Sunday, November 30, 2014

벌써 12월?!?

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Already December?!?")

Today is December. Wow. Time goes really really fast. It's been fairly warm here in Korea up until this morning... and now it's COLD. Probably time to pull out the winter gear.

It's been a good week. We were only able to meet with one investigator, but it was a pretty good lesson. His name is Brother Jang and he's in his 60's and slightly paralyzed on his left side from a stroke or something. So he spends almost all day every day trying different treatments to help get his leg back in better working condition... acupuncture, strange tea, weird incense things that he puts on his head... just a lot of weird treatments. We taught him about God, prayer, and the Book of Mormon. He has almost zero religious background, so we're going to have to go much slower and more simply in the future when we teach him.

It was an interesting week as far as food goes... Nothing too cool happened for Thanksgiving. We were all going to go to a buffet as a district, but one of the sisters has a gluten allergy so we ended up eating weird porridge stuff and kimchi for Thanksgiving dinner. Not ideal, but it wasn't terrible either. And then the 6 of us elders went to the buffet the next day for dinner without the sisters, so it all worked out okay. I have a bucket list of foods to eat while I'm here in Korea before I go back home to America. They're not necessarily foods that look delicious, but foods that are unique to Korea, so I need to have said that I tried them. And I knocked off 2 items from the list this week! 

번데기(bundaygee)... a rather disgusting food consisting of steamed larva.

One is 번데기 (bundaygee), which is super nasty. It's some sort of larva that's been steamed and then it just sits in hot, nasty water all day and old ladies sell it on the street. So, I ate it. Bleh. Never again. 

The other food was 산낙지 (sannakjee), which is living octopus. If you eat it at a restaurant, the cooks there wash the octopus real good and then cut it in a professional way so that all the legs are still wiggling a lot when you eat it. Well, the sister missionaries bought 5 small octopus in the market last Pday and gave them to us. So, we ate them. We didn't really think that it needed to be washed very hard, so we just rinsed it in the sink a little bit and then cut it up and ate it. It can be dangerous because the legs are wriggling and the suction cups still work and can grab onto your throat and get stuck, but we just made sure to chew it a lot before we swallowed. Totally worth it.

Live octopus... yum. It actually wasn't that bad.

The 2 new elders in our house are AWESOME. One is Elder Mumford, a missionary who dies in February, and he's training Elder Songhyunbean, a Korean missionary straight out of the MTC. They're both awesome missionaries and work super hard. It's also nice to have a Korean elder in the house... they understand the culture perfectly and help a lot with learning the language.

I've been looking back through my planner from last transfer with Elder Weight and looking at all the appointments we had scheduled and how many of those appointments actually met. We felt like we didn't really get to meet a lot of people this transfer and we got punked A TON, so I figured it out in my planner. This is how it plays out from last transfer (6 weeks):
  • 996 people were talked to
  • 34 appointments were made
  • 8 of the people with appointments actually met, with the other 26 never answering their phone again
  • 1 of those 8 people actually met us again after the first lesson
... And then we had to drop that one guy (Brother Kim) because he was just trying to convert us to his church. It was a really good transfer as far as talking to people goes, but our lessons were super low. We don't really know why, but this transfer should be better. We're going to be working even harder and trying a little bit of a different approach for meeting with people. But, anyways, there's a little peek into missionary work at the moment!

Have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, November 23, 2014


(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Debong!")

A good week. Our numbers at the end of the week didn't look as great because we lost a whole day of contacting because of the kimchi making project, but it was still an awesome week!

We had zero lessons in the church this week... We had plenty out on the street teaching people, but none in the church. The church or someone's home is definitely the best place/environment to have a lesson, but we couldn't get any for this past week. But that's okay! We filled up our time by going through an ancient less active book and picking out 5 or 6 records each day and then would spend each day walking all over Dongdaemoon going to and from the addresses on the records looking for the less active members, talking to everyone on the way. It was actually really fun and pretty effective. We found plenty of the addresses, but couldn't find any of the actual people. They had either moved out or weren't home at the time we visited. BUT, we found a few really cool people this week that should become investigators this coming week!

We climbed a mountain called 도봉산(Dobong mountain) on P-day this past week, and it was super fun. Pretty cold, but a lot of fun. We found an old bunker in the middle of nowhere on this mountain back from the war. It was pretty cool. And then Elder Weight and I ran down the whole mountain because we were running late. We were sore the next day.
Climbing Debong mountain. Almost there...

We got transfer calls! Elder Weight and I will be staying together, and 2 missionaries in our house will be leaving, one going home and one going to Wondang. It should be a pretty good transfer.

Debong mountain. The peak!

In Priesthood meeting yesterday, one of the members was complaining about a pain that he had been having above his eye for the past week or so. Our stake president stood up, walked over to the hurting member, pulled an acupuncture needle out of his pocket, and stuck it right in the middle of the hurting member's head. It was super cool and super funny. I don't really know how acupuncture works, but Korean's are pretty crazy about it. We had an investigator last transfer who is an Oriental doctor that does acupuncture professionally. They say it helps relieve pain and stuff, but it looks pretty questionable to me. I don't think I'll ever get acupuncture.

I love 1 Corinthians 13:4-9. It's a pretty simple and straight forward guideline of what charity is and how we should live our lives. We should be kind, be slow to anger, be patient, not be selfish, be understanding... It's a good list to live by.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Edwards

Sunday, November 16, 2014

김치 만드는 게 재미있다!!

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "It is interesting to make kimchi!")

This week was a good week. All of my thoughts of this week are kind of scrambled and in small segments, so I'll probably just write about this week in short, jagged paragraphs. Enjoy!

Sitting  in the foyer of the church.
Sometimes a lot of time gets spent in here waiting for appointments that are late.

Today, the reason for emailing late is because we went across Seoul and did a service project! And it was the coolest service project I've ever done... We made kimchi!! Every year in Korea around this time, everyone and their dog makes a boatload of kimchi to eat through the winter and until they make kimchi again next year. I'm not sure what all the ingredients are that go into making kimchi, but the part we worked on was putting the red saucey type stuff on the raw cabbage. It kind of shows what we did in the picture below. We were scheduled to do it for 7 hours, but because we're missionaries that know how to work hard we got it all done in around 4 hours. There were over 60 missionaries there! And the best part is, all the kimchi made will be given for free to people who need it or can't make it themselves. Yay for service!

We made TONS of kimchi today with a bunch of awesome ladies.

Elder (now Brother) Moon came to visit Dongdaemoon ward yesterday. He served in Taebeck for part of the time I was in Wonju and we went on a lot of exchanges then. He finished his mission back in the summer, and I thought that was the last time I would ever get to see him, but he came yesterday to visit ward members. It was really good to see him.
Elder (now Brother) Moon came to visit Dongdaemoon ward!

We visited a member last Monday night in the hospital. She's in her 50's and got blind sided by a car while she was riding her restaurant delivery motorcycle. Luckily nothing's broken... she has a fractured femur and a fractured rib. She seemed really happy to see us and we gave her some pepero (a Korean candy that has it's own holiday... look it up^^).

We had 3 meals with members this week! It was a lot of food.

We met with Brother Kim one last time to say that we wouldn't be able to continue meeting. It didn't work very well. Him and his friend totally turned the tables and they were teaching us and were trying to get us to meet them regularly so they could teach us more about "the secrets hidden in the Bible" and talked about how they would reveal "dark sayings of old" (Psalms 78:2). It was pretty creepy. But also kind of interesting. They used a lot of persuasion and flattery to try to keep meeting with us. We won't be meeting again, but I did definitely learn a few things about how to persuade people to meet with us.

Elder Weight and his sweet scarf.

While proselyting this week, we switched up a bit and went to quieter parts of the city and proselyted there. We sat with a lot of old guys on benches and talked with them about the gospel. Old people are usually harder to get to because they feel like we have nothing to offer to them or they're very deep rooted in the life style that they've had for the last 70ish years. But, we were able to find a few interested ones. One of the older guys just talked to us for a great while about how money is the most important thing in the world. It made me sad to realize that a lot of people live like that... continually focused on living well and earning as much as they possibly can. Aren't we blessed to know that there's a bigger picture? That God has a plan for us and we have things to do, things that carry eternal value!

All is well. Have a great week!

Elder Edwards

Sunday, November 9, 2014


(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Busy")

It's been a pretty busy week this week with zone training, so as a result we weren't able to teach nearly as many lessons or contact as many people as normal. The whole mission is strangely in some sort of slump right now... Less investigators and less baptismal dates throughout the whole mission. It's weird and lame but we're working through it. Zone training meeting went really good this week. We trained on the power of the Holy Ghost in conversion, specifically what we can do to have and feel the spirit more in our work. One of the commitments is to have a house prayer at 10pm with all the missionaries in our house and pray for the spirit and for fellow missionaries and other members. It was a good training, now it's just up to all of us to apply it! No matter how good a training is, nothing happens until someone applies it and acts on it.

Calls. call after call after call... to find new investigators!!

Elder Weight and I are doing good. We're working hard together and we both have a drive to do missionary work. But the slump in the mission is effecting us too and we don't really have any investigators right now. ㅠㅠ We have a few people with lots of potential, but no current investigators. We met Brother Kim 3 or 4 times in the past 2 weeks, but it's not working out with him. He's taken to bringing a friend with him, and then they both just talk and talk and talk about the bible and all the secrets that it contains and how we need the bible to live. So he doesn't listen to what we say. We're pretty sure he belongs to a religion called 신천지. I don't know what that is in English, but everyone in Korea thinks it's a cult. Anyway.... we won't meet with him anymore. So we are starting this week out with an iron hard resolution... Find new investigators!! Proselyting has been okay recently, but we've made goals to make sure that when we're proselyting the only thoughts that will be in our heads is that we need to find new people to teach and invite and help them come unto Christ!

A late dinner of delivery chicken.

We thought all the cockroaches would be dying with the cold weather but they're not dying. Poor Elder Manwaring lost half a box of Lucky charms because they got infested. Lucky charms can't really be found in Korea except at Costco, so it was a pretty disappointing day. We're killing cockroaches with a new found vigor and fury.

Last Tuesday may or may have not been one of the most relaxing days of my whole mission. Tuesday was our P-day because of Missionary Leadership Council on Monday. So we went to the public bath house and worked out for a bit and then soaked on cold and warm and hot pools for 2 hours with sweet jets of water. BLISS.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!
Love, Elder Edwards

Monday, November 3, 2014

조금 늦었다

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "A little late")

Well, it's 7pm over here. Elder Weight and I had MLC (missionary leadership council) this morning from 8:30 to 4:00... a pretty long meeting, but a really good one. The purpose of that meeting is to gather all the zone leaders, sister training leaders, assistants, and President and his wife every month and discuss rules and problems/good things in the mission and receive training on this months focus. This months focus is the role of the holy ghost in conversion, which I'm super excited about! Elder Weight and I and our Sister Training Leaders will all be training our zone on it on Wednesday based on what we heard and learned at MLC. The monthly focus is pretty cool... President picks a different one every month and it's always cool to focus on a certain aspect of missionary work. Some examples of past focuses are: The Book of Mormon, Teach People Not Lessons, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.

Me and all of the people at mission leadership council that I came to Korea with!!
Our sisters go home in 3 weeks ㅠㅠ

Today was a good and another interesting week. We went on 3 exchanges this week... which is 2 more than we usually do. I was here with Elder Pratt(the Dongdaemoon district leader) in Dongdaemoon on Tuesday, with Elder JungJeeHo (one of the assistants) here in Dongdaemoon on Wednesday and Thursday, and Elder Choy(Hwayaang district leader) in Hwayaang on Friday and Saturday. So out 7 days this week, I got to spend only 1 full day with Elder Weight. That's okay though. We're already pretty tight, so it wasn't trying on our relationship or anything. The exchanges were all really good. I learned A TON from Elder Jung that I've started to apply this week. He teaches really powerfully on the street, and tries really hard to teach and testify to people's needs on the street. He's awesome. He also uses his time really effectively, including the time that most missionaries call "free time" (we technically don't have free time on the mission... it's all the Lord's time. If you want to do something that's not missionary purpose focused, it needs to wait for P-day.) But missionaries usually call 9:30 to 10:30 at night "free time". He uses it to study and call missionaries who need help and write in records and prepare things for members... He just uses it really well. He's a really fantastic example to me of a consecrated missionary, and I'm working on teaching more on the street and using my time much more effectively.

Elder Jung, one of the assistants.

It's a little hard trying to keep up with everything and everyone in the zone... It's crazy how many problems with missionaries and areas can be seen when viewed from the eyes of a leader. It makes me kind of miss just working with my companion really hard and not having to worry about anything or anyone else. But, being zone leader is good and I find a lot of joy in helping missionaries here. We're all not perfect, and we can all help each other along the path toward perfection and consecration.

Elder Weight and I.

Things are good. It's so crazy that it's already November... where did October go??? Let alone September and August. Time doesn't seem to have any rules here.

I love you all!
Love, Elder Edwards