Sunday, March 29, 2015

Transfer 15, week 4 (March 30, 2015)


So I was looking at the calendar, and tomorrow I have exactly two months left on my mission. Aaahh!

So the big news: we had a baptism yesterday!!!!! Here are some pictures...

You'll notice it's just the girl getting baptized - we got a call from the brother the night before the baptism, and he said that he didn't feel like he was ready yet. He feels like he not quite sure about how much faith he has and so he's going to continue to come to church and learn more.

It was a little bit shocking but not 100% percent unexpected I guess. His sister definitely seemed more interested. But the important thing is if 진산b (Bro. Jinsan) doesn't feel ready and still feels like he needs more time is to let him have more time. And hes' planning on continuing to come out to church, and that's kind of the big thing isn't it?

Their mother came out to the baptismal service as well, which was really cool. Afterwards, we had some refreshments, and members were doing a good job talking with her, and she seemed to enjoy the time with everyone. We've got really good members here, haha.

Oh, and her uncle (who originally referred her and her family) came to the service as well. I think he'll continue to help out both 이예진s (Sis. I Yeojin) and 이진산b (Bro. I Jinsan) as they learn more progress in the gospel.

The baptismal service went really smoothly - everyone did their part well, the members were really supportive, and we didn't have any problems. While we were waiting for Sister 예진 and Elder Boome to change out of their wet clothes, we had a time for the members to write little notes to say "congratulations" to 이예진s, and that went well too. It just felt like everyone was thinking about her and was happy for her.

The baptismal service was a little stressful of course, but it went well and it's all over now, haha. Our next step is to work with 이진산b a little bit more and see what we can do to help him.

Sorry for the short email this week as well, but most of this week was spend doing baptismal preparation, and then doing the actual baptismal service!

Next week we're super busy as well with SPM, going to a meeting down in 부산 (Busan), and then another Zone Training Meeting. Not that being busy is a bad thing!

Until next week!

- Elder Luke

Monday, March 23, 2015

Transfer 15, week 3 (March 23, 2015)


We kind of had a crazy week; we were actually a little bit less busy than we had thought - we wanted to teach and meet with 예진 (Yejin) and 진산 (Jinsan) a lot, but they were busy and so we couldn't. That was a little bit disappointing to be honest; we had planned to meet both of them twice but ended up not being able to meet at all. Their baptismal date is still set for the 29th though, and that's what we're shooting for. We still have to teach both of them more lessons.

We managed to schedule appointments for both of them, so we'll finish off the lessons and have the baptismal interview on this Saturday, then have the baptismal service on that Sunday. It's a little bit tight, but we don't have a lot of options at this point. Hopefully all goes well and they get baptized on the 29th without any problems.

It's been a little bit stressful - I just wish that we could have met this week and gotten everything taught and taken care of so we didn't have to play it so close. If they by some chance have something come up in the interview, we'd have to cancel the service that's already planned for the next day. Not a huge deal really, just kind of awkward.

Actually, we don't have a ton of time to email today, so this might be super short...

We also had Zone Training Meeting this week, and everything went really well. The people we asked to help present the material all prepared well, and did everything better than we expected. People participated well, and I like to think everyone learned a lot.

We talked about the "Standards of Excellence" for our mission, which are basically high goals set by the leaders of the mission to give us something to work towards, "expand our vision" if you will. They just say "We as leaders of this mission believe that if you work really hard, you should be able to do so much in so much an amount of time." So recently, our mission president has been focusing on that, and has changed some of the numbers, so we talked about that (the number changed was number of lessons taught in a week). We explained the change, and then had a discussion time all together about different ideas on how we might achieve the goal. People participated well in the discussion, had good ideas, and we actually had a few missionaries tell us that they learned a lot and have some new things that they want to try out, so I guess it all was a success. Actually, we called everyone involved in the meeting and asked how things were going the night before the Zone Training Meeting, and everyone was kind of like "Um, we've got a few more things to wrap up and think about..." (including us) so we were worried, but it was a relief to see that the meeting ended doing well. I think we've got another Zone Training Meeting this transfer though, so we'll be busy.

Alrighty I think that's all I have time for....! Thank you so much for everything! Hope to report on the baptismal service next week!!!!

- Elder Luke

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Transfer 15, week 2! (March 16, 2015)

안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo)!
We kind of had a crazy this week - there was a lot of things that kind of got switched around, and we couldn't do everything like we had planned. P-day being on Tuesday didn't help either, haha.
Kind of the main thing for this week is our lessons with 이예진s (Sis. I Yeojin) and 이진산b (Bro. I Jinsan) of course!
We met (or tried to) meet them both twice this week - again, their baptismal date is coming up (got switched to either 28th or 29th) and we've got a fair amount of the lessons left. So we met 이예진s and taught her most of the commandments, and she understood and accepted things pretty well. We asked her to read parts of the "For the Strength of Youth," and she ended up reading all of it because she was bored of studying for school. So when we had the lesson, she understood a lot, and we were kind of able to just review most of the material. Oh, and we taught with our sisters missionaries, and they ended up talking a lot about modesty - it's kind of hard in Korea (especially for women). I think she still has a few concerns about that, but I believe they're mostly resolved now. And then Sister 이예진 had some questions about the Word of Wisdom - basically "What should I do if my friends want to go out to drink?" and so we talked about that as well.
We met them both Saturday, and their schedule didn't work out, so we met with 이진산b separately. That actually turned out to be a pretty good idea - with the first three lessons, there's a lot of doctrine, and it's pretty easy to accept, but lesson 4 had the commandments, which is where most people have concerns. He had more concerns about the Word of Wisdom than 이예진s, so it was good to meet him alone and address those concerns with him. We watched the Mormon Message "Leave the Party," (which you can see here) and we think he really liked it. He is still a little bit hestitant and agreed to commit the Word of Wisdom because "I'm still young and don't have any problems with it now."
We had Stake Conference on Sunday, and we had planned to meet them again, but that didn't really work out super well. 진산 doesn't respond well to our texts, and so I don't think he knew that we wanted to teach him. What ended up happening is that the sisters met with 이예진s with Sister 황동옥 and reviewed the baptismal interview questions, and then 이진산b disappeared right after church to go study, and we weren't able to teach him.
The sisters said that the lesson went really well though; she was able to answer all of the questions, and they resolved the concerns as they came up. I guess she was a little bit more comfortable with just women as well - they asked her to pray at the end, and she said "Good, it wouldn't be awkward because there's no boys around." I'm not sure what that means, but we miiiiight have to just give her over to the sisters and have them teach her until the baptism, haha. Oh, and they said she was more open in talking about some of her concerns about her brother (she's worried that his friends aren't that good, and that he's started to go down "wrong roads" or whatever; she wants church to help him because a better person basically), so that's really good too. Sister 이예진 is pretty much ready for baptism I think! She just needs like 1-2 more lessons, and I think she'll be able to be baptized with no problem.
We're now one lesson behind with 이진산b, so that's a bit of a problem, but we've still got plenty of time to catch him up and prepare him for baptism, so we're not too worried. If he doesn't show up to church or something though, it's kind of be a big problem, haha.
So overall, they're both doing really well, and I think the 28th/29th (our ward mission leader changed the date, and we're not 100% sure when he said it was haha) will be a really good baptismal date for them, and we think they'll be able to be more than ready by then. We're excited!
That's our main news; the rest of the week was spent in meetings and planning and stuff. Again, we've got Zone Meeting this next Wednsday, and that's taken longer than we thought to figure out. But that'll all be over until the next Zone Meeting in like 3 weeks. Oh well, we got to do what we got to do, right?
Elder Boome's got to figure out college stuff, so I'll keep this short for this week. Thank you for everything!
Elder Luke

Transfer 15, week 1 (March 10, 2015)

안녕하세요~ (Annyeonghaseyo)
Sorry for the late email! We had to go down to 부산 (Busan) for transfer meeting. Actually, neither Elder Boome nor I transfered (or the 상인 (Sangin) sisters for that matter), but we had to take a test/participate in a study about how well foreigners understand Korean proverbs (actually, I have no idea if that's what they were studying, but they told us a few Korean proverbs, spent way too long explaining them, and then had us make example sentance). So by the time we got back to our area it was around 7:00 and so we didn't have much time to do anything.
We had Family Home Evening (for the ward) yesterday night, so we just ended up doing that. Attendance had been a little sparse recently; school's started up in Korea, so the young men that used to come to EVERYTHING we did aren't able to make it to activities any more, and so that takes a pretty big toll on our attendance. The other members kind of show up when they do, and don't come when they don't, and it all just changes from week to week. Still, we have a couple of older sisters (50's? 60's?) who come out pretty much every week, and they're (suprisingly) fun and participate well, so it's not too bad.
I was actually kind of sick this week, so we had a couple of weird days where we had to do stuff related to that. I've just had a stomachache for like a week or two now, and it wasn't too bad most of the time, but it's gone on long enough that I went to see a doctor this morning. I felt good after fasting last Sunday, but then I ate waaaaay too much unhealthy food on Monday and Tuesday, and so I felt like dying on Wednsday, haha. So I took it easy Thurday Friday, got some advice from Sister Barrow (who kind of manages missionary health), then decided to see a doctor yesterday. There's a member in Daegu who used to be a member of the Area Seventy, and he's a doctor, so all the members told me to give him a visit. I met and talked with him today, and he said that it sounded like I have "gastritis" (?) which is some kind of inflammation of the stomach. Anyways, he gave me some medicine, told me to avoid any greasy or spicy foods and not drink sodas and then get back to him on how I'm doing. So I'm hoping this will be the end of being sick.
As far as this week goes.....!
It was transfer week, but I kind of already talked about that. I have a couple of friends moving into our zone, so I'm pretty excited. Elder Frampton from my MTC district is district leader in one of the... districts, and Elder Pickard is district leader in our zone as well (though he was there last transfer as well). And Elder Lees is moving in from 부산 (Busan), up to 안동 (Andong) (training there actually...), which is both the largest and northernmost area in our mission. There were a lot of weird transfers this time; we have a looooot of young missionaries, so there's a lot of teams out there that are two foreigners that have been serving for 5-6 months - just a lot of young missionaries serving together.
As a side note, I met the 영도 (Yeongdo) (my first area) missionaries, and they say that 이상남 (I Sangnam) is still coming out to church with his aunt (he's the 8 year old kid that I baptized back when I was in 영도 (Yeongdo)), so that's pretty cool. And I also heard that Brother 정대영 (Jeong Daeyeong) in 광안 (Gwangan) is still doing well; he's still meeting with the missionaries and coming out to church, though he hasn't been baptized yet still. They say he's been introducing his friends to the missionaries though, which is pretty cool. Now that school's started though, things might slow down a bit with him.
Brother 이진산 (I Jinsan) and Sister 이예진 (I Yeojin) are both still doing well; we're planning on meeting them both Saturday and Sunday this week; otherwise, I don't think we can teach everything we need before baptism. We had a lot of material prepared to teach them, but we didn't have time to teach it all during church (which was fine since we were talking about other important things). Sister 이예진 in particular seems to be doing well - she takes in the lessons well, understands well, is friendlier with the members, and in general is doing better than her younger brother. Our Sisters showed her the baptismal font, and they say she seemed pretty excited about that as well. I think she'll be ready by the baptismal date. We still have a few concerns about 이진산b - he's doing well, of course, but when we tried to commit him to keep the Word of Wisdom, he kind of said that he wasn't sure. He said that it's a part of Korean culture to drink, and that if he has to drink he has to drink, and so he's not sure if he can keep the Word of Wisdom. Of course, that's kind of a hard thing to ask someone to do huh? We're basically asking him to make a promise that he has to keep for the rest of his life, all while he knows that there will be situations where it will be difficult to keep that promise.
Oh, and we moved the baptismal date from Saturday the 21st to Sunday the 22nd - it seems like that would fit everyone's schedule a little bit better. It gives us a little bit more time, on Saturday and then Sunday during church, to teach them, so we've got a little bit more room. We also had I think a stake temple trip planned on that day, so that would have conflicted some. We've got to get started on planning the service soon! 
We also met with a sort-of-kind-of investigator, Brother 전상현 (Jeon Sanghyeon). He's the 8-year old son of a recent convert, and she wants him to take the lessons because he doesn't know that much about the church. He's 8 years old, and his mother is a member, so he won't be a convert baptism, so he's more of just someone to teach rather than a real investigator who's super interested in our church (he didn't want to have to participate in the lessons - he said that he just wanted to play at church, haha). So we'll probably just reaaaally briefly and simply go over the lesson contents, and then tell his mother that he's pretty much good for baptism. If nothing else though, it's good to have someone to prepare for and teach.
I think that's about it! We've got Zone Training Meeting coming up next week, so we've got to figure that out.
Thank you for everything! Please tell everyone thanks for the birthday emails as well! (speaking of being sick, I wasn't feeling super good on my birthday, so we didn't do anything special. I got a couple of phone calls from missionary friends wishing me a happy birthday though, so that was pretty cool. Elder Pickard sang me "Happy Birthday" in Japanese. He asked me how to say that like 2 days before my birthday, then put that to the tune, and then taught the other 3 missionaries in the house that song so they could sing it to me over the phone at 6:30 in the morning. Haha, it was really nice of Elder Pickard.)
Until next week!
- Elder Luke

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Transfer 14, week 6 - Transfer week! (March 2, 2015)

안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo)!
How are you all doing? Well, I hope!
We had a really really awesome week here in 상인 (Sangin)! Time seems to be moving really fast.
Elder Boome had, in one of his other areas, visited members on their birthday to sing them "Happy Birthday" and give cookies or brownies, just to do something nice for the members. It's a little bit of work to make treats, and then go all the way to visit them, but we get to spend a little time with our members, and I think they really appreciate it.
So this week was Brother 변수화's (Byeon Suhwan) birthday (you might remember me mentioning him; he's really funny, and made us stay at his house for like 3 hours once because he wasn't ready to hear our message because he was "still digesting." He's kind of crazy, but he's a really good guy.), so we decided to visit him. This was our first visit in 상인 (Sangin), so I was a little nervous, especially since we were going to visit him without calling first. We get to his apartment, and he lets us in, and he was really excited when we told him we came to tell him "happy birthday." He has us come in, then called all his family over so they could hear us sing to him (his wife suggested we sit, but he replied with "This is a special occasion, so we have to stand for the song."), then we sang and gave him cookies. Again, he seemed really grateful that we had come over, and we spend the next 45 minutes or so talking and spending time with his family. Brother 변수환 (Byeon Suhwanseems to be the kind of person that likes us visiting and giving him stuff (some of the older members probably wouldn't be so pumped about it), but we're planning on trying and visiting more people in the future. Elder Boome said something to the effect of "being with members is so good for missionary work; you feel energized afterwards" and I think it's really true.
Speaking of members, we had our second 음악교실 (eumak gyosil = music education [音楽教育?])/Music class this week, and that turned out really well as well. We didn't have too many people show up, maybe just like 6, but everyone kind of split off into groups, so each missionary was able to spend time with the members (not just Elder Boome teaching 8 people, and everyone else sitting around, you know?). I was on a piano with 병수 (Byong Su) and 병현 (Byeong Hyeon), two of the young men. 병현, the younger of the brothers, actually was trying to learn and practice piano, and 병수 was basically just messing around the entire time while keeping 병현 from learning, so I don't know how much actual learning took place. But the important thing is that we were able to be with the members. I'd be good if 병수 paid a little bit more attention though, haha.
Our bishop changed this last week (I might have wrote about it?), so we're kind of adjusting to that. It seems like he's pretty interested in helping us out and things; he sent his 1st counselor into MCM with us, which was a little bit scary, haha.
We got to meet with 이예진s (Sis. I Yeojin) and 이진산b (Bro. I Jinsan) twice this week, which ws really great. We also met with 황동옥s (Sis. Hwang Dongok), who is now pretty much their official fellowshipper; 예진s especially likes her, I think.
Oh Wednsday, we taught a lot about prayer and scripture study, and how they can gain a testimony through those things. They both commited to read and prayer (plot twist: they both prayed but didn't really read when we met the next time). The lesson was really good - it wasn't awkward, and I think both 예진s and 진산b felt comfortable to talk about their questions, and the things they think. 진산b mentioned that their father doesn't want him to come to church (apparently his opinion is that 예진s is fine to come because she's a girl, and 진산b can't go to church because he needs to study hard to get into a good school so that he can get a good job later in life), but their mother support them. Actually, we once asked whether it was hard to come to church in the morning, and they said that if they slept late on Sundays, their mother was wake them up and send them to church (she's not a member, by the way!). 예진s and 진산b said that they came this week to church without their father knowning, which is not really that great, in my opinion. I'd be best if we could help the father agree to let his children attend church...
Their baptismal date is still the 21st (which is next transfer, so if I happen to transfer somewhere...), though that date seems like it'll be a liitttle hard to meet. Our ward mission leader is absolutely dead-set on that date though; I'm not sure why, but he won't even hear about changing it. It's kind of a little probem actually, since we want to make sure to teach 예진s and 진신b at a pace that's appropriate for them, and not have to feel rushed for baptism. I wish he understood a little bit better that the most important person here is the investigator, and our job is to make sure they know enough and are doing what they need to prepare for baptism. We can make it by that date, but we'll have to teach a little bit faster than we had planned. I guess we'll just see.
Oh, and the lesson we had on Sunday was really good as well. We briefly covered the Plan of Salvation, and then talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They accepted everything really well, and seemed pretty excited about what we were teaching. 예진s especially was really listening well. She said she really liked the concept of repentance; she had learned before that once someone sinned, that was a permanent mark against them. So learning that we can repent of our sins and be clean was something she was really interested in. 진산b also listened well. 황동옥s (Sis. Hwang Dongoktalked a lot (after the lesson) about how the gospel has blessed especially her and her husband to become closer together, and that's something else 예진s was really interested in. I guess their father is a little bit scary, and there's not a ton of love from him in their house, so Sister 황's testimony of how the gospel teaches husbands and wives to love each other really seemed to mean a lot to her. 진산b, being a 16-year old teenage boy, seemed less enthralled about marriage.
Lets see... we also did SPM this week, and managed to get all the information-gathering and typing done waaaaay faster than last time. We just need to double-check on some people that need updating, and then we'll be good to go. I'm pretty happy with how quickly we were able to get everything together; it didn't feel like we were spending/wasting too much time on it. :D
So, to sum it up, we had a really good week! We pretty much finished up SPM, and 이예진s and 이진산b are doing really well, and progressing towards baptism. We got to visit 변수환b (Bro. Byeon Suhwanas well, and that was really fun.
I miiiiight end up transferring, which would be really too bad. I'd rather not leave 상인 (Sangin) when we've got really good investigators, and when I really love the members here as well. We'll see what happens this week; it's just one of those things that if President Barrow feels that God needs me to be somewhere else, I can't really not go, right?
I'll update you on transfer news next week! Thank you for everything!
- Elder Luke