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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

P-Day Email 2/24/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum, Dad, and All,

Thanks for the e-mails and news, and particularly Dad's letters. They are the best parts of my week, hands down.

It's been a quiet week here in Lake Woebegon*, my hometown. Really, not much very interesting has happened. The older sisters and Korean sisters are gone, leaving just the five of us girls and a total of four Korean districts. Elder Conley (the brightest and least grown-up of our districtmates) has been called as the new District Leader, stepping in for Elder Kerrigan, the oldest and most mature of our districtmates. So dynamics are changing a little bit. We're all getting used to it. Also my good friends the Thai sisters are leaving a week from today, which is sad. Sister Crepse is about my best friend here at the MTC. She and I are going to get English Master's Degrees together when we get home.

A week from today I will have a very good seat for the devotional. A very good seat. President Carlson asked me to offer the closing prayer. He had to interview me before he asked, mostly to make sure I knew the proper use of the language of prayer, the archaic informal. "President Carlson . . . I have an English degree." "Oh. Well, that's fine, then." They seem to be rather worried about an unanticipated 'you' slipping out on camera in front of several thousand missionaries worldwide.

Saturday, we taught in Korean for the first time. It was hard on all of us, in different ways. For me, it was once again lesson organization and flow that was my problem, although we did much better than we had in previous lessons on that. Being forced to simplify does wonders. My biggest problem right now is that I just don't have the vocabulary to understand what anybody says to me. And the vocabulary that I do have, I keep forgetting how to use. Playing an investigator on Saturday morning, I tried to say "I worry about my family" and ended up saying "I get nigh-on-homicidally frustrated with my family", which made my teacher convulse from shock in his chair. Yesterday, I left the classroom without my scriptures and had to run back for them, explaining breathlessly to my perplexed teacher, "My testimony does not exist." "Your what?" "Um . . . Scriptures! My scriptures do not exist!" "Oh, good. I was going to say, we can help you with that . . ."

Korean is a tricky language.

Tuesday night, Elder Ballard** came and spoke to us. I knew it was an apostle because everybody stood up in the middle of the hymn, which we have been strictly admonished NEVER to do unless a. the presiding authority tells us to or b. an apostle or higher enters the room, but I couldn't figure out who because a. I don't know Elder Ballard by sight very well and b. he was the only member of his party wearing a gray suit. I have never seen a Twelve wear a gray suit. My eye skipped right over him. But I was sitting in the front row of the choir, and we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and did a pretty good job. It's nice having all those basses and baritones. This week we're doing "Come Thou Fount" so I'll finally know all the words to that one, thank goodness.

The big news on campus today is that IT'S SUNNY OUTSIDE! AND WARM! It's cause for MTC-wide rejoicing. We haven't seen any significant amount of sunshine for sooooo long, and it's soooo depressing and sludgy and awful. MTC in winter is about the worst idea ever. But once we get into the field, it will be great. Sis. Copeland assures us we'll be arriving just in time for the cherry blossoms, and we will only have to endure one humid August and one freezing winter, enjoying the benefits of two lovely springs and two lovely autumns. Ha!

Our two new districts come tomorrow. It is very freaky that we're going to be the 'older' districts now. It's also freaky that we have nearly a month of training left. I am starting to get antsy. I want out of this MTC. I want to go to Korea. I want to talk to people about the gospel and stare blankly at them when they respond to me, and sleep on a mat on the floor and eat rice and kimchi every day. But I have at least another month to go--possibly a month and a week, if they decide to keep us here through conference. I wonder how flights to LA are going to be that week. Probably not so good.

So anyway, that's life these days. My pool of corresponders seems to be shrinking, so if anybody who's reading the blog had been intending to write me a letter while postage was still cheap, now-ish would be a good time because in a few weeks I'll be in the midst of prepping for departure and won't care quite so much. But right now I'm rather bored. And I'm having to learn to stop bouncing my knee when I think, because apparently this drives Koreans nuts.

So . . . the Church is true, Talmage is a good writer, Korean is fun to mess up in, my stockings have holes in them but so do everybody else's. Anybody found tag magnets yet? My un-magneted tag's pin-clasp is broken, so I only have one tag I can wear, which is a hassle in very variable weather. I love you all . . . write me letters or the wrath of God shall come down upon your head . . . it's true, I read it someplace . . .***


* Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, fictional town created by Garrison Keillor.

** M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been serving as an Apostle since October 6, 1985, traveling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church.
***BlogMom note: RoseE can get snail mail any day of the week, but she can only get email on Tuesdays, and she doesn't have much time to read it, nor can she print it out. So sit down and write her a letter! It's good for you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Email from 2/17/09

RoseE writes:

"Grandma & I already worked out that my Elder Gygi is Heather and Hank's* Cameron Gygi. He knows the cousins' names better than I do, and we have decided that we are sort-of-adopted-cousins-ish. Hey, works for us. I've sent G&G** a picture of my district, an an update on his family, so ask them.

Do we have a Costco membership? Pres. Carlson says a Costco card is a very useful thing to have in Korea.

Our "older" Koreans left yesterday, plus our "real" Koreans . . . all except Sister Lee and Elder Rodrigues, who, for reasons I do not begin to understand, are leaving on Wednesday and are traveling to Korea TOGETHER, BY THEMSELVES. I think they will be mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses at least three times during the trip. Sister Lee has told Elder Rodrigues that he has to sit at the front of the plane, while she will sit at the back . . . far away from him, but well positioned to keep an eye out for trouble.

I am learning the first Vision in Korean. It is crazy. This is how it translates:

"I my head directly above sun more than more bright light pillar saw and, that light pillar gradually came down a bit and to me arrived . . . this light me above rested when I literally express ability does not exist brightness and glory emitting two personages me above air middle in stand ing thing saw. That middle one person my name call while me to speaking semicolon different one person point speaking--this my loved son is, his word hear! said."***

Needless to say, it's going to take a while.

Yesterday, we were supposed to get a new elder in our district. However, nobody knew about it but President Carlson, and he didn't show up, so we're all a little perplexed and miffed that maybe we made a pretty welcome sign for nothing.

Melanie from camp and her daughter Sarah sent me some toe socks. They are joyous to my soul. :-)

My mission scripture (finally) is D&C 11:8. It's not listed in any index, more's the crazy.

I am thirty pages into the Book of Mormon in Korean. It is abso-dratted-lutely incomprehensible, but on we slog nevertheless. Last week we learned to conjugate adjectives (yes, conjugate adjectives), so that was fun, too.

I am Not Sick. I am Well Rested. I am generally happy and productive. This is good.

Dad, everybody in my district loves getting news of North Korea. I love getting your mission stories. Please keep them coming. Where is that stationery coming from? My companion would like to know what our new president is doing to pass the time until the next election.

Um . . . yeah, that's the news. I love you all!


*RoseE's aunt and uncle on her Dad's side.

**Grama and Grampa Hadden

*** English version of the First Vision: ". . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" Joseph Smith, History 1

Thursday, February 12, 2009

12 February 2009

RoseE writes:

"Dear Family,

I hope you get this soon, or the enclosed Valentines won't be any good  (they had boxes and boxes of them in the health clinic, up for grabs, so I got a whole sheet of Star Wars ones for my district and these for you.  I don't know how appropriate it is for sisters to give Elders valentines, but none of them actually say "Will you be my Valentine?" so I guess it's all right.)*.

Anyway, I hope you had fun in Europe!  I can't wait to hear all about it.  Not much happened while you were gone--I worked hard, listened to some good speakers (none with a name worth dropping, though--mostly missionary department leadership), spoke in only Korean for an entire day and hit Elder Conley on the head with a hymnal.  I am NOT sick, but Elder Gygi is pale and shaky with 'flu so we are praying for him while warding him off with garlic and crosses.

Our senior and Korean sisters are leaving early next week, and we have heard tell that our incoming missionaries will be few in number, so we five sisters may be the only Korean sisters in the MTC for the rest of our stay.  Freaky.  Sister Bergeson next door is our new coordinating sister, thus answering the prayers of we three who have quite enough responsibility to be getting on with, thank you very much.

Try putting peanut butter cookies in the microwave for 15 sec--Sister Linford tried it and it's really good.  Try leaving a peanut butter cookie in the microwave for 60 seconds--I tried it and it caught on fire.**



*  The idea is to NOT have missionaries fall in love while they are on their mission, as it shortens the mission, diverts their minds from what they are supposed to be doing,  and tends to have deleterious effects on the teaching and learning.  Much effort is made to keep this from happening, including always having your companion with you, no hugs, etc.  Valentines might be frowned upon in this light.

** This would not be the first microwave RoseE has destroyed by fire.  She put a whole raw egg in one, and blew up both the egg and the microwave.  We now have a shiny new microwave.