Well it has been one crazy, whirlwind week of riding buses all across Korea, meeting new people, exploring new areas, and trying new things but a really great one at that!
I have officially made to my new area of 안동 (Andong) with my new companion Elder 이한결 (Lee Han Gyeor) and things are going excellently. As much as I was very scared to be going to a completely new area with a completely new and MTC fresh companion, things have really turned out better than I could have expected. I can tell that the coming weeks will bring great things to come and the miracles will continue to flow!
The beginning of the week was a crazy scramble of preparation while I was temporarily serving with the other 2 training Elders, Elder Dietz and Elder 하성준. This involved going to our various houses in far off areas (all in different zones) and buying groceries, cleaning, and making everything into a good enough shape that we could get right to work with the new missionaries. For someone who had never left Busan before last week, this week was a crazy amount of expensive long distance bus rides.
It was especially nice to be serving with Elder 하성준 for the past little while because he was trained in my current area and was able to show me the location of our house, the church, and even introduce me to some of the members and former investigators here.
Following all the preparation we headed back to the mission headquarters where we had a few meeting with all the new missionaries, the AP’s, office elders, and President and Sister Barrow. We had lots of good training about the importance of morning study and especially companionship study and the 12 week program (which even included a small skit the other trainers and I put together). Along with the training we had a large proselyting activity where we traveled to a large shopping center in Busan and while rotating through all the new missionaries did as much street proselyting as possible. The next day was a few more meetings and we were informed of our new companions.
My new companion is Elder 이한결 comes from a city called 청주 which is located in the Daejon Mission. Unlike most of my other Korean companions who have been much older and done school and military service, he is 19 years old and came out on his mission right after finishing high school. Elder 이한결 especially likes sports and maybe one of the best things of all cooking. He wanted to be cook for some time but now wants to study nutritional science, so of course it will be a delicious next few transfers. He is an excellent missionary and I can already see that we will get along well and work hard this transfer. He is very very positive and has a firm desire to learn, be a good, obedient missionary, and work hard. He also trusts all the advice and explanations that I give and is very flexible, humble, and open minded.
After our meetings we set out for the long 3 hour trek out to our area in Andong with all of his things and many buses later arrived safely. With the help of the two sisters who are serving here in Andong, sister 이예지 and sister 김예지 we have been able to find everything well, teach english class together, do some street proselyting together, and meet some of the members. Whenever we are lost, have questions about the members of investigators, the sisters always seem to know and are willing to help
After we arrived we have had a particularly warm welcome from the members here. It is a small branch and the members live far away but I can see their real desire to work hard and work with the missionaries. Because Andong is a branch they have a strong desire to build and grow to a ward size when they can get a new building. (currently we meet in rented space on the 5th floor of a small office building, which,albeit small, is actually really nice). Some of the members live as far as an hour or 2 away and still come to church dutifully. Especially as the previous elders were away for 2 weeks they seem especially glad to have us here. Even though it involved an hour and a half bus ride away we had a specifically good meeting with our branch president this week where we got to know each other and discussed all of our goals for the transfer, the needs of Andong branch, and especially as he holds the priesthood keys for missionary work here, how he thinks we can serve most effectively. It was a really amazing meeting and I am sure that we can now us that to help us get started finding and working in the right direction.
Things have been kind of quite while the elders have been out of this area for a few weeks and even though they were not super busy before, we have already made contact with and set up appointments with a few investigators. One investigator in particular showed up to English class where we were able to talk to him for a while and set up an appointment to meet this week. We will have to see how it goes but as far as I can tell he has a lot of potential. He was a referral from the members here and works as an architect not far from the church.
Things have really been changing and moving quickly the last few days but we are finally getting settled and down to work. We have seen lots of great things so far and more are going to come. Wish me luck over the next week!