email (I can't right now; I need to switch computers).

For dinner, we got invited over to a member's house; he invited a few other missionaries and President and Sister Barrow over, and so it was kind of a missionary party. The food was really good.

Tuesday - We had a lunch appointment with Sister 배나라 (Bae Nala) (we meet with her pretty much every week, and she buys us food). She normally takes us to the exact same 돼지국밥 (dwaejigugbab) (pork chop soup, I guess) restaurant, but we went to a Chinese food place this time. It was really good, but since we had eaten a LOT of food the night before, I wasn't super hungry for the meal.

We also met with Brother 윤영언 (Yun Yeongeon) and Brother 오삼석 (O Samseok). We talked about prayer, and everything went okay, but they're kind of frustrating to teach, since they're not really looking to be converted or anything. If things don't really change, we'll probably have to consider dropping them; I might have written this already, but they said that they want to just study from the Book of Mormon for now, and not think about church or baptism or anything. :/

Wednsday - We ended up having a LOT of time on Wednsday, so we spent a lot of time working some unfinished projects we had lying around. We spend a good majority of time on making a record book for English class because our ward mission leader asked us to make it. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if it'll be extremely useful, but it's kind of nice to have around...
We also met with Brother 박제휘 (Bak Jehwi) and we read 1 Nephi 17-18 with him and talked about prayer. It pretty much went as normal; nothing really to say...

We haven't really been able to drop him because one of our members really really wants to continue meeting. But said member is going to America on vacation, and so we might drop him while the member is gone. I'll be a little bit scared if I'm still in 광안 (Gwangan) by the time the member comes back; he's not going to be happy.

Brother 박제휘 (Bak Jehwisaid that he's never prayed about the Book of Mormon (he's met with misisonaries off and on for AT LEAST 2 years, and we dug up a teaching record from 2007 for him, and I'm pretty sure he's met with our elders before that as well...), so we commited him to do that.

He also says that sometimes he prays to the moon, so there's that ("Sometimes, when I'm hiking mountains at night, I'll look up at the moon, and the next thing I know, I'm praying to the moon in my heart."). But he says he knows that prayer works because as he hikes mountains at night, he hasn't been injured yet, even though he has bad ankles.

Okay, moving on to...

Thursday - We had exchanges with the 해운대 (Haeyundae) Elders, and so I spent most of Thursday with Elder Pickard. You probably don't remember, but Elder Pickard was in my MTC district, so it was a lot of fun serving with him for the day!

Every Thursday, we have what we call the "Pop Song service activity," where we go to a local library to serve. They've got a sort of class for blind people, and one of the things they do is study old American pop songs together. Mostly, we help with pronunciation by reading through the song with them. Sometimes we help with translation/interpreting lyrics, but for the most part, it's pretty chill. Once we go through the song, we practice singing along to the song, and then one of the teachers will accompany us with a guitar as we all sing the song together.

So far we've sung "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver (that was a lot of fun), "Tennesse Waltz" by Pattie Page (maybe?), "Annie's Song" by John Denver, and "Vincent" by Don Msomething (Mclean?).

So again, it's pretty chill; the teachers do a really good job leading the class, so what we have to do is fairly minimal, but it's a lot of fun. Elder Pickard really really liked the class.

After that, we did some advertising for our English class with the sister missionaries. It went suprisingly well that day; I think we got 32 contacts of people who said they were interested in maybe 1.5 hours. I've had transfers where we don't get even half of that, so we were really satisfied with how things worked out.

Friday - Elder Pickard and I contacted everyone we got for our English class on Thursday, and then we had district meeting, where we met with Elder Pickard's companion and Elder Lees and we un-exchanged.

We got invited to a sweet barbeque at the church that evening, and so we headed over there for the evening (strangely, our ward mission leader didn't invite the sisters over, so I'm not sure if that means anything or not... he invited us on the previous Sunday when we just kind of happened to be at church, so maybe that's why?). The barbeque was really, really good. It took a while to get everything set up, and there wasn't a lot that Elder Lees and I could do, so we played with the kids there (I think only the younger families got invited; it wasn't a ward activity, so just the families that are close friends went). I think children were all under 8.

I actually feel that us playing with the kids was a really important thing; that next Sunday, a few of the parents of the kids talked to me. They were people that I hadn't really met much before, so I was a little suprised, but I think they got a good impression of us because we spent time with their kids during that time before the barbeque. Hopefully, we can keep working on that and get the members to trust us more!

We had an appointment with Brother 박신곤 (Bak Singon) (not 박신근 (Bak Singeunas we had previously thought), so we left the barbeque to have a lesson with him. The lesson went really well - Brohter 박신곤 (Bak Singonis Christian and has a lot of similar beliefs to ours. He prayed, agreed to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and also agreed to be baptized once he knows our church is true, so he's off to a really good start. We're pretty excited.

Elder Lees was really happy after Friday - He kept saying "A sweet lesson followed up by a delicious 고기 파티 (gogi pati = meat party); 광안 (Gwangan) is the best!" It was a really good day for us!

Saturday - We taught English class, and more people showed up then we thought, especially considering it was nearing 추석 (Chuseok). We also spent some time working on other random project we had yet to tie up.

Sunday - We only had 1 hour of church because of 추석 (Chuseok), so we thought we would have a ton of time, but things worked out well. We have mission tour this Thursday, and we're supposed to sing a musical number, so most of the evening was taken up by travelling there and practicing. We also tried to meet a potential investigator, but he didn't show up at the appointed time, and his phone was off, so we'll have to try again later.

It's kind of a long email, huh!? I guess this is just a slice of what life in 광안 (Gwangan) is like!

I've been thinking a lot about prayer this week, since it's something that we've been focusing on with investigators a lot. I learned that it's really important to have faith in prayer; one of our investigators said that the reason why prayers are answered is because prayers make us act to achieve what we prayed for. While that's true to some extent, that kind of a really worldly explanation; with faith, we can know that God helps up to do more than were alone are capable of as we pray and have faith that God will answer.

It's probably hard for them to understand prayer, since having personal experiences goes a long way in understanding. I don't really have a specific example, but I've had a lot of experiences where prayer and diligence has helped to do more than what I could have done on my own. Prayer really works because God really lives and loves us! (I wish our investigators could understand that more clearly!)

I think that wraps us this week. Hope you all had a good week, and I'll write you next week!

- Elder Luke


추석: Chuseok, which according to Wikipedia is "is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea."

삼겹살: Google Translate claims this word means "belly," which my best guess is slang for "yummy food," maybe?

Elder Aoyagi: Elder Koichi Aoyagi is first counselor in the Asia North area presidency. He's from Matsumoto, Japan.

Ministop: A Japanese convenience store chain that also operates in several other countries in Asia.