Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Goodbye Bong Choen, Hello Gum Choen! - February 2

After 7 and a half months, the sad day has finally come for me to leave Bong Choen! I'm being transferred to 금천 (Gum Choen) 2 Ward opening a new set of Elder missionaries. What "opening" basically means is that you aren't replacing anyone there, the people there are staying and they are adding two more missionaries to the ward. So when you start, you literally start from scratch with no investigators or knowledge of the ward or area or anything. Obviously, we'll get a lot of help from the missionaries that are already there so it won't be too bad! I also get to train a new missionary for the first time! I'm so excited to get someone straight from the MTC and try and teach him everything I know. I'll find out exactly who I get on Wednesday when we transfer. I already know a little bit about Gum Choen, first of all it is almost touching my current area, hah. It's close to me right now, but in a different stake/zone so I've never been there. It's the very edge of Seoul, but I'm still in Seoul!! Technically, every area I have served in has been on the edge of Seoul. I'm so excited to stay in Seoul because the majority of the mission is actually outside of the city, (the Seoul North mission takes most of the actual city). The area I'm going to is one of the only areas I know of that actually has two wards in the same area. There is Gum Choen one ward and Gum Choen 2 ward (where i'm at). Between the 2 wards when I get there, there will be 10 missionaries between the two wards!! (4 elders for one ward, 4 elders for the other ward and 2 sisters to cover both wards.) I'm pretty sure all 8 of the Elders are training! hah you could say it is a crazy time to be a missionary.

The last week here in Bong Choen was a good one. This week was the Lunar New Year holiday which I'd say is bigger than Christmas here. its called Sol Lar. It's one of the two biggest holidays here. The other one is called Choo Sok and is in September and pretty much their version of Thanksgiving. The only bad thing about the holiday is that it is tradition for everyone to go back to their hometown so Seoul pretty much clears out for the week. Nevertheless, we still had a good week here including a mission conference with the whole mission to celebrate Lunar New Year.

We met this super nice college student on the street maybe a month ago who said that we could meet again. After trying to set up an appointment a few times, we finally ate dinner together this week. We asked him what he was studying, he is studying....wait for it...yep! you got it, Horse Science!! He wants to be a horse doctor (There are less than 30 in Korea) (and apparently 0 people currently studying horse science) You better believe the minute he told me that, I told him all about ColeMansCa$H and how the the race horse my grandpa named after me was a champion. He thought that was pretty cool. It was so fun with him because he asked me right before we walked into the restaurant if Korean or English was more comfortable (oh yea, he is fluent in English) I said Korean was okay and we spent about half the meal having an awesome conversation in Korean and then the other half in English (I can only get so far with my current vocabulary of horses in Korean). He was amazed by the whole concept of college student aged kids giving up 2 years and getting the benefit of becoming a better person. The idea really clicked with him and he didn't think it was weird that we are doing this. Most people wonder why we would spend our time doing this, so it was awesome to be reminded how good of an idea this whole missionary thing was. I'm sad that I don't get to meet him again but excited for him to learn about our church.

The mission conference was super fun. The one highlight I can remember right now is that we all got brand new street boards for street contacting activities that are all about families They look a million times better than what we are using right now! So all 175ish of us went out to one subway station and did a huge joint missionary contacting activity with these new street boards. There wasn't a ton of people there because of the holiday, but it was still really fun and i'm really excited to use them in the future. We ate what Koreans traditionally eat on lunar new year which is called 떡국(dokk guk) not sure on english spelling but its a super tasty rice cake soup that was really good. We got lots of good training from President about finding family and using English class effectively. Our mission is about to get a revamp on the English program so that should be good.

Yesterday was a really bad Sunday to leave Bong Choen because everyone was out of town for the holiday:( I couldn't say goodbye to everyone but at least got to say goodbye to lots of members I've really come to love. I took a few pictures (the crazy smiley guy, he is the one who fed me rotten sting ray and one of my favorite members). I really am jealous to those who get to serve here in the future. I'll always remember the good times I had with the Bong Choen ward.

I'll leave with a miracle we saw last night. I've already told you a little bit about brother Kim, who works at the convenience store. We wanted him to come to church this week so bad since it would be my last Sunday. Since he is a wedding photographer on the weekends, he works on Sundays 50% of the time, so he said if he wasn't working he would for sure come. It turns out he had to work and couldn't come and he doesn't have a phone right now so we had no way of contacting him. We had just finished a lesson last night and and planned the rest of the night to go visit less actives and say goodbye to them. We usually go in the same order when we visit and were headed to the first house. We were just about to cross the street to the first member when I thought "lets go in reverse this time and start with the last house" so we didn't cross the street and headed in the other direction to the last house. Not 2 minutes later, we found Brother Kim!! He told us that he just got off work and felt bad he couldn't come today so that he came looking for us! Wow! talk about being guided by the spirit! It was such a cool experience and one I'll always remember about my last week here.

This next little while should be a fun ride!

From 봉천, with Love. Elder Nixon

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