Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 12. Into a new area, I delve.


 I am being transferred. Currently I am serving in 금촌 (Geumchon), but I am moving to the complete opposite and most eastern side of the mission. It is about 5 hours away. It is called 동해 (Donghae), which literally means east sea. It is a little beach town. It is supposed to be really refreshing and fun. But, also, it is the Boonies of Korea, so I don't think there are very many people there. It will be a whole new world. So, I served in the area closest to North Korea and now I get to serve closest to the Ocean and most east! Yay. Looks like I am going to have some variety. I will be co-senior companions with a Missionary name Elder Henderschott. I may have spelled that wrong. I haven't met him yet... But I finish a program called "Pass-off" the other week, which is a language learning program. So now I and considered a Senior companion, I guess. Haha. I am no longer a Greenie!
This last Sunday, It was really sad to say good bye to my ward. I got to give a little goodbye testimony/talk and It was quite emotional. I love the ward so much, even though most of my time there, I couldn't really talk to the members because I couldn't speak Korean very effectively. But I bore my pure testimony of Jesus Christ, and how much He loves them. It made me think a lot. Because sometimes it is hard to do this work. Sometimes, it is hard to have motivation. It is hard to keep going. But love is really the only motivation that will ever overcome that. It really is the only way we can be like the Savior and do His work. This morning, I was reading in 3 Nephi Chapter 10 and it has the parable of the hen who gathers her chicks under her wing. That is what the Savior does. The hen doesn't not try to protect, rescue, and succor the chick because it is tired. It doesn't even think about whether it is tired. It doesn't allow itself to indulge in such thoughts. It is only thinking of others. It doesn't think. It just acts. If we love the Savior, that is who we will be. That is how we will act. Because that is how the Savior acts.
I know there are a lot of frogs in my emails... But. Why not? Our mission email had this in it, so I thought you would enjoy.
Today, as my last week in 금촌 I am going to a meat buffet and I will eat until I can't anymore. Haha. Also, the house here is getting 2 more elders. That means this ward will have 6 missionaries.
What happened this week? I ate cow spine soup. Haha. It was fine. You don't have to eat the spinal cord. So I didn't.... The thing is... The name for it in Korean translates to "potato soup." But.... Yeah. there were a few potatoes, and mostly spinal cords. Haha. But it really was good. and kinda weird. You put the vertebrae in a bowl when you are going to eat the meat. Haha... Yeah..
But, anyways! I'll probably have lots to tell you next week about my new area! And hopefully some pictures, but I don't know yet. I feel like I am about to go on a rollercoaster. Haha.
I love you all SOOOOOOOO Much! So much.
I know the Lord loves all of His flocks of children. I get to learn especially about His love for His Korean flocks, but I know His love applies to them all. I am grateful for the opportunity to be an assistant shepherd. A light on a hill.
 I constantly feel insufficient to do His work, but at the same time, I constantly feel His pushing and guiding influence, making me into the servant He wants me to be. He can change us. He can guide us, we just have to yield and listen.
Once again, I love you! Pray for me! I need it more than ever!
Send me your love! I send you mine!
Love, Elder Renfroe 
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 11 A Small Piece of Heaven

I am currently eating a Cheese on Cheese bagel from a place called Paris Baguette. This store is rampant in Korea. They make a lot of Koreanized bread products. It is pretty darn good. Haha. We go there right before we email every Monday. Hahaha.
Sooooooo! This week was great! Great! We have four people progressing with potential! That is a far cry from the 0 we had when I got here. BUT, we also have more people to work with! It is great. We actually have a teaching pool now.
First, we email at what is called a PC 방 every Monday because it is the only place we can. It is basically a place filled with computers on which teenagers and creepy old men play computer games and eat ramen all day. Haha. These things do not exist in America. Anyways... one of the guys that works here was speaking a little English to us, so we told him about our English class. Which no one had been coming to... Then, this last Saturday, an entire family and this guy came and plan on coming every time from now on. So now we actually have someone to teach English to! But the best part, my companion and I took they guy and taught him separately and the sisters taught the family, because they are all ladies. But anyways, when we teach English, we teach a short gospel message at the end. And he is completely open to hearing it. It is great. He is an orphan and said he turned his life around and he doesn't really know what to believe, but does believe in something. So basically, we are going to teach this guy English for an hour and the gospel for 30 minutes 2 times every week! Yay! I can't wait to teach him that he has a family and a Heavenly Father. That he isn't alone.
Then, our Pakistani guy... We haven't really been able to meet with him, but we called him this last week. About 2 weeks ago, we gave him a Book of Mormon in his native language. He said he really likes it and has already read over half of it! Woah! He says he reads it for an hour a day.
Then, we are teaching a member's friend English and the gospel (30 minutes each) and he really seems to be progressing and is also open to what we have to say. It really is great because many Koreans just don't want to listen to us. There is a lot of aggressive pressure here to go to church, so they don't want to hear us out, but as they trust us, they realize that we really are just trying to do good. We are just trying to help them to come closer to Christ.
Then, we had this one guy that really hasn't been able to meet much, but we met with him this week. Before, he didn't want to pray, because is feels weird. He is Buddhist, and his interest only really seemed fairly scholarly. But this last visit we talked a lot about Heavenly Father and the eternal nature of families. He told us that he really liked our message as opposed to everything else that he has found because we are the only ones with an emphasis on families. That our message fits the love he has for his family. It was great. Haha.
We also met this one guy that just wants to be friends so he can learn English. Haha. He has met with missionaries in the past. But yeah.... He is what we call an English suck.
This week. I craved Kimchi. Haha. It made me a little sad because I won't be able to eat it everyday in America! Haha. I eat it so much....  It is great! Have you all tried Kimchi? You should. Go eat it with some rice. Haha. I am going to have parties at Korean restaurants for the rest of my life.
I miss carpet. It doesn't exist in Korea. Haha. Also, when I come back home, I am going to miss being called beautiful and handsome all the time. Haha. My ego would be really big, if I wasn't constantly being humble by Korean. Hahaha.
Also There was a shooting in my ward. It involved a sister missionary's face, a bidet, and a suddenly appearing stick. One of the sister missionaries in my ward said the bidet shot her in the face with water because she didn't know what it was doing. She said she looked down and a stick came out of no where and sprayed her in the face! Hahahaha. Bidet are quite common here. Maybe I'll get one when I go home? You feel me?
Hahaha. But it is great here in Korea. I am learning so much! And, I drink a Dr. Pepper every monday. So, the world isn't ending yet.  
Also, I need pictures! I had to use some to make an introduction card to the ward I am in. SO I need some replacement family photos and maybe some photos of my hobbies? I don't know. Hahaha.
There is no comfort in our growth zone and no growth in our comfort zone. I love those words from Sister Linda Smith in a letter that she wrote to me. They really helped me because that is exactly how I feel!
But keep me in your prayers! I need them and I feel them! I love you all so much!
Love, Elder Renfroe 
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P.S I may send home boxes of stuff periodically especially ties. I found some really great ties. I might buy seconds of each and send them home so I have them when I get home! Haha. I love them....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Week 10! Pig Skin?

Hello, People. I am once again eating a Chicken curry donut. Jealous? Also, I ate a donut filled with read bean paste again. It was supposed to have cream cheese in it. But I think Koreans like to secretly put red bean paste in everything. Don't turn your back on them. Red Bean paste will be involved.
I have to tell you about the dinner I had at a member's house last night... Goodness.. Hahaha. So. There was a fruit salad. Which in Korea means vegetable and fruit mixed with yogurt. It actually is pretty good. Haha. Apples, bell peppers, blueberries, and raisins. Kinda weird but whatever. Haha. But then, when we were almost done, the member opened a can of tuna and just plopped it in the middle. :( Hahaha. It was so weird. Tuna and spam are like high treats here. Fine dining. Hahaha. Then.... I ate a terrible, terrible thing. But I didn't know what it was until after. Which was a very good idea. Hahah. Bosam is the name. Basically, it is compressed, congealed pig skin. You feel like you are chewing on rubbery stuff. It looks like meat and mayo packed into a slab with a cloudy clear fatty outside. Yum! Basically, I just ate it with a huge piece of kimchi, so I couldn't taste anything. But it is the texture that is killer... Also, as a side dish, there were little baby dried fish to eat with your rice. Yay!
Anyways.... Hahaha.
This week. We are going to the temple tomorrow. So, today we are emailing, but it isn't actually our P-day. Hahaha. Also, tomorrow I'm probably going to go to a really cheap market and buy ties. Because that is what missionaries do. Ha. I'm just really picky about my ties. And since it is basically the only thing I get to change everyday, it is my only outlet for expression.
This last week there was so much rain. So much rain. At one point, we were in it and there was a miniature river and waterfall in the middle of the city. I would have taken a picture... But it was raining. Hahaha.
Also. I am grateful this week for an upbringing which apparently has taught me how to handle spicy food. One of the Sister missionaries in my ward can't handle spice at all. And last night at the dinner.... Well Koreans will tell you how to eat their food. So you have to eat it the way they tell you. She said her mouth was on fire. But I don't think it is spicy at all. It really has made this experience a whole lot easier than it should have been if I wasn't able to eat the food. Haha. Koreans like it when I eat all of their kimchi. Haha. I'm going to smell wonderful when I get home.
Everyweek I feel closer to my Savior and I feel His love more. I don't think I have ever been so bad at something I care so much about. But it really has made me rely on my Savior all the more, which has only brought wonderful blessings.
I don't have a lot of time, but did all of you see the video on member missionary work? If not, you should. And start doing it! You can do it easily. I have been greatly impressed here in Korea about how the power to find people prepared for the gospel mostly lies in the hands of the members and not the full time missionaries. So, I need your help! Find people for the missionaries to teach. You already know them. It can happen through simple acts. Just pretend like you are doing it for me! :)
I feel so much love for all of you and for all of the people I talk with. I am so grateful to be here and to have this incredible learning experience.
Keep me in your prayers! I love you all immensely!
Elder Renfroe 
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Week 9! The rain has begun.

Helllllllllo World!
How are you? Have you been at peace recently? I'm Korean. Not really. I suck!! Hahaha.
Anyways! This week was good. It was the first week that we met our goals for contacts! Yay! We talked to 140 people this week! Yay. It is really hard to do this up in north parts of South Korea, but we did it! Yay. Now we are upping the goal!
Basically it is monsoon season in Korea! Yay! That means we get breaks from the heat with really fun rainstorms! I'm currently soaking wet as I write this email. But it is fine! The other day it was 100% humidity. It is sorta like this state between raining and fog. It is kinda like a rain cloud is literally sitting on Korea sometimes... It is crazy.
Oh, by the way. I have heard 3 strikes of thunder this week. They were all very loud. By the way, I hear the same thunder as North Korea. Isn't that cool! Woah! Haha.
This week was the fourth of July! I didn't see any fireworks. But I went to Outback Steakhouse. I know it is technically Australian... but we had to do something remotely American. The languages are the same right? Haha.
I have a funny story of an Indian lady. Hahaha. So we were knocking doors. Well there was this one door. No one answered so we went to the next. Happens a lot... Haha. But as we were walking, this Indian lady comes out and says she was sleeping. We apologized for waking her and she just went back in. But I decided we should bring her a present because we woke her. So the next day, we returned with a chamwoi (a small cantaloupe-like Korean fruit). I knocked on her door and tried to give it her.  She answered and then 3 of the cutest Indian children in the world came rushing out! So cute! And she was bottle feeding a baby. She refused my fruit, but we told her a little about our church and how families can be eternal. But she didn't want to talk and didn't want my fruit. Haha. So the excuse she used was that she was sleeping again. She clearly was not sleeping. Crazy children and nursing a baby. You are sleeping. So, Is "I'm sleeping" just an Indian excuse for everything? If not, this women is just sleeping all day and I am scared for these children's safety. Haha.
So now, I'm just going to tell people I am sleeping when I don't want to do something. The Korean excuse is... I'm busy! Or, I am in the middle of eating food... Haha.
We got stood up for appointments 3 times this week. But oh well... We are making progress! I also got some good phone numbers for people. Haha. I love it more everyday.
I don't have lots of time. But something that has really helped me this week.... You know those people that are so welcoming and warming to everybody? Like they never meet a stranger and everyone is their friend? I do! Her name is Cynthia Wilson. Well. I want to be that type of person. And I need to be that type of person to be the missionary that I can become. Well I was praying about it. Because I want to talk to everyone... but sometimes I don't.
All I had was a simple thought to my mind. But more than a thought. It lingered and continues to linger. We are all the same! Therefore, I love you! I want to talk to you! I want to know you. Be my friend. Let's learn from each other. Why not talk? Why waste that time, that relationship, that opportunity to learn and grow from each other? That is why I am a missionary. I love people. I want to share with them the things I love. I love people! Seriously. I think it is a gift missionaries get, if they want it. Love. Christ-like love. It is a wonderful feeling. Now I just need to learn Korean better! Hahaha. But I'm doing well with what I have.
Also, this week, my heart was very tender as I turned my studies toward the Savior. There is no more important message than that of Jesus Christ and of His Atonement. As we learn of it, we become who we are meant to become. Everyone can do it. It is as simple as reading the scriptures, pondering, and praying with a sincere heart. I love my Savior. I think of Him often. And I feel His love. And everyone else can to. It is so wonderful!
But anyways! Time is short! I love you all! Soooo Much! Write me letters! Send me love! I am doing well! Keep me in your prayers. You are in mine!
Also, My friend Javauna just got called to Seoul South! She should email me and I'll tell her what she needs to know! Hahaha.
But, I love you all!
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 8!

Hello World!
This week was great! We have a baptismal date! Woah! Hahaha. And we also have some very promising investigators that we'll be meeting this Sunday!
But first things first. Mother, am I the spawn of Donny Osmond? Do you have some confessions to make? BECAUSE. In our mission, we have a sister missionary who is dating Donny Osmond's son who is my age. Haha. I told her how you were an Osmond Convert, and therefore I am an Osmond Missionary. Hahaha. But. Apparently I look a lot like his son, have similar interests, and act like an Osmond. And this is according to someone who has had multiple dinners with the Osmonds. So. I might be an Osmond. Not really sure still. I'll keep you updated on the DNA tests.
Just so you know, our mission also has an olympic Canadian gymnast in it. Pretty cool, Eh? Haha. He trains for three hours a day and competes in gymnastic competitions as part of his mission. It's crazy!
This week I sung Amazing Grace at a bus stop with a really talkative Korean lady. Hahaha. I told her I sang and so she wanted to sing with me. Koreans love music and really will just sing anywhere. No hesitation. At least a lot of the time. Haha. She kept telling me that I have beautiful eyebrows... Haha. I liked that. I think that was the first time I have gotten that one. A lot of Koreans have really faint eyebrows, so I think they like seeing real ones. It is great. Some ladies just like draw on big black ones because they have none.
I met a wonderful woman this week. Her name is either Ignacious or Agnocious. I couldn't really tell due to her super thick accent. But I'll probably figure out which when we meet on Sunday. She is a middle-aged woman from Cameroon. I met her at the bus stop. I love her. I hardly know her, but I love her. She is so beautiful to me. She is short and stout and walks with a limp. She dresses very tomboy-esque, but I couldn't help but feel so much love for her. She is interested to learn our message. When I gave her our business card, she saw the pictures and said, "Hey, I have seen these videos (Mormon Messages). I really like them!" So, she has already had some exposure. I hope everything turns out well. I can't wait to teach her and to help her. We are also meeting with our Pakistani friend this Saturday.
Yesterday on the bus I had a wonderful conversation with a college student. He was really nice and had a lot of genuine questions about life and why we are here. I also talked to this other couple who were so nice as well! I feel so much love for these people. I want to help them so much according to their needs. I know that even though I can't speak Korean very well, the Lord is still pleased with my efforts to help these people and He will make up for the rest.
I have been thinking a lot this week about remembrance. I want to always remember my Savior. I want to always feel His love and have it reinforced in my heart. I want His name etched on my heart. I want to be who He would have me be. I want to always be grateful. This really is just a matter of living according to the spirit. As we strive to keep the commandments of God as completely as possible, we can always have His spirit to be with us. The comforter. The teacher. We can live in truth. We can always recognize his influence. This is what I am trying to do. I want to always remember. I want to feel His presence as often as possible because it brings so much peace to my life. I know there is nothing greater. Even though we are away from His presence, even though this life is difficult, we can have the Spirit! It is such an amazing gift! If ever we chose to live without it by not keeping his commandments, we remove ourselves from the presence of God. Not the other way around.
But I don't have much time! I bought a digital dictionary. And I have been downloading a lot of Korean lessons to it through a website that our mission president allows. So that has taken a lot of time. But I have to learn this language and the lessons really help.
Anyways! I love you all very much. I am working hard and I miss you dearly. Keep me in your prayers. I need them. I have felt their influence.
Love, Elder Renfroe
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