Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 1 in GUM CHOEN!!!! - February 9, 2014

What a crazy first week! Nothing like moving 20 minutes away from you old area and experiencing pretty much a 180 degree turn in missionary work in so many ways!

First things, first my new companion is Elder Fowler! He is fresh from the MTC. He's from Orofino, Idaho, which is apparently really far north near the Washington border. He was home-schooled. He graduated at 16, got his mission call at 17 and turned 18 right before the MTC. He told me he was born in 95 and I nearly fell over. He's awesome! loves to work hard and have a good time. He told me that his hometown has 3,000 people and that he grew up on a mountain with no immediate neighbors. He has hit quite the exact opposite by coming to this mission, but he is adjusting pretty good. We're getting along with each other really well. He never seems to complain about anything here, which is more than I can say when I was new!

We had quite the first day getting from the office to our new area. So we live in a 4 man house and the other companionship in the house is also training a new missionary so 3 of us had suitcases we had to get from the office to our area and the office just happens to be on the exact opposite side of Seoul. We had to go through the middle of the busiest part of Seoul at the time everyone commutes home from work on the subway with 6 suitcases and my Valentines package! I wish you could have seen us just cram onto the subway that was jam packed with 6 suitcases! My poor companion's first experience of Korea was unfortunately the over crowded subway. Like i said before, though, he never complains, so the whole time we were just laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation was being crammed on the subway with everything he brought to Korea. The best/worst/FUNNIEST part of the trip home was transferring at one of the biggest subway stations in Seoul. Every time the train we needed to take would pull up, there would be too many people and literally no way for us to fit all our bags. We let about 3 jammed to the ceiling trains go by till finally we decided it wasn't getting any less crowded. So the doors opened on the 4th train, we let a few people that needed to get off get off and then I just yelled "THUMBS UP LETS DO THIS!!!" and we all charged into the subway with our suitcases. I still don't know how we fit, but I will never forget the terrified look all the Koreans on the train had when they saw us charging in with our bags, haha. I sort of wish I could've counted it as my first day in Korea, because it was quite memorable.

So like I said at the start of my post, it has been pretty much a 180 turn from the missionary work I was doing last week. Going from an area with about 120 members to a ward of 40 members, going from a companion who was almost my same level of Korean to a companion who knows almost nothing, going from an area I know everything about to an area I know nothing about, going from meeting investigators on a daily basis to being on the street all day with no investigators. Putting it like that makes it kind of seem like it sucks right now, but we really are having a good time. I would maybe even say it is kind of nice to be thrown into a brand new situation of missionary work.

The ward is amazing here! That is one thing that Bong Choen and Gum Choen both have in common. I would say the make up of the ward is quite different. Bong Choen was filled with former 70's and Stake Presidents and famously smart Seoul National University students and not very many young families. This new ward seems to be only young families. I'm a little sad there are no Korean Grandmas in my new ward because they are literally the best and Bong Choen had some gems, but what Gum Choen lacks in old ladies they make up for in cute kids. Literally, the cutest little primary kids I've seen in Korea so far! The feel of the ward is quite different, but still amazing. It's almost like Bong Choen loved its missionaries in one way but Gum Choen loves its missionaries in a different but equally loving way...I'm pretty positive that didn't make any sense. I gave my intro talk on Sunday and told them I was a 식신 (Sheek Shin) which directly translates to food God and indirectly translates to a really good eater, hah. They thought that was funny and by the end of church meetings were calling me Elder Sheek Shin and then Elder Sheek Sun (Elder Nixon is pronounced Nick sun in Korean) This is also the home ward of Elder Choi, whose family I had lunch with before I came to Korea. Mom is going to love this. Those rowdy boys he talks about in his conference talk are in my ward now and one of them is my Bishop!! I told them that I knew Elder Choi and they thought that was cool. In Priesthood, the Bishop welcomed us and told us sorry because this is kind of a hard area and you won't have many investigators. I didn't really know how to respond so I just said "I'll try my best!" The one thing I do have going for me is a ward mission leader who is first counselor to President Morrise in the mission presidency, so you bet he performs beyond what his calling as ward mission leader is. We met with him this week and he was so great! such a loving guy. I can't believe how quick I fell in love with this area. Sure there are hard things about it, but show me an area that is not hard. I think I said it last week, but I'll say it again...I can't wait to see what becomes of the next couple of months!

I love you!!!!!! From 금천, with love. Elder Nixon

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