Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Letter 2/17/2014

We didn't get any new investigators this week (haha) (reference to how they got 9 new investigators last week) but we had a lot of other progress and blessings.
Sister Choi Geum-Ja who had a baptismal date on 12/29 called us on the 8th, telling us that she was suddenly ready to be baptized. She'll be baptized onFebruary 23rd!!!! And the members have really been helping to welcome her. She's a piano teacher so we asked the bishop to give her a calling to play the piano in RS. And she's already been doing missionary work! She's been talking to her friends about us and advertising our English program for us and she invited two friends over to help her make food on Thursday when she feeds us (that's her baptismal interview date and she offered to feed us lunch before the interview).

We've been super busy but it's been nice. We normally do our weekly planning on Friday but we had to put it off until Monday last week because we didn't have time.

There's a woman who works on a base and attends the English branch in my mission and she is going to help me get gluten-free food (I'll obviously pay for it). She orders it from Amazon. She scheduled certain food to come every three months.

We had exchanges on Wednesday and Sister Gwak Min-Hi came to Ansan with me.

We're starting a similar but slightly different program in our English class and I'm excited. A change was greatly needed. And now we have two other Americans in our ward instead of me.

We went to the temple on Thursday!

We went straight back to our area so help a brother (that reactivated this month) move offices. He's a magician and we found a lot of fun stuff while packing up. We didn't get a p-day but we didn' have anything urgent so it was okay. My companion really wanted the food that he was going to buy for us for helping. I could never be so motivated by food. Food hates me (reference to her digestive problems).

They don't have movie ratings in Korea either (probably referring to how they don't have ratings in Japan).

One of our new investigaors who seemed to have a lot of promise seemed a little less certain after we finished teaching the first lesson. The first lesson always sounds a lot like "America this. America that." "The Book of Mormon took place in America." Joeseph Smith lived in America." "Our headquarters are in America." "Our prophet lives in America and every single latter-day prophet has been American...." And it turns a lot of people off.

At our last mission conference I sat at a table with only Koreans and afterwards a sister said to me; "You can sit with me if you're stuck at a table full of natives. I know how that can be." But I was actually thoroughly enjoying myself. I didn't understand. (This is in reference to how the American missionaries often treat the Korean missionaries - she's having a hard time with it)
I still don't have hanbok pictures but I'm going to copy some of Sister Jeong's pictures onto my camera this week.

The photos are of the sisters in her mission with the mission president, and looking down on the city from the mountains.

Letter 2/9/2014

This week was crazy. We weren't able to do very much work last week because of Seol-nal but this week boomed beyond imagination.
We called a lady we met on the street the day before my birthday and she wanted to meet with us for English (and maaaybe religion). We've met with her twice already and she's a trip. She's 77 and hilarious. She spent most of her life in Germany so she speaks a lot of German when she wants to speak English and sometimes she speaks a little Japanese on accident too. She really likes to talk. We can't even sneak in to change the subject because she doesn't pause to breathe!!!! She offered to give our closing prayer yesterday (she said the Lord's Prayer).
A woman saw a flyer for our English class and came last week but said she didn't want to come again. We asked if she wanted to meet with us one\on-one and she was really excited about that. So we met with her yesterday and she has the potential to be a golden investigator. She used to be Christian but drifted from it. When we talked about Heavenly Father and prayer she started tearing up and said she would pray.

A woman and her grandson started attending our children's English class a couple of weeks ago and the boy (Seong-Bin) goes to the primary activities afterwards. We were able to talk to the grandmother during one of these activities - the grandma is raising Seong-Bin. She asked us to come over to teach him English and the gospel. She's catholic. We met with them twice this week too.
And this grandmother told a friend about us and this friend also wants to meet with us for English and gospel. So we met with her once.

And for the climax:
I don't know if I've told you about this family or not. They attend both English classes every week. They lived in California for two years and want their daughters to keep their English. The dad has amazing English and is working on his PhD right now. They're really amazing and we keep trying to meet with them but the father's mother lives with them and she didn't want us over. They haven't been coming to class as frequently lately and have expressed that they don't like our system. We were really afraid of losing them. But after our Wednesday class the mother asked us to come over and teach their daughters personally. We were super excited. The fed us on Thursday and told us that they also want us to teach their daughters about our church. The Dad believes in God and has read the Bible, the Qur'an and the Book of Mormon. But he hates Christians and Christian churches. But he feels like we're different, more pure. So he wants his daughters to know about us. We're super excited about this! SO EXCITED! We skipped and sang all the way home (unless we saw people, of course) that night.
I'm jealous of you being able to spend time with the chibs (our little ones - this is a left over from Japanese/English our family spoke - chibi means little. She is referring to me being done with running our family business, and being able to homeschool the kids and spend lots of time with them in Korea).
Pack what you wish you had had in Japan. I think you'll be in a fairly populated area.
My Koreannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ( I asked about her Korean)
Everyone tells me I'm good for the amount of time I've been out. My comp said my pronunciation is the best of the missionaries "my age". I think Japanese has been helping me with putting sentences together. I was able to start translating last transfer for the elder who came in with me. But I speak with "Satori", which is the Busan dialect - because of Japanese. So it's fun. I can't control it. My comp was trying to help me out the other night but it wasn't doing much good. I don't speak flat enough so I sound more sing-songy. I speak through my nose more and my tones go up and down. My comp assures me that it's cute but I don't like it because people don't understand me even if my pronunciation is perfect. And I pronounce my words too clearly to understand. That's right. TOO CLEARLY. I didn't think that would be a problem. whateva.

Letter 2/2/2014

We got transfer calls on Saturday night! Literally everyone I talked to told me that I was going to train for sure but I'm not. I'm staying in Ansan with Sister Jeong! We both thought she would leave for sure. We're both super-duper happy to be serving togeher again. We were hoping that we could serve together for another transfer but didn't think that that was possible. The elder in my ward who came out with me is going to Gangnam. Our district leader is going back home to Korea. So his companion is getting a greenie! I'm excited to have a baby in the ward to make me feel like a big kid. This means that I'll probably be in Ansan for at least two more transfers. The APs said we're getting 30 new missionaries this transfer. They said that all of them are coming to our mission but they must be going to the Seoul mission too. The last two transfers have had groups of 30-something missionaries come to Seoul and Seoul South. Our mission has about 150 missionaries right now and they said it was going to get it up to 200, which is a lot considering how small our mission is. I think I'll be returning one (like this transfer) or two transfers after Christmas. It will be around Seol-nal (pronounced Seollal) (the Lunar New Year) next year.
Seollal (the Lunar New Year) was this week! It's a really big deal. It's like Christmas. But because it doesn't have traditions from all over Europe contributing to it, it's very structured and everyone celebrates the same way. On the day before Seollal the moms spend all day making food and everyone eats all day (mothers hate Seollal). Then on Seollal people visit their family, usually grandparents. And then after Seollal, everyone rests, mostly staying home. We weren't able to do a lot this week because of that. The streets were EMPTY. It had a  relaxing feeling but it was also kind of creepy. So we spent the day doing things that didn't require face-to-face contact like sticking up flyers for our English class, heart attacking less actives, and delivering message cards. On Friday we had a mission training conference which was fun. Sister Jeong let me borrow a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) to wear. I'll try to get a picture from her. Those are actually best. I want one. Some members made traditional food for us (mandoo (dumplings) and ddeok juuk (mochi soup)) and it was super nice of them to do that for us on this special holiday! On Saturday a single woman in our ward invited us over for lunch and it was very nice. She went to A LOT of work for us. And she played some traditional games with us!
They used this game to teach their children the different ranks and positions in the dynasty.