Friday, August 31, 2018

Welcome Home

Elder Newton has returned, but here's one last photo of him in Korea:

And here he is arriving in Salt Lake City and greeting his family:

Thanks for following and supporting Elder Newton on this adventure!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Week 106: One Last Time

Elders Newton, Boden and Alger
Discover Korea
Adjust and Adapt
Morning Calm but Afternoon Bustle
Stop the Problem
See the People
The Proof is Emotional

Well. It's my last email. I don't know what to say. It's been a busy week of goodbyes and zone activity. I'm almost packed. I don't remember enough of the week to give a review. We fixed the branch president's porch on Saturday. That was fun. 


He's so handsome
Sunday was good. It always is, I think. Everything went well. 승우 had the prayer in sacrament meeting, but he slept through it. That was funny. Ummmmmmmm we did a musical number! That was cool. Elder Alger worked so hard on the piano. Shout out to him and Mom for the "Love at Home" arrangement. I also gave my first and last Final Talk as a missionary. It was all about the power of friendship in the gospel. It was fun. If y'all come to my homecoming talk, it will probably be similar, but in English. 

Over two years I'm sure I've got some wisdom, but I don't know it now. That's OK, though. I think it's all just about love for the Savior and the people. In the end, all the commandments and all of the gospel seems to turn you outward. I think that's the weirdest part of the whole ending the mission thing. As a missionary, I never really had to think about myself, but once I'm in America, a whole lot of things will suddenly kind of be about me. I hope I can find a good balance of that. But, we'll see how it goes. Thanks to all of you for reading this here blog. I enjoyed the poetry. Hopefully we can keep that up. 

Have a good week, everyone! See you soon? I guess?

Best Wishes, 

Elder Newton
We always just talk after church. It's great

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Week 105: The Penultimate Peril

A well-documented sunset

Everything was such a nice hue

Discover Meal
Set and serve
Consistent Goal but Imperfect Execution
Stop the Problem
Open a Book
The Proof is Penultimate

Our expensive dinner on Friday
Well. We had a lot of meal appointments this week. We missed Saturday, but that's OK. 6/7 isn't too bad. Plus on some days there were multiple free meals. That was good. It was a good week. 

We're doing a musical number for my last week, so we practiced that a lot. That was fun. 

Ummmmmmmm we had exchanges with Elder Pulsipher (the blond never-been-my-companion one). He was a greenie here, and he really seemed to enjoy it. He still remembered a lot, and we managed to get him to see 60% of the branch while he was here and also visit some investigator. That was a good visit. I'll miss the man. He's 75 and has a little house in the Taebaek countryside to do art in and listen to music. I gave him a couple of my MoTab CDs, and I think he really appreciated it. 

I had another long talk on Sunday, and I have another one next week, but what else is new. It was about gratitude. I somehow tied it into Amanda Barnes Smith. That was fun. I hope I can give talks in English one day. It sounds so hard. Also, speaking of gratitude, I'm currently in the middle of my crazy project to write thank-you notes to every member I remember after two years of missionary work. It's really hard, but it's made me really grateful for a lot of little things. I'd recommend writing one or two thank-you letters to someone this week. 

There were of course other things, like we went to another cave. But we'll have to show the pictures another time. Whoops. Have a good week!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
More fun stickers. This is my dream couple now

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Photos of Week 104

The train station

Mural I like

Fields in the everywhere

He's the local man who takes our bike. But we let him, because we can't ride it. He got a new toy, I guess. (Elder Newton adds: "It's chill. It's a fake gun. I may have only seen 2 real guns in Korea")
Cool local memorial

It means love, but the little ㅅ at the end makes it sound like Love Hate. I don't know. It's a Korean meme that I enjoy. The little joys of tracting

Week 104: So I Got a Korean Name

It me
Discover Delay
Postpone and Put off
Inconvenience but Desired Result
Stop the Problem
Make the List
The proof is Haywire

So yeah, this was a week. We went to Donghae for P-day. We played ping-pong and Settlers of Catan with the branch president out there. He made the entire board by himself. For Catan. That was intense. 

Also I'm low on time, but this week was full of miracles. 

First: As the subject says, I got a Korean name. I still need a last name, but I asked our Young Man to hook me up. I thought he might forget, but on Sunday when we were getting the sacrament ready he was all like.

"Hey, I was thinking about your name" 

Sorry if the quotation marks are inappropriate. He actually said this in Korean

So anyway, he goes on, "It's ShinJae. The Shin means new and the Jae means turn"

It's actually pretty legit, but my favorite is the reason he made it. It's because New Turn sounds like Newton. He's amazing. I love the kid. 

The other miracle to talk about is Claire. She's the best. Here's the crackdown.

So on Monday we rode the train back, and we actually ended up arriving a few minutes after 6 (whoops) but that's OK. We went to some apartments we'd never really noticed behind the train station to tract for the night with some of our Prepared Book of Mormons. 

But no one really answers

Which is normal, but yaknow how it gets with spaghetti.

Anyway, near the end we knock on this one door, and Claire answers. She's in her 30s or something. Anyway, she was in the middle of eating dinner, but she had had an English teacher from Utah, and had actually always wanted to read the Book of Mormon. So we gave her one with a pamphlet to also explain and invited her to English class the next day. 

So this was good, but we didn't ask her name and she didn't want to give us her number. Whoops. So we just prayed really hard. And IT WORKED. She came to English class, and she was actually the only one who came. So it was a lesson. She is so great. Lots of questions and is really open. Good person. She also bought us bread. 

Anyway, she still doesn't want to give us her number, but we do figure out her name, so we just invite her to the next English class. 

And literally the exact same thing happens. Except she didn't have time for bread. So now we're going to have pizza together tonight. But she had looked up the church online, and she liked most of it, and we helped clear up the weird stuff she found. She liked our interpretation of the gift of tongues. But yeah, that's the story of how we started teaching someone and helping them progress within a week. I never thought I'd see that happen. It's a darn happy time out in Taebaek. I wish I could convey all of the miracles. But. I gotta go. I love you all!

Best Wishes, 

Elder Newton

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Week 103: We Have a New Mission President

Thank goodness President and Sister Taylor (pictured front and center) shared photos of all the missionaries on Facebook this week, because Elder Newton didn't send any photos. Here's the Gangneung Zone. See if you can spot Elder Newton.
Discover Forest
Growth and Greenery
Individual trees but Connected Ecology
Stop the Problem
Receive the letter
The Proof is Alphabetical

This week started off well. We actually had a lesson! *and the crowd went wild* It was really spiritual. I might have mentioned the man before. We met him in his house a few weeks ago while tracting, and he has a real desire to follow Jesus Christ. I like him a lot. 

When we first met him, he mentioned that he had received a Book of Mormon in Idaho when he saw a temple and got curious about what the building was. It reminded me that on my first birthday in Korea, there was a sister from Idaho I didn't know who sent me a letter and a picture of the Idaho Falls Temple. (I think? There are a lot of temples in Idaho.) In any case, for our first lesson, we thought it would be good to give Forrest (that's the name of the person we taught) the little picture of the temple to help him see the big picture of the Gospel. He really liked it, and it turned out that the temple was the very same temple he had gone to. #tendermercies

And then the week blazed by. We cleaned Brother Lee's house again almost all day on Tuesday. We made a little progress there. English classes have been going well still. It's basically become the time when we meet all of the sisters' old investigators and keep them spiritually nourished. They're both doing really well. We played Bananagrams for English class on Friday and then for the spiritual thought we made an analogy between prayers and burgers, and then gave everyone gummi burger candies. It was really cute. I'd better be called as a Primary teacher if I go to America. 

Oh yeah, the senior couple came and we fixed our door. It's all good now. It was like all the times I helped Dad with random house things, except instead of going to Home Depot we went to a few little local stores I know.

Ummmmmm we met President Taylor. He's really nice. Seems pretty funny. He was famous in Korea as a missionary because his district sang a funny song on television or something. We actually had a really good meeting with him. We talked about how we can be the light of the world and the Beatitudes and things. We all have to be the saltier salt. 

Sister Taylor is also a delight. I got a chance to talk with her while my companions had President Interviews. She served a mission in Italy and is just a darn nice person. I wish I could be a missionary longer. I hope they follow through on their joke they made. They said no one gets to go home until they do or the work is finished. I'm all on board. 

This weekend we had a few festivals around. One was a couples festival, so we made hearts for everyone that said, "Charity Never Faileth," and then passed them out with copies of the Book of Mormon. We also ended up on a railbike, but that's a story for another day I think. I will mention, though, that I'm glad I wore a sweater that day. 

Sunday was also good. We had bibimbap and had some vegetables from our garden with it. The branch president was gone, so I had to preside again. It'll definitely be weird not to have all these responsibilities in church when I get to America. But for now, it definitely keeps me awake during church even if I'm tired. I have to conduct and then give the lesson in Sunday school and everything. But yeah, that's about it. Taebaek is still my little bit of Promised Land. Hope you all had a good week too!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Week 102 photos: Memes From a Mountain

Taebaek Mountain

Korean and Chinese in Harmony on a Rock

There was a mini airplane place

There are ladles so you can get a drink from the dragon's mouth.

Week 102: Ministering and Late Nights

"Could I hold the door for you?"
Discover Door
Hinge and Heave
Worn Screw but Intact frame
Stop the Problem
Turn the Page
The proof is eye

Cool LEGO stuff at café
Well, we've had a week. Went to the market and bought some cheap honey and a fan and stuff. Also other things happened. We had a lot of opportunities to serve and randomly get and receive ice cream on Wednesday

Speaking of Wednesday, I had the best member visit of my life. We're focusing on ministering to the members, so we bought Sister Kim some bread, and because I had lost the phone on the bus that day* #whoops we had missed dinner. We mention this, and in 2 seconds she's pulled out fruit and choco pies and pulls her table up by the shoe pit because we can't go in her house. We talked for a long time about her conversion story and about the branch. She's so faithful and happy. She also says that we can't send me home. Sorry everyone. 

I like sunsets

And corn
Also Thursday was good. We had a great zone training. It went long, so we couldn't have pizza, though. But I liked it. We made our own Zone Commitment called "Operation: Monsters Inc." It's fun. We all make little ministering challenges for the zone every day and then you record what you did that night in a journal or notebook. Mine is a carrot one. 

Companions taking pictures of our food
Also we had a great story by Sister Castro about Sister Gottfredson and the Book of Mormon. I really felt like I had to deepen my appreciation for the book, and so that night I got home and read it, and since I couldn't sleep I read some more in the middle of the night so by morning I was done with the Nephi books. The first two. But I've just been reading it whenever I have a second. I'm on 3 Nephi now. It's a really good experience. The people in the Book of Mormon are all so real, and I've learned a lot from the arcs of story and things. I'd recommend it to anyone. I do all the time, actually, now that I think about it. 

I did a thing for English Class #artsy
And yeah, Sunday I had my last Fast Sunday. It was weird. I mentioned it in my testimony and everyone was really shocked. But it was a really good experience anyway. I love the members and just the feeling of the church here. It's my family, really. Also three of the people we're teaching came to church. That was great. And that's the week. Keep up the work!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
* "Koreans are fun when they help foreigners."

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Week 101: Branch Conference! I Swear There's Always a Conference

The district before transfers, clockwise from left: Elder O'Brien, Elder Steward, Elder Jin, Elder Pulsipher, Elder Boden, Elder Newton, Sister Butler, Sister Perrigo, Elder Alban
After transfers: Elder Newton, Elder Alger from Surprise, Ariz., Elder Boden
Discover Grape
Harvest and heap
Old Branch makes way for new growth
Stop the problem
Extend the break
The proof is Adjustable

So, we sent Elder O'Brien away*. First we saw some people and climbed a mountain, but then he had to go. Sad days. 

Doing a service project.
We got Elder Alger, though; he's nice. He and Elder Boden are good at being patient and doing the work they can during the times I'm stuck at church. What troopers. 

The week was a bit of a blur, though, and nothing too crazy happened. Saturday we played ping-pong with our investigator and taught him a lesson by farming together. He had to miss church this week, but he's still the best. After we finished, the second counselor in the mission presidency showed up to drop some stuff off. Then he went off to find a hotel while his son helped us clean the church. That was great. I haven't had a member help clean the church in forever. To be fair, though, we don't really ask them to. But anyway, after we finished, they took me to a meat place I like because there's some really good 냉면. He took a picture, but I don't have it. 

Elder Remington with Branch President Go's family
Oh also Elder Remington died†. So he came to visit with his family. They're so tall. And they just showed up at the church with Branch President Go's family randomly Saturday night. That was fun

Sunday was pretty crazy though. I had so many things to get ready for. Branch conference is intense. Although to be fair, it was also the end of the quarter, so there were many things to do.

Elder Newton showing his Vegan Pride (note the matching ties purchased by Elder Alger in the "cheap tie area")
But yeah, Sunday! As many of you might already know, we had a lot of lettuce growing for today. We harvested it all. Or almost all of it. The meal was crazy big. But we also had 41 people come to church. That's a record high. It feels weird to have so many people. It's nice though. President and Sister Sonksen both gave really good talks. They love Taebaek. So does everyone. It's the best. 
The field is green and ready to harvest

I feel like there's more to say. After church we took a big picture with everyone, but I don't have that either. Sorry. Three of the 12 local foreigners were hanging out in front of the church and we talked to them for a while. There's a couple from Idaho who know Mormons really well, and a South African man who's one of the funniest people I've ever met. He remembered Elder Gilmore. Small world.

But yeah, I guess that's it. I think we have some pictures. So. Yeah. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton
* To Chuncheon.
† Completed his missionary service.