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Monday, November 16, 2009

In Which Winter Sets In and Some Good Missionary Things Happen

RoseE writes:

"Dear Mum and Dad,

Miss you like crazy, as always. I just sent off a box of Christmas Presents, minus Bit's and Bug's (for which I am still looking; they'll be on their way soon, I promise). Getting it there in time for Christmas made me very grateful for Grama Rosie's present. I'd like to express this gratitude to her, but I don't have her mailing address . . . *puppy dog eyes* I'm such a gosh darn high-maintenance missionary, I'm sorry. ;-( That's the last thing I'm requesting, I swear. I'll be good from now on.

35 cents is a good deal on medical care. Good job, Bug.

It's dang cold here, too -- the green coat is out and working, as are my lovely hat and gloves. Everybody likes the hat and says it's maushiitda (stylish) . . . this word keeps throwing me because it sounds too much like the French mauche, ugly.

Well, this week was Pepero day, which is like Valentine's Day would be if Valentine's Day had been invented by the company that makes the conversation hearts. The Pepero company just made it up about twenty years ago to boost sales, but hey, I'm all for giving and receiving chocolate-covered cookie sticks. I'm just a little smug that for once our version is older than their version.

We also had President's interviews this week, at which Prez looked at his paperwork and realized what had come to my attention some weeks ago, vis. that every Korean missionary in Kyongbuk zone is either in my district or my apartment, and that the only American missionary I ever see is Elder Murray. (Elder Murray's pretty cool. His family owns Nightmare Mansion and he wants to grow up to be a conservative radio talk show host.) So Prez asked me how that was going for me. And what could I say? I wanted to come to Korea, and boy, I'm here with a vengeance now. I'd love to feel sorry for myself, but when I do my companion gets hurt and sad, which I would too, if I were in her shoes, which I need to be more often. So staying positive. Learning Korean. Working. Being happy. That's the plan.

It was a pretty big week for missionary work. We Got Through A Door. WE GOT THROUGH A DOOR. You NEVER get through doors when you're doorknocking. I think the stat is 1000 rejections for every invitation to come inside and teach a lesson. But we got through a door. . . and taught the first lesson to three great kids whom I love already while their sweet grandma brought us persimmons. Awwww.

We've got a lot of people we're working with right now. How did this happen? This area was dead six weeks ago. I like this better, really.

Sunday sort of sums up what's been happening lately. Get ready for a name string, 'cuz these were the people I was excited to see at church: Jin Mok Hwan (less-active hairstylist friend), the new move-in recent convert from Taejeon we've been trying to track down, Hyeh Ji (new member/less-active), Ju Hyeah (her non-member best friend), Ii Un Kyeong (new member who's been missing church due to an ongoing fight with cancer) Hyeon Ji (member's niece/our investigator), our ward mission leader (he's missed two weeks; we thought he'd gone less-active), Ii Mi Suk (now sporting stylish headscarves to match her outfits) and the bishop's dog. Now the former bishop's dog, 'cuz the bishop got released and now we have a new bishop, Pyeon Chang Gi, who is one of my favorite members and married to another of my favorite members. And little Ryan Tollett got baptized and there was American junk food for all. And we rejoiced. But we still don't know what the former bishop's dog was doing in sacrament meeting. Welcome to Korea. Welcome to my life.

Today every missionary in creation (not really; just a bunch) got taken out to Kyeong Ju, which was the capital of the kingdom of Silla (read: very, very, VERY old). In the city now, all the buildings have traditional Korean roofs. Even new buildings. They have to build 'em that way; it's a law. Really. We went exploring in another temple . . . again, a sad experience, firstly for the thought of so many people believing that bowing to a statue will make their lives better, and secondly for the jarring collision of religion and commercialism that happens when still-active places of worship become tourist destinations. But the temple that we went to still has some wooden buildings that predate the Japanese invasions of the late 1500s, which is hard to do because the Japanese burned down pretty darn near everything.

In the midst of the pre-Christmas festivities (which I'm trying very hard to not think about missing), if you on Temple Square meet a Sister Durtschi (American), please tell her I say hi.

Love you! Gotta run!


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