Saturday, December 1, 2012

WEEK 5 in South Korea

Greenie + Greenie + Konglish + Charitable People of Korea + Sincere obedient effort = Happy Thanksgiving. You will notice that I didn't delete the final paragraph of this letter, as directed by Elder Wedam. Thought everyone might appreciate just how much a missionary learns from a wide range of experiences while in the field! Have a good day!   M

November 26, 2012

So, as per popular request (mainly mom's), I will share how Koreans celebrate American Thanksgiving.  They don't.  But missionary companions do.  I had a most marvelous (slightly meager) meal of rice, potstickers, fried chicken, and oranges.  I should mention, I was on a split with another member of my generation... two greenies who aren't super good at Korean.  It was a blast.  We got lost multiple times, and had to ask for directions frequently.  All in all, it was a successful day.  We contacted 44 people (standards of excellence is 20 - Elder Ward, my split companion, was slightly disappointed that we didn't get the 50 we set out to do the night before), two street lessons (and placed a Book of Mormon.  More accurately, the person we were 전도-ing to just sort of took it), and got 2 phone numbers. Oh, and a less active member brought us some amazing bread and oranges (hence why I had oranges during my dinner.  Wouldn't have happened otherwise) and some foreigner neighbors (Americans too) ran by and gave us some pumpkin bread in honor of Thanksgiving (at 9:30 at night).  All in all, it was a good, busy, and exhausting day.  Who woulda thunk 2 greenies could do so much.  That was a confidence booster.  I discovered I know how to start asking for directions in Korean and can follow melodramatic hand gestures fairly well.

While I'm still on the topic of the split, here's another little tidbit about Korean culture.  For the most part, they LOVE Americans. That aside, there are some SUPER friendly and helpful Koreans too. When Elder Ward and I were lost, we asked this 60+ year old man for some directions.  Rather than be satisfied with just telling us where to go, he literally walked us to where we needed to go... a task that was completed a mile later.  I was literally at a loss for words.  You rarely see that in the States (I've yet to see it), and it was truly a humbling experience.  I was really impressed with how charitable this man was (Korean people generally are super busy and super hard workers.  He literally went an hour out of his way to help us).  We thanked him profously for his help.  He even suggested a place where we could eat!  Elder Ward gave him our contact card and told him that if he ever needed help with anything, to give the missionaries a call. All in all, it was a good experience.

Elder Anderson and I have seen some super amazing miracles this week. Despite some investigators not turning out not to be real and many people waving us off, we've had a ton of success this past week. We've got 5 new invesitgators (3 of which were referals - one from our recent convert and 2 from a current investigator), and the last two are the mom and dad from a family (they have two daughters ages 5 and 2).  We met this family last night.  They invited us in (a thing Elder Anderson keeps telling me is a super rare occurance, but it's happened 3 times this transfer), and gave us some apple juice (there's a lot of apple flavored things here.  Like apple ice cream.  I actually really like the apple ice cream).  They're interested in learning English from us, but they also have some gospel interest.  We have an appointment with them on Wednesday.  I'm super stoked.  They just look like they'd be good members.  Last night, we spent time finding a good member couple to help fellowship this family into the ward.  We think we have the right couple in mind - they invited us over for dinner week 3... maybe? (unfortunately, I can't remember their names... Korean names are super tricky to get down).  Did I mention I'm super stoked about finding this family?

And a less missionary-related note, language is coming along.  When we're 전도-ing, I'm finding I'm able to get the gist of the conversation about half the time and am able to follow more and more each day.  One of the more frustrating things is that I still speak super slow, which is why it's always a tender mercy when we find somebody who has enough time for me to stumble through a street contact or door approach.  And we seem to be finding a lot of people who know enough English (and I know enough Korean) where I can follow slow Konglish.  It's been fairly exciting.  Next up is reading comprehesnion.  Korean grammar is so radically different from English or other Latin based grammars. Seriously, everything is slightly topsy-turvy.  Example - last night during companionship study, we were reading the Restoration pamphlet together and translating as we went.  Adjectives (generally defined to be something that describes or modifies a noun - this could be a single words or phrase) preceed the noun they modify.  Adjective phrases sometimes contain pronouns that refer to the noun they're modifying.  Summary, I realize I need a ton of practice reading Korean texts.  Fortunately, I've got pamphlets and scripture passages galore (spelling?) to study from.  And a neat little phrase-book full of little gospel sentences.  While we're on the topic language, I have the First Vision and James 1:5 down in Korean.  And by down, I mean I can recite them fairly slowly...

I don't know what else to really say - the daily goal plan is still going strong, and I'm progressing slowly, yet surely.  This week, I'm working on organizing and cleaning the fridge... shelf-by-shelf.  That reminds me... so I've also had to try my hand at plumbing yesterday. The moments where I watched dad messing around with the plunger in the toilet tank (the thing that actually causes the flush) has paid off in dividends.  The chain that connects the plunger with the handle fell off the handle Saturday night.  I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to reattach it.  It worked.  The toilet now sort of flushes instead of doing nothing.  I'll be playing with it a little later to get it to work according to my standards of flush.  Random tangent, done.  Mom, you can delete this paragraph before posting it on the blog.

Anyways, I gots to go.  I love you all so much!  Take care, work hard, do well.

-Elder Wedam

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