Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on a Warm October Afternoon‏

Business first: I took money out of my account to buy an electronic dictionary--so don't worry that money disappeared. I sent my ballot back on Friday, so I'm fairly sure it'll get there on time. I am a responsible citizen who is honored to vote in local elections---the most important ones--even if other missionaries make fun of me for taking my civic duties seriously. I'm proud to be an American. Thanks for paying ot rush it to me, Dad. I know you don't do stuff like that often. I'd have loved a note or something with it though :).

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

Gandalf is here! Gandalf is here!

Well, another week gone by. It goes ridiculously fast. Is time going fast at home? I feel like I'll wake up and be on a plane home. That's no good---I have a lot of work left to do here!

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

If any show creates Happiness, It's Conference!

Well, it's been a fabulous week. A lot of proselyting time was cut out for Zone Conference and then General Conference, but that's definitely worthwhile--one must LEARN the Gospel before they can share it.

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

Homesick for Conference‏

I just want you all to realize how lucky you are that you get to watch Conference live and hear the prophet's words as they come out (even with a ten-minute delay). I'll be watching it this coming weekend. I'm really excited. I love Conference. Hard to believe that the second of only 3 conferences on my mission is completed, though. Weird. I'll have many comments on it next week I'm sure. Mom, since the live feed didn't work on the internet you should go back and try it now. They are available and should work fine.

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!