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Friday, May 8, 2009

Snail Mail from President Jennings dated 4/21/09

Your immediate action is required!
What this letter says is that RoseE is going to be having a difficult time in a couple of weeks and NEEDS YOUR LETTERS!
I mean SNAIL MAIL at the address to the right!-->

President Jennings writes:

"Dear Brother and Sister Hadden,

We are so appreciative of the service that your daughter is performing among the people in the Korea Busan Mission. As difficult as it is to believe, she has now been in the country over a month. Her letters home undoubtedly reflect the excitement and challenges of adapting to a new culture, new customs, new foods, and a new language. After one or two months in the country many missionaries hit a period of discouragement and frustration, especially with regard to the Korean language. We are making a greater effort to help them anticipate this period, and we wanted to give you some insight into what your missionary is facing.

The great majority of missionaries in the church serve in their native language or in a language related to English. While these other languages may be challenging, they are not as perplexing and frustrating as languages that are completely unrelated to our own. Those missionaries who serve in their native tongue must learn the discussions, the missionary skills, and how to teach and invite by the Spirit. Those serving in Romance or Germanic languages have the additional challenge of learning a language, but in many cases are able to teach with some facility by the time they have been in the field six months. For the relatively few assigned to teach in completely unrelated languages, the missionary experience is somewhat different. These languages include many of the Asian languages as well as Finnish, Hungarian, and Albanian. Korean is among the more difficult languages to learn for native speakers of English and other Indo-European languages.

Typically a missionary arrives from the MTC well prepared spiritually and in missionary skills. The missionaries assigned to our mission are bright, capable, and motivated. Some are able to teach the first few lessons in Korean before they arrive. When they arrive they generally find that they cannot understand spoken Korean at all. However, with some weeks of listening daily to native speech they begin to understand small amounts of the language. With very diligent study a bright missionary can teach all of the lessons within four months of arrival in the country with little assistance. She is not expected at that point to be able to teach them with any degree of facility, but will have learned vocabulary, sentence structure, and pronunciation. She will be able to teach portions with practice in advance. By six months in the country she will have learned the lessons better, and will be better able to teach. By nine months out some missionaries will be ready to be independent, but more commonly it takes a year to be sufficiently fluent to become a senior companion.*

I think you can appreciate that it can be very frustrating for these young people who come with such faith and motivation to find that they are infants and that it will be a long and difficult struggle to be able to teach effectively. Most missionaries complete their mission far from being truly proficient in Korean. For many, this is the most difficult task they have ever faced, and it is a very different sort of mission from that experienced by their friends and brothers or sisters in many cases.

Miraculously, the Lord gives our missionaries the Gift of Tongues. As they work hard and study with faith they are able to teach the gospel in Korean. They are able to accomplish in months that which takes years for most others. They come to enjoy Korean study and to love Korean culture and Korean people. They realize that they have been blessed greatly and that the Lord really is in charge of His work. More importantly, they have the gifts of the spirit and from their first day in the mission can contribute in many ways to their companionship's efforts with members and investigators.

If you, as parents, receive discouraging letters from your missionary please be encouraging and remind your daughter that the Lord will bless her devotion and sacrifice. Please understand that the progression of missionary service opportunities will be slower here than in other areas of the world and that most effective service will come in the last year of their mission. If you will keep her and these other marvelous men and women in your prayers they will feel your love and will press forward with faith.

We are eager to help them and to encourage and comfort them. They are our companions and we love them. We admire their courage and their faith. We are so blessed to serve with them. If there is ever a question that we can answer, please do not hesitate to call, write, or email us. . .

Thank you for sharing your daughter with us and with our Heavenly Father. May the Lord bless you and your family for this sacrifice.


Kenneth W. Jennings
Korea Busan Mission President"

*companions: All missionaries are paired up with another missionary, with whom they must stay in constant contact during the time they are assigned together. Typically, the companion who has been in the particular mission field the longest is the senior companion and directs their day-to-day activities. The junior companion relies heavily on (his or) her companion's experience and guidance.


  1. To Wray and Nat: email the Blogmom directly at and I'll give you the information you requested