Monday, April 30, 2012


Hello again dearest family!

So exciting news... I am currently emailing from the WORLD'S LARGEST DEPARTMENT STORE!!!! Centum City!! Yeah it's awesome. It is organized by levels, like women’s on one, sports and casual attire on another, etc., etc... And it is PERFECT looking. For instance, on the men's floor every thing is organized in rainbow order with everything perfectly spaced hanging up and on and on. Gwen you would be in heaven! No need for OCD moments here, they have it all taken care of haha!

Name the store and they have it here! I've already drooled over Tiffany & Co. as well as about died at the price of Prada and Louis Votaon (?? I have NO idea how to spell that... I just thought of the luggage named Louis from Leap Year lol {it’s spelled Vuitton}) Anyhow, P-day is tons of fun so far, I'll make sure and take as many pictures as I can.

So this week of course, was another great week. After emailing y’all last week my district went out for lunch. We went to a Meat Buffet! It was actually really delicious. It's actually what it sounds like, a buffet of meat. But all the meat is uncooked. You choose what meat you want, and then take it back to your table that has a grill in the center. You cook the meat and then enjoy. From time to time they come around and change the grill grate so you don't mix flavors too much. I don't think I've ever eaten sooo much meat in my life, but all of it was delicious. (Mom and Dad, its the same idea as when we went to the Korean Restaurant with the Hatfield’s). After that we topped everything off with some Baskin Robins... yummm! It’s funny to see the English names in Korean, especially when you are trying to read the flavor names and you realize that it's just an English word. Reminds me a lot of playing Mad Gab.

P-day was actually cut short because our investigator 김수진 (Kim Soo Cheen) called us and said she had some free time, so she wanted to meet! What missionary can turn that down!?! We met her and we taught her the first part of the Plan of Salvation, that we are literally children of God. He is the Father of our Spirits and He sent us to earth to gain experience and one day become like Him. I always love using what I call the "princess" analogy. God is our Creator, He is our Heavenly Father and He is the King. If He is the King, and we are His children, then we are all Princes and Princesses. Now, like any Prince or Princess, we have the potential of one day becoming a King or Queen. The King, Heavenly Father, wants us to inherit all that He has (Romans 8:16-17), but we must learn and grow and gain the experience that is needed to one day, worthily, inherit or receive the blessings from the Father.

She loves our lessons, and I love teaching her. To see her faith and testimony grow is such a neat experience and I am privileged to be apart of it. (More on her in a bit...) Tuesday was our ONE-MONTH training meeting!! (Dad, this was a kind of "right of passage"... though I like your ideas better!) It was so crazy to go and see everyone again! It seems like it had been soo long! I think my favorite moment was the reunion between Sis Kersey and I! (She was one of my MTC companions) It was nothing but giggles and squeals and talking about a mile a minute! Haha It was fun to swap stories and see the impact we are making in our areas. I love it. The meeting part went really well, but I just like talking with everyone! Haha It really is neat to see how much each of us has grown in just a month.

District Meeting day was SUPER fun! Elder Carpenter had a birthday this past week, so we threw him a surprise party. My companion and I bought a cake and made a banner, there was brownies, rice crispies and kim pop. I think the funniest things was eating the cake with chopsticks... it just doesn't seem natural haha. I seriously adore my district. We all really support each other in the work and it always just so much fun to get together.

Out of everything that has happened this week, my favorite day was Friday! So Friday, we were doing our weekly planning when we got a phone call from E. Innis, the DL. He called and told us that President and Sister SHIN from the MTC where here!!!!!! Pres. Shin in the President and Founder of Global Innovations Technology Consulting (I think that's what it's called...) Anyhow, he was in Korea from some seminars and while he and his wife where in the area they wanted to meet with some missionaries and go to an appointment with them. Technically my companion and I had NO promises (as was the case from the entire zone... yeah, not so good). But we always like a challenge, so we began to call around. One member that we had planned to meet invited us out for dinner, but she didn't feel comfortable meeting with Pres. and Sis. Shin. The, on a whim we called 김수진. She wasn't supposed to even be in town, but I felt like we needed to call and ask her. To our great surprise, not only was she still in town but she had time to meet with us!!! YEAH!! So we all got together and headed over to the Mission Home to have our lesson with both Pres. and Sister Shin and Gilbert.

It was such a wonderful experience. We didn't actually get to our lesson, but the Shin's (both returned missionaries) were just so excited to meet her and be able to share their testimonies. It was wonderful to have them help us. I love including members in our lessons, because it's one thing to hear about the truthfulness of this message from set apart missionaries, but when an individual can hear the same conviction we have of this gospel from someone else, there is always a special spirit and they can begin to realize that they too can have that knowledge and that testimony. (I hope that made sense).
After talking, the Gilbert's prepared dinner! Haha This was my first night (and probably not my last) to have 2 dinners!! Oh man! Was I uncomfortable by the time I got home haha! It was a special night though, and to close it up Sister Gilbert said that because we all ate together and had root beer floats, then we were automatically family, and they like to end every day with family prayer. =] It was nice to be able to all kneel down together and end the day perfectly with family prayer. I love how involved and supportive my Mission President and his wife are in this work. It's amazing.

As always my personal study time in the morning was amazing, but the Spirit really taught me something cool this week. So, as a mission wide assignment from the President, I have been studying Alma 1-37. (Aww they are amazing chapters!!) But this past week I was studying Alma 29 when a really neat analogy came to my mind. In Alma 29, Alma is thinking about his mission and teaching people and he begins to wish that he were someone greater! He wishes he were an angel! Because if he were an angel he thinks he could declare the word of God better then he has been. "I wish I were an angel...go forth and speak with the trump of God". But then he realizes something in verse 6, he recognizes his foolish thinking, That though being an angel would be something wonderful, he has been given a specific call in this life that only he can accomplish, and because of that he recognizes that he needs to be grateful. Then in verse 9, he exclaims his joy that he can be an instrument in the hand of God.

I love the references to an instrument here, and because I love music so much I instantly thought of a violin and a cello. Sometimes in our minds we see the life of another person and we wish, like Alma wished, that we could be more like them. "Why can't I speak Korean like her?" "Why can't I be a missionary like her?" Those questions come to each of us in every situation. Like a cello thinking, "why can't I be a violin?" "Why can't I make the sweet music that it makes?" What they cello is not recognizing is that within itself is endless potential to make amazing music. Just because the cello doesn't sound exactly like the violin, doesn't mean it doesn't have its own part to play, it's own harmony to contribute to the grand orchestra of life. This is how we can be instruments, we need to recognize that each of
us is unique and special and each of us has a special part to play, but next we need to put ourselves in the hands of the Master. We will forever have infinite potential if we just sit there, but our potential will never be achieved if we don't allow ourselves to be played by the Master. Only then can we share the music and the message that is inside us that can help someone else.

I love this work, and I love that I can be a cello here in Korean! I am still getting tuned and refined by the Master, but I feel privileged to be an instrument in His hands.

I love you all!! Thank you for the love and support!! 사랑합니다!!
웰스롱쇼어 자매선교사
(I love you!! Sister Wells-Longshore) 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hanguk! Oo Nee Nah Rah!!

FAMILY!!!! HI!!!

Oh man, thank you thank you thank you for all the fun emails this week!!  I loved them all!  I'll have to sweet talk my way at the pone-boo (office) to let me print some of them!  They were great!  This week I also got y’alls postcard from NYC (though I saw it was sent from SLC Hahaha) AND I got Katelyn's wedding announcement and pictures of her wedding dress!! Both totally made me cry.  She looks gorgeous and the two of them look so happy.

So this week went wonderfully!!  First, it's official!! I AM AN ALIEN!!! YEAH!! Haha It's so much fun to say! Lol But the dumb part was it took 5 hours of waiting for 5 min of talking to the people to get registered…silly. (But we got 2 contacts from having all that time to talk to people, so that's good!)  Luckily, President loves us and gave us permission for P-day Part 2! (We just needed to get some shopping done...)

This week we had a really neat experience.  Wednesday morning during our study time we get a phone call from a member.  She tells us that a lady called her last week saying that she wants to come to church and learn about our religion. Before we even know it, 20 minutes later we have an appointment set at the church with the member and her new friend.  The girls name is Kim Su Cheen.  After getting to know her we found out that she met with the missionaries 10 years ago, but due to the busy life as a student and study abroad programs, she had to stop meeting.  She explained that whenever she would start to forget or not think about our church she would meet a Mormon and make friends (including while in America).  Right now she is at a deciding point in her life…choosing jobs, desire for marriage, possibly moving to America…etc.  She had realized that she wants God's help and guidance.  That's where we come in!!  At the end of the meeting, she not only accepted the Book of Mormon, but she also practically invited herself to church on Sunday!  My companion and I are really really excited to continue to meet with her.

This week we were able to do the Koo Yuhk Jun Doe (district proselyting) down by Busan National University.  Again, we asked the question "If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?" This week went really well and we got a lot less silly questions from the people we talked to. Also, in giving out copies of the Book of Mormon, we glued in the front cover the "questions of the soul" page from Preach My Gospel.  It is the frequently asked questions: "Who are we? Where are we from? Does God know us? Does He answer our prayers?" Things like that with scriptural references in the Book of Mormon and where to find them.  It was really neat.  And we got two contacts! (To explain contacts: it's when someone is interested to learn more and they give us their contact information)

Friday was the next super fun day!  It was my first round of President Interviews!!! We have them about every other transfer.  It was so great.  We began with a prayer, ended with a handshake and in between we just chatted.  He asked me how I was and how things were going and then we swapped stories.  You can tell that he sincerely cares for us missionaries.  We should never be timid or afraid to talk with him; he wins your trust over completely.  I asked him what is one thing he would advise missionaries to do now... and he said to not be afraid!!  Just because you might say something wrong shouldn't keep you from opening your mouth.  Get to know the people, talk with them. Even if they aren't interested in the church, doesn't mean you can't brighten their day with a message about God's love.  When he shared that with me I thought of "The Standard of Truth" given by Joseph Smith that we recite every morning.  One part says: "…the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent". I cannot help the truth of God go forward if I am timid and afraid.

After interviews we had a day planned out to visit some people (no promises though) but Sister Gilbert needed our help again and you can't really turn such a happy, bubbly woman down!!  We helped her some more with scarves that will be given at sisters’ conference. We cut fabric and lace and ate lots of chocolate! Haha Then they fed us some food... a peanut butter and banana sandwich! yummm.. With Root Beer floats haha (I just had some ice cream!)  We just sat there in the kitchen, my companion, the Gilbert’s, and me just eating and talking. It was SO NICE!! Made me miss just sitting in the morning room or around the kitchen table with all y’all.

Saturday we survived our first rainy day!! Our feet were wet and our umbrellas were well used, and though no one answered when we visited people, it was still a fun day and you couldn't help but laugh!

The Food this week wasn't anything strange.  I had both Chinese and Japanese style fried pork (both delicious). I ate Kimchi Bogum Pop and my mouth was on fire!!  It was the kind of thing that you just had to keep eating or else you would die! Haha, the interesting thing with Koreans is they don't really have drinks at the meals. You have a soup, pop (rice), lots of side dishes and then a main dish. I think the hardest things this week was a lunch with a member!  She thought it would be fun to see how brave us missionaries were and gave each of us piece of raw fish (that's normal) wrapped in lettuce (also normal) with a big chuck of wasabi! (NOT NORMAL!) BLEHHHHH!!! I hate horseradish and that's what it is... ugh so gross!!! My companion (a Korean!) almost died lol!

Overall, this last week was a building week.  Setting us up from some really amazing teaching opportunities this next week. At church we had two investigators come and a young woman brought her friend, which makes one new investigator to teach.  I'm excited for this next week and all the lessons we can have! Also, this next week marks our 1-month in Korea (can you believe it!?!?) and we have a meeting with everyone from my dongee (MTC group).  It'll be fun to see everyone and catch up!!

I love you all.  Thank you for the constant prayers and love.  I miss you like crazy! But I’m loving it here too!

Kiss Love Hugs

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another Week Flown By

~Again, I put links to some things she is talking about!~

Hello again my darling family!

First, A BIG sorry for the early email last week!  We had a special mission P-day where all of us were given permission to go to the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival!! SO COOL!! We had to leave early because of travel time and such.  Things like that won't happen too often, so I’m sorry for all the confusion.

The Festival was beautiful! The trees, with their white and light pink blooms, were gorgeous.  The actual festival reminded me a lot of something in Memphis.  There was a free concert, lots of food stands and literally pigs turning on the grill. There were also TONS of people there!

Since I serve with the office elders, we had the treat of driving the van! Whoot whoot!! So we actually headed away from the main festival down to the coastline!  It was beautiful.  There were people down there renting out bikes for free, so we all hopped on a bike and went adventuring, haha!! It was soo much fun riding along he coast line! On the way home we decided to take the long route along the "Road of Dreams"!  And it was like a dream! Before the tunnels through the mountains were built, this road was the one traveled. It goes up over the mountain and the entire way is a tunnel of the blossoming cherry trees! And as we got further up, when there was a break in the trees, you could see the city laid out below along the coastline. Awwww, so gorgeous!

Other fun things that happened this week: we had Zone Meetings.  It was again, fun to meet some of the other missionaries.  The entire meeting was in Korean, which was a little hard, but overall it was great.  It gives me something to look forward to, to be able to speak as well as some of these missionaries.

The meeting was in a different area, again closer to the beach, so Sister Lee and I headed down there!  Gorgeous!  We didn't take off our shoes or go near the water, haha, but it was nice to not be surrounded by building on all four sides.  I definitely miss open spaces.

The next fun adventure happened on Saturday. Sister Gilbert needed some help preparing for the Sister's Training that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I don't remember the actual name of the place we went to, but it sounded like they called it the “G Market.”  Ok, so think of any fabric store you have ever been in and times it by 100!! lol  This place was PACKED with everything you could ever possibly need to make anything out of fabric!  The venders had to climb over their own merchandise in order to get behind the 'counter'. There were billions of buttons and lace and ribbons and fabric for anything you could think of!  I really liked the sections for the Ham Bok's, the traditional Korean dresses.  Not only could you purchase fabrics at each of these stands you could also place orders. If I ever took y'all on a tour through Korea, I would take y'all to the G market.

Y'all ready for the food update?? haha So you remember last week when I talked about that sausage stuff... Well I had that again this week! This time with pig ears!  And come to find out the 'sausage' is just noodle stuffed pig intestines... doesn't make it seem so delicious anymore haha.  Anyhow, during the Cherry Blossom Festival we had pizza for lunch! haha But this isn't the pizza you're thinking of, it has a Korean twist!  On Korean pizza, they LOVE to put tons of veggies, including corn! lol The meats are Korean meats like bulgogi (fish) but over all it wasn't too bad (though part of me kinda misses just a plain, "large, cheeeesssy (with pepperoni) pizza" lol

I have begun to like rice cakes too!  The first time I had one, it kinda freaked me out how chewy and stinky they were!  I was afraid they were going to close up my windpipes! haha But now I can handle them.  They actually do a lot with rice cakes, including put it in bread, stuff it with ice cream and red beans (Koreans reallllllyyyy like their red beans! I’m almost convinced it's just a kidney bean...) and sometimes even topped with jelly’s.  Yummm. Mom, you would have been so proud of me this week!!

Korean fruit is FANTASTIC!! Like, I don't know if I will be able to go back to bland American fruit after living here.  But, the only problem with that is they eat tomatoes like fruit! Gross I know!  But this week, at the Relief Society President's house, she fed us tomatoes and like a good little missionary, I ate five! (Mind you they were quarters, but I think it counts....) lol

I think my FAVORITE food I had this week was…drumroll…PEANUT BUTTER!!! OH MY HEAVENS who knew a girl would miss a little thing as peanut butter! Uhhhh On Saturday, before our adventure with Sister Gilbert, she made us a pb&j sandwich, and bless my bottom dollar, is was fantastic!! I think if I had to ask for anything from America right now it would be peanut butter!!!

*** Speaking of asking for things... So since we do some baking (mind you it's all in a little toaster oven) I would like some more recipes: like a brownie recipe or another bread recipe.  Just so y'all know, avoid anything with oatmeal because you can't find it here.  Also, I once heard about a cake you can bake in a mug in the microwave...something like that would be cool!

Saturday we had our weekly teach and bake activity with our cute little investigator!  The last time we met, we make chocolate chip cookies, but this time around we made banana bread!!  yummm.  I think the weirdest thing to me was that these little girls have NEVER made nor had banana bread before!!!!! Crazy huh!?! They thought squishing up the banana looked gross, haha!! It was fun to see their excitement as we made such a foreign treat.

The lesson we had with little "Anna" was wonderful.  We talked more about how she is a daughter of God. As daughters of the Eternal King, we are His princesses, and as we live and grow, honoring our heritage and title, we can one day inherit His Kingdom (Romans 8:16-17).  We then taught her how to pray, and taught her how Heavenly Father, because He is literally the Father of our Spirits, He wants to hear from us and He wants to help us.  It was such a tender and wonderful lesson, and she was completely enthralled.  I have never seen her pay soo much attention.  At the end of the lesson we sang, "I am a Child of God".

Other exciting things in the missionary work this week, was that we FINALLY got a hold of the man I met and talked to at the bus stop!  We have an appointment this Saturday with him and he's bringing a friend to the lesson.  We also FINALLY got a hold of the other two ladies we met 2 weeks ago and have appointments to teach them more.  I know that they are all searching for truth, and I feel honored at the privilege of bringing it to them.

The end of this week was a little hard...We have been teaching an older lady that works in a hospital (I think it's a 24/7 rehab hospital).  The lessons with her have been going wonderfully! I believe I told y'all about the first time she prayed and the spirit that was so dear and strong!  Well, this past lesson we were able to follow up about 2 General Conference talks that we downloaded and gave to her on a borrowed MP3 player. When we gave the MP3 to her, it had a full battery, when we got it back it was dead! =] Remember it only had 2 talks on it!! =] She explained how much she loved the talks!!  And how much they touched her.  We talked then about the Holy Ghost and how the Holy Ghost teaches and testifies of truth.  That when we feel peace, or love, (Galatians 5:22-23) that is the Holy Ghost speaking to us.  It is always a quiet thought or feeling, but it has deep affect.  It was a wonderful lesson and her prayer at the end was again so kind and tender and she knew that the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson was the Prophet of God, declaring God's word on the earth today. 

But, the heartbreak came soon after the prayer.  Because the hospital is affiliated with another church we no longer can teach her there.  She has one day off a week, and that day is too busy to meet with the missionaries.  On top of that, she is moving to America in a couple of months.  After we heard that, and said good-bye, my companion and I just cried.  It was heartbreaking to know that she is so close to the truth of the gospel and to experiences the fullness of joy that comes when you accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in your life, and now we have to stop teaching her.  But I know that Heavenly Father is in charge, and there will be more opportunities, maybe even in America, for her to again be taught by the missionaries and be able to fully accept the gospel into her heart.  She was the first person I taught a lesson to in Korea and I am sad I won't be able to teach her again. (Though we'll still try and visit with little notes of encouragement.)

The work is great and the people are so kind.  Thanks for all the love and support.  ‘Til next week....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Week 2....a Week of Miracles

{I put links to some things she mentions....don't forget to take a look!}

Hello family!  I hope everyone is doing well!!

Gwen! Thanks for all the pictures!! I AM SO JEALOUS!! ahhh seriously! That's way fun that y'all are staying in little Korea =] Now all y’all need to do is take New York City, times the tall buildings but 100, squish it all together a bit more, add the smell of kimchi and fish and then you've got big Korea! I can't wait to hear about all the adventures! Especially Newsies!

So it was another fantastic week in the "Land of the Morning Calm". Have I mentioned that I love it here? Because I do! It seemed like everyday this week Heavenly Father gave us a reason to thank Him with all of our hearts!

Monday was my first P-day and it was lots of fun!  I love the Elders in my district!  They are tons of fun!  Elder Grose and Elder Jang are the AP's, and then we have Elder Innis who is the DL and his companion Elder Yoon.  I think my favorite part about P-day was our jam session. Elder Innis is AMAZING on the piano and Elder Grose is twice as amazing singing.  Needless to say we had a great time putting some fun twists on the hymns. After games and a delicious lunch (black good) it was time to get back to work.

Tuesday brought a wonderful experience. During that day it seemed like all of our plans were falling through.  When you look forward to talking to someone and teaching them, it is always a little bit sad when they cancel. But as always, the Lord was watching over us, and because we prepared with faith He put someone in our path.  That night at the bus stop we were about to head over to visit a member when she called and cancelled on us.  While my companion was on the phone I began to talk to another man at the stop.  (Because he was older it was ok to talk to him).  I found out that he knew some English, so between Korean and English we were able to get to know each other and I was able to explain why we were here serving.  Half way through the conversation my companion joined me and when we finished talking, not only had he accepted the Book of Mormon but we also got his number in order to teach him more.  I think my favorite part of the conversation was when he explained that his family was living in Manhattan, and we were able to testify to him that although we are apart from our families now, we are able to live with them for eternity.  Before we parted ways he explained that this wasn't his typical route home.  On seemingly a whim he decided to go shopping further away from home then usual and then take a completely different bus all together.  I know that it wasn't by coincidence that we met him that night at the bus stop. With the Lord, everything is 100% probable.

The next miracle came the next night.  We have been in contact with a lady who was referred to us from her friend now living in SLC. She wanted a Book of Mormon and we were able to finally meet her!  (She is so incredible nice!!! I think the funniest thing had to be when she thought I HAD to be an actress or super model from America.  By the end of the discussion she made sure she had a picture with me Hahaha The people of Korea do wonders for my self-esteem lol jk jk) Anyhow, she was so excited to finally meet us. She told us that she remembers seeing the missionaries as a little girl, but because they were American she didn't think they spoke Korean and never talked to them. But what has interested her the most in our church was her friend’s love to this church and its gospel.  She wants to know what it is about our church that could invoke such great pride and devotion from its members.  She knew about some things but is curious to know more about Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom.  At the end of our meeting we gave her the desired Book of Mormon and she was excited to begin reading. I look forward to meeting with her and her two children again. 

It's amazing to see whom the Lord is preparing their hearts softened to the gospel. Speaking of that, the next miracle came two days later on my companion’s one year "birthday".  We were in an area searching out some less active members to go visit.  On our way to one apartment complex we passed a woman and her adorable son.  When we passed her we simply said hello, but the Spirit told us to say more.  We soon began talking and we introduced ourselves and explained that we have a message that will bless families.  Without much hesitation she invited us up to her apartment for a drink (one thing y'all need to know about Koreans, the way they show love or gratitude or kindness is often through food. One lady we were having a friendly conversation with on the street made us follow her till we found a place where she could buy us a drink and something to eat.  Another man we visited INSISTED that he buy us a bushel of oranges because we walked too far to come visit him. These great people are so kind and generous and would do anything to show you that). So we went up to her apartment and so started the hour-long discussion of our church.  This mother was so amazing.  She has such a great love for the word of God, as we could see when she showed us her very loved and worn bibles.  She explained that she wanted to know what made our church different.  Even though she has never met missionaries before she could see a difference.  Building off her love of scriptures we explained that the Book of Mormon was another testament of Jesus Christ.  Comparable to the Bible, it too contains the word of God.  And when you prayerfully read and studied its pages you would come close unto Christ.  We taught how like the prophets of the Bible, Joseph Smith is a prophet of God; and through him Christ's gospel was restored to the earth. She was intrigued and excited to learn more.  She readily accepted the Book of Mormon and agreed to read and pray about its contents. 

I love this missionary work!! I love having the special opportunity to help people come unto Christ and recognize their diving potential.  I think my next favorite part about the day was calling Sister Gilbert and telling her about it!  I swear she was more excited then we were haha.  It's wonderful to have such great support for this work.  I especially feel all the prayers from home, Thank You. 

The icing on the cake was General Conference this weekend!!!!! I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!  So on Saturday we were able to watch it in English with Korean subtitles.  Then, on Sunday we had our own little room for the missionaries to again watch it in English...this was a pretty interesting adventure haha After LOTS of technical difficulties we had to watch the Sunday afternoon session in just Korean... my brain couldn't take it for too long so I kinda fell asleep... haha I'll have to study the messages in a month lol

Oh man!! Y'all would be SO PROUD of me and all the foods that I ate this past week! Haha So on Wednesday we have District Meetings. SO fun! We get together, go over mission announcements, we have a gospel lesson, and then we learn and practice some Korean. (This part was hard because everyone there has been here for a year+ or they are Korean lol)  But my favorite part is when we each talked about our investigators and we were able to receive input and advice from one another.  After all that it was time for Lunch!! We went to a restaurant and I had DUCK! It was actually really good!

Next food adventure happened on Thursday.  If you remember me talking about my definition of sushi mix up... well Thursday is when we had raw fish.  And yes... it was really really raw. Haha Like, some things still had faces-raw, lol!! But overall it wasn't too bad.  Most of the fish didn't really have a taste.  You would put it in a lettuce with some kimchi, and pepper paste and then eat it like that. I had some other interesting things but I have no idea what they were so I can't really describe them, haha! Some of them were a little chewy though!! Hahaha (I can't just imagine mom cringing lol).  The member was impressed that I was so willing to eat everything!  Thanks mom and dad for always making me try things at least once!

Friday, because it was Sister Lee's 1 year, we went out for lunch!  We had these really good noodle-stuffed-kinda-looked-like-sausage-things. Soon Deh I believe it was called.  And it was delicious!  For dessert we had some delicious vanilla ice cream and a waffle (it's kinda fun that they make waffles into desserts!)

It has been so fun here!  I am really enjoying myself and my companion says my Korean is getting better (though I think she is being nice lol!) Like the MTC, I think my favorite and most sacred time I spend here is in the morning during my scripture study. The scriptures have become so precious to me and I am grateful for everything that Heavenly Father is teaching me through them.

In the MTC there was a talk given about the need to sanctify ourselves in order to accomplish this work.  I was curious to see what the scripture had to teach about how we sanctify ourselves.  I first read in Helaman 3:35.  After reading it a few times one part really stood out to me.  It was along the lines of "and we became STRONG in our HUMILITY" Whenever I think of humility the word strong or strength doesn't really come to mind. As I was writing my thoughts about that word choice my mind was drawn to a scripture mastery scripture, Ether 12:27.  This scripture describes that the Lord can make weak things become strong. I have looked over this scripture many times in my seminary years, but I have never noticed that it contains the word humility, not only once, but 3 times.  In the scriptures, when something is repeated 3 times, it is the superlative, or a concrete and very definite and eternal truth.  We are weak and the Lord is strong. We cannot be filled with the Lord's strength if our hearts are already filled with the pride of ourselves. The last scripture that was brought to mind was Alma 26:12.  This is a missionary story and they are rejoicing in the strength the Lord has given them, because it is through the Lord's strength that they were able to succeed. I know there are more ways to become sanctified unto the Lord, but I also now know with more assurity that there is great strength to be found in humility.

Thank you for the love and prayers.  I love you all and miss you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Letter #1...from KOREA!

**Here is Chalene's first letter from Korea. Her p-day's are Monday's, but since they are 15 hours AHEAD of us, they come to us on Sunday nights! ENJOY**

Hello dearest family!! Can you believe it? I am finally here!

Ok, dad said y'all wanted details, so here you go.

The plane ride over here wasn't as tragic as I was expecting.  I slept for a couple of hours, which was nice, but technically I was only in the air for about 9 hours.  Dad! I tried to look out the windows for the ice caps, but it was pretty much cloudy the entire time.  At one point I thought I saw them, but then again, it could've just been clouds.... Hahaha I don't know, at that point I was getting a little loopy.

When we landed in Japan I was doing really well at first.  Me and Sister Kersey had lots of fun walking around the airport.  It definitely started to sink in that we were in a foreign country lol.

I think the hardest plane ride came going from Japan to Busan.  At that point it was about 4 or 5 in the morning our time and my body was NOT happy!!! I tried REALLY hard to stay awake that flight, knowing that a bed was waiting for me... yeah, that lasted like 5 minutes haha. Luckily I woke up at we were passing over Busan.  WOW!!! The city is unlike anything I have ever seen!  IT IS HUGE!! Take downtown Memphis, multiply the buildings by 100 for the quantity, 10 for the height and then squish them all together and you have a pretty good idea of Busan haha. 

Driving from the airport to the mission home at night was so amazing! At one point we were driving over a bridge and to see the sky scrapers climbing up the mountains with all their neon lights was amazing.

That night at President Gilbert's house we gathering in the dining room, eyes glazed over and feeling like death, and we had jam and honey with home made rolls!  Yumm…Needless to say I slept
WONDERFULLY!  And…As all y'all know, what happens when Longshore women are really really really tired? THEY TALK IN THEIR SLEEP OF COURSE! Haha I was sharing a room with Sister Baker and apparently I started yelling at her.  Truth be told, I think I have talked every night while being in Korea!! lol

The next day started a fun day of training!! We began the day with administrative things and breakfast.  Breakfast was like a wannabe strata, but at that point anything was delicious.  My favorite part was the tangerines. People weren't lying when they said Korea has the best fruit!  IT'S SO TRUE.  They are sweet and juicy and I think I have been ruined for life lol.

Our first outing for the day was going to the bank.  We exchanged money, set up an account and got everything squared away. The drive over was sooo cool.  It was my first time seeing Korea in the daytime.  I couldn't help but try to read everything I could see. Some things I could understand, others it was hopeless.  My favorite has been the businesses that are English words put into Korean…like "dry cleaners" and "sale" they sound really close…you just have to say them with a Korean accent. 

 After the bank we came back and I was able to have my first interview with President Gilbert.  He is such an amazing person.  I already have such a love and respect for him and his wife. Heavenly Father knew what he was doing in sending me to this mission to be under their stewardship.  The interview wasn't anything formal; we just sat there swapping stories.  I am excited to continue working with him and his wonderful wife in this mission. Sister Gilbert is fantastic!!  Her knowledge and love for the scriptures is profound, I could sit and listen to her stories all day long.  Again, I am excited to work with them!  For what I have heard, they have completely turned this mission around!  Baptisms are up and temple attendance is booming.  They believe that miracles can happen, they are striving to make them happen, and Heavenly Father is rewarding their faith and the faith of the missionaries.  I can hardly wait to share some of my own experiences that I know will happen.  

OK, back to training day. After my meeting with President, he brought in all trainers. For those who don't understand the process, President Gilbert explained that out of all the missionaries he chooses the trainers’ first, all other leadership positions could be filled in afterwards.  But, when he chooses the trainers he does not assign them automatically to a new missionary.  In fact, he doesn't know who will be paired up until the end of the training days.  So, as part of training we are assigning to different trainers throughout the day to see who works well with whom.

Our first activity with the trainers was to get to Lunch!!
My first trainer was Sister Lee Ye Jeong.  We headed from the President's house to the Subway and we talked to everyone we saw. Though I can't say very much, I at least know "hi" and "we're Missionaries" and things like that.  My favorite part had to be the Subway ride!!  SO COOL!  Ready for some funny stories?? Lol

So one of the first people I talk to was this sweet old grandmother.  She has me sit next to her and then she all of a sudden grabs my hand! She's holding my hand and patting my arm and then she puts my hand to her face, all the while telling me how pretty I am, Hahaha so sweet.  (I didn't get creeped out at all because it's all a part of the culture; she was just being kind).  The rest of the day was sort of the same. I was stared at and called cute and pretty all day haha.  Oh the advantages of being tall and American! Lol

Also that day we were able to go to a park on top of a big hill, it was beautiful and there was a temple on top. By the end of the day I placed a Book of Mormon, got number and handed out numerous pamphlets and pass along cards.  I don't know what will come of it, but at least I gave a few people the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ.

That night we had a DELICIOUS Korean dinner at the Gilbert's house.  I really do love this food.  Some Kimchi still kind of freaks me out, but at least I can stomach it. So far my favorite is Kim Pop.  It's like the sushi rolls at home with vegetables or tuna inside. yummm!  Sooo good!  I think the hardest part about the food is the chopsticks. Korean's are the only ones that use flat, metal chopsticks, so they are a little different then what I've practiced with.  But the good thing is, I'm not starving, so don't worry mom!

Day 2 of training was the big exciting day when we got to know who our companions are!!!!  SOO nerve wracking! (Which is silly, because Heavenly Father wouldn't tell Pres. Gilbert to put us with someone who wouldn't love and help us.  As y'all already realized I am with a Native Korean!! (Insert happy dance here*) She was the first trainer I was paired up with and her name is Sister Lee Ye Jeong 이 예 정

She is the oldest of 4 kids, her younger sister and brother are serving in Dajeon and her youngest sister is still at home.  I think that hardest thing for her is that her dad passed away a couple of months ago.  She and her siblings were able to go home to Seoul for a visit, which is good.  Though I know she's had a hard time, her love and determination for this work is profound, especially since it was her father that encouraged her to go.

After a final lunch (hamburgers!!!) at the mission home we headed out to our new areas!! It all went really quickly actually. Lol My companion and I are serving in an area called Geum Jeong.  It's only like 30 min from the mission home and we are in the same area at the AP's and the other office missionaries.  The ward is so fantastic and we have a BEAUTIFUL building that we meet in. (seriously, it's better than at home even. crazy right?) Sister Lee has done a fantastic job of building love and trust with these members and they are so willing to help us with the work.

That first night we didn't waste any time letting me get settled in, but we jumped straight into the work and had our first lesson with an investigator. Her name is Kim Jok Sook (PS it's really hard to
Romanize names Hahaha).  It was a great lesson and my companion is sooo nice to include me in the lessons, she always leads me into them, and lets me say the small, slow sentences that I can say.  But every day it gets a little better.  I'm actually surprise with how much I can understand. I find that I can pick out a few words and I do pretty well with getting an idea of what they are saying.  My companion is pretty grateful with how much I can understand especially because her English isn't very good.
There are so many other things that have happened already with people I've met and lessons that we've taught, but there isn't time to talk about them all. haha

Some other things that I have enjoyed about Korea:
1. The weather reminds me of home!! We are a little behind y'all temperature wise, but it's still beautiful
2. Heated floors!!! Oh man it's wonderful!! Our mattresses are on the floor, so when we turn on the heated floors at night it's perfect and cozy.  Mom you would LOVE it!
3. I LOVE it when Koreans speak English to me!! Not only is it kind that they try and include me that way, but it's actually really funny! The phrases they know are pretty great.  Like, they'll say hi and nice to meet you all at the same time.  One man asked me "do you say you're welcome, don't mention it, or no problem man?" haha so great
4. The little kids are adorable here! Though, whenever I try to speak Korean to them, they just laugh at me! Lol at least I am trying!

(Things I don't like…Brother Hatfield was right!! The smell here is pretty gross lol especially the fridge!  Since you keep the kimchi in the fridge everything starts to have a slight kimchi taste to it...kind of ruins a bowl of cereal in the morning lol)

I love it here though! I hardly think about how I am in another country halfway across the world!! It's so much fun and the people are so kind.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be and I can't wait until I can talk to everyone as much as I would like. But until then, I'll still try really hard.

My mission is amazing! I love the focus the Gilbert's have brought to the mission.  Our motto, if you can call it that, is "United in Christ, Together We Rise" coupled with 3 Nephi 3:15.  We also have a mission picture (sort of).  It is entitled "Yes sir, all are present and accounted for" (I think that's the title....) It is a depiction of the 2000 warriors after their battle.  They may be wounded, but because of their faith all were accounted for.  It is a beautiful picture showing each of the young men holding up the other.  That's how the Gilbert's want this mission to be.  But our overall goal and outlook is to have a Temple in Busan!! We are sooo close!! The numbers are close, we just need to strengthen each and rise to the opportunity.  The saints of Busan need the blessings a Temple nearby can give them.

Again, I'm excited for all the wonderful things that are happening here.  It is a blessing and privilege to be apart of it and I’m glad I can share it with y'all.

Kiss Love Hugs from Korea!!

Map of where she is in Comparison to Busan!