Here are a couple of recent letters from Elder Folkman:
Alright so first off getting to Korea was much harder then it should have ever been. So getting to Korea we left on Monday from the MTC at a beautiful 4:30 in the morning. Got soaked in the rain, and then got to the Salt Lake City airport. We left there at like 10 am, got to Washington, and missed our connecting flight. They gave us 32 mins, which was not enough time, so we stayed in Washington for an extra day. We ran all around that airport trying to figure out what to do next. We stayed in a hotel for the night then left the next day at 11:45. I had a pretty normal flight from Washington to Korea, it was 14 hours so super fun!
In Korea, we road this bus to 대전 (Deajeon) and got settled in. We did not do much that night because the schedule was all thrown off so much. The next day we went to the 목요탕 (Bathhouse) which was AMAZING! Holy cow those places are the bomb! It is like a hot tub party on steriods! After that we had breakfast and went to the city of 광주 (Gwang-Ju) to listen to Elder Bednar! WOOT! The spirit is incredible. Listening to the spirit is the most incredible. Elder Bednar really made an amazing day for me because it was my birthday in Korea that same day! The thing I learned the most from Bednar, is we must act. We must not wait to be acted upon but we ourselves must act to have the experiences we want to have. a lot of amazing missionaries there at the meeting and the 대전 (Deajeon) mission is incredible. After we drove back to the mission office and slept there for the night again.
The next day/rest of the week. The next day we stared the day at the 목요탕 (bathhouse) again which is the best! Then we had a new missionary meeting and got our new companion and area. My new companion is 하민수 장로님 (Elder Ha Minsu). He is from northen part of Seoul and he is the BOMB! He is fluent at English which helps a ton, but most importantly he is fluent in Korean which helps the most. The area I am currently in is called 곽양 (Gwanyang) and it is the most southeast you area you get in the 대전 (Deajeon) mission. To get here we took a taxi to a train to a bus and it took like 5 hours it was nuts. I felt so bad because my luggage weighed so much but we made it and it is awesome. So far in the area we have handed out a ton of Book of Mormons, and we have a lesson planned later today for an investigator.
In Korea it feels like when you try to talk to anyone over the age of 30 will just not want to talk, but everoyne else is willing to atleast listen, well not to me, but definetly my companion, that is becasue he is a stud so that helps a lot! We have a branch of about 40 memembers and they are really kind. We are doing our best to help the branch out, but it is hard. I hope to grow closer to this branch as I learn more and more Korean. My korean by the way feels like it has gotten worse. Everyone is SO FAST haha and pronunciations are so difficult! I have a ton to learn while here in my first area, and I am going to do my best to stay positive.
This week felt great. It felt like a longer week but was still so incredible. Korean was a huge struggle this week, and I am getting pretty nervous because I leave in less then 2 weeks! We had this lesson in class were the whole class went outside, and then the teacher, Brother Campbell, asked us to try a street approach. Just out of the blue we needed to try and figure out how to talk to someone, it felt impossible. It was an awesome experience trying to talk to him as we have never met him, but only using Korean it was so hard to flow sentences, and trying to make him interested in what we had to say. We also got to skype a RM missionary who served in Korea, who is from Degu Korea. She was so sweet and nice, and teaching her a lesson was such a blast. Listening to a native speak is so difficult though because they talk so fast hahaha, but it was an awesome learning experience and I really enjoyed it!
So conference. If you have not yet watched all of conference both Saturday and Sunday sessions, please go do so, all the talks are incredible and can truly help you in your life. I am so glad they talked so much about Joy. Joy is such a beautiful thing, and listening to the apostles talk about how much joy can come from the gospel made me so happy I get to share that with the people of Korea. Joy is not something that is easy to always feel, life is going to be hard and trials will always come your way, but I know we can find joy and we must strive to find joy.
Sunday was just straight spirit bomb. We got to listen to conference which was amazing and then the Sunday devotional we got to hear from Vocal Point! Vocal Point shared such an amazing message through song and the messages they prepared. My favorite songs they sang where Nearer My God to Thee, and Brightly Beams Our Fathers Mercy. Music is such an amazing way to feel, and invite the spirit it was so strong and so lovely.
Love, Elder Folkman
The MTC this week was super awesome. Korean is still super hard and super long, but that is alright because I am learning so much which is so cool! Elder Burridge left for Korea today, which was super hard, and then Elder Hansen leaves today which is a bummer. A lot of people are leaving to there areas and I am still here which is hard to watch, but I know I have so much to learn while I am still here so that is what I must focus on.On Sunday I got to here from Brother Allen (Stephen B Allen), and he was super great, one point I really liked from his talk was how much we gave up to serve are missions, and how it is always worth it. We left a lot behind, but the work we are doing is far more important which makes me super stoked to be here. Tuesday we heard from Sister Schwitzer (Jo Ann Schwitzer) and Elder (Gregory A Schwitzer, who is a member of the 70. Sister Schwitzer spoke on going on your mission with NO regrets. My favorite line she shared was, “Everyday you are on your mission you will think about home. When you get home, everyday you will think about your mission.” It was so powerful and it really makes me want to be able to look back at my mission and know I did my best. Elder Schwitzer talked about the commandments, and the importance of building a relationship with the commandments and how to build relationships through commandments. We must understand the importance of the commandments, and the write the commandments in our hearts.The people in the pictures, are all so awesome. The pictures are me with Elder Burridge and my companion. Elder Burridge with his compaions. I am also with Elder Taylor who was in Elder Burridge’s district and he was so sick! One of the pictures I am with Elder Guthier who is serving Chinese speaking Toronto Canada, I think, but he is a stud and we wanted a picture together haha. The picture I am in the middle of a group of Elders who are all going to the Albanian speaking Adriatic South mission and they roomed right across from me. THEY WERE AWESOME! It was sad to see them go but super exciting.Anyways having a super awesome time here at the MTC, but I also can not wait to go out to Korea!LoveElder Folkman 🙂
Elder Folkman is serving from the Spring Gulch Ward.