Sunday, May 25, 2014

서울과 강릉에 갔다 왔다

(Translation courtesy of Google translate: Been to Seoul and Gangneung.)

I had exchanges this week in Gangneung, and also a leadership meeting in Seoul, so I pretty much just spent the whole week in the back of a bus. Wonju is an hour and a half bus ride from Gangneung, and also an hour and a half bus ride to Seoul, so we're not really close to anything. But I got a lot of Korean studied and scriptures read on the bus, with the occasional cat nap.

Bus rides were really long this week.

I went to Seoul with Elder Gardner on Wednesday for a leadership meeting, which was really good. President Christensen and Sister Christensen and the Assistants all gave trainings on companion exchanges and baptismal records and the english program and generally just how to be a good leader. It was really good. Afterwards, Elder Gardner and I ran to Dongdaemun, which is a huge shopping district in the middle of Seoul, with super cheap clothes. President usually lets us run there really fast whenever we're in Seoul to get whatever we need (because Wonju is far away). So I got 3 white shirts and 2 pairs of pants for 50 BUCKS. It was sweet.

Just chilling at the mall.

I have some sort of weird ingrown toenail or something, so my foot has been hurting recently. I showed President when we stayed at his house Wednesday night, and he wasted no time in just grabbing it with his fingers and squeezing it until pus came out. Man, that hurt. And then he shoved some swabs of cotton down there and told me to make sure it stays down there for 6 weeks. Some of you may be alarmed reading this... But President Christensen was a surgeon before he became Mission President, so he knows what he's doing. I just thought it was really funny how he dealt with my toe... "Does it hurt?" "Yep." "Okay." and then proceeded to squeeze it really hard. But it doesn't hurt anymore. :)

President attacking my toe.
I handed my camera to Elder Gardner and told him to take some candid pics.

It was a good week. We also got invited to a potential investigators house... We went, only to find out we'd been invited to a drinking party. They were REALLY drunk. So we stayed for about 5 minutes because it seemed like they would get really angry and try to stop us if we left right then. Drunk Koreans get really touchy (literally... they wouldn't stop holding mine and Elder Hansen's hands or stroking our arms due to Americans having more arm hair than Koreans).

Drunk party. They were really really really drunk.

And then I made homemade icecream at home. It was kind of an epic fail, but tasted okay. The ingredients included milk, sugar, and cocoa. And this Saturday Elder Cook is coming to Korea and we're going to have a combined mission conference and hear an Apostle!!!! I'm pumped for that.

I was reading in Alma 5 this week, and I really loved verse 27. "Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?" I thought about whether I'm living the best I can right NOW, in order to prepare me for the time outside of this probationary time. Living in the now with an eternal perspective. It applies to a lot of things... "Could ye say, if ye were called to test at this time, withing yourselves, that ye have sufficiently studied?" "Could ye say, if ye were called to go to the dentist at this time, within yourselves, that ye had sufficiently flossed?" (Those last two may or may not apply to my life.) But more seriously... "Could ye say, if ye were called to give a priesthood blessing at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently worthy?" "Could ye say, if ye were called to marry in the temple at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently worthy?" We must prepare. We must be ready now. We must live so that we are ready all the time. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matt. 24:44

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards
I really like Korean kids.
An old man whom I love.
Not an investigator, but a potential and a good friend.

Monday, May 19, 2014

콩 장로가 왔다

A pretty good week. Last Monday Elder Moon and Elder Bean came all the way from Taebeck (my last area), and we played sports with them and the other Elders and the Sisters. For 3 hours. We played soccer and ultimate. It was the hardest I think I've ever run on my mission. I was still sore until Thursday. We committed that we would never play sports for 3 hours in a row again until after we are a little more fit. But it was still super fun.

Our awesome Wonju district.

Elder Moon (our native Korean zone leader) had to go to an army reserves training for 4 days, so his companion Elder Bean stayed with us for the week. Elder Hansen and I and the other Elders switched off with having Elder Bean in our companionship as a threesome. It was super fun. Elder Bean has only been out on his mission for 4 months, but he has a huge heart and it was a pleasure learning from him. He has a TON of stories and miracles to tell from his 2 months in Korea... and he has no problem with telling them. After he left, I was thinking about how Elder Bean could possibly have so many stories to tell and all the miracles happen to him, and then I realized something. Elder Bean chooses to see the little things. He chooses to see the miracles. He's obedient and does everything he needs to, and then chooses to see the small things that he is blessed with as a result. It's also a gratitude thing. He's grateful for the small things. And it's that gratitude that makes life good.

Elder Bean (the elder right next to me.)

We visited a less active this week who we haven't been able to visit since Elder Murdock and I were here in January. We went to his family business, greeted his parents, and sat down with him and drank some drinks. His family business is a bar. They brew their own beer and sell it to people. So he's for sure not keeping the Word of Wisdom. Lame. But we were able to get really close with him and he invited us to come over every week! That's really big for us. He hasn't been super receptive to visits recently, so us being able to talk with him a lot and building trust was super great. And another good thing, I'm pretty sure people that make beer make the best drinks... any drinks. That was the best mango juice I've ever had on my sojourn here on earth.

I really really like Korean kids.

On Friday night Elder Hansen and I were proselyting on the way home, and we met 3 little kids who we had met 2ish months ago. They remembered our names and were so happy to see the foreign missionaries! We talked with them for a bit and had a street race and committed them to come to English class. We were only with them for 10ish minutes, but it was really cool for me. We're here to preach the gospel here in Korea, but a massive percentage of them won't accept that message. And so what do we do to those people that don't accept or don't want to accept? We love them. We be their friend. We learn about them and treat them as equals. That's one of the things I have loved doing here... growing close to people. Whether it be members, less actives, other missionaries, or people on the street.

The gospel is true! Kimchi is delicious!
Love, Elder Edwards

Korea is pretty.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spencer's Birthday Video

The Birthday video we sent to Spencer. :)

To help you understand this video a bit better:

The Edwards family has a tradition called "The First Bite." Everyone gathers around and pounds the table while yelling. It all just gets louder and louder with the anticipation of the first bite of birthday cake. And of course, the birthday person usually takes their time and draws out the mayhem as long as possible.

It just so happens that blowing out the candles is also a big deal. Farrell always comes up with something innovative each year: Blowing them out doing push-ups, blowing them out while in a headstand, running around the house between small little blows at the cake, etc... Spencer said that he somehow used chopsticks to blow out the candles--resulting in a rather wax-filled cake. :) He took a video but I guess we'll just have to wait until next year to see it.

btw: Thanks everyone who were able to send bday messages for us to include on the video! Talk about a last minute, spur of the moment project! Spencer said he absolutely loved it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

국제 전화??

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: International Phone??)

I found chocolate twizzlers in Korea!!!!! Dad!!!
But I didn't buy them because I'm poor. :(

A man tried to hire us into the company that he's working at this week. He met our Sister Missionaries on the street, and they gave him our number. We met with him (with the intent of giving him a Book of Mormon), but he just went off for about 10 minutes why his company was so great and why it was the right time to join this company. We very frankly and politely said no. So then he just asked us to tell people about his company while we were proselyting. We also very frankly said no. He was super persuasive, but we have a greater cause. Even if some weird health pill can change peoples lives.

Elder Roskelley. and me. on a bridge.

Elder Roskelley and I went on exchanges this week, which is wonderful and fun. We went up and proselyted at a university packed full of college students. I missed Utah State a little bit then. But we got to talk to tons of students, and they like us a lot better then the old guys on the streets. And, one of the teachers there had us give a presentation to his class of 40 people about our church and our english program! We got 14 numbers out of that one and a lot of students that said they would come to English class. And then we ate at a Mexican place, which was awesome. It's been a while since I've eaten a burrito.

Burrito. It tasted surprisingly Mexican.

Zone training was good. It was one of our Zone Leaders' last Zone training meeting, so he cried a little bit at the end. He's exactly a year older than me in the mission... time is such a weird thing. He goes home next month. And Chris and Sam and all of those people are all getting home in Septemberish!!! What?? Time is weird.

Zone meeting. Weird hugs are fun.

It was my birthday this week. But I'm still 21. Korean age is also weird. The Mother's Day phone call was great. Weird to hear peoples' voices, but really great.

Brother Kim didn't show up to church yesterday, and he's not answering our calls or texts. There were some hard things going on in his family, and his parents are in the process of getting divorced, so he's having a hard time. I haven't heard from him in 2 days, but I hope I'll be able to get a hold of him soon. He won't be able to be baptized this weekend, but we'll keep working with him until he's ready, or give him some time to be ready.

Life, and Korea, is good!
Love, Elder Edwards

Laurel here: Spencer's birthday was on Saturday.
We sent him the stuff he needed to make his own birthday cake.
Do they not have SPOONS in Korea?? Spencer! 
We also made a video that he was to watch once the cake was made. It had the traditional singing happy birthday, blowing out the candles and Edwards first bite so it was like we were there with him. He would watch and then the movie would say to pause and light the candles, etc...
Turns out that for Spencer's Birthday dinner they ate at McDonalds.

How ironic! To celebrate Spencer's birthday here, we went to a Korean restaurant. Spencer says he LOVES Korean food. His sisters simply couldn't see why. I won't tell you what Melissa said about Kimchee. !! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

새 선교사들이 왔다 지금 살기는 진짜 좋다

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: New missionaries came to live now is really good) Laurel here: So sometimes Google Translate does better than others. At least we have some semblance of an idea of what in the world the subject lines of his emails mean! Now, onto Spencer's letter:

Korean food. It's the best.

It's really warm here in beautiful Wonju. Not to the point of sweating profusely, but it'll get there in a month or two.

Transfer calls were a little over a week ago, so this week we got all our new missionaries! Elder Gardner, Sister Bevard, and Sister Jacobsen. No Koreans in our district, but that's okay. Elder Gardner is a couple transfers older than me, and Sister Bevard and I entered the MTC at the same time. Everyone else is younger than me missionary age wise. It's weird... I'm kind of an oldish missionary. Time is a weird thing. Elder Gardner is older than me mission wise, but I'm still district leader here in Wonju. Not sure why, but I think our zone is probably getting split soon and they're pumping him in here to be zone leader when Wonju becomes a zone leader area. Elder Gardner is a blessing here for sure. He brought a lot of knowledge... mostly knowledge of good foods that we can cook at home. We eat lunch every day at home and dinner usually at a restaurant. And for the past 4 months the only things we've eaten for lunch here are curry, ramen, or 볶음밥 (rice with potatoes and ham and kimchi and eggs.) In the 5 days that Elder Gardner has been here, we've eaten 5 different things for lunch. It's wonderful.  We've determined that the best medium in which to show love is through food. I really really love Elder Gardner.

Me, Elder Hansen, Elder Roskelley, and Elder Gardner. Elder Gardner made the great food.
These are the elders of Wonju, and we all live in the same house. :)

I realized this week how much I love Wonju and don't want to leave. I've been here for quite awhile, and I really love the friends I've made and the members here. Except I'm probably leaving next transfer, which is really sad. I've been here for a while, so I'll probably get shipped out soon.

We met with Brother Kim two or three times this week and he's doing good. Elder Hansen, me, and him all read Mosiah 27 together, each switching off and reading a verse, and then we talked about repentance and forgiveness and the atonement. It was a really cool lesson. We asked him about his reading in the Book of Mormon, and he says he really likes it and is starting to understand it better. We asked him when and how often he reads, and he said that he usually starts at 10pm and ends around 1am!!! 3 hours! He says he likes it and thinks the stories are fun and likes the feeling he has when he reads it. He's super great.

Elder Hansen and I and Brother Kim, our awesome investigator.

We had 3 investigators to church yesterday! That's a first for me. Brother Choi, Brother Kim, and a Brother Hwang. We met Brother Hwang on the street this week and invited him to church, and he came! His arm is in a cast due to a broken collar bone. He broke it because he got wasted drunk. He doesn't remember exactly how he broke it. But because he broke it, he vowed to stop drinking and start going to church! I guess a broken arm can humble people just like famines did in the Book of Mormon.

Elder Hansen and I proselyted A LOT this week.We don't have a whole lot of investigators, and we got an extra hour of proselyting every day because we have one less hour of studies (new missionaries get an extra hour of study for the first 12 weeks, which is basically for orientation and teaching practice.) So we talked to a lot of people on the street and got a lot of phone numbers, some of which we'll hopefully turn into investigators this week. I've found a new love for proselyting. It's hard and long, but I really like talking to people, and it's great language practice. There's a saying here that the best Korean speakers in the mission are the ones that proselyte the hardest. I'm taking that to heart and working on applying it right now.

I liked 2 Nephi 28:29 this week. No matter how much we learn, there is always more to be learned. We can't just sit back and be satisfied by what we know now. We have to continue to work to expand and increase our knowledge. That applies to the Book of Mormon, The Plan of Salvation, Korean, chemistry, math, english, soccer, and everything! We can be happy with the knowledge we've gained, but we must continually strive for more.

I love you all! Korea is pretty cool, I guess.

Love, Elder Edwards