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Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 30 - It Didn't Hit Anything...Just Impacted on the Surface

Title - In Star Wars, there is a group of ex-wing fighters that go down the trench on the Death Star.  The leader shoots his torpedoes towards the exhaust port and it explodes, but the other pilots' ask, "did it go in?" and the leader says, "No, it didn't go in... just impacted on the surface."

Random side note.  This week has been a little stressful for us.  There is currently unrest in Korea and Elder Huckvale is living right on the North Korea/South Korea border near the DMZ in a town called Paju.  We were happy to hear that everything is under control, that the Mission President is on the ball and constantly talking with the military and that all the missionaries have prepared 72-hour kits just in case they have to evacuate.

Hello Adoring Fans!
Well, this week has really flown by.  It's crazy how fast it goes.  I remember in the MTC we talked about how the summer was just going to fly by and guess what happened?  It did.  Crazy.  Anyways, apparently there is some concern on the homefront due to some bombs that North Korea has thrown over the boarder.  Have no fear, all is well.  Apparently this kind of stuff happens every once and a while and nobody's really that worried about it.  However, I will still be on the watch for explosions and things of the sort. 
Putting national threats aside...
On Monday after P-Day, we all of a sudden ended up meeting with 허진영 (Hou Jin Yung), who we met a few weeks ago in the train station and insisted that we teach his daughter English.  Anyways, yeah we met with him and his family and it went alright.  We really fell through though on teaching the spiritual half of the family-language program which I felt really bad about.  I kept expecting Elder Kim to kind of transition into that part of the hour, but it just never happened.  It was kind of struggily.  Elder Kim is my senior companion and every thing, but doing something like teaching the Gospel when we had just spent the last half hour teaching English goes against every thing that Elder Kim and I think most Koreans have learned.  I may be the junior companion, but somebody has to take control of the situation and make sure that our purpose is fulfilled.  Gosh dang it.

 PDay activities at the church.  Look at all that yummy food!!!

On Tuesday we met with 김동환 (Daniel) and it went pretty well.  We taught him all about the Atonement and how through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can overcome any trial or addiction in our lives.  It was really cool because I talked about how the Atonement can help him strengthen his relationship with his father, which isn't in the best state these days.  I also talked about how it can help him to overcome his smoking problem.  Then we had him look up the "Because He Lives" video from Easter and we watched that with him.  It was really cool.  I think that a lot of the time people don't really understand what exactly Jesus Christ did when he came to the earth and fulfilled the Atonement.  People always talk about how He "died for our sins", but I don't think they actually know or understand what that means.  Because of the Atonement, it's not just our sins that we can overcome, but every thing...even death.
On Wednesday and Thursday I went on an exchange in 일산 (Irsan) with one of our zone leaders, Elder Taylor.  It's kind of funny these days because Elder Jeong started this rumor among the missionaries that I'm the cutest missionary in the mission.  So, of course, I've been getting the most crap from my zone leaders because they are really close with Elder Jeong.  It's been fun though.  Oh, and the zone leaders also saw the picture of me from our family Christmas card and now take to calling me "Little Hipster".  I have to keep reminding them that "I wasn't even that hip".
Anyways, the exchange went really well and Elder Taylor helped me realize that this mission is getting filled with young missionaries really fast and that it's up to us to get the work moving in the mission.  So that was pretty cool for me.  It helped me to re-emphasize just how important this work is and that instead of waiting to become a leader when I become a senior companion or a trainer or something, I need to be a leader now.
On Thursday we had zone street boarding which was going pretty well until it was interrupted by the whole "we might be being invaded" fiasco.  So yeah we all had to rush back to our houses and prepare our 72-hour kits in case we had to be evacuated.  It was all good though, the situation hasn't gotten too far out of hand yet from what I've heard.  President Sonksen is keeping a close eye on our area though because of its close proximity to the DMZ and we will be the first to know if anything's going on and if we need to flee.  Even if nothing happens, it was still good practice in case something actually does happen.

Making preparations for evacuation.
On Saturday we got teach this guy from the Philippines named Mark who I met about a month ago on the street and have been trying to meet ever since.  Anyways, we didn't have a lot of time to meet with him, so we just got to know him a little and we talked about Jesus Christ and His Atonement a little bit.  He is a super great guy, is 29, has a wife and two kids in the Philippines, and is currently attending a Born-again Christian Church.  He came to Korea about a year ago for work and now his wife has gotten clearance to come over to work also, but she needs to find an employer first.  Anyways, the lesson with him went really well and I'm really looking forward to meeting with him in the future.
So yeah, all-in-all this week has been pretty great!  In Korea, we do a lot of street contacting and on days where we have few appointments and are required to do street contacting for long periods of time, it can be very difficult not to become discouraged and to stay motivated the entire time.  The most important thing for me to remember is to remain happy the entire time and remember why we're here as missionaries: not to meet people, not to teach English, but to teach the gospel and help others come closer unto Jesus Christ.
If South Korea gets invaded, I'll be sure to let you know in my next e-mail!
Love and Miss Y'all!
This one goes out to all the fans
Called to Serve
Elder Huckvale



Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 29 - Aren't You a Little Short for a Missionary?

Title - When Luke first finds Princess Leia, he says, "aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

Hello my adoring fans!
This week has been pretty fresh.  We didn't do much along the lines of meeting with our investigators this week.  A lot of them are on business trips in southern South Korea for the month of August so we've had a lot of time to proselyte these past few weeks. 
But it's still been awesome!
On Monday, after we e-mailed, we went to a trampoline park in a different area.  One of the elders in our mission, named John Carpenter, just went home this week so some of the elders wanted to get together to see him one last time.  Considering the fact that Elder Brother Carpenter (?) is a world-renown parkour champion, the trampoline park seemed like a fitting place to get together with him one last time.  It was pretty awesome.  He can do some pretty crazy stuff.  He probably could've done more, but it's been a while since he was on a trampoline.
On Tuesday, we just jeondoed all day and then at night we had a "meeting" at our ward missionary leader, 김수민 (Kim Su Min)'s house.  It was pretty much he just wanted to have all of the missionaries in the ward over for dinner.  So we ate dinner and then he talked with us about the importance of working with the members in order to do missionary work.  This is something that I think a lot of missionaries struggle with, myself included.  I really need to work on becoming friends with the members so that we can work together in spreading the gospel. 
On Wednesday, we had a zone conference which was pretty awesome.  Again, I felt Presiden't Sonksen's love for us and his desire to really get the work going in our mission.  He changed things a little bit in terms of how we will do street contacting going forward which I think was done for the better.  For part of the conference, we broke up into separate groups and did some trainings and then we got back together in the chapel to discuss what we learned.  President Sonksen called me out and asked me a question.  After I answered he asked "are you really 18 years old?"  I replied "actually, 19 now."  Then he said "every time I look at you I think your 14 years old!"  Classic.
On the way back from the conference, I started talking to this really good guy about church and God and his family.  We were having a really good conversation and I really felt the Spirit.  Then this drunk grandpa on the other side of the train started yelling at me in English and telling me there is no god.  He continued to yell at me as I tried to talk to the other guy.  Then, what do you know?  The spot next to where I'm standing opens and the drunk grandpa takes it.  Dang.  It was a very struggily scenario.  So, my conversation with the other guy was pretty much over at that point.  Dang drunk grandpas.  Anyways, even  though I was being harassed by the drunk grandpa for the rest of the train ride, before the other guy left, he gave me his business card.  Nice!  He doesn't live in our area unfortunately, but he lives in the area nextdoor so we can just meet with him once and then see if we can refer him to other missionaries.
On Thursday, it was a really nice day and then all-of-a-sudden it started pouring...while we were out jeondoing  and we didn't have any umbrellas.  Dang it.  We got really wet.  Luckily, some members saw us and gave us a ride home.  It was a miracle.  After we ate the weather was perfectly fine again so we went out jeondoing and we started talking to this one guy and we ended up talking to him for an hour.  We had a really good conversation and we gave him a Book of Mormon, but he refused to give us him name and phone number, but he said that he would read the Book of Mormon over a month and then pray about it and call us if he finds out it's true.  We'll see how that turns out.  Hopefully with a lot of prayer and faith we'll get a phone call in a month from the guy we met near the police station telling us the Church is true and that he wants to get baptized.
On Saturday we had the ward barbecue which was really fun.  김동환 (Daniel) came and stayed for the whole thing and I think that he really enjoyed it.  The unfortunate thing is that there aren't any members in our ward who are his same age or in the same stage in their lives as he is so it's been hard finding somebody who can fellowship him.  Anyways, we at a lot of meat and played 촉구 (Choku) which is pretty much volleyball but instead you kick it and the net is lower.  It was fun, but I am not very good at it.

 Doing the "Kimchi Squat" :)
 Children taking turns throwing water balloons at Elder Ee
 Ward BBQ in the parking lot

On Sunday I got wrapped up in toilet paper to be Lazarus for the primary kids.  That was really fun.  At night Elder Kim and I talked to some drunk foreigners outside of a Seven-Eleven.  That was interesting.

Overall this week has been really awesome!  We have had a lot of good talks with people on the street and have seen a lot of miracles.  Missionary work is hard but it's the most fulfilling thing that I've ever done.
Love and Miss Y'all
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale
P.S.  I drank a full glass of milk for the first time since I was like three on Tuesday and I am still not a fan.
P.S.S.  Chocolate milk is good though.

 Elder Huckvale and Elder Kim
Sporting his "Happy 6-month-mark" tee shirt we sent him.  Looks pretty cool with the Korean name tag above it!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 28 - Well More Rain Than You Could Imagine! I Don't Know, I Can Imagine Quite A Bit

Title - In Star Wars, Luke is trying to convince Han to go rescue Princess Leia. He tells Han that she's rich and Han says, "how rich?".  Luke says, "more wealth than you can possibly imagine".  Han answers, "I don't know.  I can imagine quite a bit."

This week was awesome!  We got to go the temple last Tuesday and it was choice!  Also, I made it through this week char-free!
Let's start with last Monday...
Last Monday after e-mail, we got to meet with one of our new investigators named 이경철 (Ee Gyung Chur).  Technically, he's not new so-to-speak, but we just decided to meet with him because he came to church last Sunday because Elder Kim invited him to over the phone.  He's really nice and he seems to have a sincere desire to know the truth, so that's cool.
On Tuesday we went to the Temple.  The temple was awesome.  I felt the spirit really strongly as President and Sister Sonksen bore their testimonies to us of the love that they have for us.  I am so grateful for them and their willingness to serve the Lord in Korea and lead His work here.  And they are loving it too.  After we went to the temple, Elder Kim and I went to this giant like book mall thing called Kyobo Book Centre and I got a Korean grammar book.  After that we went all the way out to 동대문 (Dongdaemun), to get some cheap ties, but when we got there, the cheap tie place was closed!  Apparently, a lot of people take the first week in August off for vacation.  Jank.  Anyways, both Dongdaemun and the place where Kyobo are were in my old area and it was really cool to be back. 
 Elder Kim and Elder Huckvale
Elder Huckvale's District at the Korea Seoul Temple
Sister Cameron, Sister Hong, Elder Han, Elder Kim, Elder Bell, Elder Huckvale, Elder Ee and Elder Dye

Tuesday night we met with 김동환 (Daniel), again, and it was awesome.  I felt the spirit really strongly as we talked about God.  There was a time in Daniel's life when he wanted to know which church is true, but he's kind of given up on that search and doesn't believe that God could exist anymore.  It was really cool because I was able to understand him while he explained his thoughts in Korean.  I wasn't able to understand it all, but I understood what I needed to through the Spirit.  It was awesome.  Then I was able to testify that God doesn't just exist, but that He lives, and that He is our Heavenly Father, and that He loves all of His children, even those who don't believe in Him, even Daniel.  It was really cool.  Then I told Daniel that we love him also, and that we want to help him, and that we want him to overcome his smoking problem.  He told us that he's been smoking less.  Nice.  We met again with him yesterday and he's been improving, slowly but surely, and has been smoking less and less.  Nice.
Wednesday we just jeondoed a lot.  Then at night we almost got lost.  We decided to take a train to 운정 (Oonjung, which is the next train stop after ours) and then we were going to walk back.  So it's like 8:30, and we walk a quarter mile down the highway on a perfectly nice sidewalk, and then all-of-a-sudden, the sidewalk just ends!  What the flip?!  So we had to walk all the way back and ended up just having to take the bus. 
On Thursday, while we were picking up trash around the church building, I ran into my friend from 장로교 (Presbyterian Church) that I met a few weeks ago who called the Church a cult because we read the Book of Mormon.  Anyways, he had come up with a new list of reasons why the Church is a cult and once again I didn't understand what he was talking about so I told him that I still don't care if people call the Church a cult so then he left.  He's not mad at me or anything and I'm not really sure why I am the one who always becomes the target of his fiery darts because he can't really argue with me, he can just argue at me.  I guess that's how he finds fulfillment.
On Saturday, it rained, and when I say that it rained, I mean like a typhoon/rain/lightning/thunderstorm happened.  It was pretty crazy.  Luckily, we had an appointment at a cafe so while that was going on outside we were inside drinking hot chocolate.  Then when the appointment was over, as was the storm.  It was pretty bad.  When we got to English class right after, it turned out that the sister missionaries had not faired as well as us.  They were soaked.  Then the rest of the day the weather was actually pretty nice.
On Sunday, we were supposed to have 3 appointments, but two of them cancelled.  We did, however, have a really awesome ward going-away celebration for 이순호 (Ee Soonho), who left today to go the MTC in Utah and is going to the Korea Busan Mission. 
I love the 금촌 (Geumchon) ward.
Serving a mission is so awesome. 
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Oonjung Train Station
 Return of the Stormtrooper (for all who have been missing him)  :)
Elder Huckvale's dad mentioned to him that the Stormtrooper was looking a little bit worn like he had been in battle or something), and Elder Huckvale responded that he had been in the same bag as his Tide To-Go Marker.  Dang!
 Not sure... but it's funny.  :)
Wound care.  Glad we sent that first aid kit.  :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 27 - *Grunting Sounds

Title - K, so we're really not sure what the title is about at all... so just make something good up!

I made it six months folks!  This means also that I came up with a Star Wars quote to use for every e-mail for the past like 30 or so weeks.  That's right, you should be impressed.
Anyways, this week was pretty slow it seemed, but it also flew by really fast.  I can't believe that I'm already done with my third transfer in Korea!  What the flip!
On Tuesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Dye which was pretty fun.  Since it was my six months day, we went to a meat buffet which was pretty delicious.  After the meet buffet, we met up with 김동환 (Daniel) which was really awesome.  We talked about his life story and Elder Dye and I were able to learn a lot about him and where he was in his life before he found the missionaries.  It was a really great experience.  Now that we know more about him, we can know how to better fulfill his needs as we teach him. 
On Wednesday, we had a district meeting that was all about teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was Elder Bell (our district leader) and Sister 홍선해 (Hong Sunhae)'s last district meeting with us which was kind of surreal.  Because of the age change in 2013, a ton of the missionaries came into the mission, but now that it's been two years since then, there are now a lot of missionaries going home.  We're losing so many missionaries and having to close so many areas.  Plus, there are a ton of new sister missionaries coming in now so that's kind of interesting.  Sister Cameron (who's in the group that came with me to Korea and also in the same ward as me), is already being made a senior companion of a sister missionary that came the transfer after us.  It's pretty crazy.  There are so many new sister missionaries. 
Later Wednesday night, we taught English class and a new member came.  He's 17 (15) years old and he really wants to learn English.  He seemed to have really enjoyed the English class and I think that he was able to learn a lot, but I don't think that he really appreciated the message.  We taught about the Great Apostasy.  I think that it might have scared him a little bit.  I don't know, hopefully he comes again. 
On Thursday I burned my ankle pretty badly. 
Since Elder Bell is leaving next week, him and Elder Han went on an exchange to go and visit one of their investigators one last time.  So Elder Ee, Elder Dye, Elder Kim and I all went out and got 뼈해장국 (Byeo Hae Jang Gook).  It's similar to kimchi stew, but it's got pig spine in it and it's very delicious.  Anyways, I was trying to get the spine out of the soup and move it onto a different plate and I accidently spilled some on my ankle and it went through my sock and gave me like a second-degree burn.  What the flip.  I didn't even noticed except for the fact that it kept stinging after like 20 minutes.  Then I pulled down my sock and saw that my skin was blistering.  Dang it.  Luckily for me, so many missionaries are aspiring doctors.  So after we finished eating we went over to Elder Dye's house and popped the blister, removed the burned skin, and he put burn creme on it. 
But it's still delicious!
Friday was really good.  We recieved a referral from missionaries in a different area and so we went out to 운정 (Oonjung) to go and meet with him.  While I was waiting for the train, this guy just randomly started talking to me and said that he has a lot of interest in the Church and that he received a Book of Mormon from other missionaries.  The train ride was really short, so I didn't get to talk to him for very long, but I was able to get his number so we'll probably meet him again.  Then, when we got to 운정(Oonjung), while we were filling up our T-Money cards, another guy just came up to us randomly and started asking us about our English program.  It was pretty awesome.  He is so nice.  He really wants to learn English and he really wants his 8-year-old daugter to learn English.  We told him that we can teach him English but when we teach English, we also teach about our message.  He doesn't have any religion, but he said that it would still be okay.  Nice!  Then he gave us a ride to our appointment which was really awesome.  Then we met with 이필호 (Ee Pirho), who we recieved as a referral.  We didn't meet with him for very long, we just taught him a little bit about the Book of Mormon and then Elder Kim invited him to be baptized.  He said no but he still want to meet with us which is good.  Unfortunately, he's going out of town on a business trip for like a month.  Dang. 
Saturday we didn't have any appointments other than with Daniel so we were just jeondoing around.  Elder Kim started talking to this guy on the street about the Church and all-of-a-sudden, the guy took us to the nearest convenience store and bought us drinks and then we gave him an introduction to the Book of Mormon.  It was pretty awesome.  Then I invited him to be baptized and he said yes!  I don't think that he really understands what be baptized means yet, but still that's a good sign that he said yes.  After we met him we met up with Daniel at the Church and we had planned on teaching him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we ended up teaching him about the Word of Wisdom which was awesome.  He already understands why drinking alcohol and green tea and all the things in the word of wisdom are bad except he has a smoking problem.  We were able to help him more fully understand why smoking is bad and that when he smokes, he relies on it.  He relies on cigarettes to feel calm.  We also showed him Section 89 in the Doctrine and Covenants where it tells us to avoid all of these substances and how that revelation was recieved like 200 years ago about.  Only in like the last fifty years have they actually been discovering the side-effects of consuming such substances.  So that was pretty cool.  Anyways, we got him to commit to "try" and stop smoking.  I got mad at him for saying "try", but that's all he was willing to commit to.
Then on Saturday night, we ate chicken and then transfer calls came.  Every one in my house is staying which means that I am still living with 3 Korean missionaries.  Elder Dye, who came to 금촌 (Geumchon) with me last transfer is already leaving and going to 속초(Sokcho), so that's pretty crazy.  Also, our area's going from eight missionaries to six.
Well, once again, it turns out there was more to write about than I thought!  Anyways, being a missionary is so awesome and I am so grateful for the privilege and the opportunity to be serving among the people Korea at this time.  I can't believe how fast it's all happening though!
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale