Thursday, July 30, 2009

See if you can translate THESE into Korean... and good luck

Things that just can't be translated, no matter how hard you try. I thought it'd be fun to have it on my blog:

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.

Life is good...

Ahh, we found a palace to email. By palace I mean a big fancy hotel with fancy chairs and a quiet corner. It's quite nice.

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!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Liberty is too Precious a Thing to be Buried in the Books!

Today we went to the UN Memorial Cemetery in Korea---it's basically the UN's version of Arlington only it centers on the Korean War and those who served in it. It was really cool, but it burned up our prep day so this is not gonna be wordy.

I'm just grateful for those people who are willing to put their own lives and liberties at stake in order to bring life and liberty to others. If it weren't for those thousands of people from 11 different countries who fought here there's no way that I could be here spreading the light of the Gospel to people. Selflessness works miracles at home and abroad.

So, I've discovered that there is a certain art to filling baptismal fonts. We filled one in Gupo for the Elders' investigators and the following week filled one for a 8-yr old member baptism. It's tricky to get the right temperature and the right amount of water. On top of that, you can tell how long it's been since the last baptism by looking at what color red the water comes out initially. Like I said, it's an art, but one that I'm perfectly okay with practicing a lot, because Baptisms are freaking cool! I look forward to making the water less and less red in all of my areas :).

Chalene, I loved the airport stories. Traveling with kids must be stressful---I thought it was bad dragging 11 nineteen-year old boys to least I didn't have to worry that they'd assign Benjamin a seat by himself :)---though Elder Ballantyne comes close :P.

Also, Chalene, yes, I did get that first letter that week--it was much needed and you really gave me a good boost with that stress of first-week Koreaness. That was not English. Or Korean. My brain hurts.

Sorry this is short--miss you all and love to hear your stories. I love this work and am hoping for a slow preparation day next week so I can spend some extra time telling fun stories to you all.

Enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!


P.S. God is a cowboy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Singin' in the Rain

Well, it's another rainy day in Korea, but I'm not complaining. It's always humid, but if it's rainy it's less hot--which means less sticky. Everyone else hates the rain, but I love it--and I sing in it. Did you expect anything less?

Last night there was a super-cool storm. I didn't realize how much I missed THUNDER and LIGHTNING with my rain. I woke up to a big blast of thunder around 3:00 AM and then a few seconds later I actually saw it hit a big apartment building across the way from me. It was SO COOL! It was better than the time we got struck by lighting at the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center because it was just as loud, but I could see the lightning and I didn't have to start running credit cards through carbon paper in the dark because the system shut down. I sat up and enjoyed the storm and at another large thunder bolt my companion shot up in bed. I've never seen someone so scared. I thought about singing "My Favorite Things" but she ran to the bathroom instead. Whatever works.

We went to a really entertaining open house/fireside where this man named Robert Holley spoke. He might be on wikipedia, but I don't know. Anyway, he is a member who served his mission here forever and a half ago and he has come back to live, and has become a famous radio host here. He is super-entertaining, if a little on the extreme side. The rumour is that he renounced his US citizenship to become a Korean citizen (because in Korea you can't do duel). I suppose I could see a little logic in that given that he married a Korean woman and they live here together with their two kids. Don't worry, I won't be giving up my citizenship anytime soon. HE was fun to listen to, though.

Thanks to all who have sent Kayla stories. I love the pictures---she is adorable. I'm glad the boys are nice to her. That's important. Yes, Chalene, I did get the pictures last week. They were great. Also, I woudl love if people would send me prints in the mail---I'm trying to make a nice memory book with family and friend photos because they ALWAYS ask if you have one. Not to mention, it's fun to get mail.

Just as a side note---can someone make sure some of those pictures get sent to Scott. I'm not sure he cares, but I'd like to think he does (and he better pretend to if he doesn't!).

It was nice to here from you, Tim. I will ask President Jennings for special permission to watch the Solar Eclipse, or at least the highlight of it. I'm glad you told me about it. How many times in your life do you have the chance to watch a solar eclipse in Asia? Wait a minute...I live in Asia. Weird.

So, you know the saying "It takes a village to raise a child"? It's never been more true than in Korean branches. I've been here 2 months now and I still can't quite figure out whose kids are whose because they just run around the whole chapel in Sacrament and everyone takes care of everyone else's kids. It would be a good system except a lot of times it leads to the issue of no one taking responsibility when a child is misbehaving. Its just different, I suppose.

On the same spectrum, unless I've eaten at their house I usually don't know what wife belongs to what husband because the women keep their maiden names here (and even if they didn't, everyone is Kim, Lee, Choe, Park or Beh) and in little branches, mostof the men have one reason or another to sit on the stand instead of with their wives. They really are just one giant family in my brain.

Funny story: right next to the mission office there's this very Asian and/or Buddhist-looking shrine. I figured it was some worship thing and thought nothing of it. After a rumour I went and checked it out and it's true. The shrine is a memorial to the man who first developed the seedless watermelon. Yes, he has a shrine. He was half Korean. He actually went to school in Japan (his dad is Japanese) and did all of his research and development in Japan, but Korea feels the need to claim him as their own and build a shrine to him. I thought it was just the Elders pulling my leg, but it's true. Weird.

The work is moving on. We got in contact with some former investigators this week and we got a few new investigators who have a lot of desire to learn. It's so great to be able to serve. The more I give of myself the happier I become. I love this work, and I'm so grateful to be a part of the miracle that it is. Someone asked me the other day what I do, and the only thing that I could think of to say was "I spend all day making people and families happier." It really is what I'm doing--helping people be happy through Christ. I love this---nothing in my life has been more rewarding (or more difficult).

Thanks for the prayers and the support. I love you all.


PS. Costco just opened---I'm so excited.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Washin' the Coffee Mug‏

Well, hello again! Hope all is going well in the land of milk and honey (this is the land of kimchi, rice and fish).

First off, I want to start with a cool story to explain the Subject line. One of the Elders in my district shared it with us and I really think it's a great anaology for life.

When his Dad was young he got involved in drugs and alcohol. He eventually made it into couseling. His counselor in this program was a former hardcore Columbian druglord. You name it, he dun it. One day his "business" just came crashing down and nothing was left other than the addictions and massive amounts of debt (and guilt). One day, in his depressed, angry state of mind he decided that his life needed to change and decided to change. He determined that the very next day he would give up drugs and alcohol, call his family, clean his house, find an honest job and turn his life around. Well, obviously, that's not how it works---he just set himself up for failure. Those kinds of changes don't happen overnight.

He tried this method several times and just crashed harder than ever after each attempt. He decided to give up trying. Then--he decided that he didn't want to let himself down anymore, so he'd only make a simple goal which he KNEW he could keep. He promised himself that he would wash his coffee mug. So the next day, he did just that--he washed his coffee mug, and didn't even put it away. A few days later he washed it AND put it away. A little later than that, he started washing all of the dishes. He kept adding to his goals little by little and at some point he realized that he COULD overcome all of his trials little by little. As a result he is free of drug and alcohol and now works counseling others in overcoming their addictions.

So, if there's something you want to do to change your life--identify your coffee mug--figure out what you CAN do, and build from there. The second you add Christ into the equation the process becomes complete. I know that that's how God intends for us to improve---baby steps--baby steps (many of you just had the name "Gill" pop into your head).

I am a little short on time so the rest of this will be random, but that's my life.

Sis. Jennings got me Calcium tablets at Costco, so you don't need to send me any--if you did, don't fret, I'll just sell them to another sister no harm done.I'm glad to hear you all had a barbeque for Independence Day. It was a solemn feeling walking past the sleepy fire station on July 4th---that place should have been hoppin! That's okay, I'll survive.

We also had a barbeque. We were told the meat we bought was beef, but I'm not entirely convinced. Whatever it was, it was really tasty---best burgers I've ever had. We'll skip right past the part about trying to figure out why they were green in spots...Welcome to my life. It was great to have hamburgers and watermelon, though. I'm a fan. Elder Snell and Elder Murray made a US flag out of handkercheifs, which was fun, and we Americans said the pledge of allegiance(spl?). It was grand fun.

To top it all off, it was Elder Snell's 1.5 year mark so he burned a pair of pants---so we had makeshift fireworks. It's a good thing that the firestation is right next door to the Church :).

Remember how in the MTC I told you that I liked fast sunday because I understood what was being said? Well, I take that back. IT was true in the MTC when people knew to stick to 5 point testimony (because that's all they could do anyway), but in the field it's a different story. It's now the HARDEST week to understand--why?--because of the Church-wide curse of doing "open-mic day". There's no telling what people will talk about up there. If I had understood anything, I'm sure I'd have outrageous stories to tell, but I was lost, so you are too. Such is life.

And to finish--our quote of the week goes to Sis. Beckstead: "Those of us missionaries sent to Korea are the ones who were prideful. We needed to be humidified."

Much love to all!