Monday, June 29, 2009

Monsoon Season

Whew! A hot week in Taegu! It's monsoon season now, so the rain is pouring and it's hot/humid.

Yesterday I was at church all day. We went to the Korean Ward meetings, then we went to the US military Branch sacrament meeting, then we had other missionary meetings. It was a day of meetings! The Foreign Branch was was weird to be around so many foreigners. They were really nice, especially to two American boys who miss home! :)

After church we were invited to a foreign member's house for dinner. They are a Cuban family and yes, we ate Cuban food! We hung out with the two boys who are preparing to send in their mission papers. They're pretty tight. The food was great. The whole experience reminded me of Dad and his family, very East coast and ethnic. It was fun.

Other than that we're just exploring the area. Last week we went up to Costco. It was weird walking around a Costco in Korea. Oh yeah, it's hot here. Four guys sleeping together in one room, mosquitoes, ghetto fans,'s the life! We kill the cockroaches when we see them, and sprinkle boric acid around the areas under the sinks. I have a mosquito net but am not using it yet. It's weird being back in the big city again. I'm getting kind of used to it, but it will take some time. This weekend we're hoping to go to Camp Walker for July 4th....we'll see what happens. I love you guys! Elder Bocchino

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sacheon Branch Photos

The Andersen family graciously shared some recent photos of a Sacheon Branch activity. Their daughter, Suzi, commented as follows:

1) Elder Bocchino, Elder McKenna and everyone chillin' on the back porch. The young guy talking to my dad is getting baptized on July 10th. And that's Hans (Suzi's brother) on the far left.

2) These are a few of the branch members and Bro. Andersen (my father, cooking on the grill) eating at the music night get-together. This is on the back porch of the church building.

3) Hans was sharing, in detail, about the new Star Trek movie. Elder Bocchino REALLY wanted to know. We gave him a movie poster (and, thanks to Hans, the first 10 minutes, too!).

4) Branch members munching on the goodies. Elder McKenna is right in front of the camera, and that's Elder Bocchino's leg on the far left. Haha.

5) This is the branch president's son and one of the MANY adorable Korean children!! We call him Cookie since his Korean name sounds like cookie and we keep forgetting his real name.

Thanks to the Andersen family for sharing these photos!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I've been transferred to Taegu! It's the third largest city in South Korea and the second largest city in our mission. It's also very hot. I'm now a "senior" missionary, with Elder Seal from Ogden, Utah as my junior companion. He's a nice guy. My area in Taegu is huge and is called Su-sung, or Seusung. It serves as the Stake Center, with a large Korean Ward and the US military foreign branch. I'm pretty excited.

It's hot here (did I mention that?).

It was sooooooooo hard to leave Sacheon. I felt like the Branch was my home away from home, family away from family. I love them and will do whatever it takes to get back there to visit before I end the mission! I'm really going to miss the beautiful, dirty, crazy south-western corner of our mission.

A large group of missionaries went home this week. I'm pretty sad. I had a number of really good friends in that group.

I'm really excited to serve here. It should be fun. Please pray for me to survive the heat!!!!!! Taegu is known as one of the hottest places in Korea in the summer. :) Love, Elder Bocchino

Monday, June 15, 2009

Searching the rice paddies

I accidentally reformatted my memory card this week...losing all the pictures I've taken of this area. Yes, the hitchiking extravaganzas, the border with Taejon...I know, I know...I'm so depressed. I'm taking lots of pics again to try to make up for it, but there's just no way...

Last P-day we went to Hadong, saw the awesome river and bridge to Taejon mission. I may or may not have crossed over into the neighboring one will ever know. It was pretty amazing! Oops, no pics of it. I'll see if I can get some from my companion.

Last week we went up to look for some less active members in rural rice paddie areas between Samcheonpo and Sacheon. We ended up finding a member working at a family vacation place/fishing store. He went to church over 15 years ago when he was in high school. When we explained that we were missionaries, he remembered about the church and talked to us for a while. He wanted a Book of Mormon and asked us to come again. It was so interesting...he can't really remember what the church is about. We were so excited to find him - missionaries haven't touched his records for YEARS.

Our college student investigator, Bro. Gwak, said he wants to be baptized this month. We're working on stopping smoking. He's a really great guy.

Man, it's getting so hot here...sooooooooo hot. Muggy too. The mosquitos are starting to come out. I hope you all are doing well...I love you guys! Elder Bocchino

Monday, June 8, 2009

"We're not scared - we have America on our side!" - A Korean fisherman

A pretty standard week in Sacheon. Not too much going on, pretty hot, lots of rejection. :)

We had interviews with the mission President this week. Looks like I'll be leaving Sacheon (I've been here for three transfers).

We met with one investigator, Bro. Yoon (the academy owner) and read 1 Nephi 13 with him. Talked about Nephi's prophecy of the discovery/colonization of America and the Great Apostasy of the Christian Church. Pretty interesting, but I think it's more powerful to Americans or Westerners. ;)

I was talking to a fisherman who picked us up in his truck while hitchhiking the other day, and asked him if he was scared of N. Korea. He turned off the radio, turned back to me and said (in Korean) "NO! We have America on our side! Do you know Iraq? Saddam Hussein? He freakin' died! Do you know Panama? Noriega? The US military went in and grabbed him! One guy! Nah, we're not scared." I appreciated his confidence, but was grateful when he turned his eyes back to the road...

I love Sacheon and am sad to go. The Branch is amazing, and I want to enjoy my remaining time here. I love it!

We're getting ready to hitchike out to the city of Hadong, right on our river border with Taejon mission. Fun! Elder Bocchino

Monday, June 1, 2009

EPIC Hitchhiking to Namhae

We just arrived at the post office in Sacheon by way of hitchhiking (as usual). What's not usual is that we were picked up by a party bus. Party buses drive people around on tours and are notorious for blasting techno music for the middle-aged Korean women who like do dance and go crazy in the aisle. Weird stuff. This one was empty, but the driver was CRANKING the Asian techno and some weird music videos. It was awesome! Made for a good story to tell other missionaries.

The highlight of this week was an EPIC, 7 hour hitchhiking extravaganza all over our area, and to the extreme Western part of our area that borders the Taejon mission. We started at noon where we usually hitchhike, said a prayer, and went off. We saw beautiful scenery as we made our way across a dramatic bridge north of Samcheonpo and moved West into the mountains of Hadong, an area for which we had no maps in our house! Very dramatic and beautiful country. Some of the mountain roads reminded me of Washington State. After hours of asking community information centers about some of our less active members out there (and dealing with a Presbyterian lady who didn't like our church), we made our way down to the backside of the big island Namhae. We went to a Coast Guard station and they drove us to another community center. Then we walked across the bridge and on to Namhae itself. I felt like someone should be welcoming us to Jurassic Park or something. Namhae has BEAUTIFUL green mountains and great views. We hitchhiked to the main city of Namhae-eup, where we asked the community center people about 20ish members who live on Namhae. After some prodding, they agreed to tell us if the people were still living at the addresses we had or not. It helped us clear up our records! We hitchhiked back up through Namhae, over the Samcheonpo bridge, and into Samcheonpo. We were dropped off at the same corner where we had prayed, seven hours earlier. It was seven hours of sweat, frustrating conversations with community centers, and high adventure. We counted later, and calculated that we were picked up by 11 different cars during our journey. Epic.

The rest of the week was filled with appointments that fell through, expectations not met. Disappointing. Bro. Bay (whose wife really really REALLY doesn't like our church) wasn't able to meet with us much this week. We'll see if we can do it next week. We met with a nice Filipino lady named Mylene who wants to meet with us and talk about the gospel. She is very humble and met missionaries about a year ago.

The work is moving along here. I'm loving it! N. Korea is making noise and we're still worried a little bit about evacuation, but not so much. Love you guys! Elder Bocchino