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

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