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