October 7, 2013
I'm here! Finally in the beautiful land of Korea! The people are
short, the buildings are tall, and everything is beautiful. The
massive department stores, the huge smartphones that everyone over
5yrs old owns, the narrow streets, the multitudes of motorcycles that
ignore all traffic laws, the smells of hundred street food stands, the
sounds of blaring Kpop on every corner, ALL is amazing, wonderful, and
like a dream. But it all seems so familiar, like I've always lived,
belonged, and served here. It's AWESOME.
The streets are narrow and hilly, like some European countryside,
except overwhelmingly urban. Hilly, sharply cornered, and busily with
action. You just walk in the street and jump to the side whenever a
car decides to squeeze through. There are tons of sage looking old
Asian men. We talked to a couple 90+ yrs olds this week. They were
just walking around, all fine. American 90yr olds are usually on their
deathbed. These ones like hiking.
Hiking is like the national sport, so hiking dress/gear is the most
popular attire for middle aged adults. Everyone younger looks SOOO
stylish. Koreans are definitely the most fashionable people. Suits are
silken and shining and everywhere. It's sweet.
Enough about the place, let's talk about the WORK! Missionary work is
so fun! We don't really have a lot of investigators in Korea (our
companionship currently has zero progressing ones) so most of our work
is finding! The most common method is street contacting! So we just
walk the streets and talk to as many people as we can! All I can say
is "Hi." "Oh you are stylish" "Oh your impression is so becoming"
(get's them blushing every time) and "where are you going?" But it's
fine. My companion Elder Jeong (or 정지호 장로님) is really good at Korean.
Probably because he's a native of Busan, Korea. He's 22, already
served in the military, and is our district leader. He's AWESOME. The
Lord definitely put me with him for many reasons. He doesn't speak a
ton of English, but I'm still super impressed with how much he knows.
We usually get most things communicated alright, between my really bad
Korean, his English, and the dictionary. But he's an amazing blessing.
He helps me stay focused, because we can't really talk about non
missionary things. I love him so much. He's incredibly patient with
me. And I'm super grateful that he's willing to be obedient. and that
he's alright working hard, because I'm am SOOO into that. I'm all for
walking briskly, talking to everyone, and going sooo hard. It's GREAT.
But since he speaks native Korean, I understand pretty much nothing he
says when we talk to people. But I'm great at starting conversations,
partly because I'm tall, white and blonde, and partly because he
taught me some money phrases that make me sound like a Korean. And my
"I speak as much Korean as a rat's tail" line get's them laughing
every time. SMILE. It's great.
With all that being said, this work is hard. I have small moments
everyday where I think "AHHHH I'm awful at Korean and I understand no
one." So I know thoroughly my inadequacies. I always quickly turn by
to excited optimism, but it's hard. I've only been here a week, but I
feel like I should know so much more than I do. I was studying on
Sunday, and I came across some verses that really hit me. Hebrews
11:33-34, 2Cor 12:10, and D&C 50: 13-16,40-44. 1st off: Paul was
really good about "learning to dance in the rain." I certainly glory
in afflictions here. When my feet hurt, I think "YES!" when people
reject me or scream mean things, I think "YES." But I once again the
exclamation "When I am weak, then am I strong" really resonated with
me. When we are weak, then are we humble. And when we are humble and
rely on the Lord, we can do things never before possible. In that we
are strong. We also are made stronger through our trials and
challenges. I love hard things. I love being broken down and through
trials being "made more perfect." The D&C verses were powerful too. I
am called to preach the gospel, not to feel sorry for myself. Lose
yourself. Again, things I know, but gratefully reinforced. And the
words "hereafter" I will make you strong. PATIENCE. We are children
and cannot bear all things now. Becoming a missionary, becoming like
God, both are processes. Line upon line. I must be patient with myself
and not expect to be perfect right now. All I can do is try my best,
demonstrate faith through action, and strive each day to be a little
better than the day before.
I see miracles each day. Sunday: I had to give my
introduction/testimony. I wrote out what I wanted to say and my
companion translated it. except he did it in native Korean. So I knew
pretty much NONE of the grammar. It would have been like memorizing a
ton of new words and grammar,etc. Way overwhelming. But I knew that as
long as I practiced hard, and had faith, the Lord would lead me to
say what he wanted. So worked on it a ton. And I wasn't nervous at
all. That's the great thing about faith. Do all you can, and don't
worry about it. That's a talent/skill/trait the Lord has blessed me
with: not worry about things. I got up and did my best. I didn't say
it all correctly, and didn't say most of the translated stuff, but I
got my message a crossed and made a strong first impression. The
members were all blown away that I'd only been in Korea for 5 days.
And the other Elders kept asking me if I was at the top of my MTC class
for Korean.( NO WAYYY.) And the best part is that I know with a
surety that it was not me. I'm not that good. But I prepared well,
and trusted in the Lord, and he did not abandon me.
Another miracle: I stopped to talk to this guy waiting for the bus. We
talked a little and it came out that he had been living in Atlanta
with his family for a long while. So he spoke English and his kids
speak mostly English. WHAT. It was like the best two years. SO I
talked to him in English a little. He said that he was watching us and
wondered if we'd come talk to him. He'd been thinking about church and
felt that he wasn't really feeling anything at his current church. He
took a Book of Mormon, and agreed to come to church on Sunday. But his
car broke. So we're visiting him and his family tonight!!! Super
I see miracles everyday. I know the Lord prepares people to accept
this message. You just have to talk to everyone in order to find them.
When you know that prepared people are out there, it's not as hard to
accept rejection on the street. You just press on and keep looking. We
met someone who was in the same military unit as my companion and
agreed to meet with us. Today in the immigration office I met a couple
who'd spent the last 40 yrs in Virigina and they agreed to meet with
us. It's amazing. The Lord truly guides this work.
I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I love it. I am weak, but in
such am I strong. I can't say much, but I know I've been called by a
prophet to share what I know. And I know it's true.