Last year, it was all about the American Air Force Base in Gunsan. I had been in Korea for nearly 2 months and I was starting to forget exactly what it was like to live in America. The Fourth of July came and went without much fanfare, but then, that Sunday we attended the small branch at the Gunsan Air Force Base and for all hymns (except the sacrament, of course) we sang American patriotic songs.
Now, before you all start going off on rampages about how inappropriate it is to sing The Star Spangled Banner as part of a church service - especially in Korea - , let me just say that it was nice ;) I'm not a fan of singing those songs in church either, but being away from home during my favorite time of the year and then still getting to have SOME sort of a glimpse of the Fourth was a nice little treat.
So, this year, of course, I'm not anywhere near an Air Force Base. I had two options. 1) Leave my area and go to Gunsan, or 2) not. Haha, I chose to stay and celebrate other ways. The morning started off with an early bus ride to SeJong where we taught our English Class at the public library. For the day's sake, I based the English Class around the Fourth and taught them all about American history going from Columbus to the Puritans to the Colonies to the taxes to the rebellion and, finally, the Declaration of Independence. Then, we talked about how we honor that wonderful day that declaration was signed through our barbeques and parades and fireworks. To practice our writing, we then all together made our own Declarations of _________ (healthy living, being kind, etc) and signed each others' papers. Then, I spoiled them all with a surprise and gave them each a sparkler, telling them to celebrate the Fourth by lighting it once the night came. It was a good English class.
Once it finished, one of our class attendee's/investigator's took us out to lunch to "celebrate the Fourth", they said. How kind! We ate deliciously and taught them a lesson afterwards. Following that, we hung up some English flyers in SeJong and took off back to YuSeong. To celebrate even further, we had planned to meet the other Elders at a restaurant called House Burger. We had to eat American food, didn't we? 16 dollars and a MASSIVE and DELICIOUS burger later, we were full.
We had another appointment that night with an investigator (remember Steve?), read the Book of Mormon together with him, and talked with him about how we can get permission from his Dad for him to be baptized. Still looking difficult. But, he still is loving church and coming every week, so whether it's because he'll get permission or turn 18, he'll get baptized one day.
Finally, to end the day, I had us swing by a *certain store to buy *certain things. My companion was a little apprehensive at first, but I was persistent enough and he could do nothing to stop me, heh heh heh. We got home, I showed these *certain things to the other Elders, and of course, one of them said "YES! Let's go to the mountain to light them off!" (he happened to be a Korean, go figure, it's not even his holiday) and the other Elder said "no" (he happened to be our District Leader).
So fine, I now still to this date have a pile of unused *certain things.
Anyway, it was still wonderful. I felt slightly American, had a fun day, and now next time I spend it, it will be the real deal! 2 down, zero to go.
Until next week!