Sunday, January 11, 2015

I made it to Korea!!!!!!

I made it to Korea!!! And I am definitely in Korea. It is a whole new world out here. My trainer is Sister Carter. She is super nice and funny and absolutely incredible at the language. Thank goodness, because I can't understand anything yet. I am such a greenie. My first area is An San. This is a bit of a challenging area. When I first got here, we had no progressing investigators. The ward is struggling really really bad. Lots of inactives. But its all good, because that just means there's lots of opportunities to help.

So on my way to An San, I experienced rush hour in Seoul. Now this... this is insanity. And not only rush hour in Seoul, but rush hour in Seoul carrying 3 suitcases onto trains stuffed to the walls with Koreans. And I am a foreigner so automatically I am watched from every directions. On one of the escalators at the train stations, one of my suitcases got caught on a step and fell over. A Korean man caught it for me and gave it to me. I said thank you in Korean, but lets just say, he was not impressed. He blew right past me after that saying some not so kind things in Korean. I didn't understand any of it. But Sister Carter told me he said some things about stupid foreigners and that was all she would tell me. Haha off to a good start right? :) Oh rush hour Seoul... what an adventure.

Our service project on Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday?) was to visit a nursing home. I was in HEAVEN!!! Korean elderly people are the cutest! I was back at home being a CNA again. We colored pictures with them and helped them eat. They also asked me to sing a song for them, so I sang "Once there was a Snowman." Their smiles were the cutest things! Ahh I loved it so much! And let me just say... if you want a confidence boost, be a foreigner in a Korean nursing home. All the old ladies kept telling me I was so beautiful over and over again. Their smiles warmed my heart. It was my favorite part of being here so far. So amazing! :)

I introduced myself in sacrament meeting on Sunday, all in Korean. I just said my name, where I was from, how many people were in my family etc. I also bore my testimony in Korean. But the best part was when I told them I had only been there five days, the congregation gasped. One man even said "But how?" So... apparently even if I can't say much in Korean, what I can say is near perfect pronunciation. According to the Koreans, I sound like I have been here for a long time. But its pretty obvious I haven't when they try to talk to me haha. You know on A Christmas Story how they go out to eat on Christmas and the Asians cant say "Fa la la la?" Well... thats how it is when Americans try to speak Korean. Two elders spoke before me that have been here way longer than me, but I guess I was the easiest to understand and used the most correct grammar. The gift of tongues is real. I cannot deny it. People have complimented my pronunciation the whole time I've been here, and when my trainer heard me speak Korean she was shocked. I had no clue that I spoke so well. But I cannot even tell you how thankful I am for it. Miracles happen. Even if I can't say much, if what I can say is clear and makes sense, then I am on the right path. Heavenly Father is definitely blessing me. :)

So since being in Korea, I have learned a lot. I am still getting over a bit of culture shock, but I love it anyway. Some things I have learned about Korea:
-Koreans are CRAZY drivers. Lines are merely a suggestion. Drive in the middle of the road if you want!
-Korean food is amazing. Even if its raw squid, it still tastes amazing.
-Koreans don't talk to each other on the bus or train. Generally, Americans make conversation with the person sitting next to them. There could be a ton of Koreans on one train or bus, but it is silent. They are obsessed with their phones and earphones.
-I stand out more than you would ever believe. I get stared at a lot. I am definitely a foreigner, and there is no hiding it.
-Most Korean girls have had plastic surgery to make their eyes bigger. They see me, and they get jealous. But they are so beautiful without the surgery! I wish I could tell them that.
-Heated floors are amazing. But no central heating system means when you walk into buildings, they are just as cold inside as the outside.
-Korea has a bit of a vanity problem. I have seen only super nice expensive cars. No cheap "college kid" cars exist.
-Korea has a smell... kimchi... my clothes smell like fish and kimchi.
-Korean men drink a lot... the women do too but I have already seen my fair share of men zombie walking down the streets as drunk as can be. Plus tons of people smoke.
-Korea is COLD.

But the thing about Korea that has stuck out to me the most... is that these people are lost. They are lost in society's expectations. They are lost in vanity. They are lost in alcohol and smoking. They have lost peace. There is no peace here. Korea... more than anyone else I have ever met, needs the gospel. They need to know that this world is just a step in eternity. God doesn't place high value in fancy cars, high education that pushes you over the edge, partying with your friends, brand names, big eyes, or any of that. The few members of the church here are the happiest Koreans I have met. They know that Korea's expectations are just small things. But everyone else here... they are lost. They are stressed. I wish I could just convince all of them that there is a better way to live! But for one thing, my Korean is so limited. And also... they aren't too willing to change what they have grown up believing. But Korea needs the gospel. We are viewed as a cult here, so that kind of dampens things a bit. But I am going to hold on to my greenie dreams of changing lives while I am here. A lot of the missionaries  seem to get down because (especially in An San) there is not much success. But I don't want to change my dreams yet. I still have faith that something good could happen.This is a hard mission but I was not sent here to fail. I am giving the gift of salvation... and I cannot forget that. I am bringing these people peace, and while I will be a little useless for a while as I learn the language, I will keep my end goals in mind. Even if I have changed one life, that is still one precious soul that has been found. Peace is needed here more than anything. The devil is here, but I have the power to bring Christ's love to these people and push out the bad. When you are fighting on the Lord's side, you always win. :) I have so much more to say but not enough time... anyway LOVE YOU ALLl! BYE! :)

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