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 ^^

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