Sunday, December 28, 2008


Well, we have a family of investigators now! Very nice man and family....very very devout Buddhists, and very interested in spiritual things. He is also very interested in history and world events. The other night, he took us into his back room where he has his own personal museum, including Korean artifacts dating back to the Shilla and Koryo dynasties! Very interesting man and wonderful family.

It's been a sad week. My companion (the ward adores him) has finished his mission and departed. The ward is also losing some very studly men as well. One is going to Salt Lake for schooling, another is going to BYU soon for schooling, and still another is leaving for an internship and then, perhaps, a mission. All solid members, and they will be missed.

We had a great Christmas. I hope everyone else had the same!!!! Transfers are this coming weekend, so for the remainder of this week I will be with my Zone Leader, away from my area. I hope I don't transfer, as I would be spending my last week here away from Gwangan. The work is hard here. The overall membership is weak, and our missionary numbers are being cut, but the Lord loves this land. He loves this people and will continue to bless them. Apparently we have around 53,000 or so missionaries worldwide now, but we will end up at about 42,000 in the next two or three years. Hard times ahead.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful winter!!!! Happy New Year!!!! Elder Bocchino

(This is a photo of a favorite restaurant here in Gwangan that we call "Dirty Donkas - it has cheap tonkatsu!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Merry Christmas from Korea!!!!!!!!!!! It's bitter cold here, but we just finished watching Polar Express at the mission home for a Pusan Zone P-day. The work is hard but still rewarding. Last night, while knocking doors, we were able to meet a nice family man and teach him about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He's pretty hardcore Buddhist, but he's a spiritual man and we felt the Holy Ghost as we talked about God and His plan. He agreed that talking about such spiritual things made him feel good too, and we set up a return appt., so he's our new investigator (our only investigator).

Last week, we went to the UN Korean War Memorial here in our area in Busan. It was a pretty spiritual experience for me as I thought about my grandfathers and what they did in the war. We went with a member and our new convert. It was very fun and edifying. We lost tens of thousands of men in that war, and I know that it is only through that sacrifice that this land could be free and open to the preaching of the gospel today. These people owe their lives to the sacrifice made by our forefathers a half a century ago, and they know it. After all the talk and complaints about America, they know what that great generation did for them, and they are grateful.

Speaking of which, some guy on the street told us Pres. Bush dodged TWO shoes in Iraq!!!!!! That's my boy! He then proceeded to act like an International Relations expert and tell us all about America and how our country is a big bully. Yep, just about everyone wants to add their little theory on how America should go about her's funny sometimes.

I love being able to share a message about Jesus during this Christmas season. I know that a Savior was born in a stable in Bethlehem that night. It is only through Him that we can find lasting joy and can return to our Father. This is the happy message that we offer to the world. I am happy to serve out here, and I hope everyone has a very wonderful Christmas!
Love,Elder Bocchino

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Zone Conference

Hello and Merry Kuh-rees-uh-mah-suh from Busan!!!!! (Some Korean pronunciations make me laugh). Things are going well here in Busan. It's pretty cold now, but it's better than the heat we'll experience come summer. Missionary work is still hard (it always is) but soooo rewarding. We've seen some true miracles lately with members who haven't been to church in a long time suddenly starting to come back. The members and missionaries are working so hard to make this happen, and I feel that the Spirit of the Lord is moving upon these people and strengthening them. I like what Paul tells the Ephesians when he says that we invite people to come and be no more strangers, but instead be fellow citizens in the household of God. It's so wonderful to see these good people come back to the body of the saints, where we can all be edified together.

It's important to strengthen the church in Korea for the days ahead. Street proselyting is extremely hard in Korea, and the english program doesn't work well and has been discontinued in Pusan. That pretty much leaves knocking doors as the last way for missionaries to effectively convey this message to the people of Korea. That is becoming more difficult, as all new apt. complexes (where everyone lives in Korea) are getting "gwali-jahs" (security guards) who never let us in.
Eventually, it will be so hard to find people to teach that I feel the ONLY way will be through members. Members of this church will have to invite their friends to learn about their beliefs, therefore it is soooo important that we are strengthening the church now. Just last night we were kicked out of a nice apartment complex that we managed to get into, and that is happening more and more often. It's hard, but we still work hard to bring this message to everyone.

This past week we had zone conference, where maybe 50 missionaries get together from the Pusan "zone" (around Pusan) and have meetings. (Our mission has 5 zones). We had a great, edifying experience and then watched the musical "Scrooge" (I think it was from the 60s or 70s). It was really fun and also allowed us to feel and be taught by the Spirit.
I love the Christmas season and all the good things we can experience and feel during this time of year. I'm sad that I'm missing the festivities in America, but I enjoy the opportunity to share this wonderful message with everyone I meet. Not only was a Savior born, but He still lives! His church is on the earth today and He leads it. God still loves us just as much as He has loved His children throughout the ages. He wants to help us return to Him, and through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ we can. Just like the story and message of Christmas, this gospel message truly is good news to a world much in need of it. I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share it with the world!
Merry Christmasish time! Elder Bocchino

Monday, December 8, 2008


It snowed here the other day! Rare for Busan. Not much but it was really fun.

Jung Sung Ook, a recent convert, received the priesthood this week. He's so excited to serve and live the gospel, it's a real testimony builder to spend time with him and see how he's changing his life. He is preparing for an all-english interview in his international trade class, so we were able to help him and his friends with that. He's hoping to bring them to our ward's english class this week.

I went on splits to our neighboring area "Haeundae". It is the nicest area in Korea and is full of high-rise apartments and affluent residents. A lot of people speak english there. It was a really fun split.

I was chatting with a friend in our ward and asked him about his military service. He served in a special army unit on the Korean DMZ. The Koreans seem to have a competent military and are very proud of their required military service. He also talked about a movie called "JSA: Joint Security Area". It's a famous Korean movie about the DMZ. I had watched it a few years ago and really liked it, even though I didn't really understand it.

I've been reading some of the talks given at General Conference recently. The theme of this past Conference seemed to be enduring hard times and looking forward to a bright future. I know that as we center our faith on the Savior, Jesus Christ, we can endure our hard times and live to see brighter days. This message helps me during hard times on my mission.

I have to go. Take care! Love, Elder Bocchino

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Happy belated Thanksgiving! Our District went to Outback for a Thanksgiving lunch. It was really fun, but we all missed home of course. This week has been fun but fairly uneventful. We were able to go to the mission home and hear from a gentleman who served in Korea many years ago, came back as a mission president in Pusan, and is now a professor of Korean studies at BYU. He had very interesting insights about genealogy and Korean culture.

There are some cultural challenges in the missions here in Korea. For the most part, American missionaries and mission presidents tend to do things the "American way". Sometimes Korean missionaries feel offended or confused by the way we do things. The language barrier is also a huge obstacle. We don't understand each other's humor and so forth. It is hard sometimes, and it is easy for feelings to be hurt. We all work very hard to overcome these difficulties.

We are focusing on motivating the members about missionary work. We might be seeing some success, as we have received quite a few member-referrals recently. I can testify that working closely with members (when they bring friends to the missionaries) is the best way to help others come to Christ. We can proselyte all day, knock doors, get phone numbers, but one member referral is worth days and days of that. Working with members is the way to go.

One such member referral is the young man who we've spent some time with: Jung sung ook. He was baptized a few months ago and he loves this gospel so much. He is hungry to learn more about what God wants him to do and how to be a better person. He wants to serve a mission and bless others with what he knows. He's just a great young man all-around, really. It's so cool to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ can change someone's life like that.

An interesting note about Korea: they have mixed feelings about America just like everyone else, but they especially hate american beef. They are very proud of the fact that they serve "Australian beef" in their restaurants. They think that American beef has mad cow disease in it, and huge demonstrations are held in Seoul every year to protest our beef. Interesting...

Well, the Church is true. I still love it out here and love preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this message is meant for all people, and all people can be blessed through it. There is a prophet of God on the earth today, and it is a great expression of God's love for us. Just like Israel of old, we have guidance and direction for our lives today. This is the message we bring to the world. Christ lives, and He invites all to come unto Him.

Take care, thank you for the support. Elder Bocchino

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Transfer week is here. I lucked out and will stay in Gwangan for at least another transfer. I'll be able to "kill off" my "dad" (my trainer goes home at the end of this transfer). I'm excited to be able to serve in this awesome area again.

Well, I finally had my "Godzilla" moment. That's right, the other day a group of kids saw me, gasped, pointed and yelled "Godzilla". I enjoyed it.

The work is hard but fun. I've been sick for a few days so I haven't gone out much. We heard UofU beat BYU. Sad.
We climbed a mountain last week for District Meeting and had some great views. It was freezing cold. There were some random weight sets out in the woods so I did some quick curls (pictures on the way lol).

We keep hearing that the temples in CA have been under attack by angry protesters or something. How bad is it? Times seem to be getting pretty tough.

There's not much more to say. Hopefully I'll have more next week. Thanks for the support!

Love, Elder Bocchino

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Another awesome week gone by. One more week until transfers. I hope I get to stay here in Gwangan. I love it here. This Sunday, the young children put on a musical program in Church. It was a very moving and spiritual experience. I couldn't understand 100% of it, but I could understand enough. Hearing those little Korean children sing and testify of their Father in Heaven reminded me of the basic truths that change lives. I was taught by the Spirit during that Sacrament meeting. God DOES exist and He is our Heavenly Father. He loves us and wants us to be happy and return to Him. When the children sang the words "Heavenly Father, are you really there?," I thought of all of the people here and around the world who don't know the answer to that question. "This is why I'm here, I want everyone to know the answer to that question," I thought. I love serving the Lord here and working to bring people to an understanding of their relationship with Heavenly Father.

Earlier this week, Elders Matsuura and Potter met a British lady who is working here teaching English. While knocking doors in some apartments, we ran into her again. We were able to bring her an English-language Book of Mormon and teach her about the restoration of Christ's Gospel (in English!!!! woohoo). It was a great experience, and she wants to meet again. It was interesting being able to participate fully in a teaching situation for once!

Today (for our pday activities) we met up with a really cool recent convert named Jung Sung Ook (20-something). We spent a couple of hours with him here in a big marketplace called Nampodong. It was really fun. We walked through the crowded market streets, smelling the smells and seeing all of the merchandise. There are some interesting things being sold here - for example, I've seen hats that say AFNY, which stands for Air Force New York. It makes no sense, but the words look familiar to Koreans, so they sell them. Jung Sung Ook is a really fun and nice guy. He's our "hang nim", or older brother. Our ward is full of really great young people like him.

Last night, we were invited to the apartment of a really nice family in the ward. The husband is American and served a mission in Seoul many years ago. His wife is Korean and they've lived in the States for many years (they're just visiting here). Sis. Wray did so much to make us feel comfortable. She fed us sooo much beef (we don't get much meat here) and coke and cookies and milk. She was used to Americans and wanted to make us feel comfortable. It was so much fun. Their son is a year older than me and goes to BYU.

BYU plays Utah this week. We're all excited! I'll spend the night at the mission home tonight so that my companion can apply for classes at the U of U. It should be fun. Well, I'm gonna go. I love it here like I never thought I would. Thanks for your love and support!

Elder Bocchino

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Veterans Day and Happy Birthday to the U.S.M.C.!!!

Hello from the heart of "Dynamic Busan"!!!

Another crazy week gone by. Our ward is awesome and is working hard to strengthen each other.

People in Pusan are very proud of the fact that the only memorial in the world to commemorate all of the nations that fought in the Korean war is in Pusan. We hope to go there next week. The Korean people appreciate what our American forefathers did over half a century ago to defend them. They respect the "sacrifice" culture of the military and the fact that American servicemen are willing to die to preserve liberty and freedom around the world. They especially respect the US Marine Corps and what Marines have sacrificed for Korea. It has made for interesting conversations since Dad was a career Marine.

The other day, Elder Hinton and I were trekking around in our area. We hiked up through some back alleys and steep tiny roads to find one member who was baptized when she was ten. We talked to a lady at the top of a hill by a Buddhist temple. It was really cool....I love the work here. As challenging as some places are here, I love going to them because the gospel has to "penetrate every continent, visit every clime, sweep every country and sound in every ear". This is why I'm on a mission! :)

We've been working a lot with some new converts in our ward: Jung Sung Ook and Kim Ho Rool. They're so amazing! They love the gospel and it's great to observe the sincerity with which they apply the restored gospel in their lives. It's hard to be a member here in Korea, and I have soooo much respect for those strong members who are able to do it.

I love the work here in Pusan (or is it Busan? lol). I love missionary work like I never thought I would. Thanks for the support and love! Elder Bocchino

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week 3 in Gwangan

Greetings again from Gwangan! I just survived another taxi ride. I forgot to tell you about something on my first night. A couple of us greenies rode in the van with the AP's (Assistants to the Mission President). As we drove across the bridge into Pusan, they started blasting the Tabernacle Choir song "Bringing in the Sheaves". They introduced us to a Pusan mission tradition by screaming "BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES, BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES!" and punching the roof of the van with clenched fists as hard as they could....then they yelled at us to join in the festivities. This went on for several minutes. It was ridiculous and my first thought was "we have crazy APs...awesome!!!!" Our APs are amazing elders and very motivated. I'm so happy to serve with them.

Last night, a group of missionaries that served in Korea in the 1970s returned to Pusan as a singing group called "New Horizons". They held a concert in a local church building and we were able to attend last night. It was so great to have so many Korean saints gathered together in one place. The church is small here in Korea, so it's good when we can spend time and be edified together. The other cool thing about it was that our President was there and allowed all the missionaries to stay until the concert was over. We didn't get home until after 10 pm!! :^0 It was really cool.

Korea is still as crazy as ever. I never thought buses could drive so fast. Motorcycles and cars drive on the sidewalks and if you want to run a red light, all you have to do is honk your horn. Little Korean kids are some of the cutest things in the world. People seem intimidated by my size.....and they always want me to eat a lot of their food (which is hard because it's so dang hot).

We were able to have a joint zone conference with over half of the mission in attendance last week. Elder Chway (English spelling), who is the second counselor in the North Asia Area Presidency, spoke to us. He talked about the different roles of men and women and the importance of honoring our priesthood. He also talked about a problem Korea has with young church members leaving the country for the US and Canada. He spoke of the importance of members staying in their home nations and building up Zion there.

During the conference, a missionary read a poem that best summarizes a mission (as far as I can tell). I wish I had the words with me, but the gist of it was that before I went on a mission, I'd never been so sad and so joyful; I'd never had so many lows and so many highs; I'd never felt so useless and so proud; I'd never felt so weak or strong. It's so true. One second I feel so sad and useless, and the next I feel filled with power and the Spirit as I bear testimony of Jesus Christ's restored gospel. I feel so weak and insufficient as I try to proclaim this message, but then I realize that the Lord is leading me. We are strong when we allow the Lord to direct our paths. I've never felt so helpless and yet so safe.

For the first time in my life I feel like I'm really putting myself in the Lord's hands and letting Him guide me. It's a marvelous feeling. I know that we are weak and lack knowledge, but the Lord will use us to confound the wise and bring down the strong. I know that the Apostle Paul speaks truth when he tells us that the Lord calls weak and humble servants to do His work. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Chapter 4, we read that faith hope charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify us for the work.

This is truly a marvelous work and a wonder on Earth today. The Savior is gathering His flock together before He comes again, and I am privileged to play a small part in it. I love you all and I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Bringing in the Sheaves,
Elder Bocchino

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week 2 in Korea

Hello from Pusan, Korea!!!! So, just on the way here I almost died again in a taxi......we were literally inches away from a bus coming into our lane. Inches! Even the taxi driver was freaking out.

I was pretty down earlier this week. I knew that some people wouldn't listen to our message and I'm used to people thinking bad things about the Church, but I didn't think it would be like this. We go out proselyting for hours a day.....walking the streets and knocking doors. I struggle with the language and people reject us outright, call us a cult or tell us to just go away and talk to other people. Then, later this week, we were knocking doors in one apartment building. We had planned to go knock doors with some other elders....but for some reason things weren't working out, no matter what we did, and we eventually had to part ways. While Elder Hinton and I were knocking doors, a man answered and I was trying to talk to him in my horrible Korean. At first he said it was late...they were busy etc.....and then he suddenly told us to come in. We sat down and talked with him and his wife. They fed us some awesome Asian pear and talked with us. They were angels. Usually at least one person in the house wants you to leave...but they were really nice. They wanted a Book of Mormon and the wife loved reading the pamphlet on the Restoration. They attended another church but were very interested in what we have to say. The man liked me, it seemed, and was comfortable patting me on the knee and stuff (in Korea that's a good thing). I'm not sure where it will go, but I felt the Spirit and my own spirits were lifted. I know that I received a tender mercy from the Lord that night.

On Saturday, we played some basketball for a couple of hours with some members. The Bishop also played (he's a lifter and very competitive). It was awesome and I can't wait until next Saturday. Sunday was nice. We pretty much spend most of the day at church. Sunday night, the four of us elders went and knocked doors together in some huge apartment buildings. Elder Hinton and I got kicked out by some Gwali-jas (security types). It was my first time. They're a huge obstacle to the work....especially in the bigger, nice apt. complexes.

The other night, we went to the patriarch's house with the sister missionaries in our area. The Patriarch was soo cool. He seemed to like me, and said that he wished he spoke English so that we could talk more. There are two new converts that Elder Hinton baptized last transfer. They're college students and really cool. Really nice guys. One of them is applying to the BYU english language program for next year. That's an interesting thing. Korean Church members are some of the best at English. Since many of the young men (and women) serve missions, and some young people go to a Church school in the states at some point, they learn english. All Koreans take english classes in school, but few really learn the language. I was talking to one of the new converts about his mandatory military service. I told him of how my father had spent some time with Korean marines and really liked them. I like asking Koreans about their "Gundae" service.

I've had some more Korean food. I love Asian pears! Hay jon gook is a soup with some bones w/ meat on them in it. It was really good (hot temperature) and tasted like a really good, spicy chicken noodle soup. There's a lot of squid here but so far I'm too chicken to try it. The other night we had a shiksa (meal appt...basically) at a part member house. The soup was called shabashaba (Japanese soup). It had veggies and meat in it. The lady then put some garlic and noodles in and it was soooo good. I haven't had dog meat yet, but I will. I hate hate hate seaweed (therefore I avoid kimbop). The other day, we went to a meat buffet. For missionaries it is heaven because we don't get a whole lot of meat. It was awesome.

Today, we have an interesting p day. We received permission to leave the house at 8:30 am(usually it is 10:30 am), so we're going to do some fun stuff. I'm not sure what yet. Tonight we have the ward FHE, so it should be a BLAST. Luckily, we sleep on I haven't had to experience the floor yet. Bugs and stuff aren't a problem on the 19th that's nice.

I love you guys and miss you. I love it out here in the field, even with the down days. It's amazing. I know that we are making a difference. I know that we are fulfilling Daniel's prophecy, and also Joseph Smith's prophecy as the gospel is "penetrating every continent, visiting every clime, sweeping every country and sounding in every ear".

Love, Elder Bocchino
(Below are some photos from the MTC)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Greetings from Gwangan!

Greetings from Gwangan! As you already know, I'm serving in the Gwangan area in the Pusan Zone. If you go to and click on "worship with us", you can look up where the Gwangan ward meeting house is (for Google Maps). We live in some apts up the hill from that. The Gwangan beach is in our area. It is the second most famous beach in Korea (the first is our neighboring area, Haeundae).

Monday is our P-Day. It's been a cool first week. This past weekend was a huge annual festival. There was a HUGE, AMAZING, SPECTACULAR fireworks show on Sat. night. I took pics and videos of it...I'll send them to you. It was the best fireworks/lightshow/concert I've ever seen!!!! I think it is the best in the world. We sat on the beach with some ward members (surrounded by 3.5 million Koreans apparently...that's what we were told) and watched the show for a few hours. It was awesome. A bunch of missionaries from different areas showed up.

Our area has 4 elders assigned to it (we live in the same apt.). A trio of sisters also covers our area.

One of my roommates is Elder Matsuura (I knew him in the MTC, he was 6 weeks ahead of me). It's really cool being able to live with him.
I don't really understand what anyone is saying, but it is still fun. The Church is still true. ^^ Elder Hinton is from Sandy, Utah and is a great companion and trainer. I'm so glad to have been assigned to serve with him. He "dies" (goes home) next transfer, so I might "kill" him (be his last companion in the mission field). He's my "dad" and I'm his "son" (senior and junior companions). Gwangan is such a cool area to be "born" into (first assignment on mission).

The first day at the mission home was crazy. We got up in the morning and went to the bathhouse!!!!!! I loved it! It was soooo cool and relaxing and we'll definitely have to go again.....and again and again, as much as possible. They had tons of different pools (green tea pool, rose pool, mud bath, etc.). It was awesome. We taught a man in there. After that, we did a few things (e.g., went to the bank) and then got temporary trainers. All 30-40 of us ran 1/2 mile or more to the subway station, rode it to a market place, and started proselyting. It was intense. I was tired and soaked in sweat. I'm sure I looked crazy. I did give away a book of mormon though!

Then we did some "soapboxing" (proselyting by yelling) in the subway car on the return home. The greenies (new missionaries) were supposed to do the yelling, but we ran out of time, so an older missionary did it. It was intense. Then we were assigned trainers and areas, and left.

So then, the taxi driver doesn't understand my trainer and takes us to Gimhae (the airport and opposite direction of where we wanted to go) then we went all the way back. Mission record for most expensive taxi ride!!! We taught the driver, though, and gave him a book of mormon.

Oh, quick note, drivers are CRAZY in Korea. That long taxi ride was scary. I literally (no joke) feared for my life a few times. Dude was all over the road (they all are) and then homeboy turned on his hazards and ran something like a "code-3" from Gimhae to Gwangan. We were in the shoulder, cutting cars off, was bad news. That's pretty much how they all drive..........yet there aren't a whole lot of accidents at all. The bus rides are the stand a lot and it is really jerky and crazy. Everyone honks all the time.

Missionary work is fun here. We walk a lot (a LOT) or take bus/subway/taxi sometimes. We proselyte a lot (john-do) and knock doors (kah kah ho ho). People reject us a lot.........A LOT.....but we just roll with it. Last night we knocked doors down by the port and this guy let us in to talk to him and his family....sort of. The mom was Buddhist and didn't want to talk and the daughter was on the computer. The guy seemed interested (he was really nice) and wanted to meet us away from home. He works 1 day on, 1 off at the port so we'll call him soon.

Thanks for the packages!!!!!!!!!!!! They are great. If you send more, do what you did last time and just write non perishable food items on the slip on the box. Don't itemize the contents specifically (especially beef jerky) as it increases the risk of "disappearing."

You asked about the food - we just went to a Korean McDonald's today for P-Day. It was cool! I haven't had much legitimate Korean food yet. The rice is good! We eat out a lot and get some cheap Korean Chinese food at this place I call dirty duke's - fried pork meat and rice for 2 bucks - good stuff.

I have so much more I want to write and tell you. I love you guys so much!!!!!!!!! Korea is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Bocchino ^^

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We received word from Joshua's mission president, Pres. Jennings, that Joshua arrived in Busan with baggage intact!!!

His first day was spent in preparation (administrative details) and training. The missionaries made their own lunch - something called "kimpap."

Then they participated in a training exercise that combined cultural exploration and proselyting activities. This was followed by a testimony meeting - in Korean - and a magnificent dinner at the mission home in Busan.

His first assignment is in Gwangan, in the heart of Busan. His trainer is Elder Hinton. We know he is very excited and ready to get to work! Here he is with Pres. and Sis. Jennings and Elder Hinton at the Mission Home in Busan.

Hopefully, we will receive an email from Joshua soon, perhaps on his P-Day. We look forward to learning more about Gwangan and his companion, Elder Hinton, in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joshua's Phone Calls

Joshua called from the Salt Lake City airport this morning at 6:30 am! He could only talk for a minute, but he called again from Los Angeles about 3 hours later. He was excited to finally be on his way to Korea.

He wanted to call his Grandparents, but there wasn't time as they had to change to a completely different building at the last minute, prior to boarding the plane, and things were a little confused.

We received a third call from him around 3:00 am as he arrived in Incheon (Seoul), Korea. They are awaiting the last leg of their journey, from Incheon to Busan. They are all very tired and thirsty! Joshua said he had not had much water and they could find none in the terminal. This last part of the journey, though short by comparison to the first 2 legs, could be the toughest for them as they are now in country and anxious to get to Busan and get some rest.

He will spend a few days at the Mission Home in Busan with the Mission President and his Wife, where he will be assigned a trainer. He's looking forward to serving the members in the Church there by helping to strengthen the membership. That will be the main focus of the missionary program under the new mission president.

He will be sleeping on a mat on the floor, and will need mosquito netting to keep the bugs out at night. They will be riding bikes, the subway, or taking taxis to appointments. Addresses aren't the same as in the West - home numbers are assigned based on when they were built. An address alone may not be enough to help you find a home - you need to get explicit instructions to give to the taxi and others in order to find many places, and it can be very confusing.

Showing respect to the older Koreans is very important, and learning how to apologize will become a common part of their communications. Apparently, body odor is offensive to Koreans, and missionaries really welcome breath mints, Listerine Packets, and anything else that helps freshen breath on the run.

He might be going to the bath houses, which have been described as wonderfully relaxing.

Joshua is with the group he lived and trained with in the MTC for 12 weeks, and they are a tight group of buddies who all get along really well. He has the highest regard for them and has continually expressed his gratitude for their group association.

We were happy to hear his voice and look forward to talking to him again in December. He sounded very confident and firm in his desire to serve in Korea. We miss him, but we are also very proud of him!

Joshua will be able to call us again on Christmas Day! In the meantime, we will post his letters and (hopefully) photos as we get them. As always, I know he will be the grateful beneficiary of your continued letters and encouragement.

Sis. Bocchino

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carve your own pumpkin

Joshua's group will be boarding their flight to Korea on Monday (less than 24 hours). While you are waiting for his next letter, try carving your own pumpkin here:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Last Email from MTC

Hey everyone! We got our flight plans last friday and we're heading to Korea on Monday the 13th! It's a HORRENDOUS 13 hour flight! We're having all sorts of out-briefings and meetings here in the MTC, only to be followed by orientations and in-briefings in Pusan.

I'm excited. This last weekend has been great (General Conference). We've been able to do nothing but eat, sleep and watch General Conference. On a mission, that's heaven. Apparently the bugs in Korea (mosquitos) are horrible. Sleeping on the floor won't help matters, as spiders and other bugs crawl over you at night. I might need to get a mosquito net in Korea. I will also have to use filtered water. We'll be getting more specific info upon arrival in Pusan.

The hour long flight from Incheon (Seoul) to Pusan will be really interesting, as I'm sure we will all be anxiously anticipating our arrival in our actual mission. My next email should be from the Land of the Morning Calm! I hope to have many interesting things to share! Thanks for your support! Elder Bocchino