Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Have Finally Arrived in Korea


Hello, everybody!  Family, friends, both old and new, 안영하세요!
I have finally arrived in Korea.  Yes, it is true.  There is a world outside of the MTC, and it is beautiful!  Korea is such an awesome place, except, in the city, it smells a little like sewage all of the time.  I'm not sure exactly what to say, because there is just so much to say.  But I will try.
Our first 2 and a half days here were not very notable.   We slept at the temple grounds, and stayed with the mission president for a couple of days.  We went proselyting on Wednesday, with just the greenies.  It did not go very well, believe it or not.  Especially when Elder Polley and I tried to talk to an old lady in our broken Korean.  Those old ladies just spew it out like you wouldn't believe.  We had no clue what she was saying, so we hurried and said goodbye.  
After that, we visited the King 세종 museum.  It was pretty cool.  We watched a 4D movie about some naval general of Korea that saved it from Japan on the East Sea (the Sea of Japan), outnumbered over 10 to 1.  It was pretty sweet.  In the pictures, you will see one of me trying to convert King 세종.  That was taken at that museum.  

On Thursday, we got to meet our trainers.  My trainer's name is Elder Jarrett.  He is pretty much the nicest person I've ever met in my life.  We arrived in our apartment, which is, luckily, only about a five minute walk from the church.  And it's a two man apartment!  We did our weekly planning for about an hour, so I would be caught up on our goals and schedules for the next few days.  We then went out street contacting.
Street contacting is kind of exciting.  Now, I am at the point where my conscious tells me to talk to all of the men on the street, because in our mission, we are not allowed to proselyte to women.  My very first day, my companion had me share some street testimonies about the Book of Mormon.  On one of them, my companion asked the person we were talking to, "He's pretty good, right?" and he answered, "Yeah, he sounds like a native Korean."  So, that was pretty cool.  I am getting better at street proselyting, though.  I can start one, and do it all the way through, all by myself.  I still rely on my companion, though, because, although I can speak all right, my understanding when people talk to me is pretty much garbage.  
We speak a whole lot more English here than I thought we would.  Most of the time, when we see a university or high school student on the street, we 전도 them in English, because they absolutely love speaking to people from America in English.  It's kind of nice, but I also do not really know how to teach the gospel in English :(  It's kind of sad, actually.  There are also a whole lot of Chinese people in Korea.  I'm pretty sad about that, actually, because, since I have learned Korean, I have completely forgotten how to speak all of my Chinese.  I can understand a little bit, still, but my speaking is all gone, except for how to say "hello."
We have one official progressing investigator right now.  His name is Mike, or 김용일.  He is pretty awesome.  I haven't officially met him to teach him one of the lessons yet, but I've played basketball with him and stuff.  His wife, Sue, or 최윤정, is a recent convert, and I barely missed her baptism.  She's super duper nice to the missionaries, to the extent that we call her "Mom.  We also call her that because she brings us food literally every single day.  I don't really mind, but it drives Elder Jarrett a little bit bit crazy.  
Now I have to tell 여러분 (y'all) about some of the people that I've met.  There was a middle school-aged boy at our English class named 한을.  He really likes video games, so, since what he was supposed to do is just free talk in English, we had an exciting conversation about video games.  It made me feel like I was right at home.  We also met a guy on the street, who was working out.  He is the same age as Elder Jarrett, and in Korea, that makes you automatic best friends.  we exchanged phone numbers, and he actually texted us first!  That is so exciting!  We are actually meeting with him tomorrow, at a coffee shop at 세종 대학교.  I really hope he becomes an investigator.  Now for the last special person that I have met in this last week.  All of you are going to think I'm totally joking about this, but it is entirely true.  We met a man from Mercury, who had us try to see how well we would do in the Mercurian military by having us play rock paper scissors.  That is entirely true, according to him.  I personally think he was totally insane, but it's all cool.  
The food here is pretty awesome.  My first night in my area, we went to a meat buffet, where you cook meat on a grill at your table.  It was super good.  My companion had my try a hot 고추 pepper.  That is when I decided that all Korean food is not very good.  I was being incinerated from the inside out.  I ate a monstrous bowl of ice cream, and I still couldn't feel the inside of my mouth for about half an hour.  It was crazy.  But other Korean food is still good.  I found out I really like 물 김치, or water kimchi.  It is kimchi inside of  a jar of spices, so it marinates in the water.  
My district is pretty cool.  Sister Lenhart, from the MTC, if anyone knows her, is actually in my district, being trained in 화양.  화양 is the name of my area.  Apparently, it is one of the best areas to be trained in.  I can see why.  Our ward loves missionaries, and they work super well with us.  I met both the bishop of my ward and the stake president, because he lives in our ward boundaries.  They're both pretty cool. 
Let me just tell you, that between the jet lag and walking for the whole day, the 요 (the bed mat thing) feels so good to get into.
Well, I think that about sums up my week.  If you have any questions, comments, jokes, or other people that would want to be emailed, just send them in.
Love you all!!
Elder Tyler Conley
P.S.  You can see Seoul South from my area!!
P.P.S.  Mexican food does exist in Korea.

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