Monday, May 20, 2013


Another week gone, it's crazy how fast it went.  At this rate, I feel that 2 years will go by way too fast, it's actually kind of sad.  Then again, I've only been on my mission for 2 1/2 months so who am I to talk haha.  But yes, like I was saying, this week went by so fast.  To catch you up with what my life here is like, I'll just give you a daily re-cap of everything.
First we woke up, worked out, took showers, got ready, and had personal study for an hour.  That is our daily routine every day for 2 years up until 9:00am.  Then, we left home for the Church to call home because it was Mothers Day in America.  Following that, we emailed for another hour and then went to Lotte Mart to do our shopping.  Lotte Mart is Walmart on steroids.  It's a massive store in downtown Gunsan (and all over Korea) where one floor is their grocery store, the next floor is their everything else store - like everything that Walmart has and more, and then the next floor is their nice department store comparable to Macy's.  So we got all of our supplies for the week and then for the rest of the day just relaxed at our apartment. 

Then, one of our investigator families took us out to go eat at a meat buffet where you choose all the raw meat you want, then you cook it yourself on the grill that is in the middle of the table that you eat at.  Ahhh, it was the best.  AND, the family is even better because the husband is Korean, the wife is from the Philippines, they don't know each other's native languages, but they do know English.  So they speak English which means that I can understand and have normal conversations with them haha.  Following that we tried to visit a less active member at their house but they weren't home so we just talked to people on the streets for the rest of the night.  In other words, I tried to talk to them in Korean, they understood and talked back, but I didn't understand a single word. But it's okay haha, because I'll get there.
Same morning routine as monday, but then we had to get on a bus right after that to go to Iksan for our district meeting that we have every Tuesday.  My district is awesome, there's 9 elders and 2 sisters.  We all ate lunch together, had our meeting, then my companion and I went home.  We had companionship study for an hour then we taught an investigator at the Church in Gunsan (it's where we meet all of our investigators, it's much easier than going to a house).  Following that, we had a dinner appointment with one of our members.  Then, for the rest of the night, we walked all over the city hanging up fliers for our English Class that we teach every Saturday and talked to people on the street while we did that.
Same morning routine but then we had companionship study/training for two hours and then language study after that.  This is our basic daily routine unless we have other things like district meeting.  After lunch, we leave the house at 1:00pm and start the day.  We didn't have any appointments with investigators so we tried to visit less actives, hung up more fliers, talked to people on the streets, and tracted in some apartment buildings.
Thursday - Sunday
So I'm running out of time, but by now you probably understand the basics out what my days are like.  It's fun, we meet with investigators almost daily, we have lots of dinner/lunch appointments, and we walk ALL DAY.  It's fun though, I'm having a really good time.  The rest of the week was full with more appointments, teaching our english class on Saturday, meeting 3 new investigators, and going to the ward picnic that was on Friday.  Our ward is awesome, I love them all.  I'm already sad that I don't get to be with them in a couple weeks when I'm transfered out, I already want to live here for forever, they're that awesome. 

This week is going to be just as busy as well, and so is the week after that.  I love reading all of your letters and hearing what your lives are like back at home.  The only thing is, I have no time to write back! Haha, but I'll get to that, I promise.  Also, I tried to attach pictures but it was taking too long.  So next week, I'll type less and send more pictures.  That'll be nice.  And I triple promise this time.  Haha, I've been making this promise for 2 months now though so you'll just have to wait another week and find out if I'll keep it or not.  Have fun back at home! I'm having a party here!
Elder Graf

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Well I just talked to all of you on the phone because it's Mother's Day in America, so I'm not really sure what else to say! Haha, but as you know - I'm in Korea and it's awesome.  The area I'm in is called 군산 (pronounced Goonsahn, but it's romanized to Gunsan) and it is the best.  I know there's a lot of awesome places in Korea and all new missionaries will call their area "the best", but my area seriously is the best, not kidding.  One reason why it's super awesome is the fact that there's an American Air Force Base just outside the city and so my companion and I cover the branch that is on the base - so we have American members and investigators too, it's awesome.  Anyway, Gunsan is considered a small city in Korea, but it actually has almost 300,000 people living here so it really is a decently sized city (Salt Lake City has 180,000 in its city boundaries, for a comparable reference).  Also, everyone lives on top of each other and everything is so dense, so that makes it feel even bigger than it is.  Koreans live in apartment buildings, it's just what they do, so the streets are lined with 20-30 story apartment buildings everywhere. 

My companion and I live on the eighth floor and our apartment is awesome.  It's only the two of us living in it, but there's 3 bedrooms, a family room, a full-sized bathroom, and a kitchen.  The bathroom is pretty crazy because there's no shower curtain, there's just a removeable shower head (the ones that have the hose so you can move it around) attached to the wall.  So in other words, the whole room is the shower and everything gets wet.  Because we have 3 bedrooms, we sleep in one, use the other for our closet, and use the other for random storage.  It's awesome how much space we have.  I would love to send pictures BUT I left the USB cord back at our apartment, and I'm at the church typing this right now, so I'll do that next week (I feel like I say this every week, but I really mean it this time).

Being in Korea is crazy, but it's awesome that I'm finally here.  My companion, Elder Ward, is the best - I couldn't have asked for a better trainer.  I'm super excited these next few weeks to fill you in with all the amazing stories about what I'm doing here.  I don't have a lot of time life left, so I can't tell you everything this week, but next week I'll be a little more settled in and I'll be able to use the full hour for email.  One funny thing about being here is that fact that I'm tall and American and my companion is exactly the same.  We stick out like a sore thumb, it's hilarious.  Also, every single Korean knows at least one english word, and that's "hello", and so when we're walking down the street, the kids will call out "hello!" and we'll say "hello!" back to them, and then they'll giggle and just say "hello!" again haha.  The kids here are adorable, it's ridiculous how cute they are.

Anyway, I'm going to have to say goodbye.  Next week I'll send a million pictures, I promise.
-Elder Graf

***Here's a picture that we stole from the mission blog of Christian and his new companion. Elder Ward is a cadet at the Naval Academy and is from the Sacramento area, so basically we all think he's great already.***

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Well I'm here at the mission home, everything is going great. This place is crazy - there are so many people, so many things going on, it's like New York City x 10. Tonight we went out and street contacted for an hour and a half, that was crazy as well. In the end though, this place is perfect. So different, so green, so warm, and so packed with life and activity. I don't have any more time, so you'll have to wait until Sunday, but I'm just letting you know that I already love it. The next 22 months are going to go way too fast.

Love you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 8


I can't believe this day has come, it's so surreal. I've now been here for almost nine weeks in which I have started learning a language that is totally opposite to English, reviewed all aspects of the gospel and learned new insights along the way, had a blast with my district and other people in my zone, and learned what it means to be and how to be a successful missionary. Now, I'm off to South Korea!

The MTC has been such a great experience, I've really had such a good time here. I really don't understand why anyone would choose to not go on a mission, it seriously has been the best 2 months of my life (yes, that sounds cheesy, but it's true). And now that the age has been changed, literally anyone and everyone could and should go. So if you're 18 or 19 and you're a boy or a girl and you're not on a mission...... ummmm, what are you doing? Go on a mission! Haha, because really, it's the best opportunity you will ever have.

But anyway, back to my MTC experience. Like I said, it's been so great here. This week, being my last week, has been full of review and new information. As far as the language goes, it's a line-upon-line type of thing. When I think about how much Korean I know right now at this moment, I feel like I don't know anything. But then, when I compare my ability to the first week here, I've made leaps and bounds. It just makes me so excited for months from now to see how much I've progressed. I feel comfortable speaking with all of the teachers and Korean missionaries here, but I know that the second I get to Korea I'll be all like "this is defintiely not the language I learned in the MTC" haha. But it's okay, because I'll just work on it and get better and better day after day.

So funny story. Korean is interesting in the fact that it doesn't have certain sounds in their alphabet that we do like "f" or "v" sounds, for example. Therefore, whenever a Korean tries to say an english word with an "f" or a "v", they use a "b/p" sound instead. So, to make things easier for them, English words translated to Korean are just spelled with a "b/p" sound. For example, "Eve" is really pronounced "eebuh". Now, my last name is Graf. So in Korean, it's Grap. HOWEVER, usually, because the "g" sound is the start of the word, it has a harder sound to it in Korean so it really sounds more like a "k" instead. SO, my name in Korean becomes Krap, or, in other words, Crap. So, everyone in my zone just refers to me as Elder Crap hahaha, and I introduce myself as such. Isn't that just wonderful hahaha, imagine a missionary coming up to you on the street and just saying "Hi, my name is Elder CRAP and I have a message for you about Christ. What do ya say!?" Hahahaha, it's the worst (but really the best) and it's exactly what I'm going to be saying for the next two years hahaha.

Also, my travel plans make no sense. The plane we're flying on from Salt Lake to LAX is a tiny little SkyWest plane. So that'll be fun. Then, you would think we're flying from LAX to Korea, but we're not. Instead, we fly to San Francisco from there. Why? I have no idea. But hey, it gives me more time to make phone calls from the airport so that'll be nice. Then, we get on a 747 and fly to Korea. That flight will be fun, but then I saw that the missionaries going to the Seoul mission get to fly on an Airbus A380 (the new double decker plane that is even bigger than the 747) and I'm extremely jealous. Some of the Seoul missionaries were like "so?", and that made me even more jealous, hahaha. I still can't believe that this is actually happening, I'm actually going to South Korea. Am I ready? Well, probably as ready as I'll ever be haha, so it's time to go.

Anyway, the next time I email, I'll be in Korea! I would have loved to send you all my MTC pics, but I lost my memory card so I practically have none on the new one that I bought here from the bookstore. I'll make sure to take tons these next two days so I can send some next week from Korea. Ah! From Korea. Crazy.

안녕히계세요. 사랑해요!

-Elder Graf (그라프 장로) (Elder Crap)

Oh, PS, you can email me anytime at for free. That way, it won't take 2 weeks for me to get your mail, and you won't have to pay 2 bucks for it either.