Monday, October 28, 2013

Korean boy bands

Squid Jerky. Yum. I'm pretty sure they pulled it out of the
ocean, hung it on a line, and then packaged it. Very chewy.
Hello from Taebeck!
This week was pretty short as far as weeks go... Not a whole lot of exciting things to report, but I'll do my best. We had interviews with President today (which is why I'm emailing so much later), and those went great! President Christensen is a truly amazing man, and it was good to pour out my heart to him about Taebeck and missionary work and everything! That was really good for me.
Our amazing President and Sister Christensen.
And then he fed us lunch and told us the best method to remove an appendix (he's a surgeon). It was pretty sweet. Maybe I'll try it on my companion or something.
Our mirror randomly fell off the bathroom wall this week, which was kind of crazy. It exploded into a million pieces ALL OVER the apartment. So it's not super safe to walk around barefoot, as a couple of us have learned the hard way. So we're currently mirrorless, but that's okay because we're a bunch of dudes. Elder Fronk and I went on exchanges this week and knocked A LOT of doors... which was super fun. Korean old men don't really care about a whole lot of things, so if they're chilling in their birthday suit when they hear a knock at the door, they don't bother with putting anything on. Kind of weird trying to preach the gospel to naked dudes on the doorstep. It was mostly just SUPER funny.
Brother Lee.
Our lone Aaronic priesthood holder, whom I love so dearly.
A boy band came to Taebeck on Saturday! They were pretty awful... which is why I think they came to a town as small as Taebeck. But there was some pretty sick bass booming through Taebeck that night while they sang, so I'm not complaining. Nothing brings the spirit like bad singing and throbbing bass. :)
Taebeck is good. It's still really small and getting colder. The language is still awesomely hard. I tried to ask my branch president what time his train would be departing, but instead I asked him when he would give birth to his baby. Nailed it. Luckily he's sometimes nice, so he didn't get mad at that one. Just laughed. It was honestly pretty funny... at the expense of my lack of ability :)
I love you all! Keep the faith!
Love, Elder Edwards
A "Done Bollay" or money bug. We've found those in
Elder Singers bed a few times now. I usually pray that my bites
are from mosquitoes and not these nasty things.

Just chilling.

P-day. When we play ping-pong, we go hard.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Hello! Not much to report this week... Taebeck is really slow. Elder Mills (one of my roommates) likes to use the word "stagnant" when referring to this area. It's kind of funny. And kind of not, because it's totally true.

Elder Jang and I met with a REALLY drunk guy this week. We went to his house and sat on the floor with him and just visited. He has a sad life. He lives in two states... wasted drunk or sleeping. His house is a wreck, and the only food in the fridge is an expired bottle of milk. He lives off alcohol, cigarettes, and the occasional ramen (that's pretty much my diet, minus alcohol and cigarettes). His bathroom is a hole in the cement, and his house is so dirty. It made me so sad! There's not really anything we can do for him... But we did agree to visit with him every week because he's so lonely. One thing I took away from that is the incredible blessings that I have in my life. I often forget the basic things... food to eat, health, a toilet that flushes, friends.... He has none of that! What money he has he spends on alcohol. Sad.

Church is a little bit of a different experience here. Not only is no one here, but the "guidelines" that I kind of saw in Utah are totally different. One of our branch counselors will usually ask questions from the pulpit and turn sacrament meeting into a discussion. It's SUPER funny. So sacrament meeting is a little less spiritual than it could be, but we still get to take the sacrament which is the most important part.

A mouse got into the rice at the church... Our branch president found it early in the morning on Sunday and called us over to help get rid of it before the members came for church. So we killed it, and then the branch president sifted the poop out of the rice and we ate that rice a couple hours later. Yum. But I'm not sick today, so I think it'll be alright. Koreans are big on not wasting anything... Which is good in some ways, but definitely not good in regard to mice in rice. Nailed it.

We talked with the Branch President on Saturday about the area and stuff. It wasn't a very good meeting... He has no hope! He pretty much told us to stay at the church and study all day every day because knocking doors and proselyting is worthless. Which isn't true! We definitely get rejected way more times than not, but it's worth it even if we just find one person here during our stay in Taebeck. So that really frustrated me. And it's kind of a problem, because my companion really likes the idea of resting all day every day. He's close to the end of his mission, and he's lost all of his fire. So it's going to be a trick to work at all. I'm praying really hard for charity, so I can just love these people even when they make me SOO frustrated.

It's finally getting cold... I love the cold. So much.

I love you all!

Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Hello from Taebaek!
We traveled really a lot this week, which put me 50 bucks in the hole from all the stupid bus fares. But this week was good! We had our zone training meeting on Thursday, which was good. They gave us a calendar detailing things going on in the zone this month, and we don't have a temple day this month, which is a major bummer. There's also nothing going on in the mission, so we will stay in Taebaek at least until the end of the month, and not travel to Seoul at all. It feels a little bit like a banishment.
We got to travel to an area in our zone to give one of our members' daughter a priesthood blessing. That was really cool. It made me so grateful for the power of the priesthood and for the blessing that it is in my life. The priesthood is real and it's the power of God!
It's interesting to see the differences in this little Taebaek branch compared to a ward back at home. Here, there's a total of 4 priesthood holders... two are the 1st and 2nd Counselors, one is a lonely priest, and the last one is our branch president who lives in Seoul, which means he has to travel 6 hours every weekend to attend here. There's nobody here! But it gives me hope to see these faithful saints striving to keep their covenants and to keep the faith. I love them so much.
We finally got to watch conference this week (yesterday and Saturday). We had to watch it a week later so people could translate it into Korean and make discs and send them out here to good old Taebaek. The branch all got together and watched in Korean, while Elder Fronke, Elder Mills, and I watched on a tiny computer screen in the clerks office so we could watch it in English. It was interesting to me the difference in environments between watching at home or in the conference center compared to watching in a cramped clerks office. It made me just a little trunky for a little bit. But conference is still the same and still amazing! I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about doubting your doubts before doubting your faith. The church is still true, God is still eternal, and the doctrines are still perfect even if people make mistakes! They are the mistakes of man. I feel like so many people get hung up on something someone said, whether it be a fellow ward member or a leader of the church. The mistakes of man don't undermine the truthfulness of the gospel! What a great talk.
I loved how they used Matthew 11:28-30 a couple of times in that conference. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." WOW. That hit me so hard. How grateful I am for Christ and for his Atonement. Through him, our burden can be lightened. What an amazing promise.
The language comes ever so slowly, I still eat lots of rice and kimchi, and Korea is still awesome!
Love, Elder Spencer Edwards

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Hello! Sorry this one is a day late, P-day was weird this week.
I'm officially in Taebaek. I totally lied. It's like a 2 hour bus ride from the ocean. But, it's still in super beautiful country! 
Some sweet windmills on the bus ride here.
Taebaek is.... interesting. It's so so small. And everyone in the town already knows the missionaries... not in a friendly way. More of the "you've talked to me 10 times on the street now, get out of my face" way. So proselyting here is really hard, which means that we try to knock doors. But in Korean culture, there is a little camera type doorbell thing at every house, and they check that before they open the door. So as soon as they see missionaries, they stop talking. Super ineffective. And Elder 장 (Jang) and I are opening, so we have no investigators and no former investigators to go off of. (There were already 2 Taebaek elders here, but we are opening Taebaek 2, so now there are 4.)
Taebaek branch is tiny. We had a total of 17 people to church on Sunday, which is pretty average according to Elder Mills (the area senior). So there is no ward mission leader, no priesthood meeting, and the 4 priesthood holders are one lone priest, and the branch presidency. And half of the branch presidency is less active. There is just an overall feeling of hopelessness here. The baptismal font is used as a storage closet. And there is a lot of gossip going on in the branch, which is leading to some really rude feelings. One family doesn't come anymore because they got offended by some stupid thing. (The church is still true! Even if people are imperfect!)
So Taebaek is in some hard times right now. It's honestly really a depressing place. I'm fine though. No worries. We (the Taebaek elders) are all working really hard on trying to find a solution and learning how to help this floundering branch.
Sorry... This email is totally depressing. I'm happy! It's definitely different work here, but I am still working to build the kingdom of God, and as I do that I know God will bless us. The country here is amazingly beautiful, my companion and I are getting along just great, the other Taebaek elders we live with are awesome, and everything is okay.
I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards
P.S. Elder Fronke is a brand new greenie who is being trained by Elder Mills in Taebaek 1. And he's totally from Cache Valley and Grandpa Farrell was at his setting apart! (or maybe Melchezidek priesthood ordination... I can't remember.) (Also, I butchered the spelling of that priesthood name that's higher than Aaronic... Don't judge me. I tried really hard.)
A normal sized spider in Korea. NASTY BIG.
I'm thinking about making some sort of art museum called
"Elder Jang in paradise." These are almost all pics of him :)