Sunday, June 29, 2014

서울에 갔다 왔다

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Been to Seoul")

A slightly out of the ordinary week this week. We got a text on Tuesday from the zone leaders telling us that there would be a multi zone conference on Friday, and we needed to leave for Seoul by Thursday afternoon. We usually know that we'll be going into Seoul at least 2 weeks in advance, but they sprung this one on us with 3 days notice. So, we went to Seoul on Thursday, went to a session at the temple, slept at the temple, and then headed to the conference. The guest speaker was a guy named PJ Rogers, who served his mission here in Korea, came back to Korea a few years later and attended and graduated from 연세대학교 (Yunsae University?). He was the first foreigner to ever graduate from that University in the Korean language. There's an English part of the school, but he did it all in Korean (which is incredibly hard). He's lived in Korea ever since. He talked to us about missions, the Korean culture, and how to study the language well. It was really informational and fun.

Elder Taylor and I were teaching an investigator on Saturday after English class. He's a 70 year old man who's super nice and happy. We reviewed the Restoration with him, and then invited him to be baptized. He responded with "I've already been baptized". We then reviewed proper authority and why it's so important, and asked him again. He responded with "I've already been baptized." It took us 30 minutes after that to help him understand the difference of being baptized with authority and without authority. He said he'd think about it. It's interesting how these things that we think are easy to understand are hard for other people to understand. So we as missionaries need to teach very slowly and clearly.

Recently I've been studying in Mosiah, specifically about Alma the Elder and the Church of God which he organized after fleeing from King Noah. The thing that interests me is the people's knowledge of authority. Alma baptized with authority, and those people were able to join the Church of God because they were baptized with someone having Priesthood authority. Later on, when Ammon finds the people of Limhi, the people of Limhi are desirous to be baptized, "but there was none in the land that had authority from God" (Mosiah 21:33). These people understood the need of proper authority to be baptized into God's church. That's something that everyone needs to understand. How lucky we are that the proper Priesthood authority has been restored and we can receive these necessary ordinances!

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Me and my comp. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

제목 없음

The world cup is going on. It kind of stinks... I really want to watch. But it's actually really great for proselyting purposes. Everyone is watching the world cup here, so it's a really great way to start up a conversation on the street. "Hey, did you hear about the Korea game?? Too bad they tied, huh?" And then they'll go off on that for a little bit because Korea didn't win. Korea played while we were studying at 8:30 in the morning, and when Korea scored the entire apartment complex erupted into cheers. We live in a block of 4, 22 floor apartment buildings surrounding one parking lot, and I think every single room on every floor of every apartment had at least one Korean shouting for joy when Korea scored. It was awesome.

Human flag. I've still got it.

It's been a good week. Elder Moon (one of the zone leaders) came on exchanges on Tuesday and Wednesday, which was really fun. On both of the mornings he was here we played soccer with a bunch of Korean older men, ranging from 50 years old to 70ish years old. It was really fun. They weren't very nice. Playing soccer with them was the time that I felt the most stress playing soccer than I ever have before. Every mistake that I made, they would yell "Aiduhwoeju!!" and then tell me how to play soccer. I mostly just ignored them and it was really fun.

For Dallen. Watermelon hat. This was after I played soccer
one morning and I sweat like nobodies business.

A cool experience from this week: Elder Taylor and I were walking home from an appointment when we found a 50 year old man who was sitting on a little cement thing by the sidewalk. His knees and one of his hands were pretty bloody, and he had a walking stick that he used as a cane. He had fallen pretty hard on the cement and was pretty beat up. We offered to help him home, and after a little persuading he accepted and we walked with him the last 20 minutes to his apartment. He told us that 2 years ago he had gotten brain surgery because he fell and hit his head really hard, and as a result he can't control his feet very well. It's really difficult for him to control the speed of his feet, and sometimes his feet just speed up and he has a really hard time stopping them. So, he falls down like that at least once a month. It was really sad to hear. But we got him up to his apartment, sat him down, and patched him up with some of the first aid supplies he had in his apartment. We cleaned out the cuts, sterilized, and wrapped them. I felt a little like a doctor. It was really cool to be able to serve this man and help to get him home and comfortable. Koreans usually don't accept help from us, so I really like it when we have those opportunities to serve.

The guy that we helped home and patched up.

A few of our investigators are progressing pretty well. We're just working on getting them to the point where they make really BIG changes in their lives. They're willing to pray and read the Book of Mormon, but it's difficult to help them do any more than that. But I love them anyway. :) It's such a cool opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to both people that have and haven't heard about it. It's such a cool opportunity to help people make changes in their lives.

Life is good.
Love, Elder Edwards

Harry Potter. Korean style. If you ask, no, I can't understand it.

회덮밥. Kind of like sushi salad. Super delicious.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

테일러 장로님 왔다

(Translation courtesy of Spencer: "Elder Taylor came"
Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Elder Taylor has been"
Last week's title translation by Spencer: " it's the 5th Transfer"
Google Translate? "Circumference of the fifth movement .... Ine"
Maybe we shouldn't rely on Google Translate...)

The weather cooled off this week. That was pretty nice. I actually woke up cold a couple nights! Most smart people, upon waking up cold at night, would get up and close the window or at least turn the fan onto a lower setting. But I just manned up and snuggled deeper into my blankets. I like the cold.

Sunset over Wonju.

I got Elder Taylor! He's pretty cool. He's been in country for 4.5 months and he's killing it. He served in an area called Sangyea before he came here to good old Wonju, so he's not used to there being less people, but he's doing great. He grew up in Kansas and played professional soccer in Norway for 5 months, so he's pretty fly at soccer. I like him. We work well together and he's funny. He's the type of missionary (and person) who just goes out and gets things done, and I really like that in a companion. It's nice when we each take an equal share of the workload.

New companion, Elder Taylor.

We have a fair amount of investigators, and a few of them are progressing quite nicely! We're teaching a father and a son, and the son has said that he wants to be baptized, but the dad doesn't really like that and isn't super interested in our church. We're not sure exactly how to get around the fact that the father is kind of opposing, but we're working on it! We teach another man who's 80ish years old. He really wants to learn English, and we teach him English for 30 minutes and the gospel for 30 minutes. I can't really describe him... but he's a really funny guy and his way of speech is really funny. Kind of like a deep scratchy voice with perfect pronunciation. I like listening to him speak Korean, because it's really easy to understand.

Adorable Korean kids.

Things are good here in Wonju. The weather is good. My companion is nice. Korean is coming along. And kimchi is still good.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Zone pictures. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

원주.... 다섯번째 이동이네

Well.... Transfer calls came. That was an extremely short transfer. (Same normal 6 week transfer, but time just went really really fast.) The Assistants called a day early, 5 minutes after lights out while we were all praying. That was kind of exciting. I'm staying in Wonju!!! That makes this coming one transfer number 5. Sweet. Elder Hansen is leaving and I'm getting Elder Taylor, who is Elder Hansen's same age in the mission. I'm excited to have him come but sad to see Elder Hansen leave. We were together for over 4 months! But I'm excited to welcome Elder Taylor and spend another 6 weeks (maybe longer) in Wonju. Sweet.

Zone meeting was good this week. The mission focus this month (and last month) is Discipleship, which is a SUPER cool focus. Everyone is still pumped about it and using it to become better missionaries, people, and disciples. We fasted on as a zone last week, and we're going to do it again in a week or two. We're working on finding and cultivating the faith to find, and the faith to continue working hard and be diligent even if we don't see immediate results. (I don't know if I've already talked about the missionary work in Korea, but it is VERY slow right now. There's an average of less than one baptism per missionary for their entire 2 years. I don't know why it's so slow or what it is about Korea, but it's been sluggish for years and years.) Missionaries tend to get discouraged if there's no immediate result from labor done, so when they don't see a baptism they go into a bit of a slump. So it was a really good training at Zone meeting about Discipleship and having faith.

Our district with our ward mission leader.

There are a lot of drunk men here. Funnily, they're the people that like talking with the missionaries the most. It's not weird to get stopped on the street by a completely wasted middle aged guy. And drunk men usually tend to be more touchy and don't have any real idea of what a personal bubble is. And because I'm on the same level as most Korean men (height wise), I'm always worried that they'll kiss me. I've been kissed on the hand a few times, but never on the face. Well, it finally happened this week. Luckily, I had the reflexes of a cougar and was able to turn my head so he planted a big one on my cheek instead of my lips. That was gross. He smelled like cigarettes and beer and was missing his top front 4 teeth. (If you're wondering, no, Korea is not one of those places where it's okay for men to kiss. It's just as weird here as it is in good old America).

Life is good. It's weird being able to look back a year and remember being in the MTC... I'm an old missionary. Shout out to Melissa and Dallen: Happy Birthday!!!! I love you guys!

Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, June 1, 2014

일년 됐다... 뭐지?

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "One year was... what?")

This week went by really fast. And it's really really really hot. Our branch president said that it's an unusual summer because it's getting so hot here in May and June. At this rate, I think I'll be dead by mid July. Pray for me... a wanderer in a strange land with no air conditioning to call his own.

Elder Hansen and I met with a potential investigator on Wednesday(?), and he took us out to a Chinese Restaurant. There we got fed a 7 course Chinese meal. Holy Baloney that was so delicious. Luckily he payed (it was 30 bucks a head!). We had a really great discussion with him about God. He's atheist, but he's very willing to listen and learn what we believe. So we talked about God and the Plan of Salvation a little bit, and the Book of Mormon. He said that he looked up our church on the internet and thought our beliefs were very "합리적이다" (reasonable). I'm glad he didn't get on one of those dumb websites. Also. Korean Chinese food and American Chinese food are SUPER different. When I think of Chinese food, I always think of egg rolls and General Tsao's chicken, but Korea has none of that. But, I think Korean Chinese food is better than American Chinese food. And I also think that they are both very different from real Chinese food. Look up some Korean Chinese food (짜장면, 볶음밥, 짬뽕) on the internet... it's too hard to describe.

Elder Cook came to Korea this weekend!!! We had a big combined mission conference with the South mission on Saturday and got to hear him speak. He talked about a lot of stuff, but something that stood out to me is "4 Areas to Love". 1. Love the People. 2. Love your Companion. 3. Love your Mission President. 4. Love the Lord. Elder Cook had tons of good things to say, and his wife spoke too. She talked about Hymns and Christlike Attributes. She's super funny and bouncy and happy. Mom, I think you'd like her. She asked all the missionaries about which hymn they thought about when thinking of a certain subject, and whenever a missionary answered with a hymn that she liked, she would clap and jump up and down a little at the pulpit. It was awesome. I got to shake an apostle's hand! That's a first.

I ate steak this week. That was weird. It's been a long time. It was really good steak... but I definitely missed Dad and the grill.

I mooed the cow. It was joyful.

Well... I've been out for a year. That's weird. I don't really know what to think about that. It's super weird thinking about exactly a year ago and think about what I was doing in the MTC. I'm an old missionary. Elder Kafusi (our giant Assistant to the President) goes home next Wednesday! I remember my 4th day in country talking to him and thinking he was so ancient and old and wise and giant. And now I'm in the same spot he was when I first saw him (except I'm not that tall. Or as wise). Time is a weird thing. But I love Korea, and I love the work, and I love serving the Lord.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Note from Laurel: Spencer hit his year mark on Thursday. We sent him a small cow that moo's and lights up when you push the button. We have a cow here too. Farrell has a quirky tradition stemming from work where they "Moo the cow" whenever a deadline is hit. So we thought it would be fun if Spencer had a cow moo there and we had the cow moo here. :)