Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Great Area of ShinChon

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week has been filled with interesting things.  Let's start with the most important:  So they had a sale a Krispy Kreme and I hope about 24 donuts.  I've never tasted anything so delicious.  It was a buy one dozen get one dozen deal for $11 which is super cheap for Korea.  I couldn't pass it up.  Well that definitely wasn't the most important thing that happened this week, but I certainly enjoyed it.  I attached a photo of my Krispy Kreme run.

ShinChon has parties constantly going on everywhere.  When we talk with people every night, we almost always run into some show or some super loud jam session.  Since we live close to quite a bit of colleges, we talk with a lot of college kids and they really like to party at night.  On the other hand, I don't really know exactly what happens because we have to be in by 9 each night anyways.  But from the sound and look of it, there is never a dull moment in this crazy place.  Last night, we were walking home, and I looked over to my right, only to see a guy peeing undiscreetly behind a pole!  I quickly walked away and asked my companion about it. He didn't seem surprised at all.

So on a less disturbing note, our investigator, Idongwon, accepted a baptismal date.  After coming to church this sunday, we met with him and had a great lesson.  If all goes well, he will be baptized on November 1!  He's a super awesome and it's super fun to sit with him and help him progress in this wonderful gospel!  I love meeting with all of our investigators and helping to answer their questions and come to know God.  I feel like I learn so much from them each day.  T.G. is continuing to meet with us and talk with us.  He has quite a few questions, but those questions help me realize things that I haven't ever considered.

After our lesson with T.G. on Sunday, he gave us a ride home.  Seoul is even crazier from the inside of a car!  It felt so good to be back in a car for the first time in about 3 months.  I miss a lot of things about home for sure, but the experiences that I continue to have here make it all worth it.  It also continues to rain here.  When it rains, everyone has an umbrella.  Koreans are always extremely prepared for the rain.

Exchanges also occurred this week.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term,  Once a transfer the district leader works with each Elder in his district.  They are companions for the day while the other Elder works with the District Leader's companion.  On Wednesday,  Elder Christensen, the district leader, went on an exchange with my companion, so I was with Elder Day.  Elder Day has been here for four weeks also.  We had quite the fun time trying to figure out what people were saying to us on the streets.  In one day overall, We contacted 98 people and got 7 phone numbers.  Plus we set up an appointment to meet again with one person.  I still have no idea how I understood what people were asking me, but I do know that the Lord has got our backs. Even though both of us struggle in the language, everything went really well during that day.  It still continues to amaze me how much God blesses each one of us.

I again thank everyone for all their wonderful support! This work is not easy by any means but it is so much fun!

Your favorite (and of course humble) missionary,

Elder Wheeler

(Editor's note:  Chase and his companion had to go into the Seoul South mission [south of the Han River] to get a foreigner's card for Chase.  The photo of the building was from that excursion.)

Almost like being at home!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

3rd P-day

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week was another tiring week.  As my companion always says, "Everyday is leg day."  Basically we are always walking up and down stairs.  We have to walk up 10 flights of stairs to get back to our apartment each day.  Not sure how much weight I have lost, but I think quite a bit.  We do a lot more moving than in the MTC haha.  Luckily my shoes are holding up well.  I have a couple of blisters and the odd ache here and there but I'm all good.

So the ward that I am serving in is called shin chon ward (신촌). There are a lot of great families in the ward.  I'm not very good with Korean names, so I can't remember very well.  Its such a big ward that it's hard to talk with everyone, especially in Korean.  So I'm trying the best I can to continually get to know some more people.  We always try to invite members to lessons, but they're all so busy so it is difficult.  I love the ward a lot and I love how nice they are about my not so good Korean.

Every Tuesday and Saturday at the church, we teach free English.  On Saturday, we split into groups, give lessons for an hour, and then rejoin for a spiritual thought.  We gave the spiritual thought on Saturday.  It went well which was good.  There are about 20 people who come each week to English class.  It's super fun to teach English because I get to talk with people who are struggling in a language just like me!  On Tuesday, its a free English talking class.  Less people show up to that one.

The prices of food here are very different.  It is overall more expensive.  We get about $160 dollars every two weeks for food, travel, cleaning, etc.  The office takes care of all of our housing bills and costs.  It costs a little more than a dollar each time we take a subway or a bus.  It definitely starts to add up with how much traveling we do.  Gas station food and drinks are pretty cheap.  Usually you can get a bottle of water for about 50 cents.  Other than that, its expensive.  Peanut butter, honey, butter, cheese, meat, and chocolate and very expensive.  So pretty much anything delicious is expensive haha.  But I'm doing fine money wise.  McDonald's is about the same, but here they have free delivery.  If they had that in America, it would not be good. One thing that they have here is carbonated milk, called milkis.  Its actually super good and I drink it all the time.  Oh and I brought some Dr. Pepper last P-day.  It tasted so good.  We have a washer in our apartment but no dryer.  Korea doesn't believe in dryers.  So we hang our clothes up on these racks.  It helps them last a lot longer but they are more wrinkly.

This Sunday we had Stake Conference.  We are in the Seoul Stake.  It is super weird to not have President Hettinger as my Stake President.  I pretty much understood nothing in stake conference except when a member of the seventy spoke to us in English.  He gave an amazing talk about turning our "tents" or ourselves away from Sodom or Satan and towards the temple.  One of our Chinese Investigators, who we have seen in a while, named Paul came with us.  He seemed to enjoy it.  We has taught a lot of lessons this week, but didn't seem to make much progress. We met with T.G. quite a bit this week.  He really likes our message and thinks it makes sense, but doesn't think God exists or cares about us.  We are working a lot with him about prayer and how to receive answers to his prayers.  We weren't able to meet with Idongwon and Ominsuk this week unfortunately because how busy they are.  Everyone in Korea works so hard all the time.  It is amazing.

Quick Story of the Week:  The night after the adult session of Stake Conference, we took the Subway home at about 9:30.  We were on the right track to get home when Elder Julseth decided to try a faster one with few stops.  We ended up waiting for a long time for the train to arrive.  When we finally got on, I decided to go sit next to this Korean man on the Subway and talk to him.  I was surprisingly able to understand what he said and able to share the Book of Mormon with him.  He ended up reading the whole introduction the the book right then.  I was able to give him the book and get his phone number with the help of Elder Julseth.  I felt so good talking with him and even though we got home at 10:30, it was well- worth taking the wrong train.  We have been getting denied a lot recently by people on the streets, and this was definitely a small miracle.  We were able to meet our goals for the day just through getting up the courage to awkwardly talk to someone.  And I know that if we put in effort to do follow Christ and serve God, we will be rewarded openly.

Love your favorite missionary,

Elder Wheeler

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blood on the Sidewalk

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What are the Odds?

In a city of almost 10 million people, what are the odds that one of Mom's friends would happen to ride his bike by Chase on his 10th day in Seoul?

Monday, September 8, 2014

First Week in Seoul