Thursday, May 1, 2014

Whoa... I thought last week was crazy!

Mom and Dad,

So, as the title states, I thought last week and the week before were crazy.... I was wrong!  

So to start this, because our zone split last transfer, during zone training this week we had to go up to Gumcheon, in the middle of nowhere!  It is the zone directly above ours, about 5 minutes from the DMZ and filled with nothing but farms and huge apartment buildings!  We finally made it out there after about an hour on the craziest bus in Korea!!!!  We made about 5 u turns and took small turns at over 70 kph!  Scary!!!  Oh man and they slam on their brakes like it is nothing here!  We got to the building which sits on top of a hill and had a great zone training meeting, a little bit smaller now that we are down a district!  Anyways it was super fun!  One of the main focuses this month is on more baptisms, and giving more baptismal invitations!  You'll see why this is important in a bit.  Afterwards, we had to rush back to Ilsan where we had an appointment set, we got there about 15 minutes late and ended up staying a little bit later to make up for it, it was pretty good though.  They were a catholic family and the husband seemed to be into it, although the wife was pretty against everything once we brought up baptism.  She even said that the Book of Mormon was the word of god, but denied our baptismal commitment.  Oh well, we will get to her soon enough.  After that, We just went home and finished off our day with some study and dinner.  Oh and on Monday we found out some crazy news that we thought was just a rumor but turned out to be true on wednesday..... Elder Gildea, the red headed military missionary from my mtc district and also in my district here in Ilsan was going home.....  We never found out why but on wednesday he told us that he decided that he needed to go home, and that the spirit was urging him to return to the military.  Nobody believed it but it was sad to hear.

Thursday, Me and Elder Smith had a great day where we had 3 appointments lined up that all went through, and you can guess what we did in every appointment:  Baptismal commitments!  The first man had the biggest apartment that either of us had ever seen, and keep in mind that Korean apartments and homes are extremely tiny, like really tiny!!!!!  Anyways, we taught this man the Restoration, and he ate it up!  Near the end of our appointment, I committed him to be baptized, and after not understanding the first time I gave the committment, he said yes, after he found out if the church was true.  Sweet!  Then from there we ran to the church where we then had one of the strangest meetings of my life, this man argued with us for a half an hour about how Nephi could not have built a boat, that the first boats were built in the Netherlands..... What a waste of time!  He only half believes in God and in the Bible, so we are hoping that we can direct our lessons and teach him effectively.  We will see.  Then after that we had a super weird meeting with a kid at a dunkin donuts...  We didnt exactly know if it was him at first, we didnt recognize him and neither did he to us..... Oh no....  Anyways we got inside and He brought his girlfriend and 2 other friends.... Smith talked to the 2 others and I talked to our investigator just about life.  I was surprised I was able to talk about dating, marriage, music, and other stuff with this kid with relative ease, although my brain scrambles to find all the words I know and put them together!  Anyways, eventually we left and tried to give this kid a baptismla commitment after talking with him for a while, but It wasnt working out and we couldnt get it to him..... But oh well we are trying!  Gotta invite everyone!  

Friday is where it gets really crazy.... We found out the night before that Elder Rhodes, one of my roommates and zone leaders, would be leaving our house for Gumcheon to help one of the troubled missionaries up there, and his old companion elder simons would be the replacement for Elder Gildea.  Which only left one thing, where would the other Zone leader in our house go?  Well you better believe that Im in a 3some now!  Crazy!!!  Friday some of the Elders had to help move a bunch of people around and get everyone to their designated area, while president picked up elder gildea and took him to the airport and got him home.  How sad!  This is now the second missionary out of my Dongi who has gone home..... It starts to take a toll on my morale, wondering if I can still make it out here, when these other people I thought were strong are starting to go home....  It showed itself when I snapped at my zone leader Elder Chisholm and I got in his face, then left.  He, my district leader Elder Hendershot, and my Comp Elder Smith came in and asked me what was going on.  I just explained how I felt and how I was stressed and worried about going home.  They helped me out and helped me realize that Im fine and one of the strongest missionaries in the mission.   Really helped boost my confidence and get me geared up and ready to go.  Anyways enough of that and back to this threesome I am now in.... crazy!  this week combined we got 30 lessons, including street lessons, and 15 new investigators!  No one else in the mission got that!  Also on Saturday, we had a man who I met on a bus for about 2 minutes come up to us (he saw us from across the way) and ask for the church address. he said that He wanted to come to our church!  Sweet!!!!!!!

Sunday was also a little crazy.  We had Charlie that man on the street come to church!  So nice and super cool!  I understood a lot of what was going on this week surprisingly and it all capped off with me bearing my testimony in fast and testimony meeting about what had happend with me getting stressed and how god answers prayers.  I had members get up afterwards and tell me I sound like a korean now haha.  Definitely not true, but Im trying!  My companions were super happy that I got up too, and they both said I was good up there.  After church we were supposed to meet with the Pakistani family, the one from a couple of weeks ago, long story short, they were about 1 1/2 hours late, they insulted my zone leaders korean saying he couldnt understand about 70% of what they were saying, even though he had just translated a whole thing about tax and bank statements and housing agreements!  Then they got mad saying that if we didnt help them, they would never come to church again, etc , etc.....  The only good thing that came of it was that we gave them book of mormons in Urdu, some weird pakistani language.  That was the only good that came of that.  Then a long bus ride home.

Anyways theres my crazy week, I love it here in Korea, love my new "Step Dad"  (Anyone who trains you is your dad), and I love the people!  I hope that throughout this next week I can feel the spirit even stronger as we try to give more people the opportunity to come closer to Christ and Heavenly Father through baptism.  I also hope everyone is having a great week and not doing anything to crazy!  I dont hear much from the family so I hope everyone is doing well!  

Miss you and Love you all!

Elder Yamagata

 Sketch up for my new planner cover
 The new cover already done!
 Some of the trees around Ilsan starting to bloom!
 Some more of the trees around Ilsan starting to bloom!
 This man stopped me an asked me for directions, had his map out and everything!
 Korea cant get much weirder, I see this on the regular!
 A giant mans face on the side of a building
 The "Hotel California" in korea!  
 All of us near the train station, waiting after dinner to start work again!
 Some scary picture I dont remember taking!
 This sketchy looking church.....
  The beginning of Gumcheon!
 Some of the signs here in Korea
  This sign literally says Beauty Bathroom
 Tow trucks in korea, this is how most look
 Someone decided to pay me back in change!
 Panoramic picture of my street out side my house finishing with part of Elder Chisholms head...
 Celebrating elder smiths 20th birthday!
 Pano of my living room
This weird looking car near our house, we think its a new model, everything that could identify it is covered...

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