Yesterday, we had an experience that made me laugh harder than I have in a while. So I wanted to know how warm it would be outside, so I opened the window and stuck my head out. When I looked outside, a group of Korean boys probably about Brady's age were standing across the lot playing games. When they saw me stick my head out, they all turned and looked at me. "Foreigner!" they yelled and pointed at me. I always laugh when this happens, because it happens a lot. I pretended that I didn't see them, and that I had no idea what they said. I then shut the glass and walked inside. As I walked back and forth inside our house, I saw the boys still looking in the window, clearly shocked to see a foreigner. So I had an idea. I ran into our study room and wrote the Korean word for "hello" (안녕하세요) on a piece of paper in bold letters. I then taped it up inside the window, and went to another window so that I could see their reaction. They all began tapping each other on the shoulders and pointing at the window. They were obviously completely stunned. They proceeded to point in shock for a while, when one got his phone out to take a picture. He wanted a good picture, so he stuck his phone through the fence that is in front of our house, trying to be sneaky. The rest of the boys snuck behind a car and got their phones out too, trying to get pictures without being seen. I wish I could explain how funny it was to see this, but I seriously could not stop laughing. I am sure that they all went home and said, "Mom, you'll never guess what happened to us today."
So one lesson that I have learned this week is how important it is too remember to look back at the progress we have already made. Yesterday they asked me to say the closing prayer in Relief Society. This ward remembers me when I first got to country, able to only speak a tiny tiny bit of Korean. Most of the Relief Society sisters have not heard me pray in Korean since January or February. When they asked me to say the closing prayer I of course agreed. As soon as I finished my prayer and said "Amen" all of the sisters turned to me and started freaking out at my Korean. "You're Korean is so good!" "When did you learn all of that?" I have to admit, I was probably bright red from blushing, but oh so appreciative that they noticed my progress.
Sometimes we forget to see how far we have come. But when we remember, we can truly see the progress we have made. Korean isn't exactly easy, and I often find myself frustrated that I am not better at it than I am. I see younger missionaries who absorb things so quickly, and I wonder why it takes me so long to remember one word. But then I remember where I started. I remember being able to understand nothing. I can talk to people on the streets now. I can bear my testimony effectively and actually teach principles by myself in Korean. While my every day conversation vocabulary may be lacking, God has given me what I need to be a missionary. I know that God gives us the language in the amounts that we need to fulfill His plan. Sometimes I wish I could speak more effectively, but I just have to look at how far I have come, and remember that everything is in God's timing. I study every day, I work hard to do my part. He will do the rest. :)
Well that is about it for today. Happy Birthday Buddha. (It's the big Guy's birthday today so there are decorations all over Korea, and we are visiting some Buddhist temples later). :)
Love you all! :)
Love, Sister Maughan