Monday, August 26, 2013

Welcome to Korea.

AUGH.... There's zero time to write. Sorry. This will probably be a short one.
I think about language ALL the time. There are little 5 year olds running around in the street speaking perfect Korean (for a 5 year old) and they never had to try to learn Korean. They just know it. They have no idea how difficult their language is. But then I think about English. It's easy. It's just speaking. I never really had to learn and don't have to think about how to say something. It just comes. But English is SO hard for my companion! It's a really difficult language! Anyway. Language is cool. Korean is hard, but I'm enjoying it.
We did exchanges on Wednesday or Thursday. My companion told me the night before. I also found out then that I would be the senior companion for that exchange because it's an Elder from my MTC group and we would be serving in MY area, which means I should know it better. Ha. That was a fun day. We 전도'd (proselyted) the whole time. We spoke lots of broken Korean, and understood very little. It was a great learning experience.
Good frisbees don't exist in Korea. I'm so MAD! But I was able to buy a soccer ball, so things are okay.
People are funny. We had three investigators that were going to come to church with us yesterday. 2 of them COMMITTED to come, and the other one said maybe. The two that committed didn't show and wouldn't answer text or calls that whole day. Super frustrating. The other guy texted and said he had a bad hangover, so he wasn't going to make it. Every time someone cancels (or "punk"s as they call it here) my companion says "Welcome to Korea". It's funny. And frustrating. But we are working hard and trusting in the Lord! People have their agency, so they can choose for themselves.
Good luck to all y'all starting school up tomorrow. Summer went by REALLY fast. Study hard and love every minute of it!
I love you all,
Elder Edwards

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I sweat when I sleep.

Hi everyone!!! This week went by super fast. It was really fun and really fast.

First off, I want to apologize for any spelling errors in this email and for the next two years. None of these computers have spell check, and my english is failing me. Seriously though, my english is getting worse. It's really weird. But also super cool.

Korean is coming along. It's super hard, but I'm loving learning it. I understand a little bit more every day. It's really slow progress, but definitely progress. I kind of expected to just wake up one morning and be fluent (who knows, that could happen), but I guess it doesn't work like that. It's progressing though, which is so so cool! Sometimes I think I'm getting really good... but then I spend a few seconds pushing on a door which clearly says "pull" (단기세요) and I remember that I don't know very much Korean. It reminds me of the Far Side comic where the door says pull and the kid is pushing as hard as he can. That's me.

I can't get over the food here. It's so fantastic. And sometimes really gross. A potential investigator fed us bean ice cream. It's not like that delicious vanilla bean ice cream back at home. It's like ice chunks and black bleans. It was pretty disgusting. But I choked it down to be nice. Bleh. But food here is really cheap, so we can eat out at restaurants pretty often and it's so yummy.

Wow... I read different peoples emails with how many lessons they're teaching in a week... That's a ton!! We don't teach a lot of lessons here... Maybe 5 in a week if we're lucky. But we're working really hard every day. Most of the day is spent proselyting on the street, which is actually really fun. It's a good opportunity to practice Korean and meet people. Most people don't like us, but it's fun. There are a lot of drunk people on the streets, which is really funny. Sometimes the drunk dudes buy us ice cream... It's weird. But I'm not complaining.

We had two guys who were kind of progressing, and one even wants to be baptized! But both of them have completely cut off communication this past week, and we have no idea why... Both committed to come to church this week, but didn't show and wouldn't answer calls. So dumb. But, in the middle of Sacrament meeting, some guy called and said that he was here outside the church! He had gone to our church in Japan and somehow found out about our church here. So we're going to pick him up as an investigator!

Last monday (P-day) we went to a 목굑탕 (mog-gyok-tang), otherwise known as a bath house. That was the most relaxing thing I've ever experienced. We just got to chill in hot tubs and cold pools for an hour. (Don't worry, it's approved by the mission president.) Pretty cool.

Life is good! Korea is awesome!

Elder Edwards

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I can't think of a clever subject...

Hello everyone! Time is really short... They might kick me off the computer in a few minutes here. I don't know though. I have no idea what they're saying. Sweet.

Korea is going great! It's still super hot and sweaty, but I'm getting over it. Embrace the stickyness.

The food is AMAZING. I love this stuff so so much. I ate a lot of different things this week... They have some spicy food. I've cried a couple times cause it was so spicy. It makes me think of the time I dared Dallen to eat the pepper at the Chinese restaurant... I feel like that every day. There you go Dallen. Sweet retribution. I ate squid and octopus this week. Really chewy. But good I guess.

I'm embracing missionary culture. I was trying to memorize a vocabulary word that sounded like Edgar Allan Poe. Only after about 10 minutes did I realize I had been saying "Elder Allan Poe." That was funny.

An old guy kissed my hand this week. That was weird.

If you're an old lady in Korea, when you hit about 80 years old you just squat in the street ALL DAY. Every day we see tons of old ladies just squatting on the cement and talking to each other. It's really funny. They scowl at me because I look like a cocky American punk. Which maybe I am. So I just smile and wave.

My companion gave me a haircut this week. He's never cut someone's hair with scissors before. I was his first time. But I think God was looking out for the image of missionaries, because it doesn't look bad. :)

Alma 26:37: "...yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."   I read that this week and thought about how mindful God is of me. I am a wanderer in a very strange land... But he is always looking out for me. How blessed we are to have the protection and love of a divine being! I have a testimony that God lives and knows each and every one of us.

I love you all!

Love, Elder Edwards

Basketball on P day in the POURING rain. (last p day)


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hi. I'm WET.

Hi!!! I'm in Korea! It's real! Sometimes I walk along not really paying attention, but then I look up and realize I'm in KOREA. It's super cool.
Ok. The plane ride was long but good. I got to sit by a friend of mine from the zone, so that was good. We arrived at 3-ish PM Korea time and were greeted by a wave of heat. SO HOT. The Assistants to the President were there to pick us up and took us by bus to the mission office, which is right behind the temple. We ate at a cool restaurant and it was super delicious. Even the kimchi.  We stayed at the temple that night. The next day (Wednesday) we had lots of meetings and training and met the mission president. And then we proselyted. (No trainer, just in our greenie companionships.) That was an experience. We would ask them a question, then they'd answer, and we would just nod our heads and smile because we had not idea what they said. Awesome. Then we ate at another delicious restaurant (sushi is delicious here) and went to bed.
Thursday, we got our trainers. My trainers name is 구영진 (koo-yeoung-jeen) and he is a native korean. He doesn't speak a whole lot of english and I speak zero korean, so there are some communication breakdowns. But it's really fun. I love him. He is a great guy and seems to know why he's out here. His korean is really really good (haha, he's native) so it's a really great learning experience for me.
Seoul is beautiful. And huge. I can't believe how many people there are and how big it is. There are people EVERYWHERE. And they all speak some foreign language I don't understand. It's cool though. I'm learning. Korea is surprisingly green. There are huge green mountains and forests scattered around the country. It's super cool. As far as transportation, we usually walk, but sometimes take the bus or subway. Cool.
Oh my goodness. It is incredibly hot. And humid. I have never sweat so much in my life. EVER. I sweat all day. There is no relief. So I'm kind of excited for winter, because this is gross. I wonder what the koreans think when this sweaty american guy stops them on the street and speaks broken korean at them. It's fun. Our apartment has no air conditioning. Luckily we have fans. I about cried when I saw them because I was so happy.
I'm getting better at chopsticks. Which is good. I thought I was going to starve to death for a little bit there.
Proselyting is really fun. I'm learning so much in the language every day. I still understand next to nothing, but it's ok. I know that understanding will come. We don't have a whole lot of investigators... But we're working hard and have a couple of potential investigators. It's awesome.
Life is good here. It's harder work than I thought it would be. The MTC was a piece of cake compared to this. But I love the work. I am bringing people unto Christ.
I love you all. Korea is great. Keep the faith!
Love, Elder Edwards