Sunday, November 17, 2013


Oh the weather outside is frightful
And I wish we had a fire that was delightful
Plus, we have many places to go
Yet it snowed, yet it snowed, yet it snowed

It doesn't show sign of stopping
We have no corn for popping
The lights are turned on every morning at 6:30.... and they're not low
Yet it snowed, yet it snowed, yet it snowed

Yes, we woke up this morning, looked outside, and the whole world was blanketed in white freezing powder. Fall officially came about three weeks ago when the leaves started changing. I guess it decided to be over pretty quickly and winter came instead.

Usually, I love the snow. Why? Because snow means snowboarding. Whelp, not as a missionary. So I'm very anti-snow right now haha.

But it's okay, it sure provided for wonderful pictures this morning on our way to the bathhouse (we go every P-day). The leaves are still on the trees, they haven't fallen yet, but now that the weather is freezing, they'll fall pretty fast now. Initially, we had a plan to go hiking today to see all the changing leaves, but I don't think we're going to do that anymore because of the weather. I got a text from the sister missionaries saying "Snow is here, hike is off, I'm freezing. Any other activities you can think of?"

I thought for a minute. Then responded:

"What we need is a nice cup of hot chocolate in a room full of warm, fluffy kitties to cuddle with."

Haha, and so we're doing it. After I'm done emailing, we're all going to the cat cafe. Yes, a cat cafe. They exist. All it is is a cafe with 30-50 cats walking around that you can pet and hold and play with as you hang out with your friends and drink your drinks. Epic, huh? It'll be my first time going to one here in Korea, so I'll let you know how it is when I write next week.

As far as missionary work goes, we found a new investigator this week! He is a 60 year old man and his is daughter and seperated wife are members living in Seoul. He has a lot of interest in learning about the gospel and attending church, so we're super excited to be meeting with him. Missionary work has been pretty dead (we've be working hard, but haven't had lots of success) recently, so it's really nice to have found a new person to help. Wish us luck!

Elder Graf

Sunday, November 10, 2013

And then I went to the hospital.

This week was quite exciting.  Monday was P-Day, Tuesday was Zone Conference, but the fun really started on Wednesday....  You see, at the end of the week, our apartment was going to be clean checked by our stake relief society president.  In order to prepare for her arrival, we had lots of cleaning and rearranging to do.  Among the things that was in the way was the big old rusty bench and weight set a previous elder had purchased and left.  Wednesday morning, we decided, was the morning we would move it.

Well, long story short, there were no clamps on the end of the bar to hold the weights in place and while I was moving it, 50 pounds ended up falling off the bar and right on my bare foot.


The 3 other elders instantly came to my assistance after they heard the crash and my pain-filled (yet missionary clean) exclamations.  We quickly got my foot elevated so I wouldn't swell and put a bag of frozen pork meat on it because we had no ice.

It hurt a lot, but I didn't think it was broken, so I didn't call Sister Shin (Mission President's wife) at first.  After about two hours with the pain increasing, I decided a hospital visit might not be such a bad idea, so I called her up.  A few phone calls that she made later, she called me back and told me about a hospital that a member from another ward owned so it would be free to go to.  My companion and I then began our trek there.

We took a taxi, but getting out of the house and down to the street was hard enough.  Heck, putting on my shoes was probably the worst experience of my mission.  I didn't want to go outside barefoot as a missionary though, so I sucked up the pain and put them on.  We got in the taxi and told the driver where to go.  8 bucks later, we were at the "hospital"

Oh. It was not a hospital.  It was more like a doctor's office, but still not to American standards.  The room where the doctor was in was in plain sight with the door wide open so everybody in the waiting room could see into it.  As I waited my turn, I watched old lady after old lady take her pants off to get shots.  It was not a desireable sight.

"Krapuh", the nurse called.

It was my turn.  I went into the room and my companion informed the doctor that I had a hurt foot.  The doctor commanded that I take off my shoe and sock.  Oh the pain.  I finally got them off.  As he poked and prodded around my foot, I looked around the room. "This is not a doctor's office", I thought.  I was sitting in a chair, just a plain chair.  Where was the bed with butcher paper?  Also, the doctor's desk was covered in a million needles and bloody used cotton balls.  There were no gloves, there was no soap, and no care for organization.  Plus, there was a mysterious door at the back of the room that I thought was just a closet but I wasnt sure......

My eyes drifted back to the needles again.  "Luckily I won't be needing one of those", I thought to myself.  That's when I saw that in his hand was a needle.  What the!?  I dropped a weight on my foot, I don't need a shot!  Where'd you even get that needle anyway!?

Well he gave my foot a shot anyway and the needle and cotton ball he used joined the 30+ that were already on his desk. 

"Great. Now I have AIDS."

He then proceeded to wrap my foot.  No x-ray?  No questions for me about how it happened, what hurts, etc?  After he finished wrapping my foot, he told me to put my shoe back on.

Sigh.  I began, but now that my foot was covered in wrap, it was too big and too painful to fit back in my shoe.  I explained to him that I couldn't do it, hoping that he would say "oh no problem, you don't need a shoe. Here, have these crutches".  But instead he just took off the bandages and said to put my shoe on without them.  You've got to be kidding me.

As I was struggling to put on my shoe anyway, he left the room and came back with crutches.  Now that's more like it! I stood up to claim my prize, but they were too small.  He noticed that too, paused for a bit, told me to take a few steps, and after I limped to do so, he said I was okay and didn't need crutches.

Right as I was about to cut in and say that my foot hurt a lot more than he was giving it credit for, a timer went off on his table.  He said to wait a minute and he grabbed an I.V. bag of fluid.  He then walked to the mysterious door at the back of the room and opened it...

It turned out to be just a small, dark closet but inside was a half-naked man laying on a makeshift bed with an I.V. tower strapped to him.


The doctor changed the man's empty bag with the full one, left him in the dark, shut the door like nothing happened, and returned to me.  He told me to put the bandage back on once I get home and thanked me for coming.  That's it? What about diagnosing my foot?  You know, the one that is currently throbbing in pain infront of your face?  But nope, he sent me back to the waiting room where the nurses took me back.  Then, without any delay, I was lead behind a curtain.

"You have to get shot in the butt" said my Korean companion.

"I WHAT!?" I proclaimed outloud.  No time to prepare, or delay, the second the curtain closed, the nurse pulled down my pants and started smacking my butt.  While doing so, she stuck the needle in, gave it a few more pats, pulled up my pants, and shoved me back into the waiting room.

Confused, invaded, and incubating whatever chemicals they shot into me, I said thanks, goodbye, and left the hospital.  I was speechless, haha, what had just happened?  On our long elevator ride back down to the street, my dead serious companion broke the silence. "So is your foot better?"

Yup.  And that was my Wednesday.

Since then, we've still gone to all of our appointments, I won't let a mangled foot bring me down.  Plus, it's getting better anyway.  But it sure provided my most memorable hospital trip to date haha.  Hopefully I'll be more careful when we have our next cleaning check.

By the way, we passed it ;)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Party, My Birthday, and the 40 Day Fast

There were three main events that this last week all consisted of. They are, as the title states, a Halloween Party that we threw for our English class attendees and ward members, my 20th birthday, and a fast that our entire mission is doing over a period of 40 days. The reason I am writing all of them is because they all have one thing in common.... I'll let you guess what that is as you read on....


First off, the Halloween party! NEWS FLASH: Koreans don't celebrate Halloween. They know what it is, but they have no idea how to celebrate it. It's just not in their culture and never has been. So of course, the six missionaries in our area all decided it would be awesome to show the Koreans how to celebrate halloween by having a party after our English Class on Saturday, November 2nd.

My awesome family (thanks mom!) sent me a package with various Halloween decorations and even included a small pumpkin for me to carve. On Halloween day (Thursday) I actually carved the pumpkin very first thing in the morning and my Korean companion had no idea what I was doing - he had never seen a jack-o-lantern before. He was fascinated with it once night came and I put candles inside. So once Saturday came, in order to make the party special, I brought the carved pumpkin and all the other decorations my mom sent me, while also buying just a few more to spice things up.

The party was a success! Everyone had such a good time. We played games like "spider spider, who's got the spider", "pin the nose on the pumpkin" and we even had a scavenger hunt around the church (it was a church tour in disguise, my idea) to find the desserts that we made for the end of the party. The Koreans had also never heard of a scavenger hunt before, so that was a fun first for them. The games were fun, we made delicious food, and it felt just a little bit like a real Halloween party back in America.


Can you believe it? I can't. I honestly think it is so weird, still, to say that I'm a missionary - let alone a 20 year old missionary. Haha I'm growing up too fast. But nonetheless, I couldn't prevent it, so I welcomed my birthday with loud celebration. Literally.

Back when I was in Gunsan, Elder Ward's mom sent him giant poppers for July 4th. He didn't use them and actually left them behind when he left. I gladly took them into posession. On my birthday, Saturday November 2nd, I woke up 5 minutes early to get the popper, set my camera on "record" on the other side of the room, and wait for our alarm to go off. 6:30 came and everyone else woke up to the alarm. The second the alarm was turned off by one of the Elders, I flipped on the lights, shouted "It's my birthday!" and shot off the popper. It was LOUD and, well, none of the Elders were happy with me hahaha.

But it was funny.

Then, I opened my presents my parents sent in the mail. Awesome presents, but my favorite was defintiely the Doritios. There are no nacho Doritos here in Korea and I have been DESPERATELY missing them. Following my presents, I proceeded to make and bake the banana muffins for our dessert party that night (yes mom, I have my own recipe for them and make them occasionally for members). The Elders in my apartment didn't do anything for my birthday, despite saying happy birthday, but it was okay. I made a pyramid out of a few of the muffins once they came out of the oven and stuck a candle in the top. I then hummed happy birthday to myself and blew out the candle - and that was the celebration. Hahaha quite different than in America.

However, my birthday was on the same day as the Halloween party - so I still had a party that night. Then, out of nowhere at the end of the party, the sister missionaries came out of the kitchen and surprised me with a chocolate cake that they had bought with two candles in the top and announced to everyone that it was my birthday. How nice of them, huh? They're the best! So in the end, it was a really good day.


In order to help the missionaries become more united and focused on their purpose, our mission is doing a mission-wide fast over a period of 40 days. No, we don't all fast for that long, but instead we are all taking turns fasting for one day in groups of 4 missionaries each day. At the start of the fast, we all received a calendar with everyones assigned days and my day fell on, you guessed it, my birthday.

So like I said, these three things all have one thing in common - they all fall on the same day. So while the Halloween party was awesome, and on my birthday I got tons of food, a cake, and had wonderful dinner options, I had to fast because I was assigned to.

Hahaha but it was okay, I didn't care. That just means I'll get tons of blessings from it! Plus, the next day I was able to eat all the food anyway. But it sure would've been nice to eat some of the banana muffins I made... everybody ate them all at the party... haha oh well.

Anyway, so there's your story from Korea for the week. Things are going great here! Can't wait to tell you all about it again next week!

Elder Graf