Sunday, March 30, 2014

Korea Week 8

Hello, everybody!
So this week has been kind of slow. I'm not going to lie, it was actually really rough. I would have this be known to people who plan on going on missions:

It's hard sometimes. I don't mean to scare anybody, and this shouldn't because everybody would probably know this before they make the decision to go. But let me tell you all right now, that when people told me that it was the hardest thing they'd ever done, I had no idea what that really meant and I so got blindsided when I got out here. So here's my advice:

If you're going on a mission and you don't feel as though you have a growing relationship with Heavenly Father, then you need to start right now to get it growing. I don't care how good you think yours is, or how far away your mission is ahead in the future, and I'll put this out there for people who've returned if it applies to them; if it's not GROWING, you need to get it growing RIGHT NOW. If it's not growing, then it's withering because you're not putting in enough effort to keep it there. That's something that I've learned for myself out here. I thought I was fine, but I didn't, and I highly doubt that missionary fully realizes just how much you're going to be relying on Heavenly Father's help when you get out here. If I don't learn or gain anything else from my mission, this life lesson is enough to make coming out here worth it.

Again, I'm not trying to scare anyone. Missionary life is hard, but that's what makes it so great! You learn so much as a missionary. I've only been out for a few months and I could already say that a few months ago. I highly recommend serving a mission and would urge anybody who's making that decision to take the opportunity and go. It'll be the best thing you ever do if you give it your best effort.
But anyways... I'm done being all deep and stuff... It really wears me out.
The update on what's going on as far as missionary work, is that we've picked up two new investigators! Saint Kim didn't come to church (AGAIN >:( ) but we did have two other investigators come! That's the first time it's happened for me since I got out here!

The two new investigators are Mr. Song (it sounds different in Korean, but the romanization is perfect since he likes to sing :P ) and Teacher Kim ('teacher' because he's teaching me Korean).
Mr. Song and Mr. 이 are the ones that came to church. Mr. Song didn't stay for the whole thing, but I'd say that he enjoyed himself and liked it. Mr. 이, we found out in a conversation with him after sacrament, is a 3rd degree black belt it Tae Kwon Do, and that he used to be a Buddhist Priest. He's also ridiculously good at 장기 (Korean equivalent of chess). He's a pretty spectacular guy.
Anyways, so we went to visit our Egyptian Christian friend, William the other day. We went in the evening, which we've never done before, and there was a worker there. The workers have told us to please not go to the refugee house during the weekdays because we get in the way of their work, and we've respected their wish to only visit on the weekends. This worker, however, in true old-Korean-목사 (preacher)-man fashion, told us to get lost. Fun fact about Korea: since it's a Confucianist society, old people almost ALWAYS get their way, so he was rude. He told us that we're not Christian, because we believe in a being who's not Christ, but who we call Christ.... You could really tell that this guy was educated, because he's one of the only old Korean men that could speak fluent English (and he was so stuck up... a certain scripture in 2 Nephi about learned people who ' think they know of themselves comes to mind when I think about this guy). But anyways, this guy told us to get the heck away from the refugee house and stop feeding them non-Christian crap. He even went so far as to say that Muslims are more Christian than us (I've got nothing against Muslims, we've met a few really cool Muslims people out here, actually, but Islam is a totally different religion than Christianity)! Ugh.

So there's a persecution story for you. William is on our side, though, and he told us to come back whenever. That guy only goes to work after 6pm, so we'll just not visit anytime after that. We're pretty sure that he's not the boss of the place, even though he acts like it (because he's old... and Old Korean people do that).

The work goes on! The future only gets brighter!

                                                My companion and me on the street. 

Love you all!
Elder Shaver

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No More Hospital Visits!

Alllriiightt.... This computer has a square moniter.... And I can't tell for the life of me if this font is making my letters all purple or not. hoooooray! Haha I guess even the most wired country in the world has crappy old computers hiding around in old libraries.
Anyways! I'm going to get this out of the way: The doctor gave me the 'all-clear' last Friday! No more hospital visits for me! *knocking on wood right now* But, the eye is still super red. It doesn't hurt, but it still freaks out 정초원 자매님. It's funny. Also, it might take months before it goes back to seeing normally. Huzzah! >.<" At least the doctor isn't worried about it. I feel pretty good about it, too. It's much better than it has been.

But, moving on:
Transfers were interesting. They weren't as sad as I thought they would be. Neither were they exciting as I thought it would be. It was kind of like "Well, it's time for transfers!" for everybody else while I kind of waited for something amazing to happen, which it didn't. Oh well. Elder Despain lives in our house now, instead of Elder Thomas. Elder Despain is pretty fun, though. He's my older (one transfer ahead of me), but I don't know him all that well.
Also, Sister McNatt came to our district! She's my younger (one transfer behind me) and so that's how I kind of know her. And Sister Giles, who's a really cool sister from my older 덩기 (동기? I'm still not sure which 'O' sound it is) is in our zone! It's pretty cool.

As for our investigators... Well, nobody's progressing. Saint Kim has failed to come to church three times in a row, so he no longer has a baptismal date. We want to meet with him again and get him progressing again, but so far we haven't had any luck. ㅠㅠ
We picked up a new investigator, though! Mister 이 (pronounced 'ee'). He's a street vendor, and he's a really cool guy! He's got some great questions and he's (hopefully) reading a 몰몬경 right now! We met him right after I got to Korea, but Elder Brissette and an Elder he was on exchanges with ran into him again and he was like, "Hey you! I wanna talk to you!"
You know, we didn't know if we'd ever talk to him again, but it's really no myster-이 that we did (HAAA! Inter-lingual puns!). Miracle of the transfer: check!

Other than that, though. We're still looking for people. It's a little disheartening at times when nothing really happens as far as baptisms for such a long time, but miracles happen everyday, and I'm positive that every effort we put in is for something. There's just too many amazing things that happen for it to be any other way. No way whatsoever.

Just gotta keep moving forward, right? :P It all makes sense eventually.
Love you all!

Without Wax,
Elder Shaver

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Korea Week 6

Hello everybody!

Haha yeah, no big. I'm still a trainee, so really,  there's not much excitement in it for me. Trainees are almost guaranteed to not go anywhere for two transfers. BUT, Elder Thomas is leaving! He's an awesome missionary, and he's going to be missed around here. He's going to 인천 zone, which is a ways away from where we are now. But anyways, Elder Despain is coming to replace him as Elder Pringle's companion. Elder Despain is my older 동기, which means he was in the group that came to this mission before my group did. Also, 정초원 자매님 is training one of the sisters from my younger 동기! I don't know the sisters as well as the elders, but it's still kind of exciting, even if it means the amazing 정햬민 자매님 is leaving (sad face! :( ). Oh well. Such is the mission life. There are people waiting for them in their new areas!

Anyways, the work in our area is moving along! Saint Kim has a baptism date! We're so excited! The only problem is that he's STILL not keeping his committments, despite how much he says that he wants to be a member. College students! They're just so fickle! Aside from him, we met with Wise Guy again, and it's starting to look like his interest in us is more academic than spiritual. He's trying to figure out this religion thing by study rather than trying out the principles that religions teach. So, we're trying to get him to see that you can't know the truth (which is what he's looking for) unless he does something to experiment on it. It's like expecting a seed will grow without planting it. IT DON'T WORK. We'll get him going.

We also gave a Book of Mormon to a really cool Egyptian guy (not the same one that I talked about before). He's a christian, he's been all over the world, and he went through a lot of hard times as a christian in Egypt. I haven't met ANYBODY that's been through the crap that he's been through. He's amazing, AND, he's interested in what we have to say! I don't have a nickname for him yet, though. We also met with a vice-principal (who's actual English name is EJ. Just EJ). She goes to church, but she hates what the preacher preaches there. I might have talked about her a bit already. She's looking into other churches, but feels bound to the church that she doesn't like because her dad (who's on his last legs in life... or, as Koreans say it; 'is about to put down the spoon') goes to that church. Grr. We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (well, we were on splits that day, actually, and so I wasn't actually a part of that lesson) and it sounds like she's going to be a good investigator. Time will tell, though, when we meet with her again and see if she'll keep committments.

That's the update on our investigators. Moshi is officially not interested anymore. Maybe he is, but he's too busy to meet with us :'(

My eye is being weird. It was healing fine up until Thursday, when I started having a different kind of vision problem, and splitting headache pains around the eye. We had an appointment with the doctor the day after, and he said that the hemmoraging is healing just fine, but the inflammation was still a problem (and, my guess was that it had actually gotten worse given the fact that it hurt so bad). So anyways, he prescribed new eyedrops and told me to trash the old ones. Saturday and Sunday of taking those eyedrops were still brutal, and I wasn't sure if it was even helping, but todayI haven't had any problems so far. No sight problems or pain. My eye is SUPER red, though. I don't know what's going on. I have another appointment with the doctor on Friday, so we'll see what he says.

It's an adventure, that's for sure! I love you all!

Without Wax,
Elder Shaver

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Korea Week 5

Hello everybody!
Alright, so This week has been an interesting week. We did back-to-back exchanges almost all week within our district. That was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from the other missionaries. But that was definitely not the craziest thing that happened.

So, last Monday, there was a soccer game that pretty much the whole mission was invited to. We decided to go. It was a lot of fun, but there was one point where I tried to get the ball away from someone... right when he was about to send it down the field... and, well, I practically ate that soccer ball. It nailed me right in the eye at point-blank distance. I was right in front of the guy when he kicked it, so it got me pretty hard, and I went down. It hurt a LOT for a few minutes, and it was bloody. But, y'know, after a few minutes, some ice and acetaminophen, it didn't hurt and the bleeding stopped really quick. It was swollen shut, but I was happy that it wasn't hurting. My MTC companion, who is an EMT, was there and was able to take care of me. I was so greatful for that. He has a picture that he's going to send to his mom who will most likely send it to my mom. Mom: don't freak out. I'm going to try to send you a picture of how it looks one week later.

But yeah, that put me half-out-of-commission for most of the week. We had to go see the doctor because when it opened (the very next day, I'll add) my vision was super-foggy. So we went to the hospital and the did a whole bunch of things and they determined that there was inflammation where the iris is, and there had been hemmoraging on the retina, so it was blood and blood clots floating around the inside of my eye. Fun stuff! They took a picture of the inside of my eye, and it looks SUPER COOL!!! I'm going to get them when I go back in for check-up on Friday. Today, the eye is almost completely healed on the outside; there's only a little red where the bruising was, and my sight has almost completely cleared up.

We didn't meet with any investigators this week :( Between my eye and exchanges it was too hectic to stay really organized. We did meet with an ethiopian pastor, though. That was interesting. He didn't listen to us at all, so we just testified and left. There wasn't much else we could do since he wouldn't let us get a point across. Oh well. He was really a cool person, too. It made me sad.
Oh, and I finally tried a Korean food that I don't like. I don't think anybody can blame me, though. It's called (translated to English) Mudfish soup. It's a health/diet food that a lot of Koreans don't even really like. It was really weird... and while I'd eat it again if someone put it in front of me, you can expect me to avoid any such situation.
Here is a picture from the church bulletin of the missionaries in my area.

And, before I go: Fun fact about Korea.
Bathrooms in Koreans' homes combo as a lot of things. They're different, and honestly I didn't like it when I got here, but now it's just kind of "whatever, it's life"
When you walk in, there's the toilet, and a shower head stuck to a wall (ie, it's not in a separate stall), and the washing machine is in it too. When you take a shower, EVERYTHING GETS WET. EVERYTHING. And it stays wet for most of the day. You need shower sandals just to walk in there to go to the bathroom. It's like that in EVERY appartment. Now you'll be ready for it if you ever come to Korea ;)

Love you all! You're the best!
Elder Shaver

Sunday, March 2, 2014

아나ㅕㅇ하새요 from 한국!

This week was actually a pretty slow week. There were lots of meetings with the zone and the district, and there wasn't as much craziness that happened out on the streets as there have heretofore been. But, nonetheless, it's been a good week.

We met with Kim (who's earned the nickname of Kim the Saint, I'll explain later), Yoon (who shall be hereafter called Moshi, because he's alsways so stylish when we meet him), and a new investigator who doesn't have a nickname yet, but is a vice principle and shall therefore be called by her occupation until an appropriate nickname be found.

Moshi is starting school today, so he's super busy and doesn't know if he wants to make time committments. We'll see how he does, but we asked him to read the Book of Mormon, and to pray. We're praying for him.

Kim the Saint is a wonderful guy. He took us out to a restaurant the other day and, well, we didn't get much done with him sadly. He's told us straight-up that he wants to be baptized, though. Woohoo! He's wanted to be a member for a while. But anyways, he's a Saint, because he saved us from DEATH. Seriously. At the aforementioned restaurant, they served us each a free piece of meat that was absolutely drenched in this red sauce. Right away, he told us "don't eat that." We asked why, and he told us it was too spicy. I'd never met my match for something too spicy before in my life, and Koreans have told me that before and I've never had a problem with the food they warned me about, so I was skeptical. But then my companion tried a lick of the sauce and freaked out for 5 minutes (much to my amusement, and to Kim's as well). We took a piece with us home after the appointment (this stuff, by the way is called a Korean slang word for 'killing.' Fun fact. That's how Kim saved us from death... almost). Elders Thomas, Pringle and I tried a small little nibble each of that piece of meat at home. Our tongues all died and shriveled up a little, and for the next 10-20 minutes or so, we were FREAKING OUT. I've now met my match for spiciness. We could feel where the sauce had been for hours.

Anyways, the vice principle I talked about is a really nice lady that is helping us learn Korean as we teach her the gospel. She's a christian, but she hates some of the things that her 목사 (preacher) teaches. So that's why she's interested in us, and we're all too happy to oblige! We'll see what we can do for her. Fun fact: this lady self-committed to read the book of mormon before we had the chance to! Woohoo!

Those are the really major things that I want to talk about. Other than those, I think that I've finally gotten used to the differences of Korea. Honestly, I'm starting to find the things that I don't like, and I'm working to embrace them anyways. Korea's a cool place. Everybody believes in working hard, and everybody has a greater tendency to respect one another (of course, they all love foreigners that can speak their language to any degree, which is great).

March 1st was a holiday that marks the day that Korea regained independance from Japan. We didn't see any major celebrations though. Another fun fact about Korea: Dryers don't exist. They hang-dry everything. That was something that I had to get used to. :P

I wish that I had more to talk about. Hopefully this week will have some more fun stories to tell! Korea itself feels normal by now, so it's getting harder to think of cool cultural insights to share. Ask me questions about Korea so I can answer them!
Love you all!
Without Wax,
Elder Shaver