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Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 13 - Never His Mind on WHERE He Was! WHAT He Was Doing!

Title - Yoda says this when he's talking to Obi-Wan's ghost about Luke Skywalker.
Note (from mom regarding Star Wars paragraph below) - This is a BIG DEAL for Elder Huckvale.  His life has always been centered around Star Wars (hence all the Stormtrooper pictures we normally get).  So to be able to put it behind him is HUGE.  I told him that Star Wars will be there when he gets back, but that this is his one-time opportunity to serve our Heavenly Father, and that I am very proud of the choices he is making.
This week was really hard but really good.  I am beginning to more fully understand my purpose as a missionary with each passing day and I am more fully understanding the significance that my mission will have on my life and the lives of those I meet.
Last week my dad e-mailed me telling me about the new Star Wars trailer that came out and he sent me some pictures.  It looks so rad!  Anyways, I know it sounds silly, but it was really hard for me to stay focused for the rest of that day (We only did e-mailing last Monday because we had Temple Day on Tuesday so we did the rest of P-day on Tuesday after the Temple).  I just had to ask myself what was more important to me:  My love for Star Wars and watching movies, or my love for my Savior and doing His work on this earth?  This is still something that I will inevitably struggle with, not getting distracted by things going on at home, but I know that this is the Lord's work and that I am supposed to be in Korea right now.  I have a very strong testimony of this. 
So anyways, we went to the Seoul Temple on Tuesday!  It was awesome!  There is no better reminder for why I'm doing missionary work than by going to the Temple.  Every time I go to the Temple my understanding of this life and the plan that Heavenly Father has for me is strengthened significantly.  It is such an incredible experience.  After the temple, we went to an American-style buffet called Ashley's.  It was good, but it was pretty expensive.  After we went to Ashley's, Elder Jeong and I, along with some of the other elder in our zone, went to the Korean War Museum, which was pretty cool.  Afterwards we taught English and that was pretty much our day.

On Wednesday, we had Mission Tour.  Our Area President, Michael T. Ringwood of the Seventy (he spoke at conference), his wife, and President and Sister Christensen addressed us about missionary work.  It was awesome!  I felt so pumped to do missionary work afterwards and to be a better missionary.  

We were able to eat with the members twice this week, once with a lady from our ward on Monday, and another with some American members on Sunday.  The dinner on Monday was...interesting.  In Korea, it's disrespectful to not eat all you're given and when you finish your food, you're usually offered more and if you don't accept it that is also disrespectful.  So I was trying to eat slowly, but the soup we were eating would get cold if I didn't eat it right away so I ended up eating 4 bowls of soup and then I threw up.  I felt really bad about that.  She was nice about it so it wasn't a big deal.  The meal with the American members on Sunday was awesome.  It was really nice to have some greasy American food for a change.  
This week I have been really trying to improve at jeondoing (proselyting).  As many of you know, I'm not really the kind of guy that just goes up and starts talking to others, so getting used to jeondoing has been really difficult for me.  I have been praying to Heavenly Father for the faith I need to just do it and I know that He has been answering my prayers.  I have been doing much better at jeondoing and am slowly figuring out how to enjoy it more and want to do it.  I know that Heavenly Father has answered my prayers and that He has been helping me to overcome my personal weaknesses because I was willing to humble myself before Him.
The work is going great!  I'm having a blast here in Korea!
Also, I've been out for three months tomorrow!  What the flip?!
Love and miss y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Singing to President Christensen at the Seoul Temple for his birthday.
 Elder Huckvale's District (I think)
Elder Jeong and Elder Huckvale

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 12 - Before The Dark Times...Before the Great Apostasy

Title - Obi-Wan Kenobi is explaining the history of the Jedi Knights to Luke and he ends by saying, "that was before the dark times... before the Empire". 
Pictures - Korean imitations (per Chad) of Burger King and Mountain Dew; feast they were invited to; baptism he attended the first week he was there; last picture is of the Piano Guys (if you look REALLY HARD, you can see Elder Huckvale in the back left corner.  His little red head.)  :)
Hello Everyone!
It has been a great week in Korea!  I actually got to teach a person who we had a scheduled appointment with!  I ate at a Burger King!  The Piano Guys did a fireside for us!  Wow!

But first, I will talk about my situation in Korea...
I am currently serving in the 신당 (Sindang).  Sindang is the most densely-populated area in the entire Seoul mission.  It's all city and it's right in the middle of Seoul.  So yeah.  There are a ton of people.  Anyways, I live in an apartment with my companion, Elder Jeong, and two other elders, Elder Jones and Elder Bean.  It's actually a really nice apartment.  The lame thing is that the bathroom sinks don't actual drains, the water just falls onto the floor and goes down the drain that the shower water goes down.  The shower is just on the wall and the entire bathroom has tile floors.  It's kind of weird.  Also, there isn't a garbage can.  There aren't garbage cans hardly anywhere which is kind of struggily.  Also, you can't throw out food in normal garbage cans, you have to put it in separate bags and then leave those bags out separately from the rest of your garbage.  It's really annoying.  They don't have napkins here either, they just use toilet paper.  The food is really awesome though.  We eat out a lot because there are a lot of really cheap places in the area.  If we don't eat out, we usually stay home and eat rice with whatever we can find in the refrigerator.  We live right next to the equivalent to a place like Chinatown in America but Americatown in Korea so there are a lot of foreigners near where we live.  There's also an U.S. Army base where we live.  Americatown, 이태원 (Itaewon), is also the sketchiest part of our area (of course, dang Americans).  We don't live there though, so it's cool.
So on Tuesday, we had scheduled an appointment with 변정용 (Bieon Jeongyong).  So we went all the way out to where he was going to meet us and then he told us he couldn't meet with us because he had just started a game with his friend (He goes out to this place to meet up with his friends every day from 11 to 4).  So we just gave him a Book of Mormon and then went to our next thing:  Service at the old folks home!  We get to go to the old folks home every Tuesday and help them do a craft with them and then play games with them.  It is really fun and an awesome service project. 
So then on Thursday, we were actually able to meet Bieon Jeongyong (the one who cancelled on us).  We taught him the Restoration and it went great!  He seemed to really have an interest in the gospel, especially the before and after life which is great because next week we're teaching him about the Plan of Salvation!  Choice!  He is a really cool guy.  I asked him to be baptized and he said no but it's cool because we're still going to meet with him.  After that, we went back to where the church is in Sindang because we were going to meet this other guy who we met on the street.  I think that he's a little bit senile so he didn't show up.  So Elder Jeong and I ended up teaching this guy with a patch on his eye and we bought him 호떡 which are like these pancake things that either have honey and seeds in them or vegetables and noodles.  They are really good.  Anyways, he was an...interesting character.  At the end of the lesson, Elder Jeong kept asking him if he wanted to be baptized and the guy kept falling asleep.  It was pretty funny.  Then he kind of just left.  I didn't really understand what was going on.  All I knew is that he just kept talking when I would try to teach him.  Apparently he was talking about the government system in Korea...?  Later that night Elder Jeong convinced me to go this place called Burger Mine and do the buffet that they have there.  So we did.  The burgers there are actually pretty good for Korean burgers.  I was able to get down two burgers and Elder Jeong was able to eat three.  We finished at about 8:55 and then had to run home (it's down the street from our house thankfully).  So yeah, we made it home with like 30 seconds to spare before 9.  Noice!
On Saturday, a sister in the ward threw a dinner party for all of the missionaries in the ward (there's about 15 or something).  We ate 삼겹살 (Samgyupsar) which is often compared to bacon on steroids.  It was awesome.  We got to take home some of the leftovers.  They had so much!

On Sunday, we had scheduled to meet with a member family on the American military base for dinner.  I was really excited to meet with them and have an American meal for a change.  So we got there, and Brother Hill met us to let us in and...I couldn't get in because I didn't have my passport or my foreign card on me.  Struggily.  I was really dissappointed about it and felt really bad that we couldn't eat with them.  Brother Hill was really nice about it though, he went back to his house and they packed up a meal for us and he brought back for us.  So we ended up taking it back to the church and eating it there.  They gave us Diet A&W Root Beer!  Choice!  After that,  we got to have a special fireside put on by the Piano Guys!  It was awesome!  They're all members and two of them actually served missions in Korea!  How freakin sick is that!?  One of the guys (I think it was John Schmidt) was the missionary for the ward of one of the sisters in the audience!  Wow!  The music they played was awesome!  They also bore their testimonies which was also awesome!  They are all such strong and faithful members of the church!

So yeah,  it's been a great week and I am having such an awesome time!  Korea is awesome!  Being a missionary is awesome! 
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to serve!
Elder Huckvale

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 11 - I'm trying to help! I'm just trying to help!

Title - This is what Lando says when Chewbacca's choking him on Cloud City (because Lando betrayed them).  ** This is the only thing Derrick can think of to make sense for this one.  :)
Hello Everyone!
Well, I'm close to wrapping up on week 2 of my adventures in Korea.  And so the struggle continues...
Elder Jeong and I are still trying to find people to teach.  A lot of the times when we say hello to people they just ignore us.  It's really hard because we just want to share with them something that will help them have better lives!  I'm still having a blast though and I know that all of the challenges and rejections we've been having only make us stronger.  Plus, when we do find someone to teach, it will just be so much better.  We've got some good potentials so hopefully everything works out...
Anyways, last P-day we got to go to Costco!  They have those here!  Yes!  So yeah, we got in with some other elders in our zone that have Costco cards.  It was much like a Costco that you might see in the America except there were a lot more Korean people.  We also saw a ton of other missionaries there which was pretty cool.  We don't have a Costco in our area so it took up most of our P-day traveling there but it was so worth it!  We got to eat Costco pizza!  They didn't have pepperoni though which was weird but whatevs.  They replaced it with a potato pizza.  Potato pizza is really big here for some reason. 
On Tuesday, I got to go to the senior center for service which was pretty fun.  That's our service for every Tuesday!  We just  make crafts with them and then play games or make puzzles with them.  It's so great. 
I got to watch conference this weekend which was so rad.  I have gotten more out of this conference than any conference that I've ever watched.  There were so many talks about the importance of families!  I loved it!  I especially enjoyed L. Tom Perry talking about how all of the religions of the world all agree on the importance of families and how their importance in the world is being distorted.  I realized that one of the best ways that we can relate to others that we teach is by sharing our beliefs about families and their significance in this life and in the life to come.  I am so grateful for my family and that I was raised by loving parents who taught me the ways of the gospel.  I am also so incredibly grateful that we have living prophets and apostles who can guide us in these troubling and confusing times.
Anyways,  I am having a blast in Korea and am so grateful to be a missionary!
Love and miss y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Korean Costco :)
 This Stormtrooper gets around.  Dong De Mun Market.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 10 - You've Taken Your First Step Into A Larger World

Oh my gosh!!!!  He's in Korea now!  PDay has moved to Monday for him, which works out to about 9:00pm Sunday for us!
About the title... Obi-Wan Kenobi says this to Luke when he first begins his Jedi training.  Appropriate.  :)  
 His apartment - notice his traveling "flat" Stormtrooper.
 The Namsan Tower at night.

 Some other tower Elder Huckvale sent us.  :)
 (I think) Elder Huckvale's new companion, Elder Jeong... and a Korean Feast!

Well, I'm in freakin Korea!  What the flip?!  It has been quite the exciting/crazy week up here as I try to deal with all of the new things happening to me all at once.  I't been fun though and I'm ready to spend the next 22 months here.  Woah, that's crazy to think about.

Anyways, let's start with last weekend...

Last weekend, I had to say goodbye to my MTC teachers which I had come to know and love over the past two months which was difficult but still okay.  On Monday, we woke up at 3 am, we grabbed all of our bags and left.  It was weird to leave, I was beginning to think that the day would never come.  We got on a bus, and took a train to the SLC airport and then flew to Seattle.  I remember that it was really strange being at the airport for the first time among all of the normal people after being in a compound filled with spiritually-driven youth for two months.  Anyways, we got to Seattle, I called my family, and then we began the 11 hour flight to Korea.  I was SO tired when we landed because it was like 4 pm in Korea but 12 pm Utah time and I had only slept a total of about 5 and a half hours within the past 24 hours.  I was exhausted.  So we got off the plane, and immediately I felt the humidity of Korea.  We got all our bags and went out and were greeted by the AP's and our mission president President Christensen, and his wife, Sister Christensen, and we said goodbye to all of our friends who went to Seoul South.  It was really hard to do but apparently we'll see them at a mission conference thing in about a year so that should be cool.  The office elders took our bags and loaded them up into President Christensen's car to take them to his house and then the AP's took us into the subway to show us how to jeondo (proselyte).  It was really weird, I still haven't quite figured out jeondoing yet, it's going to be a very big change for me specifically.  Anyways, we went to the mission president's house and we spent the night there.  I was so freakin tired.  I fell asleep kneeling and praying at the bed side and my temporary companion, Elder Kim, had to wake me up.  I slept a very good sleep.  When we all woke up, Sister Christensen fed us and then we did a training that lasted most of the day.  Before we had lunch we met our companions.  My companion is named Elder Jeong Jin Seop.  He is a native Korean but speaks Engish pretty well.  He is a really cool guy and a great missionary.  We ate lunch, finished the training and then Elder Jeong and I took my bags and had to take them to our apartment on the other side of Seoul via subways and buses.  It was very struggily. 

Anyways, it turned out that Elder Jeong and I are white-washing our area, so we don't have any investigators or anything.  Dang it.  We've been doing a lot of jeondoing.  On Thursday, the other elders in our apartment, Elder Jones and Elder Bean, showed us around the area.  It was a pretty cool experience.  My area is right in the middle of Seoul and is the most densely-populated area in our mission so there were some pretty cool things to see.  I took some pictures of what I've seen. 

On Saturday, we went to the baptism of someone Elder Wiess and his companion have been teaching.  Elder Wiess used to live in Camas and I knew him pretty well so It's been really cool because he's in my area and my ward so I've seen a lot over the past few days.  It's really weird because I haven't seen him in like 3 years or something.  Anyways, the baptism was really cool and it was a great reminder of why I'm doing missionary work, to help others to come unto Christ and helping them to endure to end.  After the baptism, I got to teach English class which was pretty interesting.  There's a guy there who is apparently mentally unstable and doesn't believe in the New Testament and only reads the Old Testament.  He also claims to be the first emperor of America.  He gave me his business card and I put it in my journal because I thought it was funny.  Yeah, he attends the class every week. 

Sunday was Easter, which I completely had completely forgotten because it's not a big deal in Korea.  Elder Jeong and I are part of the Shin-dong ward.  Apparently the members don't like to get involved with missionary work at all which is very struggily.  When I gave my opening message to everyone, I told them that I want to work with them to do missionary work.  Hopefully they listen but probably not.  Whatevs.  After church there were people handing out hard-boiled eggs.  Since it was fast Sunday, I wasn't sure what to do with them so I kept them in my suit pocket.  It was kind of weird.

Anyways, things are going great here!  I haven't gotten hit too hard with the culture shock and I've liked all of the food that I've tried so far.  Today, for P-day, we're going to make the pilgrimage to Costco!  All right! 

It's been hard but I am having a blast and I know that this is Lord's work and that I have been called to Korea for a reason.

Love and miss ya'll! 

Called to Serve!

-Elder Huckvale 

Random MTC / Travel photos (thanks Elder Eads!!!)...

 Headed to the Provo Temple for one last time...  Elder Huckvale, Elder Stapp and Elder Eads

 Elder Shilling hiding behind Elder Ead's head :)
 Chad impersonating Joseph Smith - uncanny resemblance!!!!
 Their MTC District with their teachers, Brother Driggs and Sister????
 Pretty cherry blossoms in Utah!!!  Oh... and a good-looking District too!!!
 And it's time!!!  Getting on the bus/Trax at 4:00am to start the journey to the Salt Lake Airport.
 On the bus!
 Early in the morning, we get a little loopy...

 And finally on the plane to Korea!  Check out all those amazing missionaries!!!
 Plane food.
 I think this is the Seoul Airport in Inchen.
 Sister Jones might be a little unsure... :)
Godspeed, Elder Huckvale!  Love you to Korea and back!!!