Monday, March 31, 2014

Okay fine, I'll write a blog post

Am I a missionary?  Or a blogger?
Or something in between??
Haha, well recently, I've put my blogging letters off to the side and simply have just been too busy to write my weekly update for you all to read.  But, FINALLY, I found the time this week and chose to return to my old ways.  Alas, here is an update from my life here in Korea:
Things are going great!  The weather is warming up as spring officially begins to set in.  The fields are being planted, the blossoms on the trees are beginning to bloom, and - last and least - the bugs are returning.  But all is okay, because the beauty of Korea definitely beats the pesky little bugs any day.  That is, until the spiders get bigger....
Missionary work is going great.  We found another new investigator!  She was referred to us from a member's daughter and has lots of potential.  She right now is attending college, is really nice, and is truly interested in our message.  Hopefully things will keep going well!  Also, just a few weeks back, we got the approval from the Area Seventy to split off from the current branch and form our own group here in Dangjin!  Now they are just looking for a building for us to meet in each week and it will be official.
And finally, we saw another wonderful miracle unfold over these past few weeks.  For a very long time now, there has been a husband and wife in our branch that have been seperated.  She lives in the city, he lives in the country.  The wife has still attended church, but the husband has long since gone inactive.  Elder Otterson and I went to his farm often and tried to visit him, but his problems seemed too deep for us young missionaries to understand.  However, despite that fact, we still continued to stop in just to give him as much support as we could.  Then, 4 weeks ago, my companion and I got a phonecall from him.  He told us that he is finished with regretting things he knows he should be doing and that he was ready to change his life around. That week, he drove us the 40 minutes to church and attended all meetings.  But it doesn't end there.  The next day, he invited us over to his house for family home evening.  Then, he started asking us about our missionary work and how he can help.  Then, he started driving us all over the countryside to visit less actives that haven't been seen in years.  Then, he invited us over for family home evening again, attended church every week, and taught lessons to our investigators with us. 
Just a few weeks back, this man was lonely, unhappy, and lost.  His hair was unkept, his hands were worn from farm work, and his clothes were tattered.  Now, his hair is cut, his clothes are neat, and his smile is bigger than ever.  Of course, the problems with his wife are still there, but he is now doing everything he can fix the mistakes he once made.  It has been such a wonderful thing for Elder Jung and I to experience - and really - we did nothing.  The gospel, however, provided the perfect opportunity for him to change his life once again.  Elder Jung and I have just been lucky enough to help him along the way.
So there's my update.  Things are going great, as you can see.  Next week is transfers and I have a feeling I might be saying goodbye to Dangjin... but maybe (and hopefully) I'll stay as well.  Until I find out, have a wonderful week!
Elder Graf

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Making things sentimental

One thing that differs GREATLY between Korea and America is Korea's lack of sentimental things.  They live such busy lives, they simply don't have the time (or mindset) for all the little special things we hold so dear in America.  For example, we have big holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Fourth of July, etc, and we take them really seriously.  Then, we also have smaller holidays like Valentines day and St Patrick's Day, and we still take them seriously.  In Korea, well, they just don't do things the same way we do.

At first, it was really hard for me... haha, I love sentimental things!  Nothing beats a good atmosphere, especially a happy one on a holiday.  Coming to Korea and all of the sudden losing all of my holidays for 2 years was one of the hardest things to give up.... One by one, all of the holidays came and went, without much fanfare, and I just got used to looking at the calendar, realizing the date, and saying something like, "Oh look, it's Christmas Eve, hmm, weird." And that was it.

But then, I have a wonderful thing back at home called a family.

Thanks to them, each and every holiday is accompanied with a package that brings the holiday straight to Korea from good old Utah.  So, today was St Patrick's Day, and I of course made a green breakfast with the pancake mix and green food dye my family sent, all decorated with gold chocolate coins.  My companion, who is a Korean, saw the food and was first freaked out, then just confused.  He had never heard of St Patrick's Day and he had never seen food dye before.  I told him, "Don't worry, it's natural" as I held up the green food dye (because he doesn't eat anything with chemicals, haha, and he believed me) and then I pinched him after I noticed he wasn't wearing any green.  "You're not wearing any green!," I said, "so I get to pinch you!"  He was just beyond confused, haha.  I explained the holiday to him, or at least tried, but he didn't seem to understand.  Like I said, it's just not in their culture to celebrate things like this, so even after I explained everything, he was still just confused and asked me something like, ", what's your point?"

Insert deep long sigh right about here.

Anyway, we had a nice breakfast, and I at least felt the holiday spirit as I drank my milk the leprechauns had turned green.  Happy St Patrick's Day, everybody!

Elder Grape

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A few updates


What the- I'm in my eighth transfer??  I've passed my halfway??  Winter is ending??  I have a new companion??  Where did all the time go!?

In order to properly begin the new transfer, I figured I would give a short update of everything going on right now.  Ready, set, go:

- I am still in Dangjin - at lest six more weeks!
- I have a new companion, a Korean, named Jung Gi Hyun (just call him Elder Jung).  He is tons of fun and has been on his mission the same amount of time as me.  The two of us are co-senioring together
- Last week was freezing, snow and all, but it warmed up yesterday and today is wonderful.  Spring is finally coming.  I can't wait to see all the blossoms that Korea is famous for.
- We still have all the same investigators, but we gathered a new 60 year man last week to add to our list.  He's had a bad experience with churches in the past and is really just looking for one that is honest and true (ding ding ding, we have a winner)
- Remember our family that we reactivated just 2 months ago?  Well they share farms with their uncle and their uncle raises dogs.  This week when we visited them, they slaughtered one of the dogs and fed it to us in the same day - just pure dog meat.  Crazy, huh!?  Most missionaries that "try dog meat" on their mission eat it in a restaurant as part of a famous Korean soup called Boshingtang.  Basically, it's the simplest way to eat dog meat, it's just part of a soup.  It's like eating chicken noodle soup and saying you ate chicken - you did, but not really.  So this week, I got the real deal and yes, it tasted and smelled (oh gosh it smelled) exactly how you would imagine a dog would taste and smell like...... like a dog.
- I still love the countryside and am just blown away by the beauty of everything every day.  I can't wait for everything to start turning green
-The Koreans are hard at work and the fields are now full of grandmas and grandpa farmers planting away
- Korea is OBSESSED with Frozen and they play every single song from that movie on the streets all day, every day.  I don't even know what the movie is about, but I've sure been able to memorize all the lyrics
-  Each day is a new adventure, I literally love every minute!

So I hope that gives you a little glimpse of my now.  If that wasn't good enough, I'll send some pictures to add to it.  Hope you all have a good week!  

Elder Crap