Monday, 27 June 2011

Catching Some Air in Joo-An

Week Area 51... No Indiana Jones Sequels allowed back in

Happy late father's day!!! Sorry, I was in such a hurry I forgot to send my regards last week. Love you dad! I've been sharing a lot of your conversion story with our investigators. It has helped out a lot!

Ok, this week...

Elder Eissenhaur and I have now been in the hospital together 3 times... and we've never even been companions. He had some stomach problems a few days ago and he's been in the hospital since. His companion's last companion apparently had the exact same thing. So we've had to bring them a few things, but he's doing alright.

Another amazing week has passed by. It's been raining all week. It's supposed to be summer! But I have no complaints, when summer hits the second you get out of the shower you're never dry. You just stay soaking wet. It didn't start raining this bad until August last year. Apparently some typhoons are supposed to come in. Last year we had a couple and it wasn't too bad.

The members in Joo-an are really amazing. We teach a members-only English class, and now we split it into two times: one for the youth and one for the adults. I spent the youth class talking about movies and doing impressions of Optimus Prime and Simpsons characters (everything else they don't really know). The kids loved it. One 11-year-old gave me a play-by-play of all the fight scenes in Iron Man 2. if you think that'd be adorable in English, it's way funnier in Korean. He kept telling me about Harry Potter, too. He forgot Voldemort's name and kept referring to him as (literally translated) "the highest most bad person."

Some of our members live in other areas. We'll actually be heading to Siheung (my first area), to have dinner with one, tonight. For a long time, the members didn't really have missionaries to rely on, but they've been doing some good  work here and building a lot of trust.

It was a little hard hitting the streets because of the rain, but we were able to pick up a couple of new investigators. Both were formers, and both didn't really understand our purpose as missionaries... hence why they might be formers. But we just laid everything out on the table and they are really excited to meet again. The Spirit was really strong in both lessons. Elder Fowers and I are really getting to teach in unity. It's we're finally being someone's companion who already has found their way of doing things. I went from being a junior to a trainer that I've never been on the older side of this situation before. Definitely some different styles, but they're really starting to come together.

We got to see a lot of miracles this week. We had to pick something up at a place that borders another area,  by chance we saw a couple other missionaries doing some streetboarding. We had a tight schedule but we wanted to show our district some unity so we stayed out there for  twenty or so minutes. Of course a guy randomly comes up to us and says that he used to meet missionaries before he went off to the army. He also just happens to live in our area. We picked him up this week as an investigator and it was pretty amazing to see. We were led there "without knowing beforehand what we should do." Ok... so we were picking up stuff to bake. But that twenty minutes was worth it.

That same day I ran into a woman who Elder Lee Jeoung Hyun used to visit all the time. She owned a restaurant in Shiheung, and I'd bring my guitar in and play some songs. Of course she would always give us free food afterwards. She was so happy to see me, she was screaming and freaking out. She excitedly told me that she has begun actually taking the lessons from the missionaries and that they would be coming over the next night to teach her and her husband. She kept freaking out that I could actually speak Korean back to her now and understand what she was saying.

Ok, I know I'm forgetting some other stuff that happened. I miss you all. I hope you all have a great late Happy Father's Day celebration. Love you all!

-Elder Reyes

Some Old Pictures from Wonju

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Week 50

I'm about to ride the entire length of the oldest subway line in Korea, so I don't have too much time on here. I've gotta be out the door in 30 min or so, so I'll keep it brief. The work here is amazing. I had a very eventful day last Monday. When I met back up with Elder Eissenhaur, he told me that his mom said that she's "glad you get to live with Elder Reyes, but I feel like you're gonna get into a lot of trouble together." We laughed it off. We're obedient missionaries, what could happen? Of course we did spend a week together in the hospital, but that was hardly our fault.... So......

4 hours later Elder Eissenhaur and I are in the hospital together again. We even had to ride an ambulance there. Elder Eissenhaur broke his foot when we were playing soccer. So careful what you write your kids in emails. They thought he might need surgery but his ligaments were all still attached so he will just be in crutches for a while.

I've been super busy here... but I can take it all in. Maybe it just comes with knowing more of the language, or just the fact that in this mission I'm an old missionary. But I'm enjoying every bit of it. Yesterday was amazing. We have a good handful of Chinese investigators. Some of them are better at Korean, some better at English. We set a baptismal date with one at church yesterday, and then later on we taught a few more. I was teaching one named Sun Di, whose Korean is much better than his English. So we had the pamphlets out, he reading his in Chinese, me reading mine in English, and us both discussing it purely in Korean. It was pretty bizarre. But it was a great lesson.

I was also able to talk to some people who lived in different areas and I was able to set up appointments for the other missionaries. I never had an opportunity like that in my last area. The closest others were to us was 2 hours away.

Ok, I've got hospital pics and all. And a bunch of ones from my last area I'm still aching to send you. So if I have time I'll try to get em out today.

Let everyone know I miss em. Let Mike know I love all the pics. I got to hear from Lee Knight, too! I can't believe how much things are changing over there

Love you all,
Elder Reyes

Monday, 13 June 2011

Week SF 49ers

The new area is amazing. It feels good to be serving back in a ward again. There aren't that many more members than we had starting to come out to WonJu, but with all the different callings in place, it makes it a lot easier to concentrate our efforts on finding and teaching. Of course we did meet with a lot of members and there is already some good programs in place for opportunities to find through the members. We also have some intense tasks of finding out if members actually still live here. This area has been closed and reopened and combined quite a few times so the records are kind of a mess. So, my new companion, Elder Fowers, has been slowly getting everything in order.

Last year, I had to go to another Zone for a day while my second companion Elder Lee Jeung Hyun had to take a test for the military. I ended up Street Boarding with Elder Bogner and Elder Prue(the Elder who served with Conor in Iraq), in the Sisters' area out here. I had such an amazing time contacting at this University, and I even sent some pictures home of it. We Street Boarded with the Sisters, and I've never gotten that many phone numbers before on my mission, and I haven't since in the short amount of time we were there. But it was in the sisters' area, and I was pretty jealous that I would never get to serve in that area. It felt so blessed, and it was just the right age group where people are more open to hearing and really understanding what we are teaching. To top it off, they had a smoothie place with amazing smoothies for $1.50... not that that is that important, but it was just the cherry on top of a day I felt I'd never get to have again.

I had been in the area a few days and we went to go teach some investigators at their lab. As we were walking out, I started to see some familiar things. "Wait...  that huge pond... NO WAY! This is OUR AREA???" It's the place I went to with Elder Bogner and Prue! It ended up changing to an Elders' area. I've been so far from the big cities I really didn't know what was going on with other Zones. Of course I had to get myself a smoothie... it was delicious.

The house I'm in now isn't as nice as WonJu, but it works. 4 elders, 1 bathroom, is a big adjustment. The day definitely doesn't start on time. It's way cool being with Elder Eissenhaur, we eat breakfast and lunch together, our companions are a little more health conscious than we are so it works out. There were two guitars left here, and Elder Eissenhaur and  I both brought ours, so there are just guitars everywhere in this house. We all sleep in the living room, under a big chandelier, i don't know how safe that is/why is something like that in a house this small?

We've got some great investigators, and we were able to get a Less Active to church my first week here. It was all a big miracle that no one had any clue what was going on until he showed up to our English class. He had lived in ShinCheoun before, and his name is really close to an investigator who the Missionaries are teaching in that area now. After all the mix-ups, he's now living an hour away in our area, and he has just been busy with work. He has a super strong testimony, and is really nice. I had nothing to do with it, except for texting him a bit after the name confusion I was unaware of. Some people are just meant to be brought back.

I'm excited for all the things going on here. I have to go snag some pics for you. And when I have more time I'll send the ones from my last area.

Love you all,
Elder Reyes

Monday, 6 June 2011

Week 48

Hey, transfer calls were last night and I'm finally getting the boot out of WonJu. It's bittersweet. I've spent 5 transfers here, trained  4 greenies, and froze my butt off during the winter months in the mountains of WonJu to get pulled away right before summer starts and thrown back in to the heat of Seoul... I can't wait!!!

I'm getting moved to a place called Ju An . It's in Incheon Stake. So I think I'll be right by the sea.  I'll at least get some nice breezy nights. Apparently, the ward is  amazing. One of my friends was just there. The house I'm moving into is a four-man house that we share with another set of Elders. One of those Elders will be Elder Eissenhaur!!!! You spoke to him on the phone at Christmas. He was the one who stayed with me in the hospital.

I really can't wait. I've spent so much time training new missionaries I was kind of excited to maybe get to serve with someone around my age. But I'm getting paired up with a 4th transfer companion named Elder Fowers. Apparently he's some genius who graduated BYU at age 18. I actually trained his MTC group already. But I'm excited to get to live with Elder Eissenhaur. Even though he wont be my comp, we'll get to do a lot together.

I got to go on a hike/picnic with a lot of the branch members yesterday, so it was a good way to spend my last day in WonJu. I'm way behind on pictures to send you. I have some amazing ones from the hike yesterday.

It says in Preach My Gospel to leave your area better than you found it. I feel comfortable and at ease as I  account to the Lord for my work that I left this area better than when I came in. Of course, much more skilled missionaries came before me, but i did what I could do, to the best of my abilities and I was able to see a lot of miracles.

Maybe we don't always understand how we are making a difference. It can be especially hard if you are trying to compare your work to others'. But as we use and develop the gifts that the Lord has given to us, we can make the place we are in, better than we found it. Maybe not exactly the way we wished, but in the way and for the reason the Lord suffered us to come to that place. Whether that place be a new ward, a new job, or at a new school on the other side of the country...

Love you all,
Elder Reyes