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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 26 - You Don't Know the Power of the Holy Ghost

Title - In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader says to Luke, "you don't know the Power of the Dark Side".

6 months TODAY!  CRAZY!!!

Well, I've been out just about six months!  How crazy is that!?  I can't believe how fast it's flown by.  I'm already in the last week of my third transfer which means that I've been in 금촌 (Geumchon) for over a month now and in Korea for almost 4.  I'm sure that as I continue on my mission, the time will begin to move faster as I further forget myself and get lost in this great cause.
This week's been pretty slow, but alas, the adventure continues...
We didn't really get the chance to meet with any our investigators this week, which is unfortunate, so we had to do a lot of jeondoing which was okay.  The only problem is that we're entering into that time of the year called 장마 (Jangma), or the rainy season.  It's been raining like crazy on and off, but it's still ultra humid!  What the flip?! 

Elder Huckvale's feet after walking around in the rain all day!
On Monday,  for P-Day, we had a zone activity in the area next to ours called 일산 (Irsan).  We played a ton of ultimate frisbee and then some soccer.  Then we got chicken delievered to the park.  Missionaries love chicken.

On Tuesday, we didn't have any specific appointments, so we had to jeondo for like 7 hours which was rather unfortunate.  It wasn't raining fortunately, but it was still pretty struggily.  The worst part of it was that I was not motivated to work for whatever reason.  It was lame.  I knew that I would be happier if I just started talking to people, but I could not find the motivation to work for whatever reason.  Luckily, after dinner, I was able to start jeondoing again and I had some pretty cool experiences.
On Wednesday, the rain started coming, and hard.  Luckily, we were able to take refuge at the office of a guy that Elder Kim and his last companion met a couple of times.  He talks a ton though, so we weren't able to really teach him anything and I had no idea what was going on.  When we were done though the rain had stopped.
On Sunday, after church, we met with 김동환 (Daniel).  We talked about his life.  He's 32 and still hasn't gotten married yet or really done anything with his life.  So the topic of discussion became marriage and building families and how that is the way to find true happiness in this life and the life to come.  It was a really cool discussion because I think that Daniel is beginning to more further realize that family is really the key to happiness and the purpose of our lives.  We then committed him to get married.  It's not a baptismal commitment, but I think that we're getting somewhere with him.
On Tuesday, I started talking to this one guy who goes to 전주교 (Catholic Church), and was discussing some of the concerns that he had about our Church.  He said that he was concerned because we read from the Book of Mormon so a lot of people call us 이단 (a cult).  I reminded him that when Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, and the Redeemer and Savior of all mankind, came to the earth, many people called Him and His followers a cult.  That got him thinking.  Then I asked him how many churches Jesus established when He came to the earth.  He didn't know.  I told him that Jesus only established one Church; His Church, and that now-a-days, there are many churches that profess to teach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they all differ from each other.  So where's the true Church?  That also got him thinking.  He refused to give me his phone number and refused to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon, but he did accept a pamphlet about the Restoration and a pass-along card and said that if he felt our message is true, he'd give me a call. 
On Thursday, I had another experience similar to this when I started talking to man on the street who attends 장로교 (Presbyterian Church).  I started talking to him and as soon as he found out what church I'm from, he just started going off on me (in Korean) on why the Church is wrong and I could hardly understand him at all.  Fortunately, I was able to understand the bottom line of what he was trying by catching words here and there.  You never would've guessed what he was trying to tell me:  The Church is a cult because we read the Book of Mormon.  And that was his main argument.  Classic other churches.  Then I asked him if he had ever read the Book of Mormon and he said no.  Then I asked him how he could know it's true if he had never read it.  He avoided the question and then just kept going off on me.  Everytime I found the opportunity to speak within the tumult of his words and opinions, I took it and was able to ask more questions that further confounded him.  Questions like:  "When Jesus came to earth, didn't people call Him and His followers a cult too?", and the best of all "When Jesus came to the earth, did he establish 장로교 (The Presbyterian Church)?".  Those got him thinking.  He then called the Book of Mormon and the Church a cult again and I said, "I really do not care at all if people call this Church a cult.  I know that this Church is true."  After I said those words, there was nothing else he could say.  He could not turn me away from the things I know to be true.  Then his bus came, he told me to keep working hard, smiled, and then left. 
In both of these situations, even though I can't speak or understand Korean very well yet, by the power of the Holy Ghost, I was able to ask these men thought-provoking questions that were able to silence some of their concerns and make them think that our Church might not be wrong just because every one else says it is.  I mean, how often is the right thing the thing "everybody" is doing?
Wow, this turned out being way longer than I thought it would be.  Anyways, serving a mission has been really awesome and I am looking forward to the next year and a half of serving the Lord in Korea!
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale 
 Elder Kim and I Eating Nang Myun

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week 25 - There's Something Alive in Here

 Title - In Star Wars, Luke, Han, Leia and Chewy are in the garbage compactor, they hear a "loud, horrible, inhuman moan" and Luke says, "there's something alive in here".

Well, this week just flew by.  Nothing much happened as far as our investigators go, but it was still fun.  We did a lot of jeondoing (proselyting) and rescuing of kittens.
On Tuesday, Elder Kim and I went on exchanges with Elder Dye and Elder Bell.  I went on splits with Elder Bell and the exchange was really fun, but it was really short so we didn't really get to do much besides jeondoing and studying.  We woke up at 6 on Wednesday morning to go to the gym which was pretty fun.  While Elder Dye and Elder Kim were on exchanges, they met with 김동환 (Daniel) and had a pretty good lesson with him.  He prayed at the end!  Nice! 
On Saturday we met Daniel again and had planned to teach a review about the Restoration, but ended up teaching about the importance of going to Church each Sunday and partaking of the Sacrament.  It was a really good discussion and it was really cool to see how the Spirit works in guiding what we teach to fit the needs of the investigator even though it is different than what we had originally planned to teach.  At the end, I invited him to come to church and he said that he would come "someday in the future".  I asked him when that would be and he didn't know.  Then I asked him what he was going to do on Sunday if he didn't go to Church.  He said that he was going to sleep.  Then we talked about how there's not really any point to doing that.  I really want to help him realize that there's more to this life than just working and sleeping.  There is a better way.  I hope that he's been thinking about what we talked about.  He prayed again at the end of the lesson which was really good.
Now back to Tuesday again.  While we were at the church building waiting for Elder Dye and Elder Bell to show up to start our exchange, Elder Kim spotted some kittens eating out of our trash out the back door.  I tried to go out to grab one but they got scared and ran into the bushes behind the church building.  There's like 3 or 4 little kittens living on our church property apparently.  Later Tuesday evening, Elder Bell saw one eating out of the trash and was able to catch it but it bit him on the hand twice so he put it in a nearby bucket with a little water in it.  I didn't see this but I just heard from the other side of the church a cat screetching and then I saw it running out from around the corner.  It was pretty funny.
We came back to the Church building on Thursday to do our weekly service assignment of picking up trash.  When we got there, we found one of the cats had gotten a paper cup stuck on its head.  Gosh dang it it was really funny.  So then we went out and picked up trash for an hour and Elder Dye and Elder Bell cleaned up the trash behind the church that the cats had left every where and then we came back.  We were all standing in front of the church and we saw the cup cat at the back of the church near the fence.  Beyond the fence is just about a 10-foot drop to a little alleyway.  We saw the cat trying to nudge against the bottom of the fence trying to get the cup off and then we just saw it disappear.  We ran over and looked down and saw the cat looking around.  It was still alive, just super confused so Elder Dye and Elder Bell put on some work gloves and went and rescued the cat.  Then they brought it back up to the church and wrapped it in a shirt they found in the donation box and then took the cup off.  We then decided that we needed to take the cat to the vet so we sent Elder Han and Elder Ee with the cat.  Since it's a stray, the vet can't do anything and neither can city hall, so they just let it back into the bushes.  Freaking cats. 

 The cats that live at the church.
 Elder Bell and the Cup Cat.
In the eyes of an Angel.
So yes that was the highlight of the week. 
Serving a mission is so much fun and there are always new things to experience (like saving cats).  I am having a blast here in Korea and I love 금촌 (Geumchon). 
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Geumchon Church Building
 Geumchon Train Station

 Trying to take some "artsy" photos. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 24 - You Lost it to Me Fair and Square

Title - K, so Derrick is currently on High Adventure with Luke, so I have no idea what the title means - sorry Scott! Make things up and let me know!

Hello Everyone!
This week has been really long but also flew by really fast at the same time.  What the flip.  Anyways, yeah.  Lots happened.
On Monday we decided to go to the Costco in the area next to ours (일산 (Irsan)).  It was quite an adventure.  Elder Kim and I went with Elder Bell and another missionary in our district, Elder Dye.  None of us had a Costco card though so Elder Dye was just planning on buying one when we got there.  Elder Dye takes Costco trips really seriously.  He emptied out one of his suitcases and brought it with him to fill up with food.  American missionaries love Costco.  Anyways, we got there and Elder Dye filled out a membership application and gave it to the lady but apparently he can't get a Costco card in Korea because he's not 19 yet.  I don't know why that is the age that you can get a Costco card here but Elder Dye gave Elder Bell the money to buy a Costco card that he would then give to Elder Dye for him to use in the future because Elder Bell's going home at the end of the transfer.  So yes, quite the adventure.  We got some peanut butter and chips and salsa and other things and then had to haul it back to our apartment via the subway.  Fun!
On Tuesday we ate at Burger King.
On Wednesday we had a zone meeting which was really good.  It was all about helping others to come closer unto Christ by inviting them to be baptized.  One of the zone commitments was to invite someone to be baptized every day.  Right after the meeting, Elder Kim and I were jeondoing around and I stopped this 19-year-old kid on the street and started teaching him.  I told him about the Book of Mormon and then I told him that I know that every one can know that it's true.  I then asked him that when he knows that it's true, if he would follow Jesus Christ's example by being baptized.  The question totally threw him off and he had to stop and think for a few seconds and then he said no.  It's cool though because I gave him a Book of Mormon and he gave us his phone number and agreed to meet again.  Rad!  Other than when I did that we been kind of falling short on that commitment.  But it was still a really awesome experience!
On Friday morning we had interviews with our new mission president, President Sonksen.  That was good.  During my interview with him he just asked me about myself.  Just a get-to-know you thing.  Then he asked me if I had any questions for me and I asked him if he was going to give us peanut butter and he said that he can't get it shipped here.  Dang.  Then I asked him if he was going to change the mission at all and he said that he didn't have any plans right now because President Christensen already has done a good job of running things.  I agreed with him and then we ended the interview.  The days leading up to the interview we were lead to believe that during the interviews Sister Sonksen was going to doing a cleaning check of our houses.  So the days prior to the interviews I was wasting away trying to clean our incredibly disgusting bathroom that appeared as if it had not been cleaned since the house had been opened to missionaries.  Classic missionaries.  Anyways, yeah, our apartments didn't get checked.  It was all a ruse.  The bathroom really needed to be cleaned anyways.  After the interviews, Elder Kim and I went and ate this thing called 순대국 (Soon Dae Gook).  It was pretty delicious.  It's like this stew with pig intestines in it.  I may not sound that good, but it is.

Eating pig intestine stew.  Yum!
After we ate lunche we went back to the house and it turns out that Elder Bell and his companion, Elder Han, are going to be switching companions with Elder Dye and his companion, Elder Ee, due to some challenges going on at the other house.  So now, the other elders living in my house are Elder Han and Elder Ee which means that I am now living with three Korean people.  Elder Han is nearly fluent at English, but still, it's pretty crazy. 
After that we had an appointment about 15 minutes away by train so we headed out and came back.  So in Korea, you have this card called a T-Money card that you put money on and then swipe it when you ride the train/subway/bus/taxi and just keep refilling it when you need to.  When I was in 신당,  Elder Jeong found a teenager T-Money card on the street which charges at a lower rate and gave it to me because technically I could still have used it before my 19th birthday.  After my birthday I continued to use it though because I thought I was pretty sure that I could still pass off as a high school student.  Anyways, when we came back from our appointment a guy came up to me and started interrogating me about the card and then he told me that I owed the subway/train company $40 because that's how much I've saved from using the other card.  Luckily I had a ton of money in my missionary fund that I had saved from using the teenager card so I just went across the street to the bank and withdrew the money and then paid the subway people.  They gave me a receipt which I kept because I think it's funny.  I should've stopped while I was ahead.  Dang.  Don't gamble kids!
On Saturday we met with 김동환 (Daniel) again.  Usually when we meet with Daniel we just end up talking about random stuff and don't get the chance to teach him.  This time around, I decided that it would be a good idea to teach him about the Restoration again because that's our special message to the world.  When we started teaching him and told him that we were going to talk about Joseph Smith again, he admitted that he didn't really remember anything about Joseph Smith.  So we started teaching him about the Restoration and about the Great Apostasy and we didn't get to the Restoration but it was still a really good lesson.  When we talked about the Great Apostasy, I could see his eyes being opened and his understanding of the significance of our church being strengthened.  Then at the end I asked him if he would give us a closing prayer and he refused.  I then asked him if he would say it next time and he said that he doesn't like praying because he feels like he doesn't have the faith.  I promised him that as he sincerely prays to Heavenly Father, that he will have his faith strengthened.  I then committed him to pray next time.  It was a really awesome experience for me because I it helped me to further realize my role as a missionary in helping other come closer unto Christ.  It was awesome.
Wow, I can't believe all that happened it the last week.  All of this seemed like it happened so long ago, but still the week flew by.  I am continuing to be blessed as I serve my mission and I am seeing others around me being blessed immensely as well, especially my family.  I am so grateful to be serving a mission in Korea right now.  It's hard, but it's fun, and most importantly, it's worth it.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale 

 Paju, Elder Huckvale's new area.  Isn't it lovely????

 Some squid hanging out at market.
"Stalker" picture that Elder Kim took of Elder Huckvale

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week 23 - Episode IV: A New President

We've been out of town, so I'm a week behind. :)  Therefore, expect two letters tonight.  :)

Title - Kind of an obvious one for all you Star Wars fans out there.  Elder Huckvale got a new Mission President on July 1st, so this is a spin on "Episode IV: A New Hope".

Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2015 12:08:32 +0900

Hello everyone!  This week has been awesome!  I am loving 금촌 and am loving being a missionary.  This week was pretty busy so it felt really long/went by ultra fast.  Our new mission president President Sonksen came in this week with his wife Sister Sonksen!  Plus it was 4th of July yesterday!  Wow!  Apparently it's not a big deal in Korea.  Classic Korea, not celebrating when America achieved its independence from Great Brittain.  Who do they think they are.  Nonetheless, the other elders in my house and I ate some watermelon in tribute to America's independence. 

 Elder Huckvale and his new companion, Elder Kim.  Doesn't he look happy?????
Stormtrooper making the rounds.  :)
Let's take a look back at Monday!  Nothing too special happened except I think that I saw a dog deal going down.  There was this old guy with a puppy in a box and I was like "Aw that's so cute!" and then he let me pet it for a little bit.  Then another guy in a truck drove up and paid the other guy for the dog and asked "Is it going to get big" and the other guy assured him that it would.  He placed the dog in the box in the back of his truck and then left.  It's sad but I guess that's just the way things role around here.  I'm not going to lie, if I had the chance to eat dog I'd do it.  Ain't no way I'm getting a chance to do that back in the states. 
On Tuesday we took a bus out to the middle of nowhere and met with this old guy at this old folks home where old people can just hang out during the day.  It was pretty fun.  We had planned to just do some How to Begin Teaching with him but he kept asking us what our message was and Elder Kim kept telling him about stuff that we were going to tell him later.  So I decided to just give him a brief introduction to the Book of Mormon and I talked about how if he reads it and prays about it, having a sincere desire to know that it's true.  He will know.  It was pretty cool.  I'm able to understand a lot more now than I have been before so I'm able to take part more in the lessons.  It's awesome.
On Thursday, we had a zone conference where President and Sister Sonksen introduced themselved to us for the first time.  It was pretty fun.  They are both really incredible people and I could feel their sincere desire to help us a missionaries as we do the Lord's work together in Seoul, Korea.  As usual, when I left the conference, I had a renewed desire to continue doing the Lord's work among His children and sharing the message of the restored gospel.
On Saturday we met with guy that Elder Kim and his previous companion met one time while jeondoing named 변주웅 (Byun Joo-Oong).  He is awesome!  He took Elder Kim and I to this really awesome restaurant called 본가 (Bon(e) Ga) and it was freakin delicious!  Anyways, he had time afterwards so we took him over to the church building (which is nearby) and toured him of it.  It was an awesome experience.  We showed him the baptismal font, he said that he felt the spirit.  Wow!  How awesome is that?!  He is so cool and is really good at English from watching American movies and TV shows.  He kept calling me "sir".  It was pretty funny.  Anyways, as we were heading out from the church building, I gave him a Book of Mormon and we gave him a brief introduction to it.  He is really interested in learning about our Church.  It's awesome.  We met him again on Sunday right after Church and we just taught him more about the Book of Mormon.  It was really cool.  We had him read Moroni's Promise (Moroni 10:3-5) and I told him that I know that everyone can know that this Book is true and I asked him that when he feels it is true if he would get baptized and he said yes.  It was awesome.  He is such a nice person and I personally believe that he is one of the prepared ones; one of those prepared to recieve our message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They're out there, there are just fewer of them in Korea as it turns out. 
재미 있습니다!
(It's fun!)
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Embracing the culture.