Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On a fall day in Korea‏

This coming weekend is General Conference! Yay! It's too bad I won't see it for a week after that because it's the middle of the night when it's aired. I haven't seen the RS Broadcast yet, and I've been told that usually you just have to wait to read it :( . I love hearing from our Apostles and Church leaders. It's like Christmas or the Restoration of the Fullness of Times or something cool like that :).

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

quick note


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

Transfers, miracles and a few awards‏

Transfers came and went and I'm staying in Ulsan with Sis. Montgomery. I'm really excited because we work well together and I really have become a much better missionary since I've been with her. Our next project is Music Proselyting---basically Christmas caroling without the Christmas part. We're singing songs about the restoration in harmony and then we just bear our testimonies and talk to people. So far it's turned out pretty well. I like it. With I could do it memorized, but memorizing songs in Korean is a slow process---much easier to read it (believe it or not). I can read Korean--weird.

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."

"Me?...WE! :)"

"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

Happiness is getting .... a package!

I received an amazing package the other day from Chalene. Thank you so much for the digital camera. I love it. The package arrived in my area Friday but I was down in Changwon for a fireside all day Saturday so I didn't get it until Sunday (yesterday). I love all of the pictures, both from Chalene and from Cristy. THe treats were exciting too. The Elders are thrilled that I'm going to share at our picnic today :).

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!