Monday, August 31, 2009

Did you think to pray?

Miracles happen. They really do. In fact, I think that they are so frequent that we overlook them and just pass them off as "normal life". But, when you sit down at the end of the day and think about the ways that you've seen the hand of God in your life (and then think about the ways it was there and you DIDN'T see it) it's impossible not to see incredible blessings.

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

Save a dolphin--eat a whale‏

So, I went to Jangsaengpodong (romanized Korean hurts my brain) and we ended up doing some "street proselyting" inside the Whale Museum because it was so hot that there were no people outside. We got some good contacts out of it, so I don't feel guilty about going to a museum on a day other than P-day. You'll be happy to know that whaling IS internationally illegal and that that all of the whale meat they have in that little whaling town comes from beached whales. This is no San Francisco---if there's a beached whale there's no rush of hippies trying to push it back out ot sea with their bare hands---they all rush in with their scalpals (or whatever you take a whale apart with) and make a business of it. Not to mention, I'm sure a lot of it comes from poaching. So, that's my update on the world's source of whale meat.

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

Another message from Sister Ogre-by‏

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

Subjects are elusive‏

First a funny story and then a sad story.

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 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 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

Transfers and the Black Market‏

Well, to start off, I've been transferred. I'm now in an area called Ulsan (I think that's the romanization) of it. My new companion is Sister Montgomery from Kamas, UT (up by Strawberry). She was a Music, Dance Theatre Major at BYU before her mission so we should get along well---we'll sing our way along constantly :). It'll be fun and different to be with an American companion. She's excellent at Korean, though, so I think I'll learn a lot from her (it's just easier to HEAR Americans). WE went on a spilt--uh-ehm--"companion exchange" together a few weeks ago and it was a blast. I like Ulsan, but I'm not looking forward to the mosquitos or sleeping on the floor. I think I'll be able to convince the office to get me a tri-fold (a pad like the one I slept on in Gupo) though. As for the bugs, I'll just have to try vartious types of mosquiot repellent and figure out what actually works. Last time I got eaten alive. I got depressed and stopped counting bites at should be fun to see the shipyards up in Hyundai-land, though.

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!