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