Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Buddha's Birthday!

Happy Buddha's Birthday!!! (In less than a week from now) On Saturday, we went up to Taegu (I'd never been there before). It's a HUGE city up north of Pusan, and is a major concentration point for the US military presence in Korea. My companion needed to go up to baptize a man he was meeting with before he transfered down to me. The man is named Roshan and is from Sri Lanka. He is sooooooooooo cool! He's maybe 30s or 40, and had to leave Sri Lanka due to the ethnic war that has been raging for years. His religious background is Roman Catholic. He used to be in the Sri Lankan military. He has so much faith and is thankful that the Lord led him to Korea to meet with us. He's so thankful to have found the Lord's Church. My testimony was definitely strengthened from meeting with him. It was a very humble but very spiritual baptismal service. Man, it pretty much made my week.

The work is still rough. We're going through the records of former investigators, and they all just want to learn English basically. We're working hard though, and we're hoping to find some people who have Gospel interest. The other day, we went outside of Sacheon a little ways to this little valley with some houses and one apartment complex in it. It was pretty tight. We met some cool people who hopefully might want to meet again and we saw some amazing views. We were joking about just moving out to that little valley and never leaving, it was really cool. Lots of rice paddies.The weather has been a little rainy, so it's stayed fairly cool. Nice. That won't last long. Love you! Elder Bocchino

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hitchiking through rice paddies

Hello from a warmer and warmer Korea! Since Samcheonpo is a small town, EVERY door has been knocked and EVERYONE knows the missionaries......we're finding that out as we are re-knocking all the doors and re-contacting all the people. lol It's fun though. One investigator wants to be baptized this summer vacation (he goes to college) so we're trying to figure out how to help him to continue to prepare for that. We also meet with Mr. Yoon (the academy owner). He used to be Catholic but now just doesn't trust churches of men and doesn't see the need for one true Church on the earth. He loves the Book of Mormon though! He prays a lot and loves talking to us about what he reads in the Book of Mormon. If only he would come to Church and feel the wonderful Spirit as he worships with the Saints! We're trying to figure out how to help him progress. Hitchiking is fun! The rice paddies are starting to look really cool. We are constantly reminded that we are in a very rural part of Korea. Love you guys!!!!! Elder Bocchino

Sunday, April 12, 2009

General Conference

Happy Easter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Koreans don't have Easter traditions. It's sad... I have actually been in South Korea now for 6 months. What a WEEK. My companion was transferred on short notice to Taegu and I'm still here with Elder McKenna. He's from Utah, and he's a young senior (been in Korea a few months more than me). It's unexpected and he's still trying to take it all in, but we're excited and are planning to have fun and really jump start the work here in Sacheon.

Well, it's hot here. No other way to put it. We received the word yesterday that we can take off our suit coats now. Yes!!!!

This weekend, sort of last minute, the missionaries in this zone were able to go to Masan and watch General Conference in English! I felt so blessed. It was amazing! I felt the influence of the Spirit in my heart as I heard the Lord's servants talk of peace, service, and love. A message that I felt was prominent in Conference was a call to action for us, as followers of Christ, to serve others and push back against the despair and adversity that we face in today's world, especially since recent events.

Elder Holland's talk about Christ's sacrifice, and how we are never alone because of it, really touched me. I wish that every single person in the world, especially during these uncertain times, could watch it and feel the message of peace. We are NEVER alone. Christ suffered and sacrificed so that we may never have to. He knows our pains and worries and will walk with us every mile of our own trial-ridden paths in life. This message gave me so much comfort, and I wish everyone could feel that same comfort.

Elder Cook's talk on Heavenly Father's plan for our salvation was also amazing. No one is too far gone to be saved. NO ONE is outside the plan. God loves all of us, and will never stop trying to bless us and help us return to him. How comforting!

Elder Perry's talk on missionary work was sooooo good! He said missionaries are an extremely under-utilized teaching resource. In order for the work to progress across the world, Church members need to open their mouths to their neighbors and help find people for missionaries to meet with and teach. We all prayed that the members would listen with open hearts to this message.

Whew, an amazingly spiritual Conference....I could go on.....and my head is reeling from getting a new companion 4 weeks before normal transfers. We're excited to work together. It should be fun!

I love you guys! Elder Bocchino

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chinae Cherry Blossoms

Hey! haha no we weren't evacuated, thank goodness. We spent the night with the Zone Leaders in Changwon and then went with a BUNCH of missionaries (from Gyungnam, Gaya and Pusan zones) to a city called Chinae to see the cherry blossoms! It was beautiful and I took pics. The streets are lined with the trees, and there were tons of people out taking pictures. There were a lot of soldiers there and the Korean Marine Corps Honor Guard and Band were there. There is a big US Naval Base in Chinae. That's where we will go if we ever have to evacuate.

Do you remember Dre? The Gwangan favorite Korean ever? Well, I SAW HIM in Chinae! Just walking by on the street! I stopped him and he remembered me! He grabbed my hand, and remembered that I'm in Sacheon now and he reiterated that it is "very far from". The 90 year old man made it all the way from Pusan down to Chinae to see the blossoms. It pretty much made my week to be able to see him.

I love this Branch! We had a pretty spiritual Sunday last week, with a lot of focus on the Savior and His atoning sacrifice. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony during Sacrament meeting....pretty bad Korean, but I felt the Spirit. After Church, we went to the Samcheonpo bridge (the "most beautiful bridge in Korea" thing) to see the blossoming of these yellow flowers. I got some cool pics. We had a picnic. The Sacheon Branch is soooooo tiny and humble, and the Branch President is wonderful.

Some disappointing news......the Masan Stake canceled plans to watch General Conference together at the Stake Center this week (Koreans have to wait a week to watch Gen. Conference due to translation). Therefore, I probably won't be able to watch/hear Gen. Conference in English. The missionaries are all pretty disappointed about it (the foreign ones at least!). I'll still get to read the talks when I get next month's Liahona, though, so I'll live lol.

The Church is true! We all need to forget ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Christ! Elder Bocchino