I know the wonderful people in his current area have made a sweet difference in Elliott's life, and I hope he recognizes what a difference he has made for them as he has served them and the Lord with his whole heart, might, mind, and strength because of LOVE!
November 3, 2013
Well, yeah. Transfer calls. With the single most bittersweet outcome.
I'm leaving Pyeongtaek. I'll be going up to Seoul in a part of the city called Hwagok (The "o" is a long "o" sound... In Korean 화곡). Let me elaborate. I'll probably cry as I do. But that's fine. It's really hard leaving an area and a zone that's been home for almost a full year (10 months and a week or two in the zone, 6 months of which were here in Pyeongtaek). The zone, because I know so many people, and well, I really do feel like I have a family of Korean Saints here. The area, because I invested so much of my heart into it... and I don't regret it. Not one bit. I've done most of my growing here in Pyeongtaek... I've come into my style of missionary work, and I've discovered so many of my talents here. I've met some of my best friends, and I've been taken to the extremes of what talents and abilities I have to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ, to strengthen the faith of my brothers and sisters and bring hope to people who might be feeling hopeless. I've learned what really goes into being a successful missionary (so much more than producing numbers... I honestly believe that it's about becoming and then the numbers will speak for themselves). I've had some of the most spiritual experiences of my life here. Some of the most precious revelations.
I love the people. It's more than just seeing somebody on the street and liking them. What I feel is the sense of urgency that should accompany missionary work. It's recognizing the importance of the message we share, seeing how it applies to these, my friends, and then helping them see how it applies in their lives. It's really desiring the happiness of all the people I've met and had the privilege of serving. As it says in the hymn, Each Life That Touches Ours For Good, when a friend leaves (or when we need to leave), we have only sweet and tender memories in our hearts. That's all I have. Sweet memories of Pyeongtaek. Of the members. Of what I learned.
But don't worry. As bitter as it is to leave, I do find some solace in something I've read in the Liahona. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting, but rather it means opening our hearts. I'll be able to move on. As much as I love Pyeongtaek, I'm sure I'll love Hwagok.
I know I've changed. These feelings of love won't leave.
That's the bitter part. The sweet part. I'll be companions with Elder Erekson. If you recall, he was the other senior companion here in Pyeongtaek when I first came. Tender mercies for the win? I hope so. It'll be fun to serve with him again. He taught me a lot when I first went senior. I'm excited to learn even more from him.
On a different note, transfers aside, we had a Halloween Party for the Korean Ward on Saturday. Everyone loved it. We had pinatas... I don't think that the Koreans ever did anything like it. When they broke, I kid you not, the kids SWARMED LIKE A HORDE OF ZOMBIES. Like, I feared for my own life, and I wasn't even going for the candy. And... we did three pinatas (we had four lined out, but the second one wouldn't break... yeah, Elder Hodges and Elder Dewey from Anseong did a great job in making indestructable.... the adults couldn't break it without a blindfold on... had to cut it down). Yeah, I wouldn't recommend making round pinatas and then mache-ing streamer paper on them.
I love all of you. I'm really sorry for how short this email is. But I think that if I keep writing, my eyes will get a little poofy. From crying. Totally serious about that.