Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Return of Brother Fastcar and Translating for the World

On Wednesday, Elder Williams (my district leader) decided it would be a good idea for us to go on a missionary exchange.  He took my companion, and I took his companion (who is also a greenie) and we switched areas for a day.

His greenie did a rather good job planning for the day, but there was a gap in the afternoon that was still left unfilled.  He said we could scan through the less actives and see if there was anyone we could visit.  "Why not" I thought, and we brought out the books.  Not before long, I found my victim.


"Yes, hi!  Is this Brother Park?"

"Yes, Hello Elder Williams!"

"Actually, this is Elder Graf, I stole Elder William's phone today - he and I switched places"

"Ahhh, I see"



"So, do you want a ride in my car?"

Did I ever!!   We met him at 3 pm and actually just talked with him about his life and all the hardships he has been going through recently.  Work has been a really big stress for him recently and he really just needed some advice and cheering up.  I whipped out a few scriptures that I thought would help him and we talked it through for quite some time.  Towards the end, he felt much better.  He may be an inactive member for 15 or so years, but he still is a very spiritual man and loves the assistance the missionaries have always given him.  Dinner came and he actually ended up taking us out to an amazing (and expensive) restaurant.

"Because you cured me, Elder Graf", he said "I will cure you" (meaning with the food).

And then again, after the amazing meal, he again repeated to me as a joke, "Because you cured me, Elder Graf, I again will cure you", this time implying an adrenaline-rush cure.

He then proceeded to take us out to the freeway (it was after rush hour this time, luckily) and we hit 240+ kmh once again.  Now I can say I've done that twice without dying, haha, and both times have been with him behind the wheel.

Other than the missionary exchange, the week was great!  On Friday, our investigator took us inside the government building in SeJong and there was a presentation/tour being held in front of a model of the building.  The presenter was explaining the plans for SeJong and the future growth of the city - the people she was speaking to were government officials from all over the world.  We just kind of snuck into the crowd and began to watch the presentation.  Of course, it was in Korean, and so for everyone to understand, there was a translator explaining everything in English, however, she wasn't doing a very good job.  After about 3 minutes of watching, and when she was struggling with a certain sentence, I just without even thinking took over and blurted out for her what she was trying to say.  All of the sudden, I had 30 pairs of eyes from the worlds' most powerful people straight on me - the translator and the presenter just looked stunned... Had the young American just translated Korean?  Who was he and what was he doing here anyway??

Haha, I just shrunk back into the group, but that didn't work very well because I'm a foot taller than everyone else.....   That was sure a funny moment.

So it was a good week!  We'll see what the next one brings

Elder Translator Graf

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Senior Week

Trainers do everything.

That's just the simple truth that comes with having a greenie as a companion.  As amazing as my companion is, in the end, I've still been here for 20 months and he has only been here for 2.


For the first little while, I just took the reins and helped him out the best I could.  He little by little learned, made some funny mistakes along the way, and became accustomed to the country.  Then, just as he started getting his feet underneath him - Senior Week came.  Senior Week is when the trainer acts as a junior, gives the cell phone to the greenie, and the greenie takes control of everything.  Directions, scheduling things, and teaching - it's all up to the greenie now.  And so this last week from Monday to Sunday - I became a junior companion all over again and Elder Godfrey took control.

Day 1 - We missed our Subway stop by 8 stops - that's a REALLY LONG TIME!  Hahaha, and we were late to our appointment because of it!  I just sat there, watched as our stop came and went, and kept quiet smiling to myself until Godfrey finally asked me "Wait, were we supposed to get off already?"  And I just replied "Uhhh, I dunno, were we?"

Day 2 - Got lost trying to find our church.  It's fine.

Days 3,4,5,6,7 - Things started going much smoother.  Missed a few more stops, forget to schedule and follow up with a few phone calls, and I had to step in a few times.  But overall, it was a great experience for both of us.  Elder Godfrey will be training in no time.

The week was also full of excitement too.  Friday night, there was a festival in SeJong and a famous K-pop band came.  We didn't attend the concert of course, but we heard and saw the fireworks from afar - it was the first time I've seen fireworks like that in a really long time - over 2 years actually.  Definitely brought a smile to my face.  Also, we met a new investigator this week and he LOVES US beyond belief.   He calls me Goostin, because he doesn't want to call me by my last name and when I said that my first name was Christian, he heard "Goostin" instead. Haha, it's not worth trying to correct.  ALSO, our teenage investigator who's Dad won't let be baptized is doing really great - it's actually looking like things might work out and his Dad could end up giving permission after all before I leave this area in 3 weeks.   That'd be awesome - it would be my third baptism in this area.

Things are going great, until next week!

Elder Graf