Sunday, August 31, 2014

이동전화왔다 헐...

Translation courtesy of Elder Edwards: "Transfer calls came, wow..."

Elder Taylor and I, after riding the bikes in
pouring rain for 20 minutes.

Transfer calls came. I'm leaving Wonju ㅠ.ㅠ My new area is 동대문 (Dongdaemoon), which is in the big city... Seoul. I'll be going from our small 6 man district to a large 10 man district, with 4 Koreans in our district!! My new companion's name is 이원형 (Leewonhyung), and he's pretty old in the mission. He'll die sometime before 2015. And we will be zone leaders together! Zone leaders over Dongdaemoon and two other areas (Eemoon and Hwayang). Dongdaemoon is a ward as well, and I'm super excited to serve there!!! There will be TONS more people there than here in good old little Wonju. It's going to be weird leaving the countryside... I don't know any of the missionaries that are out there working in the city. I only know Elder Leewonhyung by name and sight. So it'll be a little bit of a new experience for a country bumpkin such as me, but I'm super excited.

Saying goodbye... yes, I got transferred :(  

This week was a good week. We proselyted during the week days, and then this weekend we had a District Conference over in Gangneung. That was long. We rode there and back with members on Saturday, and then rode there and back again with members on Sunday. 7 hours in a car/rented bus. It was long but good. Really cool to see everyone one last time before I leave, especially the Taebeck branch members. It'd been a long time since I'd seen them, so it was good to see them once more and say goodbye. President and Sister Christensen came to District Conference and both spoke (President in Korean, Sister Christensen in English which was then translated). It was some good meetings. One thing that I heard that I really liked: "Big problems come from thinking that the small things are not important." The theme for the conference was "small and simple things."

More goodbyes...

This morning was spent frantically packing stuff that has scattered through the house over an 8 month period and trying to fit it and newly acquired items in suitcases, which we just barely mailed. Leaving Wonju is lame. I've been here for 6 transfers, and been in the countryside for 8 transfers (11 months) counting Taebeck. The city will be somewhat new. People say that transfers are good, and they usually are, but I don't want to leave Wonju. But, at the same time, I am really excited to work in the city. Goodbyes are hard, mostly because I know that I'll probably never get to see any of these people again. But change is good. I leave tonight (a day and a half earlier than usual), to meet my new companion and catch my first meeting as zone leader tomorrow morning. Here goes nothing!

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, August 24, 2014

머리 잘랐다

Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Hair Cut."

Not a whole lot from this week... Except that we picked up a few investigators! Finally. One is a pastor for another church who is really interested in the Book of Mormon, and another is a man named Brother Hong, or Jeffrey, that the sister missionaries found on the street, who came to church yesterday. It was really cool... I was talking with him and asking him about his interests and why he wanted to come to church, but he responded that he didn't have time, and told me to call him later. Then he left. But, he came back 20 minutes later and said he wanted to learn more right then! So we grabbed a member and sat down with him and taught him about the church. Super cool. He said he had been praying to God for some happiness because of some hard things in his life, and he also said that he had interest in the Mormon church. It was cool being able to tell him that he could and would find that happiness here. I just hope I can meet him again before I get transferred. Transfer calls are on Friday and there's no way I'll get to stay in Wonju for another.

Our zone leaders.

I got a haircut last P-day. And the lady butchered it. So I just had Elder Taylor shave it all off and now I look like a large baby. Lame.

I really liked D&C 117:11 this morning... "... and be a bishop unto my people, saith the Lord, not in name but in deed..." The Lord doesn't call us to just have a title. He calls us to act. I should be a missionary in name AND in deed. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." We must have faith, and we must also have works.

Heading to the church after street boarding.

Anyways. I hope you're all well and healthy and happy. The weather is good... switching between sunshine and really annoying misty rain. Companion relations are good. Kimchi still tastes good. I haven't been approached by too many drunk men lately. And life is good.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Some ping pong instruction.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

아직 안덥다 ^^

Translation courtesy of Elder Edwards:  "It's still not hot.^^" 

This guy is totally wasted.
We tried to teach him the Word of Wisdom,
but he wouldn't have any of it.
It got a little hotter this week. But the nights are still really cool, to the point that I wore a hoodie to bed one night because I was cold. You may wonder why I'm so hung up on the fact that it's not hot... It's because it's so weird to think back to exactly a year ago, when I woke up to a bed that was damp from sweat every morning. It's really nice now.

Beating a rug.

It was a good week. But also kind of lame. This week the last of our investigators kind of dropped off and aren't meeting anymore for a few reasons... some are sick, some are busy, and some aren't interested. So Elder Taylor and I currently have zero investigators. Which means A LOT of proselyting. Which is what we did most of this week. We also fasted on Saturday to be able to find people, and that went really well. Still no investigators, but we're both doing fine and still working hard, even though it kind of really stinks to proselyte for 5 hours in a row. It's really hard to not just get sick of it because it's hot and people ignore us, but we made a special effort to really concentrate and try to help every single person that we met.

The soccer guys were a little violent one day...
but I still won.
I guess the Pope came to Korea for something. Everyone is talking about it. We don't watch the news, so we never know about anything that's going on in the world.

Our branch is still struggling. People aren't really fulfilling their callings, people aren't working together, people are blaming and pointing fingers, and as a result, recent converts get neglected, people become less active, and no home teaching gets done. It's hard. It's hard trying to bring investigators into this kind of environment, where there's a lack of patience, diligence, and charity. We're trying hard, but there's only so much we can do as missionaries. We aren't exactly members of the branch, and because we switch and transfer so often, missionaries can't do a whole lot to help the whole problem. One thing I've learned from this... Home teaching is SO important. It's so necessary to strengthen, support, build relationships, love, and serve. And it's very obvious the difference between a branch that is doing home teaching and a branch that isn't. For all of you out there with home teaching assignments, don't take them lightly!!! You are helping to build the Kingdom of God.

A sweet place with tons of grass that we found.
There's not a whole lot of grass to be found
because of all the apartment buildings.

On Wednesday, while we were proselyting after district meeting, we met a really rich man, who may or may not have been drunk. He asked Elder Taylor how much his watch was. Elder Taylor responded that it was 10 dollars. The man then asked to try it on. Elder Taylor obliged reluctantly. The guy then latched it onto his wrist, pulled 10 bucks out of his wallet, and informed Elder Taylor that he was buying the watch. He was not very nice about it. But luckily we got the watch back, thanks to a kind citizen who noticed the trouble (we told the guy that he couldn't have the watch and he got mad) and made the mean guy give the watch back. The kind citizen turned out to be a very intense women who is very serious about her church, and she preached/yelled at us for 20 minutes. Sigh. The days can be pretty weird sometimes.

I love you all! I'm doing well and happy to be doing the Lord's work!
Love, Elder Edwards

Our awesome district at the Buddhist temple..
Elder Taylor and I.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

컴퓨터가 고장 날 땐...

Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "When the computer fails me..."

This dumb computer is being dumb and keeps kicking me off. So this might be a shorter email. Blame the computer, not me.

Kimchi squatting in the rain. I'm getting better at it.

It was a good week this week. A little more rain than expected. And it was blissfully cool. We've actually woken up a little cold the past few mornings. Elder Roskelley stopped using his fan, so I've been sleeping with 2 fans the past two nights and that's made it even more blissful.

Elder Taylor and I with Johnny.

Church was good this week. I really like being a missionary... we're kind of separated from the branch. Not in a bad way, but a missionary can only get so involved in a branch or ward when he's switching around every 6ish months. I sat in Sacrament meeting yesterday listening to the speakers and just thinking about the branch. Thinking about things going well in the branch and things not going so well. I wish I could stay for longer. There are about 6 Melchizedek Priesthood holders, 4 of whom have been the branch president... multiple times. People go less active so easily here, so there aren't any really new people to take callings and fulfill responsibility. So as a result, almost every Melchizedek Priesthood holder has served as branch president, elders quorum president, and branch mission leader. They just keep switching around because there's no one new to take their place. It's a lot different from little Kaysville ward... That's a HUGE ward comparatively. Anyway. I don't know where I was going with that. We didn't have any investigators to church... again. A few said they would come, but they all punked. A less active member came in as soon as church ended and tried to measure every one's height and chest width... I don't think he's completely right in the head. So that was a little weird.

Making calls.
Door knocking amongst some little, traditional Korea houses.

We visited an 80ish year old man at his house a couple times this week. He doesn't have any family, lives in a kind of abandoned house, and can't move very well due to a neck surgery gone wrong. We've been talking with him about Jesus Christ and finding hope through the Atonement and the fact that we will all be resurrected. He doesn't really listen because he says he hurts too much. He just eats fruit because he can't stomach anything else and says he's just waiting for the day that he dies. It was so sad! There are so many people out here that just got shafted, got the short end of life, and are miserable. But it gives me hope in knowing that God is just and fair, and that these people will have it better in the next life. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sul Puma. Sul means alcohol. Do you see the bottle it's holding?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Rain"

Me cooking my potato, zucchini, pancake creation.
It was really gross.

Hello! This week was rather wet. Elder Taylor and I were down in the market waiting for a man that was going to meet us there for an appointment, and a great storm came billowing in. I haven't seen it rain like that in a long time. And, like the smart missionaries that we are, Elder Taylor and I hadn't brought umbrellas. But, we got to help some really nice grandmas make it through the worst of the storm. A TON of really old women sell fruit and vegetables in the market everyday, where they just sit under umbrellas and hope people come and buy. When storms come, they throw a tarp over their wares and then tie their umbrellas down with a few extra strings, prepared just for that purpose. And then they chill there, holding onto the umbrella so it doesn't blow away until the storm passes. They get pretty wet. So Elder Taylor and I stayed in the market for around 15 extra minutes during the worst of the storm, helping grandmas hold their umbrellas down. It was actually really fun. I have never been more soaked in my whole life.

Wet after the storm.

It was a good week. We had a few less actives to church yesterday, which was good to see. One of them acted like a complete child the whole time (he's 40 years old) and caused me a lot of stress, but it was overall good in the end. It was Elder Roskelley's year mark this week, so we all went out and got a huge thing of Baskin Robbins ice cream, made even better by the fact that it was 31 day (which makes the ice cream cheaper.) I've been living with Elder Roskelley for about half the time that he's been a missionary. I love that elder. Speaking of year marks, it was my year mark in country this week! It's weird looking back a year ago and realizing I was in Korea then too. These last 2 months went WAY faster than the 2 months in the MTC.

At Baskin Robbins, l-r Elder Arrington, Elder Roskelley, Elder Taylor, me.

I finished my journal that I started at the beginning of my mission. That's the first time in my life that I've ever finished a journal.

Our friend Jjanggoo

We didn't really meet any investigators this week. Our investigators are dwindling lately, and so we don't have a whole lot of people to teach or invite unto Christ. Which is honestly really lame. But we're still working hard and working to find those people that will receive us.

The sun is shining, the sweat keeps rolling, and life is good.
Love, Elder Edwards 

My sweet new soccer uniform!! The man in the above picture,
Jjanggoo, gave me this because I always went to soccer in the
mornings in t-shirts. He figured I needed a uniform. Super nice, huh?