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!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Wow, I finally made it to Korea!  We finished up the MTC stay by saying goodbye to all of our super close friends going to the Busan mission, and then got packed up!  It took forever to pack everything!  I finally got to bed around like 12:40AM and got up around 1:50AM to head off for the airport.  I slept a lot on the flights (but I'm still feeling the jet-lag even now).  Half the group going to Daejeon had a delayed first flight, so they missed the connecting one headed to Incheon! So they had to stay the night in San Francisco and fly up the next day.

the coast of Korea

In Korea our first night we got into companionships with older and experienced missionaries and hit the streets for a few hours proselyting on the streets.  I was with an Elder Andrews from Las Vegas, and while most people weren't interested at all and just told us that they were busy, there were a few who actually were interested and listened to us.  I understood nothing of what they said, but was able to bear my testimony to them on the Book of Mormon and the church.  And they understood what I said!!! People know what I say when I speak apparently, I just don't know what they say when they speak.  Which is kind of important...But that will hopefully come over time!

The next morning we went to a Korean bath-house, which was the most relaxing place ever.  Wasn't weird like we thought it would be at all - even though there are naked men walking around.  But it was still pretty great!  On Thursday, we had a big transfer meeting where all the missionaries being assigned to new areas for the most part, plus those about to go home all went.  And that's where we got assigned to our trainers.  My trainer is a really cool guy from Logan, Utah named Elder Wagner.  He's been out on his mission about 13 months now and his Korean is excellent (in my fresh eyes at least).  We got assigned to the 농성 area in southern South Korea.  Neither he nor I were in this area before and we have no investigators to teach from the last companionship, so we're basically starting fresh.  We call it 'whitewashing'.  We've been doing a lot of stuff and we go to bed exhausted each night. 

We went to a baptism on Sunday for Elder Wagner's last investigator (he used to be in 첨단 which is really close to 농성 so we went to that ward).  He's Sri Lankan (however you spell that) and an amazing guy. It was so cool to meet him. (in the picture, Elder Wagner has the pink tie with his arm around Dinu)

Overall, there's a lot of walking and a lot of Koreans everywhere!  We ride buses quite a bit to get around because our area is so big, and that's pretty cool! (except when it's jam-packed with people)

The food is definitely different (some in a good way and quite a bit in a weird way) and my body is doing its best to adjust!  In all the aspects of mission life, it's going to keep taking some adapting and adjusting.  All in all, time.  Which is frustrating because of course I want to not be floundering around as a newbie, but want to be used to all of this right now!  But it's a great experience for me overall.  A very humbling one to say the least! 

Hope you're all safe and doing great! Love you all! I'll keep you posted with my adventures!
~Elder Woods

Thursday, August 7, 2014


This week has certainly been the fastest and most exciting yet!  Korea is coming up so fast!  Last Friday, out 2 most 'veteran' districts got our flight plans in the mail!  So the districts are divided up basically into half and half of each going to Daejeon and Busan.  But on the flights to Korea, we all split up a bit.  We're divided into 4 different groups: 2 Daejeon and 2 Busan.  And each group is a mixture of the two different districts.  My group is Daejeon 1, and they work about like this:
D 1 - Report to the Travel Office 2:30AM Monday (Early!)  and fly to San Francisco, and from there to Seoul Incheon Airport

D 2 - Goes to SF as well, but flies out there 2 hours after us.  Then we're all on the same flight to Korea

B 1 - Another flight to SF a little after that.  Then a different flight (much later) to a different Korean airport closer to Busan.

B 2 - Flies to Dallas, TX.  And from there to Korea.  (That's a lot of flying!)

It's weird to think that those people I've spent literally ALL of my time with the past 2 months are about to go different directions!  I mean, relatively of course.  All going to Korea, but you know what I mean.  We're all super close and know all kinds of things about each other we forgot we had ever mentioned.

The other day, I was basically like a super hero; the usual routine.  After we finish eating in the cafeteria, we put our trays on a conveyor belt system that takes them back into the kitchen to get cleaned.  And as I was walking out of that alcove area where that happens, the sister next to be remembers "My sister's letter was on that tray!"  So I took off back in and snagged it off the tray right before it went back into the kitchen.  So that's a pretty cool story!

On Saturday we did our early morning service like we've done every week, and Elder Murdoch and I got to go and clean a neat little 'secret' office attached on the side of the building.  In the room were a bunch of different blue-prints and layouts of the MTC! Including the tunnels that run underneath! It probably wasn't as big of a deal as we made it seem, but it was still pretty sweet!

Since Sunday was Fast Sunday we had a special two hour mission conference.  And sitting in front of me the whole time was a certain Elder Gardner (for those of you who didn't read last weeks blog (shame shame) that's my cousin that just got here a week ago).  But I wasn't entirely sure it was him, but pretty confident.  You know the feeling.  So I didn't confirm until the end of the meeting.  But yeah, right behind my cousin for 2 hours!
Our devotional speaker that night was Kevin J. Worthen, the current president at BYU.  A very accomplished man of course (aren't they all?).  One thing the said that stood out to me was along these lines: "You received the authority of your calling when you were set apart.  But your power in the priesthood comes from keeping the covenants you've made with Heavenly Father."
On Tuesday night we heard from Elder Hathen (an Emeritus General Authority) and he and his wife talked about the power that we as missionaries can receive from the temple.  We are given power and protection as long as we're keeping our covenants and God's commandments.
We took our suits to the dry-cleaner drop-off on Monday, and should get them back tonight, so they look spiffy and clean for Korea.  On Tuesday was Elder Nybo's (in our district) birthday! So that was a fun time. He's an awesome elder; super diligent and dedicated to learning and doing his best!  We made him a birthday card and gave him a tie!
Yesterday we had our LAST Wednesday service at the MTC!  Mile-marker right there! Wow!  As we've been getting so close to heading out to the field, some of us have been focusing on trying to memorize the First Vision in Korean.  I've got the 1st verse down, and some of the 2nd, but it's tricky memorizing scriptures in another language!  But it's slowly but surely coming along!
Also on Wednesday, I saw another cousin of mine come into the MTC.  Kaylene Awerkamp!  We got a picture together- with Elder Murdoch included.  At the MTC, you can't have pictures with just an elder and a sister as 'a couple,' even if they're your cousin!  It was super cool to see her!  It's especially cool because this is the best place she could be! The MTC is just absolutely incredible!
But, next time you hear from me I'll be in Korea!  Stay safe wherever you are and keep being awesome!  Thanks for all of your support! Love you all!