Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14,  2013

It's a strange place to be emailing from, a "pc bahng," or massive
game room with leather chairs and nice computers. 3$ for 2.5 hrs. And
lot's of screaming Koreans and the sounds of video game violence. But
this is one of the cleaner ones, so we're lucky.

It's been a great week! The days sure are long, but the weeks sure are
fast! I feel like I've already been here forever. I've taught more
english classes then ever in my life, and held more male hands than
ever before. (Koreans are super touchy. But it's cool. Hebrews 13:1) I
met a professional soccer player, got his number and enjoyed he and
his girlfriend's matching phone, shoes, shirts, pants, rings,
bracelets, and bags. It's called 'couple-ing' and it's a thing. A big
thing. I've eaten lots of seaweed, strange meats, suspicious
mushrooms, crazy veggies and so much DELICIOUS food. It's amazing.
Things I never would have tried....I love. I'm definitely becoming
Korean. I think it has something to do with the Kimchi. It seeps into
you. Korean's have lots of pizza too. But with really different
toppings. No one's heard of cheese pizza, but sweet potato pizza?
Classic. Everyone and their mother asks if I have a girlfriend. I say
no, I'm a missionary. Then they always, without fail, gesture around
and instruct me to pick one! Funny. It's great to go up to students
who know english and tell them "OH my! You are very handsome!" In
english. Great way to start a gospel conversation.

Also, this past week the elementary school near our apartment has been
practicing for something. We've heard it's for their performance at
the World Cup? But it involves them BLASTING music that echoes through
the neighborhood for hours. And so much screaming. It sounds like the
world cup is actually happening over there. So it's fun to study with
that going on :) Just another day in paradise.

General Conference was AMAZING. I only ended up being able to watch
the priesthood and sunday sessions, but it was still SUPER good. I've
always loved conference, and love how all the questions I take there
get answered. But I've never received the amount of personal
revelation that I did at this conference. I learn much from the words
that were spoken but SO much more from the Spirit. My notes mostly
have nothing to do with the speakers' talks. So I'm excited to get the
Ensign and study the talks more!

But I did love two particular teachings. "To win a man to your cause,
you must first convince him that you are his sincere friend." I would
add that we must also truly be that sincere friend. This applies so
much to missionary work. For most people, it's not the doctrine that
leads them to meet with the missionaries, but the way they feel, the
love they feel, or how happy/nice the missionaries seemed. Because in
Korea, a huge part of our time is spent street contacting, convincing
people that you are their friend is super important. It's amazing to
see how my love for people is growing, and how quickly I am coming to
be there friend. I had a miracle happen the other day. On the subway,
I was talking to this man, alone, and I carried on an entire
conversation with him. (My Korean is DEFINITELY not good enough for
that). But through the spirit, and because of my love for him, and the
relationship we built, we were able to understand each other and I was
able to teach a little bit about the restoration. From that subway
ride, we had 2 people call US afterwards. That doesn't happen.

The other point was this "Good timber does not grow with ease; the
stronger the wind, the stronger the trees." I LOVE this. As a huge
proponent of the blessings of trials, I am always excited to learn
more about how we grow through challenges. I've been thinking about
how sometimes strong wind will not come to us. We will grow strong
enough to easily withstand the wind we face at our present level. So
it is up to us to reach out and seek stronger wind, more difficult
circumstances; to step out of our comfort zone. For me, that is
relying on my native companion to save me when I jump into
conversations over my head. On the subway after conference, I prayed
for the strength to really reach out and talk to people on my own, not
looking for my companion to talk with me. (Usually I start the
conversations and he finishs them) It was definitely hard. I had a lot
of people shut me down. But miracles happened. As noted above, I got
more phone numbers than ever before in one day and we had people call
US whom I'd just given our card to. When we seek for challenge and
strive to better ourselves, regardless of the current situation, we
WILL be blessed with strength. And we will grow.

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