Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Fathers' Day to Dad!! It really snuck up on me this year...I didn't notice until about 10 PM last night....luckily you're a day behind and it's still Father's Day there and this is still on time!

Funny, I always have all sorts of little thoughts throughout the week "Huh, that might be something fun to write to my family..." but when I sit down to actually type them out to you...the memory just isn't there. I'm allowed to turn my brain off on P-day. Give me a break!

Kind of remarkable---yesterday I was getting frustrated that none of my investigators were really progressing and that I didn't exactly know how to help them. I started to really pray for greater inspiration and to find some new people to teach. Right after we had finished Church in the Pungho ward the Chinhae Bishop called me and told me that I had an investigator at that ward and that I should come meet them (People in Korea still haven't figured out the difference between a POTENTIAL investogator that I've never met and an investigator). So I was scratching my brain as to which person could have finally bit the bullet and headed out to Church...and we got was a girl I'd never seen before. Turns out she's the non-member "not" girlfriend of the Bishop's son who is just barely about to turn 19. I think every person I saw that day emphasized to me that she's NOT his girlfriend--but I know better...she's got a sappy little sticker picture of her and him together stuck on her phone---and quite a ring on her finger...though in Korea that doesn't ALWAYS mean what you think it does. The poor girl was SO scared when the Bishop introduced her to me--that whole scared-to-death-of-the-boyfriends'-intimidating-Bishop-father thing....I can relate (just kidding Old Man!). I kinda felt bad for her. But she was really great while we taught her the First Lesson. I really like her. Answers to prayers always come--even if the method isn't exactly what you were expecting. I think it'll be really fun to teach her. I hope I can show her the love and comfort she needs to understadn the greatness of this Gospel.

There are few things that have been sadder to me on my mission than to visit Less Active members who served missions. How can one give so much of themselves and not take it to their grave and beyond? I don't get it! I look at all of the strong, happy families I've seen in Korea and in almost every case at least one, and usually both parents have served missions. What happens that that gap comes out? How does someone who preached it day and night for 2 years just let it go? I visited three such families this week, and I'm grateful to see I've seen a little improvement in each of them since my last visit. No matter what mistakes people make or how long htey disappear, the Lord will always welcome them back with open arms if they but come to Him. I'm grateful that your level of discipleship is always in your own hands and the only person who can keep it from you is yourself. No matter where you are you can always stand to "rise to a new sense of commitment" (First Pres. Message PMG page iv or v) and in continually doing so, you will never fall and forget what you had before.

The humidity has rolled in full force. My poor high and dry from Wyoming companion is having a rough time adjusting. It's not really bothering me so much this year (knock on wood). I step outside and it kinda makes me happy--and an "ahh--it feels like my mission" feeling overwhelms me. The only times I've been around humidity I've been on vacation. I used to hate it, but now it's just a pleasant little reminder that it's okay--I'm still in Korea (I've had some premature going home nightmares lately...). Either that or there's gonna be QUITE the storm in the Rockies this afternoon. People in Kroea don't understand me when I say the weatehr is different with no humidity, because most of them have never been somewhere without humidity. They ask me if there are four seasons in Colorado and I respond yes, becasue it's not Hawaii or California, and they just don't get how it could be different. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

Well, there I go off about the weather...that's my cue to get off.

I love you all!


World Cup and P day (14 Jun email)

P-day is officially on Monday from here on out. Change your calendars or whatever....

So, Saturday was the first game of the World Cup. The whole country shut down. I knew soccer was big all over the world, but I didn't understand that it really takes over the world. It was really fun on our bus ride home to see the masses of people in red jerseys (is that spelled jersies?) and with their glow-in-the-dark red devil horns wandering around (still haven't figured out what the mascot is that htey wear horns....I thought it was a Tiger...I'll ask someone next time with World Cup comes up...which won't be long). My companion and I decided that we have to go on a hunt for some of those light-up horns, though. That'll be fun...."The Mormon missionaries walked into my store asking for devil horns the other day!" I'm excited to find them.

The night of the actual game we were instructed that we weren't allowed to call anyone....which makes planning the next day practically, instead of planning, we sat on our balcony on the 13th floor (is it a bad omen that I live on the 13th floor?) and watched all of the people and families all gathered at home together to watch the game. I've never seen so many families home all at was a miracle. Korea should be in the World Cup more often :). There was such an the air. It was fun because we didn't even have to see the game, we knew EXACTLY when we scored because the whole city (and probably country) went into an which point my companion and I would jump up and down screaming and cheering out the window. We didn't even see the game and we got to cheer for it. We celebrated for BOTH of the points we got---and several other things...not sure what they were :). It was way better than the Superbowl could ever be.

Thursday wasn't all that long ago, so there's not a lot to say. We miraculously ran into to not one but TWO of our potential investigators who have been really difficult ot get a hold of. That was pretty cool. At that point it doesn't even matter that the Less Actives we were heading out to visit weren't even home. No effort is wasted. The Lord will take every ounce of effort and make it productive to His cause.

Things are going really fast. I can't believe it's already the third week of this transfer. Sister Cramer has been here 2 months now. That's really amazing to me. Time flies when you're having fun.

The funny thing to me is that I never really had any idea what to expect on my mission. Lots of people told me it would be hard. And they were right. Others said I would really grow. And they were right. Soem people said that it'd go faster than any other year and a half of my life. And they were CERTAINLY right. But no one ever told me how much FUN a mission is. I think people don't like to talk about how FUN their mission is for fear that other people would think that if you thought it was FUN then you must not be a good missionary--you must have just messed around. Well, I'll tell you from experience that all of the good missionaries know that a mission is fun--that it's the most joyous work you could ever do. People who just mess around don't think it's fun...they think it's prison. But a mission is truly so much fun! Every day is just such an adventure full of love and life and miracles.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Korea, particularly in my beautiful little naval town of Chinhae. There's a certain magic and pleasantness in the air that just can't be found anywhere else in the world. It's like a fairy tale land or something. Amazing things happen here every day.

Everyone stay safe and happy and cool. Remember who you are...and don't do anything I wouldn't do!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Hot!‏

I can handle hot,'s the HUMIDITY that gets me. Nothing like feeling that you're molding from the inside out. It's just beginning. I'm excited for the next few months of wet and sticky. Hopefully the fact that the weather is changing means that whatever I'm allergic to will go away soon. I'm quite tired of sneezing.

I forgot to mention a few weeks ago that Malea wins the award for the best pictures sent to me my whole mission. Between her new haircut and....Chalene's haircut in 1992...I had quite a laugh. Those are perhaps the worst pictures of our family ever...but they sure capture everyone's personality really well. I like it a lot. All this time we've really changed so much---yet so very little.

Things are going pretty well. Kang Chung Suk, a grandma who runs a little clothing store (and if I had my way I'd come home with half her store...) read the whole Book of Mormon and is excited to come to Sunday School (and be talked into staying for Sacrament by the RS President). She does not, however want to have us teach her the lessons. At least shell be coming to Church. Hopefully after coming to Church she'll feel a little differently. She's doing really well, though. Pray for her to want to learn more about the Restoration.

Chinhae is going really well. I found a less active family this last week who have children who have served missions and are married in the Temple (and now live in Seoul). No one at Church remembers them, but they must have been pretty strong at one point, given the way the Grandpa kept talking to me. Wish I could have gone in and taught, but the Grandpa was home a doorside visit had to do. We'll be back to visit them when the grandma is home for sure.

Time is going ridiculously fast. I can't believe that I'm one of the "oldest" sisters. I still haven't learned Korean yet! It's a good thing I still have plenty of time to work on that little problem. This past week my companion said to me "I've been here two months and I still can't speak Korean!" I looked at her and said "I've been here 13 months and I still can't speak Korean!!!" The thing is she doesn't realize just how good she is at Korean and just how much she's learned in that time. It's really a miracle we can learn it at all.

I'm not ready to send Sis. Hadden home in less than a month, though. She's been with me since day one. If she goes home it's like the time when you're working as a cashier and suddenly your receipt paper comes out splotchy red. It means it's almost out. I don't like it. It makes me panicky---especially when there's so much to be done. I'll just have to work excitedly every last minute.

This is the greatest work in the world. I get to wander around one of the most beautiful cities in the world teaching anyone who will listen the secrets to happiness and life. How did I ever get so fortunate as that? There's so much joy and happiness in the work. God blesses us when we do His work His way. I'm so grateful for the chance to serve as a pioneer in this work in this magical land. Watching the people blossom with testimonies of God is the most gratifying sight in the world.

Pray. Read Your Sciptures. Go to Church. Love one another.

All my love,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sore . . .

Yesterday we had huge Sports Conference for our Stake. It was a blast! I'm proud to say that I'm the only missionary who didn't get sunburned... :)

Korean dodgeball is really's much more creative than straight dogdeball in America and is much more about stratagy than brute force or hitting each other hard.

The best event was kickball---by far. I haven't played kickball since elementary school. It was a blast. The only people who played were the moms. The fun part is that I knew EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I've been around this stake for a while, I guess. I've never seen any of these women do anything more rigorous than dishing rice (and trust me....sometimes they do that QUITE rigourously) or making kimchi (a unique chore in and of itself)--and it was quite entertaining to see. It's the only time in my life I've ever been told I was good at sports :). They were just all excited that the missionaries would play with them.

P-Day will be changing back to Monday in the next few weeks....still no announcement on exactly when (first week of July?). The reason being a simple declaration from Salt Lake to follow the P-Day schedule set up by the missionary committee. When the prophet says "jump"... President Jennings said that this change will not afftect the return date for missionaries whose tickets home have already been finalized---I think I fit under that category, but it might just be people going home this transfer and not next. There's a small chance I'll be heading out a few days earlier than scheduled before. I'm sure they will be sure to get you the right information on that whole ordeal. The real point is that you should probably return to the Sunday email schedule. It sounds like Thursday was hard for *some* of you this is good news...right?

We had the Asia North Area Mission Doctors come on Tuesday to our Zone Conference. I got to see lovely pictures of foot fungus problems and then listen to a psychologist coach us all on controlling the "little voices" in our heads. Psychology is such a right-brained science (until you get int othe chemistry). I had a hard time taking the guy seriously...I'm not gonna lie. I suppose I should be grateful that my life is balanced enough that I don't need that sort of help. On a more productive note...I've decided to fix the fact that my posture has gotten terrible (Korean traditional sitting styles don't exactly invite proper posture). I shall return to a mediocre level of "lady-like" in the next few weeks. Wathc out charm school--here I come.

Things are a little slow around here this week. Lots of long meetings and events that aren't even in my area have slowed down the process of everything, but they were all good and hopefully beneficial in the long run.

You know you're an old missionary when you get a standardized "Don't get trunky" letter from your mission president. I really like mine and I posted it on my wall above my desk and wrote a sticky note on it that says "Translation: Don't get trunky!!~Love, President Jennings"

One of my investogators read the whole Book of Mormon. Cover to cover. I'm pretty proud of her. She promised to come to Church on Sunday...and it's right by her doesn't have much of an excuse. She's the one that the Relief Society miraculously found one day right at a critical moment. If I didn't tell you that'll just have to wait to hear it later, cause I'm too lazy to type it out right now.

Well, I can keep writing strange little quips about my life as a missionary, but I think most of what I could say would bore you.

Love to all!