Sunday, February 18, 2018

Week 82: TV Killed the Radio Star

Discover Plush
Squeeze and stroke
No labor but valuable prize
Stop the Problem
Stop the Foreigner
The proof is Cheer

So as I maybe mentioned last week, we spent Monday in the Helping Hands Center. It was great. Most things of the week happened that day. This week had a bit of a lack of normal missionary work. Here's a review:

​​Lunar New Year English Class! It was a bigger class than we usually have
Tuesday: P-Day and English Class
Wednesday: Oh we met an investigator that day. He's really cool. #SavingSouls
Thursday: All day cleaning
Friday: Uploading data to Area Book, and then English class. We actually met a really nice potential investigator the sisters referred from KakaoTalk.  
Saturday: Only Area Book planner. Also we cleaned the church and the sink had problems. Also I had to write a talk bc someone couldn't get to church
Sunday: Church, auditing, clerking, fixing a frozen pipe in the meantime. (We pulled water out of the pipe with a ladle, and then filled it back up with boiling water from one of the church's giant rice cookers. That was fun.)

So back to Monday

So we got to the center via the free buses that are the best thing about Gangneung now, and it was immediate running around town. I guess because I lived here before, they trusted me to find all the random places the city was wanting to send us. They need a lot of translation for taxi drivers out here, let me tell you. 
​We helped a lady from Holland. There were a lot of Hollanders that day

But anyway, we'd love to tell you about the Olympian parents and foreigners and whatnot that we met, but we're low on time and I still haven't gotten to my radio show. 

Basically what happened is we were trying to get to the back gate of the Olympic stadium, but our taxi driver got us to the front gate bc he couldn't find a way around the blocked roads. We ask all the workers, and the only way to the back gate by walking was through the park, and you had to get a pass to go in, so it was rather intense, but we got our pass and had a nice stroll down Korean Disneyland. There are parades and giant vending machines and it's just intense. Also lots of cheering.
Vending machine with human-sized coins​​

But anyway, we eventually get to the back exit, because the only reason we came in was to go out, and just as we leave we run into a reporter. The first thing she asks us is if we can speak English. I can, and even though I can tell English stresses her out, she starts explaining that she needs to find foreigners to do a mini quiz show thing. We agree to help, because why not? and she tries to explain where to go, but the English isn't working for her. I finally switch into Korean and she freaks out about meeting a foreigner who knows Korean and starts going off about how I need to do that on the radio. 


But long story short, we helped translate for taxis for a bit, and then went back and did a quick quiz show for MBC radio in an information box nearby. I didn't win but it's OK, because I got free stuffed mascots as a consolation prize. (The winner got two boxes of the Tiger and Bear. She was really nice) Pictures exist I think. In order to send them I need to stop now though, so BYE!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
Mom is guessing that Elder Newton's companion, Elder O'Brien, is the one in front.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 81: Discover Imlk

So anyway this is all the milk we bought for the week. It was pretty intense and accidental, but a good time nonetheless
Discover carton
Pile and pack
Square container but triangle spout
Stop the problem
I'm clean
The proof is BYFF
Sorry to Mom for having to compile my emails, I sent them separately because the bus is shaky and phone buttons are close together.

But yeah, we've got ourselves a full week down in 태백.* Between two Sundays and a random problem during the week, we've probably spent about  7-8 hours on clerk stuff, so that's been fun. I hear it gets easier as you go on, but so far I've just gained a lot of respect for Brother Burnside† back home. He has to do all this for a ward every week. The poor man. 

But enough about clerking, we have complete countryside 태백 times. It's great. On Saturday morning we were in a tiny village in the middle of the mountains (most of the more populated places in 태백 can be described this way) and we were just finishing up tracting the whole thing when we saw a man a little ways off vaguely going toward us. We waved to get his attention, and he said something at us that I didn't understand. I assumed it was because we were kind of far apart, but it was actually because he's the hardest man to understand in Korea. (The last first counselor gave him that nickname and it's pretty accurate.) 

When we got a little closer we were able to discern that he was simply ancient, you wouldn't believe how wizened he was, and had three teeth. Then he just started talking and pointing at random directions in the mountains. I think he said something about kimchi, but we may never know. The conversation went for like 20 minutes until we finally managed to explain we needed to catch a bus home. He started to walk with us to the stop, but kind of wandered off talking to himself. I hope he's OK

But anyway, we made it to 강릉‡ so I've gotta go. Have a good time!
* Taebaek
 † The executive secretary in Elder Newton's home ward at the time he entered the Missionary Training Center
‡ Gangneung, where the ice arena and Helping Hands Center are

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Week 80: Calls and Callings

The members in Taebaek (except one who couldn't make it to church). The branch president is on the far left.
Discover Building
Erect and Elevate
Strong walls but weak foundation
Stop the Problem
Drop the ball
The proof is condensation

So this week was fun. It started normal with Helping Hands Centers and meeting returned missionaries from the embassy in charge of the vice president getting to Korea all safe and sound. Then we had some normal proselytizing and whatnot, and it was all going great until Wednesday

The morning was already interesting because we had to help load a bunch of books by President Hinckley and Mitt Romney into the Helping Hands Center. It was a hoot and a holler, but then we had to go home to study. In the middle of said studies, President Sonksen just decides to call and be like, "So Elder Newton, would it be OK if we sent you out to Taebaek real fast? Like by Friday? Because the first counselor/ clerk is moving to Gangneung to be zone leader, so we need you to go and we expect that you'll be taking his place as first counselor and clerk."*

Well I couldn't exactly say no, could I? So we had to say bye to all the members really fast and also pack, and also eat at all the cheap restaurants I like out there. It was intense. It's pretty sad to leave Elder Alban. Especially because he has to move to Seoul now. I don't even know where he'll be. President didn't know yet. It's basically "Finding Nemo" out here. My son is gone, and I got swept by the EAC into the middle of the mountains of Korea. 

But I do love it out here. (See week 66 for more info on that.) The members are all fantastic. My second day here the branch president called and asked us to help with prepping his car for the annual registration thingy and I explained the plot of Echo (it's a new-ish book?) to him. The magic harmonica sounded cool. He's really nice, as are all of our members. There's only like 10 of them. It makes getting to know them easier. 

Usually missionaries have a transfer or two (or four) out here before they get called into the branch presidency, but since I had no time I had to get all my training yesterday. It's not too intense, but it's all very new. Elder Edwards came all the way out from Gangneung to show me the ropes. 

Don't worry about me missing the Olympics though. We got to see the Olympic torch come through last night. I even held it.

It's colder in Taebaek than it is in Gangneung. Hence the polar bear.

And yeah, it was all a good time. I don't really know how to explain this week. It feels like five. We totally missed the part where we taught a Filipino less-active member over Facebook at a member's house using a mix of Korean, a bit of sign language (the sister tends to sign as she talks. I love her), English and Tagalog. I had to translate the last two into Korean for Sister Lee. It was lucky that I knew like two Spanish loan words in Tagalog and we had planned a really simple lesson. But anyway, that's about it. We have a few more pics so stay tuned. 
It's a party with giant inflatable Soohorangs

"Let Everyone Shine" is the theme song for the PyeongChang torch relay

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
* "You see there's this tiny little branch in Taebaek and there's not a lot of priesthood, so missionaries end up being the first counselor/clerk. It's wild"

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Week 79 bonus photos: Scenes from a cafe

Week 79: Well we cut a ribbon so that was cool

Can you spot Elder Newton?
Discover Bed 
Rest and roll
Stagnant position but restless stomach
Stop the Problem
Add a layer
The proof is Ceremonial

We did another week in the Gangneung! It started with an alright P-day in which Elder Lee bought Catan but Elder Newton could not find a winter coat in a color he wanted.* (I know, a tragedy) But it's chill because IT FINALLY SNOWED. Oh I was so happy. I love snow and winter and life. 
We found a Popsicle stick trying to go home

Also this week I learned that each member of the branch is my mother, but in a slightly different way. See, I was a little sick this week, and they all kept on calling and asking about if I'd eaten medicine. I got like 2 oranges, a bunch of , and also a bag of kiwis. They're so nice. 
So we went up to the stadium on the one day I wasn't sick, and these pine trees popped up everywhere. They really spruce up the place

And then on Saturday we opened our Olympic Service Station! It's sick. You all saw it on Facebook. Come to Korea and check it out. We help people find their way around the Olympicness of it all. There's Family History to do if you're into that sort of thing, and in the upstairs there's arts, crafts and live Olympic coverage. It's all a huge miracle in a couple of container boxes. 

On Sunday I gave a talk in church, but I wrote it all while being sick and tired, so I think the only thing the members understood was that I love Mary Newton. This is a good thing for everyone to understand but still. We had some good meetings. A less-active son of one of the sisters came. He was cool. 
This one doesn't have a joke, it's just a cool bridge

After church we had a chance to volunteer at the center, and it was great. We ended up having it really easy because someone just walked in and asked where he could charge his phone. So we just walked him up, had a nice chat, toured the center and sent him off on the KTX. All good memes. We'll be doing this a lot, so more next week I guess. Have fun in all of your Olympic prep!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
* More than 18 months ago, Mom bought Elder Newton a winter coat. He was present for this. Only now does Elder Newton inform his mother that he doesn't like the color … black.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Week 78 bonus photos: Jumunjin

Week 78: So You Say It's Your Birthday

Discover Roots
Split and Spread
Simple beginnings but Deep connections
Stop the Problem
Unscramble the Language 
The Proof is Wild

Sooooo I'm old. It's so sad. All my 친구 are going to military. It's so sad. But we keep plugging along. There was a district meeting on the voice of the Spirit. I got to talk about "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," the NPR news quiz. It's always a good time out here in Gangneung.

Also Thursday. Thursday was a good day. We had us a good English class. We showed them Family History and boy howdy, were they all over it. It was great. We're going to try to do some work with them this week. 

Then we went to the port city north of us. We have a new member who moved from somewhere out in Korea. He used to be stake president and also is my MTC zone leader's grandpa (no joke). He has a real nice place. Also I kept on seeing Sister Jo. She was going to have us take some side dishes up to our grandpa friend, but we went up early to study sign language at the library. So she just showed up with Sister Park's daughter. 

Then we saw Sister Jo again on Friday when we had our big Olympic meeting. I had to do the translation and that was a hoot and a holler. Meetings out here are the weirdest mix of languages. But anywhoooooooooooooooooo

Looks pretty fancy.
Saturday was the Birthday! We had to clean the church and the sisters were off in Jumunjin and the other elders had to leave early so we were left alone to finish up for a second. And right as we finished, Sisters Jo and Kim and the sister missionaries showed up from Jumunjin with a cake! It was a good meme. I think we have a few pics. 

Elder Alban's birthday was a week before Elder Newton's.

Then we went up to the HoengGye. It was good. We helped an Indian get a ticket to a bus, then we met a Korean who wanted to talk with us on Facebook, studied at a cafe that has a nice view of the Olympic place, and then met a Japanese man I thought was Korean until halfway through our conversation when he forgot a Korean word. He was so nice. 

Oh and also we had other memes. That night the other elders also bought me a cake and it was a nice time. Birthdays are fun. 

Then yesterday we had church and of course we saw Sister Jo yet again. It was a good time. So the memes are continuing out here. Thanks for all the love! I saw some notifications of birthday greetings on Facebook. I don't know if I get to reply to them tbh, but thanks for them! Have good memes!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton