Things in 해운대 with Elder 김인수 are really good! I have to say that this has been one of if not the busiest weeks of my mission so far. We have been running from appointment to appointment, and when I say running, I literally mean running (to make an appointment, meeting, 9pm curfew etc.). It has been somewhat stressful to get adjusted to all of the new investigators, members, area, liviing in a 4 man house and working with a B team, and simply the life of a zone leader, but I have to say that all of the busy-ness is really fulfilling. It feels like what missionary work is supposed to be like. Elder 김인수 is extremely hardworking, a good teacher and leader, and I am learning a lot from him at every moment. 해운대 is a really great ward with super kind members and lots of things to do.
I guess one of the biggest things of the week has been preparing for our Ward Christmas party. While in the US there probably would have been a whole activities committee assigned to do something like this, probably mostly due to the fact that everyone is super busy, almost all of the preparation came down to the missionaries. We made and set up decorations, came up with a practiced a performance to do at the meeting, and worked really hard to contact as many investigators and less active members as possible to invite to the event. I have to say that the party turned out super well and was a really good time. The party started at 6 with a meal all together, followed by a spiritual portion involving a video from lds.org and a talk from the bishop, and ending with a fun program of different acts by ward members. Some different ward members did Choir numbers, played instruments, did dances, and everything inbetween. Me and Elder 김인수 and the B team did a special number as well that was super fun. We started out by singing a hymn acapella (abide with me tis eventide) each of us singing a different part. We wanted to do something kind of fun and interesting as well so at the end of the first verse of the hymn we had a ward member turn out the lights, we took of our suit coats, some kind of up beat Korean music Elder 박강산 had started playing the lights came back on and we did a dance as well. I think that the acapella may have been slightly off and the dance was definetly far from perfect but the ward members seemed to really enjoy it so it turned out really well. The last fun part of the party to end thing was a visit from 산타 할아버지 (Santa). I am pretty sure mostly due the fact that I am white, the request to be santa fell to me. Dont worry no children sat on my lap but I wore a Santa Claus costume and gave out wrapped gifts that some of the sisters in the ward had prepared to all the children. At the end all of the families took pictures with me ain front of a Christmas tree as well. Basically I got to wear this full santa claus costume, including a fake beard and strapping a pillow to myself underneathe with a belt to be fatter, and go around asking the kids if they have been good in Korean and saying HO HO HO Merry Christmas. I have to say I have never done anything like it and it was definetly an experience to remember. I think the ward was really grateful that I was able to do it as well, so as far as working with the members maybe it was a good first impression to make.
While all of my companions thus far have been district leader and I was able to see that I dont think I ever really imagined just how much the zone leaders do until now! Things include giving permission (leaving early, calling other missionaries, etc.) requesting permission from the AP’s and President Barrow, planning zone meetings/exchanges/group proselyting activities, receiving and reporting our zone’s weekly key indicators, and preparing and attening leadership meetings. Getting used to it all has been a little bit crazy but is going quite well. Particularly as this week we have our mission chirstmas party we have been working and coordinating a zone choir number to perform all together, which involves practicing as a zone and working out all the details.
Another thing we have been doing a lot recently as well is Christmas caroling. Not really what I would have thought of as missionary work but so far it has been really good. Basically our mission is focusing a lot on an initiative called “He is the Gift” which is a video that the church has produced. Each team has been given hundreds of these cards with the link and a christmas message and been told to give out as many as possible. To do this, along with giving them to members, investigators, less actives, and everyone we talk to as we travel about, we have been meeting as a district at crowded areas such as 해운대 beach or the Worlds largest apartment store, where most of us sing carols and as we switch out giving out the christmas cards to whoever we can and trying to share our message of christmas. We are even planning on doing a large zone caroling event after our mission Christmas party as well. It is really fun to get together and sing Christmas carols and of course share the Christmas spirit and message of Jesus Christ with all we see.
As far as people we meet we have several investigators including 3 different high school students and 3 adult men (including one American that we teach in english). This week we also met with a less active in the ward who is considering missionary work, and several members including this one really cool older Church member who was the Seoul temple president and good friends with President Hinckley that we bring the sacrament to on Sundays in the hospital. Meeting with everyone has been sort of crazy with all of the Christmas timing but we have had lots of good lessons and had a really good turn out of people to our ward christmas party as well. Ill have to give more details about all the great people we are meeting to come.
Well things are crazy here in 해운대 and things have been a little different around Christmas time but all is good and I am really looking forward to my first Christmas in Korea and skyping with the family! Have a great week!