Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
I decided that I had to start off with a ridiculously sci-fi quote that only dorks like me would understand, and that's the first that came to mind. Extra points to the first person who knows what movie I'm actually quoting from (hint: it's NOT Alice in Wonderland).
Talking to everyone was grand. It was actually kind of surreal, to be honest. Chalene is right, the calls do kind of disrupt the flow of things and they are definitely more for the family than for the missionary, but I enjoyed it. It was crazy to talk to Benjamin. He speaks English SO WELL!!! :) Most of the distraction came when I lost my phone card in my wallet that I left in a taxi on Christmas Eve. It was a little stressful to find one again before the actual time to call came, but I managed. It was fun to talk to you all. It's crazy how fast time flies, though.
Today was really fun. Sis. Lee and I live in a BRAND NEW apartment and most of the Sisters in the mission haven't seen it yet (it's a small mission---we're into these things, okay?) so we threw a "housewarming party" today and invited all of the sisters in the mission to come (I'm getting more and more relief society-like every day of my mission---weird). It was so much fun! It was really great to see the other missions after being in "seclusion" out here, just the two of us. The best part is that my dear friend, Sis. Hadden (known since day 1 in the MTC---love her so much!) was able to come down from what I call "The Distant North"---a city called Taegu. It was so fun to see her. We ate all kinds of Korean junk food and I, in classic Ogilvie style, made grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone. It was delightful. Then, Sister Hadden, who is quite the gifted storyteller, recounted the first three episodes of BBC's "Doctor Who" for us---classic Oration-style. It was so fun. I'm hooked on the show already :). I'm afraid the show won't be near as good as the original in my head--haha.
Just so no one worries---everything has already been taken care of in regards to the previously mentioned misplaced wallet. Let us just take comfort in the fact that I'm not *quite* as forgetful as Scott is, when it comes to keeping my wallet on my person. (that's a weird phrase---"on my person"---try teaching THAT in an English class). I'd like to say this is the last time this will happen, but honestly, I don't like making promises that are beyond my power to keep :).
In the way of news: this week there will be two p-days....because starting next year our P-day switches to Thursday, rather than Monday. Pres. Jennings didn't want you to go over a week without hearing from us, so Thursday is a half-p-day (ending at 3 PM) and from then on, Monday is a proselyting day. I'm excited because this means that Museums will be open (museums are always closed on Mondays in Korea) as will libraries (no more old ladies staring me down at the post office while I type my letters!!). It'll be good.
I particularly like the little stamp that hotmail places at the bottom of all of your emails "Windows 7--It WORKS"---this is quite a step for Microsoft. I'm proud.
Our "Joint Zone Conference" was amazing. It was on my birthday and it was the best birthday gift ever. I must admit, though, I'm turning into a blubber bucket. Christmas always got me to cry before but this was ridiculous. Hopefully this little supply of extra tears is a result of the humidity and will disappear when I return to drier climates (drier....what a word---dryer?). I much prefer to feel the Spirit without having to force it out my eyes.
Also, Sis. Jennings knit each sister a hat. And all the hats are different. She must have been working on it for months. And the Elders just got ties :). I love my hat, and I will wear it until it smells like death, at which point I will have to call Sis. Jennings and ask her for recommendations on how to launder wool in Korea. Pictures shall come...eventually.
As for now, things are going well. I'm excited for New Years', because it's traditionally such an important holiday here. It's awesome, rather than staying out all night drinking, (which some do now) Koreans go to bed early on New Years Eve and then they wake up super-early and climb a mountain and watch for the "New Sun" the first sunrise of the year. It's super-cold, but it's such a beautiful tradition. We have permission to go with our ward to their little ceremony. It should be nice.
Well, I better let you go. I hope all had a wonderful Christmas. Have a Safe and Happy New Year. You'll hear from me in a few short days!
Monday, December 21, 2009
I can't believe it's Christmas and I forgot about the whole calling thing until this morning when I got a phone call abbout the permission stuff. I intend to call first thing on the 26th here (between 10:30 and 11:00---whenever I can make it to the Church) I think it puts it between 6 and 7 PM on Christmas night there. I'd love if the whole family could gather again. Also, apparently a lot of people had problems trying to get phone cards to work right last year and it caused a lot of hurt and panicky feelings so we have permission to test our phone cards a couple days earlier. (I just think some Elders are stupid and can't read directions, but whatever.) So when I get my phone card I'll call just to make sure it works and that's a hi-bye thing, and then I'll call for real that Christmas night.
I got that letter from Dad. I love Dad letters. Who else would bother telling me the average daily milage on each of the cars in the past year? The funny thing is that I actually cared and thought it was interesting. It was good to hear the other side of things in the Ogilvie household.
I meant to send Christmas cards, but Christmas snuck up on me. I kept thinking that it would feel more Christmas-y later, but it never really did. So, we'll see if that happens.
So, for the first time in my life the Bishop called me and asked me to give a talk in Sacrament meeting and said "If you could make it kinda long that would be good." Usually they warn me that the meeting is only supposed to be 70 minutes long :). Lucky for him I'm not nearly as long-winded in Korean.
Our high-council speaker was really good on Sunday. I can always tell when they are actually sticking to the doctrine because I can understand everything they say when they do, otherwise I'm lost :).
So, you might remember me telling you about my first contact in Gimhae (the girl crying outside the University) and how she was being taught by the missionaries now. Well, she lives in Masan, which is MY area. Unfortunately she "punked" our appointment last week. I'd really love ot be able to help her want to keep meeting us and I would love otsee her through baptism. So, if you could pray for her that would be great. Her name is Lee Jung Min.
Also, there's this older, less active couple that my heart really goes out to. The poor couple has gotten really depressed and just don't know how to get out of it. We've visited them twice now and the second time they received us better. The grandma just starts crying out of the blue everytime you mention anything about kids or family, and the grandpa just hangs his head partly with sadness and partly with embarrassment. I *think* their adult son died recently? Anyway, I know that the Spirit can help comfort them and they can find a way to overcome it through the Savior. Please pray that I can find a way to help them realize that. I love them so much. I forgot their whole names (Korean names are hard, sorry) but I call them "Grandma Kim and Husband" in my prayers---except I usually pray in Korean so that sounds weird. Oh well. God knows who you are talking about.
The minor set back of the week---snickerdoodles. The mission has a cookbook that, frankly, should be burned. All of the proportions are ridiculously off kilter. Well, this week I finally pinned down the right proportions for snickerdoodles---they were PERFECT!!! BUT my companion thought they were salty. They weren't salty. You need salt---never argue baking with a Korean---their ignorance and temper will always win(rarely do Koreans even own ovens, let alone know how to use them). But not only were they not salty, she told everyone we gave them to that they were a little salty BEFORE they tasted them, so of COURSE they decided they were salty before hand. GAH! It kinda hurt my feelings. So the next batch I put less baking soda and salt and of course they were hard as rocks (this is what happens without leavening people). I decided that you can either have hard cookies or "salty" cookies---and personally I prefer them "salty". There, now I've taken the frustration of that whole argument out on you and not her. If that's the worst that happens this transfer I think I'm good to go. :) People are the same all over the world. They may have a slightly different shell developed through a different culture and custom, but people are people, no matter how you dress them. When you take a second to pause and think about why a person behaves the way they do it becomes clear and then you don't feel the need to choose to be angry---in fact, you usually find humor in the minute differences that made the inconsistency come up in the first place. And then the miracle is that you love them despite being so different.
As a side note, I was running outside Wednesday morning and realized that it is, in fact, "Ursa" major, not "Ursela" major. No wonder it looked weird. The poor big dipper got consigned to be a sea witch without due cause!
Much love to all.
Merry Christmas to All---and to All a good night!
Monday, December 14, 2009
As for Christmas packages--deodorant would be good. I love the taco seasoning and I ration it like gold. I love getting Reese's. And Hot Tomales---those cinnamon candies....they're way fun to feed to Koreans :). If you're feeling really venturous You could send me some classical music in CD form--or MP3 format on a USB drive or SD card. I really like Dvorak 9th Symphony, and Beethoven 3, 6 and 7 Symphonies. You can send anything you want, just so long as there aren't romantic overtones. Out mission is quite leniant on music. Take your pick. If you send anything---send it in a big envelope---it's much cheaper, and if you wrap it in clear plastic tape it's about as strong as a box.
So, I just got a letter from my MTC Companion Sis. Peterson in Seoul. If you remember she was adopted Korean. She managed to track down her family and she has an older brother, an older sister and a TWIN BROTHER! They all live in Masan Stake---which is the stake I'm serving in right now. She's working on getting permission to come down and meet them. It would be fun if she did get permission cause she'd probably stay with us :). Anyway, I'm really happy she found her family. That was a big goal of hers for her mission.
My new companion is amazing. All the rumors I heard about her are false---except one---she is an AMAZING cook. Hopefully I can learn how to cook Korean food from her. Other than that, I don't know where those other things came from. I'm so grateful I have the chance to serve with her (she goes home in January) before she leaves. If I hadn't have been companions with her I'd have never given her a fair chance and I'd have missed out on a great friendship. Makes me wonder how many people could have been my best friends that my own pride kept me from giving them a chance...
I was touched last night when we were riding the bus home she told me that she wanted to keep touch with me after the mission and that I was the first foreigner companion that she'd felt that way about. What a compliment! I don't think I did anything overly special, but apparently it meant something to her.
So, we live in a brand new apparentment. In fact my companion is the first person to live in it (last transfer with Sister Hill). It's completely voud of former missionary guck. It's marvelous!
And I love my areas. There are Mountains! They aren't the Rockies, but I'll take them. One of them, if you catch it at the right angle, looks just like Cheyenne mountain. I feel like I'm walking due south in the morning, but I'm really walking North in the late afternoon :).
This morning we woke up a little early so we could go hiking up the mountain (hill-ish) behind our apartment. It was so good to be on a mountain trail again. I didn't realize I missed hiking so much. And the best part was that the sun hadn't come up yet and there were STARS!!! Usually the pollution is too bad at night to see the stars, but it clears out for a short time in the morning and I caught a good glimpse of Ursela Major and Ursela minor (sorry if my spelling is off---you're lucky I remembered the word in in the first place). It was beautiful. What a wonderful world God has created for us here.
On a different note---once at the top of the mountain we "marched" around the Buddhist temple there exactly seven times. Next time we'll have to remember our trumpets!
On a different note---Saturday was the Changwon Santa Bike Event. This means that literally thousands of people rode their bikes around town dressed up as Santa Clause. It was quite the sight :). The best part was that it was sponsored by a group called "Changwon Practical Bikers Guild" as if there's anything practical about riding a bike in a Santa Costume.
Life is excellent here. Just when I think I can't get happier I find a way to be so. We can't really understand the happiness the Lord has reserved for us---it's so far beyond our understanding. But as we strive to "live after the manner of happiness" the Lord reveals higher and higher happiness to us.
Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas! Drink lots of apple cider for me because I still haven't found normal apple juice around here!
Love to all!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Do Young agreed to get baptized and has set the date of 24 Dec. I'm a little nervous that if her Mom doesn't start coming to Church more she won't have an adequate support system, but WE prayed to see if she was ready and the Spirit said go. Her Mom loves us---I said goodbye to her this morning and she cried--she just needs to reawaken her testimony a little. I've come to realize that less-actives aren't people who don't have testimonies, they are people who lost sight of their priorities and their testimonies suffered because of it. We just have to get the Gospel back in their view-finder, that's all.
As for Ko Young Suk (the Temple Square referral) she's doing great. The woman already figured out how to live the Gospel on her own in her head, complete with nightly repentance---she just never thought ot put God in teh equation (with the methods of some of these churches out here---I don't blame her). She's realizing that God helps her, though---and she definitely knows He's there now. She's a champ. She'll get baptized next transfer for sure---and her husband will follow shortly thereafter.
I'm really excited for my new area, but I'm still a little nervous. I've learned not to listen to rumors from missionaries (someone asked me if it was true that I'd been engaged 4 times....where do they get this stuff?) but a lot of people say that my new companion has quite a short temper---so just in case it's true, pray that I'll have patience and understanding so we can come through it and get a lot of good missionary work done in the process. I love her already, though. She's really kind and I can tell she just likes to take care of people.
Lots of good things are happening in Korea. It's getting cold, but people's hearts are getting warm. IT's hard to believe it's December, though. No snow and the Christmas spirit that we all know and love is completely absent, even among the Christians. I think maybe December is colder without Christmas lights.
I'm so grateful to all of you for your love and support. I met a foreigner from Alabama who told us about how she had a hard time deciding that God exists and loves her simply because her parents didn't really love her and it made it hard to think that ANYONE could love her, particularly a "parental" figure like Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful I have loving parents and siblings and Church leaders and friends and roommates and others who have shown me what true love is because it's helped me to understand God's love better.
Until next week!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Well, I'm back and I'm much less flustered than the last time I wrote you all. Unfortunately someone mistook the computers for a babysitter last week and it was frustrating to try to focus enough to get anything done.
The work has been going excellently lately. Prepared people are learning and coming closer to Christ one little step at a time. It's so wonderful to see them progress. Right now I'm teaching Do-young, a 12 year old girl whose Mom is less-active. They are both coming along quite well and I have high hopes for them both to progress and support each other in the Gospel. It's quite fabulous. Then there's Ko Young Suk, a grandma who first had interest in the Church when she and her husband visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City a few months ago just as part of their tour of the USA. She put her name on a list of people who wanted to "learn more". When the Elders received the referral they invited her to Church and she's been coming ever since. THe Elders were having trouble setting up appointments with her so they referred her to us thinking maybe that the strong gender gaps in Korean culture had something to do with it. She continued coming to Church every week,but never wanted to meet with us. Finally we took her out and chatted with her on Sunday instead of going to Relief Society. Turns out that she liked Temple Square and decided then and there that she would attend our Church. So she's been coming. In her mind, missionaries just invite people to go to Church (and in Korea---usually so the Church will get more money---it's a highly paid job--quite lucrative) so since she was already coming to Church she didn't get why we wanted to meet. Once she understood that we just wanted to teach her about the Doctrine and helpo her understand how to apply what she learns at Church in her life she set up a time to meet this Saturday. She thought she'd already joined the Church--hehe. She'll be slow to come, but she's already a weekly Church-goer, so that's good.
One thing about serving a mission in Busan is the challenge of overcoming the English program. For years they used what's called 30/30 English to get investiators. The deal was that we'd teach anyone English for free for 30 minutes IF they also listened to 30 minutes of the Gospel lessons. This would seem like a great idea because Koreans are OBSESSED with English. The only problem is that it would make it so people lied about having a testimony and believe just so they could keep getting free English classes. They would even go so far as to be baptized without actually believing or understanding any of the Gospel. As a result the Less Active rates are ridiculous and most of the less actives you visit couldn't even tell you the name of the Church without reading it off your tag. Well, the higher-ups in the Church saw this baptism inflation and when Pres. Jennings got his call he was told by Pres. Eyring in not so many words to KILL the English program. Now in our mission we simply teach one or two free English classes a week as a service project to ANYONE who wants to come, regardless of Gospel interest. Well, it's made it so that our investogators are better prepared for baptism, and they actually know what they are doing when they get baptized, but it's also meant that our numbers have gone down drastically. Members are a bit judgemental because there have been less baptisms, and often people tell us we should start teaching English again, but really what it comes down to is that I don't want to be responsible for baptising people who aren't ready to understand their covenants. Besides---by doing that we're teaching people that English is more important that Christ---and I'm not going to do that. Anyway, I figured that since I hadn't told you about those struggles I would explain them. I feel bad for Pres. Jennings because he did the right thing and he's getting backlash for it. All of the other missions in Korea are still doing 30/30 English, but I figure We're just supposed to be the leaders to show that in the long run it pays off to have a few solid baptisms rather than hundreds of floppy ones.
We had Zone Conference this last week and it was a mission tour with Elder Choi, the Q70 who gave the talk "I Love Loud Boys" in the Priesthood session of last Conference. I was surprised that both he and his wife chose to speak to us in English rather than Korean. One day it will be assumed that in the Church in Korea one must speak Korean. We're still pioneers, though, and the foreign missionaries are still several vertebrae of the Church here. Conference was good. I learned about the Savior and personal revelation. It was nice.
We also had President Interviews this last week. President Jennings told me he's not sure of anything but that I'd likely stay here in Shinjung to "kill" Sister Montgomery---the second time :). It's not all said and done until Friday, but it's fairly likely I'll be here. Maybe my mission call should have said "Korea Ulsan Mission" instead :).
I'm getting trunky for science. I never realized how much I LOVED to solve a science problem---calculate something that is occuring in the world--until I didn't have occasion to do so for nearly a year. Maybe I'll I have to get a physics book in Korean and do the problems on P-days :P. That would be quite the language study exercise, too.
I also need to paint something--I miss the scene shop.
Anyway, I'm having a fabulous time. My idea of a nightmare now-a-days is one where I'm going home. I love it out here. Miracles are rought by faith and diligence. I see that in action every day.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
First off--why did Dad have to get surgery and second WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME??? I could have been praying for him--ya punks!
We made a crazy trip to Busan today. It's about 2 hours by bus and subway to anything interesting. So, of our short P-day 4 hours was spent in travel and some of the rest of the time in a little tea shop with all of the sister missionaries. It was fun, but I have no time now.
This week has been incredible. Lots of fun and lots of work. We had District Conference which was one of those Broadcast dealies from Salt Lake---Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Holland spoke. It was SO amazing to hear just how aware those leaders are. They said exactly what needs to be said to this people to help them make the next big steps in bringing about the Kingdom of God. I can't even describe how PERFECT their remarks were.
I have lots of things I want to tell you, but I really can't focus well enough to have it come out in normal english right now because of these little kids addicted to video games next to me cackiling evilly and the mean little Korean girl breathing down my neck and telling me I'm taking too long (I've been on 10 minutes!!!).
I'm grateful to be a part of the mircale that is going on here in spreading the Gospel.
Love to all!
Monday, November 16, 2009
You know the cinnamon-flavored Hot Tamale candies? Well, Elder Matsuura got a box of them which he started handing out to people at Church yesterday----and Koreans HATE THEM!!! The second they put them in their mouth they gag and spit them out. It's worse than that time we fed the New Zealanders root beer! It's super-hilarious. If they react that way to Hot Tamales, I can only imagine what a Fireball would do to them :).
This morning we went on a tour of Hyundai Heavy Industries. This is a HUGE Ship-building factory a little ways north of my area (the other Sisters living in my house serve in that area). It was the coolest thing I've ever seen. They have the coolest equipment there! It was amazing to see. They have a dry dock for construction and you can see the keel of the boats and---it's just cool. I can't even describe how big those boats are. Sometimes we forget that people actually have to build these things. Someone had to think of the design, figure out HOW to make it, build a facility to make it, find the people with the skills for it....it's just amazing that so many people can all come together for such a massive project. I was like a kid in a candy store the whole time. I like machines :).
UM....Did you know it's really cold in Korea. I'm very grateful for my wool skirt---and the insulated tights a member gave me. And my nice coat. I didn't think I'd use my boots because it doesn't snow here, but I've worn them every day for a week just to keep my feet warmer. Cold feet are very uncomfortable. Man, my mission has all extremes of weather--hard to believe how drastic the change is. I've never felt a cold like this before. Before I know it it'll be the hot summer again. Weird.
I'm glad to hear that Grandpa Warriner is doing alright after his heart attack. Get better fast and stay strong.
Mom, sorry the Price is Right turned into such a fiasco for you. I know you've wanted to do that for a long time. I promise I'll go with you sometime when I get home---but only if you'll visit Korea-Town with me :).
Haven't heard much about Tim and Megan since May or June. It'd be nice to have a little update--hint hint.
As for the work, things are moving along well. Both of our investigators came to Church and stayed all three hours yesterday, which is always a good thing. I'm excited for how things have just picked up in this area after lots of hard work. We got a new Branch Mission Leader this past month and he's going to make great things happen. The work goes SO much smoother when you have a strong connection that's excited about their calling. I never realized how much of a difference WML can make in a ward. Not to mention, people respond better to being told to do more missionary work if their locally called leaders tell them rather than some punk kid from America. Unfortunately, I think my stay here in Shinjung might be cut short. I was excited to stay for a little while after Sis. Montgomery leaves, but now that she's extending I think I'll be leaving and someone else will come in. We'll see what happens. I still have a few weeks of good work to be done before I need to think about that.
I love being here. I love sharing the Gospel. It's tough, but it's worth it. It's the most amazing feeling to get off the bus having talked to someone who didn't even believe in God and having convinced them to pray and taught them how to do it. That's success that no numbers can record, but their lives will. Bringing others to Christ---one smile at a time.
Everyone be safe!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
First off, Malea wins the award for keeping me in touch with family events. Congratulations to Marge and Baby Dominic. Now that I know you're in my prayers for sure :). Sounds like life continues on in stride at home.
So, the first big news is that Sis. Montgomery is NOT going home at the end of this transfer. Because they've cut our numbers and there are so many people going home, Pres. Jennings asked her if she wanted to extend, and she said yes after much prayer and fasting. I'm so excited for her. She's got such a wonderful outlook on missionary work. She's treating these extra six weeks as the best gift God could ever give her. We're both truly elated. This means that I could be transfered, though :(. I really want to stay and "kill" her, and I hate the idea of leaving Shinjung--but we'll see what the Lord says about that, for now, I at least have another 4 weeks with her in this area, so we'll making the best of them!
Well, yesterday was the Primary program here in the Shinjung branch. It was so adorable. Kids are cuter in a foreign language. I really love our little branch. I love that in the middle of Sacrament meeting the oldest member in the area will shout out her opinion on what's being said and that the little grandmas are less well-behaved than the children. I love that a little girl named Su-Ah cried all the way through the Primary program---not just cried---but sobbed exhausting sobs :(. Poor thing. I love that the bus system in Ulsan is run off a magic teleporter system and you magically end up somewhere you didn't know you were going if you don't watch carefully. I love these people and I'm so grateful to know them so well. So delightful. This is a great place, and there's much work to do here to strengthen the members and build the kingdom.
As a side story. Because a few 11 year old non-members showed up to Church on Sunday (I just typed Sinday first---hehe) we went to Primary with them. THe only problem is that they were basically just having a party from having done the program. So, we impromptu taught a Valiant 11 class. Then we went back for Sharing time and the kids were still bouncing off the walls (Sisters called to primary are angels---I don't know how they do it). Well, the Primary President was trying to get them to be quiet. In Korea you get children to be quiet in much the same way you do in America---you try, but you don't succeed. They make a sound which equivocates the "shush" sound we make, only replace the "ush" part with "it". SO we're sitting in Primary as the adults are all swearing at us in English without even knowing it :).
Life is beautiful. I'm so grateful for this precious time to serve the Lord. There's so much to do in His vineyard---all over the world. I'm so grateful to be a part of the Lord's building team here in this stage in Korea. He directs this work and helps all who seek to do His labor.
I'm grateful to you all who so lovingly support me. Thanks for letters and emails! Keep the Spirit and take care of yourselves!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Our Halloween Party went off without a hitch. It was really awesome because we got a lot of less actives to come and several investigators came as well. It was worth all the time and energy we put into it. Not to mention our spook alley was the coolest of all spook alleys. The kids all loved it and we missionaries were in charge of the thing. Too bad the kids understand that they have to wait in line and are patient, but their Mom's put up a stink and cut in line. Weird. Anywa, it was SO FUN to get to see all the Korean kids in their costumes. Halloween isn't celebrated in Korea, so we were just proud that we got people to come and to wear costumes. I was a witch--simply wearing black missionary stuff with an orangish witch hat. It was so fun. It was definitely exhausting, though.
We had a member meal appointment today. Elder Matsuura claims there was shark on the table, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I eat shark all the time? I usually don't ask. I know most food simply by the Korean name and whatever English name I gave it as a greenie---things like "Fish Hot Dog" or "Noodle Disaster". Don't ask, don't tell.
Mom, just take your shirt to CA. You'll regret it if you don't.
Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary to Grandma and Grandpa Ogilvie! I hope all is well with the both of you! Keep on keepin' on, and take good care of each other!
Honestly this last week exhausted me. We spent most of the week tracking down less actives to invite them to the Halloween party and the rest of the time helping members figure out how to help us with the party. It was totally worth it though, lots of people came to Church the next day too.
I'm so excited to get my Conference Edition of the Liahona. I never realized just how much I rewatched talks for fun until I couldn't do it anymore. I'm dying to read it again! I love hearing from living prophets! Yay!
It got kinda cold yesterday. I actually wore a coat today. Weird. I can't believe it's getting cold. But it was cold when I started my mission---it can't come full circle yet---it's too fast! I just got started!
Thanks for all that you do, everyone. I love getting your letters and hearing about what's going on at home. Take care of yourselves and keep me updated!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Also, apparently for 2 or 3 weeks in a row the brilliant secretaries in the mission office (the last 6 words are words I haven't said in english in a long time because even when I speak english I'm talking to missionaries who also know the Korean words, and the Korean is more readily accessible--and had to search my brain for the english) sent my mail to an old post office address for which no missionaries have the key or code or whatever. They called that post office and supposedly it's being redirected to the mission office, but it's possible it won't come to me. So, if you sent anything with imperative information in the last month or so and I haven't responded, it's not cause I don't love you.
The next most important thing to mention is that I ate 3 inches of a Subway sandwich in Changwan last weekend. It was amazing! I forgot how good sandwiches are!!! I only got 3 inches because it was in a take-home dinner the members premade for the missionaries after the fireside and they cut the 6-inches half---probably not for cost, but because it's so utterly Korean to only eat 2 bites of sandwich. It was heaven though. I can't wait to get a whole one at home!!
Which brings me to transfers. I'm still in Ulsan, and I'm still with Sis. Montgomery. I'm really excited! She'll be going home at the end of this transfer, so I'm really excited I'm gonna get to serve with her to the end. The crazy thing is that my housemate, Sis. Asay, left to go home today---weird. I still feel like she'll be there when I get home. But to replace her they sent not one but TWO missionaries. Yep, teh other companionship in the house is gonna be a threesome, which means that 5 girls are in our very tiny apartment and supposedly all 5 of us have to shower in our 30 minute window for showering. Yep, methinks there will have to be an adjustment to the rules for practicality, because I don't see bathroomn time dropping to 6 minutes for anyone anytime soon. It'll be really fun though because my trainer is one of the girls coming for the threesome and the other girl was in my BYU ward before she left (but before I was in the ward---but we hung out with all the same people--CRAZY). And Beh In Young is in my "Donggi" which means we came into the mission together and spent time in the MTC together. It's just gonna be a party. You know--so far as missionaries party.
Tell Scott that Kimchi is delicious and doesn't count as weird food. I eat kimchi for breakfast :). I also put that spicy paste on just about everything. Food is bland without it. The pickles are just pickles--nothing special. They serve them with pizza. I'm gonna miss getting pickles when I order pizza. And they put sweet potatoes on pizza. It's delicious. We also have better candy here, with the exception that there are no Reeses. This is a random paragraph. Thought vomit.
The work rolls on. We're having a fantastic halloween party this weekend. It's gonna be amazing! I'm gonna be a witch. You should be jealous you don't get to come to our tri-branch halloween party. It's gonna rock off all the Koreans socks...and Koreans like their socks...
Okay, I better end this letter before it gets more dissipated than it already is. I love you all. Keep the spirit. Read your scriptures. Pray. No really---go do it now---it'll make ya happy! Much love from the Land of the Morning Calm!
P.S. Chalene---quit breaking stuff in your house. It sounds expensive---and stressful.
Monday, October 19, 2009
This past week we had the most amazing opportunity EVER! Sis. Montgomery and I got permission to go to Busan and see the Annual Fireworks Festival! It's the biggest fireworks show in the world! I've ordered pictures and will mail them home (sorry--I'm not a fan of figuring out how to upload pictures in Korean--I'd rather not be that stressed out on my preparation day). I took some videos, too, and you'll just have to wait I took about 300 megabytes of pictures and videos during the show. Anyway---it was CRAZY there. It was like a mosh pit. I've never felt so many arms all at the same time in my life. I have a nice bruise on my elbow from one over-excited spectator. I can't even make an educated guess of how many people came to the thing, but I'm guessing hundreds of thousands and maybe millions. It's right on Gwangan Beach right over the bridge and it was packed---I mean 2 or 3 people per square foot. It was crazy. The fireworks were AMAZING, though. You know how you can tell when the finale is coming with other fireworks shows because it actually starts to look good? Well, it was 10 times better than the "finales" the WHOLE TIME. It's really cool because everyone just crowds the beach and the fireworks are shot off from boats and from the bridge that goes across the bay. It's AMAZING. The best part was the dragon. Yes, a dragon. Like in Lord of the Rings. It flew over our heads. I felt like a hobbit!!!! They took a remote control airplane and attatched fireworks to it and flew it over the audience and all over the bay. Unfortunately that one caught me so much by surprise that I don't have a video of it, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Come to think of it, maybe it wasn't a dragon, but more of a Freebird stunt. All I know is it was on fire and flying over my head. It was just incredible.
I got the package you sent, Mom. Thank you so much! Conveniently it came the same day that Sis. Montgomery invested the $16 in a package of flour tortillas from Costco via Sis. Jennings. So we had bonafide chicken tacos that night. It was happy.
Mom, I think you should make your shirt for the Price is Right. It might be cheesy, but I like it. I like it because I grew up with you talking about it, though. Not to mention it's nice to have a cheat sheet :). You could also write something about how you watch it with your grandkids. Be creative. Malea's good at that sort of thing. i'm sure you'll come up with something great to wear.
Tell Scott that we eat the same thing as the cows guts thing in Korea, only they not only cut out the guts and intestines, but they again stuff them with the leftover parts of the pig (and after having eaten the not-leftover parts that makes me fearful). Then they stick it in the pigs blood and let it soak for an unhealthy amount of time for fermentation. Then they add more pigs blood and boil it. It's called soon-day. I think it's because it's describing the day you'll die if you eat it :). Yeah, I'd go for cleaned up cow instestines anyday. I'll always have worse food stories than he does :). He describes it as being like the slime from a long-dead sea-creature while mine usually IS the slime from a long-dead sea-creature. But, he also doesn't get to drink Aloe or carbonated jello-shots. Or eat beh---asian pear. Just stay away from the kom (persimmons) when they get mushy. Ick. Done talking about food.
It's weird cause my housemate, Sis. Asay, is going home in a week. I feel like it's not actually happening---she's not going anywhere. Then Sis. Montgomery is gone 6 weeks after that. It seems so surreal. There will be a new Korean sister coming in next week---so I won't be the youngest (sister) missionary anymore! Weird.
Anyway, I'm just trekkin' along. Things are going well and we're excited about some new opportunities in the work. This week transfer calls come. I kinda hope I'm staying here, but we'll see what the Lord has in store. Next week I could be somewhere new.
Much love to all!
Monday, October 12, 2009
I can't remember if I told you or not but last Zone Conference Pres. Jennings set a goal for our mission. He calls it "White Christmas." The goal is to have every missionary in the mission help one investigator into the waters of baptism before Christmas. This is a bit of a stretch for the stage the Church is in here and the opposition and the current average numbers, but we're all pumped about it and we're being prayerful and faithful, so I think it'll happen.
Another cool thing about Zone Conference is that President Jennings provided each of us with a fresh copy of the Book of Mormon in our native language and we were given the assignment to finish it by Christmas. He also gave us five highlighters and we're supposed to highlight each of the following in a different color: 1)Every reference to the Savior---directly or in pronouns (simplay AMAZING how many there are) 2)Words spoken directly by the Savior in revelation, in person or through the Prophet with a disclaimer of "thus saith the Lord" 3)Christlike attributes (my personal favorite--how do you become like Jesus if you don't pay attention to His attributes?) 4) Doctrines of the Gospel---underline the whole book--haha---I've turned it into a cause and effect analysis on behavior (if you____ God will___ and you will be happy) and 5)Parallels to missionary work in our mission---travel, compa/glorified/perfected) and 5) Parallels to our mission and missionary work--companions, travel, distant and strange lands, rejection, support, family, etc. I love it. It's kind of labor intensive to read with five highlighters in hand (especially since I have to use a straight-edge for my own sanity), but it's really rewarding. I'm learning so much from it. I love when a passage merits more than one color. YOu can get so much truth from the simplest Book of Mormon passage! Ahh, the Book of Mormon is true!!!
Speaking of---how about General Conference? WOW! I can't really pick a favorite. Elder Holland was incredible---sometimes when that man speaks I'm surprised the pulpit doesn't shatter from the intensity. Such a wonderful fire of testimony. I also really liked Elder Scott and Elder Nelson---I learned a lot about revelation and what things hinder it---and how to overcome those things and build upon the revelation we receive. I also really learned a lot about the importance of love as our motivator to do good things. Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar really allowed us to see how the love of God and the love of all men (particularly our families) work hand in hand to produce our happiness. It's just incredible how each one builds upon and strengthens the others' testimonies. AHH---I love it. I can't wait to read them---and mark them---and share them with the people!! It just makes me wonder how anyone ever feels confident raising a family and living their lives without the wise counsel of these inspired men of God. The world is a scary place, but the Lord has allowed us to build upon the Rock of Revelation where no storm can penetrate or destroy. I love the Gospel.
So---go watch Conference again. It's amazing. I love it.
The work continues forward and we search for people everyday while helping to prepare others for the future. This is the work of God.
I love you all!
Monday, October 5, 2009
The upside is that we had Sisters' Conference this past weekend, and it was amazing. A full account of all we did would be way too long. The highlights of the highlights are that we watched The Errand of Angels and I just have to say that that movie made my mission seem WAY too short. That girl was complaining about food more normal than anything I've EVER eaten here, and she spoke more German fresh from the MTC than I speak Korean now :P. It was fun to sit back and watch a movie about missionary work though. We also played jeopardy, which was fun---I mean how many people can claim they played jeopardy in the Jennings household :). The next day was really great---each companionship was in charge of teaching one Christlike attribute from the sixth Chapter of Preach My Gospel. Everyone had really awesome activities---there are such great teachers among the sisters in our mission. I look up to them quite a bit. Our attribute was Hope and we taught about how so many generations of Saints look back on the times of Moses to find hope and realize the power of God and the miracle of the Atonement. We talked about splitting the Red Sea and the miracle that it really was that they could escape the greatest earthly power of their day. Later in the day we went to the beach altogether and it was just really cool to think of the water being split and being able to walk through on dry ground. Wow! Then we connected it to teh Atonement and how seemingly imnpossible things (like splitting the sea or being forgiven of sins) are possible because Christ loves us and gives us power. I promise it came out more coherent than that...Anyway, I'm so grateful for those many dispensations of Saints who had enough faith to perform miracles because they set such a great example for me! Another highlight from sisters conference was our trip to the bath house. It's usually tradition to take the greenies there when they first get here, but the day I got here the place was closed. I LOVE THE BATH HOUSE!!! You go in and the men go in one side and the women another. You strip down to your skivies, take a quick rinse shower and then you go play in the water--which is delightfully warm because the whole place is situated on top of a natural hot spring. It's like going swimming--only in really warm water--naked. It doesn't take long for you to forget that everone is naked, and you feel so free! I particularly like the champaigne bath (note that D&C 89 specifically states that hard drink is for the washing of the body). No thanks, I don't drink, but I once bathed in it. Loved it. I'd do it again :).
Another hit from this past week was Chusok, Korean Thanksgiving. Luckily we had a lot of meal appointments cancelled on us, but we just had enough to make it feel like a holiday. It was really weird because no one was out. The streets were empty----I didn't know that was possible in Korea. It felt like a weird sci-fi movie where all the people disappear. The best part about Chusok is that it's really early--which means more time for Christmas music, according to the "wait til after Thanksgiving" rule. :)
Anyway, because Sisters Cofnerence was technically our preparation day I don't have much time here today because we have to get to work. I also won't be writing any letters this week and I'm a few weeks behind on that anyway. So if you've written me, I promise I'll get back to you, it just might not be until the Millenium :).
Love you all! Thanks for the love and support. You're just great. Keep the Spirit!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This coming weekend is also the biggest holiday in Korea--known as Chusok (chew-soak). It's basically Thanksgiving, but the traditions are completely different and it lasts several days. The sisters have a conference in Busan while the Elders have an all-day P-day (usually you have to get back to work at 6 PM) on Friday and then we have appointments with members for Saturday. It'll be like eating 3 Thanksgiving meals at 12:00, 3:00 and 6:00, only instead of turkey and potatoes and rolls its squid and kimchi and rice. Pray for my stomach, please? I'm nervous about having that much food at once, but the elders scheduled us into this mess, I expect them to hold their own in consuming the food.
We cleaned the carpet in the Church this week. It was really fun. First you get a hose and you water the carpet with a hose--like a garden, only this time you pray nothing grows in it. Then you use a watering can to distribute the soap-stuffs. Then you use the fun brush machine that makes it all sudsy (unfortunately, in Korea the feminine role is so strong htat there's NO way they'd have let me use the machine--shoulda tried when he wasn't looking) and then you use a giant wet-vac to suck it all up. It was a blast.
We had a fun member meal appointment with the woman who was the first baptism in all of Ulsan. Her name is Lee Mu Jung. She was baptized back in 60-something. She's now this crazy old grandma and we just love her. She'd very lively. Elder Mann asked for water and she said no (in the really old days you never drank anything with a meal---now most people will offer water---especially to foreigners who are used to having a drink) because "Water fills you up and then you won't have any room to stuff yourselves with my food!" She was joking though and just being fiesty. She is an excellent cook, though. I wish I could just film a meal appointment for you to watch---they are quite entertaining.
We had an...interesting...miscommunication this past week. Last Sunday they announced that there would be a hiking activity in Relief Society. Later that week the Elders told us they were going hiking on Saturday so we assumed it was just a Branch activity--so we got permission to leave the house early and go on this hike. Well, it turns out that there were two separate activities. The Relief Society went to one mountain, and the Young Men went to another mountain. Well---we showed up to the wrong mountain. It ended up being the Young Men, their leaders, the Elders and---the sister missionaries. It was a little awkward, but we'd already come ot the mountain--so we just hiked with the young men. Next time we'd better as the Relief Society president. Last time I trust the Elders with such information (gee--I'm being hard on the Elders today---I really do love and appreciatey them, I promise).
Yesterday Sis. Montgomery and I had a sweet tooth. The only problem is that we had NOTHING sweet in the house and no ingredients and it was sunday. So, in an act of desparation we search the house for something to make a cake or cookies or anything. We eneded up finding the following (never ask what's in missionary cupboards---we just don't know): 1/2 cup sugar, hot cocoa mix, green tea?, yeast, baking powder and soda, coconut, cimmamon, cumin(much too precious to use), "salt substitute" whatever that is--probably MSG, and last but not least--a vast amount of this mysterious floury substance which tasted like very finely ground cheerios. So we decided to have a cooking contest. She made a chocolate cake and I made chocolate rolls/biscuits/cookies. Let's just say we won't be recording those recipes for ANYONE to repeat...ever.
Random: suddenly I have fall allergies---curse Korean wacky climate.
Anyway, I'm going to go take off. Life is great out here. Just stayin' happy and listenin' to the Spirit!
Monday, September 21, 2009
We just got yelled at for taking too much time on the computer so this will be short.We had a Talent show this week and it was kinda fun. YOu know you're in Korea when the talent show instrument of choice is the Ocarina. Sis. Montgomery and I did "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and put a dance to it. IT was a big hit. I'm surprised it went as well as it did. We WROTE it (we didn't have music---so we made up a capella harmonies) on Wednesday, had companion exchanges Thursday so we couldn't practice, and then we choreographed it Friday and performed it Saturday with basically no practice. It was pretty fun, though.
Just an announcement: In Korea it's considered a death-threat to write a person's name in red ink. I know that none of you intend it as such, but you are upsetting and worrying the Korean leaders in the mission when you write me letters addressed with red pen. They are worried for my safety. So---just use black or blue or green or purple---okay?
I don't know if you knew this or not, but I'm still the youngest sister in the mission. Sister Beh, the Korean who came in with me, and I are the youngest two sisters. There may be some Korean sisters coming in soon, but word from SLC is that there won't be any more American sisters coming to my mission until we're down to 76 missionaries---right now we're at about 115 I think. They are trying ot get more people in South America where people are flocking to the Church, and the first group of people cut out of a mission they are down-sizing is American sisters....so...it looks like I'm it for a while. Come January there will only be 5 American sisters here. WEird. Not sure what that means, but I've thought about it a lot lately.Sorry this one is boring, but I gotta take off.
Love you all!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Our big miracle for the week is this. Sis. Montgomery and I both usually pack lunches because it's cheaper and healthier, but on Saturday we both FORGOT (we do this every day!!!). Then we were going to eat by the Church before heading to the outskirts of town to track down some less actives, but nothing felt right. Then the exact right bus showed up right as we were about to choose a restaurant. THEN we couldn't FIND a restaurant in the area we went to (this is very strange because Korea is basically MADE of restaurants---everyone owns a restaurant). As we were walking down the street towards a supposed restaurant a guy had told us about we smelled...SPAGHETTI. Spaghetti restaurants are way to expensive for a missionary budget in Korea, but we decided to look at the menu anyway. Despite the fact that it was still pretty expensive we talked ourselves into staying. Then, the beautiful girl who owns the restaurant came and took our order. She turned and left...stopped...pondered...turned around and came back and asked about the Book of Mormon. We gave it to her and introduced it a bit. We're going back today. The crazy thing is that when we went back to the kitchen to get the check she was sitting there reading it with the Bible open next to it! What are the odds that we'd 1)forget our lunches, 2)not eat when we planned and 3)not find a restaurant until we walked into hers---the Lord leads us to prepared people!!
Okay, I keep this list of my favorite things and stuff. Among these lists is a list of my favorite funny English--usually seen on T-shirts. Here goes:
"It's my party and I'll happy if I want to."
"Weepublican" with a patriotic elephant.
"I got this t-shirt for my girlfriend--best trade I ever made"
"Woman never set foot on the woon!"
"I like long-haired, anorexic, hipster boys"
"Carpet and Jello and Home Depot and the Snake"
"There's no place like Lebanon"
"An Oily substance"
"Hi, I'm dot man!" on a shirt with a grid of squares...
"Title can do it!" with Rosie the Rivoter---in Korean you never use the word "you". It's rude. So you use the person's title (brother, sister, mother, teacher, etc)
and there's always the guy wearing "I like shoes, bags and boys."
and my personal favorite "Discover America: Read the Book of Mormon!" The kid had no idea what we were talking about when the Elders commented on the shirt--he'd bought it at a used clothing store and it had a Boy Scout Troop number in the corner---yep, that one used to be an Elder's. People just wear stuff without figuring out what it says, it's just cool to wear English letters---there are several that are just swear words or really bad slang. Welcome to Korea.
Okay, enough of that. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, go to Church, keep the commandments (you think I'm kidding--but I'm not---just do it--it's how you can be happy). Have a good day.
Love you all!
Monday, September 7, 2009
Chalene, I love that Benjamin would rather bless me than food at the dinner table. Maybe I'll start blessing HIM at member meal appointments, instead of the food! :).
Thanks for the information on the two girls abducted by North Korea. Still can't exactly figure out why exactly Bill Clinton and Al Gore were involved--must be an attention deficit thing--they haven't been in the news for a while and they were feeling left out...I shouldn't have said that, but there it is.
Malea, would you mind finding the lyrics to the song in "The Prince of Egypt that starts "A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shines, can never see its purpose in the pattern of the grand design" and printing them out and mailing them to me (if you email it I won't be able to take it with me!). Thanks!
So, the World Archery Championships are going on here in Ulsan right now. Sis. Montgomery and I went proselyting outside the stadium on the opening day and it was really fun. It was the best because there were a bunch of booths with people giving out free stuff and we just walked up and down the booths handing out pamphlets and introducing ourselves to people from all over the world. If we have time we might go watch the tournament for a little while today. I'm not sure how you judge archery---I assume these persons just get good enough that it's a bullseye every time--but what do I know? Anyway, it's just a fun atmosphere there. I like it.
Cool story--so at the fireside in Changwan there was this girl who just BARELY looked familiar to me--and when I think that I just assume it's in my head because EVERYONE is Asian, and therefore they all look alike. But, finally I just went up and introduced myself to her and then she asked if I remembered her. I asked her where I met her and she said we'd met on the street outside Inje University in Gimhae. As soon as she said that she looked MORE familiar but nothing quite solid came to mind. THen there was this moment when she looked down a little bit and memories just came flooding back from my second week or so in Korea when we were waiting for the Elders for an appointment and this girl--Lee Jung Min--was walking down the street crying and sat on a bench behind me. She was just crying her little heart out. So, I went over there with my Greenie Korean and just told her that I knew God loved her and that through Christ she could overcome ALL things (because that's all I knew how to say--and it's always true). I gave her a pamphlet and assumed I'd never know what happened to her. So here is this girl, one of my very first contacts in Korea, at a fireside about 2 hours away from where I met her. Apparently she kept the pamphlet and when she moved home for the summer told her mom about how good she felt when she talked to me. Then the Elders in Masan tracted into her family and she's taking the lessons. Every simple testimony you bear touches someone's heart and brings them closer to God. Every single one. It was wonderful to see her. IT really made me feel that I'm making a difference here.
The work moves on slowly but surely. Thanks for all the support from home. I love you all!
Monday, August 31, 2009
I usually go through day by day with hope and satisfaction in the work, but this last week things just built up and having almost an entire transfer of no investigators just came crashing down. I was just kinda sad that all of my hard work wasn't helping anyone come closer to Christ. Sis. Montgomery felt the same way, so we decided that was the end of the pity party and now we'd jsut pray to see our miracles and the fruits of our labors. MIRCACLES HAPPEN!Each of the little things that happened were little, standard cheesy missionary stories--things like getting on the wrong bus and finding a girl who said she's been thinking about God lately AND has a really good friend who's a member of the Church---or finding someone who was so excited about the Book of Mormon that she stole it out of our hands and begged us if she could take it before we even had the chance to offer it to her---but each of these little things happened---and they may sound small, and there's still work to be done, but it's changing people's lives. I just know that God graces each person with little miracles and then gives us the skills and inspiration to know how to turn them into big ones! It's amazing! Just gotta pray about it and then go to work with faith like a rock.
I had a really neat opportunity to go to a concert. It was a traditional Korean Orchestra, with traditional instruments. It was incredible---and I couldn't even decribe some of these instruments even if I tried. There wer various wind instruments made of clay or wood, and there were these large harplike instruments that lay horizontal and you pluck them like a harp or bow them like a violin (called a kayagum--no idea how it's spelled). Then there was this really cool one that had one string that you---I'm not sure how to describe it, but there's about 3 inches between that string and a stick and you squeeze the string towards the stick like you're squeezing vicegrips. Then you bow it. From far away it looks like those people who play the saw--and sounds kinda similar. So cool. I cried cause it was so beautiful and Korean and I love Korea and I love Koreans and I love beauty. The drums were cool too, but drums don't change much from culture to culture---it's a big empty contraption that makes sound resonate. I love it.
We also had the chance to do a special musical fireside in Jinju and we'll be heading to another one next weekend in Changwan. Those are fun because you get to see so many other missionaries and bear your testimony through song---and there's always good food :). Not to mention we got to stay the night with some other sisters and that's like a sleepover--only you go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30. It's just such a great experience to sing with other missionaries. There's real power in music.
Funny story: Elder Harris talked about FHE in our combined Priesthood/RS meeting. He said his family was really good at FHE when it was football season because it was just understood that FHE was during halftime of Monday Night Football. None of the Koreans really got it, but I thought it was funny. If people can make football a priority together every week (or any other TV show for that matter) they can certainly make family that important every week.
Love to all!
Monday, August 24, 2009
We had Zone Conference this week--which is always great, but this one was different. There's a rule from Church Headquarters that we aren't allowed to have Mission Conferences (with everyone there) because there's no reason to gather so many missionaries together at once or something. Being the wonderfully obedient mission president that he is, Pres Jennings didn't host mission conferences even though the President before him did it anyway. Well, since this last Wednesday was President's Birthday, Sis Jennings took it upon herself to organize a "Joint Zone Conference" (because a the title of the event is everything) which just means that the three Zone Conferences all occurred at the same time--in the same place---aka, it was Mission Conference. It was a great little surprise party---we did a Korean traditional bow for him and had cake and had an AWESOME conference. Then, because the man CAN'T say no to his wife, we got permission to watch a movie. So, I've now seen Kung Fu Panda---in Asia. Beat that. :) Watching a movie gave me a headache, and I felt really overstimulated the whole time, but it was fun.
Lessons from Kung Fu Panda:
No matter how hard you try a goose is not a panda's father. It hurts everyone's brains! In the same way, God is our father, therefore we are made in His image. God looks like us. He is just like us and He isn't just this massless thing without form---because WE'RE not massless beings without form. So there. (See Genesis 1:27)
No matter how hard you try, there are things that you just can't control---things you must leave to God. A peach seed is a peach seed and it'll make a peach tree. End of story. We have no power over our hair color or other things, but we must have faith that God controls these things with ultimate wisdom. (See Matthew 5:36).
But there ARE things you CAN do---you can choose where to PLANT the seed---and how to NURTURE the seed---and you can BELIEVE that what you do makes a difference and strengthens you (see Alma 32).
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---that's why they call it the present. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ you can overcome the things of the past and recover from history--regardless of your mistakes. The future is a mystery, but the only control you have over it lies in the present. Right now is the only time we can actually do anything! You must use the present to redeem your past and shape your future. (See a million and a half quotes from Pres. Monson, the living PROPHET--where he quotes The Music Man 'You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays!'")
There is no secret ingredient. You can try to be the perfect person--the perfect missionary, but really it's just too complicated for just ONE thing to work. The secret lies in keeping the Spirit, but there is no secreat to how to do that. It is so MANY different, consistent things. Therefore, you must just do what YOU know how to do---study, ponder, pray, work and love people. And most of all you have to believe. You have to feel like what you are doing is special and that it makes a difference. You ahve ot believe that the Lord sent you to this place at this time for a reason---and keep your eyes out for the good you can do. You just have to BELIEVE this gospel is special. Then, in the end, the thing that will have allowed you to conquer all will have been as simple as moving your pinky finger. Ska--doosh.(2 Nephi 31:20; D&C 10:4)
Gee whiz, that took a lot of time.
On a completely unrelated event from the whaling town and the whaling museum---I ate whale yesterday---it was gross. It was tough and blubbery and had this PUNGENT and PUTRID taste (you should be proud that I'm remembering such words in English) that Sis. Montgomery and I both swore we could still taste this morning. Eeewww. Just not worth the effort of pulling apart the beached whale. I'm not sure what part the first piece was, but it definitely had skin, blubber and a little meat on it. The second piece was the jaws/gums. It was like eating cartiledge soaked in motor oil. Ick. I think that's the first time I was relieved when the next bite was sushi--or the tan-colored slime creature. It was an...interesting...meal. Rocky mountain oysters---pah---pansies! :)
Because I'm sure Elder Kikuchi's story about Chicken Hill won't be in the Liahona out here, can someone sum it up for me so I can know why Scott's picture was so special to him? Thanks!
Okay, that's enough for now. The work is great and my joy is full. Have a delightsome week!!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Ahh, I really liked the emails from the family this week. YOu all are great. Thanks for the love and support :).
SO, to ease everyone's mind we got everything taken care of from our stolen bags. We even pick up our new alien cards tomorrow. It's such a relief to have that taken care of. And, yes, I got all of my bank cards properly cancelled. The poor Wells Fargo Banker I talked to on the phone must have had a hard time keeping track of my thought process seeing as it was the middle of the night in America and I kept saying "Nay" (the Korean word for "yes") instead of "yes". I haven't used the word "yes" since about 11 AM on the 25th of February when Aunt Sue asked me if I was sure I wanted to eat at Arctic Circle. Then my grammar was all broken because I was in Korean mode in the middle of a proselyting day.
I would like to request pictures again, though. I lost the print I had of our most recent family picture. I sure hope the person who stole it enjoys the cuteness of my nephews. I also lost 2 of my few pictures of Scott, which is sad. So, here I am calling all pictures :).
So, last Tuesday we went to this area that is right on the coast that was famous for whaling/whale-watching back in the day. There's a Whale Museum there that Sis. Montgomery went to and she said it's more of a whaling museum than a whale museum. She said it's just full of these graphic pictures of ripping whale meat apart. Leave it to the Koreans to make a museum of illegal activities. Actually, there are enough whale restaurants here that I'm not sure it's illegal to hunt whale(I figured that it was an international law or something---but I don't know WHY I thought that). Can someone try to figure out if it's illegal or not? Anyway, we're walking all over this whaling town and I can't help but be quoting Star Trek 4 left and right and Sis. Montgomery just didn't get it. Even Elder Reese, the Greenie who obsesses about the latest Star Trek movie, didn't get my references. Some Trekkie he is. "No, I'm from Iowa---I only work in outer space." or "Ver are ze nuclear wessels in Alameda?" or my personal favorite "He did a little too much LDS in the 60's" It was great. They also have a whale-watching boat but it doesn't go on Mondays (it's Korea---anything fun to do is closed on Monday). It reminded me of that time we went when I was really little and saw no whales(those would be great pictures to send if you can find them---me doing fun things as a cute little girl). Apparently this boat would have been the same way. The guy who was selling the tickets said he hadn't even ever seen a whale and they were all gone (they probably ate them all---not sure what would ever make you think it would be worth your time or energy to kill and eat a whale---but whatever---too messy and stinky). Oh well.
On a more awkward note, a stinky fisherman wanted to take pictures with us (because we're blonde Americans)and when he took the pictures he put his arms around us and pulled us in tight and put is cheek up to mine. Ick. There are some things that I just don't care to experience again. Ever. Then he asked us out for drinks....yeah....
Anyway, things are going well here. Sis. Montgomery and I are exercising a lot of faith and learning a lot from one another. Everyday is like a party and we just love everything that comes (and lately we've had quite a rough transfer---we started our with our bags being stolen for goodness sakes!). It's great to work with her. We just have all kinds of hope for the things that are coming and we can see the hand of the Lord in the little things. Remember, it is by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass!
Okay, we'd better take off. We get to go to the whaling town again tomorrow to pick up our green cards. Sis. Montgomery says that something weird always happens there, so I'm sure I'll have more fun stories next time around.
Love to all!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Funny story is that on Tuesday Sis. Montgomery and I were trying to find a house in a remote area out near the factories but were having no luck (this is no Utah gridlock). Finally we decide that there's a police station conveniently close so we'll go ask for directions. WE show us and explain where we're trying ot go and they keep telling us to wait. This didn't make ANY sense because this is a smallish town so they aren't busy and NO ONE was around. Eventually two officers show up saying that they'll take us to the address. So, I rode in the back of a police car for the first time in my life. THat was fun. Then, when we get near the area (you can't drive a car everywhere in Korea) they tell us to wait in the car and not walk too much (we're missionaries---walking is what we do!) and they go through the maze of houses on foot and find our address. Then they came back and got us and took us right to it. The best part was that they decided to do the knocking for us. Here we are tracking down this less active people lost track of 10 years ago---with the police. THey start knocking and screaming "is anyone home" and "open up" in Korea. THey even opened a window and stuck their heads INTO the house to make sure the poeple weren't jsut avoiding us. I'm kinda glad no one was home because we'd have scared the living daylights out of them! It was great though, we had two cops doing our missionary work for us!
Now the sad story:
So,my bag got stolen. Here's my story (and I'm stickin' to it): Sis. Montgomery and I found this GORGEOUS neighborhood in the country while we were tracking down a less active. It was like something in Europe or Nebraska or....it was just a pocket of peace. We reach a T in the road and there's this beautiful red-brick road with trees reaching over it (both of which are very rare in Korea). WE decide that this little roadway is the PERFECT place to take your classic "missionaries walking in the road" picutre, so we put our bags on the side of the road, she grabs her camera, two copies of the Book of Mormon and a tupperware to set the camera on top of to take our picture. Then this man comes out of his driveway and beckons us over to say hello. We figure he'll take the picture for us so we walk over there. As we're walking I turned to Sis. Montgomery and said "Are we just gonna leave our stuff back there?" She turns, pauses, shrugs and we continue on laughing. We're just gonna stand in this guy's driveway and chat and we can see our stuff, right? No. The guy invites us into his yard for a tour of his garden and then he has us sit on his patio furniture. He offers us a beer and then coffee. Finally we agree to peaches so we go inside to eat peaches, all the while our stuff is out on the street---and I'm kinda squirming with anxiety. I figure it'll be fine though, because it was a really nice neighborhood. Well, after the man had gifted us towls and shown us his whole house and most of his family album we finally make it back to the street and low and behold our bags are nowhere to be seen. We ran back to the guys house and ask him to call our cell phone which was in my bag. Of course that didn't work---who answers a phone they stole. So here we are stranded in the country with no money and no identity (our foreigner cards are in the bags) and no way to contact anyone because all of our phone numbers are in the phone or in our wallets---which were in the bags. So we start asking people if they saw anyone with multiple bags walking and it raises quite the hype in the street. About 10 grandpas are standing around yelling at us telling us how stupid we are (which we were well aware of) and someone had called the cops. So we rode with the cops to the Police Station(second time this week!). They filled out a lost property report but couldn't file it because neither of us knew our passport numbers. So, it was a waste. Police in Korea are....kinda useless. Luckily the nice, rich old man gave us money to get home and I remembered my old phone number in Gupo so we got the Mission Home's phone number through my old companion. It was an adventure. It's been really stressfull trying to do missionary work with all of my missionary stuff gone. The worst is that my camera was in the bag and despite my best plans to send pictures to everyone next p-day (today) all of the pictures are lost forver. I was gonna mail home that SD card today, too (it was nearly full) and buy a new one. Sad day. I probably won't be able to afford a new camera which kidna stinks. So sad. Other than that it was just bank cards and stuff that are stressful to take care of. I also lost my little Korean hymnal and my list notebook (my favorite souvenir from Korea---it's a book I write lists of things in---things like the movies Sis. Beckstead needs to see, and funny quotes and funny t-shirts I see---so sad). I'm fine though and surviving well. The mission is taking good care of us.Okay I'm outta time, but I thought I'd mention that we got a great tour of the countryside today. A woman who attends our english class (and hopefully will become our investigator :) ) offered to take us to see the lotus blossoms and the lily pad ponds and then we went to the beach and saw some pagodas and....it was just a day full of fun. It was like a giant roadtrip. The only difference was that instead of eating PB&J in the car we atew rice and kim(seaweed). Yeah, welcome to Korea. It was a lot of fun though. The countryside is beautiful and there's not much of it left here, so it was great to get out into rice-field country and smell some fresh air.
Much love to all!
P.S. I got pictures from Dad but now I want pictures more than ever (since my camera is gone). I'd love to get them from all of you.
P.P.S. Sorry I won't be able to send pictures to any of you--ever. I'm sorry I procrastinated---and that I was dumb enough to leave my bag on the street. Sad day.
Monday, August 3, 2009
So--little Korean culture tidbit for the day: paper cups. They have little water stands everywhere because you need to purify the water from the tap before you drink it, so water fountains are a no-no. WEll, to cut back on waste (which is a fun game in Korea---always finding a new and improved way to reduce the amount of trash---makes recycling laws irriatating) they give you a little envelope as a cup. Yes, an envelope. Made of paper. It's good for one, MAYBE two uses if you're lucky. I'll try to remember to mail one home next time I send a snail mail letter. I drink water from envelopes.
Another funny thing here is the "vendors" on the buses. THey stand up on the bus and basically soapbox their product. These people are low-profile because they usually DON'T have business licenses. The funny thing is that they are usually selling rather awkward products like wart remover or foot fungus treatment or other things you just don't want ot hear about. The thing is that it probably doesn't work. It's probably just water with food coloring and MAYBE some sugar to give it texture. Since they don't have licenses it's technicallay "black market". I'm tempted to buy something from one of them one just to be able to say that I've bought drugs on the black market. :)
On another note, yesterday was GORGEOUS!!! The night before I remember thinking it was so cool to watch the clouds full of pollution blow out over the mountains. They next morening I couldn't figure out why I thought it was such a nice day, and then I remembered the night before and I looked up and the skay was BLUE, not that nasty drab gray it always is. On top of that the humidity blew out for a short while and we had DRY HEAT---it was incredible---I wasn't sweating! I loved it. I will never complain about dry heat again (probably not true, but I can try). It's so much nicer to actually have evaporative cooling function the way it was intended to!
Okay, with the changes of semester and such I've lost track of my roomies. If you haven't written me or sent me a wedding announcement in the last month I have no idea where you are and would like to know :). Mary, maybe you can facebook Julene and Kendra and try to get them to write me or at least get their asddresses for me. As for the others, hopefully you still read this :).
YEs, Mom ,I remember the partial eclipse at Dave Payne's house. I kept thinking of it the whole time I saw this one. I kinda wished I was making Snicker Doodles (Dave's favorite) instead. I do make a lot of snicker doodles here, though. They're less sweet and Koreans like them better. And they are easier to make so it's less likely my Kroean companion can screw them up while I'm not looking (which has happened---when Sis. Beckstead made some Sis. Kim Yoon Ha decided thet they needed cocoa and added it when she wasn't looking and THOUGHT WE WOULDN'T NOTICE!) Ahh, I love Koreans. Sister, why are the snicker doodles BROWN?
By the way, I got Dad's letter today. Thanks a ton Daddy. I lvoe hearing from you. The pictures are great. I love the ones of me in the old Dodge. Nothing shouts "OGILVIE" like an old car.
It's also good to hear that Grandpa Ogilvie is doing well after the bladder cancer scare---Mom, I can't believe you didn't tell me that. Anywho, I better get going, I have a long way to go to get to Ulsan.
Much love to all.
P.S. Costco is like the Gospel---it's going all over the world, everyone wants it, everyone needs it, it makes everyone happy, you have to be a Member to benefit from it!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much PI
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island. As it turned out, he was an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from a high school algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery.
7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
10.. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'
13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
14. The sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center stated: 'Keep Off The Grass.'
15. A young boy swallowed some coins and was taken to the hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was doing, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
16. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
17. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
18. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
19. A backward poet writes inverse.
20. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
21. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
22. Don't join dangerous cults; practice safe sects.
Well, as per tradition, the one time we'd predetermined to spend more time emailing I forgot my notebook, so it'll be random. I always have so many thoughts for you all week and then it will all disappear once the moniter is in view.
I saw the solar eclipse on Wednesday, that was pretty cool. Despite my rough explanation of solar eclipseness and once in a lifetime opportunityness (who knows the word for Solar eclipse or projection in Korean?) my companion was still at a loss as to why I kept running up the 3 flights of stairs from the 12th floor to the 15th floor to watch from the roof. I couldn't get my hands on a solar lens so I made a projection through a cereal box. I showed my companion the shape of the dot and explained it was an image of the sun with the moon cutting the corner out. She looked at me like I was crazy and told me that it was just the shape of the hole in the box. So I proceeded to poke three more dots in the box to show her that all of the dots were identical in shape. Still no dice. She claimed it was the shape of the pin I used to poke the hole. She didn't believe me until we had gone inside for 25 minutes and came back and of course, a bigger chunk of the circle was gone. We came back and forth several times and caught it at each stage. It was neat.
What made the whole experience even more fun was that we were baking a cake for a less active who just tunred 8. Now, in Korea people don't bake. They just don't do it. Cake is like donuts here. Everyone likes it. Everyone eats it, but no one in their right mind makes it themselves. Cake is just something you buy. So, I was in charge of cake-baking. Okay, Benjamin is a more efficient helper than my companion when it comes to baking. I had to show her how to beat eggs. Not to mention I had to bake it in the rice cooker pan because no one in their right mind would buy cake pans. It was just a special morning---she thought I was crazy---but what's new.
To put the icing on the cake (the pun is always intended) our trips up to the roof got a little tiring and just when I gave in and decided to use the elevator instead the elevator was taken out of commission for maintainence. Really. Then we needed eggs for the cake and we had to hike down the 12 flights of stairs, buy the eggs and hike back up. Murphy's really good.
Speaking of Murphy elevator stories---I'm in a bit of a conundrum. When we knock doors, by tradition we always ride the elevator to the top floor and knock our way down. Naturally the "golden" investigators always live on the first floor, right? That's just the way it works. So my question is this---if the golden investigators always live on the first floor why is it that the great members who do the most missionary work always live on the TOP floor---and usually in a building that doesn't have an elevator. How does that logically work out?
Anyway, I'm at a loss of what to say. I feel Scott's pain at home teaching. I've pulled some teeth and people are starting to move on with visiting teaching in Gimhae--hopefully I can get it going in Gupo. Then again, transfers are next week and who knows where I'll be. Ahh, my life. It really does do great things for people. I see more and more the power behind the home and visiting teaching programs. Not to mention it makes my job easier because I can focus more on proselyting and less on reactivation. Never underestimate the difference your hour of time can make. Members are amazing. When we all work together the work gets done and we have a little (or a lot of) fun in the process.
Karina, I'm jealous of your Wicked tickets(mom told me about them)---you saw the original cast? When, how and where? Was it a reunion performance? Gah, I'm turning green with envy. You know, it's not easy being green. Okay--I'm done.
Okay, my mind is blank. Sorry I don't have more stories.
We had several less actives and a few perpetual investigators (we call them english investigators---they continue with the lessons and they come to english class---but they don't really make changes or come to church) come to Church on Sunday---it was delightful. It's so good to see people opening their hearts and schedules to the Gospel. Ahh, what a great work.
I won't bore you any longer, and Sis, Hadden wants to email, I'm sure. I love you all and pray for you constantly. Thanks for the prayers, letters and support!
Your favorite Korean Mission!