Sunday, September 8, 2013

Last week in 군산

May 9th, 2013 - I arrived here in Gunsan.
September 12th, 2013 - I leave Gunsan.

Yup! Today was transfer call day and I found out that I am leaving Gunsan and going to a new area.  Before I talk about my new area, first I'll go through this last week...

This last week was great, we had awesome opportunities to meet with all of our investigators.  Each one of them has different difficulties and concerns, but they all are also growing so much.  Right now, it seems like a common concern between all of them is the fact that life is hard.  They all have different trials and hardships in their life that makes them confused or lost.  As missionaries, we've been able to share with them how the Gospel can specifically bless their life and help them through their trials.  In the end, the thing is, this life and it's trials are so tiny when you look at things with an eternal perspective.  Life is hard, it's true.  But when you focus on where you can go, who you can be with, and what you can become with an eternal perspective, this life becomes so much easier! 

So each day we met with a different person until finally English class came around.  Now, usually we have 5-10 people attend, but for some reason, nobody came to class.  So there we were, at the church, ready to give them all our English knowledge, but no one came.  Then, about 15 minutes late, Lee Hyung Suk, one of our class attendees, came in.  I gave him two options.  One, we could wait for more people to arrive so we could teach the lesson we came prepared with (it required group participation), or two, we could just talk and have conversation practice with each other.  Of course, he chose the second, and so we started talking.  At first, we were talking about Korea and America and simple things like that, but then he brought up a different topic.  He first pointed out the fact that I was 21 years old (that's my Korean age) and that usually people my age don't go on missions.  We all laughed at that.  Then he said, "but you seem so much happier.  Why is that?"

He couldn't have asked a better question.  So then I began to explain how my lifestyle and beliefs make me happy compared to if I lived my life a little differently.  I wasn't all like "BOOK OF MORMON! GOSPEL! Will you get baptized tommorrow?"  In fact, I didn't bring up any of those topics (at first).  But we had a wonderful conversation about life, it's purpose, and eventually how God can help us.  It was awesome, especially because he was the one asking the questions, we weren't the conversation starters.  I then, at the end, shared a section of a scripture with him about how God hasn't forgotten his people and how he still loves us and wants us to find happiness in this life.  We said goodbye and we then went home for dinner.

THEN, about an hour later, we got a phone call from him while we were making dinner at our house.  He said that he really liked meeting with us today and wanted to take us out for dinner.  I told him that he didn't have to do that (trying to be polite and kind) but he then said "Well, I cleaned my car and everything for you".  Hahaha, okay okay, we'll go to dinner.  So we had a fantastic meal, but more importantly, we had the opportunity to share our fantastic message with yet another person.  Hopefully, the missionaries here in 군산 that replace me will continue to meet with him.

So that's the week.  Sunday came around as usual. I blessed the sacrament for the 15th or so time (I've nailed that by now), and then after sacrament meeting, the youth teacher came up to me and told me that he had to leave.  He then asked me to teach the youth class again.  Sure, why not.  Haha, so we then had an awesome lesson with the youth about the Articles of Faith and how understanding them can help us grow our testimonies.  I can't believe that just a few months ago, I could not say a word in Korean.  Now, I'm teaching lessons in church like it's no big deal.  So cool! 

And finally, today came.  I was nervous all morning, I had no idea what would be happening.  Then, just about an hour ago, the phone rang and heart dropped.  Literally.  I answered it, and that's when the AP's told me I would be leaving Gunsan and going to 흥덕!  Sorry, I don't know how to romanize it... hmmm.... It's pronounced Hngduk.  No joke.  Like the word hung, but take out the big "uh" sound (say it ever so slightly), just say hng, and then say duk.  Perfect.  흥덕.  It's a part of a bigger city called 청주.  Chungju.  That's pronounced like it looks.  So if anyone asks you where I am, just say "A city called Chungju!" and you'll get it.  It's inland and in the mountains, so I'm leaving the coast (sadly) but it's a MUCH bigger city than Gunsan, so I'll have many different experiences than here.  AND, drum roll please..... I'm getting a Korean companion!!  His name is Kim Dae Won and he's only been on his mission the same ammount of time that I have!  So we're babies practically, it'll be crazy, fun, and awesome.  And I'll become much better at Korean as well. 

Well that's it!  I'm including some pictures as well.  These pictures are just a small look at Gunsan and some of the surrounding areas.  I wish I could send more, but this should hold you over.  Next week I'll be in 흥덕!

Elder Graf

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