Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Week 81

Star Wars Phantom Menace in 3D... I don't think I needed it in 2D. Who knows, maybe seeing Jar Jar Binks in another dimension will help me realize why he was in that movie. How many people will get hurt in theaters across America as they try to reach out and strangle him?

Ok, with that GT moment out of the way, thanks for all the updates. It's been a while since that many people have updated me on the haps. Glad to hear everyone is doing well. Ryan has some crazy pics of 25 feet of snow. I've been really lucky this year. This past summer and winter have been so mild compared to the first ones I had in country. With that said, we had a freak snow storm last night. lol. Still not as bad as last year, this is the most snow I've seen this winter, and it's not bad at all.

The Lunar new year was a blast. We got a baptismal date set for next month with a way prepared investigator. We went hiking with him and his girlfriend yesterday. Elder Frei and his comp got to come along as well. We went to the top of NamSan mountain, and got some way sweet pics. They have thousands of "locks-of-love" up there, with people literally locking heart messages to the guard rails and tossing the keys off the side of the mountain.Cool stuff.

I found a Filipino market on the way to our member's house yesterday, and picked up some tocino marinade. I asked for Sarsi but they didn't have it. I just realized that the Mama Sita seasoning mom sent and that I bought is made by Teresita "Mama Sita" Reyes. Super funny. I still need to get some pork to utilize that liquid smoke you sent.

We've been meeting with a lot of English Branch members, and it is so awkward to pray in English. I'll say things and realize seconds later that it made absolutely no sense in English. I don't know what it is. Obviously I speak English with my companion, and in my personal prayers. But you'll definitely have to bear with me when I get back home. Speaking of other Reyes connections. We had dinner with a family and one of the daughters friends saw my name tag and freaked out because her mom is a Reyes, she has family in Cali too. I'm sure there's some far relation. She looked like a half-white Issa. lol. Should've taken a pic.

We've been insanely busy, and they'll be sending two more elders to our area to help with the load next month. It's been a ton of fun.

I miss you all, and you are in my prayers!!!

-Elder Reyes

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Week 80

Just ate at a $70 buffet in the tallest building in Seoul. I feel like I may throw up right now. Our Ward Mission Leader is amazing, and he got some well deserved praise from the stake presidency last week, for how well last month went. So he thanked us by getting us gift certificates to the biggest buffet I've been to in Korea. Sadly he couldn't join us because of work, but I kept him updated with pics every time I got a new plate. Obviously not a miracle by any means, I just want to let you know what state I'm in as I'm writing this e-mail. I'm full to the brim with all kinds of food, and I'm pretty sure if I lay down or stand up too fast I'll instantly throw up.

Ok, now that the ward and branch schedules have flip flopped we finally got to go to all three hours of the English Branch for church. It was pretty awesome... but 8 hours at church is pretty gnarly. I'll gladly go back to just the usual 3 hours when I get back home. During priesthood Elder Lochridge starts making pretty funny comments about someone sitting just a few rows in front of us. I lean over and whisper, "Elder, you're no longer surrounded by people who don't understand what you are saying. You're gonna need to reset that censor of yours." He realizes everyone has understood everything he's been saying. He turns red, and we both start laughing. Some of our tact goes out the window sometimes.

This week was pretty amazing though. All of our investigators have been meeting pretty consistently and our doing well. A couple of them are really close to baptism. Getting my call to Korea, I didn't think I'd get to interact with filipinos, but there are literally dozens of them in the English Branch. (Yes, they are all disappointed that I don't speak Tagalog).

At the end of this week and the beginning of next, marks another huge Korean holiday where we're not allowed to do normal missionary work. They're celebrating the lunar new year, and Seoul is gonna shut down for a few days and we're not allowed to visit people. Also, I won't be able to email until next wednesday. So don't be alarmed when I don't email until then.

Elder Lochridge has a pretty nice digital recorder, and so I rerecorded that song I sent home before, and a new one that I wrote. I'll try to get that out to you guys this week or next week. It sounds a lot better.

Alright, I gotta get some other reports out. Love and miss all of you. Seriously, send me pics. I was way excited to see some pics from Ryan. Oh! I forgot to mention that I was talking to Elder Ringwood of the Seventy on Sunday (he's our area presidency), and he just kept staring at me really puzzled. I told him that mom met him when he spoke in La Crescenta. He kept nodding his head, and said he really enjoyed speaking there. With the puzzled look still on his face, he finally asked, "You don't happen to be related to Sean Reyes?" When the answer was of course yes, he exclaimed, "He's in my home ward." He gave me some updates on Sean running for Attorney General and all that. It was way cool.

Ok, I'm off to the temple tomorrow. You will all be in my prayers. Thanks for the emails. Keep me updated!!!

-Elder Reyes

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Week 79

So as expected, Elder Frei and I sadly got torn apart. He's not too far though, we'll actually be getting to hang out today. It was an amazing two transfers. I wasn't really sure how my next companion would be able to live up to that. But my new comp, Elder Lochridge is way cool. We already knew each other pretty well. He's only a couple transfers younger than me. He plays guitar as well,  so now we have 4 guitars floating around the house. We rearranged things even more, and the house looks pretty amazing!

We had a pretty busy week thanks to the stuff we got set up last week. We found a pretty amazing investigator. Me and Elder Frei met her last sunday, and when we talked to her it seemed she knew quite a bit about our church, but wouldn't say how. When we met with her this past week, she told us that when she was an exchange student in the US, she lived with a mormon family for 6 months and went to church every week. She's pretty active in her own church here, but she's really open to our message, and has such a great outlook on our church members. Super niiiice!

Other cool moves that happened this lt transfers is that Elder Choi and Elder Yoon are serving together. This is the second time that I've had two of my greenies serving together. Better yet, they live in the same house as Elder Warren. So 3 people I served with all in the same house. So cool. They came down to hang out and are actually all around me emailing right now too, as a matter of fact!

Things are about to get really busy. We've kinda more legitimately devoted ourselves to both wards now. Before we were primarily just working with the Korean ward, but there's a lot of work to be done in the English branch as well. They'll be bringing in two more Elders next month, so we want things up and running there for when they come in. These last 3 months will definitely be the busiest months of the mish, really excited for it!

-Elder Reyes

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Week 78

Happy New Years! How did you celebrate??? I chomped on some s'mores and drank a little bubbly (sparkling strawberry juice... fancy, I know). I got James and Hill's package! It was awesome. I got my new wallet, and I took  side by side pic with my old one, and I couldn't believe how trashed my old one had gotten. Thanks for the sweets too, and I've been rocking that new neck tie, it goes perfect with my grey suit. I got to use some of the vanilla mom sent too... but I realized they totally changed the ingredients! Crazy. Anyway...

Elder Frei and I rang in the new years with throwing down the best week of our transfers together. It was just one of those weeks where everything worked out, and just saw tons of miracles. We have so many appointments set up for next week too. But... today we get transfer calls, and elder frei has already been here 7 1/2 months, he may get the boot. Our transfers together have flown by. This has seriously been the fastest time has gone by probably my whole mission. We work together really well, and we both know what we're doing as far as the work and the language go, so it's just been stress free. Not to mention all the holidays really sped things up. We were having dinner with our Bishop last night (way good turkey feast), and we told him it was transfer calls the next days. He was really confused and asked, "Wait, you guys have only been together a month though." We looked at each other and said, "No, it's been THREE!"

We have an investigator who came back from living in Canada last month. He took the missionary lessons there. His English is pretty good, but since the missionaries there didn't speak any Korean, he had a lot of misunderstandings about a lot of things. We had two amazing lessons with him and resolved a lot of his concerns. The best thing we resolved for him was the Book of Mormon. Even in english, the language used is pretty hard to understand for those not familiar with it. But in korean, it's ten times worse. Seriously, its rough. It would take me a little while to explain all the reasons why, but mainly, they don't know half the words because it's that drastically different from modern Korean.

He flat out told us that he doesn't want anything to do with the Book of Mormon. He said, "It's so hard to understand, I don't feel like I'm a korean reading Korean." We read a few passages with him, and helped him understand, and he had so much fun, and felt so good about it, he wants to read the whole thing now! Complete 180, I rarely see people that excited to read the scriptures.

We set some New Years resolutions with our recent convert yesterday. A set for Spiritual things, like reading the scriptures, family home evening, etc.  And then for other non-spiritual stuff like exercise, work, school etc. It was weird setting goals for after the mission, but one of the big things I wanna do when we get back is FHE. Our family will be getting one bigger this year, so I think it would be a blast. Babies like board games right?

Ok, anyway... maybe get in the habit already, so by the time I get back you've already figured out what time works best for everyone. I look forward to Free geeking out on Settlers, and dad using his Jedi tricks on Yahtzee. Seriously though, I don't know how dad does it... ya cheater.

Love you all,
Elder Reyes

Monday, 26 December 2011

Week 77 Punk

Merry Christmas. So much fun getting to talk to you last night. Its amazing that we could all be in different parts of the world, talking to each other. When james was on his mission, I remember gathering on our phone attached to our wall to each get to talk to him. Now everyone's on iPhones, and Free just types up a couple numbers on Skype, and we're all on the same call. Amazing how things have changed. I ate so much junk food as we talked!

Elder Frei enjoyed listening inand talking to you guys, he says he cant wait to meet you. Yes, my family is hilarious. I got to speak to his mom today, he has such a huge family. It was funny to get to hear his little 9-15 year old brothers requesting him to send home Pok√©mon cards and airsoft guns. Meanwhile Issa is older than most of the missionaries in the mission, and all she requested was more bookmarks. He also go to talk to both sets of grandparents, while me on the other hand, haven't had grandparents for a while.

Last phone call came and went to quick. Glad I wasn't in the hospital this time.

I have tons, like seriously, TONS of pics to send you, but I don't know if I'll get a chance today, unless another computer frees up in this place. This one isn't letting me plug into the USB. Ok, I'll send those off as soon as I get a chance. I think Elder frei may just forward some to me.

Love you all,
Elder Reyes

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Week Unical 76

I'll get to speak to you on the phone this next sunday or monday, so I can keep this one short again. Buuuut, we had an amazing day yesterday that I have to tell you about. We had 3 investigators at church, and the English Branch had a really cool sacrament meeting. I'd never see one like it before, they called it a musical testimony meeting. You go up, ay what you're favorite hymn is, and why, and then the whole congregation sings one of the verses of the hymn. We sang so much my voice was cracking all over the place towards the end of the meeting.

There was a really funny moment when a primary kid came up and said the song he wanted to sing, and then just stood at the pulpit for 30 seconds blankly staring at everyone then exclaiming, "OKAY, can we sing the song ALREADY!" The chorister was cracking up like crazy the entire song cuz of that. It was realy spiritual, and there were some amazing stories behind why people picked those songs.

On saturday we had a big combined Christmas party with the english branch and the Korean ward. There were confused looks of "What the heck is this?" on both ends of the potluck dinner. Most Koreans hate turkey, and most korean food looks not as appetizing as it is, so it was quite funny to watch. Perhaps the only time its ok to lie as a missionary is when we had to reassure the kids that, "Yes, of course that is the real Santa Clause." "He said your name wrong because that is what our name is in spanish." Worked like  charm.

It's been freakishly cold lately, luckily though there hasn't been any snow. At least any that has stuck anyway. I've been gathering some gifts for you guys, but it'll be too late for christmas, and I may just hold on to em till I get back to save on shipping, especially now that some people (won't name names) are on the east coast, getting an edjumacation or whatever...College boy!

Oh, last night we got into  fender bender when we were with Elder Wilcox's parents. They had us and Elder Eisenhaur over for dinner, and when they were dropping us off at our houses, Bother Wilcox may or may not have hit a wall after Elder Frei accidently told him to go the wrong way down a one way street. Fun times. Everyone couldn't help but just laugh it off. Great ride home. haha Even with a huge gash on the side of Sister Wilcox's van.

Ok, I'll save other stories for later. love you all. Talk to you in a week or less!

-Elder Reyes

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Week 75 Cent Chicken Wings

I don't have too much time on here. I was busy trying to upload photos to send send in for the Christmas conference we have coming up next week, and it kept bugging out. So i ate up a ton of time doing that. I want to get outta here quick, too, because it'll be Elder Eisenhaur's last P-day. He's getting honorably released because he needs surgery on his ankle. I'll be losing my best friend in the mish the day after our Christmas Conference. I'm pretty torn up about it, but his ankle is totally jacked, and the doctors are giving him the boot back home. We would have been going home at the same time. It's crazy, I was there when he broke his ankle, and it was by lightly jogging over to a soccer ball. Ya never know what kinda crazy stuff will happen to your body.

This week was amazing. I went to one of the best sacrament meetings that I'd been to in forever. A man spoke of his conversion story, and about how his jewish family disowned him, and 10 years after serving his mission in the Philippines, there was finaly a reconciliation. His parents have now been to all his kids missionary farewells, and all that. Pretty amazing stuff. When his Dad asked him why he was gonna serve a mission (pretty much a year exactly after he was baptized), he told him "Dad, when you know something is true. You have to share it with other people."

I feel so lucky to have parents who didn't just support my decision, but shaped me and prepared me all my life to serve a mission. The only opposition I faced was snot nosed kids bad mouthing me on music blogs. lol

I've gotten a chance to really get some good bonding time with our investigators lately. We have some really amazing ones. It helps when they are member referrals. It makes the process so much easier, and it just really gives opportunities for them to feel the spirit. Too many stories to tell from this past week, and not enough time. I'll be getting to speak with you on the phone soon, so I can afford to keep this short.

Ok, love you all! Work out a time for me to call.

-Elder Reyes