Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 93 bonus photo post featuring More Cherry Blossoms

Elder Newton loves the cherry blossoms in Korea. Keep scrolling for a story and some guest photos.

​So there's a sister who was less active in Wonju who's planning on moving to Taebaek this summer. Since her house will be closer to the church and her schedule clearer, the sisters referred her to us. We've been texting, and on Wednesday when we were on the way back home from Donghae, she texted us and asked if we could meet since she was visiting Taebaek. We couldn't, but she sent us these pictures. She really liked the trees for some reason. She's so sweet.

But anyway, we get home and after a dinner of our favorite bean sprout soup place we hopped on a bus out somewhere when lo and behold we get another text from her. Elder O'Brien has the phone, so he looks first and is a little confused so he has me read it, and it says that she's on the same bus as us. So we got to say hi, and even got off at the same spot. It was pretty cool
Best Wishes,
Elder Newton


Week 93 photo post: Including a trip to Donghae

This one is Taebaek but there were random dogs

The church in Donghae

Apartments with the same name as a member

Part of the Donghae District
After the meeting
The Taebaek pond

View from Elder Newton's house in Taebaek

Another view from the house
Elder Newton labeled these next few "leftover pics"

So enjoy these photos of springtime in what Mom assumes is Taebaek

The cherry blossoms will have their own photo post

Perhaps Elder Newton will tell us where this is next week

Elder O'Brien in the wilderness (at the college)

Week 93: Sunday Will End

After church. Some of the members had gone home, but it's still the majority of those in attendance.
Discover Farm
Trench and Tarp
Many hands but light work
Stop the Problem
Steal the Kimchi
The proof is sudden

Well a lot went down this week, but it all just goes down to Sunday, doesn't it? Every Sunday is an adventure out here. It gets to be a lot though, so playing on one of Elder Wirthlin's talks, I've taken up the saying, "Sunday will end." No matter how much we have to stretch and bend to put church together, it'll end. 

This week was going pretty smoothly though. We had gone to Gangneung for President Interviews and I had like a 30-minute conversation with President Sonksen. I only got to see Sister Sonksen for 15 minutes though, because we needed to run to get a taxi to get a bus for English class. 

That was also fun because only the branch president came. It was a great class though. For the message we practiced inviting him to be baptized and he really liked it. It even led to a discussion about helping his friends start to meet with the missionaries. That was a good night. 

But I got sidetracked. Going on with the week, we also went to 동해 again. There were sick treats made by Sister Sonksen for district meeting. We ate well and had some good training.

And then we skip right on over to Saturday. We farmed the morning away at the branch president's house. He wasn't there, though, he was out in 일산 for a mission reunion. His wife's dad was there though. Father-in-law. Wow, a word in English. Amazing.

So yeah, none of the people we worked with were members of the church, and they had a lot of questions about what we did. They also invited us back to help later, so Operation: Farm Conversion seems to be running smoothly. 

After that we changed, cleaned the church, met someone who might be in a gang, ran into some construction workers doing stuff by the church, and did those regular Saturday things. (🎡The day we get ready for Sunday🎡) We even made some time to tract that night, but that was also when Sunday fell apart. 

We had just started when we got a text from the branch president saying that due to the aforementioned mission reunion going long he had missed the last bus to Taebaek, so his family would attend church with their oldest daughter in her ward. (By the way, she's amazing. She's in high school, but has lived alone in another part of Korea for like a few years.) Thus half the branch, the main talk and the Gospel Doctrine teacher were gone for Sunday

I then spent the rest of the night worrying about how to do all the things. Transfer calls came and went; meanwhile I wrote a talk, freaked out and called all the members about getting our Young Man a ride to church and how none of the missionaries left. But we get one more elder. There's always a lot of branch business. 

I did eventually get to bed and soon enough it was the next morning. I got up, hopped in the shower and realized I was the presiding authority at church that day. It was weird. In the end we had seven people total at church. Our Young Man, our Old Man, and three sisters. They're the best, dangit. So faithful. The church meeting itself went smoothly enough. I don't know how I was able to talk for 20 minutes about the priesthood without rambling really. The other two talks were really good though. Brother Go (he wasn't with his family in Seoul, thank goodness) just touched my heart. He is the best Teacher in the whole church. His birthday is Saturday though, so soon he'll be the best Priest. 
Elder Newton with the three Taebaek sisters
After sacrament meeting we just set up the TV and watched "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration." The members really liked it, and they shared some really nice testimonies at the end of it. Afterward we had lunch together (except for Brother Go; he had to leave fast to study. The sisters made sure he had some food though. They're so nice). It felt like a family meal. It was about the same size and everything. 

But I've gone on long enough. Nothing much really happened after that anyway. We just talked for a long time and the sisters asked what kind of a wife I wanted. I went with "faithful." Then we took some photos, did the clerk stuff, rearranged the talk schedule for the third time I swear, and had a quick dinner before knocking some doors. So yeah, Sunday did end. Good stuff. Or Dark Stuff, huh. Oh well. Have a good week!

Best Wishes, 

Elder Newton

Monday, April 23, 2018

Week 92 bonus photos: Cherry blossoms and Gangneung

This message was still up when Elder Newton went to Gangneung (I assume in the missionary flat)

Week 92: Three Areas in One Week

A view from Gangneung
Discover Road
Curve and Crest
Winding paths but straight lines
Stop the Problem
Sever the Line
The proof is defenestration

The district (we're split up now but it's OK)
We started off the week by sending the sisters off and heading to DongHae for district meeting. It was my last chapel of the district, so I felt very accomplished. We had pizza with my Son and Elder Steward. (Sadly, neither are pictured. We'll do better for next week.) It's really green out on the coast. But Taebaek still has cherry blossoms because we're chill.

Then we had a quick one-day break and sent me off to Gangneung for exchanges. It was a good time. I met my old English class at the college, and then studied syntax with Joon and tried to write my talk for Sunday. That was fun. We also had pizza with all the young adults in the 강릉 branch. It was a good time with a lot of half word. Well, they said it. The missionaries were all μš”ing it up. 
Joon and Elder ν—ˆ! It was a good time at the college. There was a μ†Œμ£Ό bottle floating in the fountain. Also a lot of drinking games on the lawn (not pictured)
이창! We kept on running into him this week. He bought us a lot of Ice Cream
I also may or may not have bought ₩4,000 worth of ice cream in really small amounts of change because ice cream bars are really cheap out there. Good stuff.

We went on a walk with Sister Lee and μ˜ˆμ€ to end exchanges. It was one of the best member visits of my life
Well that's the three areas really. So we made the whole email! Yayyyyyyy O guess we have time for something else.

Oh yeah, now that there's just the two of us, the number of things we have to do for sacrament meeting has gone way up. Elder O'Brien is relearning the piano, I conduct, break the bread for the sacrament while he plays the hymn, and this week I even had a 25-minute talk. It would have been shorter, but a member forgot to come to church (it's OK though, we love him) and the only other speaker was our Primary child. We lucked out that he spoke for an entire 5 minutes. 

But yeah, the topic was the Book of Mormon, so in a stroke of laziness and genius I decided that during the week instead of working on my talk, I'd devote personal study to finishing the Book of Mormon. So I've finished it yet again. I just spoke on what I learned in this most recent reading and added a few stories for time. It worked out really well actually, because I may or may not have been finishing it up right before church.

Maybe I'll send a copy home, but it's all in Korean. I didn't really have time for an English draft for this one. Whoops. Just know I gave Mom a shout-out for Harry Potter Time. That should be sufficient.

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 91 bonus photos: A Sunday Evening of Tracting in the Cherry Blossom Wilderness

View from a rest stop in one of the other missions (Elder Newton and Mom weren't online at the same time, so an explanation will have to wait until next week)

Week 91: And Then There Were Two

Elder O'Brien
Discover μŒ€κ΅­μˆ˜
Cramped but Quaint 
Chill Rain but Warm Restaurant
Stop the Problem 
Clear up the Misunderstanding
The proof is Pizza

I like aesthetics

Elder O'Brien and his glasses

Well, we've had an exciting week. We've bought Elder O'Brien glasses and sent a package to his home. Both of which got us some cool potential investigators, or at least nice friends in the post office and glasses store. If we keep this up, we'll know all the shop owners in νƒœλ°±

Our fearless zone leaders

Empty chairs at (not so) empty tables where my friends will eat no more
We also had to go to Seoul though. It was the worst except for the bus ride going through the one corner of Wonju's area I never really went to. That was great. We also showed up to Seoul about the same time as our zone leaders, so we got dinner together at a really quaint Thai restaurant. Good memes and special made vegan food were had. 

President Sonksen had an old photo book out (ft. Soohorang and Bandabi)
Also President Sonksen has the best house. We got to stay in the General Authority room, and I think I had the best shower since my last trip to a λͺ©μš•νƒ•

Old Wonju missionaries (l-r Bond, Newton, Saguinsin, Lee, Horne)
As for our mission conference, it was a good time to see old missionary friends, watch some Netflix, and get some Korean cultural appreciation. Y'all should really watch "Korea From the Air" or whatever it is we watched. It persuaded me to move here forever. 

We liked the old man in the PC room
As for the rest of our lives though, it was pretty normal once we got back to Taebaek. We saw some nice people and did service. Started the farm at the church. Also we made a new friend from the phone. They live in Gangnam now, but they like to call us for English questions. They're really good at English though, so the questions are like, "What's the difference between 'get,' 'make' and 'have'?"

Sunday was good. A λ…Ήλ²ˆ member who served here randomly showed up. He's really cool. He had pictures from when the branch president's daughter got baptized.

The Pond
But our sisters have been sent off to Seoul, so now it's just me and Elder O'Brien in charge of this vast expanse of Korean countryside. Also five meetings at church every week. And we lost our piano players. So Elder O'Brien needs to relearn hymns again. I don't know how the sacrament will work, but we'll figure it out. 

On the bright side, we've combined districts with 동해 so I will finally be able to go to that church. My son is there right now too, so it's all a party. 

That's all the time we have for today though, folks. Hope you're all doing well!

Best Wishes,
Elder Newton