Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bonus post: Christmas call!

We couldn't figure out how to make a screen grab from a PC in time, so here's a screen grab from the video Elder Newton's dad made on his phone.

On Christmas Eve, we got to see Elder Newton's face for the first time since July 27, when he entered the Provo Missionary Training Center, and hear his voice for the first time since Sept. 27, when he called us from the airport on his way to Korea. He told us about life in Korea, spoke and sang in Korean for us, and answered our questions. He signed off with an impromptu discover poem.

Discover farewell
Sob and [unintelligible because a sibling blurted something out while Elder Newton was talking … shocking, I know]
Quick click, but lasting silence
Stop the problem.
[Korean words that Mom won't attempt to transcribe]
The proof is [unclear, possibly more Korean]

Week 22: Merry Boxing Day!

Or Merry Christmas. Wherever you are. In any case, Christmas was great. I'll just talk about that, because it's all that matters.

Opening presents was great, shoutout to all the gifts and letters. I love them so. Give me letters. 

Church was nice. There were many musical numbers and nice speakers. It did go 40 minutes over though. 

Then we called and I was fed graciously by 이춘호. 

Then we were called by a member whose kids had asked to see the missionaries on Christmas. He taught us some Korean culture and we ate spaghetti. It was a nice night. Their kids are really fun.

Then we finished the night off with caroling with Lin Jiu and the district. It was fun. 

And yeah, I was bad this week and this email isn't that great and I'm sorry. You have video of me now though. Just look at that. 

But for now:

Discover Christmas
Wrap and Tear
Cold Day but Warming Memories
Stop the problem
Jolt out of Bed
The proof is Strawberry

Elder Newton

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week 21: A long-awaited asterisk

Discover Asterisk
Expound and Explain
Quick Stroke but Slow Follow-up
Stop the Problem
Poke a hole in the Ozone
The proof is Earth

*Line 6 (from last week's email) is a quote provided by our lovely Sister Ouzounian

Dear everyone, 

I have pictures! Again!

From the archives:
A pic of Elder Brown you could maybe pretend was me
One time 이한미 was trying to figure out my camera

From this week!

Elder Gildea also left and I felt bad not having a pic of him
Christmas in Korea
At the Sonksens' home. I saw Elder Gilmore†, but I didn't take a pic with him.  You can see 김지훈 though. He's nice.

And yeah, I have little news. Life is great. Sister Sonksen says I have a positive attitude. (I don't see it myself.) And the world is just grand. 

We've prepared a lot for Christmas. We're gonna do a bell choir for the ward party. Sister Ouzounian is a miracle worker. 

And yeah, more later? Merry Christmas!

Elder Newton

† Elder Palepoi Gilmore has been Elder Newton's friend since they were 10 years old. He arrived in the Korea Seoul Mission on Tuesday.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week 20: Cookies. I have so many cookies

Discover Cookies
Crave and Crunch
Short Recipe but Long Hours
Stop the Problem
"Cat- Oh what's the word?- Cat memes"*
The proof is defense
We like to have fun here with our hundreds of cookies

Us giving them out on the street

Elder 문승호. He is the best dad ever, and that's not even his kid

More ward party

RIP Sister Lenhart. ’Twas fun, but now she gets to go back to America.
So yeah, I made so many cookies this week, and also was not transferred. That's about all the news.

But I'd feel bad if I didn't say more, so here's a quick miracle:

Basically, Seoul has two address systems. They changed it two years ago to this really great system that actually makes sense. Like it's great and you always know where you're going.

The problem is that none of our church records have this nice system. Instead we have the old one that is basically made of nonsense and random numbers. Like if it weren't for 부동산s† I would never find any member houses. 

Anywho, we were attempting to navigate the streets of Seoul last night, and it was not going well. See, when they changed the address system, they also took down all the old signs. So to find the old address on a building you have to scour for the old address sharpied on the wall. You can see why we were failing.

After like half an hour, we're standing in the middle of a sidestreet, looking lost, when suddenly the guy we're looking for turns the corner. Turns out he's attending his old church again, but he was happy we visited him. We invited him to Christmas sacrament meeting, 

See y'all next time!

Elder Newton
* Elder Newton never did explain about the cat memes or the defense. Maybe next week.
† I asked if 부동산 was like an A-to-Zed (Google just told me it means "real estate") and he said it's kind of like that.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 19: A week in 5 pics because this week wasn't super exciting

We went to the temple! It was great. Sister Lenhart is leaving, so she wanted pics of us all together. And then the other elders had to miss temple day (because of zone leadership training). But it's k.

After temple we ate at legitimately one of the best Mexican restaurants I've ever been to. It was amazing. If y'all ever visit Korea in two years, go to Taco Loco and take me with you.

Here's me with our Light the World board we made

A sister in the ward gave us matching scarves! Aren't we cute?

​I wrote Lin Jiu a Christmas card, and he really liked it. 

Discover Close call*
Upload and get distracted
Simple slip up but obvious absence
Stop the Problem
Add the poem
The proof is guilt
Close Call

More next week!
Hope y'all are Christmasing!

Elder Newton
* I wasn't sure what close call Elder Newton was talking about here, so I asked him. In case you were also confused, it's just that he almost forgot to write his weekly poem.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 18: Thanksgiving and Christmas and singing


Final product
Discover Citrus Reticulata
Peel and Squirt
Many appellations but one fruit
Stop the problem
Man the Oars
The proof is sight singing
Citrus Reticulata
So Thanksgiving was this week. It's not a holiday here in Korea, so we spent quite a bit of it on Christmas prep, but for dinner we had our 10kg boz of (gyoor). It was amazing, and also we only maybe got through 2kg. But it's k. I've basically been living off of 귤 all week. We have so many. It's great.

But back to Christmas.

Have y'all seen the new video the church put out? It's so sick.* Watch it. I love it. Just do the service advent calendar. Like it's such a good video we figured out how to reformat it and put it on our flip phones. Well, we're working on it. I don't think our phones were meant to have videos that good play on them. But we are using them to their full technological capacity. They even have bluetooth.

By the way, we had a stake choir competition on Saturday. I haven't mentioned it here, because Elder Brown and I never could make choir practice, so we thought we wouldn't have to sing. Well … we were wrong. 

See, we were trying to teach a lesson to this real cool kid, when the second counselor in the bishopric came in and basically said, "Oh hi investigator, nice to meet you. We need to borrow these guys to sing for a bit. Come watch!" Then we went and sang. It was fun. We also got to watch the sisters' violin/piano duets. One was "Where Can I Turn for Peace" and the other was a "Pirates of the Caribbean" medley. They had to arrange the latter one from the violin 1 and 2 parts that were written in different keys. It was pretty great. They were at the church all week practicing. I even helped them with some of the transitions in the piece because they had to cut it down. It was great.

Anyway, love y'all! Watch the Light the World stuff!

Elder Newton
* Pretty sure Elder Newton is using this word the way the young people do nowadays.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bonus post: Meet Elder Brown

Elder Brown is on the left.
Another letter from Elder Newton arrived on Monday. He thought his loyal readers might want to know more about his trainer, Elder Brown.

So my life with Elder Brown starts Day 1 in country. I hadn't met him yet, and had put very little thought into my new companion. All I'd done to this point was get off the plane, 전도 (jundo) (proselyte) on the subway, and ride a taxi to President's house (President Sonksen, but his house is actually close to the Blue House). I was filling out a get-to-know-you paper as I was getting to know the APs,* and offhand Elder 남 (Nam) said, "You know, I think you and Elder Brown would be good together."

The conversation went on; I think Elder Littlefield said something like, "It's just because they're both blond, isn't it?" But I'm not sure. In any case, that night in my nightly prayer I asked for Elder Brown to be my trainer. It was kind of a joke with God, but I guess my prayer was answered anyway, because the next day of training I was sorted into 녹번 house w/ Elder Brown as my companion.

Elder Brown is a very nice guy. He serves everyone. Me, the district, the ward, people on the street, etc. He's very helpful. He's been out a year and a half, been in 녹번 4 1/2 months now, and has been district leader enough on his mission that he's led more district meetings than he's just attended.

And yeah. Um, he's from Missouri. His family has nine people (mom, dad, two older sisters, one older brother, (him), and three younger sisters. He did soccer and tennis, played the tuba too, loves math and science, and wants to be an aerospace engineer. He's also pretty funny, but in a "he makes good jokes" kind of way, not like a me kind of way. (If you're curious, that way is "not funny, but says things in a way people laugh out of pity.") Elder Brown is also a decent cooking man, and is very patient with Elder Newton. He compliments my Korean less than other people, but I like that, because I definitely have things to learn and no reason to be cocky. Plus when he does compliment me, it's pretty nice, and he has advice on how to improve.

* Assistants to the [Mission] President

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week 17: Kimchi and exchanges and stuff

Can you spot Elder Newton among these happy kimchi chefs? (back row, slightly left of center)
Discover Kimchi
Lift and splat
Long activity but not really any news about it*
Stop the problem
Write everything you'll say about Kimchi in the Discover poem
The proof is pixels

So it's been a pretty busy week. Last Pday we mostly spent teaching. It was pretty fun, but also shopping was hecka rushed. 

Speaking of last week. I have to give a quick shoutout to Elder Brown, because if he wasn't there, y'all would have no pictures of me. He always was saying, "No, they want pictures of you, not that mailbox." It was fun.

Ummmm, this week in English class I performed "Hamlet." Well. just the soliloquy. But still. We were just doing a show and tell, and when I gave them the option of "Canterbury" or "Hamlet," they chose "Hamlet." It went pretty well. I got a choco pie for it. 

Oh, also we had a cool talk from this guy, PJ Rogers, on Wednesday. He had a lot of great advice and was also really funny. Look him up sometime, he had like a radio show in Korea and also got his bachelor's or something† entirely in Korean. He went to like one of the best schools here. So yeah, cool guy. 

And I don't really have any other memes, sorry. Christmas is fast approaching as a missionary in a country where there's no Thanksgiving, but I'll wait until next week to tell y'all about that. Have a fun Thanksgiving! Elder Brown and I are planning on eating a whole box of mandarin oranges to celebrate. It'll be a blast. See y'all next week!

Elder Newton
* Elder Newton and his zone made and packaged kimchi for elderly and needy people in cooperation with the Korean Red Cross on Tuesday.
† Actually it was an MBA.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bonus photo post: The Apartment

Have you been wondering about Elder Newton's living conditions? Wonder no more. Here are a couple of photos of the apartment he shares with Elder Brown, Elder Gildea and their greenie (whose name Elder Newton did not provide).
Living room/bedroom (Elder Newton's mat is in the left foreground)


The many, many photos of week 16


Haircuts! (I forgot to take a picture of the post office, but we went there too.)

We played sports with him!

I have wanted this aesthetic for weeks now.


Hongje is aesthetic (so is Elder Brown).

Ice cream-eating kid's father. I love him dearly.

He's so cute.

Elder Brown eating ice cream with Korean kid.

English class.

A cool youth (Yo Dong Jin).

Also Sister Lenhart wanted in on pics.


On the subway on the way to zone training.

Elder Brown tried to say hello to no one. (Get it? Because camouflage?)

In the chapel.


Making a survey

Guy right near where I met (the guy from first week in Korea)


Weekly planning! It's great. We eat spaghetti before and then blow bubbles at the end.

We saw one of the other elders' investigators while streetboarding, and he bought us ice cream. But I took a pic of the moon instead.

Reflections on the subway.

A guy wasn't home, but the moon was still nice.

We saw the sisters at the church.

"Your family wants pictures of you, not Bebero." — Elder Brown

I still took a pic of Bebero, though.

Daily planning aesthetics


Typical breakfast

The district going to a lunch with our ward mission leader (ft. The Beatles)

Elder Brown aesthetics



Family Home Evening. Sister Ouzounian is losing spoons, and a sister is playing "Called to Serve" on the piano

I was bad at pictures, so instead of church, you get mailboxes I saw during the day.
By Enoch's house (he's a Chinese less-active member)

Near home

View from my study