Monday, February 8, 2016

Lunar New Year

February 7, 2016

Dear Family,

President Barrow wants this mission to be a baptizing mission, and he really thinks it can be. But as of now, I think the average is maybe around 2 per year per area or something like that. I know that 20 or 30 years ago in Korea, there were tons of baptisms. Our ward mission leader said that here in Gimhae when he was Branch President, there were 53 baptisms in one year. And at that time, they didn't even have a baptismal font, so they had to go to a different ward every Sunday for baptisms. In fact, Gimhae Ward only has 3 or 4 families who were originally members of the church--all of the 80 other active members of Gimhae are converts. Pretty cool, huh? I don't know if this is the reason or not, but Elder Yoon was saying that it's probably because Korea used to be a really poor country, even just 20 years ago, and so the people were humble, but now that Korea has progressed and is getting really wealthy, they don't have very open minds to other religions. But yeah, what you said is completely true. A lot of the time when we teach people, we have to have a whole lesson just teaching who Heavenly Father is, because they literally have no knowledge of God.

But anyway, speaking of baptisms, we just had a baptism here in Gimhae. He has a really pure heart and is one of the nicest people ever. He (LG) always calls me just to say hi, and is always trying to eat lunch with us or do things with us. He's the other teams investigator, but I think Elder Yoon and I spent just as much time with him as they did, so we're pretty good friends :) He really likes the church, and always talks about how he wants to be a missionary. Before he was even baptized, he gave Elder Yoon and me a referral, and just yesterday he said he has another one for us. Last week we went to meet this referral, and it turns out that he is really interested in our church, and really likes the missionaries. Originally he just had interest in learning English, but LG invited him to church, and he came yesterday. He really liked it, and wants to keep meeting with us, so that was pretty sweet. It's interesting though, because this situation goes right along with what Elder Yoon was saying. This guy (OC) is really poor, he doesn't even have a phone (which is saying something for Korea, EVERYONE has a phone) and lives in a really small, run-down house. I've met him twice so far, and both times he was wearing the exact same thing. But I think it's his circumstances that softened his heart to the point that he happily accepted a Book of Mormon, came to church and seemed to love it, and wants us to keep meeting with him so he can learn more. It's amazing to me to see how God works to prepare His children to receive the gospel.

So we actually weren't able to really meet anyone else besides him this past week. If you ask why, today is the Lunar New Year, one of the biggest holidays of the year for Korea. So all of last week, people were busy getting ready/traveling so they didn't have time. And it goes for three days, so we won't be able to meet anyone until after Wednesday this week. But the bishop was really nice and invited all the missionaries over for dinner tonight, so we actually have something to do instead of roam the empty streets looking for people who aren't there. So that's nice :)

As far as transfers, Elder Yoon left to go to a place called Geumjeong, which is in Busan and is the same zone as Gimhae. My new companion is Elder Johnstun from Arizona.  He's a newer missionary, actually started his mission almost exactly a year after I did. 

Well, that's about it, at least what I can remember! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Hines

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