Monday, June 24, 2013

One transfer down

Last week we got our transfer calls and the verdict is in: I'm staying in Gunsan and so is my companion.  We were both not wanting to leave, so it's perfect.  That also means that we're permanently in the Daejeon mission and won't be in the new Seoul South mission when the split happens next week.  1 transfer done, only 15 left to go.  Time flies by so fast - it's crazy to think that I've almost been in Korea longer than the time I spent at the MTC.  April feels like yesterday, May was a blur, and it's already going to be July next week.  These last two months (okay fine, month and a half) have been really good though.  No baptisms, and I'm still not fluent yet (that'll take a long time, haha), but every day is a new adventure so it's all good.

This last week was pretty good, we were really busy basically every day.  We even had an appointment during our P-day hours, but like another missionary told me, that's the best time to teach someone.  There's funny stories all day every day, but I can't really recall them right now - sorry!  There is one though.  Our apartment is on 8th floor and the apartment hallways are outside balconies (like a motel basically). So we were taking our bikes up to the hallway/balcony where we leave them at night.  Before we went inside, I had to turn the bike around to face the other direction so it wouldn't be in the way for people walking by.  However, because the bike is bigger than the little walkway, I had to lift it up above the balcony and swing it around.

Before doing this, I set my Book of Mormon (we always carry one) on the balcony so I could use both hands.  Then I lifted the bike high and carefully started turning it.  As I was spinning it, I noticed I was close to hitting my Book of Mormon off the edge and with my grip, I couldn't lift the bike any higher.  So I set it down to get a better grip so I wouldn't knock off the book.  Elder Ward didn't know why I was setting the bike down so he came in to the "rescue".  He grabbed the bike, lifted it up, spun it around, and ever so gently knocked my Book of Mormon off the edge.  It was just like the scene in Toy Story when Buzz is knocked out the window by the head lamp.  Both of us just slowly looked over the edge and watched it plumet to the ground. A couple of seconds after it hit, Elder Ward just said:


Haha then we busted up laughing.  We have a joke in our misson that every time you drop a Book of Mormon, your future wife gains 10 pounds.  So this situation was pretty bad foreshadowing for Elder Ward's wife considering it fell 100 feet to the ground.  That's easily worth 400 pounds or more haha.  Anyway....

So, here's a little explanation of how the mission is set up so you'll understand my situation over here a little better.  Transfers are every 6 weeks.  There are 16 transfers in a mission.  No matter what, even if you're staying in your area with your companion, you still get a transfer call from the AP's telling you if you're staying or not.  The next transfer ends on August 1st, so I'm in Gunsan until at least then (but I could stay longer too, no one knows).  Missionaries don't refer to how long they've been out here by months, instead we go by transfers.  I'm in my 2nd, my companion is in his 7th, our district leader is in his 11th, etc.  When a missionary goes home, he doesn't "go home".  Instead we say that he "dies".  For example, one of our AP's died last transfer, a missionary in my district is in their dying transfer, etc.

Now: juniors, seniors, districts, zones, splits, and all the other mission terms. The senior companion (my comp), which is the missionary that has been out longer than his companion, is in charge of the junior companion (me).  A group of 4 or 5 companionships make up a district and the district leader is in charge of the senior companions in that district.  Every Tuesday, we have district meeting where we all come from our areas, meet together as a district, go over goals/stats, and receive training from our district leader.  A zone is made up of 2 or three districts and the zone leader is in charge of all the district leaders in that zone.  Once a transfer, we will meet together as a zone and go over goals/stats and receive training from our zone leader.  There are 5 zones in our mission.  The AP's are the assistants to the mission president and they are in charge of all the zone leaders.

Once a transfer, the leader will go on a split with the missionaries he is directly in charge of.  So the AP's with the zone leaders, zone leaders with the district leaders, and the district leaders with the senior companions.  A split is when missionary companionships swap companions for 24 hours.  So the district leader and the senior companion (my comp) become companions for a day and the district leader's companion and the junior companion (me) are paired up as well.  Usually, for a split, the district leader will go to the senior's area and the junior, being kicked out, will go to the district leader's area and take his place for a day.  Splits are cool because it gives me a chance to see other areas of Korea.  Just last week, we went on a split so I got to spend a day in Jeongeup (Gunsan is still better, haha).  But yeah, splits are fun.

Mission Tour is something that happens once every three transfers.  It's when half the mission comes together at a time and is visited by a general authority or someone else special for a devotional and other training.  I haven't been here for one yet, but we have one tomorrow(Tuesday the 25th) in Gwangju.  So that'll be great, I'll write about it next week.  

So hopefully the whole mission system makes a little bit more sense now.  I might've made it sound more confusing because of how little time I have to explain it, but hopefully you can follow it better.  Basically, it just keeps being broken down all the way to the companionships.  1 mission, 5 zones in a mission, 2-3 districts per zone, and 4-5 companionships per district.  And the mission just goes on, transfer to transfer, until it's over (but that's not for a long time, so I don't even need to think about that).  Now you know.

Whelp, I've got to go.  My companion is the coolest, our investigators are the best, our members are awesome, and Korea is incredible.  The church is true and the book is blue.

-그라프 장로

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