Well I guess I will go ahead and skip right ahead to the big news. My new companion is Elder Stradling! After a week of preparation and meetings and a temporary companionship with 2 of the other trainers for this transfer, on Thursday I was assigned to work here in 중리 with Elder Stradling! He is 19 years old, comes from Nampa, Idaho, came out on his mission after graduating high school, plans on attending BYU Idaho later to study computer science, and enjoys singing. Currently we are only on our 4th day together as companions but I can already see that we are going to do really great together.
The beginning of this last week started out rather busy. While serving together with Elder Godfrey and Elder Stoker as temporary companions, we met in Busan for our transfer meeting, traveled back to Daegu where we went to Family Home Evening here in 중리, and then traveled to each of our areas where we cleaned our houses, made plans for the week, studied together on what goals we have as trainers, and prepared for the upcoming transfer. On Wednesday we made the trip down to Busan where we began all the training week meetings. We introduced ourselves to all of the new missionaries, received some training, and then went out on our proselyting activity. I had the opportunity to serve and proselyted with 5 of the new missionaries (surprisingly none of which were Elder Strandling) in downtown Busan. We then ate 비빔밥 all together and had a testimony meeting. After sleeping at a house nearby in Busan, we all regrouped the next morning where we ate breakfast, received our new companions, and then had some practice exercises and lunch before heading out and catching the train to Daegu.
Because I wanted to show Elder Stradling a good week of missionary work, as soon as we made it back we launched into a busy week of appointments I had made in preparation. That Thursday night sadly our very first investigator lesson canceled, but after we threw his bags into our apartment we went straight out and visited 2 member families in the area. We had two nice visits and did a lot of proselyting all along the way inbetween. The next day we had district meeting (which I planned with the topic of recognizing and following the promptings of the spirit), ate lunch together as a district, visited a less active and shared a message, did weekly planning, and then had our first investigators lesson with 정명한 형제님, one of our high school student investigators who we found through english class. We taughta great lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ and even though he still has some concerns set a date for his baptism next month. The rest of our week was mostly spent watching general conference, doing english class on saturday, and then visiting less actives with our high priest group leader on Sunday. The conference was amazing and even though Elder Stradling watched it last week in the MTC. We were both spiritually fed. We watched it at the church together with the sister missionaries and several of the members who found out we were doing that were super nice and even ordered us pizza for us to eat. It was kind of a crazy week of lots of travel and various appointments but a great one at that. We are looking forward to an even busier one this next week and are trying to find time to visit all the people we have to meet! (a problem that I like to have very much).
Elder Stradling and I currently have a really large pool of people that we are working with and it is probably one of the most busy times of my mission. We have a several investigators (a few of which are progressing really well), a handful of less actives we are working with, and a decent sized ward full of families to visit and strengthen. Combine that with our study, district meetings, service projects, church meetings, and English class, and you have quite a busy team of missionaries! Elder Stradling is still learning Korean and although he must be overwhelmed by all the new culture, lifestyle, and language, is doing great. It really reminds me of a time not too long ago with my own trainer, Elder Luke in 광안. Even though I have already trained once before, with Elder 이한결, it is really turning out to by a whole new experience working with a young foreigner and I am trying to balance that and my responsibilities as district leader while sharing everything I know and being the best example I can. We are looking forward to lots of miracles and baptisms in the next two transfers together!
This week I also wanted to share what I enjoyed from general conference. There were a lot of great messages and things that I learned but I especially noticed lots of teaching on the importance of the Sabbath day, strengthening our faith, and being obedient. I think one of my favorite talks was by Elder Larry R. Lawrence titled What Lack I Yet? I really liked his invitation to continually work to improve ourselves and to follow the promptings of the spirit and ask in prayer to be able to do so. It think that so much of this gospel, and the whole purpose of the atonement of Jesus Christ, is for us to change and become better people and better disciples. I am trying to do that every day and hope you all do the same!
I am looking forward to more miracles, more busy weeks, and lots of good things to come! Have a great week for me!