Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Good Shepherd

Whew, it's getting warm here in Sacheon/Samcheonpo. We went to a lake and a zoo up in a bigger city called Chinju. It was really fun! We saw lions, tigers, bears, (oh my) monkeys, camels, donkeys, deer......and a really angry seal who didn't like me. The monkeys were funny and really really smart. We fed one of them candy. Probably not the best thing to do, but in Korea no one cares I guess. The camels looked sick and like they wanted to spit on us. We were pretty wussy around them.

The zoo had a beautiful view! The area around here is covered in green mountains (big hills really). Very beautiful! It reminds me of Washington. The ocean and inlets are also breathtaking. I love serving here. It's fun to go up into big apt. buildings and see the views of the massive rice fields that surround Samcheonpo and Sacheon.

Last week, I went on splits with my Zone Leader for one day to a big city called Chahngwon. It's a "planned city" with wide American-style streets, shopping malls, and a lot of people. It's meant to be the back-up capital for South Korea should Seoul come under attack. By the way, Korea just beat Japan in baseball and everyone's proud of it.

We're hearing that the draw-down of missionary numbers in Korea should be happening a LOT sooner than expected, probably this summer. We'll go from around 120 now to about 78 missionaries very soon. Enough for one team for each ward in the mission....I'm not sure about some of the smaller branches like here in Sacheon. Apparently they're pushing more missionaries to Brazil. It'll make for a pretty tough mission for the next year and a half ish.......speaking of which, in a few days, I'll have been in Korea for 5 months....crazy to think about.

My comp and I went to the Stake Center in Masan last Sunday for a Stake Bishopric/Branch Presidency meeting. It was pretty fun. I was able to meet the former Pusan Mission President (Pres. Sohng) who is now a "Welfare Missionary" in Korea. He's a powerful man and a big help to the Church here in Korea.

This weekend is Stake Conference in Masan. The Asia North Area President (Pres. Evans) and his Korean 2nd Counselor will be speaking, along with our mission president, his wife and others. It should be really fun, and we're looking at spending one or two nights with the missionaries in Masan. Should be a party! I miss being around missionaries like I was in the big city of Pusan, but being here in Sacheon has benefits.

At a recent Zone Conference, we talked about following Christ's example as the Good Shepherd. We are called by Christ to act in His stead as shepherds over His flock. We are not to act as mere hirelings who care not for the sheep, but as loving and diligent shepherds who direct all of their energy and activities to ensure the well-being and safety of the flock. The speaker quoted Talmadge's Jesus the Christ in this contrast, and it really hit me. I'm thankful to act in Christ's stead and serve the good people of Korea! It's been an amazing experience so far and I'm sure it will continue to bless my life.

Thanks all! I love you guys! Elder Bocchino

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