Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sacheon Branch Friendship Night

The other day we met with a man (named "shawnny") who enjoys speaking English and wanted to learn about our Church. Nice guy. He met missionaries a few years ago, but then lost contact. We met in his house. He was explaining how he and his wife don't agree on issues of religion, and how she doesn't really like our church, when guess who walks in? His wife came home early and was not happy to see him talking to us. She was pretty upset actually and insisted that we not talk religion with him, saying if he wants to learn about religion he can talk to her preacher. She was confidant she knew all about our Church, yet it didn't seem she really knew anything. She even got on the phone with her preacher and was pretty hysterical. We were finally able to help her calm down and listen to us. We explained what we were teaching but she was still unhappy about it. We discovered that Shawnny stopped meeting with missionaries years ago because his wife ended it. Now he's decided he wants to keep meeting with us. Nice guy, we'll see how it goes.

Then, we hitchhiked out to an island between here and Namhae (the bridge passes over this island) to find a police station and ask about a member who supposedly lives on another island. Anyway...there's no police station anymore...just a small collection of houses and one big church. We hiked to the other side of this small island and found an abandoned school, overgrown and boarded up, very surreal. Our map is over 10 years old and thus the source of our confusion. That's the story of our area it seems: "Yeah! Way back in the day, the person you seek was here, but not anymore".

It's that way with people and places. The other day we hitchhiked out to an area where a member was supposedly living, and who hadn't been visited by the missionaries in at least 10 years. We thought she was long gone and her house had been replaced by a Buddhist temple, so we almost went home. However, we spent a little more time there and found some people who knew her. They described her as "the girl who got married". Apparently she got married and moved to Masan a long time ago. I guess we were at the wrong place, so a lady took us to her actual old house and we met her mom. We didn't get the church member's phone number or address in Masan, but we felt like we finally found some closure and could send off the records to the Church authorities. That's a big accomplishment in Samcheonpo haha! Plus, it was fun to hang out with the grandmas ("harmays").

We had a "friendship night" at our church. It was wayyy fun! My companion and I prepared a song and dance routine and performed in front of the branch. My companion played the ukulele and I used homemade shakers, and we sang about our Sacheon Branch. It was pretty amazing. (Note from Sis. Bocchino: anyone who knows him will understand just "how" amazing!) We stole the show and were forced to perform an encore. Pretty funny stuff...definitely a great memory.

Sacheon rocks!!! It's getting really hot though! Apparently the monsoons come in July. Love, Elder Bocchino

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Request For Help

Hey everybody! First, a request for help. There's a 13/14 year old girl here who is learning English and needs a pen pal around the same age in America. My Branch President asked me to refer someone I know, so if anyone gets this email who can help out, that would be great! Just get in touch with my parents and they can give you more information.

It's same old same old down here in the South. We've had quite a bit of rain recently, but today is another hot day. The other day, we went trekking up into the sticks between Samcheonpo and Sacheon to find a less-active member and her husband (who is missing a leg). They live on a random farm thing in the boonies. We had to hitchhike like crazy to get there and we walked through quite a few rice fields (thankfully they weren't flooded yet). No one was home, but at least we found the place (a big victory) and had some fun.

The foreign family in our branch had their daughter and her friend visit this month from college. It was interesting to have other foreigners in the church meeting, especially since I WAS CONDUCTING in Korean!!! So strange...they had me (an American) conducting the meeting in Korean, and a Korean translating what I said into English for the foreigners. It was really fun!

I hope everyone back home in the states is doing well!!!! Love you guys! Elder Bocchino

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why are there so many different churches?

Woohoo, we're on week 6 of this transfer (the last week). I'm not sure if I'm leaving Samcheonpo/Sacheon or not. Elder McKenna and I are having fun and we're having fun as a district, so we're not sure any of us actually want to move.

Our friend, Gwak, still wants to be baptized in a few months during the summer break. The other day we met with him and talked about not smoking. He wants to live the Word of Wisdom and stop smoking, but it's hard. We're working with him on that. He loves coming to the Church to help with English class on Saturdays, as well as coming to our Church meetings on Sundays. It's really fun. Our Branch is sooo good at just accepting anyone who wants to join in our activities. I know that I felt right at home as soon as I got here, and so do other people who come to Church. I love our Branch!

This really is kind of a difficult area in some ways. Since every door has been knocked and everyone knows the missionaries already (it seems like), it's hard to find people who are interested in our message. Last night, however, we were knocking doors in a big apartment complex, and a man let us in his house. He lives with his daughter. Really nice guy and very interested in our message. He asked a question that is probably one of the most common questions I hear from people about religion. He said "there is one God, one Bible...but how are there so many different "Christian" churches? Especially in Korea?"

Excellent question! The Savior Himself established His church through apostles called to lead it and teach of His Gospel. One Church. How then do we see fractured Christianity today and think that it is ok? It's not. Christ's church was fractured and corrupted, and the authority to lead it was lost several decades after His death. In our day, God has shown His love for us by restoring Christ's true Church to the earth through a modern prophet. THAT is our message to the world, and I'm here in Korea to proclaim it. I was so glad that Mr. Gwak asked that question last night. We're hoping to continue to meet with him in order to answer his questions.

Korea rocks and the Church is true! I can't ask for much more than that!!! :) I'm excited to call home for Mother's Day! Love, Elder Bocchino