Monday, April 22, 2013

April 15 Email

Friends and Family!! 

First of all, I'm so sorry for not sending home a blogpost last week! I had every intention to, but my time for email got cut short unexpectedly! I promise to make up for it with this post.

So apparently Richard Nixon is huge in Korea, because every time I introduce myself people always say "ohhhhh president Nixon!!"  People also tell me I look like Matt Damon, which I've never got before I came here! They always try to put your face to a movie star. So I had a cool experience I wanna share from 2 weeks ago that I was gonna share last week but again time was unexpectedly cut short. I went on my first exchanges with Elder Fonnesbeck, who is part of the other companionship in my area. He has only been in the country for 4 months. When he found out he was going to be leading the exchanges for us, we both got pretty nervous. Speaking and understanding Korean is what they do here and it's sort of a thing neither of us do super well yet. We a had a lesson set up with someone he had contacted on the street a few days before. So before the lesson we were super nervous about teaching and weren't sure if he would understand anything we said!  When we met up with him, much to our relief, he spoke really good English (as do lots of Koreans). We were able to teach partially in Korean and mostly in English. It was so awesome because for the first time I was super involved in the lesson and actually knew what was going on, haha. He was so receptive to our message and seemed to really feel the spirit. The only thing that bums me out is that it was exchanges so I don't get to keep teaching him! Nevertheless, an awesome experience.

As for a more day to day report on what the mission is like so far – we visit (or try to visit) lots of less actives. I'm not sure if I mentioned this in an earlier post, but 90 % of Korean Church members are less active, which blew me away when I first heard that. So as missionaries, we try to focus a lot on bringing these people back to church. It's very hard to get in touch and track down lots of them, but we do our best. I think for my area especially since it used to be 3 separate areas and 3 different wards, which have now combined into 1 big ward, lots of less actives were created through that. When your church building used to be 15 minutes away and then became 40 minutes away and you were forced to get acquainted with new members and such....yeah. I remember a couple of years ago when my home ward in North Ogden was combined with another ward that it was awkward at the start. I can't imagine what it must be like for these members here to have to do that. The members are so great though! They are so kind to us!

I just barely watched conference this weekend and I have a new found respect for people who can sit through 12 hours of translation dubbed conference! Luckily, they had it in English for me and the other American companion in my area. I heard a little bit of the Korean sessions and it was pretty monotone plus all the cheesey church leader humor doesn't always translate too well.

One thing I think a lot of you already knew I'd be doing is teaching English. We hold class twice a week for anyone who wants to come and then we also teach personal programs where we teach people both English and the Gospel. Honestly, every person I have taught English too (including kids) is already way better at English than I will ever be at Korean! I could not believe how advanced in English the people that come to our class are. I thought we would be teaching way more basic stuff than we do, but a lot of what we teach is pronunciation practice. It's so funny because the Korean alphabet has two letters that, to an American, sound like two different "o" sounds – for the life of me I can't tell the difference between them!! But to a Korean it's night and day! On the other hand, I'll say "course and force" and it sound like the exact same word to them! It's amazing how everyone's ear is just trained to their language. We also teach lots of idioms! Koreans love English idioms and vocab!

I need to apologize for the lack of pictures I've been sending home! I feel so bad! My camera charger somehow didn't make it to Korea, so I've just been having missionaries send me their pictures. I promise once I get my camera up and running I'll send loads of pictures home. Last week we went to Dongdemoon market in downtown for PDay and it was so awesome! You would walk into a building and there would be like 50,000 ties hanging everywhere all for less than 10 bucks. Another perk is that the way lots of Koreans dress is similar to how I dress, so I am finding tons of stuff that is my style! Today we are going to the cherry blossom festival which should be awesome! I'll make sure to send a picture from it home next week. I'm so happy to be here and appreciate all the love and support you give me back home! It still feels a little weird being here and being a missionary but I am so excited for this to just feel like life. I got to go on exchanges this week with Elder Porter, who is my zone leader going home this transfer. I figured we'd just talk about him going home the whole time, but he didn't even want to think about going home yet. I saw that the mission just felt like life to him and I want more than anything to be there, but I realize that it doesn't come easy. Being here is a struggle, but I'm grateful for it and I can already see how it is making me better. I love and miss every one of you.

From Nok Bun with Love,

Elder Nixon


No comments:

Post a Comment