Each and every day, I am re-convinced that Gunsan is the best area I'm going to be serving in my whole mission. My companion keeps telling me that I'm starting off well, everything in the mission excitement wise will just be downhill from here haha. In the first few weeks, we had dinner appointments out the ying-yang. Everyone just wanted to eat with the two "formed well" Americans (it's how they say handsom), members and investigators alike. The food we've been eating has been incredibly delicious, I'm practically addicted to some of it. For instance, we eat rice every single meal, but I can't eat it without 김 (kim), which is actually just dried seaweed. When we run out of kim, I don't know what to do - I need my kim.
Anyway, so the food is divine, but so is the city. I know I've talked about this in the past, but Gunsan is such a beautiful city. So far, for district meetings and Zone activities, I've been to other cities like Jeonju, Iksan, Daejeon, Jeonup, and Kimjae, but none of them compare to Gunsan. Gunsan's lakes and mountains and islands off of the coast (haven't been there yet, but we'll make it happen one of these P-days) make it far more beautiful than those other cities I've been too. Oh and the rice fields that surround the city are awesome too, especially when the sun is reflecting off of them at sunset - I haven't gotten a picture of that yet though. Koreans are huge into gardens. Walking down the street, you will never see an empty lot, everything without a building is a garden. If there is a small patch of dirt next to a random building that is only one foot wide and a yard or two long, there's going to be a garden in it. Korean grandmas just find all the dirt patches they can wherever in the city and claim it as their own to plant their garden, it's pretty funny. But it's awesome at the same time.
So the area is awesome, and the food is great, and while the sight-seeing is nice, I'm here for missionary work, right? Right. So I'll talk about that now while I have time, haha, it's kind of the reason I'm here. Gunsan, though it's a nice city, is often considered a "hard area" apparently. The ward is small, only 13 people were in the congregation yesterday, but they are all fantastic members, so size doesn't matter. However, there have been some difficulties in the past - for instance, they didn't have a bishopric for 7 months because of the bishop going inactive. They didn't get a new bishop until the first week I got here. It's so impressive though, every week, to see how dedicated all of these members are to coming to church and being active and faithful members. They are all converts, and so it's even more impressive. When I'm going to be transfered out of Gunsan in the future, the ward is going to be the thing I'll miss the most.
We have awesome investigators, but we've also had some let-down investigators too. No one has come to church with us this whole transfer and we don't have any baptisms in sight really, but it's okay - we have goals and ideas on how to change that. One investigator, though, this last week really put us through quite the experience haha. You see, we met him on the street 3 weeks ago when he came up to me from behind and just took my 몰몬경 (Book of Mormon) out of my hand. As he was flipping through the pages, he just looked up at me, said thank you, and walked away. We were all like "Wait!" haha "let us talk to you!", don't worry though, we didn't say those exact words. Anyway, we talked with him about the Book of Mormon and we learned that he had met with missionaries before about 10 years ago but when he moved to Gunsan, he couldn't find our church so joined another one. But when he saw us, he wanted the book so he could read it again and he wanted to come to our church every week now. We were all like "SCORE!".
.......yeeeaaahhh, well. Not quite. When we met with him on the street, we could tell he was a little "off" but we didn't quite know how. Since then, we've come to the realization that he's crazy. Not to be mean, we love the guy, but his story changes every time. The next time we met with him he said he is a member and he goes to church every week in Jeonju, then he said that he is a missionary right now and that he has a nametag at his house. But then he said that he was baptized 12 years ago in 1985 (mmmmhm, 12 years ago in 1985) and that he is best friends with the prophet. We're just as confused as you are. Anyway, we don't know what to believe, but I guess the end point is that we've had a lot of situations like this where something appears to be solid and "golden", if you want to call it that, but it actually turns out to be kind of nothing. But it's okay, we continue to wake up every day to find new people and teach the ones that we currently have - it's a party being a missionary.
I'm just going to include a few more pictures, these are just showing again how awesome Gunsan is. The only thing is, I don't have any pictures of the city, just the surrounding areas. I don't have my camera out as we're walking around talking to people, so I only have pictures of the mountains, lakes, bridges, and rice fields as we're driving by them on the bus (that's why the pictures of them are terrible). But I'll try to get more of the actual city here in the future. Anyway, I've got to go, I'm glad this email is a big one - I finally had time to include a lot of information haha, it's been nice to fill you all in with what's being going on. Until next week!