Monday, November 30, 2009

The Kingdom of God or NOTHING‏

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.

Much Love!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hello all!

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

Shipyards are COOL!‏

Almost funny story---I say *almost* because I managed to stop myself: The other day I was reading the Book of Mormon in Korean on the bus, a regular occurence when the people immediately surrounding you get less chatty. I also often ask the people around me what a word means when I don't know right off hand. Usually their explanations are way over my level of Korean, but at least it starts a conversation. Anyway, I'm reading along and I come across a word I don't know (of which there are usually many). I turned a little bit to ask the woman behind me and I felt this weird feeling I should just use my dictionary instead. Thinking this is silly I lean a bit more to ask. Same feeling only stronger. I thought that was kinda weird, so I retreat and pull out my dictionary to look up the word. The word was: circumcision. Yep, the Spirit protected me from starting a quite awkward conversation with an innocent little Grandma.

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'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

I Love Missionary Work!!

Monday, November 9th, 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


I like when I hear from all three of my sisters in one week. You're all doing such different things and in such different stages of life, yet you're all so the same. Now....if I only heard from my brothers once in a while...

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!