Sunday, April 26, 2015

Transfer 16, week 2 (April 27, 2015)


This first week is already over.... we actuallly didn't have too much to, but I think we did a good job keeping busy. And we were able to see a lot of miracles as well, haha.

Elder Wunderli and I ended up visiting with members a lot this week - we maybe visited with 5-6 families or so. Basically Elder Wunderli got here and we spent a lot of time the first few days making calls to members, and people were really willing to have us over I guess! So Elder Wunderli had already met with maybe 1/5 of the ward (well, maybe not that much, I'm not sure) before actually coming to church, which a really good start. I think we'll try to keep up the momemtum and use Elder Wunderli as an excuse to visit everyone!

Kind of bad news - we were talking with our ward mission leader (well, we had MCM is what I mean), and he says to give 이진산b (Bro. I Jinsan) more time. He says for now, as far as lessons go, consider him a drop and not try too hard to teach him for the time being. On the bright side, the young men planned an activity for him - 이진산b really likes soccer, and so the young men will be having a soccer game this Saturday, and they already invited him and everything. Not sure if he has time, but we're hoping that this will be a good opportunity for him to make some more friends in the ward, and get to know Elder Wunderli as well! And of course, hopefully that will lead to him coming out to church more! :) Oh, he didn't come out this last Sunday though.

This transfer is probably the least busy I've had as Zone Leader - We've just got one meeting, which is Zone Conference, which means that President Barrow and the APs plan it for us. We'll probably have to give a talk or do some teaching practice or something, but that's it. And then we only have SPM once as well, which means that we've got a lot of time freed up to try and focus on 상인 (Sangin)! That's something we've been wanting for a long time, but when we actually get time, it turns out we don't have anything to do, haha. So we hit the streets and spent a lot of time on 전도 (jeondo). Normally, 전도 ("tracting") isn't that effective - you give out a few pamplets to people who don't really want them, get a phone number maybe, but it's hard to find people who are really really actually interested in the gospel.

We stepped out probably Tuesday, and the first person we talked to told us that he was a less active of 30 years, and then we had a nice conversation which ended with them telling us that he'll buy dinner for us sometime (kind of a Korean culture thing). Is he interested in coming back to church? Honestly, probably not, but it's really good to have his phone number, and have just one more person to contact and figure out how to work with.

We had a couple of experiences like that - just like better-than average 전도 (Sangin). We met this one guy, and I talked about our church a little bit, but he didn't seem interested. As he started to walk away, Elder Wunderli mentioned English Class, to which he said he was interested (we ran into him again like an hour later, and he said that he'd call!), and while we were talking to him, a lady in a nearby shop was listening, and came out to ask us for our number. Now again, neither of them have called us yet, but on somedays, meeting people interested in just English is hard, but we were blessed to find two.

We also met this one other church goer who really liked us. I guess his favorite church minister/pastor/church leader is American, and so he was really excited to meet other American Christians. We gave him a pamphlet, he took a picture with us, and we parted. I think it was the next day that he called and said that he had read the whole pamphlet, and had some questions. Elder Wunderli talked with him for awhile on the phone, and he said that he wanted to meet and buy us hamburgers sometime (because we're American...). Again, I don't know if he's super interested in conversion, but he's yet another person with some potiential to meet, and from there we can kind of see how things go.

And then we also spent some time calling former investigators - we met with one who turned out to really like missionaries but wasn't really that interested in the gospel (really common scenario in Korea...), and we've also been contacting another former investigator who seems willing to meet but busy.

A member up in Seoul gave us a referall of a friend, and so now we're meeting with Brother 이재덕 (Ee Jaeduk). He hurt his leg in a work-related accident some 8 months ago, got surgery, and is now receiving rehabilitation treatment (that doesn't sound correct). He spends a lot of time at home, and is pretty free to met us pretty much whenever. He's a little bit older, maybe 60 years old, attended a Presbyterian church for a long time, and seems to really like us.

The first time we met, I thought he was super golden - he took everything in well in a typical Korean old man kind of way (old people either accept everything or absolutely nothing), and he told us to come over often.

We met him the second time yesterday, and I don't know how interested he is exactly, haha. Maybe it's just that he doesn't understand what we're doing as missionaries, or maybe it's because he's just really lonely sitting at home all day, but he talked a toooon during the lesson, and kept taking the conversation to "not the gospel." He read from the Book of Mormon though, up to 1 Nephi 4, and he understands really, really well. I think he's understood the best of anyone I've ever taught - probably his church background helps him understand scriptural language. He seems to totally accept that the Book of Mormon is scripture (he was like "well, I gotta read it if is that Word of God, right?"), so he's doing really well there. Again, he wasn't super focused in the lesson, so we'll have to figure out a way to teach him in a way that works for him. He called this morning because he "wanted to hear our voices" so maybe he just likes the company of two handsome young Americans visiting him. We'll have to meet him a few more times to see where he goes. Oh, and he says that because his leg hurts, it's hard for him to come to church. :/

So that's about it! Elder Wunderli and I are working well together, and we've been really blessed to see some good things happen this week! I think things will continue to go well this transfer. Thanks for everything!!!

Elder Luke

Here's a few pictures....

Here's a picture of the kids at an orphanage where we (kind of) teach English...

And lunch after ward conference...

A few pictures with 이예진s and 이진산b, and then one we took at McDonalds at 4:30am the day Elder Boome left. We woke up at 3:00 to get there, haha. It was fun though!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Transfer 16 (!) - week 1 (April 20, 2015)

안녕하세요! (Annyeonghaseyo!)

Well, this is the last transfer for me. I honestly haven't thought about it too much so far, but it kind of hit me as Elder Boome started packing, that that's what I'd be doing in 6 weeks. The 부 (bu = slang for "mission office") sent me a packet of stuff to take care of, forms to fill out and stuff to know about going home, which isn't helping, haha. I guess I just feel like it's hard to believe that the last transfer is here, and I'm not sure what to feel. Hm.

I guess first of all, we started a new transfer, and I'm staying in 상인 (Sangin), and Elder Wunderli will be coming here. He was actually our district leader last transfer, and so he's coming from an area that's just like 45 minutes away from 상인 (Sangin). He's got 2 transfers left, so he's a pretty old missionary as well. I had several members comment that I've been in 상인 (Sanginfor a long time - Elder Boome and one of the sisters left, and so the members were like "Wait, Elder Luke, are you not transfering? When did you get to 상인 (Sangin)? When are you going home again?" But I'll be here for the next 6 weeks!

This last week was pretty busy, though I can't really remember with what. Elder Boome had a bunch of stuff to do as he prepared to go home, so we went down to Busan once, and he spend like all his free time writing in "memory books" (which are just notebooks that people have, and they give them to their friends and companions to write it. People put in pictures and stuff and it's just basically a letter to that missionary. Elder Boome's leaving, so he had like 6 people ask him to write in theirs, haha.). Like I wrote last week, we spend a lot of time with members.

Not too to write about has been going on in 상인 (Sangin)... we met with 전상현 (Jeon Sanghyeon) again (I think I already mentioned him but....). He's the 8 year old son of a recent convert, and we've been teaching him the lessons reaaaally simply to him before he gets baptized.

Oh, we had a stake meeting for recent converts (half talks/testimonies and half special musical numbers - it was really good), and 이예진s (Sis. I Yejin) gave a talk! The stake asked her to basically share her conversion story, and she did a really good job. She looked really nervous sitting on the stand though. It seemed like a lot of missionaries were able to bring a lot of investigators and recent converts there, which is really good. We've done a meeting like that in 대구 (Deagu) in the past, and it was all really good except for the fact that not that many people showed up.

We had ward conference this last Sunday - in a ward with normally 60-70 people, we had 102 total show up that day. The sisters said they counted like 10 less actives, and a lot of the members brought family and friends (I think our bishop's family brought like 5 people - he told us that he invited like 8 people). So that meeting was a huge success - the members do a really good job trying to do member missionary work here.

Honestly, there's not that much to write about, so it's kind of short, but I'm just going to leave it here.

Until next week!

- Elder Luke

Monday, April 13, 2015

Transfer 15, week 6 (April 13, 2015)

안녕하세요! (Annyeonghaseyo!)

Did you all have a good General Conference? We actually have been busy with this and that and still haven't been able to watch the Priesthood session, and we thought we might have to miss some of the other ones as well, but things worked out well. 

On of my questions going into conference was "What do I need to do after my mission? What do I need to focus on?" and I feel like I got a lot of insights into that question. I still need to figure out some stuff and set some goals still, but I was able to learn a lot from Conference. I especially liked the talk on having an eternal perspective - it seems like a lot of the things we worry about kind of fade away when we try and focus on just what's most important.

이예진s (Sis. I Yejin) came out to church this week (like 40 minutes late but still), and watched part of conference. I didn't get to talk to her much, but Elder Boome said that she said she liked it. I think it helped that she only watched like an hour, and not the whole 10 hours that she could have, haha. Her brother didn't come though - we wanted to talk with him and see if we could start teaching him again, but that might have to wait a bit. It kind of seems like he wants a little space to do what he wants though, so we'll try not to pressure him too much. The members seem to be doing a good job contacting them so I think things will all work out well.

We had a huge problem with our phone over the past couple of days in the mission. Our mission doesn't actually work with the cell phones; there's some office up in Seoul that manages all that, and apparently someone somewhere didn't pay a bill, because probably 90% of the phones in the mission can't make calls or send texts anymore. It's been pretty crazy, and basically anyone with a working phone has become super busy calling everyone and trying to coordinate things (our phones can accept calls and texts). We haven't been able to contact a few people we wanted to, so that's been too bad, but we've had some really quiet evenings as well. Actually, this is probably the most free time I've had at night since that past like year or so, and that's been a huge blessing. I've been able to write in my journal, get around to the things I've been meaning to do, and just relax. Pretty much no one can call us and we can't call anyone, haha. Luckily, we didn't have any like important appointments or anything that was canceled because of the phone situation. They say the phone will be working by tonight, so then it's back to our busy nights again. 

We met one 김동수b (Bro. Gim Dongsu) this week, who is a referral/contact from another area in 대구 (Daegu). It was a pretty short meeting, maybe just like 15-20 minutes. He seems pretty interested in church, and actually agreed to try coming. He didn't, unfortunately, and we couldn't call him this last Sunday, but we're hoping to meet him again and try teaching him. He's a little bit strange (maybe just awkward? kind of thinks a long time before asking questions, and doesn't talk too much, but all his questions were pretty good), so we'll see where he goes.

Let's see, we had Zone Training Meeting again, and all went well there. Not sure how everyone else felt about it, but I really enjoyed the meeting. I think things went well, and everyone did a good job with their talks and things. So preparing for that meeting and General Conference kind of ate up a lot of time this week. I think we'll spend a lot of time with members the next week; Elder Boome's leaving, and so we've already got like 3 appointments or so set up. We should be pretty busy I think!

So I think that's about it this week... Thank you so much!

Elder Luke

Monday, April 6, 2015

Transfer 15, week 5 (April 6, 2015)

It's been a really really crazy week. Busy with all the random stuff that come up, haha.
Sister 이예진 (I Yejin) received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, so she's officially the newest member in 상인 (Sangin)! We didn't really explain the ordinance very well I think, and so she seemed like a little bit embarrassed, haha. She said that she thought that it was just going to be the bishop doing the ordinance and not the bishop plus another 6 people. But there was no problem there and that's all safely over now.
Brother 이진산 (I Jinsan) came to church as well, which was a huge relief. He only came to sacrament meeting last time (well, he and his sister were late to church, so they were only there 2 hours but still), so I think he's doing well. We're planning on trying to talk to him again next week and see how he feels about starting the lessons up again and preparing for baptism. I think for now, he's pretty content with just coming to church and listening, but I guess if that's what he wants, we'll let him do that until he feels more ready.
We tried to call their mother and invite, but she didn't pick up. We've got general conference next week, and then ward conference, and so we've got good excuses to try to get her to come out, haha.
Oh, and the sister missionaries (they're pretty close to 이예진s (Sis. I Yejin- I've known her longer, and Elder Boome and I taught more lessons to her, but in the end, she likes them more, haha. She texted the sisters asking if it would be okay for her to call them sometimes when she wants to talk. 이진산b (Bro. I Jinsanwould never ask to randomly call us! It's a girl thing I guess....) said that 이예진s (Sis. I Yejinhad shown them her new scriptures (the triple combination our bishop gave) and told them that she had read up to 1 Nephi 5. Apparently she said that it was really fun and interesting to read - so she's been reading from it a little bit every day it seems. It's really awesome that she's been doing that and enjoying it too - Elder Boome is constantly amazed at how good she is haha. I don't think about her progression as much as I should, but she's doing really, really well, and I think she'll continue to do well in the future too!
Last week, we went to Busan on Friday; we woke up at 5:30am, and got back to our area like 8:00pm (the bus we wanted to take sold out of tickets so we had to take the next one which was 40 minutes later). Then Saturday was pretty busy (trying) to prepare for the Zone Training Meeting coming up this next Wednesday, and Sunday we did church, weekly planning, and went to a member's house for dinner. We have been sooooo busy lately, haha. Oh, and we visited some district meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as had SPM as well. We've been keeping really busy with "Zone Leader stuff," and not been able to find and teach and do that as much as we want to. It's a little frustrating sometimes, but then we remember that we just had a baptism with an awesome investigator, and we've still got 이진산b (Bro. Jinsanhere and that things are pretty good in 상인 (Sangin).
We'll have a few days this week without anything special planned (although those are starting to get filled up with activities...), so I hope we can find some new people to work with.
We're planning to visit 손지훈b (Bro. Son Jihun) this week; did I ever tell you about him? The blind less active man?
Well, he's really nice, strong Christian, although he seems like he's a little weak in things that just our church believes, so Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, things like that. Anyways, he likes to have us over like once every 2-3 weeks (and calls me and passive-aggressively half-complains if I don't give him a call every once in awhile. For example, just the other night...
"Hi. Who is this?"
"This is Elder Luke."
"Elder Luke? Really?"
"Oh, I thought you had transferred!"
"Yeah, you hadn't called for such a long time I had assumed you had transfered away!"
"Um, no, I'm still here."
"Ah, I see. That's a relief. Won't you visit me sometime?"
"What time is good for you this week?"
And so on.)
He's a really nice guy though. Anyways the reason why I mentioned him is because I don't think I wrote about him giving me acupuncture once.
He has this fried chicken place he orders from (Korea is HUGE into delivering food to houses), and while it's not that great, missionaries are really nice and kind of drummed up how good this chicken is. It's not bad chicken at all, it's just that it's a little bit closer to average then what I had imagined when I first tasted it. Anyways, last time I went, he really wanted to buy it for Elder Boome since it was his first time, but my stomach was not doing well then ("gastritis"), so we didn't eat it (we had Pizza Hut instead, which I don't think is an appropriate substitute for chicken (which we didn't eat because it's would have been too greasy for me). He called up the Pizza Hut with no idea on what they sell, and so he had the lady on the phone go through the most popular pizzas while she described what goes on each one. He kept telling her that whatever pizza she was describing was "too greasy" and to recommend another one. I think she was pretty frustrated and told him the all pizzas are greasy one way or another, but he countered with "I've got important foreign guests here and one of them has an upset stomach and can't eat greasy foods. What can you recommend for us?" She was probably one step away from telling him that people with upset stomachs shouldn't be eating pizza, but she was really patient. We just got like a normal combination pizza in the end, haha.).
So he decided that I needed treatment for my upset stomach and recommended acupuncture while mentioning that he was good at it. I look to Elder Boome, who is very excitedly nodding his head "yes" so I told him that I would, haha. Elder Boome is a bad friend.
Brother 손 (Son) then proceeds to slap my back and try to collect all the blood into my thumb (kind of like rubbing my arm. Remeber when I said that Elder Jo offered acupuncture when I had an upset stomach?), and once the blood was satisfactorily collected, he tied it off with like a shoelace that he pulled out of nowhere. Brother 손 has diabetes, so he's got a blood sugar reading needle device, which he used to treat my gastritis. Apparently, the place to get acupuncture is on the thumb, below the base of the fingernail and a little to the side.
So he stabs me, and blood is coming out, and he keeps telling us how black the blood it (it's normal but it felt rude to argue at that point), and he's getting my blood on his hands and everything was kind of a mess for a few minutes, but I was successfully bled. It was a pretty crazy appointment....! I received acupuncture from a blind less active man.
Didn't help though, I was still sick until I went to a real doctor.
That's something that happened like a month ago, but there's not too much to write this week, so I hope that story is enough.
Thank you for everything!
Oh, and Dad, yes, I got the package from Japan. Thanks!
And Mom asked about teaching piano - we did that like twice, and then school started so everyone interested in piano stopped coming to our class. We're still doing guitar class though.
Thank you for everything! Until next week!
- Elder Luke
Oh, and here are a few silly pictures from visiting district meeting.