Monday, February 24, 2014

Oh 안양


I cannot believe that it is already P-Day! It seems like only yesterday that Sis. Kim and I were emailing our families and updating everyone on what is happening in 안양

Things have been going well, but this area is incredibly difficult. Street contacting is probably one of the scariest things I have to do as a missionary. Yesterday, my Korean just kind of clicked and I started understanding more of what people were saying to us. Yeah, I no longer have to wonder what people think of missionaries because I now know that the majority of them do not like us. Perhaps I will have to work on a less creepy approach or something. In all honesty though, who doesn't get creeped out when a stranger starts asking them where they are going and how was their day. I know I would. Sis. Kim has promised to help me work on conversations, but we have been too busy to role play lately. 

Sis. Kim and I are getting along very well. We essentially push each other to be better missionaries all the time, but also have a lot of fun together. Last night, we tried playing hide and seek together and just scared each other. 

I don't take pictures with Sis. Carter anymore because she is in a different zone. Sis. Wright transferred to the same area as me and her companion is best friends with my companion. It is safe to say that we will see each other a lot and I mean a lot. It is great because Sis. Wright and I just have child like fun when we are together. Last P-Day we decided to buy ice cream and eat in a closet because we wanted to share embarrassing mission stories without our companions hearing.

One of our investigators 강윤경s has a real sincere desire to believe in God, but has trouble believing that there is one because of things in the world. When she talked about what is preventing her from believing in God, I could not help but be reminded of my own conversion. I know that I had a really hard time believing in God because the world is just bad news. I don't think her conversion will happen the same way mine did, but I hope there are things we can do to help her know that God exists. 

남경연s is doing fine and has almost fully recovered from her minor heart attack. She is actually loving all the attention that ward members and the sister missionaries have been giving her. She really knows that the ward loves her, which is great. Sis. Kim Chun has the time of her life in 분당 and has picked up several new investigators. Unfortunately, she had to drop the other grandmother we were visiting because she was not progressing and has not been for a long time. It is incredibly sad, but perhaps she is not ready right now and needs time to figure out what she wants out of life. I don't know if she will actually think about it in that much detail, but hopefully she will get around to it. 

Um, I don't really wear the boots or rainboots anymore because I gave them to another sister in the ward. She really needed them and I didn't really need to wear them. The sister is so grateful to have them. She loves them, especially when she is working with the fisheries. I wear fleece tights all the time to keep my legs warm because they are super cheap in Korea. I don't really wear scarves because it isn't too cold where we are. I wear them when it is super chilly though. Don't worry, I have a great immune system and have yet to get sick! Yes! I mean...prideful. Knock on wood.

I wish I had something funny to tell you, but nothing funny has happened recently. At least nothing super noteworthy. Everything is just kind of "you had to be there" type of things. 

Today, Sis. Kim has challenged our zone to beat her badminton. If you didn't know already, Sis. Kim was almost an Olympian for Korea but had to stop because she had a super serious injury. She has been playing since she was little and has mastered her craft. So, like a completely sane person I told Sis. Kim that I would destroy her. Hahaha. We will see what happens.

Also, a general apostle is coming to Korea in May!! :D

I love you all!

-Sis. Chao

P.S. Oh my gosh, I do have a funny story for you. Every Friday, the elders and sisters volunteer at a social welfare center and serve lunch. The food that the people serve there is a bit sketch. The other day, Sis. Kim was super excited to eat a meat dish. I looked at the meat and it was super fatty and tough. I did not want to eat it at all, but Sis. Kim insisted that it was delicious. So, I tried to bite it but it wouldn't break. I asked Sis. Kim what it was, but she refused to tell me. Like any sane person, I asked the nice worker next to me and she essentially said that was meat from pig heads. I didn't even know that was edible.... ! May be I shouldn’t have asked! :D

Monday, February 17, 2014

Um...Week 3 in 안양?

Hello Family,

Sis. Kim always makes delicious Korean meals!
I cannot believe that it has only been a week and a half since I have transferred to 안양. I guess that is a good thing because that means Sis. Kim and I are working harder than ever and enjoying our time together. Lately, we have been trying to visit a lot of Less-Active members in our area. They are not making it easy, but it is a fun challenge. Sis. Kim and I are trying to make ourselves seem so incredibly nice that it would be impossible to turn us away. Haha. I will let you know once we have figured out the perfect way to meet with Less-Active members.

Right now, Sis. Kim and I are doing a lot of finding and trying to find more investigators to teach. It has been incredibly difficult because not a  lot of people want to hear our message. I don't really mind because that means I get to walk around the city all the time, but it would be nice to have conversations that are a bit more complex than creepily asking where they are going, etc. Haha. Apparently it is a normal thing to ask, but everyone gets so afraid when I ask them. Seriously, what am I going to do? I may try to eat their dumplings or kimbap, but that might be the extent of it. 

Yesterday, I was talking to Sis. Kim Chun in my old area. She called me while she was visiting Nam Kyong Young 자매님. This is literally how our conversation went:

Sis. Kim Chun: "Chao 자매님, 남경연 자매님 had a heart attack yesterday."
Me: "A heart attack? That is great!"
Sis. Kim Chun: "What?! She had a heart attack!"
Me: "Oh, you meant a literal heart attack...WHAT?!"
Sis. Kim Chun: "She's fine, but couldn't come to church because of it."

That is how you know you have been a sister missionary for too long, when you mistake pasting hearts on people's doors with literal heart attacks. Fail blog. 

As for the family that loves sister missionaries, we continue to love them but haven't been able to visit them recently. They know that we would love to serve them, but that our primary purpose is to help invite others to Christ. We will continue to visit every once in a while, but it won't be to the extent that we have done in the past few weeks. 

Sis. Kim Yoon Ha and I are having lots of fun as a companionship. We literally are like elementary school children on a sleepover at night. The first night I moved in, Sis. Kim had moved our beds right next to each other to promote chatting. Even though we spend all day with each other, we cannot help but chat until the whee hours of the morning. IT'S TERRIBLE! I have never been so tired in my entire life, but I love it. She is great and I am learning a lot! Do not worry, she is making me speak Korean as much as possible. I have already seen an improvement in my reading and listening abilities. 

I love you!

Sis. Chao

My new companion Sis. Kim

Another temple trip with our Mission President

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm at 안양


Ah, so I have officially been in 안양 for about a 5 days and it is absolutely fantastic. My new companion is 김윤하 자매님 and she has been out for 6 months? I think she came out around the same time as Sis. Blickenstaff. Before this area, she was in 수지 with Sis. Saunders for 3 transfers. Oh another random connection, Sis. Blickenstaff was trained in the area I am in now. So I will definitely have to write her an email and ask her about her experience in this area. Apparently, everyone knows that we are related and have been talking about how we kind of look alike, which is strange because both of our parents were adopted. Ha. Maybe all Chinese people look the same. Anyways, on my first day here...Sis. Kim took me to visit with 고여림 자매님 (Go Yo Rim). Sis. Go has been working with the sisters in the area for quite some time and referring a lot of her mother, friends, and their families. Long story short...she has essentially adopted the sister missionaries as her daughters. She feeds us a lot of food and  then asks us to spend more time with her and do random tasks. It has been really good and she has been incredibly helpful. Although, she does asks us to do tasks, sometimes like washing her 3 dogs. Yay!

My new companion, also Sis. Kim, is definitely different from Sis. Kim Chun, but that is not a bad thing at all. Sis. Kim Yoon Ha is very kind, intelligent, motivated, and has a lot of ideas of how to improve the 안양 area. Right now, there are a lot of less active members and most of them are Young Single Adults. There is definitely a huge gap between the members...we have really old members and really young members. We really want to help bring the Young Single Adults back to church, but it has been a bit difficult to meet with them. Sis. Kim Yoon Ha and I will probably just start randomly dropping by their house and asking if we can leave them with a short message. Compared to 분당, this area is a bit countryish for Korea. There are a lot of small shops and not very many large apartment complexes or buildings, which has its ups and downs. The people are for the most part very nice, but they aren't as accepting as people in my first area. It will definitely be interesting to learn how I can more effectively give out Books of Mormon and find new investigators.

So, this past Sunday I had to give an introduction talk during Sacrament. It was actually really good. Well, my accent is not as bad, but my Korean still has a long ways to go. Sis. Kim (current companion) is trying to help me a lot. She speaks a lot more Korean to me than Sis. Kim Chun did. I am hoping that means I will be able to talk a lot better by the end of this transfer. Well, hopefully a lot earlier than that.

Also, lately I have been reading and studying the Old Testament. Um...what in the world is happening in those books? I have never been more confused. Have you ever read Ezekiel? There is one weird creature with floating wheels. Really, someone should help me interpret the Old Testament.

My suitcases are sent through the mail, which is incredibly nice. They usually get to the new destination within 1-2 days. It makes moving a lot easier.

Sorry, my emails have been getting really lame lately. I just don't think there is anything really noteworthy to talk about lately. It's just all missionary work.

I love you all!

-Sis. Chao

Monday, February 3, 2014

Goodbye 분당 ㅠㅠ

Hello Family,

Well, if you have not read into the subject line yet...I guess I should tell you what it means. This past Saturday, Sis. Kim and I received transfer calls. Essentially, if you get a call from the office elders it means that you and your companion are staying in your area. If anyone else calls you, then it means that you have received some prestigious calling, training, or transferring to a new area. Well, President Morrise called and that means Sis. Kim and I will no longer be companions after Wednesday. Sis. Kim will be staying in 분당 and training a new greenie. I will be transferring to another area called 안양 and will be with another native Korean. Although, I'm not really sure if you can call Sis. Kim a native Korean. I'm not really sure how I feel about it, but I am excited and nervous. I may actually learn Korean. I kid, I have learned a lot from Sis. Kim and I am actually really sad to leave her. She will do great things in 분당 and I cannot wait to hear all of the greenies adventures with her.

As for my bags, wow...sister missionaries accumulate a lot of junk in short amounts of time. I have too much stuff that I have to buy boxes to put my things in. What in the world... Thankfully, I will not have to drag my suitcases on the train from one area to area. I am going to mail it to my new apartment in 안양

Other than that, nothing really exciting has happened. We continue to meet with 구덕레 and 남경연 every week. One of our investigators 반한나 is slowly progressing, but she has interesting views about Heavenly Father still. We need to teach her about the principle of agency, but it could be received either way.

Oh yeah, so Sis. Carter and I have been working on Preach My Gospel Teacher Training. Essentially, we are learning to be effective teachers in our native language and in Korean. As Sis. Carter and I have been preparing each lesson, we could not help but notice that there is a steep incline in how difficult the concepts are. Let me describe them to you... the first lesson in PMG is The Restoration. The first principle is God is our loving Heavenly Father. If you relate that principle to my favorite game street fighter...that is like a little jab. No big deal, easily accepted. The next principle after that is gospel blesses families, I relate that to a small kick. Again it really isn't that bad of a concept to wrap one's head around. Then you get to Gospel Dispensations, prophets, and authority. I relate that to a tornado whippy kick. No one really knows what to do with that. It is hard to bear, but again you can understand it after a while. Then you have to talk about the apostasy, the atonement, etc. Essentially, a hoduken comes out of nowhere when you teach and I have essentially blown my investigators mind. Anyways, I am sure it will get better with time...but wow is it complex. Haha

Transfers are a bit strange. Essentially, I have to travel 1.5 hours up north only to come back down with my new companion to the mission home. It happens on Wednesday morning. My companion's name is 김윤하 and she was in the same district as Sis. Kim at the MTC. So, she is relatively new and this will be her first time being a senior companion. I have met her during mission conferences, but I have not talked to her since then. I don't know a whole lot about the area, but I know that it is one of the busiest areas for missionary work in the entire mission. This past transfer, the sister missionaries had four baptism services. 

How are things back home? I am loving my time in Korea and cannot wait for my next adventure. Love you!

-Sis. Chao

P.S. I also most definitely went to a public bath with Sis. Kim. I don't know if I would necessarily go again soon, but it was a relaxing way to spend a P-Day.