Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24, 2013 - I broke my trainer :(

Hello 가족!!

This week has been absolutely nuts because so much has happened that I do not even know where to begin. I guess I should start at the highlight of this past week, which was this past Friday. So every Friday, my companion and I go visit 민다빈. She is an eleven year old less active whose grandmother thinks that sister missionaries are a good influence. Usually, we go to this playground and play a Marco Polo type game on a raised balcony, which is lined with a metal rail. The person who is “it” closes their eyes, while the others run around with their eyes open. Yes, not the brightest idea, but it is an unspoken rule for the person who is “it” to have their eyes open every once in a while. Well, I was “it” and my companion was hiding from me. She decided that the best place to hide was to sit on the rail behind the pole. So, I am searching for her and I decided to wrap my arms around the pole that she was hiding behind. Like a brilliant scientist, my companion decides to duck down... This is where the story gets even better! Sis. Kim lost her balance and fell off the rail, head first onto a metal grate/drain. I opened my eyes right when she started to fall, and it was like out of the movies! Seriously, she fell in slow motion and I really tried to catch her. -Back to the Story-

I looked over the rail and Sis. Kim was out. She had been knocked out from the fall. So, I ran down to see her and I started saying her name. At this point, a bunch of small children had gathered around Sis. Kim. She was not answering so I checked her head to see if it was bleeding. I touched the back of her head and I noticed there was a small amount of blood. Sis. Kim then woke up and told me that she was in a lot of pain. I asked her what I should do and she told me to call the President. I picked up the cellphone...and it was in Korean. I have no idea how to text in Korean. I turned to this little 7 year old (bless his heart) and asked him to find Morrisse 형세님. This little boy was freaked out and all of his friends were stressing him out. Every time he would come close to the name, he would accidentally skip it. I called President Morrisse, but he did not answer. So, I tried calling his wife...who also did not answer. At this point, Sis. Kim was crying. The little children were asking me if they should dial 119, which is similar to 911. I asked Sis. Kim and she told me not to until we asked the President. So, the next thing I knew to do was call the Sister Training Leader aka Sis. Saunders. I called her and told her that Sis. Kim had had a really bad fall and was in a lot of pain. She told me to call the ZL's of our zone and then the President. I tried the President one more time and finally he answered! Initially he was going to have us wait there until he arrived, but then he heard Sis. Kim crying. While I was talking to the President, the little children had decided that Sis. Kim was they called an ambulance. 

Now towards the end of the story, my companion had received a concussion, a small cut on her head, and broke both of her big toes! Seriously, I do not know how that happened but it did. So now, all of the sisters in the apartment are taking care of Sis. Kim. We help her into the bathroom, spray her with the shower head, and dress her. It is like my past summer :)

Sister Carter, Sister Chao
Since Sis. Kim is out for the next little bit, well at least until she gets real casts...Sis. Carter and I have been made companions. We have been in Korea for 2 weeks and now we are venturing on our own. Seriously, there have been so many ridiculous adventures and our Korean has never been used more. We are lost 75% of the time. It is fantastic! I'm not really sure how long we will be together, but Sis. Carter and I wake up everyday and ask "Is this real life?" It is absolutely crazy! We freak out all the time because we honestly do not speak all. So, my companion is with Sis. Carter's companion. Me and Sis. Carter have been companions for the past few days and it is absolutely crazy. For now, we are serving in both areas. As for Sis. Kim, we have to wait and see. She will probably get hard casts on Wednesday!

Sister Chao, Sister Wright, Sister Carter
I also had the opportunity of attending the baptism of one of our investigators! It was a nice service. Nam Kyong Young 자매님 is such a loving person and had this glow once she was baptized. She will be getting confirmed next week! We are hoping that Sis. Kim will be able to go to church next week, but we are not sure yet. Once she gets real casts, I will be able to wheel her around Korea. I am in BoonDang 분당 area.
Sister Chao, Sister Wright and Sister Carter at the Seoul Korea Temple

How are things back home?

I love you guys and cannot wait to talk to you next month! It seems like I have been gone forever. I really do love it in Korea....even though it is absolutely crazy sometimes. Seriously, can we move here?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I miss you all and hope that you have a wonderful holiday! Eat lots of food, but not too much because leftovers is no fun. So small portions :)

I seriously love you guys! You guys are so hilarious and I cannot imagine life in Korea without your support!

Love, (사랑합니다)

Sis. Chao ( Super Greenie)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

1st week in Korea (November 17)

Hello 가족!

I have officially survived my first week here in Korea! It was very difficult, but also very rewarding! Now that I am a bit more coherent than the week before, I am going to try my best and summarize all that has happened.

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity of attending a joint mission conference in Seoul. One of the elders from the quorum of the seventy spoke to us about the role of missionaries and how we can be more effective. He truly reemphasized to me and my companion that we need to open our mouths and speak. Now...Sis. Kim does not have a problem with this, but I most certainly do. So my goal for this next week is just open my mouth and go. I will keep you updated on how that goes. Oh! I got to see cousin Sis. Blickenstaff this past weekend! She look very well and knows a lot more Korean than she thinks. We are not in the same zone, but we will see each other at the next zone conference!

This coming week, one of our investigators (남경연) is going to get baptized this Sunday! Sis. Kim and I were incredibly nervous because Sister Nam Kyong Yon was a bit apprehensive about paying tithing because she is on government assistance. Well, this past week a miracle has happened and she told us that she will do whatever God asks without hesitation. She has such a strong testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon. Although she is 86 years old, she has such a desire to read the Book of Mormon and so we are going to teach her how to read! I cannot talk about this sister enough, she has such a strong testimony and a heart of gold.

Another miracle that has occurred this week is that Sister Nam Kyon Yon's daughter and son-in-law have also accepted the invitation to be baptized! There date is December 22, 2013. Seriously, who could think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than with the baptisms of two people! I am so excited to be a part of their special day. I will definitely take pictures and keep you guys updated on their progress.

I am doing very well and my Korean is....getting better. I can say a few things, but for now my lack of Korean ability is being used as an advantage. My companion will literally ask people if I can practice Korean with them, which then leads them to asking why I am there. So, It is a great way to share the message and develop my speaking abilities. Do not worry about my safety, Sis. Kim and I are being very obedient and we are trying our best to stay away from dangerous areas. Luckily. the area that I serve in is fairly nice and we are mostly spending time with less active members. I will keep my eyes open and definitely listen to the promptings of the spirit.

It is so cold in Korea. There is something in the air that makes the cold pierce through my one coat! Do not worry...I will be buying a new coat this Thursday because we are going to the temple! Also, I love the coats here. Do you remember that puffy coat I hated in junior high? Well, those types of coats are all the rage in Korea. Seriously, everyone looks like they are about to climb Mount Everest, but in reality they are just walking to the subway. It is just great! 

I am eating very well...actually too well. Everyone in my area loves sister missionaries and are very intent on feeding us. I have never eaten so many meals in my entire life. Seriously, sisters here are not losing weight, but gaining more to love. So if you do not recognize me, let me know. Seriously, we are friends and family...LET ME KNOW. I cannot emphasize that enough. My companion is Korean and should tell me these things, but she is too nice and I love her for it. I love you all and miss you so much!!

Sis. Chao

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Arrived in Korea (November 10)


I cannot believe that I am in Korea right now...this is absolutely crazy. It seems like yesterday that I was in Provo trying to learn Korean. That is actually not a lie, I do not know much Korean... It has definitely been an interesting experience trying to communicate with people on the subway on the street. Bright side, people are more willing to talk to me when I lure them in with "May I practice 한국말?" Anyways, I am getting a bit ahead of myself...let us start at the beginning. ^^ (Oh yes, I just did that).

The plane ride to Korea was fairly enjoyable, but it is really hard to keep yourself busy and not watch videos. Luckily, I befriended one of the Korean sister missionaries and we chatted a lot about our interests and what we would like to do in the future. Her name is Sis. Ahn and she is from Pusan, South Korea which is located towards the south. I promised her that I would come visit sometime, but let us be honest...I will be poor as soon as I finish my mission.

President and Sister Morrise, Sister Chao, Sister Kim
After we arrived at the airport, the mission president notified us that we would be proselyting on the subway. This was at 10:40 at night....let us just say that most of the missionaries looked out of their minds. Also, can you imagine being on a subway and 35 missionaries enter. I definitely would have tried to avoid eye contact, but with that many people it is impossible. I actually was able to give one Book of Mormon away! It is all about strategic placement of the book and making eye contact as much as possible. Frankly, the most approachable people on the subway are old people. They are quite willing to listen without sassing you back. After proselyting for about an hour, we finally arrived at the mission home. 

Okay, fast forward time...this story is taking much to long. So my companion is Sis. Kim and she is a native Korean speaker. Win! She works incredibly hard and truly wants to make a difference. We are currently serving in the area of 분당, which is supposedly just as nice as Gangam. There are a lot of investigators and I am quite terrified to teach them. This brings us back to the beginning...what language have I been learning? I do not even know because no one understands a thing I am saying. Also, I keep agreeing with everything which is a terrible idea. I literally agreed with an investigator when she said "My food is disgusting." Sigh, bad times. Bad times.  Thank the lord for senior companions who are fluent in the language. I am actually learning a lot about hard work and the language from Sis. Kim. 

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet one of our investigators. She is about the same age as Popo and reminds me a lot of her. She is super lonely and loves it when the missionaries come to visit. She is illiterate, which makes teaching a bit difficult but she loves Jesus Christ. We are hoping to get her connected with the ward because she needs support and we will not be in the area forever. She has a baptismal date set for Nov. 23, which is not too far away! Tonight, we have an appointment with an 11 year old. Apparently, her mother was once active in the church but now is not as active as she used to be. The strange thing is that she wants her daughter to be active. We will see how it goes because apparently she is a hard one to win over.

Anyways, I am loving it here in Korea and I am keeping warm for the most part. I do not think it will be too bad here, but it is only Fall. I will definitely keep my eyes out for cute and reasonable winter boots...but I have giant feet. I’ll keep you posted. I love it in Korea and I will try my best to learn the language! I will chat with you soon.


-챠오 자매님

I have not seen Caitlin yet, but I will see her this weekend at the large mission conference. I cannot wait to see everyone! There are only 4 people in my apartment and it is quite fun. I still room with Sister Carter...Yay! The food here is so delicious!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Final week at the MTC

Hello 가족,

Korea Seoul South Missionaries
How are things back home? I cannot believe that I am on the final stretch here at the MTC. I am slowly getting everything together, but I definitely lack the motivation to pack. I wish I had magical powers or a kind servant to help me pack my bags. Do not worry, I will begin packing today once all of my laundry is dry and smells nice and fresh. 

Things here at the MTC have been incredibly uplifting, fun, but also hard. A lot of the missionaries (myself included) have struggled with feelings of inadequacy as we prepare to leave for Korea. We know that this is Satan trying to discourage us from doing the Lord's work, but it is definitely hard to think that we can be effective missionaries with limited language abilities. I guess I will have to rely on the Lord a lot more, which is completely terrifying. Who would have thought that acting on faith seems to be an everyday experience. I was talking to Sis. Jung today and she said that the best way to overcome my fear is to just have faith and act.

Sister Wright & Sister Chao
Our investigators are progressing very well and have promised to attend church this weekend. I am not sure if they will follow through on this commitment, but we will emphasize the importance of attendance again tonight during our lesson. Tonight is the last time I will be teaching at TRC! Apparently it will be over Skype, which should make the teaching experience even more interesting. I do not think that we will be able to laugh as much via Skype...that would just make the experience even more awkward. 

This past devotional, I had the opportunity to hear from Elder Godoy and his conversion process. It definitely reemphasized to me that we must see everyone as brothers and sisters. I cannot wait to go to Korea to share how much I love the gospel, as well as how much I care for them. Augh, can I just go to Korea already? :)

Non-Spiritual Things

So, I will be landing in Detroit around 10:50 am (Utah Time). I do not think I will be calling any earlier than that because we will have a short amount of time at the Salt Lake City Airport. Thank you for sending me a calling card. I will be sure to use it and call your cell phones or work phone, whichever one you want me to call. 

I will be flying on Delta. Does Delta charge for the second checked bag to Korea?

Thank you for sending me so many cute clothes! I love wearing them and cannot wait to match them with all of my skirts! Oh, my laundry is almost done...I really hope that I haven't lost another sock. I lose one gym sock every time I wash my clothes, It is absolutely insane! I think I have lost a total of 3 pairs of socks. Don't worry, you have sent more than enough replacements!

My district and I are getting super excited to leave for Korea and it definitely shows. This past week, one of the elders in my district was passing out pretzel sticks that look like wands. I will just say that there were many spells being cast in our room. We definitely looked a bit insane and 4 years old. The highlight of our wizard battle was when one of the sisters yelled "Circumference!" I am not sure if that is an actual spell, but it definitely needs to be added to wizards spells.

Anyways, I love you all and cannot wait to write you from Korea! 


Sis. Melanie Chao