Monday, November 25, 2013

초등회 발표!

Practicing the Asian squat. (which is called kimchi squat over here.)
This week was good. It warmed up a little bit, but with the warmth came rain. And rain in Korea is kind of acidy. So that was less good.
Taebeck has Sister Missionaries now! We haven't had Sisters since around the 80's (I feel like I might have talked about this last week... but I'll plow through anyway). So now our Taebeck district is the 4 of us elders (me, Elder Jang, Elder Mills, and Elder Fronke), and the 2 sisters (Sister Hunsacker and Sister Ellis). We moved them into their new apartment on Monday and set up all their desks and living materials and such. Their apartment is BRAND new. And it has air con. Which is kind of pointless now, but will definitely help next summer. Sisters are kind of spoiled. There is no way an Elder house would get to have AC. No way. Maybe if the mission had a huge excess of money.
Helping a member set up his new electric bike.
I had a cold this week (nailed it, Mom). Elder Mills gave it to me, I had it all week, and then I gave it to Elder Jang. It's now subsided to just a cough, so no worries. I took advantage of my sickness to learn 'cold' vocabulary... To cough, to hawk a lugie, to sneeze, to spit, to blow the nose, mucus, phlegm, etc. All good and gross vocabulary. I enjoyed learning those. I am on a Korean learning HIGH right now. That doesn't mean I'm doing super good at it, but that I am really enjoying learning it. I finished the Pass-off program, which is a language learning program for new missionaries where you have to learn vocab and practice teaching and memorize scriptures. But now I'm done! So now I can study whatever and however I want. It's glorious. It's still plenty difficult, but there is some improvement to be seen.
Our primary. The 3 on the left are all siblings,
and the 3 on the right are all siblings.
We had our branch primary program at church yesterday. That was fun. 6 kids total. Ranging from ages 5 to 15. It's really interesting to see the difference in the primary programs back home and here. At home, maybe 1/3 of the kids get a speaking part... while here, they just rotate through the 6 of them and they each have about 8 speaking parts. It was fun.
Life is good. Korea is fun. I like the cold. 
Elder Spencer Edwards
Elder Whittaker! He's from Kaysville, and
I got to see him at the combined conference.
Elder Mills! I love him.

Walking to the only Emart (like a Korean Walmart or Target)
in Taebeck. That took us a solid 2 hours.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Seoul week

This week was fun. LOTS of traveling. Probably a total of 12ish hours spent on busses/trains/taxies. Bleh.
We started the week out by attempting to clean out one of our members' houses... He is 80 years old, not married and has no kids, so he lives alone in this little apartment. He's super awesome and smart... He studies at the library everyday from noon to 8 pm. It's crazy. He studies English and Confucionism and the Gospel. And he's pretty well versed on all of those things. Super cool. Anyway, he has lived in his apartment for over 30 years. And he's a hoarder. Real bad. I don't think he has ever cleaned his house before.
Awesome(ly dirty) house.
So we attempted to clean it on Tuesday. Super nasty. But super cool, because there was a bunch of super old and cool Korean things. We found a sweet, ancient Korean typewriter. It still worked! In the end, we couldn't really clean anything because he wouldn't let us throw anything out. But I managed to wash some dishes. I almost threw up, but I managed.
We went to Seoul on Friday! Long time no see. It's been since the end of September since I've been there. We went and bought some warm stuff because Taebeck is filthy cold, and then went to the temple that night to sleep and for a session. That was really good.

Waiting for the train at 7:30 in the morning. COLD.
On Saturday, we had a huge dual-mission conference. Seoul mission combined with Seoul South mission, and we all got together at Yeoung den Po chapel for a cool conference. Two members of the quorum of the 70 spoke. One of them actually spoke in conference a few times ago (Elder Ellis.) The conference was really good, I got to see a bunch of missionaries that I thought I would never see because they're in the South mission.
My trainer and I.
After the conference, we headed over to Gangnam (anybody heard of Gangnam Style? Yeah. That Gangnam. That's right) to catch a bus back to our area. Gangnam is CRAZY. It's the most packed and busy city I've ever seen. It made me kind of glad nobody is in Taebeck. A lot more peaceful. Anyway, we caught a bus to our zone for a district (zone) conference of all the branches of Gangwondo. That was good. We slept over at the Ganleng Elders' apartment, watched some more district conference, and then came back to Taebeck. Finally home. It's been a long but fun week.

Tool time before the funeral.
On Wednesday we went to a Korean funeral. SUPER cool. One of our branch members' mom died, so we were expected to go to the funeral. In Korea, when someone dies, all of the relatives and friends get together and eat a lot of food and drink lots of alcohol. They also do something called 절 (Jurl), which is a cool bow to show respect for the dead. So we got to go do some sweet Korean obseiance bows.
Korea is awesome. I love it here.
Elder Edwards
A nice morning run. Really cold.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

bbay bbay ro

Hello friends and family!
Life is good. Taebeck is cold, but I still wear shorts on Pday cause I'm awesome. So most of the Koreans think I'm crazy, but that's okay. Maybe the attention drawn to my exposed calves will help them to remember me when I try to talk to them later... Maybe. Today is "bbay bbay ro" holiday. Bbay bbay ro is kind of like a stick pretzel with chocolate on it. And the whole holiday is just buying bbay bbay ro and giving it to each other. Free candy. I kind of like it. Maybe I didn't miss Halloween after all.
DELICIOUS korean food.

Our new branch president is super awesome. We talked a lot yesterday about the work in Taebeck and how we can hasten it better. He has some interesting ideas... somewhat weird ideas, but good ideas nonetheless. He's a man with a plan, and he's ready to put it in action. I like it a lot. It's always easier to do missionary work when the members are on your team and actively helping and trying new things. So I'm excited for that.
Our Taebeck branch!

Transfer calls were this past Wednesday. All four of us Taebeck Elders are staying in Taebeck and keeping the same companions. BUT, we're getting two sister missionaries as well! They will be coming to Taebeck on Friday. There haven't been sisters in Taebeck since around 1985... so I think there is some important work that they can do here!
This week was a good week. Now that our old branch president is gone, we can clean out the baptismal font without fear of making him mad... (he was using it as a storage closet.) So we cleaned it out and now it looks like a baptismal font again! It may be less convenient to lose that storage space, but I see it as having more respect toward the ordinance of baptism, and as a symbol of hope. Nothing says "We don't baptize" like a baptismal font used for storage. But now it's much better. :)
Cleaning the baptismal font...
There is a great fried chicken place here and it's pretty cheap. So, we've been eating there around 3 times a week for the past 6 weeks... it's starting to get gross now, but we gained an investigator out of it! The owner is pretty cool, and he has a son that wants to learn English. So he agreed to give us free chicken every week in exchange for teaching his son. SWEET. So now the four of us missionaries go to the chicken house and eat free chicken every week. Elder Fronk and I teach the son English, while Elder Jang and Elder Mills talk to the owner about various things. Elder Fronk and I teach the kid (his name is Hyun Jay) English for 30 minutes and then gospel for 30 minutes. Last week the lesson with him was kind of awkward, but we taught him about God and prayer and committed him to pray. And he did! He said that he prayed a few times that week, and he felt good. So Elder Fronk and I taught him again this week about the Book of Mormon and finding peace through it. It's been really awesome. And he's progressing!!! I have great hopes for Hyun Jay.

Life is good!
Love, Elder Edwards
Cute Korean kids.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Greetings from Taebeck!

It's cold here. And gloriously pretty. The leaves are all red and orange and yellow and green and it smells like fall. Halloween was pretty uneventful. Everyone knows what it is, but no one celebrates it here in good old Taebeck. So we spent halloween night tracting. Lot's of fun.
We said goodbye to our branch president yesterday, President Lee. He moved to Seoul. I think he was really good for the branch, but not so great for the missionaries. He really had no hope or drive for missionary work, and whenever we talked to him about missionary work he told us to just "sit back and relax.... Taebeck is a vacation." Which is so frustrating! Missionary work is hard in itself, but it makes it all the harder when our ward mission leader/branch president encourages us to sleep all day! Bleh. But he's gone now. So now we're going to clean out the baptismal font because he used it as a storage closet. Which I kind of don't think is okay. Another branch member is now the branch president, and I think he will do really good. My companion is the 1st counselor. Sweet.
I'm getting pretty sick of Spam. We eat it almost everyday. For some reason the members think we like it or something... so they give it to us every once in a while. Blech. Kimchi, rice, cereal, and spam... a missionary diet in Korea. Yum. But sometimes members give us fruit, which is super great. We don't get fruit very often because it's expensive. I also figured out this week that the only vegetable I've eaten in country is kimchi... I think I need to eat more vegetables. That might be good.
Taebeck is good! The 4 of us missionaries working in Taebeck eat from a fried chicken place every so often, and he asked us to teach his son English! Which is pretty exciting. So we do the 30-30 program with his son, which is 30 minutes of English and 30 minutes of Gospel. The son is not super interested in the gospel, but we'll bring him around :)
I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards