Sunday, March 30, 2014

주제 없음

Korean children are ADORABLE.

Last monday, after Pday finished, Elder Hansen and I went to a city to visit a potential investigator that lives pretty far away. On the way home a cute dog ran past us, so Elder Hansen whistled to it and it started following us! It was SO cute. It made me want a dog all over again. He was following us, and we were making all sorts of plans to keep him in the bathroom and name him Toto and live with him forever and ever. And then he ran into the road and got ran over by a car. That was a rather horrible experience. We walked home with heavy hearts and a hope that one day we would see Toto once again after this life.

Fans made by Brother Choi, who has been an eternal investigator
for over 9 years now. He needs to be baptized.

Anyway, it was a great week! Brother Kim is progressing awesomely. We were teaching him about how to recognize answers from God, and he brought up that he wants to know how to repent. Not because he committed any disastrous sin or anything, but because he felt like it's the right thing to do. He has really no idea what repentance is, but something made him feel that repentance is important. That makes me so grateful for prepared people and for the Holy Ghost that prompts us to do the right thing. Brother Kim is doing great, and he's doing super great with the Word of Wisdom. When he told us that he chews gum to help with the desire to smoke, we gave him every pack of gum we have in the house. He's awesome. :)

All the gum we could find for Brother Kim.

One of our Sisters' investigator is SUPER nice. Almost weirdly nice. She's 50ish, and she has a baptismal date for the end of April. But, she's kind of adopted the 4 of us Elders as her sons. She sent us home with a couple of meals, water bottles, MMA shirts and shorts, socks, and... boxers. That was a little awkward.

(MMA = Mixed Martial Arts)

Korea is awesome! I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, March 23, 2014

여보세요? 네 안녕하세요!

AWESOME week. Yes. It was just a very great week.

We played soccer and ultimate last P-day... which was glorious. It's been a long time. I'm really out of shape... but not as much as I expected. We walk everywhere all day everyday, so I guess that's kept me fairly fit. One of the Elders in our house spent some time on a map and figured that we walk roughly 6 miles a day. Solid.

It rained really hard on... Wednesday? I think. So Elder Hansen and I stayed in the church for 3 hours and made call after call. We keep records of all the phone numbers we get on potential investigator record, but our phone's sim card is really old, so it has numbers going way back. So we just started at the top of the phone book and called for 3 hours. It was surprisingly fun. And we made around 4 appointments just from calling random people on the phone! We vowed to do it more often.

We are currently teaching a family! They are the Ha family. The dad is a soldier, I'm not sure what the mom does, and they have a 15 year old son and a 12 year old son. We found them while proselyting one night a couple weeks ago. We have a program here called the Family English Program, where we teach them English for 30 minutes and then the gospel for 30 minutes, meeting twice a week for 6 weeks. In the past when I've done this program with people, it's been really difficult to talk about the gospel because they have only English interest. But this family likes the gospel way more than the English, and they listen and respond really well. We shared the Restoration with them on Friday, and it was such a wonderful lesson!

Remember Brother Kim from last email? We reviewed the Restoration with him this week and then watched the Restoration video. It was really cool. Elder Hansen invited him to baptism, and he said that he will be baptized! Our member that we were teaching with got a little excited and set a baptismal date for 4 days after that, but we put it back a few weeks so Brother Kim can prepare and learn everything he needs to know. His date is for the 20th of next month. I'm really excited for him. We met him again 2 days ago (Saturday), and talked about modern day prophets and taught him the Word of Wisdom. He accepted super well and said that he will never smoke another cigarette or have another drink. He came to church the next day chewing lots of gum, and told us all about how he loved the feeling of not smoking (he smoked a fair amount before). I know that the Lord prepares people and provides them a way to keep his commandments!

I read Alma 30:34 this morning, and thought it was super cool. "And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?" I think that explains really well why I'm serving, and why so many missionaries are out there serving, why bishops serve, why anyone holds a calling, why we do anything at all to build the Kingdom of God. We do not receive profit from this labor. We receive plenty of blessings, our minds are enlightened, we grow closer to the Savior, but we receive no physical profit for our labor. We do it because it is the truth. We do it because it brings joy to our brothers and sisters. What a great cause.

Korea is wonderful. And the weather is 참 (really) good.
I love you all!

Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, March 16, 2014

형 믹: 이해할수있냐? 그러면은 넌 멋쟁이야

It was a good week. It's WARM. We're going to play sports after, so I'm not wearing a suit right now, and I don't even need a jacket! I like good weather.

For the few people that know about our religion, it's interesting the variety of responses that we get about our religion from people who have heard of the "Mormon". Some people just yell "cult, cult!" While others say that they respect us a lot, that we are an upright and righteous people. One guy said that the Mormon church was the best church of all the churches... I asked him if he wanted to join, and he said no and walked away. Oh well. But the people that really know about our church view us as good people with good values. I'm so glad that our church can have a reputation like that. It is God's church, after all.

We were traveling to a hospital to visit a member in the hospital, and I was talking with students that came to the back of the bus and sat with me. One of them said that he had gone to our church a while back, and said he would come this week! He came to church, we picked him up as an investigator, and our branch mission leader committed him to be baptized in a month. He said yes, so we'll see how that goes. But we're super tight and we'll be seeing him once or twice a week outside of church! His name is Brother Kim. (I don't put full names in these emails because it's a rule... I don't know why it's a rule, but I promise that these people all have more than just a last name.)

Dang. I look really short in all these pictures.
Oh well. It isn't a trick of the light or anything... I'm just short.

Transfer calls came! Nothing will change. I'm still with Elder Hansen, and our Wonju district won't change at all. I'm SUPER happy. I love Wonju, our district is awesome, so I'm glad we're all staying together. That last 6 week transfer went by FAST.

Our awesome district.

I was reading in Ether 12 this week. Ether talks for 4 or 5 verses about faith and belief in God, which is really important, and then Moroni interrupts his summarizing of Ether and then adds some stuff of his own. He's basically saying: "Hey, all you readers out there. Faith is really important, so I, as the editor, will take a little liberty and explain more about faith." What follows is one of the most powerful chapters on faith in the Book of Mormon. I love that chapter. That little editing reminds me of The Emperor's New Groove, where they're sleeping in the rain and Kuzco(?) pauses it and does a little explaining because some explanation is important and necessary (this is my story. not his. mine.) So Moroni is telling us that faith is SO important.

Life is good! Korea is not lame!
Love, Elder Spencer Edwards

Haircuts. I go to a barber, but these guys insist on doing it themselves.
So I help them out sometimes with my large experience

Sunday, March 9, 2014

자비로 봉사하는 선교사입니다

It was WARM this week. At least at the beginning. But then it was cold again and we got some snow on Saturday night, which was super lame. It's march, and I'm ready for winter to be over.

This week was good, with a lot of good things happening to our little Wonju branch. Recently more and more people have been coming out, and we've had over 40 people at sacrament meeting for the last two weeks! It's a huge blessing. Something interesting about having a small branch is that there's a lot more drama. I don't really know if there was drama back in my home ward, but here in Korea, if there's drama in the branch, you know about it. And people go less active because they get offended or something. So we have a couple of people right now not coming to church because they got offended. It's pretty bad here... Losing one person is losing 3% of the branch. And losing a family because they got offended is 20% of the branch! It's not good. The church is still true, even while people are imperfect!

Elder Hansen and I went to visit a recently moved in member at his school, and while we were there eating lunch together in the sea of Korean students we hear "Elders!" It was a returned missionary named Aaron who had gotten off his mission in Denver 6 months ago. He's been here for a week, and said he's been looking all over for the missionaries. It's crazy that he saw us. The campus is big and that's the one and only time we've ever been to that campus. So Aaron joined our little branch on Sunday, and one of the ward members translates for him. I like him.

We recently had a less active start coming back to church, and now his wife is investigating the church! We've been working with Brother Hwang ever since I got here, and he's now come out 4 weeks in a row. And his wife has come the 2 latest times. There's a saying I heard here: "When you get the man, you get the family." That's proving pretty true right now. :)

Korea is still awesome. Elder Hansen and I tried out some late night (7:30-8:30) proselyting, which we usually don't do at that time. We usually call potential investigators or knock on doors. But proselyting was surprisingly effective! There were less people, but most of the people that we talked to showed more interest then when we try it during the day. So we got a fair amount of phone numbers and return appointments!

Something funny about Korea: There's no food disposal. It's a hole in the sink like any normal sink, except there's a basket in there that catches all the food and lets all the water down the hole. Korea is really big on recycling and stuff, so all the food trash has to go in a different place. So the food trash in the sink piles up until it's full, then we pull it out and stick it in a bag in the freezer to be taken out later. It's pretty gross. We have nasty old peels and rotten bananas freezing in our freezer with all our food. Oh well. I still like Korea.

Life is good. Korea is awesome. I don't know how I'm going to switch back to American food in a little over a year. Korean food is just too good.

Love, Elder Edwards

Spencer, after receiving a package: "I don't think I've ever eaten so much
candy in one go in my whole life. I brushed for a solid 10 minutes afterward."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

한국은 아직 재미있어요

Wonju was WARM this week. I hung up my overcoat last Tuesday and vowed to never wear it again until next winter. That proved to be a mistake because it's still not quite swimming season by any means, but I keep my promises. For the first time in a long time we played sports outside on P-day without freezing to death. I'm still bad at basketball, but it's fun. Everyone stared at us 4 foreigners playing basketball, so everyone saw my complete lack of skill, but it was totally worth it.

Member meals. They're the best.

This week was a good one. Elder Hansen and I met a man on the street and invited to meet with him later to share more about the Book of Mormon, and we met him the next day and picked him up as an investigator! He's 87 years old. We taught him a little about the Plan of Salvation last time, and we'll teach him the rest next time we meet. It was pretty cool how we met him... We usually take one way to the market, but Elder Hansen saw our 87 year old man way down a different road and decided to go talk to him. Old people usually don't listen to us, but this one did. :)

Two of our investigators left Wonju this week to go to Seoul... So we have to refer them to the missionaries over in Seoul :(

Two of our investigators, who left for Seoul to go to school. :(
We played basketball with them last Pday.

Two weeks ago we met a guy from Pakistan named Ahmed on the street, told him who we were, talked about the Book of Mormon a little bit, invited him to learn more, exchanged numbers, and parted ways. He's not super good at English, but he gets by. We called him to meet, but he said he couldn't leave his house for a couple days. So, we told him we would visit his house and he sent us his address. Elder Hansen and I hopped in a taxi, told the driver the address, and headed off. We had no idea where the address was, but the driver did. He drove for 25 MINUTES. It was so so so far away. But we eventually got to his house, which is in the middle of nowhere. That stupid taxi put me $20 in the hole. But, we gave Ahmed a Book of Mormon in his native tongue of Urdo, and taught him a little about it. We ended up getting home at 10pm because it was so far away. Apostate missionaries all the way! It was really cool to share with a Pakistani man in the middle of nowhere.

"... to every nation, kindred, tongue, and [statue]"

On Saturday night we met with a man who told us his story that he had met Jesus 29 years ago on the top of a mountain, obtained eternal life, and was now called by Jesus to give people eternal life. It was pretty difficult teaching someone who firmly believes he has a divine calling from heaven. I tried to tell him that we had one too, but then he asked if we had seen and touched Jesus... and the lesson kind of went downhill from there. He then called us to repentance with the bible, which I think he has completely memorized. 

Korea is still awesome.

Love, Elder Spencer Edwards