|My companion and I overcoming obstacles.|
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Happy Easter to you all!
I had a wonderful Easter complete with hard boiled eggs given out during church! I love Koreans. But it really was a wonderful day and I loved spending time remembering the resurrection of Christ. Every year I appreciate the wonder of that incredible event more and more as my understanding of it grows. And my testimony of, and love for the Savior has grown so much in these past three months. (I hit my one month in Korea mark this week. Can you believe it?). I really am so grateful to be here, learning this incredibly hard language, trying to open people's hearts to God. Everyday I am reminded of my inadequacies and I am so grateful for experiences like this that force me to humble myself and put my trust in God. I know that there is no way I could do what I am doing without Him and will be forever grateful for that.
I don't know if many of you have heard, but a ship full of Korean high school students sank just outside Incheon. We don't hear much about news as missionaries, but this is everywhere. Something like 70 have been confirmed as dead and many others cannot be found. It is incredibly sad. It has opened up some incredible lessons for us though this past week with our investigators. We taught two amazing lessons about the purpose of life and the Plan of Salvation this week. It's sad that something like this has to happen in order for some people to turn to the Lord, but I hope that it will open the door for many people to hear our message of hope. Keep them in your prayers, would ya?
As for the rest of the week! Monday was "black day" here in Korea which is basically their "single's awareness day". To celebrate, all the single people eat this noodle dish called 자짱면. So, naturally, we sister missionaries reserved every right to participate in the celebration. So yummy! We also had a day where we all happened to wear black and white stripes (which is the new pink here in Korea). So on the way to our service, we made an effort to walk behind anyone wearing a black and white striped article of clothing. As if we don't get enough weird looks already! :)
This week at our service thing (teaching English at a day care) the kids were especially cute. They taught us Korean songs and handshakes and drowned us in laughs and hugs! Then on the way out they yell "Bah-eee" to us all the way down the street. Gosh, if I come home with any souveniers from this place, it may or may not be a little Korean. It doesn't say anything about that in the white handbook does it? ;)
I also rode the most packed subway I have ever ridden in my life this week. Picture the most jam packed subway you can imagine. No one can see the floor nor move their arms and everyone is touching at least four other people. Now add twenty more people to that. Seriously when I was sure there was no way of getting even one more person on, ten would squeeze in. It's amazing, really.
Also, several times this week (four, to be precise) as my companion and I were walking down the street we would simply bow and say "안녕하세요!" ("Hi!") only to receive the immediate response of "예뻐요!" (Which means "Your beautiful!"). And they say it over and over as we walk away, smiling of course. Why don't Americans do that, huh? Really. I'm going to bring it back to America with me and anytime anyone says hi to me I will immediately compliment them on their beautiful faces. Yep.
I hope all is good and well back in that beautiful mountainous place I once called home! I love love love love love love you all to bits and pieces. Reese's pieces. Yum.
The really tall blonde one with the confused look on her face. Yeah, that one.
P.S. I got to do a lot of drawing this week! I made fliers for general conference that I drew up on the bus (of President Monson at the pulpit) and we copied them and took them to our less-actives! I also did a little pastel picture for our bishop's wife's birthday and drew a little during conference (as always). Woo!
|Aw, we match!|
|I bought my first pair of grandma pants and I am never going back. They have these everywhere and they are the most comfortable things in the world!|
|I am going to convert all of North America to the grandma pant way!|
|They have these photo booth things, only way cooler, so naturally we had to do it.|
Want to hear something cool?
Go listen to conference.
That's actually not what I was going to say, but then I realized that was the perfect solution. I'll get back to that. But cool story of the week! We got on the bus to go to our service (teaching English to the cutest chubby cheeked little Asian babies around-- seriously. Listening to them try to say "ridiculous" will make your week) and I sat next to a lady in front of the other Sisters. I started up a conversation and MIRACULOUSLY held the conversation the whole way! There were a few times where I had no idea what she was saying, but I would just smile and nod and say "다시한번?" or "모르겠어요..." meaning "one more time?" and "I don't know.." Two VERY useful phrases, those. I'll be sure to teach them to you when I get home. :)
But after I invited her to meet with us and we got off the bus, the Sister training leader said, "I wouldn't have done that by myself until months in the mission!" I'm tellin you. It's my trainer. Seriously, Sister McGill is an angel and I am learning so much from her example. We both love to spontaneously take off running and experiment with cooking. This week we made syrup and french toast! So so yummy. She's just so darn nice.
Speaking of nice people, KOREANS. Holy. We had four meals either paid for or prepared for us this week. Mama, don't worry. They are taking good care of us. We started teaching a little family this week (they have English interest, but we are working on helping them recognize God's hand in their lives) and the mom told us that it must be hard being away from home in a foreign country and that if we ever need anything at all, she wants us to call. So nice! The people are so generous when they invite us into their homes to sit on their floors and sip tea. I love the culture here. And I really love these people. I just wish they would open their hearts to our message because I know the happiness that it brings and I want that same happiness for all of them!
Now after that brief interlude, conference! I realize that I am a little late getting on this bus, but hey, better late than never I always say! (I actually never say that, nor do I know how to say that in Korean, so I take it back). But I have always heard how great conference is as a missionary, so I was especially excited for this one. And, of course, it was so good. I went into it with so many questions and came out with so many answers. I loves how so many of the speakers touched on how hard life can be sometimes, but that God gave us the Atonement and God gave us families. It's so simple! We spent a lot of time this week talking to investigators and less-actives about families and I really just want to give a shout out to mine. I LOVE MY FAMILY SO MUCH. From little (or not so little anymore?) Ander to my wonderful grandparents and everywhere in between. You are all such an example to me and I know that so much of who I am today has been influenced by you. You are all wonderful. Know that you are in my prayers always and that I, and more importantly, Heavenly Father loves you.
And yo mama loves you too. My mama will never let me forget about that. ;)
"Sister Mek... Oh! So hard!"
"I know, I know. I need a Korean name!"
"Yes, right now! Meh cur ah mo mo mo is so hard!"
That's about how it goes everytime. :)
Okay okay. One more.
P.P.S. We watched conference in a little room together as a zone and between sessions went out to do some street contacting. As soon as we walked out onto the busy street and I could hear some guy babbling undiscipherable Korean from one corner and could smell jinbang from the little market across the street, I couldn't help but let out a happy little laugh. My companion looked at me with raised eyebrows and all I could do was smile at her. While we were watching conference, I momentarily forgot we were in Asia, and upon my remembering, I was filled with happiness. I really, really love it here.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Hi hi hi hi hi.
Okay, so you know how the main theme of last week's letter was food? Well, get used to it. Because THE FOOD. This week we had a meal at a member's house (a 식사 we call them) and she fed us sooo much food. I haven't been that full for a long time. We didn't eat anything the rest of the day! My companion and I also may or may not have indulged in some good old-fashioned American food this week... But we had to. McCloskey+McGill+McDonalds=McDuh. But we made up for it after cooking quite the Korean meal yesterday to break our fasts. Mama, you woulda been proud.
Also, this week I went on an exchange with Sister Young (the Sister training leader) and it was awesome. We visited a member in our ward and it was such a cool experience. She saved up all she had to come to America when she was sixteen to get heart surgery and it left her legs and arms crippled and ruined her eyesight and speech. Her testimony was so powerful and she just exuded God's love. People like her are so incredible. I have met so many amazing people on my mission already.
We also had several little miracles this week. Like travelling all the way to a less active's home then realizing we didn't have a way to contact her to get in to her gate. So, after contemplating how we were going to jump the gates gracefully in our skirts, we took it to the Lord. And, of course, as we prayed she came running out to greet us. That same night, after some amazing plum tea in her home, we were rushing to get home so we wouldn't be late, but realized that the bus we got on stopped two stops too early when everyone got off. We must have looked perplexed because the bus driver asked where we needed to go and he went out of his way, off his route, past his working hours, to drop us off there. It was so nice of him. We have been the receptors of so many small acts of kindess, it is wonderful!
As for investigators, we are working hard to find them. We do a 30/30 thing where we teach english for thirty minutes and the gospel for thirty (in Korean). So it's hard to find people who are actually interested in the gospel. So we do a lot of street contacting and talking to people on the buses and subways. I love talking to people, I just hope we can find some people the Lord has prepared, because I know they are there.
Oh! And remember the quote I was talking about last week from "Our Heritage"? Well, I found the actual quote and wanted to share it with you (with my words substituted here and there):
"We came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him through our extremities... Was I sorry that I chose to come on a mission? No. Not now nor any minute of my life to come. The price we paid was a priviledge to pay and I am thankful that I was priviledged to serve in the Korea, Seoul Mission."
This goes out to all those who have served or are preparing to serve (Abigail and Marcus!). I already can see how amazing this work is and how much closer I am to the Lord. It's hard, the language is hard, it's hard to find people to teach and to teach to their needs, but it's so fulfilling and so wonderful.
I love you all.
Really, I do!
All my love and more,
P.S. Dad, we ate this stuff called "hoduk" from a street vendor and you would have died. It's like a scone/ papusa looking thing and it's full of this cinnamony syrup stuff. Seriously. SO GOOD.
P.P.S. Jenna, Jessie, Briana and Tori: Remember that outfit I wore on my last weekend in Utah? The crazy pants, wig and stuff? Well, I would fit in here wearing that. No joke. People here are so stylish and wear some of the crazy coolest stuff. It's so awesome!