Sunday, July 27, 2014

장마... 없는것같은데요

Translation courtesy of Google translate: "I think not seem rainy..."

This is from a Korean to the other elders. Usually English
mistakes are funny, and sometimes they're REALLY funny.

A good week. It's supposed to be rainy season over here in Korea, but we've really only gotten 3 or 4 rainy days. I heard that it's supposed to rain nonstop for 2 weeks, but it's been a pretty easy one. Solid. The lame part of this week: Elder Taylor was sick on Saturday. After studies, we went out and proselyted a bit and looked for some addresses, had one of our appointments punk, and then went back to the apartment for lunch. I ate and he slept. I woke him up when it was time to go, but he was too sick. So, from 2:30 to 8:00 (when I ate again) I sat on the floor and called former investigators. It was kind of a long day. But, we got 2 appointments out of it for this week! So we'll see how that goes. Calling former investigators essentially goes like this... "Hello! I'm a missionary from America. Do you remember missionaries? Cool. I'd like to introduce myself... Would you like to meet and hear about our message again?" with small talk sprinkled in. It gets pretty dull after a while. To keep myself from going insane, I did 10 push ups every time the phone was ringing and I was waiting for them to pick up. I stopped after 500 because my arms got too tired. Cool, huh? :)

Just a small game of Quidditch.

Sacrament meeting was really good this week. We had 2 less actives, an investigator, and a potential investigator all come. The potential investigator (we'll call him Brother Meen) is the boyfriend of a less active girl, whose mom is very active. The mom wants them to get married in the temple, and the less active girl wants to get married in the temple, so now Brother Meen is coming to church. Not with a lot of commitment... but more to just check it out. Anyway, after church our branch mission leader grabbed me and Elder Taylor, Brother Meen, and his girlfriend and her mom and brought us all into a room and laid down the law. He's very enthusiastic about people getting baptized and doesn't really ask them if they want to be baptized, but just sets a date for them. Poor Brother Meen. He was really freaked out. But, he said that he would start meeting with us. So we'll meet, smooth things over a little, and then teach him the gospel. It should be good.

We play soccer every monday morning with all the missionaries
and the branch president. A picture from this morning.

There's a lot of preachers in Korea... Guys (and sometimes girls) who basically stand on a busy street corner and preach to people all day. The bad ones even have little mega phones and yell at people to repent (회개하라!!). We have one here in Wonju who is maybe 50 years old and stands on a certain street corner almost every day and yells at people through a megaphone that they're going to hell unless they accept Jesus and repent of all their sins. Which is fine I guess... it's just the way he goes about doing it that isn't fun. Just getting up really close to people and yelling at them through a megaphone. And to top it all off, he REALLY hates Mormon missionaries. So he'll yell at us any chance we get. We always ignore him and walk the other way, but he'll usually take a minute or so to yell through his megaphone about why he doesn't like Mormons every time he sees us. This week, he stopped yelling when he saw us, approached us, and offered out his hand for a handshake! It was super nice of him. So I reached out and shook his hand. Which he promptly took in a vice grip and yelled through his megaphone that we're going to hell and need to worship Jesus and told us why Mormonism isn't good. That was kind of lame. Oh well. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Forgive and forget, right?

We fixed up the bikes, so now we cruise on them sometimes. 
This was last P-day.

I read Psalms 118:24 the other day. "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." That really hit home for me. Everyday should be a joy. Everyday should be worthy of rejoicing and being glad in it. We should be happy now. I don't remember the exact quote, but... "It is a happier state of mind to be interested in the changing of the seasons than to be hopelessly in love with spring." Wishing for times back then or wishing that now would hurry up and get out of the way so later can come and we can be happy is neither healthy nor fun. We should live in the now.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, July 20, 2014

이동 전화 왔다...

Translation courtesy of Elder Edwards: "Transfer calls came"
Translation courtesy of Google translate: "The mobile phone has been..."

Well... it's been an unexpected weekend. A good weekend, but unexpected. We got transfer calls, and everything pointed to me getting transferred, but I'm staying in Wonju!! Weird, huh? This'll be transfer number 6. I will have served here for 2/3 of the time that I've been in country by the time next transfer rolls around. Our district (and my companion) will be staying the same except Elder Gardner (the Elder who cooked us delicious things for the past 2 transfers) will go to Gangneung to be one of our new zone leaders. I'm really happy to stay, but it's a little awkward... I was kind of already saying goodbye to people before we got transfer calls. We usually get calls on Saturday night and then leave for Seoul on Tuesday evening, so there's never enough time to say goodbye to people. So I was doing it beforehand because I thought I was leaving for sure, and now it's just going to be a little awkward when I see them again. Oh well. This makes transfer number 6 in Wonju and transfer number 8 in Gangwondo zone, otherwise known as the countryside of Korea. I'm pumped to stay, but it's a little lame because I was also pumped to go serve in the city, closer to Seoul.

Making calls.

This week was good. We made a lot of calls to potential investigators in the evenings, trying to make appointments with them. We got a few appointments, but most of them don't have a whole lot of interest. :/ Our investigator pool is currently dwindling (in unbelief hehe) right now, so we're proselyting hard in the hopes of finding some people who are ready to hear the message of the restored gospel!! One of our investigators kind of dropped off the face of the earth a few weeks ago... Figures that he's the only one without a cell phone so we can't contact him. But we know where he works, so we visited a few times this week. No luck yet with him or new investigators, but we're searching super diligently!!

The candy store.

We went to a foreigner candy store again this week. They have a whole American wall stocked with everything that flows so freely in America but is nowhere to be found here in Korea... Oreos, starbursts, Rootbeer, Dots, Twizzlers, Tootsie Pops, Skittles, Milk Duds, Reeses... it was all there. And mindblowingly expensive. I settled for a 5 dollar box of Dots and walked away from the store with a heavy heart for lack of money. But the Dots were super delicious. 

Our poor drunk friend napping in the bushes.
It was around 4 in the afternoon.

We also helped out a drunk guy this week. He was staggering around on an intersection because he was wasted, and he got in a bar fight or something so he was a little bloody. We sat him down by some bushes before he biffed it, where he promptly laid down on a flower bed and took a nap. The lesson of the story: Don't drink alcohol. It's not good for you.

The language is coming along fine. It's kind of frustrating not being even close to fluent, but it's okay. I've been a little frustrated with my pronunciation recently. I don't sound bad, but I don't sound like a Korean either. Do you have any idea how hard it is to change every "j" sound that you make to more of a mixture of "j" and "ch", with just a little "z" sound sprinkled in there? It's hard. But it's kind of cool to be at the point where I can be a little more nitpicky with the language, instead of being at a general "woah that guy definitely isn't speaking the language I learned in the MTC." :)

Korea is cool still, and time is cruising.
I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Corn after church.
The Korean on the far left is the other Elders' investigator.

A panorama while street boarding.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

고기 뷔페

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Meat Buffet")

We had to drop one of our kind of progressing investigators this week. He's a 73 year old grandpa and he LOVED learning English with us. We did a program with 30 minutes of English and 30 minutes of Gospel for 6 weeks, and the last meeting was last week. :( When we told him that we couldn't continue to teach him English, he almost cried. He was pretty upset. He doesn't want to come to the normal English class because there's a lot of people. And he doesn't really want to learn a whole lot about the gospel. He wanted so badly to keep learning English with us, and when we said no it kind of crushed him. Elder Taylor and I felt like jerks, but we're not here in Korea to teach English. We do English on the side as a service, but the primary purpose is to preach the gospel. So we had to stop meeting. But, we'll hopefully go out to dinner with him this week and see him every once in a while after that. Sometimes dropping investigators is good because they're really not interested in anything we have to offer, but it really stinks dropping investigators when they want to keep meeting really bad.

Last Monday, we only emailed and then worked the rest of the day so we could have P-day on Wednesday in Gangneung. The Zone Leaders got permission to have P-day as a zone, so we had a sweet P-day together after Zone meeting. We went to a meat buffet. Holy. Cow. It was so good. There are little grills set into every table, and you just go to the refrigerated, raw meats, grab what you want, and take it back to your table and cook it. And they had unlimited ice cream and side dishes. I ate until I just about threw up.

Meat Buffet. With ice cream. That was a good day.

Church was really good yesterday. There were a ton of new faces in Sacrament meeting, and maybe the most people came that I've seen while I've been here in Wonju. Those are good days.

A family in our branch. (The Bay family)

I read D&C 19:32 recently. "...for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even until the end of thy life." Life is one step at a time. Sometimes we don't feel like we have the strength to walk the last mile. But, we do have enough strength for another step. And then another. Sometimes we don't feel like we have the stamina to proselyte for the next 5 hours. But we do have the stamina to talk to one more person, and then another. Life is a daily walk. It's taken one good step at a time until we reach the end. And then we will rest from all our labors. We will always have enough strength to take the next necessary, small step.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Elder Taylor and I with our couple's ties.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

가파른 치악산

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Steep Chee ak mountain")

Korean kids are so cute.

A good week. A lot happened. (A lot happens every week, but I feel like more new things happened this week.)

Fourth of July was good. It was weird to think back that a year ago I was celebrating the Fourth of July in the MTC. We didn't have any fireworks or sweet explosives, but we did sing some patriotic songs and then ate American food as a district at the church. We found a sweet foreigner store here in Wonju a few months ago that sells foreign candy, and we requested that they get some rootbeer, and they followed through!!! Even though it's $1.50 a can, it's worth it. That's the first time I've had rootbeer since the MTC. Good stuff. After our little party, we had a music night at the church with most of the branch and a bunch of less actives and recent converts and investigators. It went REALLY well. Elder Roskelley and I sang a duet, the 6 of us missionaries sang a 5 part arrangement of How Firm a Foundation, and it sounded great. A bunch of other members and nonmembers sang, played the piano, saxophone, clarinet, and harmonica. A good night. Those kind of activities are fantastic for getting less actives out and inviting investigators to something other than church.

4th of July party. (My first time having Rootbeer in almost a year).

Last Pday we hiked 치악산 (Chee ak mountain) as a district. We emailed at 9 and were on the mountain by 11:45 (it's a little far away). It was super steep and stairs almost the whole time for 5 kilometers. So that was kind of hard. But super fun. And the view was incredible.

Chee ak mountain.

For the past 2 weeks we've been playing soccer with some old dudes every morning. We get up at 6am and run down to the field and play for an hour. They're really grumpy, but I guess they really love soccer because they come out every morning. The funny thing is, about half of them are hungover every time we play. It's actually pretty fun playing except people that are hungover/slightly drunk. Their reflexes aren't nearly as fast so it makes dribbling around them a breeze. It also helps that I've got 40 less years under my belt.
Early morning soccer. The guy taking the picture put his fist up
and told us to do it, and we're all obedient. :)

A miracle happened this week. Elder Taylor and I were making calls in the church at about 7:30pm one night. The door opened to the office we were in, and Brother Kim walked in!!!! We hadn't heard from him for almost 2 months, and then he randomly walked into the church while we were magically there. It was a pretty joyful reunion. He's been in prison for the past 2 months... He beat up a kid that was beating up his friend, so he went to jail. But he's out now and as nice as ever. He came to the music night and said he'll be to church next week because he's busy this week. I'm not sure what exactly he wants, but we're going to be working with him and teaching him again. The biggest thing we need to solve now is to get him to hang out with a new group of friends. But he's back!

Life is good.
I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

The mountain we hiked last P-day. It's called 치악산 (Chee ak mountain). 

Our separate e-mailed responses to the picture above:
Laurel: "Whhhhaaatt?? Spencer! It sure looks like you are standing on the edge of... ack!"
Farrell: "OK.  You balancing on a railing that saves you from certain death = AWESOME."