And all though my house, not an Elder was stirring til the sound of a mouse...or a whole chorus of them sqeaking our "miceappella" wake up tone at 6:30am. As accompanied by our bike rider ringtone and Elder Vomocil's clock, which go off simultaneously to form the Cacaphony from Hell. My life.
Last week started off in a buffet. A meat buffet. You grab a lot of raw meat then cook it as you go and dip it in this awesome sauce then hork it down. Heaven turned Hell as it turns out. Theres a rule where you have to pay an extra five bucks if you don't eat all the meat that you grab, and a couple of the Elders who had never been before got a little gung-ho. We all left sick and went to a bath house to sweat it out. Bath houses are the best, and we should absolutely have them in America. Maybe I'll start one when I get back. Who knows?
My companion, Elder L, moved out and Elder A moved in from his room down the hall. Honestly, he's not great at Korean, but who is their third transfer? Or even their fourth (self conscious cough)?
We had a ward christmas party this week. The missionaries sang White Christmas and Elder V performed a solo of Let it Snow that we had to edit to remove romantic overtones. "But after we pray tonight, all the way home I'll be warm!"
Our most progressing investigator is still on track to get baptized, which process included him accepting a commitment to live the Word of Wisdom. Thanks to my companion, who brought tears with his experience, and my awesome ward members who taught him. We will be pushing back that date though. He's going to visit family over the weekend so he won't make it to church.
The exciting part of this coming week is the Christmas Conference. I can't say that Christmas is a super big deal to me this year for the most part, whether it be because I'm away from you guys or a missionary or because I'm in a country where it isn't a big deal I can't say. But the Conference is exciting, if for no other reason than that I'll eat something besides boiled chicken and carrots. Me and Elder V have started a diet. We don't actually know what else to eat, so every dinner this week has been boiled chicken, carrots, and half a potato. Not actually a half bad meal, but some variety would be cool. After the Christmas conference, it is a regular missionary day, so I'll probably go and jundo at the Holy Ghost Women's College. Our favorite spot.
That sounded predatorial. We still just talk to men. There are a lot of them there, and a lot of them are college students that speak English.
Well, the palace was a no go. We went, it rained, it was closed. Same story for plans B and C. So we took plan D...which was go back to the house with an hour left and just eat dinner. Epic P-day, right? So, no pictures, but once my missionary friends send me some recent pics I'll forward them on.
This week I had two different exchanges and transfers. For exchange number one I went with Elder V and put down a record of 8 lessons. 2 scheduled, two street lessons from me, and four street lessons from him/us (like I was there for two and said maybe 10% of what we said. Those were his.). Miracle. We also ate at a little cafe called the Windy Chicago, which plays a steady stream of Christian rock music, serves melted chocolate as a drink, and includes real bacon in their panini sandwhiches. Paradise. Until Paradise, Piano Guys and Alex Boye edition, started playing and I started getting trunked out and so we got out. I can't help but wonder if the African tribal stuff that Alex sings has any actual meaning or if he is just making it up as he goes.
I also took another exchange with Elder R in his area. We tried visiting a grandpa. I found out that I really don't speak Grandpa. I helped a blind guy find his way home in the snow. Did I mention that it snowed? The sky did work. The frozen equivalent of a downpour, really. People weren't super in the mood to talk to us, so it was less than miraculous, but it was fine.
I had my first clash with a Jehovah's Witness this week. He's another grandpa. I didn't understand much of what he said, but since a lot of it was about religious stuff I could catch some of it. He liked to kind of just sit there and yell at us. My companion was constrained by Confucian etiquette to be polite and just take it, but I'm an uncultured and inconsiderate foreigner, so I was able to jump in there sometimes and do my thing. It turned into this sort of back and forth thing where we both taught each other lessons that were completely unconnected to each other and neither person was affected or even understood the other. I got through HTBT and the first lesson and he said something about God lying to Eve, then he gave me some pamphlets in Korean and I gave him a Book of Mormon and we called it a night, and, I think, a draw. Yikes. Turns out I have no idea what JWs believe, does anyone want to hook me up with some sort of overview?
On Sunday, we taught our most progressing investigator.... He's a 57 year old guy that just moved to Seoul from the countryside about two months ago. We found him together and met him a couple times and he came to church a couple of times. He has been twice, and that would be three, but he got lost the first time and ended up at another church. I think I told that story, yeah? Anyways, we commited him to baptism on January the 5th. I say we, but really it was my companion. He's a stud with the Grandpas. I don't know what they say.
The bad news with that story is that my companion is leaving to be a district leader and train somewhere. I'm going to be working with fresh out of training Elder A who has been living with me for the past two transfers. Neither of us speaks Grandpa, so I need to learn quick. Maybe figuring out regular Korean along the way would be a good idea too. I'm pretty excited about Elder A actually. He's a ball of energy from Arizona with amazing legs. Very smiley and active and sporty. I wonder why I keep working with jocks? Does God want me to stop being such an introvert? He's a very hard worker, so I'm sure we are going to be able to get some work done, but I will miss 이종채 장로님.
This week I've been revising my definition of charity. Here is my problem. I love people. I love everyone in the whole world, regardless of their background, regardless of their past, right up until the moment I meet them. Then I usually don't like them. Seems like I'm sort of missing the point right? In my head I measured charity in terms of what you are willing to give when someone else needs your all. There, I usually measure up pretty well. If someone is in a dire situation and I can possibly help them, I'll do whatever I can to help them. I don't do a very good job of being there for people when I'm not needed. Until hell itself is knocking on the door, I think of myself first. Things have got to change.
Not really a mind blowing spiritual thought, but something that has been burrowing its way into my mind for a while now.
This week involved some teaching (we even have, for the moment a progressing investigator!), a lot of study (I've kicked things up a notch), and other assorted triviality.
I'm also going to be in a movie I guess. Some film student showed up during English class. I talked to him and he wants two foreigner missionaries to play the part of missionaries in his final graduate movie. It's a movie about a Korean girl from America who comes back to Korea and has some sort of identity crisis. We are supposed to jundo to her about English class or some such as missionaries. Since distribution is just his school and a couple of film festivals, President gave me permission to make the call. I'm not all convinced, but when we meet him tomorrow, I'll make my choice.
We had a Kimchi making service project this last week. We showed up at this Buddhist temple and sat on the ground wiping dirt off of onions with our fingers for about 6 hours. I think they gave us that job because it was easy and we were foreigners, so they didn't have to interact with us that much. It was fun. Beautiful temple and decent conversation, plus they fed us like champions. We also got a free book that I can't read, but I'm sure had some great wisdom inside of it.
Today I'm cutting my email time a little short because we are making a run to the Palace for P-day. I remembered my camera, so I'll try to take lots of pictures for next time.
"Look not on his height, nor on his stature," no matter how tall and devilishly good looking he may be,"because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
I don't know where to begin to express...well, anything about the Savior. What more is there to say that hasn't been said a million times about the defining charactor of humanity? Heck, the message has been repeated so many times that it's starting to get stale in this part of the world. The lips of angels and demons have extolled the virtues of Jesus of Nazareth, what more can I say?
He was born a perfect gift to save a dying world. He grew and lived and died shoulder to shoulder with his human brothers. He loved them as they betrayed him. He captained the cause of peace in a world torn by war. He taught love instead of hate, healing instead of destruction, light that was rejected in favor of darkness. He was tortured, humiliated, and murdered a... sacrifice in behalf of a flock that prefered the wolves. He gave us everything that he has, willingly suffering the most horrific ordeal in the world so that we wouldn't have to, even though he knew that we would rather drive nails through his palms than accept the promise of his hands.
He was persecuted on everyside, abandoned by every ally, and cast into the depths of the dark so that he could pull people like me out of it.
The world hates him, but he has overcome the world. Sorrow to Joy. Loneliness to Love. Darkness to Light.
I will follow you, my Brother. My Captain. My King.