Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 8


Hey all!

So the christmas packages came this week and my companion was so surprised that I still got presents as a 20 year old! I learned a lot about Christmas culture in Korea this week. Before I came to Korea, I thought since it's Asia they wouldn't celebrate much, but then I got here and saw the Christian Church on every street corner and thought they went crazy for Christmas. Turns out that it is somewhere in the middle and also somewhere out in left field. It's funny how I get all my Korean Culture from the same group of about 10 Koreans who come to English class who love to tell me in english about Korea. So I told them my mom was sending me presents and they were confused. Turns out people stop receiving Christmas gifts about the same time they stop believing in Santa Claus. Elder Veerothai said it was similar in Thailand, but that Christmas is pretty much a normal day in Thailand because there aren't many christians. I showed him that mom sent him a stocking and he was so excited! I first had to explain what stockings were and then he was so excited that he had something for Christmas. The other huge difference that was so weird to me was that Christmas is a holiday that you take your girlfriend or wife on a date like New Years or Valentines day. I told them that if I ever scheduled a date on Christmas night my Mom would kill me! It was really cool to learn about the difference but also kind of bummed me out that it wasn't the same kind of family holiday that it is in America. We get to have our big Christmas Mission Conference on Christmas Eve so that should be lots of fun.

This week brought one of the most embarrassing moments of the mission that I'll never forget. We were headed to the church Saturday morning to teach our youth english class when I saw a guy watching TV on his phone (people do that here). I gave him a nice warm 안녕하세요! (anyounghasaeyooh) just in case he might be in the mood to hear the greatest message on earth. He responded better than 95% of the people and seemed really nice and wanting to talk. I asked him where he was going and he told me to church. I thought that was kind of weird to be going to church on Saturday morning but I assumed it must have been some Saturday morning worship service. I also assumed that he was going to the church right across the street from ours. Then I told him that I was a missionary here serving for my church and that I'm voluntarily here for two years, he seemed to think that was really cool. We then walked up to what I thought was his church and I said is this your church? and then he said no and then I asked where his church was and he said something I didn't pick up and then I asked him the name of his church and low and behold he got about half way through saying The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before he started cracking up and throwing his arms around me. Turns out I'm terrible at remembering ward members faces and this guy has been in the ward for 2 months now! I just kept saying 창피창피!!!(Chang Peee Chang Peee) which means I have so much shame!! he thought it was so funny that I gave him the usual missionary approach. I didn't know what to do when I saw him at church the next day so I just went up to him again and said "hello I'm a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do you know my church?? have you ever met missionaries?? he just laughed again and his wife laughed really hard too.

Yesterday we had yet another member of our ward bring his friend to church! This is the 5th or 6th member referral we've gotten since I've been here. That kind of number is pretty unheard of here in Korea! I'm pretty sure I praise the ward members every week in these emails, but they for sure deserve it. Yesterday was a member in his 60's who is the only member in his family, who was baptized around 10 years ago, brought his friend who lives in the same apartment complex. When I asked how they originally met, he said that they did service activities together and that his friend was going to the Presbyterian church right now but searching for the truth. I've never seen a member so excited to teach about The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He didn't have any shame at all and you could see in his eyes how much he loved it. I almost forgot till just now that the only young women in our ward right now also brought her friend to church yesterday. She said that she made some kind of game with her friend and if she won that her friend had to come to church with her at least three times. Her friend seemed to really like it. This all brought me back to bringing my nonmember friend to church in high school and even though it was a little hard to ask initially, it was such a good experience. This week was amazing to serve along side my ward members in sharing the gospel. What greater time to do so then the Christmas season. Thank you for all the support in any form it's coming! This week is transfer calls so I'll know next week if I'm in Bong Choen for Christmas or headed somewhere new.

From 봉천,with Love. Elder Nixon

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