Monday, December 29, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Monday, December 15, 2014

Staying for another transfer!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

SNOWWWWWWW!!!!

Wow!!!! I saw snow this week!!!!!  The most I've ever seen!!! (Texas kid.  Cut me some slack)

So that was like the best thing ever! It's all gone now, but it was great for those few days it was here! It made the cold weather totally okay! Now it's just cold...But that's okay because I have a scarf!

Anyways, this past week we had a baptismal service (last Monday) and it was awesome!  They were for 2 of our sisters' investigators.  I was requested to do a piano battle like I did a few months ago at another baptism, and I went more for style rather than for actual skill.  So it was funny I think! Koreans really think vibrant American body language and acting is super funny, so they really liked it!
Also, we had a mission tour. Elder Aoyagi of the 70 came to our mission and we got to hear him and his wife speak to us. They're Japanese, so he spoke in Japanese, which was then translated into Korean, and then translated into English for the newer elders!  So that was quite the experience!  3 languages going on there!  But that was a great experience hearing from him and I was able to get some good personal revelation!
This past week was great! We're doing well, working hard, and helping people progress in the gospel! Have a great December week wherever you are! (cause December is the best!)

Love you all!
Elder Woods

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wow, Thanksgiving!

We were severely lacking in the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, jello, rolls etc etc department, so we ordered chicken!  It was soo good!!!!  (I'm just trying to make myself feel better about it...But it really was delicious!)

Our Thanksgiving

A couple weeks ago for FHE (us missionaries in the ward do it with some members and our investigators) for our activity we played 'spoons,' but we didn't use spoons... We used chopsticks! ...So I guess we probably should have called it 'chopsticks'....It was pretty difficult explaining the game in Korean, but somehow we managed!
 
Recently we've gotten two new investigators who are absolutely awesome!!! We gave them the English names of Spencer and Jason.  They were both referred to us by a member in the ward who was studying at BYU last year (served a mission in Anaheim, CA a bit before that) and came back to Korea to go to the military service cause it's required for Koreans.  But he's been here a few weeks and he got us these two amazing investigators.  People we couldn't have found or set things up the way they are, without a member behind it.  Member missionary work is SOOOO important!!! (just wanted to put a plug in for that)  Spencer wants to learn English, wants to learn about the church and gospel, and wan'ts to go on a mission of all things!  Jason after talking with our member, wants to go to BYU-Hawaii to study really really bad.  So he wants to get better at English with us and to work with us to strengthen his very very small testimony and to become a member.  They're super funny and great to meet with! I love them soo much!  Whenever we meet them, I never want to transfer out of this area because they're just the best!!! I have such high hopes for their progression!
 
The coffee shops around Gwangju (my city) are all putting up Christmas trees and Christmas lights, but the Christmas spirit is nothing like in the states.  Totally different and kind of bizarre. It's just like any other holiday here.  Weird...
 
Anyways, love you all! Have a great Decembery week!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

~~~~SOOOOO COOOOOOOOLD~~~~

Sorry it's been so long! Wow I'm just such a slacker when it comes to the writing part of my blog entries.  I promise it's not because I don't like you! (Well....maybe a lit-  just kidding, just kidding!) It's just really hard to type everything in an hour time slot!

Well let's see...how much have I not told you about....  We had a Halloween party! That was fun and it had a big turn out of church members and their friends and their (the friends) families.  (I mean, yes the members' families too of course, but just to clarify I wanted to just-...well you get what I mean)  For the party I dressed up as Draco Malfoy. Super easy costume for a blonde missionary with a green necktie.  But slicking my hair back was a task! Elders Wagner and 박인오 had to both be in on it to help it work (even with a bunch of gel and hairspray!!)

After English class! The girl on the left is 박유진
Jumping around here and there, one of the sisters in our ward leaves on her mission TODAY!!! (November 17th)  Her name is 박유진 (so I guess like 'Yoo Jin Park' in English... you have no idea how hard romanization is; for Korean names especially!), and she's super cool! Fun fact about that, she will 귀환 (finish her mission) about 1 month before me! So, if my last area of my mission is back here, it'll be as if I never left to her, haha.  She's going to the SLC Temple Square Mission.  So if any of you are ever at Temple Square and see a Korean sister (there's only 3 of them counting her), you should talk to her and see if she knows me, cause hey, wouldn't that be legit?!
Me and my new companion 하용식!
We had transfers (about 2 weeks ago...) and I got a new companion! He's a Korean and his name is 하용식 (Ha Yong Shik). He's pretty cool! Everyone told me that your first Korean companion is really different and difficult.  At first it didn't seem like it could be that different, but it really is.  Not tooo much really, but just the feeling in the companionship and the way you do practically everything is just a little different than you're used too.  The culture really does play a big part in all of the difference!
We had a ward activity last-last Saturday, and it was a chilly kind muggyish day.  And the first part of the activity was a 식사 (meal).  So they fried 삼겹살 (Korean bacon) over a fire, had cuties and 감 (persimmons) and also lots of rice cookers.  The cookers were just sitting out on these picnic tables and it was just sooo.....Korean.  The second part of that activity was making pottery.  All of us 10 missionaries in the ward wrote our names on the inside of our Ward Mission Leader's bowl, so that way he remembers us forever!!!
Lastly it has been soooooo cold!!!! Gosh, and it's only going to get colder! Ahhh!!!!

Just a bunch of Korean girls that wanted me to take a picture of them after English class
Hope you're all doing great!!! You're the best! Thanks for being patient with my lack of emails lately!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blog titles are really hard to come up with...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Things that probably didn't happen to you this week

Well, a couple things that I bet didn't happen to you this week go as thus:

video
  • Eat squirming octopus (with some suction cups sticking to your tongue!)
  • Almost get hit by a bus with maybe a foot of clearance at most (and have it hit the traffic cone just next to you, causing the cone to fly up and hit you in the arm)
  • Play duck-duck-goose with a bunch of cute little Korean kids at a hap ki do academy
  • Eat a half gallon of Baskin Robbins ice cream
  • Eat Betty Crocker brownies made out of a box you found at E-mart with all English instructions (maybe you did the brownies part though...)
  • Teach Koreans English tongue-twisters and realize that every Korean can say "Toy boat" 5 times fast with absolutely no problem (for us Americans it's nigh-impossible)
  • Get asked at family home evening at a members house with all the missionaries in your area there along with some other members too, to sing...And so you decide to do a rap in English about modesty instead.
  • Find a super good suit sale with all of the suits ranging from $40 to $80!

Monday, October 13, 2014

When Did the Conference Fly By?

Wow, first off general conference was soooo amazing!  It went by soooo soooo fast though!!  So in Korea, because their time is so much earlier than in America where General Conference is held, they watch conference the following Saturday and Sunday.  All of us English speakers in the two wards that meet at our building (missionaries and members) had our own little room set up for conference with a TV.  And it was so fun! I loved getting to hear all of the different messages from the General Authorities.  I really loved the Saturday Morning Session.  That was probably my favorite one.  
 
Our room for conference

And now that conference has passed, it's suit-wearing weather in our mission!  From now until April, we're going to be wearing our suits whenever we're doing missionary work; AKA, all the time! Luckily it's not too stifling hot anymore, but the weather hasn't completely transitioned to Fall yet.  It's teetering on the fence.  I can't wait till it starts getting cool all the time outside!
 
I forgot to mention about 3 weeks ago when we had a baptismal service for 2 sisters.  And one of them (이송이) asked me a few weeks in advance to baptize her.  And that was such an honor and such a spiritual experience.  Our ward missionary leader baptized the other sister. After the baptismal service there was a mini 'talent show' kind of thing.  And Elder Wagner volunteered me to play piano in it.  So Elder 박 and I (he's insanely good at piano) had a 'piano battle.'  We played a few songs each going back and forth with the songs getting crazier and crazier, and more and more complex the whole time.  And while the other person would play we would make fun of them to the audience.  It was really last minutely planned, but it turned out to be pretty comical and funny! Now the ward members always come up to me and ask if I was the one who played piano then, and tell me how good they think I am (this even happened yesterday from our bishop's wife, haha).  They're all so sweet haha.
 
This past week we had a ward activity out in 나주 which is a more country-sidey area next to ours.  It was at a soccer field and it was really pretty fun.  The place looked a whole lot like Asia (probably because it is I guess....).  The best was when Elder Wagner found a football (a very poorly made one, but a football nevertheless) that a member must have brought, and we started passing it back and forth.  The members were so amazed at how well we could throw a football!  They had no clue how to throw it correctly and just kind of threw it like a baseball and it was super funny.  Let's just say, us Americans looked pretty snazzy throwing the old pig-skin around!
Some pictures of the park the ward went to
 
We had an amazing lesson this week with one of our investigators named 권승천.  He's fluent in Enlgish but we still teach him in Korean.  He met with some other missionaries about a year ago, but he works for the city and got really busy. But we found him out of the area book and called him and he wanted to meet.  So this was our second lesson with him, and we taught him the Gospel of Christ.  The Spirit was incredibly strong during the lesson.  And he asked the most golden questions about baptism.  "Is baptism essential for my salvation?" "What if I were to die right now; could I be saved?"  We were able to explain and testify about the necessity of baptism to him and he committed to be baptized when he comes to know more.  It was the best lesson I've been in.
 
In regards to Korean, I'm progressing a lot.  Nowhere near that 'fluent' level, but I pick up on a lot more of what people say (as in I know a few of the words or feeling of what they're saying some of the time).   And I can speak a lot better when I teach.  I'm able to teach all of the lessons independently if I needed to without any Korean resources to use as back-ups, so that's good!  And I passed off our mission's Initial Pass-off!  Only 5 more levels to go! ;)
 
A cute English mistake
Korea is great and I love it! Hope all of you are doing great in wherever you are! Stay safe and stay awesome! Love you all!
 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Time Keeps on Slippin'

Wow, so sorry about no entry last week.  I don't think anyone exept missionaries understand how much of a struggle emailing everthing you're supposed to is in your hour time-slot.  But I'm doing my best here!
 
So to recap for the past two weeks:
 
We finished the transfer and our district changed up just a little.  Elder Cowles left for 전주 and got replaced by Elder Hogen, a completely new greenie fresh to Korea (I was with him in the MTC for 3 weeks).  I got sick that week off of 김밥 and had to stay at home for an eveing throwing up. No fun... :P  But the week was good overall.  
 
We met some good new investigators this past week that we've started to meet with.  Our 3 Cambodian investigators with baptismal dates have dropped off the face of the earth lately though and we haven't been able to contact them.  But we won't give up on them.  Hopefully they pick up their phone soon.  Elder Wagner had to go to MLC (missionary leadership council) on Tuesday and so I went on a split with Elder 박 and Elder Hogen.  That was fun and interesting at the same time.  Poor Elder 박 had to deal with two 'greenies' for the day haha.  The next day was combined zone conference which was just a lot of meetings all day.  But it was fun and cool to see some misisonaries from the other zones.
 
I can't think of too much crazy stuff to include.  I got a haircut today! That's exciting I guess. Korean people have a really hard time cutting American hair.  It's just different and they really don't know how.  Luckily it doesn't look too bad or anything.  I'll just leave it to pictures to make sense of everything. So yay!  Korea's going good and it's crazy I've been here almost 2 months already! Love all of you! You're the best!
 
Me with: 이지선 자매님 who just finished her mission!

박인오 장로님

  
Elder Cowles
We had to break into one of the rooms in our house.  It got locked from the inside to we had to go through the window!
Korean desserts look pretty weird sometimes....




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Almost the last week of the transfer!

This was a good week! We got to teach a lot and I'm just about done with my initial for pass-off which was the biggest struggle!  I went on a split this week with Elder Cowles and that was really fun!  He taught me how to 가가호호 (which is basically knocking doors) in a big apartment building. And we found a cool little Buddhist building thing as we were walking around too!  

I pulled out my Texas flag from my suitcase the other day and it is now displayed above my bed (or it was till it fell off the wall...).  


It's been a pretty awesome week!  I talked to a guy and girl (the girl joined our conversation our of curiosity and to help translate for both of us) on the back of a bus. I explained about and gave him a Book of Mormon and got his number.  I called him last night  to see when we could meet with him and that was a trip.  Korean over the phone, is entirely different from Korean in person!  I had absolutely no clue of a single word that he was saying.  But my companion helped out and hopefully we'll get to meet up with him this week.  He was a cool guy :)  

My missionary 'mom' (the oldest sister in you first district) goes home this week which is crazy!  She started her mission back when I was a junior in high school!!  Elder Cowles leaves this week for his next and last area, and coincidentally enough, his next companion is going to be Elder Murdoch, my MTC companion!  Hahaha.  
 


I forgot to mention that we went bowling last week!  I averaged around a 100 :P But Elder 박인오 had the coolest bowling style ever!  Too bad the only video I got of him bowling he got a gutter ball ;)
 
I don't have much time to write, but I love all of you! Have a great week!

Monday, September 15, 2014

One Month in the Country!

Wow, I've been in the country for over a month now! I can hardly even believe that!  The big holiday, 추석, was fun!  All the stores were closed for the most part, the buses ran less often and had practically no one on them, and there were no cars out practically anywhere!  That is until the next day (make that the next 2) when the streets were flooded with cars trying to go back home.  I heard that that's just because I'm in 광주 (Gwangju) which is a pretty big city. Apparently when you're out in smaller little cities, everything is completely deserted basically the whole time!
 
Me and Elder Cowles looking fly
 This week I had my first meal at Lotteria with one of our investigators.  My companion hates Lotteria food (except for the ice cream), but I didn't have a bit of a problem with it!  Also in regards to food, we (all the missionaries in my district) ate at a buffet with Robert Holley (who is a famous tv star to Koreans) And so basically all of the people we saw that knew we were with him must have thought that we were all American tv stars too. Hahaha
 
This week we went up to Daejeon for TNT, which is where all the greenies and their trainers have a meeting just to see how everything is going and what not.  That was really great to get to see all of my 동기 (MTC group) again and how they're doing.  We've all made leaps and bounds in Korean, and all had some pretty good stories to share.
 
This week we also had our 'Robert Holley English Speech Contest' which was a way for us to find investigators and be a good activity for them.  That was fun.  We heard 40 or so short little English speeched on dreams, or hobbies, or friends, and the like.  Some people were incredible at english, some were super funny, and some were so cute while they spoke.  I guess I probably look the same while I'm trying to rack my brains to speak Korean!
 
Elder Skinner (our AZL)

Elder 박 sitting on my bed
 
 It was a really busy week with travel and big events and what not, so there aren't too many crazy stories! ....Except for trying to do calculus in Korean. That was a struggle....
 
The price of a car in Korea (They look so dang expensive with all those zeros!) 
 
Love all of ya!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Past 2 Weeks!


Sorry that I didn't get around to posting a blog entry last week other than those pictures!  I'll try to sum up the past two weeks as best I can!
 
 
This week Elder Wagner and I scored a desk for our house; now he doesn't have to use two filing cabinets pushed together for his desk anymore!  We made a 광고 (an advertisement) for how we teach free English.  We post those around our area all the time and people call and we can get new people to teach in that way.  We walked down by a big soccer stadium in the southern part of our area and that was cool! It's got a huge Lotte Outlet store right next to it.  Elder Wagner and I didn't know the store was there and first saw it from behind.  And the back entrance is on the top of a hill, and it looks like a dinky little shop.  But it was Lotte Outlets, so we were confused.  We went in, and quickly discovered how huge it is!
 
 
We had our interviews with President Shin that we have every two transfers.  I'm one of those groups that just had an interview with president just a few weeks before this one.  We got a new fan for the house, so now we aren't 'sharing' one with the other companionship (Elder Cowles and Elder 박) So that's something good! Because of the interviews, the APs stayed at our house for the night, and that was really fun!
 
Elder Wagner and I met with one of his recent converts and helped him with some o
f his essays for school that he has to write in Korean.  We discovered that even though Elder Wagner and I both speak English, we have different writing styles.  We finally just had to decide that both of our ways of writing was grammatically correct and completely fine, even if that's not how we would have written it.  Who thought speaking English could get so dramatic?? ;)
 
We went to a young single adults game night thing (all of us 10 missionaries) because we had some investigators going.  At one point, some of the girls (not the sister missionaries!) danced to K-pop songs on the stage - cause dance competitions are normal in Korea and a lot of people do it as a hobby I guess.  Hearing that music was so weird, cause it had like bass in it.  Hahaha, but yeah!
 
I went to the clothes store and bought multiple ties for super cheap! Korea!  And according to the missionaries that I was with, they were like twice as much as ties you can find at other places (like 6000 원 [Won] instead of 3000 원) 
 
We discovered that in 광주 (Gwangju - my city) that every night in one part of town they have like a show that's like Disneyland's 'World of Color.'  Of course it wasn't as impressive as at Disneyland at all, but it was still pretty impressive!
 
 
This week I went on a split with our Zone Leader, Elder Allan.  That was fun!  We met with his investigators and he introduced me to two of his favorite drinks: 밀키스(Milkis) and 코코팜 (Coco Palm).  One of his investigators was a Korean guy who lived in England for a little while and speaks really good English. And he had the best English accent ever!  Ahh, it was like talking to a guy from England!  Afterwards we went and had Whoppers at Burger King with him (they were only 3000원 each!).  But before we decided to go, he said my favorite thing a Korean has said to me here.  He asked: What do you fancy 우즈? (my name is in Korean. They say it like 'Ooh-juh') and it was in his sick accent and everything! It was awesome!  The next day I had a little split with Elder Skinner, the assistant ZL and that was cool too!  I had some good soup with him!
 
 We went to a 외국인 party on Saturday (me, Wagner, Skinner, and Allan) and met some cool people from all over.  I talked to an Egyptian guy named Emad who was really cool!  We talked some about the church and he told me some of the stuff he believed (he's Muslim) and stuff like that. We talked in English, and I realized just how hard teaching in English is!  Because I don't have practice teaching simply in English, I went crazy with excitement, jumping from this topic, to this one and kind of confused him. If I could do it over again I would have taught much more simply.  Korean really restricts me to teaching simply in a good way, but for those times I do teach in English I have to contain myself.  But we're going to keep meeting him cause he's totally excited to do that.  He called me Mr. Woods.  It was so cool!
 

 
 
Today is 추석 a big Korean holiday.  It's like their equivalent of Thanksgiving in the US, but it's like Christmas in regards to just how big it is.  People all travel around and most stores are all closed.  We're going to go to a members house (us missionaries) and play games there so that's going to be fun I think!  I'll tell more exciting stuff about what happened next week if it's noteworthy!
 
Well I love you all!  Stay safe!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pictures!

A big outlet store!


A truck with a TV display on the side!


"King Grapes" -- bigger than the coin!


The subway character thing!


Monday, August 25, 2014

First Full Week!!!

This week went by super slow and extremely fast at the same time! I have no clue how! The days are over before I even know it!  Especially with all of the time we spend studying and the extra time for training (cause I'm a little 'greenie').

Food is food here.  I had my first Korean McDonald's this week. It's probably better than the McDonald's in America.  It was literally the epitome of fast food.  I ordered (in Korean of all languages! Whew!) and had my food within 15 seconds of paying for the food! I also ate at my first restaurant where you sit cross legged around a really short table.  It wasn't too bad until I had to stand up, and then my legs were all messed up and cramped and what-not :P So I'm gonna have to get used to that over time! We had this there: raw(ish) cow meat, raw cow lung, raw cow liver, cow intestines, etc... Our investigator wanted to help introduce me to Korea.  Next week apparently he has some other 'good food' in mind.  Yay.... hahaha.  The fruit here in Korea all tastes better too!  Some things are a plus and others seem less so right now...But I'm sure I'll learn to love it!


In my 인사 말씀 (welcome to ward short remarks) I may or may not have said that I have a boyfriend instead of a dad...sorry dad! I also almost walked off the stand before bearing my testimony too which was a little awkward.  But it was all OK.  The ward members are all great!

We played volleyball and basketball at stake activity and they all know Elder Wagner as the guy that's really good at basketball, and me as the guy really good at volleyball.  And they take their sports seriously.  When they play a sport, they literally "go big or go home." It's crazy and awesome!  People (Americans) think my companion Elder Wagner looks like Chris Pine and he totally does! At first he didn't like it, but now he's starting to take it as a compliment.
Depending on the night we get bitten a lot by mosquitos. Last night was really bad in our house!  A whole lot of bites!

I'm out of time but here's some pictures for you all of my apartment, companion, and the sweet car dealerships we walk past on the way over to the church!






Love you all! Keep up what you're keepin' up!