Sunday, September 17, 2017

Week 60 bonus post: More photos of buildings and food

Elder Lee guards the temple

Elder Bond has such a good camera

I am always distracted
Oh hey, I looked

Pretty waterfall

Near cafe (probably)
I think this is near Christmas Cafe?


Wonju at sunset
It's a Library Cafe, isn't it so cute? It even has a piano

Our recent convert without a hat

Nice socks

It had Sprinkles ^^
Hidden Olympic Rings in 강릉


Also the Maze Market at night is sick


Week 60: A Shop, a Cafe, a Convenience Store and a McDonald's

From left: Azza (who came to church and served in my home mission), her husband (who was AP over all of Mongolia), me (nerd), Elder Saguinsin (a Filipino), Buya (the one we've been meeting with. I translated for him at church twice before. His brother-in-law who couldn't make it is a throat singer in the Mongolian National Throat Singing Choir), Tamira (who is probably the funniest person you'll ever meet), and Buye and Tamira's niece (I forget her name, but she's a contortionist and fly at Korean)
Discover Mongolia
Shiver and Shake
Hard Work but Light Hearted
Stop the Problem
Pack the Cow
The Proof is revision

Hiya all. This week's Discover Poem is a shoutout to some of the coolest people I've met out on my mission and also Gaby Galván who just got called to the Mongolia mission. It has a specific city, which I forgot, but the whole country is her mission, so it's chill.

Anywho, this week was also very missionary-y. So many things to do in so many places, and besides English class, I don't think we met anyone at the church, which gave us an interesting variety of settings for some of the most spiritual discussions of my life.

The first one was really close to the church with a very nice potential investigator. I may have mentioned (probably not, I never tell you anything in these tbh) but we found a Philippine shop by the church doing service a few weeks back, and let me tell you, every time we go I feel like a greenie again. I'm sitting down with someone holding a book that I'm told is the Book of Mormon, it's blue and has our classic font and everything, but I couldn't definitively tell you that that's what it is. Meanwhile my companion is testifying in a language I don't understand, and I'm just relying on pure guesswork to know if the conversation is about the true meaning of repentance or last night's football game.
But yeah, we had a lesson there with a guy named Alvin. He's a nice man, and Elder Saguinsin taught him very well. I didn't understand anything, but from the translation, and the spirit I felt, I knew that it was a good lesson. He can't meet for a bit because of work, so he's not an investigator yet, but he totally will be. Let's pray Elder Saguinsin isn't transferred this time around. 
We were on a little loft. It was sweet
Then a couple days later, just a little further from the church we were sitting in a (pictured) library cafe in the Maze Market with our recent convert. Every time we talk to him, I get a small sense of how much he loves this gospel, and how much he gives up. We ended up discussing everything from his concerns about temple marriage, to some very legitimate questions about repentance. It was a very long talk actually, but feeling his spirit in that time is something I never want to forget. 

From left: Elder McKinnon, Elder Hipps, Elder Newton, Elder Bond and Jasmine. She's 5 and better at English than the man in Advanced Class who has studied English for 30 years. She's great. Elder Hipps taught her like Primary. She now knows she's a daughter of God.
Finally on Saturday, I had an exchange with Elder Hipps, our zone leader. Because we had a free morning, we decided to visit our member who just had eye surgery. (Also a couple Sundays ago I blessed consecrated oil in Korean for him. I just remembered.) Anywho, he's doing great, and he had a referral (is that the right word in English?) for us. The guy was a little drunk, like the fumes were giving me a headache, but he was so nice, and he listened really well to the message we had prepared. He also bought us ice cream and saw us to the door of the convenience store. And the greatest miracle is he liked us so much he stopped drinking for that afternoon and Sunday morning so he could go to church sober. He was the first investigator to sacrament meeting I've seen in a while out here. 

And finally we go back to where we began with the Less Active Mongolians. (Well, one isn't less active, she made it to church and I translated for her. It was fun. Also it's so hard to translate church classes. No one has their comments thought through and it's a grammatical and logical mess.) We met them in McDonald's, as we have for the last transfer and a half (sorry Mom), and we ended up on the second floor alone, which was sweet. I'd love to go deep, but time is failing me, so I'll try to be brief.
Basically we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and ended up with a big testimony meeting of how the church has blessed us, our families, and all of us to meet in Korea. They all had such deep thoughts, and the one who couldn't speak English well bore his testimony in Mongolian with his wife translating, until Tamira had to take over because the wife was crying. It was sweet. Also the 17-year-old girl (who is fly at Korean) had the purest testimony of eternal families. And yeah, I love Mongolia now. It was weird saying goodbye to Tamira and Buya. They're so good, and they'll be great members of their home ward in Mongolia. I think Buya is second counselor in the bishopric actually. … And yeah, that's the memes. There are some pics, but until you see those,

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Week 59: A varying number of musical numbers and arrangements

Elder Saguinsin, Elder Newton and Elder McKinnon

Discover Evee
Turn and Tumble
Captured attention on Released creature
Stop the Problem
Trip in the 시장*
The proof is egg
* Market

So this week was one of the craziest times of my life, and the only connecting thread is our grand ol' subject line, so let's get right on it. 

We start last Sunday, back where we were last week, after the Primary class we talked about last week. The beginning of the end of Elder Newton is to be found here, as he discusses with Brother Kim ways to perform on the clarinet this transfer. For the last two transfers we've been scared that I'll disappear, and as time goes on, everyone else becomes more convinced I'm leaving. I still think I'm here until I die though, but yaknow. 

So anywho, as we talk, we realize there are a few district (church, not missionary) activities coming up, where music would be nice. So Brother Kim called the district president that night, and instead of giving us one musical number, he gave us two. However, because even after a year it's rather easy to misunderstand Korean, at the end of Sunday night I was under the impression I would be playing only at a barbecue the next Saturday

Because Monday is P-Day, nothing much developed. We just met our Mongolian members as usual and got us some Evees, and spent until like 10 o'clock discussing and asking zone leaders how much permission I'd need to go to this fireside/barbecue. (Oh yeah, and on P-Day we went to a super cool market right by the church and it was sweet, but anyway)

Tuesday was crazy, because we had like 3 appointments and English class, but a couple punked, so it was OK in the end. But Tuesday night was the night I learned that I actually had two musical numbers to prepare for, and one would be played at district conference. Also for that one we needed to arrange some way to have a good portion of the zone participate. So that was cool, and takes us into Wednesday

Wednesday also was a day of running around to a couple farther corners of our area, and having appointments fall through, until the last and farthest-away appointment in which we got a new investigator. That was sweet. His dream was to own 20 car shops and know two languages, and at the moment he owns 19 and is already kinda solid at English. So yeah, we're just helping this man achieve his dreams and come closer to Jesus. 

Oh yeah, also since an appointment fell through, I had time to prepare some music, and then I got a call where the fireside musical number was canceled, which saved a lot of stress, but suddenly I was meant to take the lead on setting up the multi-missionary musical number. So yeah, I spent that night calling missionaries determining their musical ability. 

Thursday was spent running to the Christmas Café, and then running back to Wonju because our appointment changed both time and place. That was fun, but it all worked out. We had some time to make calls and practice clarinet. It was a less stressful time.

Then Friday was just lost to zone conference, but it was a good meeting featuring long bus rides. I did a roleplay with President where I interviewed him for baptism. Good times. He passed. 

Saturday involved English class, a sudden interaction with the entire Relief Society of the Korean equivalent of a state, and making a daily scripture calendar for the members. Luckily clarinet practice fell through, because we barely had enough time to eat. That was the theme of this week really. I think I brushed my teeth at 10:27 or later every night this week. So many things. 

Then Sunday I spent stressing because it was the deadline for setting the music, and I needed to translate a fifth-grader's English class homework. But it led to a good lesson that night. Oh yeah also we had to run out to the bus terminal and meet a Vietnamese guy who is pretty dang good at Korean and we thought would have no interest, but instead took a Book of Mormon, said he'd been to our church three or four times before, and the next time we see him will probably become an official new investigator. Then I spent every other waking moment planning either in my mind or out loud how to do our musical number. But I think it worked out.

Oh yeah, I never said what we're doing. 

It's "The Spirit of God" featuring clarinet and piano and a missionary choir of about three missionaries per voice. It'll be nice. Hopefully I get a video

And yeah, that was only one facet of the week. There are so many things. We should just sit by a fire in a couple of years when I get home. 

Best wishes,
Elder Newton

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Week 58 bonus photo post with thanks to Elder Bond

Elder Saguinsin, Elder Lee and Elder Newton at "the big recreation place by our house"

The elders use their streetboard as an umbrella

Eating all that pizza must have worn Elder Lee out. Oh wait, they hadn't started eating the pizza

I asked if they always eat and sleep in the same room and Elder Newton said "When we eat together, yes."

Happy birthday, Elder Bond. "I had to buy Elder Bond a Happy Meal with a Minion toy. Don't judge me" (Also, note Elder Bond's grandma pants)

Elder Newton will miss Elder Lee

"Yes, that's me. I can use chopsticks"

Eating cold noodles. L-R Elder Lee, Elder Bond, new member Jeffery, Elder Newton, Elder Saguinsin

Week 58: Dangit, I was going to name it after my pics, but I forgot my SD card reader

Discover Savage
Wrend and Rip
Light bone, but brutal force
Stop the problem
Cut the ties
The proof is molding

Hi everyone! It's September, isn't that great? I love September. I went to Hogwarts this week, thus explaining the lack of pictures (ever since Colin Creevey, pictures have never been the same out there. Plus I only had a digital camera, which screwed me over). Don't worry though, because Elder Bond gave me a bunch today, so you can see my past, but not my present. I don't know what I'm talking about. I just love Harry Potter. I tried talking about it in English class. The members all got confused because they thought Hogwarts was a real English word and not a magic school. But what can you do?

As for district leadership, it's pretty simple without sisters. I just have to make sure the elders aren't going apostate. They're all nice. It's been a good week, but it's been sad without Elder Lee. He was a good man. We still listen to "Spiritual Whirlwinds" to remember him

'You're selfish.' 'You're judgmental.' One even compared me to a slave owner.

Stuff like that.

But yeah. Um, it was a good week. We did a lot of things, oh yeah, we made banana bread and did a surprise visit with Anderson, one of our investigating people. He's so nice. He had just gotten up from a nap, and he invited us in to talk. We had a great discussion, and I would encourage everyone to read John 6 with banana bread in mind. Also his testimony of following Christ's example is growing, and I love him.

Then, since time is low, we will just share how I got to go to the CTR class in Wonju. It had all three of our baptized primary children, and 김원희 is the teacher, which is an extra bonus. We learned about persecution, warning and pioneers. In Korean Horne and Haun get Konglished into the same sound, and so the kids kept asking about Elder Horne and his ancestors. They enjoyed my ancestor who lost his hip.* Shout out to music night for learning that in Korean. 

Also it was hilarious. Brother Kim's son started complaining how all our prophets were American. "Why were there no Koreans? When I was younger I thought the only thing there was was Koreans." Kids are fun, I plan on attending more in the future. Apparently having missionaries helped the atmosphere a little, and yeah. It's a good time here in Wonju. Enjoy the separate pictures, sorry I forgot to add captions, whoops. 

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
* Elder Newton is a fourth great-nephew of Alma Lamoni Smith and a great-great-great-grandson of Willard Gilbert Smith, the other Smith brother who survived the massacre.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Week 57: My dreams have been crushed

Discover Mountain
Scale and Soar
small peak, but wide open spaces
Stop the Problem
Lose the Jacket
The proof is royalty

This week was a fun transfer-ending one. We had a week that took us all over the area on the off chance Elder Saguinsin would be sent off forever into the darkness of Seoul. But it's OK because he wasn't sent off. Elder Saguinsin gets to stay. That's Transfer Part One

As we rode buses for a long time this week, I had some really great conversations. I especially enjoyed two of them

The first was with a man who works on one of the local Army bases. He was so nice. Elder Saguinsin complimented his jacket, and after that he led the whole conversation and asked for our number. I love him

The next was on the way back from our beloved Christmas Café. We had actually missed the bus we wanted to take, but we ended up on the bus the Lord wanted us to take. (wow I'm so typical missionary) And so I sit down, and since I'm me in order to avoid awkward proselytizing, I just jumped right into conversation with this kid by telling him I was a vegetarian. Well, I said a few things before that, but we didn't know each other's names and he already knew my dietary habits. (He also had heard the First Vision before we were fully acquainted, but you know how it is with spaghetti*) So yeah, he was just a nice kid fresh out of Army with a few questions for the foreign vegan missionary. I taught him the whole Restoration, and he was so touched that I'd give him the Book of Mormon when it was so valuable to me. So yeah, Elder Newton is out of story time so we're moving along

I also don't have time to masterfully share a story about each of the other elders and say how their transfer happened, so we'll wrap up. Sorry I can't be as dramatic as I want to be. Wait a few years. 

So yeah, Elder Bond stays, Elder Lee goes to be zone leader†, and there are still no sisters. 

Thus becomes Wonju

Oh yeah, and as for my subject line, my dreams were crushed, because I am now district leader. It's a sad day. Mourn for me. 

And now pictures!
We found yet another quaint library!

And also the sky is always pretty over the Wonju I will stay in forever
Really though, like I'll be here until at least General Conference. I was here for the last one too


Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
* Spaghetti stories are an internet meme in which a socially awkward person in an awkward situation is further embarrassed by spaghetti falling out of his pockets, a symbol of his social ineptitude. (I know, kids these days.) 
† He will be in a tripanionship with Elder Pulsipher, Elder Newton's companion from the MTC! Meanwhile, Elder Bond's new companion is Elder McKinnon.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Week 56: Interviews happened I guess?

It was on the street. Munmak is an artist town apparently. At least that's what Christmas Cafe guy says
Discover water bottle
swing and slosh 
utilitarian use but a plethora of joviality 
stop the problem
wood for sheep
the proof is burning
Water Bottle

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this week is transfer calls and I'm still the oldest one in the area and we're all scared. What if I go back to Seoul? I'm not ready for that kind of pressure

Nah, don't worry, I'll serve in Wonju forever. It is my home where I live. 

Anywho, this week was good. Not too rainy, but not too sunny. Not too hot, but not quite nice nice weather. Yaknow? Like we just went through, did the work. Taught some people. After one appointment we got driven all the way up to our old favorite, 횡성. It was so nice of them. Like it's a half-hour car ride. We gave them English class at least

Oh yeah, also this week was the Chicken and Beer Festival in the Market. We proselytized in there, and it was fun, but also there was literally nothing I could partake of. Good times.

Also I took pics this week, as I have been less wont to do recently, so stay tuned. 

And yeah, Sister Sonksen inspected our house and was rather concerned at the lack of a lock on our door. To be fair, it is there, we just don't have a key. Anywho, that problem is solved now, and the only other item of report is that Sister Sonksen likes my study room wall. 

And back to the subject line, I had an interview with President. It's always so relaxing to talk to him. Except this time he asked if I was ready for leadership, which was scary, but he even helped me be less scared of that when I become a leader in three transfers or so

haha I'm in denial

Best wishes, 

El🎵er Newton
Thank Elder Saguinsin for reminding me that you all might want a pic of me and not a random road in Korea with a painting and Kimchi Squatting Korean in the background