Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bonus post: On Seoul soil

Monday was a great day for the Newton family. It started with an 8 a.m. phone call from Salt Lake City International and ended at 1 a.m. Tuesday when Mom saw on the flight tracker that Elder Newton's plane had landed at Incheon. (Where it was 4 p.m.) When the alarm went off a few hours later, here's what we saw in our inboxes:
He took off his badge for the immigration photo and forgot to put it back on for the photo with President and Sister Sonksen.
We're expecting a very newsy update in a few days; email day is Monday in the Korea Seoul Mission. The good news is that because Seoul is 15 hours ahead of Salt Lake, we probably will get that email Sunday evening. In the meantime, here's a bonus post from a letter we received from our favorite elder yesterday.

So I said I'd tell you about my other clarinet performance. I will do that now.

It all started last Thursday when I auditioned to play as a special musical number person. By the way, no one told me I'd be auditioning for all the wives of the MTC presidency. It was intense. But there's not much to say about that, mainly because it went well, and they said I was good. Then I went back to class to study.

That night I got a little letter that I've decided to enclose because I cherish it, and I think I might lose it. Keep it safe. Now you can read it and see why I was really excited.

I got to play for Old People! Well, senior missionaries. Either way, they're very nice. I could play any piece with very little skill and they'd love me. It's just their nature. Luckily, though, Sister Coon and I were near flawless! Like in my Sunday sacrament meeting performance I was OK. But this performance was marvelous. Like I nailed all the arpeggios. The only thing that happened, really, was at one point the tone got a little gurgly. Just on the high B♭, but I knew how to handle that. And that's the story of how I blew into the side of my clarinet midperformance. I may have looked silly for a moment, but I sounded good, so it's OK.

Well, I love you, next time I'll write you about my surprise talk or something. Hopefully that'll be soon.

Your son,
Adam Newton

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bonus photo post: Last day in the MTC

Elder Newton (second from left) and Elder Pulsipher with the sisters from their district: Sister Phocharoen, Sister Legaspi and Sister Stringham. It looks as if these missionaries are snapping their fingers or asking their families to send more money, but actually they are making tiny hearts with their finger and thumb. Elder Newton explained: "The heart thing is a cute Korean thing that's technically slang, but it's cute slang so it's cool."

District F. Seated, l-r: Elder Coon, Sister Legaspi, Sister Stringham, Sister Phocharoen, Elder Newton. Standing: Elder Morgan, Elder Babbitt, Elder Giauque, Elder Pulsipher.
Love you! Gotta go clean the residence now! You're great! I can't believe I'm going to Korea. It's great. See you on the other side (of the world)

-Elder Newton

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week 9: Pics and a quick bonus post

Note from Mom: Elder Newton has been told that he won't get to email again until Oct. 3 because he arrives in Korea on Tuesday and his preparation day is Monday. I expect to receive a photo of him from his mission president on the day he arrives and will share it here when I do.
Dear Everyone,
Hi! I get to email because I'm going to be missing it for a week. So that's cool. Anyway, here are pics of District F with our teachers. Honestly, I swear these people were hand picked to teach me. I don't know if any other pair could have taught me better. They've been amazing, and basically all I know, I know thanks to them. 

Front row, l-r: Sister Stringham, Sister Phocharoen, Sister Kim, Sister Legaspi. Back row: Elder Newton, Elder Morgan, Elder Pulsipher, Elder Giauque, Elder Coon, Elder Babbitt.
So here's us with Sister Kim! She's so great. She speaks really fast, like always. It's intense. But also I've learned a lot from her. She's really proactive and a planner. I am neither of these things. So she's helped me kinda become those things. I'm bad at them still, but I do them now. So technically I've improved infinitely.

Front row, l-r: Sister Stringham, Sister Legaspi, Sister Phocharoen, Elder Morgan, Elder Coon. Back row, l-r: Elder Pulsipher, Elder Newton, Elder Giauque, Brother Chandler, Elder Babbitt.

I look less good in this pic, but it's k. Brother Chandler is in the back. He tells us a lot of stories and is also probably the most spiritual person I've ever met. He has made me cry on multiple occasions. He makes me really happy, and also helps me believe a little less that I'll die in Korea. He's studying molecular biology and will probably cure cancer. Also he makes the best sound effects of my life. He should be a radio storyteller tbh. 

So yeah, I think I should just close with a Discover Poem, and it'll be good.

Discover Teachers
Write and discuss
Obvious topic, but unclear message
Stop the Problem
Take them with you to Korea
The proof is /really/ overweight luggage

-Elder Newton

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Week 8: I'm going to Korea?

(The one pic I took this week)

So I have a fun fact for all of you: Contrary to popular belief, I have not been called to serve in the MTC mission. I know, it's been nine weeks, and we're all used to me being down in Provo, but apparently on Monday I'm being transferred to Korea. So that's cool. I wish someone had told me about it.
I'm funny.

Anyway, yeah. Last week here is wild. Mom has reminded me I forgot to talk about Sunday, so I'll talk about this last one bc it was pretty sweet.

So Sundays are the best day. It's like, restful, and it's not all in Korean. Mornings are at a nice pace, and getting ready is definitely less rushed. Since there aren't really many workers, breakfast is always cereal and muffins. 
After breakfast, we write talks in the classroom. These talks have to be in Korean, and you have to write them because the speakers for sacrament meeting are chosen at random. During the meeting. It's stressful. Like, to avoid the stress, I wrote my talk for last Sunday on Thursday night just to have it done with. 
Anyway, after frantic talk-writing time, we have district meeting. Basically the branch presidency has a prompt they give everyone for the day, and during district meeting we have a quick spiritual discussion on it. Last time we talked about humility. In fact, like all of last week many things were about humility. I think I might want to work more on humility probably.
After district meeting is sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting was great, because instead of giving a talk, I played my clarinet! It was amazing and really spiritual. Shoutout to Sam Noyce for recommending this sweet "Love at Home" arrangement. Maybe I'll play it for y'all in two years
Also my accompanist is Sister Coon, and she's wonderful, and I'll love her forever. I may have forgotten to get a pic with her, though, so next week I'll show you her. She's so good. Accompanists are great.

And then after sacrament meeting we have lunch. 

And after lunch is priesthood. It's just a normal priesthood meeting.

After priesthood we have temple walk. I either take a million aesthetic pictures, or like none at all.

Then we come back and go to choir.

Choir is amazing. It's always so big. I'm gonna miss it. It's like a pre-devotional devotional. Except I get to sing a lot. It's great.

Then some speaker comes, gives a devotional, and I'm supposed to take notes. Sometimes I do. I've been getting better. 

After that it's movie night where we watch devotionals, or Mormon stuff like "Ephraim's Rescue." They never showed "Once I Was a Beehive," though. That's a bummer. 

And then I go to bed and get ready for Monday!

And yeah, that's all the time we have, folks. Write you again from Korea!

-Elder Newton

Discover New mailing address
Mail and ship
Small part of email, but blatant advertisement
Stop the problem
Send me things
The proof is international shipping.
New mailing address

Jahamun-ro 152 1 dong
Seoul-teukbyeolsi 03046
South Korea

Jahamun-ro 152 1 dong
Seoul-teukbyeolsi 110-030
South Korea

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Photo post from week 7

Here are the photos Elder Newton sent this week. He labeled the first set "I Like the Sky"; the second set is "The Temple Is Cool."

This one was included with the first set but clearly was taken at the temple.

Ooooh a wall

Basic Temple

Temple and Sky

Moroni in some sweet organic framing

Temple ft. my Portuguese missionary friends

Week 7: I'm actually going to Korea (eventually)

Callback photo ft. my New Korean Nametag

Discover Korean Nametags
Christmas and excited screaming
Small badge, but deep significance
Stop the Problem 
Send me to Korea already
The proof is Remembrance

(We may have gotten our Korean nametags this week and I'm still very excited)

Hello everyone!

So yeah, this week was great. We may or may not have had two apostles come and speak since I last wrote one of these. No big deal. We just have had three apostles speak in a row. It's unheard of. Elder Ballard came Sunday, and last night Elder Cook came down to speak to us. Neither of them had written out talks, but they were still some of the best spiritual things I've heard in my life. They both focused a lot on love and service.

Skype TRC was amazing on Friday. I loved it so much. We talked to a Sister 박. She was great. And also in Korea. That was insane. The second she picked up the call I couldn't stop smiling. It was amazing to see one of the people in the place the Lord has called me to go to. I loved it so much, and apparently she liked it too. Brother Chandler called her after we finished, and she gave him an evaluation. It was beaming. I love it so much and am ready for Korea. (Except also I'm going to die once I'm there, but it's OK.*)
Classes continue to be great. Sister Kim is great at teaching Korean, and Brother Chandler is a spiritual giant. I love them both so much, and I kind of want to keep them with me forever. I also need to get pics with them. I'll have that for next week. 

Other than that, though, I've mostly been studying or practicing music.† It's been a good week, and the Lord always knows when I need to have some music in my life. It's always spiritual, of course, and it always lifts my spirits.

And as usual I'm out of time, so thanks for reading. There will be more updates later. I get my flight plans Friday,‡ so that's exciting.

Much love and spirituality,
Elder Newton
* When asked for clarification on the "going to die" comment (yes, Mom emailed him back during his email window, don't judge), Elder Newton said: "I just know that I know nothing still. Like I can teach a lesson in Korean, but I don't know how to ask for vegetarian food. (I can say I don't eat meat though, which is nice.) But yeah, it's just like a metaphorical die."
† Elder Newton received permission to have his clarinet with him in the MTC so he can perform for his fellow missionaries. He wrote in an earlier email to his mom: "I have so far played for my district a tiny bit and my companion. I get to practice 50 minutes a day, so I may skip half of lunch and dinner to do that. Today I'm working with my pianist bc I think I can finally do that arpeggiation or however you spell it. And yeah it's real good, and honestly I am able to focus on the music really well here. I love it."
‡ We anticipate Elder Newton will fly out Sept. 26 or 27. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bonus photo post: Trees

You might be aware that Adam always has had a special love for trees. Here's a tree-themed post to tide you over until he sends more photos.

Tree ft. mountain
Tree ft. tree

Tree ft. more mountain

Leaf ft. cool lighting
Cool lighting leaf ft. better framing

Week 6: MTC schedules and things

Discover Schedules
Set and straightforward
Small boxes, but like 3 hour chunks of time
Stop the Problem
Get me into the mission field
The proof is a really boring and repetitive planner

All extra business:
I am slowly figuring out how to make outfits here when I don't have 35 sweaters. It's hard, but I'm improving.
Korean is great and I finally know indirect discourse. It's amazing.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson came yesterday. I liked it a lot. But also his whole talk can be summed up by saying "Repentance is really important. Do it and teach it."
Also I've done a couple of days without English. Except we all cheat a lot. But still it's pretty good.
And also I did sealings at the temple for the first time today and I loved it. Now, on to the Schedule:

Monday: It's a weird day. Nothing is scheduled until 7, but we can't really shower because exercise is a thing later in the morning. It's hard not to just sleep in. Usually we just extend personal study.
At 8:05 we get breakfast and then at 8:50 we exercise for an hour. Then we shower and stuff. After that, there's two hours for language and companion study before lunch.
During lunch, I force my companion to get a sack lunch so we can fit in some clarinet practice. Because I'm playing in sacrament meeting next Sunday because someone already had a piece for this one.

Then we get taught by one of our two teachers from 1:30-4:35. It's wild. I like it a lot. They're really spiritual. Then we go to dinner, (I practice clarinet a bit more) and when we come back we get 3 hours with our other teacher. Then it's back to the Residence and we get ready for bed. 

Tuesday is similar except we start with exercise, eat after that, and have three hours in the classroom in the morning. Then it goes as normal until we have the devotional and choir practice in the evening. After the devotional we have a district review of the devotional. It's sweet. Then whoever has a priesthood or Relief Society lesson for Sunday goes to a meeting where a branch presidency member gives you ideas on what to teach. Speaking of, this Sunday I'm teaching a lesson about baptism.

Wednesday is P-Day, I go to the temple and it's great. Then there's laundry, email, and occasionally we get more flashcards for Elder Pulsipher from the store. 

Thursday is like Tuesday, but without a devotional.

Friday we have to wake up at 6 for service, but after that everything becomes normal again. This Friday we're starting Skype TRC*. More on that next week.

And Saturday is just like Thursday except we get a teacher in the morning, and study time at night. I'll describe Sunday next week because I'm a little close to time. Also I'll send pictures next week, because I just took a couple of aesthetic sky pictures.

Sorry if this was all a little boring, love you all,
Elder Newton

* Note of explanation, courtesy of Elder Newton's friend Aaron Gentillon: "TRCs are when you either Skype or talk with face to face people who speak your mission language.  They are only allowed to speak the language, and you’re supposed to either get to know them or teach them or something."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bonus post: Do not read if you are over 12

Note from Mom: I asked Elder Newton to write a brief message for the Primary children (ages 3-11) who were learning about missionaries this week. They seemed to enjoy his message.

Dear small humans,

Hello from the MTC! It's great here. There's a lot of food and a lot of people speaking Korean. (Technically a lot more languages are spoken here, but I only really care about the Korean at the moment.) 
So my mom (who's great, you should cherish her) has asked me to talk to y'all about missions. Unfortunately, I am currently in Missionary Boot Camp and cannot be with you personally. But, I trust that my mom knows how to read, and so I have this message for you.

Missions are amazing. You know in sacrament meeting when you felt the Spirit as everyone bore their testimonies? (I assume you felt it, as long as you weren't just on your phones or eating your Cheerios.) Well you get to feel the Spirit here like 24/7. And sometimes apostles come to speak, just for you. That's crazy, man. 

So on P-Day I only have an hour to email people, so I'll close abruptly with some advice: Always follow the commandments, and pay attention to how you feel when you share the Gospel with people. Even if it's just a talk in Primary, getting a feel for sharing the Spirit is a key part of missionary work. 

So since my teachers tell me to always give a commitment, I'm going to give you all something to do this week. It's like I'm your teacher giving you homework. But it's fun. And there's no math. [Note to Mom: Wait for the kids to stop laughing at my great joke before continuing.] 
I want you to share something about the Gospel with one of your friends or a member of your family this week. Practice being a missionary now, and then in a few years you can go out and serve just like  me. (And maybe your language will be easier than Korean.)

My Best Regards, 
Elder Newton