Yesterday was P day, so we ventured into the big city. Vancouver, BC is a huge, modern metropolis consisting of Vancouver proper (northeast) and a bunch of large suburbs, cities in their own right to the east and south, each with city centers, tall buildings, lots of people, etc. Thank Goodness for GPS. Together all these cities consist of what's called the Lower Mainland. Our mission headquarters and our apartment are in Richmond, just east of Vancouver and just north of the US border. Richmond is home of large numbers of wealthy Chinese immigrants who have benefited from China's new-found capitalism - lots of large homes and high-end cars.
To the north and east of the Lower Mainland are a number of other smaller towns, all within our mission, extending clear up to the Yukon border on the north and not quite to Lake Louise on the east. Overall, the mission is 1 1/2 the size of Texas, but 90% of the population is in the Lower Mainland, so that is where most of the missionaries are assigned. We do have some missionaries up north in Prince George and Terrace areas. As vehicle coordinator for the mission, I have become acutely aware that we have over 110 cars in the mission, and that the weather/road conditions up north require 4-wheel drive vehicles. I suspect we are one of the few missions in the world where sister missionaries drive 4-wheel pickup trucks, the other Canadian missions excepted. Being young, inexperienced drivers, they are not without their share of accidents, which I also have to deal with.
Debby has mostly been involved with communicating with missionary parents and priesthood
leaders. Even though our President has assigned us to work in the mission office, our mission call
noted that we were to work with a fairly large number of Korean immigrants in this area. We
were not quite sure how that would play out, but it has started with a visit to the mission office by a Korean member who recently joined the Church in Korea and emigrated to BC with his wife and 6 year old son. In broken English, he explained to Debby that they have been trying to attend the area's only Korean Branch in a town called Burnaby, but that not yet being employed, he cannot afford a car, and Burnaby is far enough away that it requires 4 bus exchanges which takes 2 hours one way, to get there, and then another 2 hours back to their apartment in Richmond. Because of this, he was considering attending the Richmond ward because it is much closer, but he was troubled that his wifand son, who don't speak much English, would not be able to learn the gospel as well in an English speakinge ward. So, Brother Cho and his family became our reason and purpose to attend the Burnaby branch and become involved with the Korean people. We have picked them up on the past two Sundays for the 40 minute drive to Burnaby. The Korean members are so strong. So committed. So smart. They have been very kind to us limited Korean speakers. Two of the men in the HP quorum were baptized in their youth in Yung Dung Po Branch in Seoul, in 1969, the same time frame I served in that branch as a young missionary. I probably knew them as children, and I knew the elders who baptised them. We attended the Vancouver temple with the Korean branch last week. They have their own Korean sessions. We used the English translation devices. The goal is to shed those some day.
Tonight, we had these two sweeties over for dinner. They are Sister Yeung from Hong Kong, and
All is well. We are gradually acclimating to the cool humidity and the new hours. We are happy to be here and to have this opportunity to serve the Lord. We feel blessed in this. We are gratified in knowing that you all are also being blessed for your support of our mission. Our family means more than ever to us now, and eternally speaking, nothing else in the world matters more to us than all of you. We look forward to our next reunion.