Whew! What a first week in Bangojin. It's a small peninsula on the east coast of South Korea and is part of the city of Ulsan. It is dominated by Hyundai ship and car factories and most of the people on the streets wear the gray uniforms of Hyundai workers. Lots of cranes and smokestacks!
I've been able to meet a few members throughout the week - very nice people. We also had several English classes. Attendance isn't as large as the classes in Gyeongju, but we'll work on that.
On Sunday, we had a baptism! The sister (Sister Lee) met missionaries about 8 weeks ago. She works at a convenience store near the church. She was able to hear their teachings, cut down her coffee consumption, and accepted the baptism challenge. For some reason, she requested that I baptize her. I've not participated in a baptism here yet, or performed the ordinance. It went well. We talked about how baptism is the beginning of a journey rather than the end. Sister Lee is committed to living the gospel throughout all of her life. I'm excited for her.
The Branch is big here. It used to be a Ward when it was part of the Pusan Stake. 65 people came to church yesterday. (In Gyeongju, we were really lucky to get 30). The members seem really nice. Last night, we went with the sister missionaries to the Branch President's house for dinner. It was delicious and the Branch President is really nice! Very fun...
We're preparing for Christmas and our Branch Christmas party. Apparently I'm going to be Santa Claus (the members have been reminding me of that all week long. They're excited!). Also, I'll be going to a member's private kindergarten to be Santa for a little bit on Christmas Eve. :)
We'll also be having a Christmas Mission Conference in Pusan on December 23! I'm pretty excited!
It's been quite a week. Sis. Lee's baptism helped me think a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what our priorities in life should be. We need to have faith in Christ (which Sis. Lee has), we need to repent for the things we've done wrong (which she's done), we need to be baptized in Christ's name by someone holding the proper authority (we did that the other day), we can then receive the Holy Ghost and have it as our constant companion (we'll do that in two weeks...by someone with authority), and then we need to endure to the end by living a righteous life according to God's commandments. What a beautifully simple Gospel! What a true Gospel!
Gotta go! Love, Elder Bocchino