Sunday, February 23, 2014

2/23/2014 - Preaching the good word of God

Hello family and friends,

Never a dull moment when you are in Korea. How lets see where should I start?

So the language is really difficult and I can't understand people at all haha. But I'm trying to work really hard at it and I can fell myself getting better. Every time I talk in Korean people ask how long I've been here and I tell them and there always shocked about it. Guess the gift of tongues thing really does work in helping learn a language. I did kinda make a slip up the other day with the language though. I was just practicing with one of the less-active members that we talk to a bit and I though I asked him where he was going. He kinda looked at me funny and told me that saying that was a really mean way of telling somebody to go away. He is really good at English and cool but it's just the difference of one syllable haha.

So me and my companion went shopping the other day and it was probably one of the most stressful things that I have ever done. Korean supermarkets are not like Utah supermarkets. So the place we went to is like bigger than a wal-mart and has three floors. On every aisle there is like three people at those sample stall things and they are shouting to try and get you to come to try whatever they have. On top of that there are just like a billion people there and you have to constantly move out of the way and navigate around people to get to where you want. Holy cow it was stressful. And after that my companion and I had to carry everything we bought in boxes for about 2 miles. Lets just say my arms are still sore from that one. Haha there are a few things here in Korea that it's impossible to buy because of how much it costs. Cheese, butter, and anything that's American. It's like thirty bucks to buy one pizza from papa john's, not happy about that haha.

Right now we have 2 investigators. 최태짚 and 박준규. Both of them have really good potential. It's really hard right now because we have a church building like 5 minutes away from our house, but it's under construction right now. So right now we have to travel about an hour and a half to get to church. It's really hard to get investigators to come to church when it's so far away. When the church opens up in a couple of weeks things are going to be a little better. We could just talk to people on the street and ask if they want to come into the church.

Korea is not exactly an easy place to convert people to the gospel. My companion is a great missionary and works really hard all the time no matter what, but he's been out for a year and hasn't baptized anybody. There are many things in Korean culture that go against the church and it's hard to commit people to change when it's there culture. Smoking and drinking is a HUGE problem here. No joke. If we met people and ask them for a tip about Korean culture to make friends they always say that you need to drink with them. And every man here smokes all the time. I guess we need to change that part of the culture.

I thing that I am seeing that I probably won't do when I have more experience is talking about English. We have an English class that we teach once a week which I think is fine but anything other than that is not OK. Our goal as missionaries is to teach and invite people to come to the gospel of Christ. I think teaching English is not the best way to do that.

So the day we wanted to visit a less-active and we had to walk for about 2 hours to get there. Well we get there and there was nobody home. So we started to walk back. One thing I really like is that we really focus on trying to talk to whomever we can where ever we are going. Well we were walking back and my companion was mostly talking to this teenage boy and a middle-aged woman comes up to me and asks me in broken English if I am a Mormon. I said yes and wasn't too surprised because we get that quite often here. The next part was what shocked me. Still in broken English she said that she and here family wanted to learn about our church. Never heard that one before. Super amazing!!! She said that like 10 years ago she met with some missionaries a couple of times and then moved. So we set up an appointment and were are going to meet with her and her whole family in a couple of days. Just goes to show that when you're out working the Lord puts people in your path.

Our ward is really great and I think that it's really important to have a good relationship with the members. I think that's one thing that we struggle with. So I've have been really trying to get to know the members at church to have them trust us and want to help up. It will be easier when I can actually talk more than a more sentences to them.

The Lord's hand is in everything we do. I am learning so much. So missionaries don't take advantage of being in Korea. I want to help people here to but I also want to better myself in every way. Physical, mental and spiritual. I just love serving the people here and talking to them. It's great to see the smile of somebody's face when you start talking in their language to them.

I hope all of you are doing wonderful and I miss you all. The Lord's hand is in everything and I love this work

Love you all,
Elder Daniel John Meeks 

2/16/2014 - Holy Cow: Everything is amazing

Individuals letters this week.  Here is what he wrote to me.

Hey mom,
Holy cow everything is so amazing right now. I'm so glad to hear that everything is going pretty good at home and that things are still interesting. Keep an eye on Jess for me because I can't be there for a while. 

Korea is such a great place but it's kinda hit and miss when you are talking to people. So my companion is really great and he talks to every person that he comes in contact with and it has given me the confidence to talk to people too. So the people are either really super nice or just not at all. It's awesome to talk to nice people because they compliment you about how good you speak Korean and about how good looking you are. Not really helping my giant ego haha. 

We had a great week where we just met a bunch of people and this random guy on the street was really nice and he invited us to go dinner with his family the next day. They really like us and we are planning on teaching them this next week. I feel like my Korean is getting a lot better all the time because my companion is really awesome and helps me and we just talk to a lot of people.

So you are probably going to hate me but I lost my camera. I think I left it somewhere at the airport somewhere so I'm not sure what to do...

Food here is good but I really need to make it better. Would you mind sending me some recipies of random stuff that would be good to eat. I haven't had to eat anything super gross yet but it's bound to happen.

My apartment is tiny and we live with another companionship and they are really cool but they are kinda lazy sometimes. I'm really glad my companion wants to work all the time and get stuff done.
Missionary work is kinda interesting in Korea. The average Korean can't read The Book of Mormon. The grammar is too hard and they don't understand it the same way a normal American could.

The members here are great but that's one thing that could be better. We could have a better relationship with the members, but it's hard for me because I can't speak that well. When I am better I will make sure I make that a really good priority.

I'm learning so much and I love studying the gospel. Every day is a new challenge and a new experience. 

Love this gospel so much.

Thanks for everything and I love to always hear about you and the family. Tell Jen that I say hi and that she's awesome.

Love ya and miss ya.
Elder Daniel John Meeks 

2/9/2014 - Everything is new!

The new arrivals!

Ok I don't really know how to start this. 

So basically everything about my life now is exactly opposite of whatever it was before. Literally everything has just flipped upside-down. I guess I'll start at the plane ride. 

So we went to Detroit first and it was not really great cause the seats were really small and I didn't have anybody to talk to during that time. But the 14 hour place ride to Korea was different. I was sitting next to a elder from my zone and then I Korea girl who was about 22. She spoke really great English and so we were able to talk to her and practice our Korean a little bit. We probably talked to her for about 6 hours total for the whole plane ride. She was super nice and we talked about the gospel and just a bunch of random things and it made the flight go a lot faster. So now she has some interest in our church because we did a really good job representing the church as nice, loving people. 

After that we met our mission president and some other missionaries who were there and we loading up our luggage and went strait onto the subway and started talking to people. It was super hard but there were some missionaries who were older there to help us. We got to the mission home and went to bed because it was like midnight. 

The next day we did a little bit of orientation and then got our new companions. Yea my companion is so freaking awesome that I can't even tell you. He is exactly what a perfect missionary should be. He has been out for a year now and his Korean is sooooooo good. He is exactly obedient and very patient with me learning the language. His name is elder Oman and he is from Idaho and just such a great guy and we get along really well. 

Have I talked to any people you all ask?  Well we talk to literally every single person that is on the street. We talk to people in passing and on the subways and buses and walking and everywhere. Something interesting about Korea though is that we can't talk to girls.... at all.... EVER!!!! Well we can only if they are about around the age of 60 or above. No joke. Not even a passing hello to any other girls at all. But it's way fun to talk everybody else. It's fun to talk to kids in English because they are really nice. 
We and a lesson with a older man named 최태집 we teach him a little English and then the lesson and I asked him to be baptized. He said he had to think about it but he said if he knew it was true he would be baptized. 

K story time. So my companion said that there was an old investigator who was really good at guitar and he hadn't seen him in a while. We decided it would be a good idea if we went and said hi. He is probably about 30. He got in an accident about 5 years ago and is paralyzed from the waste down. Anyway we went over and knocked on the door and he started yelling at us in Korean and I guess it wasn't very nice from what my companion said, he can speak English really well, so we left. So we had just gotten back to our apartment and we winding down when we got a call from him and he sounded alright but he said that he needed emergency help. We sprinted over to his place which was really close and walked in and he had fallen back in his wheelchair and couldn't move. He was ok and everything but we just pulled him out and got him a situated and then my companion held is legs and I lifted him up. He wasn't that heavy but he was like shocked that I could do that. He was so grateful for us helping him and was really sorry that he had yelled at us earlier. Kinda my real first miracle. Anyway we made sure he was alright and then we ran back home cause it was already like 10:30 at that point. Anyway I called him yesterday again to make sure he was alright and then asked him if we could come over to see him sometime and play guitar or something and he said that that would be awesome. So we have an appointment tonight at 7:00. Such an amazing miracle. 

I like the food, I've had a few weird things but nothing I can't handle. My apartment is tiny and my companion and I and 2 other elders live together and we all sleep on pads in the main area. I am getting better at the language but I can't understand anything at all which is ok. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday and he was alright. Our ward is really nice and we ate at the bishops that other night. I haven't seen another American beside the elders in my district in the whole city here. We are the only white people haha. 

Oh I'm in a city called Suji(수지) it has about 250,000 people and it's so busy. We ride trains and buses and subways everywhere and a lot of walking. You can get really good food for super cheap and it's awesome. 
Just want to let you all know that I'm doing awesome and I love it here. Almost everybody is nice and It's really good. I love serving the Lord and I am looking forward to these coming months. Love you all and miss you a lot. 

Elder Daniel Meeks 믹스 장로 

2/4/2014 - I'm Here

Short and sweet!

Hey I'm here and I'm safe. I love you all and will tell you more on Monday.

Miss you, 
Elder Daniel John Meeks