Wow! Sounds like everyone has had a great week! It is so fun to hear about everything that is going on at home--after having experienced it though, I know not much changes haha. I have had a good week! It was the first week of the transfer and of just Sister Choi and I together. She is so wonderful-she loves everyone around her so much!! It is a little frustrating sometimes because although she speaks English very well, it is not perfect, and I have to speak slowly. I know that my Korean is increasing, even if it is slowly which is good! I just have to keep being patient with myself!
Last Monday night, we were going on to jundo and there was an old harmony (or Grandmother) that was walking out of the Samsung center carrying a heavy bag, so we offered to carry it for her. Sister Choi ended up carrying it, and I held the harmony's hand as we walked about 30 minutes to her house (it took us 10 to get back but we were walking really slowly...). I know it looked hilarious. She was at least a foot and a half, if not more, shorter than me, so I was literally bent over helping her walk, and stopping with her when she got tired. She speaks with a heavy accent (saturi) and so I understand literally nothing she said to me, but I told her I was from America, and a little about our family, then let Sister Choi do the rest of the talking. Then she fed us dinner (after we had already eaten..haha) and we sat and talked/listened. I guess her daughter teaches in China so she lives there alone. She's like 86. She said she wanted us to keep visiting her, and we said we could as long as we could teach her too, so she agreed! I don't know exactly what will come of it, but it is fun to see what can come of looking for opportunities to serve!
Tuesday, we went and visited a less-active member who is also like 80 years old. She stands at like a 90 degree angle completly hunched over. Which makes her even shorter than she already is. It was pretty funny I thought. She fed us lunch and I think everything she fed us had been sitting out on her table for like 2 weeks, and I don't think she has ever really washed any of the dishes, but such is life here... I just ate it slowly so I didn't have to eat lots, and am very thankful I didn't get sick!! She is funny. Her son is our ward mission leader and is like 50 years old and not married. In her prayer she said something about, "Please Heavenly Father. Help him to get married this year!!" Then she sent us with handfuls of cherry tomatoes and we were on our way. Later that day, we were jundo-ing at a bus stop and met a lady who is less active!! Miracles are happening here in Ulsan! I don't know the full story--it seems like she used to be pretty active, but I think something happened between her and one of the other members which happens a lot here. We have tried to call, and visit her house, and haven't gotten a response, so we'll keep praying and trying! That's the best we can do!
Wednesday, we had zone meeting. They talked about the light seen when looking at the temple, and how when we are baptized, we are given a similar light. We need to remember that when we are obedient, we are blessed with the light of Christ. We don't radiate light, but the Lord gives it to us when we serve others and try to do what is right. Pretty great thought I thought!
Thursday, we fasted for one of our investigators--the 16 year old girl I told you about. She agreed to be baptized, but we fasted about when, and how we can help her. She has her exams the first week of July, so we are hoping to have the baptism a few weeks after that, but haven't had a chance to talk to her about it yet because she has been so busy studying. Hopefully I'll have an update on that next week! We also did our weekly service project helping at a place where they feed old people food. I gave them donuts and yogurt, and tried to say a little something in Korean to them and it was fun! Hard though to smell all the food while fasting... haha
Friday wasn't too exciting. Jundo-ing and weekly planning. We visited one of the former investigators at her restaurant at lunch in hopes to keep contact with her. She needs the gospel in her life, but isn't quite ready to accept it. Hopefully soon!! We will keep praying and trying to keep in contact with her!!
Saturday, we jundo-ed a lot and got 4 contacts which is exciting! We'll see what happens with that! Then we taught English class. I sat at the advanced table (they speak really good english so we mostly just talk about the culture, and other stuff) which was fun, instead of teaching the little kids Head-Shoulders- Knees and Toes like last time. Haha its always fun though!! Nice to be able to mostly speak English!!
Sunday, Elders Beutler and Flint had a baptism-- a boy that is in High School!! It went really well I think and he seems like he will be a great addition to the ward! It is so fun to feel the spirit at the baptism, and realize that this is our purpose, to help bring others to Christ through baptism. It was a good motivator!!
So there's my week! I've had a little bit of a hard time adjusting to everything this week! I don't know exactly what it is. I think being frustrated with not understanding anything going on around me! I called Sister Gilbert and she is just so wonderful!! She asked me how I had felt the Savior's love and I talked to her a little about the atonement and reading in Alma 34. I love how verse 14 talks about how everything points to Christ and his atonement. Then we talked about the Savior, and how our love for Him should drive EVERYTHING we do as missionaries, just like the Savior did everything for the Father. When this motivates all we do, which for me is talking to everyone about the gospel, pushing myself to speak and learn more Korean, and serving and loving all those around me, I will be able to forget myself and be built more and more into the person and missionary the Savior and the Father want me to be. When I do this, I will never be alone and have DIVINE help as I go throughout my days. It is easy to feel tired, and think about myself, but when I am discouraged, and begin to think about serving others around me is when I can find that true joy talked about throughout the scriptures! I can't wait tot see how this helps the people I teach as I encourage them to do the same!
This morning, I was reading President Monson's talk from priesthood session last conference. He talked suggestions for our lives, and about missionary work. He said as missionaries, we need to think of our parents and their love for us. He said, "Their labors will sustain you, their faith encourage you, their prayers uphold you. A mission is a family affair. Though the expanse of continents or oceans may separate, hearts are at one." I know this is true of our family! We are all busy doing different things, but I KNOW that you all pray for me every night, and I can feel that love and support! It is wonderful!!!
I can't believe how much I have learned over the lat 3 weeks! I am so excited to begin to act on this, and see who I become! I know it won't always be easy, but we are promised that when we have faith, our weaknesses will become strengths through the Lord!! I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!!
Hello everyone from Ulsan!! This has been a great, busy week and I have loved every minute of it. Even the hard, frustrating moments:) I got your package today--which i'm very excited about. It's the first mail i've gotten:) I have not gotten the letter yet but will watch out for it over the next few days!
So, for the week: Tuesday, we visited the YW president, who served her mission at Temple Square so speaks some English as well (but I still try to speak in Korean because that's the only way i'll learn) and she bought Costco Pizza for us:) We talked to her about how she can help the YW stand in Holy Places--like what was talked about at YW conference. Then we did some jundo-ing (prosyliting) which is where we talk to people on the bus, at bus stops, etc. I've decided it's a blessing that I'm assigned to preach in Korean because I have no problem going up and starting to talk to someone because I also have no concept of how awkward it is. Which I know it is but who cares. So I usually start the conversation asking them where they're going, or telling them their shoes are cute, then tell them we are missionaries, and let my comp take it from there. Our goal is 3 contacts a day, and we do pretty good at that I think! We also have English class on Tuesday night--where we teach English to different people we've met on the street, or the members. I helped teach the little kids, so we practiced animals and how to pronounce them. Yes. I have to hold my self back from laughing when they say "rion" instead of "lion" and "sear" instead of "seal", etc. Its hirarious. Wednesday was a very long day. we jundo-ed a lot, both on the bus and on the streets, knocked on doors in apartment buildings (called kaka-hoho-ing). I think this actually pretty entertaining because everyone has cameras so they can see who is outside their doors, and even when they ignore us, you can hear them say "way-gooks" which means forigners. We also taught a new investigator! We met her on the bus and yes, she speaks pretty good English as well!!! She went to school in Georgia, and a preacher's family really helped her when she was there, so now that she is back, she is looking for religion again. Well guess what! That's what we're here for sister! She seemed to accept what we shared with her, and said she was really busy with exams for school, so probably couldn't meet again until July. Well we called her last night, and she said she would meet with us again Wednesday!
Thursday, we had Sister's Training at the mission office (the Boo-meaning headquarters). This was basically the best ever. And I have the best mission president and wife ever. President Gilbert spoke about President Packer's conference talk and the correlation between the atonement and feeling the spirit. Here's what I wrote in my journal about it which i'm really proud of: When we repent and use the forgiving power of the atonement, we are able to more fully feel the spirit. When we use the comforting power, we gain a better knowledge of our Savior, and his love for us. When we use the enabling power, we are lifted up by the Savior to where we can better love and serve others as he would. As a missionary, i can't wait to share this with members, investigators, less-actives, or really anyone--including other missionaries--that need to really have a better grasp on the Savior's love for each one of us. We can feel this through the spirit, and the experiences we have through the spirit as we read our scriptures, perform Christlike acts, follow the words and council of our leaders, and most importantly pray to the Lord for strength and guidance. Bam. Sister Gilbert spoke about virtue and the representation bamboo has in the Korean culture of virtue. As sisters, we need to be like the bamboo trees--each growing upwards towards the light, but having massive strength together.
Friday, we jundo-ed and then studied. We went to the American family's house for dinner and had mexican food which was fabulous of course.
Saturday, we had a BBQ party with the members at one of their farms in the countryside. And yes. I ate DOG!!! Haha I only had a little but it tasted kind of like the dark meat on turkey, but greasier. I had to try it though. And now I don't have to do it again. The funny thing was, most of the Koreans there hadn't tried it before, and it was their first time too. So it really isn't very common. All the old men were really excited about it! They put it into a soup, which I didn't eat much of. I guess a couple people are sick because of some of the leaves that were in it or something. Sunday was a fun day! It was our last day with the 3 of us:( We went to church, of course. I was still super lost, and really tried to listen to parts of it, but let my mind wander to other gospel topics so got to have some nice pondering time haha. During Sunday School, we taught one of our investigators who is like 16 or 17 and had a great lesson. We talked about the restoration, and how the Book of Mormon is evidence that the gospel is true. The American family's daughter who is 17, was our member present, and she bore a great testimony about how God and Jesus Christ called Joseph by name, and they know each of us by name as well. Then, we committed her to baptism! It was a soft commitment, so we didn't set a date because she has her big exams through July, and can't decidate any time to reading the Book of Mormon until then, but it was still really great. The feeling of knowing you've helped someone know their savior a little more makes all the hard stuff worth it!
Today, we had transfer meeting in Busan, so we rode the bus there this morning, heard from the departing missionaries and President/Sister Gilbert. Sister Gilbert shared Alma 34:31, and how there are promised blessings when we act. We now need to go to a new level in our relationship with the Savior, and find what is holding us back from doing so. She said that we cannot participate in the Atonement without sacrifice on our part. Then President Gilbert said we need to move forward and go DO! The savior called us on a mission through the prophet. If we have faith, we are promised the power needed (Moroni 7:33)
I can't think of any other really funny things to tell you besides everyone has those ringback tones-aka a song that plays when you call them. People's names are really hard for me to remember, so I identify people by their ringback tones hahaha. And everyone has the giant samsung smartphones.
Hello from Korea!!!! It feels so great to say that!! I love you all so much and have missed you, but have enjoyed being here and beginning to preach the gospel more than you can know!!
Tuesday: Got here, President and Sister Gilbert picked me up (hope you got the picture from the office) and then we went back to the house said prayer with them and went to bed! Sister Gilbert is so great--she said if there is anything here I would call my mom about, to just pick up my phone and call her!! And since it was just me, I got to sleep in the room that the general authorities stay in when they come haha so that was cool!
Wednesday: President Gilbert made me an omelet for breakfast (yummy!) I filled out loads of paperwork, went to the bank with , had an intro to the mission, then went to lunch and met my companionS! Transfer day is next Monday though, so we'll see if we all stay together. I am in Ulsan city and my area is ShinJong. It is so cool-I will see if I can send pictures from here. I have taken lots haha. Yes--I am sleeping on the floor on a yo- a mat that is basically a thick quilt on top of laminate floor haha so not the most comfortable but, I'm getting used to it and am so tired by the end of the day that I am just happy to be laying down with a pillow under my head!
Thursday: We ate at a members house for lunch (an old lady who's name I don't remember) and the elders from our ward were there too. There are 4 elders and we have a good time together. I tried to help share our spiritual message, and struggled a little, but got my point acrossed. I am realizing how much I need to learn!! It's a good thing that I have so long! We also prosylited on the bus and I talked to a few people. It was kind of scary, but I am slowly getting better, and rely on my companions a lot.
Friday: We had my first district meeting! It was fun to get to know them a bit, even if some of them may get transfered next week! We got fried chicken afterwards-which is different than American fried chicken of course but was still good. You would be proud. I ate it all with my hands off the bone. Then we went and registered for my ALIEN card haha. I can go pick it up in 2 weeks. Then we Jun-do-ed (prosylited) for a bit, then I taught my first lesson to one of our investigators! Her daughter is a member, but doesn't really have a belief in the gospel. So we are trying to help both of them gain faith in Heavenly Father and his gospel.
Saturday: We walked super far to one of the member's houses. She ordered Chinese food-which of course was different than our Dragon Diner, but was really good. She served a mission, and then was inactive for a while, and feels she cannot forgive herself for that. We taught about faith, and how faith leads to action. I told her my faith grows when I bear my testimony and share the gospel with others. We asked her to remember how she helped people's faith increase when she served her mission, and challenged her to bear her testimony to someone this week. We then had an activity with the youth where they had to find different things around the church. There is an American family in our branch who live here for their dad's job (He served in Seoul.) So it was really fun for me to talk to their mom and the daughters who are in YW
Sunday: Church was good, but really frustrating because I barely understood anything!! I was having a bit of a hard time after church, and my comp read me a quote by President Eyring that talked about his granddaughter on a mission being frustrated with learning a language, and realizing that she was first being taught the language of the spirit. I hope that I can try to really focus on trying to feel the spirit, and being taught by it and how it feels to me, as I am still working on learning the Korean language. We talked for a while, and she said that she was really homesick in the beginning too, and still is, but has really learned to grow closer to the Savior at this time. I hope I can take this opportunity to do the same. The first night I was here, Sister Gilbert told me that I really need to gain a PERSONAL relationship with my Savior. When I understand the love he has for me, I will be better able to love and serve the people I am teaching as he would. I know this is just another great thing I can learn while I am here serving the Lord and helping bring his children back to him and his gospel. We taught our second investigator yesterday--she is a 16 year old girl who's mom is a member. Next week, we want to ask her to be baptized! That would be so exciting! She is so cute and even brought us a treat:)
Monday: We went to the beach with our district, and then to Gogi King--a meat buffet. You can get whatever meat you want and then cook it in front of you. I let the Koreans choose the meat and cook it, and just ate. It was good, but I am on meat overload for a while haha
Haha the food is good--but I am constantly craving sweet things because everything is so salty! So if you want ideas of things to send, candy is great haha I'm scared to open my thing of Reeses because I don't want them to be gone! It seems like I can get lots of American things at the store--it just depends on how much I want to pay for them! I have eaten lots of toast, made some spaghetti the other night, and love eating fruit and yogurt! And frosted flakes are my new favorite cereal because I have a huge box of them haha. I have eaten lots of different things. I had squid the other day. It was weird-super chewy.
Funny things I've noticed so far--
-We have to freeze our trash so it doesn't stink, and then throw it away. Koreans are very particular about garbage, and recycling things separately.
-There is delivery from McDonalds--they think Americans are lazy?! At least we leave our houses haha
-There are 7-elevens everywhere but, they don't have slurpees. Blasphemy!
-People on scooters will drive on the sidewalk if the street is too busy
-Couples occasionally wear matching outfits
-Everyone has those giant cell phones
-When you get delivery food, they bring it on real plates, and come back to get them later