Monday, January 26, 2015

Transfer 14, week 1 - Transfers! (January 27, 2014)

안녕하세요~ (Annyeonghaseyo)!
So transfers happened last week, and we had a few suprises...
1. We lost our B team! Elder Maccarthy was called to go whitewash train in 경주 (Gyeongju) (next city over from Pohang), and Elder 허 (Heo) left, and nobody came to replace them. We had like 10 elders go home this transfer, and maybe 3 come in, so a few other areas were cut down as well. We got all of (well, all two of) the B teams investigators, so it's not a bad thing, but the house feels really quiet now, haha.
2. The 상인 (Sangin) sisters came back! The sisters transfered out as I came in, but they're back in 상인 (Sanginafter a 3 month absence. So while we lost our B team, we've got sisters now, so there's still 2 teams in 상인 (Sangin).
3. Elder Boome is my companion (again!)! After a 5 transfer separation, Elder Boome and I are somehow companions again. I've only heard of a few other companions that have served together twice, so I was kind of suprised, but here we are together again. I'll be fun. :D
So bascially, what that means is that there's 3 missionaries in 상인 (Sanginwho are completely new to the area, so I have to kind of be there to help everyone out. Oh, and all the missionaries in 상인 (Sanginare fpreigners, haha. I think once everyone gets used to things though, things should go smoothly. The ward mission leader called me last Sunday and told me to help everyone out and to try my best to kind of lead in MCM and other church meetings. My last transfer in 광안 (Gwangan) was kind of similar though; I was the oldest missionary, and I knew about the area the best, so I kind had to take charge sometimes, so I don't think it'll be incredibly difficult.
In other news, we heard back from Sister 이영숙 (I Yoengsun) after a week of no contact; we invited her and her kids to come to the 겨울 축제 (gyeoul chugje = winter festival) meeting, and she texted back saying that her children had heard bad things about our church from their friends, and so they were a little nervous about coming. She told them them to ask the missionaries about their concerns, and then she told us to call her children and invite them. So long story short, we invited them, they came to the party, and we met afterwards and talked about what they heard. Elder 박 (Bak) kind of lead most of the teaching, but he told them that they had to figure out for themselves what they thought about our church, and kind of left it at that.
Come Sunday, they showed up! I guess what we told them was comforting enough (and they said that the people in our church were nice enough that they didn't think our church could be a scary or bad church), and they decided to coming to church and seeing what we were about. The members did a really good job fellowshipping and taking care of them, so I think they'll keep coming to our church meetings. I was kind of worried since they didn't come last week, but we're really hoping they'll keep showing up and learning more about our church!
Oh, and I'm not sure what's up with Sister 이영숙 (I Yoengsun), but it seems like she really wants her children to attend our church, so I think she'll encourage them to keep coming. She actually has helped us out a lot in helping her children to come to church (she was busy with work and couldn't come this week)
We were really busy with week between meeting with members, and planning for 겨울축제. That's pretty much all we did this week. We spend sooooo much time decorating, planning, practicing, and just preparing for the meeting. A lot of the tangible work went in this week, and there was a lot of last-minute changes, but in the end, we got everything done that needed to.
The meeting itself was good. We talked about member missionary work in a little more of a fun way, using a few different videos and plays instead of just speakers. That was about 45 mintues, and then we had different activities and games, and a bunch of ice cream for dessert. We probably had 40-50 members show up, which is a little more then we had expected. I think the people that came had fun - and hopefully they learned a little bit about member missionary work as well. Our ward mission leader did a really good job with the meeting; I think people enjoyed it enough that many people should com next time we hold a meeting.
Really, it wasn't super stressful for me because Elder 박 (Bak) and our ward mission leader sort of led the planning, so they figured out the hard stuff while Elder Maccarthy and I made decorations.
I'll send a few pictures... (I didn't get any of the activities, since we were too busy...)

I'm not sure why, but our ward mission leader bought us a Disney cake... (I think it was because Elder 박 (Bak) and Elder 허 (Heo) were leaving?)
Alrighty, I think that's about it for this week; we were really busy, but things turned out pretty well! Until next week!
- Elder Luke


The decorations looked something like this.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Transfer 13, week 6 (January 19, 2015)


I don't think I wrote about it last week, but we've got a ward meeting in 상인 (Sangin) coming up this next Saturday, so we've been pretty busy getting things put together for that. Like pretty much every other meeting I've helped prepare, I feel like things are really rushed, but I think it'll all end all right.

So the 상인 (Sanginward has kind of a history of doing "missionary meetings" - I'm not sure 100% what they did (did I talk about this when we Skyped?), but it seems like they had these meetings every several months, and they talked about member missionary work, and practiced teaching lessons together, went outside and tried to give out Book of Mormons, had testimony meetings and firesides and things. But since they did these kind of meetings for a such a long time, everyone kind of hated them and in the end, not very many people were showing up (I heard that the last ward mission leader would sometimes do them monthly).

So anyways, our ward mission leader changed somewhat recently, and he wants to make a member missionary work-oriented meeting. So he's trying to kind of rebrand these meetings as much more fun and not just really heavy missionary-focused meetings, so that's what we've been planning for the past few months or so.

We're calling it the "winter festival" meeting, since we all decided together that if the word "missionary" goes into the name of the meeting, nobody will want to come (it used to be called the "missionary festival". And because of that, our ward mission leader (his name is Brother 박영 (Bak Yeong)) wants to tie it all together by putting a "Frozen" theme (Brother 박영 (Bak Yeong) kind of planned the meeting super over the top, and he wanted us to all wear Frozen costumes (which probably wouldn't have worked out super well in the first place....) but it tuns out that such costumes are super expensive) on the meeting. We'll see how that goes, but we've got to decorate, organize the actual meeting, plan activities, the whole nine yards... actually, we have lots of ideas, just nothing is really set in place yet.

We've got really good ideas actually; we'll be doing it in two parts, with the first half being the more serious "missionary" part, which we'll do for like an hour, and then activities and dessert, which will be like another hour. 

To be honest, it kind of seems like Elder 박 (Bak) and Elder 허 (Heo) are in charge of the main part of the meeting, and Elder Maccarthy and I are in charge of the much-less important decorating, but whatever. We'll just do the best we can, and it'll have to be enough...

So yeah!

Any free time we have this week will go directly towards preparing, practicing, shopping, decorating, and just in general setting up for this "winter festival."

Other than that, we've got like 5 appointments with members set up this week for Elder 박 (Bak) and Elder 허 (Heo), since they're both going home in a week. So that'll keep us pretty busy for the entire week.

We met with Sister 이영숙 (I Yeongsuk) (referral we got last week) and her daughter and son this week; the lesson went pretty well. She had a lot of questions about our church; not really doctrinal questions, but just questions about the things she saw when she came. We planned on kind of just going light and try and see if we couldn't meet regularly, but Elder 박 (Bak) decided it would be best to teach about the Restoration, so we did that in addition.

At the end of the lesson, we asked if we could continue to meet to keep learning about our church, but Sister 이영숙 (I Yeongsuk) was really hesitant, and just said "I don't know" in the end. I guess we didn't explain well enough about what our purpose is and why she needs to keep meeting with us.

They seemed pretty interested during the lesson though, and we were able to talk a lot with them which was good. Oh, and they didn't come to church this week, so I'm not sure what's going on with them. We'll have to give them a call and see what's up it seems.

So we're a little bit disappointed; we had hoped that they would come back to church, and continue meeting with us. I guess we'll just have to keep an eye on things and see where things go.

We got to teach a lesson this week though, to an investigator, so I can't complain too much! And we're pretty busy as well, so life is good in 상인 (Sangin)!

Here's a few pictures; I finally got them from Elder 박 (Bak), and I should be able to get some from Elder 허 (Heo) soon as well.

Have a great week!

- Elder Luke

Actually, looking at the pictures I got, a lot of them are similar to ones I already have (like of when we went to 동화사 (Donghwasa), the Buddhist temple), so I'll just send this last one and call it good for today!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Transfer 13, week 5 (January 12, 2014)

안녕하세요~ (Annyeonghaseyo)!
I thought last week that once this week was over, we'd be done being busy, but I was wrong. We rechecked our transfer plans (so for the remaining two weeks) and we'll be pretty much as busy as we can get... so stay tuned~!
I guess I'll start with the huge miracle for the week...
Earlier this week, we got a phone call from one Brother 이재달 (I Jaedal), a member in 김해 (Gimhae), down in Busan. He had a referall for us - I'm not sure exactly what it is, but he referred to us a sister who's cousin or brother or something is a member of the church, and he told us that she was interested. So we (well, Elder 박 (Bak)...) gave her a call, and she said that she was interested in meeting with us, and also asked about when our church meetings were. So we told her, set up an appointment to meet, and were super excited.
Come Sunday, she called us again, saying that she wanted to come to church! So we gave her more specific directions, and she showed up with her daughter and son. They stayed the whole three hours (I believe they were going to leave early, but some members convinced them to stay until the end), and the members did a good job of being friendly without being pushy - oh, it was great! Elder 박 (Bak) and I couldn't talk with them too much unfortunately, but everything worked out really really well.
And on top of that, we got a phone call from her today (her name is Sister 이영숙 (I Yeongsuk), and she said that church was really good, and that she wants us to contact her children to invite them back to church!
So, we're working on that, we've got an appointment with her this Tuesday, and things are looking pretty good. It's really exciting.
So that's the big news for this week!
Other than that, we had Zone Training Meeting, and things ran pretty smoothly. We were able to keep it right at around 2 hours long, and I think the other missionaries really liked the shorter meeting (they usually run 2.5-3 hours long). I guess we had a slight problem with the younger missionaries not really understanding what was going on (the 부산 (Busan) mission, by rule, does all it's official meetings in Korean, so it's pretty hard for foreign missionaries...), and so we need to think about that some, but things seemed to go pretty good otherwise.
We had SPM this week as well; but nothing too special there. It was pretty average, haha.
Other than that, we had interviews with President Barrow this week - it was good. He said not too worry too much about doing Zone Leader stuff and to keep doing my best.
We went to 동화사 (Donghwasa), a famousish Buddhist temple here in 대구 (Daegu) today with our bishop. To be honest it wasn't toooooo special (well, it was really far away more than anything else...), but here are some pictures.

The first picture is from last p-day - we did a two-district ice skating thing. The other missionaries have more pictures (of the actual skating) so I'll send them your way once I get them.
Thank you~!

- Elder Luke

You can read a bit about Donghwasa on Wikipedia here.

Enjoy! Have a great week!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Transfer 13, week 4 (January 5, 2015)

This week was pretty busy with SPM phone calls and going to Busan for a meeting. We have Zone Training Meeting, interviews with President Barrow, and the actual SPM meeting this week, so a lot of last week was preparing for all that. That's not all that interesting, so I don't know how long of an email I can write this week.
We actually spent a lot of time in travel this week; zone leaders are supposed to visit at least one district meeting of each district in their zone, so we went over to the 수성 (Suseong) district this week. Unfortunately, the meeting was held in  경산 (Gyeongsan), which is further away. So our Wednsday schedule looked like this:
9:00am - head out to 경산 (Gyeongsan)
11:00am - start district meeting
12:30am - lunch with 수성  (Suseongdistrict
2:00pm - head back to 상인 (Sangin)
3:30pm - prepare message for member
4:00pm - head out to visit said member
5:00pm - visit w/ member
7:00pm - visit nearby less active
8:00pm - back home, do SPM phone calls
And Friday, when we went to Busan:
5:00am - wake up
6:00am - leave for 부산 (Busan)
9:30am - start meeting
3:00pm - finish meeting
6:30pm - back to 상인 (Sangin), have dinner
7:30pm - plan for ZTM
So, as you can see, we're busy but we sometimes have to spend a lot of time outside of our area... Elder 박 (Bak) and I probably need to spend some more time to rethink and try our best to prioritize what we're doing. President Barrow told me that there's always more work do be done then we can do, and that's how it's supposed to be and that's how it will always be. It's our job to prioritize and try our best to focus on the things that matter most.
Mom asked a few questions in one of the letters I got, and while I think I answered most of them when we Skyped, I'll try and answer a few of them here!
What is your apartment like?
Our apartment is huge! But it's also kind of old and so the wallpaper is not in super good condition, and the some of the flooring is coming off (not that it's actually stuck on; it's just like a huge sheet on the floor. There's a spot in the house where the flooring is ripped off, and you can see the concrete underneath, haha). But it has it's own kitchen, two study rooms, and two bathrooms as well, so it's really convenient. I think the 광안 (Gwangan) house was my favorite, but 상인 (Sangin) is probably second best. If they just remodeled the house, it would be pretty much perfect.
What do you do for your morning exercise?
It's really cold outside, so nobody goes running. I had a week where I tried super hard to exercise (just stuff in the house, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, etc.) but recently, our energy bill has been kind of expensive, so we've been turning the heat down in the house when we sleep, and it's too cold in the morning for me to want to exercise. And we sometimes have stuff to take care of (permissions, phone calls to make, etc) in the morning, so usually I just sit in my chair until it's time to eat breakfast. I probably should exercise.
What do you eat for breakfast and what do you cook for dinner often?
Breakfast is usually cereal with toast. Some people do eggs, but I'm never in the mood to fry an egg at 6:50 in the morning. Dinners are pretty random; the member are pretty good at giving us food, so usually Elder 허 (Heo) will cook something up with what we have, and we'll eat that. Rice, a few vegtable side dishes, and some kind of meat or soup is pretty normal.
How's your companion?
Good! Elder 박 (Bak), is a really good missionary and he's been teaching me a lot. Actually, he really seems to know a lot about being a leader, solving problems, etc., so I'm kind of worried about what will happen next transfer when he goes home and I'm in charge.
Any good sightseeing places in 대구 (Daegu)?
From what I've asked people, no, not really. There's a few temples that are famous; I think our bishop wants to take us to one, so we'll probably go next week. Other than that, there's E-World, an amusement park. I guess there's a few shopping malls, but that's about it I think.
What is Christmas like in Korea?
It's not that big. A lot of stores do like "Christmas sales" and things, but it's not that big of a holiday. People tell me Christmas is usually considered a couple's holiday, so a lot of people go on dates, and give their boyfriend/girlfriend presents. A lot of people also spend time with their friends, so it's not as family-based as it is in America.
Hm... I think that's about it for this week. Please pray for me that Zone Training Meeting will go well; we need a lot of help, haha. Thank you so much everyone!
Elder Luke