Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring in Gimhae

April 17, 2016

Dear Family,

Things are going well here. I think that maybe the investigators are going to start picking back up again soon. PSH (have I told you about him before?) should be less busy with school starting this week, and we finally met JSB (do you remember him? He randomly called a couple months ago and said he wants to get baptized, but we haven't been able to meet him) for the first time in like five months. He's been calling us every day saying that he'll come to church when he has time, but he never shows up. But yesterday he showed up half-way through church and stayed for 15 minutes before leaving. Although not ideal, it's definitely improvement. He's actually been meeting the missionaries for multiple years now and has been taught all the lessons, but can't stop smoking, which is why he hasn't been baptized yet. The first time I ever met him was when I first got to Gimhae, he came to English class and was telling us about how he hadn't smoked in a week so he could come to church. So I feel like he has a sincere desire, but it's just really hard for him to stop smoking. And since he knows that we don't smoke, I think he feels too self-conscious around other members when he smells like smoke, which is why he keeps saying he will come to church but not actually coming. So now we just have to figure out how to help him stop smoking, if we can just convince him to meet us regardless of whether he's smoked recently or not.  I feel like he's under the impression that members of the church don't want to be around him if he smells like smoke. 

Then there's JHB, who we're at a loss as to how to help him. This last week when we met him, he told us that he wants to get baptized, he's just not sure when. Every time we try to set a baptismal date, he says that he doesn't know if he wants to get baptized that soon, and that he needs an answer first. Right now he's praying to know how to help his wife understand and let him get baptized.  We were thinking of trying to meet with his wife, but apparently she's too shy to meet us because we're American...yeah, kinda stumped on that one.

This past weekend we finally had our long-planned for and greatly-anticipated ward party that was planned by the missionary department of the ward. Everyone came and ate dinner, and as they finished eating they could go downstairs and see a "Gospel Art Exhibition" (which sounds way fancier than it really was, but that's what it was called).  The "exhibition" ended up being two rooms, one for the Bible and one for the Book of Mormon, with pictures and explanations hung up in chronological order depicting events related to the first Easter. We even had Steven Sharp Nelson's Sacred Cello album playing over the speaker system while they walked around and looked at the pictures.  Time for dinner and looking at the pictures lasted and hour or so, and after that we put all the kids in a room to decorate eggs and watch cartoons, while the adults went back upstairs to watch Ephraim's Rescue. I think they liked it a lot, especially because church movies like that usually aren't available in Korean, but we had subtitles for it since we watch it as a mission for Christmas a year and a half ago. Overall, it turned out really well--at least as good as we were hoping, if not better :)

Today for p day the two senior couples we have in our mission put together a big brunch for all the missionaries serving in the Busan and South Busan zones, so that was pretty sick. We had pancakes and eggs, with real American toppings like salsa, whipped cream, and strawberry syrup. It was probably the most amazing breakfast I've had in almost two years, I almost forgot what that kind of food is like. Plus I got to see people like Elder Yoon and Elder Mitchell, so it was really fun :)

Here are some pictures of Gimhae in the Spring. Now that the Cherry Blossoms are gone, these red and purple flowers are everywhere. We found a really cool salamander, too. I've never seen one before so I had to harass it with my camera.

Anyway, have a great week!

Elder Hines

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