Monday, June 18, 2012


Dearest, Darlingest Family!

SOO sorry this email is coming to y’all late.  I promise I'm not dead =] BUSY with all the changes, but not dead.

Speaking of changes are y’all ready to hear about transfers!?!?  Are you sitting? (Because heaven knows I needed to be sitting when I got this call....)

I GOT TRANSFERED!!!!  Not only did I get transferred... I'M WHITEWASHING!! (*for those who don't understand missionary lingo, that means that two missionaries were in this area before, and BOTH of them left and two new people came in. i.e.: ME!) AND I HAVE ANOTHER KOREAN AS MY COMPANION!!  Did I mention that this was a crazy week??  I thought for sure I was going to stay in 금정 but the Lord had different plans for me.  So, now I am in Shin Jeong 신정 area in Shila Zone. Shin Jeong is one of top 5 biggest cities in Korea (she is in Ulsan), and we have the fabulous adventure of trying to figure our way around this place (yeah…my companion has never served here either!  And especially never in such a big city!)  She's awesome though, her name is 연수현 (Yeon Soo Heon) She is from Seoul, but she lived in the states for 7 years before coming back to Korea for school, so her English is fantastic.  She is going to school for Theater Tech, don't worry we've already gushed about our favorite musicals!  She's lots of fun and loves to laugh. We are both sacred out of our minds right now! So far we know how to get home, get to the super market and get to the church.... But luckily we are having fun with this new adventure!  haha  I'm excited to see the miracles that this next transfer will hold. 

The last week in Guem Jeong was fantastic!! I already miss the members there with all of my heart.  I was kind of sad that no body took a guess at what I would be eating... but maybe y’all figured it out and would have rather not have said. So last week, as part of the summer meals for stamina and strength I had 개고기 aka DOG!!!!!!!  Yep, I ate dog.  I didn't think that it would have happened sooo soon after being in the country but it did.  And I ate it. 

**Disclaimer: I am about to describe the meal.  If you don't want to know, skip ahead... So!  When we first went to the member’s house the smell was…well... interesting…I have never smelt anything like it before. If I hadn't known what we were about to eat I wouldn't have been able to describe it.  But since I did know, I guess it was a bit like wet dog. Gross, I know.  So, the member bought the meat and cooked it herself.  They put it in a soup with some veggies and such. The meat itself was interesting.  Very slimy actually and a little on the chewy side.  I couldn't eat too much of the soup though, that part was just gross.  And I can't even think of how to describe the flavor.  The Korean Missionaries later explained that it wasn't a very good meal, and that other people and places prepare the dog so that there is no smell and it tastes a lot better.  I don't know if I’ll ever get another chance to eat dog, but at least now I know I won't die from it.  (though after the meal I couldn't help but say a "sorry" to Rosie, and Buddy and Coal because I ate a cousin of theirs... sorry!!)

Sunday was a tough day to say goodbye to all the members. I was able to get up in church and share my heartfelt thanks and testimony.  That ward did so much for me when I was sooo new to a strange land. Because of the Geum Jeong ward I learned how to truly love Korea and it's people.  They had such patience and love for me, and as we said our farewells they thanked me for my hard work, and wished that I would return soon.  I hope that I may return to them someday, but it might not be in the plans.  So I’ll forever hold a special place in my heart for them.  And for 이에정 as my fantastic trainer.  It was hard saying good-bye to her.  She's actually getting a member for Seoul to be her companion for a transfer, so that'll be fun.  But it was hard to realize that since she is going home in 3 transfers I wouldn't see her very often anymore, let alone ever serve with her again.  She helped me begin to become the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be.  And without her help there is no way I would be able to be whitewashing right now!!!!

I'm excited for my email next week to share with y’all all the fun things that are going on and all the adventures I’ll have.  I know that there will be a LOT of days when we are lost and confused, but those are also the days when we can completely rely on the Lord and have Him direct us where He needs to go. And in that case, I hope EVERYDAY this transfer is like that!!

*Also, I totally thought of Gwen this week.  So because we are replacing Elders we got their old house... OH MY HEAVENS!!! GROSSS!!!!! And the worst part is that they spent $300 hiring someone to clean the junk out of the place! I guess in all the confusion of getting rid of the trash they forgot the stove... fridge...sink... cabinets... floors...The bathroom is pretty good though.  Needless to say, there is a LOT of cleaning in my near future. EWWW!!!  Dear Future Elders KEEP YOUR HOUSES CLEAN PLEASE!!! 

Well, I’ll talk to y’all next week.
Thanks for all the love and support and super fun emails this week!! I love you all!!
Kiss Love Hugs!

Last week as a TRAINEE, 5 months as a missionary!

Hello again my Darling Family!!

Sisters: I LOVED the pictures!! hehe Thanks for them. I'm jealous you are at home right now!  Have a blast at girl’s camp, braid lots of hair and take even more pictures! And then send them to me!! Deal??

Last week Mom asked me what I wanted or needed in a package...what I really miss is seeing people!  SO, if anyone and everyone wants to send me anything, I would be MORE than grateful to get pictures!!!!! (Letters attached to them would be nice too).  Sister Griffin and Sister Stone THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the package!!! It was/ is fantastic!! I'll be sending a thank you card home with more gushings of my thanks, but seeing as that will take 3 weeks to get to y’all I figured I’d better tell you here first!  So thank you!

(her address is on the right hand side, you can send letters to either address, and they will get to her in about 3 weeks time...)

This last week was busy and fun!!  Tuesday was my last meeting as a Trainee!  Can you believe 12 weeks are nearly up!?!  I can't.  It was fun too see everyone again, of course, especially the younger missionaries that are a transfer behind us.  I haven't seen them since the MTC, so it was lots of fun to see them in Korea and see how they were adjusting. 

Wednesday was the Stake Sports Day!! Have I mentioned how fantastic Korean's are at planning and preparing activities? Because they are!! There was never a dull moment.  There were games, activities and food; one right after the other!!! It was soo fun.  Did I also mention how COMPETITIVE Koreans are?? Because that is also true.  It's never just all fun and games…there are always awards involved.  Here, all the wards were competing against each other to win.  With each activity there would be representatives from every ward to go against each other for points.  Most points win (of course).  After 11 weeks of serving in my ward I think I FINALLY and COMPLETELY won the hearts of the ward members.  My long legs gave me the advantage in the different races and I was able to help bring the trophy home.  They were so impressed that I even got a special thanks in the ward bulletin on Sunday, ahaha!! It was fantastic! And all the little kids now know my name, which is good.  lol

The rest of the week was pretty busy, especially with meal appointments!!  Oh man I thought I might explode a couple of times!  Saturday we had a lunch appointment with the Ward Missionary Leader and his family. There we had pizza (Korean style: potatoes, corn, meat, and lots of other veggies) pasta, and chicken salad.  Then we had to go to a primary activity were they had pizza and ice cream (though we had already eaten and tried really really reallllllyyyyy hard to refuse, they made us eat some, calling it our 'dessert'. Sometimes I think the members think of missionaries as a food trashcan and that we can just eat and eat and eat.... yeah, that's a lie.)  And THEN that night we had a Dinner appointment with an investigator at a member’s house.  The food was FANTASTIC!! it is called 해물탕 (hae mul tang).  It's like a seafood soup.  There were crabs, squid, clams, and other shellfish (the twirly shells were really delicious!  It was fun using the chopsticks to pull out the meat! MUCH easier than using a fork!!) with veggies in a soup. It was sooo good!!!!  And then there were tons of side dishes as well.  Some of the things were a little chewy...but over all I would definitely eat it again.  The hardest part about the meal was in order to keep the soup hot, the 2 pots were on camping style burners on the table and they were on for most of the meal.... IT WAS SOOO HOT!!  And of course, like with every meal here, no matter how much food they make you eat during the meal you ALWAYS have to have room for fruit at the end. 
By the end of the week I felt like I could be rolled home like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka

While on the subject of food I’m excited for a meal appointment we have this week...  So Koreans have an old tradition of sorts called 삼계탕 (sam gyeh tang).  This is when you eat 3 special and specific meals during the summer time in order to keep you stamina in the heat and work of summer.  I had the first round of meals a couple of weeks ago when we had like a chicken and rice soup. The chicken part was literally a whole chicken just chilling over in the pot.  You cook it in the broth and rice with dates.  It's pretty bland, but over all it just tasted like a chicken and rice soup from Campbell’s.  Well, this next week we have round 2 of the meals... BUT... I don't want to tell y’all what it is I want y’all to try and FIGURE IT OUT!!! Google it, ask a friend, anything... hehe  =D Then, next week I’ll let you know how it goes!!!! It'll be a... memorable... experience for sure =]  (The meal is called 보신탕 (Boe Shin Tang) to make it easy for y’all)

The work here is going great and of course I am loving every moment.  Don't get me wrong, it is hard, but it's worth it. 

This week is my last week as a Trainee and transfer calls will come on Thursday night.  Both my trainer and I think that she is leaving (she's been in Geum Jeong for 4 transfers...)  But as I look back on the past 12 weeks I realize how much I have learned and how much has happened and how much I still need to learn.  For example:
- I still say a LOT of things wrong, but the people are patient and kind.  And an advantage of having a Korean companion is that my accent is pretty decent. 
- I don't remember the names of the foods I eat most of the time, but then again, I don't really know WHAT I’m eating either.  All I know is that it's delicious... Crazy moment, I realized the other week that I actually like the smell of Kimchi now!! hahah And I find myself craving it every now and then... dun dun dunnn lol
-I don't understand a lot of what people are saying, but I'm still happy to just sit and listen.  And I can help my companion teach.
- I can always find my way back home now! I know the bus numbers and I understand the subway for the most part.  Public transportation isn't a scary thing anymore.  And I find that my sense of direction isn't too terrible here (and that in and of itself is a HUGE miracle)
-I am more tired here on a day-to-day base then I have ever been in my entire life... but I’m also SO HAPPY!!  and Heavenly Father blesses me with the strength to make it through the day.
- I love the people here like my own family and I am honored to serve them.  That is one thing that I have been grateful to be able to learn from my companion, is how to love these people with all of your heart.  But I also find that no matter how much I loved them yesterday, they do something else that makes me love them even more today.
- I have been drenched in rain, yelled at, and told that I belong to a cult and that I don't believe in God and Jesus Christ.  I have been sick, looked at funny, and even laughed at as I’ve tried to talk.  But again, I have never been happier because I am serving the Lord and fulfilling my dreams.  I am Feeding God's Sheep. 

I know that there will be harder days ahead of me and that I have only begun to learn new things while I have been here.  There is still so much to learn and do and so many people to teach.  Every night when I review the day I realize there is so much more I can do and should do and need to do.  It's humbling, and I know that I will only be able to do it with the Lord's help. 

I'm excited for the Transfer calls on Thursday.  I think that this next transfer will bring a lot of learning experiences.  It might not be easy but I look forward to learn and grow.  But whether it's easy or hard I’m excited to do MORE! 

I love you all and every day I feel your prayers helping me.  I feel your support here in Korea and I am ever grateful!!
Take care this week!! Have fun, be safe and remember that I love y'all!!!

ps. If you would like anything to send me I wouldn't mind a jump rope =] and some info about P90X.  Though I like to go running in the morning, I’m realizing that dragging my companion with me isn't always possible... so I just need some good exercises I can add to my morning routine... thanks!! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Baptism Picture

Here is a picture from their latest baptism!!

Sandcastle Festival

Hello my darling family!!

Man, this last week went by fast, and by the sound of things it went fast for all y’all too.  I love summer time!! It's full of some much fun!  Though I can hardly believe it is already JUNE!!!  I had a bit of a moment a couple of days ago when I realized that I only had 1 year and 1 month left of my mission!... I know that to some that may seem like a lot but to me that is WAY TOO SHORT!!  The next day during study time I just looked out my window and had an “Oh-my-heavens!-I-am-in-Korea!!-THIS-IS-AWESOME" moment haha. I love it here.

Last week started off fun, but there were a couple of days that weren't so great.  I got sick, :( lame I know.  I was doing so well, but Tuesday night it just hit me hard.  So I got to go to bed early and sleep in.  It was fantastic!  And I’m excited to announce that the bags under my eye DO go away!!! It's a miracle... though they won't ever really go away while I’m here, I think. I don't really get to sleep for 15 hours every day lol.  The Korean doctor was even nice enough to give me a discount off my visit. Being an American in Korea does have its perks for sure.

After a good day of rest I was ready to get back to work, I wasn't 100%, but that didn't matter, I had work to do! Glory Work!  For the past couple of weeks we have really been working with our potential investigators to try and meet with them more often.  Tuesday afternoon I got to go on an exchange with Sister Cutler, one of the sisters that came out with me.  It was a little strange going out without our trainers but it was also lots of fun!! She came with me to the lesson with Yasmine.  (She is from Africa, married a Korean, lived here for 7 years, has 3 kids...)  Yasmine LOVES to just share her stories and talk.  It's fun to listen, but it also makes it a bit hard to teach.

But this last lesson with her was wonderful.  All of her questions went perfectly with the lesson!  It had to have been my favorite First Lesson with someone yet (and we did it all in English which it kinda nice... lol).  She really loves reading the Book of Mormon and she is never afraid to follow through with the commitments we give her. Though the things that we are teaching her are different then some of the things she's learned from her other churches, so she's not afraid to find out the truth for herself.  She will ask her questions and search for the answers, and I know that through that diligence she will come to know the truth for herself.  I'm excited to see how the lessons continue to progress.

The two little girls we are teaching are also going really well.  They are super cute, and they are doing a lot better and focusing during the lessons...I think it helps that we give them activities and visual aids to focus on.  It's been fun thinking of activities to do during the lesson to help us teach.  The primary books have been a source of great help!

Remember the wedding I went to a while back?  Well we've been trying to meet 고아라 but it hasn't happened.  She's not super interested in the gospel right now but I know that her husband (a member) wants to invite the spirit into their home.  So I came up with an idea (well, the Spirit gave me a good idea).  We are going to deliver messages.  We got a new picture of the Seoul Temple and cut it into 9 puzzle pieces; on the back of each piece I put a quote and a scripture.  The first one was about love and we used a quote from Elder Uchtdorf for the latest conference. We made the pieces into magnets so they can build a picture of the Temple upon their fridge.  She likes cute little things like that so I hope she likes the puzzle.

Because I was sick for a couple of days we didn't get to do as much work as I would have liked, so I’m excited to pack this next week full!

So today was the Haeundea Beach Sandcastle Festival!!!  It was pretty cool.  There were more like sculptures on the side of sand mounds than actual castles but it was still pretty cool to see.  Then my district built our own sand "pyramid" and it was awesome, hehe! Tomorrow I have my LAST training meeting as a TRAINY!! I'll be a big kid after that!...weird... Wednesday is the Stake Sports Day and the entire stake is meeting up to...well, play sports!  It'll be way fun I’m sure.

Busy week, but it'll be fun!

I love you all! Thank you for all the lovin' and prayers!  One day I hope to bring y'all to this beautiful place, it is already so dear to my heart!

Take care! And I'll write again next week!!!
Kiss Love Hugs!