Thursday, May 27, 2010

Evacuation plans, acting on faith, and unity in families

While tensions with North Korea are increasing, the Korean people remain calm and collected. Everyone agrees that the North knows it can't afford to start a war, therefore people aren't too worried about it. We (missionaries) do have established evacuation procedures that we will follow if necessary.

Kyung Jin (coffee shop guy) remains skeptical of organized religion. This has allowed him to have an open-ish mind while investigating our Church, but has also made him just skeptical of all religions in general. He is a great guy with lots of questions about faith and God, and I really hope he begins to experiment with faith and acting on what he's learning from the Book of Mormon.

We will start meeting with a member, Brother Lee, whose son should be getting baptized soon. Brother Lee and his wife are at least bringing the son to church on Sundays (even if he doesn't want to go), which is really good. I'm constantly reminded of the need for unity in families and the blessings associated with living the gospel as families.

We had a District Leaders' Meeting in Pusan yesterday (on transfer day) and talked about how we're going to deal with losing so many missionaries. Our numbers are getting slashed from about 120 when I came to Korea to probably 70 when I leave. Big change.

I said goodbye to some friends yesterday as they're going home. One of them was Elder Mckenna, with whom I served in Sacheon. We had some really great experiences together. That will be me in 6 weeks. Strange. Time is flying.

The Gospel is true!!! Love, Elder Bocchino

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strengthening Families Together

Well, another hot and humid couple of weeks have flown by.

Recently, the big news has been North Korea's sinking of a South Korean ship, killing over 40 South Korean sailors. We're keeping our ears and eyes open as the whole country wonders what will happen next. Ulsan is a big target for the North, as the Hyundai Heavy Industries factories are prepared to produce naval ships, and the Hyundai Motors factories are ready to make jeeps and tanks if war breaks out. I'm not too worried right now, but we're still vigilant and I get a little jumpy when the city tests it's air raid sirens. :)

Last week, we went up to an old elementary school and saw a reptile/snake exhibit they have there. It was really fun and we got some good pics. I got to hold a HUGE snake at one point (I'll send you those pics later) and it urinated on me. Gross!

Bangojin Branch is doing great. We had a great meeting with Brother Lee today (his son is 9 years old and preparing to be baptized) and we had a great time. We read the Book of Mormon together and I felt the quiet influence of the Spirit. I know that as we help him and his wife strengthen their faith, they will be better able to help their son accept the Gospel. It brings up memories of my own baptismal experience.....thanks to my Mom and Dad and various Church leaders, I was able to begin living the Gospel and progress to where I am today. I remember that, and vow not to give up on this young man (Dohng-Guhn) no matter how squirrely he is. :)

Time is flying by! Transfer calls are tonight...we're not sure what will happen. I have one transfer left!!!

Love you guys! The Gospel is true!!!

Elder Bocchino

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hey, it's getting hot and humid here.

We had a great baptism a few weeks ago. The young man (Joon-yung) is the son of a member. He's still 8 years old, so he's not considered an investigator but we were still able to help him and teach him. It felt good. I was happy to see the baptism.

Now we've got another young man who is nine years old and is the son of some other members. His Dad wants us to teach him and have him baptized soon, which will be great!

Kyong Jin (coffee shop owner) is still great and is reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning...nice guy. We're really hoping to get him out to church soon.

Kyung Hwahn (the college student we used to hang out with) has gone to Vancouver, Canada to study for 9 months. We made a deal that we'll meet up in Seattle when I get back. I'm excited!

Min Gyu (the son of a part member family) is leaving for military service today. We had our final appointment with him and his family on tuesday night. It was kind of sad.

Yesterday was "Children's Day" in Korea. It is a national holiday and the focus is on the kids. We met up at a carnival event with some members, and then we went and made kim bap with some other members and washed their dog - it was fun!

At Zone Meeting on Monday, I gave a talk about helping our Part Member families in the Church (where just one spouse is a member of the church). The focus in our Church is now on "rescuing" people under the new "To the Rescue" program. We talked about the importance of rescuing these part member families. The most important thing is to help them understand the blessings promised to families who make and keep eternal covenants together . When they realize this and gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, then you can baptize the non member family members and assist them in finding the path to eternal life works so much better. Like two oars pulling the rowboat instead of one. Good times.

The Gospel is true!


Elder Bocchino