Things are really starting to fall into a normal rhythm with Elder 이홍빈 and the work goes on well!
I think the last week was definetly a little strenous on the both of us and there were a few times where I am sure that we both were pretty frustrated but it’s nothing that a little time and experience ccouldn’t fix. Now that Elder이홍빈 knows the area and our recurring activities better, I know how to communicate and explain more clearly, and we both are a little more used to eachother, I can feel things getting easier by the second. I really think I have been so blessed to have the companions that I have had so far and have learned so much from both of them. I think having a native companion for your second companion is perfect. I was able to get the handle on our area, members, investigators, etc. and simple Korea Busan missionary life with Elder Luke and now have the chance to continue on in much the same way with Elder 이홍빈, albeit almost entirely in Korean. Even though I sit through church most of the time only being able pick out a few words out of the sacrament talks and I sometimes have to ask Elder 이홍빈 to repeat himself a few times slowly before I can understand (which thankfully he is super patient about), I sometimes look back to how I felt those first few weeks or the MTC and realize just how much I have come to know. I’ve really found that it can be frustrating and discouraging looking how far you still have to go, but every once in a while as you look back you can really see just how far you’ve come. I distinctly remember sitting through my first MCM (member coordination meeting) with our ward mission leader falling asleep, half out of jet lag and half because it is really hard to focus when you have no idea what is going on. However, these last few weeks being the more senior missionary in 광안 I’ve had to take the lead in what’s going on and explaining what we’ve been doing and what help we need, with the help of Elder 이홍빈 of course, and I can really see how far I’ve come in these last few months.
One thing that I really dont like, no matter how much better things are getting, is talking on the phone. I dont know exactly what it is, maybe it is that I cant see their body language or they talk fast or I just get nervous talking on the phone but understanding people is soo hard. In our mission the junior/non-Korean missionary always carries the companionship cell phone and let’s just say it is a little bit stressful sometimes. I am actually getting pretty fast at reading and writing texts but calling people is still hard. It is the worst when a member or investigator or new contact calls and I just have no idea what is going on. I usually get pretty frustrated with myself and then in desperation say “sorry, just a second please” and hand the phone to my companion. Usually I am pretty good to at doing it (especially if I put it on speaker phone and have my companion nod or shake his head while listening) but sometimes it can just be the hardest thing. I think, like everything it will just get better over time.
It is starting to get really cold here! Being right on the ocean we have a super cold breeze that comes through and it has been getting colder and colder by the day. I havent gotten out my big, ugly missionary coat yet but I’ve started wearing gloves, a sweater, and a scarf along with my suit every day. It is just another crazy thing juxtaposing that with my memory of dying in the heat while walking around searching for less actives that first week with Elder Luke. When I was in the MTC I dont think I could realize how fast time really does go!
This week we’ve filled most of our time meeting with 정대영 형재님, searching for a few less actives that our ward gave us to track down, going on exchanges with our 해운대 zone leaders (me with Elder Himmer from Gig Harbor, WA), practicing for a big stake choir show, and as always searching high and low for new people to share our message with. As we’ve done 전도 (proselyting) this week we’ve actually been able to meet and get contacts with a few people who seem really interested. Trying to help them become investigators is proving a little difficult but we at least had some really good experiences meeting and talking with people this week. I talked to one man sitting next to me on the subway on the way back from district meeting who actually told me that he visited the Salk Lake Temple while he lived in America for a few years and wanted to hear more about our church. Another man I talked to while waiting in the waiting room for Elder 이홍빈 to get something checked out really quick at the doctor said that he was christian and had heard a little about our church and we were able to talk all about Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon. A third teenager we talked to while walking back to our apartment from a lesson with 정대영 형재님 said he used to go to a christian church but doesnt now we were able to talk to and give a Book of Mormon to as well. Even though these three people and a few others we met seemed genuinely interested and we got all of their contacts, as we’ve tried to contact them so far theyve all said they are too busy or havent picked up when we’ve called. We’re keeping at it but it is sometimes really hard to gauge whether people are genuinely super busy (as almost everyone in Korea seems to be) or never had that much interest to begin with.
In other news this week the Busan stake put on a big choir show where all the different ward choirs and some others performed various musicaly numbers. It was actually a super great meeting with a lot of really good numbers including our ward’s “가을 인 가 봐” and a number by all the Busan and South Busan Zone missionaries “if the savior stood beside me” (but in Korean). Some other groups played other intstuments, did dances, and the Stake Presidency sang some song that everyone thought was super funny but I’ll be honest I didnt really understand. All of this meant lots of singing this week but it helped us spend more time with the ward and made for a good time as well!
Well things go well in Korea! Have a good week!