Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Bath House

Happy Birthday Sister Groneman! (Delsi)

I have quite the story for you. By the way our computers are way nice but they freeze hardcore so last week I didn't really have a lot of time to email the family, but will you share my emails with the family or something? Thanks!
So I guess before I came here the Korean Missionaries used to only get about 4 meals a month but after I gave my talk and told them how much I love Korean food our numbers for member dinners have increased and hopefully will keep doing so. The Korean program has had the hardest time getting meal appointments out of all the other programs because since we are a branch instead of a ward so their isn't a whole lot of members plus they're scattered so much through out Southern California that some of them have to drive over an hour just so they can partake the sacrament and here the word of God in their native tongue. This is why I think I have been placed in the best branch surrounded by the best members in the world, they are awesome and so nice to me. Anyways back to food quick story we were at the Chu's family for dinner (By the way they are my favorite family in the branch) When I see her I always say  추자매님께서는 저의 한국 엄마에요! you can have Derek translate haha. Anyways the Chu family had us over again for dinner and gave us neng myun (Cold noodle soup) And I'll tell you what, that was the first thing I have eaten that I haven't liked. And I have eaten some weird things (tongue, intestines, cow hoof) She asked if I wanted a turkey burger instead (since I'm American)before I started eating and of course the turkey burger sounded amazing but I want them to keep inviting us for dinner plus I want the members to see that I'm not like the other previous American missionaries. I literally prayed that I could eat the whole bowl (Biggest bowl I have ever seen) with a smile and not throw up! Haha. it was so hard to hold down I truly thought I was going to throw u,p but I ate it all. And it doesn't even taste that bad it's just so hard to chew and actually put down haha.
I didn't think you'd be to into the festival haha that scene doesn't normally float you boat haha. But I'm glad you went with Grandma and had fun! Tell Grandma I love her and miss her! (Mom and I went to St George to Tuachan and went the long way through Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion's canyons) I can't believe you didn't like Bryce and Capitol Reef! They're so stinkin pretty! Did you get that letter to Uncle Bud? It was in the box I sent home from the MTC.

So the first thing I said to my companion when I got here was...Do I actually get to speak a lot of Korean because I want to teach Korean people in only Korean and I don't want my 9 weeks to be for nothing. And.....do we get to go to a bath house cause my whole district goes the second they get off the plane in Korea. He was so confused and wondering why this tall mexican kid cared so much about the Korean Culture haha. So Elder Kim talked with President Bowen and after a while got us the ok to go to 목욕탕. So we can only go when new missionaries arrive and we don't get new Korean missionaries for 7or8 months. The night before I told everyone I was going to proselyte in their and no one believed me.  Elder Kim said "Since this might be the only time you can go and because we don't know if you're younger dongee will want to go and it's your 1st time, I want it to be something you remember" (Since no matter what it was going to be the 1st time I was in a tub with a bunch of naked old Korean men I figured I'd probably remember anyways but I wasn't about to argue haha) So, we drove to Fullerton and went to a super way nice one! Oh by the way 목욕탕 is literally a bath house. You have a cold pool a warm bath and a hot bath then there is the dry sauna then a different room is the ice box and "chill out rooms" where you really just sleep. And it is really a huge bath tub that a bunch of people wash themselves in. haha. We were in the sauna when we met Chris. We made causal conversation and began to tell him that we're missionaries and such and such and started to teach lesson 2(plan of salvation) as we're teaching another guy named Brandon starts listening and is super interested while Elder Kim is talking he stops him and says "I have to go I'm already late, but I know what you're saying is true and I want to hear more." So Elder Kim and Elder Chung go out to the locker room where they get his info. Meanwhile I'm talking to Chris and we start to go really in depth about the 3 kingdoms of glory. He starts asking about what about people who have been born with a disability or get in severe accidents and what happens to them and what would happen if per-say he did good and lived a righteous life what would happen to his family who did the exact opposite. And this was also my biggest question that I have had I searched for 9 weeks at the MTC and finally found my answer. Or the answer that fit to my needs. So in response I said something along the lines of "Chris I'll be completely honest with you, I'm only 18 years old and the knowledge I have of this gospel is not very great compared to others. But what I do know is if you follow the commandments and you follow what the prophets say and live your life according to God's will, God has no other choice but reward you and place you in the kingdom you rightfully deserve. One thing I do know though and can promise is in the Celestial Kingdom you can only experience pure joy. And if you receive joy through your family then you will continue to do so. I don't know exactly how that works but I know that if you do what you need to do and will set the example that those "family members" need then you AND them will be blessed for it. It's not our place to judge where others will go in the end and because of the spirit world and the missionary work that takes place there we do not know who will accept his gospel up there." He then said "I live right next to a mormon church and know exactly what time it starts can I just go?" I said "Of course! Anyone can! Can we get your contact info and we can teach you a little more about the gospel" He then replied "Nope. But do you promise I can go to church this sunday?" Confused I responded with "Yeahh...of course." last thing from chris was "K bye thank you for the message it was great by the way ill be going to church sunday" ......Oh okay...Bye Chris Have a great time at church! haha :)

That's not it though we went to the ice box where again we started to teach these 3 men and one guy Cory was bashing us so hard just saying racial slurs and cussing us out and being super disrespectful to Elder Kim and I was getting so mad I just sat there and made sure I didn't say anything dumb from time to time I asked him if he'd hold back his racial slurs and watch his mouth and Elder Chung could tell I was getting super heated so he came and sat between us but luckily Elder Kim doesn't really know slang and couldn't understand what was being said so he just kept teaching while smiling and continued to quote the first vision. During this time a man came in for about 5 minutes and left. We later saw that same guy in the sauna and he asked a ton of questions. In the sauna it got way hot so we moved to the ice bath which was super cold so we then moved to the other sauna where we sadly saw Cory, the guy who was bashing us. Elder Kim didn't really know what to do so me and Elder Chung went and sat next to him where we kind of distracted him while Elder Kim left with Mark to the other steam room to continue teaching. While I was talking to Cory I din't bring up any gospel stuff and just talked to him where I found out he isn't that bad of a guy and he had a pretty hard life and he actually served a mission in New Zealand. Where the members there I guess were not that faithful and he saw some bad stuff which lead to him becoming inactive. I stood up and said "The church is always true but the members are not always true" Then just left. I walked past the other sauna room where I saw Elder Kim surrounded by 5 people who are all just listening with real intent and he's like preaching back in the old days from a soap box which was way cool. Anyways we ended up teaching Mark a little longer and he walked out to his car with us where we gave him a Book of Mormon and got his contact info.

Last but not least, the same day we go to get dinner at Jack in the Box but Elder Chung through a little tisy fit and wanted to go to Del Taco so we went there instead. While we were ordering I got the strangest feeling to go talk to this random dude who was the manager. I had know idea what to say but really felt like I should. So Iwent up and asked him if he knew where I could get Pupusa haha. He told me a couple of places and we found out he was already a member so we thought nothing of it and began to eat our food at one of the tables. While we were eating,  Jaime(the manager) pulls a chair up to us and starts by saying how weird this is that we're here because he's been praying for help. He ends up telling us his life story which is so sad! He was Baptized at 12 and moved here from Mexico at 15 where he thought he could have a better life. He was married at 17 and his wife had to go back to mexico and so did his brothers. He worked 2 fulltime jobs to send her 500 a month to build them a house for him his wife and both there parents to stay in. One day the police told him his wife was kidnapped and longstory short he found out his wife was cheating on him and stealing his money and her parents knew all along as well. We also found out in our 2nd lesson with him that his family was really only baptized because his parents were about to get a divorce and his dad tried saving the marriage that way. But his mom left his family with some guy she was cheating with. His dad became an alcoholic which forced him to move out and take care of his little brother because he would get beat. He really has a strong testimony of the church as wishes he could go but works everyday.  He told us about how he has been thinking about suicide and was going to put his little brother in Foster care or have his aunt in Mexico take care of him and how he was determined to take his life that night, the night we met him. We ended up setting another appointment and before we left we gave him a preistood blessing in our car in the parking lot behind Del Taco. We continue to talk with Jaime and he is awesome. Me and him really connected. Since we are the Korean speaking elders we had to pass him along but he still texts me all the time on questions to scriptures and from what I hear is planning on going to church this sunday.

I have some other really cool stories but they would be just as long so I'll have to share them later.  Yeah the missionary reference library books are awesome but I'm not allowed to read them until our 12th week so..:/
Anyways thank you so much for everything mom your awesome and I love you thank you for always sending me stuff.  :) Also ask Derek and the neighbors of any object lessons that they know of! 
Love your super duper awesome and extremely good looking son.
Elder Meza

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