Sunday, May 20, 2018

Week 96: Buses and Exchanges and the Like

Elder Newton still doesn't have a working camera, so enjoy this photo taken by Elder Boden last week that looks as if it could have been taken from a bus window.
Discover Dear
Address and Acknowledge
Simple greeting but personal meaning
Stop the Problem
Block the Sword
The proof is Discussion


So yeah. We've weeked it up out here. It was an entire week. Many things happened. 

We had district meeting again. The Donghae district is great. They're doing such a good job and they're all so fun. We missed our bus home. but the view was pretty. Sorry the camera is still dead. ㅠㅠ It's chill though.

Surprise! Elder Newton did take some pix with his phone after all. This is the border of Elder Newton's area and Donghae, as seen from a bus.
Something I've learned out here is pondering while on or waiting for buses. You spend a lot of time on them, and it's a situation where it's rather ineffective to study or call people. Sleeping is pretty effective sometimes, if we're being honest. I just don't fall asleep well on them. I mean often. Anyway, I've found that that time is best spent pondering. It's just such beautiful scenery to take in. I've definitely gained appreciation for the scenery. 

An apartment complex where the missionaries do some service

Same apartment complex, but different building and day
Really, I've thought of everything from my investigators, to members, to just the beauty of creation. It's one of the moments of missionary work that I won't get to experience as fully even if I come visit later. So you've got to appreciate it while it lasts. 

Also we had exchanges with the legendary Elder Mann. He served here for six transfers a bit ago, and he's the kind of missionary you just hear all these stories about. He would walk down the road and have a story about every single store and owner. He loved them all so much, and it was really good to see. It was a short time, so we just saw about half of the branch with him while he was here, but the strength of those relationships was so amazing. 
Some buildings outside the Donghae church

We had a lot of other cool things happen. He fixed a cane for a member, we committed an English Class member to read the Book of Mormon, and played billiards with the youth Saturday morning. Then Elder Mann went home and the aforementioned English class member drove part of the Go family, a less-active member and an investigator to a meeting in Donghae about youth conference. Then we watched Elder Renlund that night. 

Oh yeah, he was around. It was spiritual. He had a lot of good stuff. He talked about what we have to do to prepare for the second coming using parables in Matthew 25. Check it out sometime. 

Sunday went smoothly. I love it when that happens. I could report more, but we're low on time and I've been droning on. Sorry. 

See y'all later! (But not too soon)

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
Elder Newton and Elder O'Brien wish you peace from the side of a highway

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Week 95: My Mom Is Really Cool

Special visitors from Wonju!
Discover Mom
Bear and Birth
English Language but Welsh Heritage
Stop the problem
Cut the Apple
The proof is choice

Well we've had some memes this week. 

What did we do?


Oh that's right, I had to spend a great deal of time at the church making the Taebaek Church History for last year. It was fun. Also hard, seeing as I wasn't there. It's OK, I just spent almost seven hours in the clerk's office on Sunday. It worked out though. 

We also saw the family. They still exist, if you weren't aware. 

Oh by the way, on Saturday I was waiting for the computer to load and found out how to proportion a balloon kangaroo. It's sick. I'll demonstrate sometime. 
The famous pond of Taebaek
Also Old Branch President Kim is still the best. I called him, along with our whole branch, to wish him a happy parents day. It was good. Then he said he was planning on visiting on Sunday. So it was great. He kept our sacrament meeting attendance not too low and then after the family conversationing we did some clarinet. Then I had to do clerk stuff and so his family looked around the Pond while they waited for that and the water to turn back on. Once that was done they came back and did the dishes and cleaned a bit even though everyone else was gone and they had a two-hour drive back home. They're the best. They also gave me fake meat to eat, which I thought was hilarious. 

And yeah. Those be the memes. Peace✌

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
Elder Newton with his "Korean father" and a reunion of clarinets

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Week 94: We Say Goodbye to an Old Friend

The last photos my camera ever took

Pretty good sunset though
Discover Camera
Focus and Flash
Brief moment but lasting image
Stop the Problem
Run away
The Proof is Mint Chocolate Chip 

So my camera died this week. We don't really know what happened. But it got us a picture of the sunset before it died. A few minutes later it said there was a lens error and won't turn on ㅠㅠ

It'll be chill though, we still have companions and smartphones, so I'll try to take what I need. There'll be a lot to take pictures of this transfer. I might buy a new one, but I don't know how to get a solid deal in the 시골. We'll see what happens

Other than that though, other things happened. I watched a train go into a tunnel from, like, less than 5 meters away. I'm still not quite sure how we got into that situation. We waited for our companion for like half the day because his old area is far and we were told he took an earlier bus. Good times. It took him so long, he called to make sure he was on the right bus. 

We also got to see Americans. They have the pictures, I think. They were tall. One was pretty fly at Korean*. They bought us Baskin Robbins. S/o for that one. 

Then we had other countryside adventures in proselytizing. An old man talked to us about stinky whales and other assorted topics for a very long time. We almost invited him to be baptized and everything. 

Saturday was great, though. We didn't have much, but then in the middle of personal study our Young Man called and asked us to help him and his dad set up a mirror in front of their house and paint it. It was also his birthday so we got to see him even though he would have missed Mutual for test studying. We'll ordain him to be a priest soon, so that will be really nice. He'll be able to bless the sacrament and everything. 

Oh yeah, and since it was Children's Day we spent a good minute making balloon animals near the pond for the children. It was really nice, and a lot of people approached us. And by a lot, I mean around 10 at the max. Which is good for out here.

Sunday was also good. I love fast and testimony meeting. It's so much easier to plan. Then we taught about testimonies in Sunday school as well. I think the youth were able to learn a lot, and our investigator also was able to stay involved throughout. We try to make it fun for him. 

That's about it. Thanks for all the memes, and we'll see you next week 

Best Wishes, 
Elder Newton
* A lifelong friend of Elder O'Brien's who completed his service in the Korea Seoul Mission last year and returned to visit with his parents. 
The pond in Taebaek

It has been fun to see this pond through the seasons

Elder Newton says it has gotten even prettier …

… but he has a dead camera. : (

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 93 bonus photo post featuring More Cherry Blossoms

Elder Newton loves the cherry blossoms in Korea. Keep scrolling for a story and some guest photos.

​So there's a sister who was less active in Wonju who's planning on moving to Taebaek this summer. Since her house will be closer to the church and her schedule clearer, the sisters referred her to us. We've been texting, and on Wednesday when we were on the way back home from Donghae, she texted us and asked if we could meet since she was visiting Taebaek. We couldn't, but she sent us these pictures. She really liked the trees for some reason. She's so sweet.

But anyway, we get home and after a dinner of our favorite bean sprout soup place we hopped on a bus out somewhere when lo and behold we get another text from her. Elder O'Brien has the phone, so he looks first and is a little confused so he has me read it, and it says that she's on the same bus as us. So we got to say hi, and even got off at the same spot. It was pretty cool
Best Wishes,
Elder Newton


Week 93 photo post: Including a trip to Donghae

This one is Taebaek but there were random dogs

The church in Donghae

Apartments with the same name as a member

Part of the Donghae District
After the meeting
The Taebaek pond

View from Elder Newton's house in Taebaek

Another view from the house
Elder Newton labeled these next few "leftover pics"

So enjoy these photos of springtime in what Mom assumes is Taebaek

The cherry blossoms will have their own photo post

Perhaps Elder Newton will tell us where this is next week

Elder O'Brien in the wilderness (at the college)

Week 93: Sunday Will End

After church. Some of the members had gone home, but it's still the majority of those in attendance.
Discover Farm
Trench and Tarp
Many hands but light work
Stop the Problem
Steal the Kimchi
The proof is sudden

Well a lot went down this week, but it all just goes down to Sunday, doesn't it? Every Sunday is an adventure out here. It gets to be a lot though, so playing on one of Elder Wirthlin's talks, I've taken up the saying, "Sunday will end." No matter how much we have to stretch and bend to put church together, it'll end. 

This week was going pretty smoothly though. We had gone to Gangneung for President Interviews and I had like a 30-minute conversation with President Sonksen. I only got to see Sister Sonksen for 15 minutes though, because we needed to run to get a taxi to get a bus for English class. 

That was also fun because only the branch president came. It was a great class though. For the message we practiced inviting him to be baptized and he really liked it. It even led to a discussion about helping his friends start to meet with the missionaries. That was a good night. 

But I got sidetracked. Going on with the week, we also went to 동해 again. There were sick treats made by Sister Sonksen for district meeting. We ate well and had some good training.

And then we skip right on over to Saturday. We farmed the morning away at the branch president's house. He wasn't there, though, he was out in 일산 for a mission reunion. His wife's dad was there though. Father-in-law. Wow, a word in English. Amazing.

So yeah, none of the people we worked with were members of the church, and they had a lot of questions about what we did. They also invited us back to help later, so Operation: Farm Conversion seems to be running smoothly. 

After that we changed, cleaned the church, met someone who might be in a gang, ran into some construction workers doing stuff by the church, and did those regular Saturday things. (🎵The day we get ready for Sunday🎵) We even made some time to tract that night, but that was also when Sunday fell apart. 

We had just started when we got a text from the branch president saying that due to the aforementioned mission reunion going long he had missed the last bus to Taebaek, so his family would attend church with their oldest daughter in her ward. (By the way, she's amazing. She's in high school, but has lived alone in another part of Korea for like a few years.) Thus half the branch, the main talk and the Gospel Doctrine teacher were gone for Sunday

I then spent the rest of the night worrying about how to do all the things. Transfer calls came and went; meanwhile I wrote a talk, freaked out and called all the members about getting our Young Man a ride to church and how none of the missionaries left. But we get one more elder. There's always a lot of branch business. 

I did eventually get to bed and soon enough it was the next morning. I got up, hopped in the shower and realized I was the presiding authority at church that day. It was weird. In the end we had seven people total at church. Our Young Man, our Old Man, and three sisters. They're the best, dangit. So faithful. The church meeting itself went smoothly enough. I don't know how I was able to talk for 20 minutes about the priesthood without rambling really. The other two talks were really good though. Brother Go (he wasn't with his family in Seoul, thank goodness) just touched my heart. He is the best Teacher in the whole church. His birthday is Saturday though, so soon he'll be the best Priest. 
Elder Newton with the three Taebaek sisters
After sacrament meeting we just set up the TV and watched "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration." The members really liked it, and they shared some really nice testimonies at the end of it. Afterward we had lunch together (except for Brother Go; he had to leave fast to study. The sisters made sure he had some food though. They're so nice). It felt like a family meal. It was about the same size and everything. 

But I've gone on long enough. Nothing much really happened after that anyway. We just talked for a long time and the sisters asked what kind of a wife I wanted. I went with "faithful." Then we took some photos, did the clerk stuff, rearranged the talk schedule for the third time I swear, and had a quick dinner before knocking some doors. So yeah, Sunday did end. Good stuff. Or Dark Stuff, huh. Oh well. Have a good week!

Best Wishes, 

Elder Newton

Monday, April 23, 2018

Week 92 bonus photos: Cherry blossoms and Gangneung

This message was still up when Elder Newton went to Gangneung (I assume in the missionary flat)