Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Week 9 in Korea

Typhoons!!!!! I experienced my first typhoon this week. The wind woke me up at 5am, and kept blowing so hard that I couldn't fall back asleep. It felt nice though, it was the closest thing I've felt to AC in our apt. But it stopped around 8 or so, and didn't feel like that big of a deal. My companion was mad, because he was expecting more action from the typhoon. "That was it???!!!" he screamed out the window.

But then we went outside and began our day... our area got wrecked. Store signs fell onto cars and totaled them. Any type of "sale" banner was shredded to pieces. Trees were broken in half. The wind was more powerful than it sounded.

In our area, we've haven't had an English class since my first week here. A lot of other areas are finding investigators through English class, so we've been praying a lot to find people, and finally get it going again. (There's no point if no one's interested, which has been the case, even though we've passed out thousands of English Fliers.) 
That changed this week. We haven't been able to do anything really to get the word out about English class, but people just keep coming up to us on the street, wanting to learn English from us. That has never happened to me before in Siheung. On Wednesday, we were contacting, and were having a hard time finding people to talk with (we can only talk to males.) So after 30 minutes of not seeing anyone, we finally saw a man about to walk into the bank, we pounced on him, but he was clearly not interested. (We were kinda desperate just to get to talk to anyone that day.) Even though he didn't seem interested, and was obviously busy, it just felt like the right thing to do. As my companion was talking to him, a lady saw us, and came out of the bank, and asked where our church was. After a lot of back and forth, it turns out she is a member who has just moved into our area. She also just happens to be from the same town as my companion, and her sister was his Gospel Principles teacher. Here's the kicker though -- she has tons of friends who want to learn English!

Later that day, I talked to the first cool (non-missionary) American person I've met here in Korea. I've tried to talk to a few I've seen, and they don't just reject you, but they epically reject you! It's hard too, because I can speak English perfectly, and can express my self fully, but they don't want to hear it. But I can barely speak Korean, but people are willing to listen.

So I saw a guy walking, and I said "Hey! What brings you to Korea?! Where are you from?" He says, "Alabama." He hesitates, not sure of where I'm from and says, "Ya know, America." I said, "Yeah, I know, I'm from LA."

He was here visiting his wife's parents, and I started talking to his wife in Korean. He exclaimed in his full Southern drawl, "Ya can spake Korean, too? Yuh must be raaail smart!!!" He ended up being a Pastor for a Nazerene Church. He was so colo though, and when we explained what we were doing out in Korea he was so amazed, and excited. "Now I'm strictly Nazerene, but that's sum good work ya doin."

There's a family we've been meeting with, who investigated the church a year or so ago. The mom and the dad are too busy to go to church on Sunday because of their laundry business. But their daughter goes to another church. When the daughter, who's about 12-23 yrs old, told their pastor that her family was meeting with the missionaries, and about the Book of Mormon, the pastor said that "missionaries are Satan, and that church is the devil." He probably thought he was helping put a stop to that familiy meeting with us... But when the parents found out what the Pastor told their daughter, they no longer liked that church because of how disrepectuful the man was, and said that "No good church would bash another Church that way."

The work here is amazing, the people are amazing. And we've got a whole board full of investigators again! It feels so good to teach this wonderful gospel, and see the hope and understanding it brings to people.

It's odd, the things that make me feel at home. I was riding in a car with a member to lunch, and it felt like I was just riding around Burbank, getting ready to watch a movie. But the thing that makes me feel the most at home is praying for my family and friends. Praying for their individual needs. Even though I can't speak face to face, I feel close to you. Like home.

-Elder Reyes

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