Rain, Rain, and Rain

Monday, August 25

Last Wednesday Dad had some men visiting from Seoul explaining to him some of the programs, etc available to help him in the mission (he can explain better). After their morning meeting they invited me to join them for lunch. We didn’t anticipate it being a 3 hour lunch! We got a ride over with the Busan Physical Facilities man while the Seoul men followed their GPS….an extra 50 minutes out of the way! We enjoyed the food…my goodness they bring so much food out to the table. If they would warn us to save room because they were bringing out even more dishes I wouldn’t feel so bad about wasting so much food (also the food not eaten is partly because I’m not used to it. They had kimchee that was ice covered…but then they also brought out a huge bowl of noodles in ice water (and other floating things). But the best part about the lunch was that we found the right restaurant to take family and visitors. The floor looks the same as all the other restaurants, with the small pads to sit upon. But as you get down close you realize that the floor drops underneath the table so you can put your legs down below. Your ankles don’t need to be roughed up and callused and your legs don’t have to fall asleep and tingle. The man from Seoul was telling us about his mission, meeting his wife, marriage stories. All fun to hear.

After eating lunch I came back late for English class. But I enjoy it so much. This time the women were so good about talking and asking questions of the missionaries. I found out that one of the women used to take the missionary discussions from another set of missionaries some time ago. But the best part was after it finished. Mary, one of the women who regularly attends, borrowed my Lorie Line sheet music the week before, returned it and played Oh Come All Ye Faithful. It was so pretty! Then she played O Holy Night, from memory. I told her how my older son played the harmonica to that song, was coming for Christmas, and asked if she would play the piano for me. She said she would be honored. Yea! Maybe we can plan a few songs to have her play for the mission Christmas conference.

Friday was a busy day as we had MLCM (mission leadership conference meeting) in the morning, with a lunch break, and then an afternoon session, too. Sister Lee prepared bi bim bop for the lunch, for about 28 people. She really is an amazing cook. She chopped lots of different vegetables and marinated the meat for a couple of days! Then she cooked and assembled each bowl individually…and she even set aside one without mushrooms for me! She noticed that I don’t care for them so she made mine special order…she was excited and so was I! Dad had me speaking from an article in the July Liahona that I added a few different examples to…amazing how inspiration works up until the last minute.

Friday night Dad went to the airport to pick up Elder Scott D. Whiting, from the Asia North Area Presidency who was presiding at the Ulsan district conference. He is a wonderful man! It was late Friday night so I’m sure he was tired, but he came right into our living room and sat down by Ben to get to know him better. He was a little surprised when he saw the stuffed alligator so Dad had to explain where we’re from with a little about the cabin. Ben seemed to take Elder Whiting’s teasing quite well. Throughout the weekend he would joke and laugh while talking about dream cars and food, sports and school interspersed with missions and other things. He made us feel even more at home in our home.

Saturday morning Dad, Ben, and I walked/jogged to the sports center track and then back after they did a sprint workout. We made breakfast together with Elder Whiting talking and helping; teasing Dad all the while. We left around noon to drive to Ulsan for the district conference meetings in preparation for the evening session and then Sunday General session. But that meant that Ben and I had hours to spend while Dad had numerous meetings and interviews. Ben and I read together from my old Seminary manual—Doctrine and Covenants is the book of study this year. Ben had emailed the Seminary coordinator but has not heard back yet. He will be doing an online version of Seminary. We signed him up for the Sugar Land 2nd ward before we left America…but after discussion with the Busan coordinator this seems to be what is available to him; though he isn’t signed up yet.

I had a talk prepared to give Saturday night but Elder Whiting told me and Ben to be prepared to speak just on Sunday. Luckily I brought my copy of the talks with me Saturday night because my translator for Sunday came up to me and introduced herself. I had no idea who it would be but now she could study it for the next day. There was beautiful special music prepared for and presented. The choir director had a strong personality which showed in the way she directed the music…even to the congregation when they joined in singing one verse—with a strong foot stamp! I didn’t realize how wonderful it would be to see our missionaries gathered together—especially the new trainees! The talks were great. There were more interviews afterward. We drove home and got ready for bed as quickly as we could as we had been gone from home for almost 12 hours…Ben is a good sport about all this. The missionaries all love him and try to include him…so he sat with some of them while Dad and I were on the stand. It’s almost like a flashback/not really/ but remembering how it was as a young child traveling with my dad on church assignment. My siblings and I would have to speak in the small branches as Grandpa Reichenbach’s speaking companions. My sisters and I would have to sing a musical number (really my sisters would sing…I would try but wasn’t any good). I remember timing my brother’s talk…52 seconds “long”. My dad had to make up the rest of the time in the meeting.

It was dark as we were traveling home and Dad took a wrong turn that lead us across a one lane unlit road across a river…SCAREY!!! As we traveled back to the conference the next day we were amazed to see where we drove/how we drove across that road! Elder Whiting is so funny/good sport!

Ben surprised me during the Sunday session of district conference. As Ben got up to speak Elder Whiting leaned over to me to instruct me to try to get us to as close to the hour as possible. Ben spoke, and I crossed off some of my talk. Ben kept speaking, and I crossed off more of my talk. I ended up with enough time to give about half of my talk. It’s hard to judge how long I really will speak, dealing with a translator. And my message seems to be quite simple…but that is what’s best for translation purposes. Also it tends to work best with teaching investigators. Elder Whiting gave a forceful, simple talk Sunday, followed up with a powerful, loving testimony. It was GOOD! I really liked President Kang’s (the district president) talk about the Prodigal Son. He mentioned the younger son who took his inheritance, probably showing it off until he lost it all; not realizing the source of all his blessings until he needed to go back to his father/we need to turn to our Heavenly Father as the source of all our blessings. Do we have any family members that need to come back/apologize? How do we/did we treat them? Did we give them our best? The father treated his son well even if he was not worthy of what he received. What of the older son’s attitude? He worked for himself/his own glory. He thought he was better than his brother (arrogance, pride, strife, contention). He said that when we cannot trust one another there will not be the Spirit there. More good quotes but I better wrap this up as it is late.

We hurry and wait. We plan and see what happens. Until every aspect of what is supposed to happen actually happens I am tense. We finally got Elder Whiting to the airport, on time, and could go home and breathe in and breathe out. We attended a ward gathering/dinner for a time but Dad and I left early for phone calls and then staff meeting. Ben came later. I’m glad for today yet there is so much I need to do to get caught up on.

Alex sent this picture today. President and Sister Gilbert, who we replaced as mission president and wife of the Korea Busan Mission, invited some of their returned missionaries over to their house. Eva Brady, the young woman in the picture standing next to Alex, was our language tutor when preparing to come to Korea. Eva texted Alex and invited him along. Alex called today saying it was fun, that people said he looked like Dad and talked like Dad. Great memories!

Crepe Myrtle trees at the sports stadium/track we went to on Saturday for Dad and Ben to do a speed workout. The trees reminded me of the trees on the way to the Lexington church building, same color. The stadium is a nice facility. There were many people jogging and walking but not the 300 that we expected. They have a sound system there and were playing some sort of Korean/slow music that really wasn’t exercise type of music. I don’t know when the change occurred but I suddenly realized they had switched the music to playing old Jackson Five music/I Want You Back/ABC American music for us?? A man walking by me asked if that was my son sprinting. Then a little old Korean grandmother said to me as she was walking off the track "He runs so fast.” Then another man stopped Dad to talk with him (asking him why he couldn’t keep up with Ben!). We had fun.

Here is the nameplate on the Crepe Myrtle tree at the stadium. Ben said that they have these trees at his school with nameplates that say Crepe Myrtle. I’ve seen a few other plants that are the same as back home; Vincas flowers, Indian Hawthorn bushes, Lantana plants, etc. We have had so much rain lately. It probably has rained 11 out of the past 14 days.

I liked this picture of Ben from his first day of school because of the reflection in the front door. You can see the larger picture of Christ in the red robe that we brought from home. Also you can see Dad taking the picture of Ben in the reflection and the little Texas flag!

The tunnel near our home, flooded. The missionaries said that two people did die in the tunnel/under water today. The watched as the paramedics tried to use CPR to revive them, unsuccessfully. Four missionaries came by to borrow flashlights going out to help people. Earlier today an elder was in the office emailing his family while the other was in an interview with Dad. The one emailing said the office elders went out “to save the world”. We are still waiting on Ben to come home from school. He had to take another route home, by way of the subway, not the city bus. Traffic is CRAZY all around the city, because of the rain. Dad asked the barber and said he has never seen this much rain in the 35 years he’s lived here.

Ben started school!

Monday, August 18

Last Monday was Ben’s first day of school.  Dad took this picture of Ben right before he went out our front door to walk to the city bus stop.  He had to leave around 7:00AM to catch the bus to get to school ontime.  He rides the bus for 42 stops before he arrives near the school. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes, one way.  School starts at 8:30AM. School ends at 3:30PM.  Ben rides the bus home, arriving around 5:00PM.

Right outside our front door (which is to the right of this picture with the church to the left of this picture) on Ben’s way to school the first day of school - you can see the basketball hoop? - ask Ben about dunking the basket like the office missionaries do.

While on our walk home from the sports complexes on Saturday, looking across the street I noticed this camouflage sign which said: Stale Fish. Today while Dad and I were on our way to Costco we saw a couple of other signs that made us chuckle. One said, BUY BYE.  The other sign said WIFF, when looking inside the window I saw that it sold toilets.

Picture taken of our new missionaries going out jundoing/proselyting on Thursday in the rain! (Picture taken from upstairs, outside of the mission office overlooking the parking lot outside of the chapel.)

They had wonderful experiences. We waited for Ben to get home from school, took a taxi down to the area where they worked and met them for dinner at a restaurant - typical Korean restaurant where we sat on the floor on little pads. Typical Korean food with many dishes placed on the table in front of everyone (small portions for up to four people to share). A few of the new sister missionaries asked me the next day what I thought of the food. I think they will have a bit of a hard time until they adjust. But one new elder refused to eat anything, not even the rice, at dinner that night and all day (when the missionaries took them out for a typical lunch-what they did with Ben when we first arrived).

The assistants came to the mission home to borrow whatever umbrellas we had there. I seemed to have enough…but have not seen them brought back. I kept three of the umbrellas for Dad, Ben, and me…new ones that I purchased for our missions. They ended up being too small, kind of flimsy…they were great for folding up in size to be good for traveling. But now I realize I need to order new umbrellas for us. We see many people using umbrellas even when it is not raining. One elder told us the Korean people hate the rain! But also they don’t like the sun on them.

Ben was thinking he saw onions cut with the design of a rose on top of each one?  But, I wonder if they were a turnip or some other vegetable.

I liked this picture.  I took it right after the train took off with the departing missionaries.  Dad and the missionaries didn’t know that I took this picture. What a whirlwind that was!  We left with plenty of time to get to the train station but then we were at a standstill in traffic.  The sister missionaries were hilarious in the backseat of our car but, they were praying we would get there in time.  Once we arrived at the bus station Elder Min jumped out of the van and moved orange traffic cones around for us to drive around and miraculously found two parking places left in this tiny parking lot!  There was a HUGE line of people waiting to work their way into the bus station.  We didn’t realize how crowded it would be during the last part of vacation time (also, Korean Independence Day-the holiday celebrated when Korea gained its freedom from Japan in 1945. It is called Gwangbokjeol or Liberation Day.)  Somehow all the missionaries with all of their luggage hustled through another door into the bus terminal, up an escalator, over and across the station, down another escalator to the bus platform and then hustled to another platform.  And then back again. Pictures were taken in a short amount of time before they boarded the train.  Whew!

These are our office missionaries taking a picture of the departing missionaries as they entered the bullet train are about to go up to Seoul. They attend a session at the temple in the evening, and stay in housing on the temple grounds.  The next day their flights leave in the afternoon so they have a little time to look around Seoul.

More about the transfers, etc....

Last Monday was a hectic day at Transfer Meeting…but fun and energizing.  I prepared a pasta dish for lunch for 34 missionaries…who can eat a LOT!  I was baking bread early in the morning, then slicing it, trying to gather my information for speaking to the missionaries.  I hustled out the door just in time for the meeting to begin.  It was P-Day so the other missionaries (other than the missionaries who were going home) could come attend to hear them share their final testimony and to say goodbye.  The assistants wanted me to mention flirting in my talk, and I also spoke about looking out for your companion.  One elder asked me to send him a copy of my talk.  So when I first sat down next to Dad up front I told him that he forgot to give me a kiss this morning.  I told him he still needed to kiss me (it reminded me of the day we got married and I told him to kiss me on the cheek in front of his family-he was so embarrassed-so funny).  So he held up the hymn book in front of our faces and gave me a quick kiss.  While he was talking to the missionaries he told them he made a mistake, and wondered if any of them noticed him giving me a kiss…and one elder raised his hand!

We had six outgoing sister missionaries spend the night at our house.  Ben had to juggle bedrooms so that as many as possible missionaries could sleep on a bed.  Funny thing…the elders usually try to sleep on the floor by the end of their missions.  We have these pads that we put down for the extra sister missionaries…the elders apartment has enough for the outgoing elders.  Sister Lee made a wonderful traditional Korean dinner for twenty people in our home.  We used chopsticks and everything!  I’m still not very good with chopsticks.  Funny thing…I am more comfortable using the chopsticks in my right hand even though I’m left-handed.    Ben got home from his first day of school in time for dinner and the testimony meeting held afterward.  Breakfast the next morning surprised me as most of the missionaries were so nervous to go home that they hardly ate anything.  I’ll have to make a mental note of that.

After taking the departing missionaries to the train station we held a quick staff meeting to adjust and plan.  Tuesday morning Dad received a call from Salt Lake telling him that half our missionaries would not be arriving as planned.  For some reason half the missionaries flew from Salt Lake to Seattle to Tokyo to Busan (like how we flew here).  They arrived on time Tuesday night.  The other half of the missionaries flew from Salt Lake to Dallas where they got delayed by mechanical problems so they were put up in a hotel with meal vouchers until Wednesday when they arrived.  That meant that we put training on hold for a day.  We made two trips to the airport to pick up missionaries.  We need to plan our trip to the airport better…wasting lots of time.  Who knows when the flights really arrive!  But it was fun to watch the assistants and office elders OYM (open your mouth) and talk with people in the airport.  We saw some US military people waiting on their people to arrive on the same flight as our missionaries.  Elder Min is interested in the military people as he already served his military service.  But he was too afraid to go talk to those men.  I called him “chicken” which he played off of even the next few days.  But I ended up talking to the military people, then Dad, and then a while later Elder Min was brave enough to come over.  The next night when we went back to the airport for the rest of our missionaries we saw the same military people waiting to pick up more of their people.

We had six new sister missionaries spending the night with us…so Ben was displaced from his room a few more days.  Breakfast for plenty of hungry missionaries (mental note to self-they eat a lot more food when they are new to the country than when they leave the country).  The incoming missionaries don’t generally look anything like the pictures they sent in with their missionary paperwork…so I needed to ask them their names again as they came into our home for breakfast (the elders) (Elder Min introduced himself as Elder “Chicken” from the night before, HA!).

Wednesday I invited the office missionary couple to hold their English class in our home because of some mix up/whatever.  It was fun!  The Onchon (That’s our area/ward) elders and the office couple teach and it was fascinating.  We had about five Korean ladies and one Korean man attend.  The conversation started off about the holiday, Liberation day.  Our Korean elder sat by me to tell me a little bit about the history of the navy…12 Korean ships scared off 330 Japanese ships!!  It’s known as the greatest navy battle in their history.  The king and the government gave up and ran away.  But the hero stuck it out and conquered the Japanese army with his old fishing ships that were renovated for battle.  Great history lesson.  We were playing an alphabet game when Ben came home from school and joined in the fun!  Then we went to the airport for the second time of picking up missionaries.  Ben did great with his adjusted schedule during the first week of school.

Friday was our final day with these new missionaries before they were given their new areas with their trainers.  They played some trust games to get to know each other better.  They learned rules and stuff. I spoke about the booklet Adjusting to Missionary Life, then went back home to help prepare for the lunch with everyone, while Dad was assigning the companionships and speaking about the 12 Week Program, etc.  They all left shortly after lunch, and so did we.  We had to go to the airport to pick up Elder Whiting, from the Asia North Area Presidency who came for a short trip to attend the coordinating council of stake presidents, district presidents, and the mission president, held on Saturday.  Elder Whiting was fun right from the start!  His flight arrived early so we just pulled up to the curb, rolled down the window and he asked with a laugh if we were Mormons!  We could talk easily with him right from the moment we met him.  He told us about his children’s experiences with attending foreign schools, etc.  We got him to his hotel and then back home…a blur that I can’t remember.

Saturday morning Dad, Ben, and I walked over to the big sports complexes.  We don’t know when they were built or why…but they must have had something to do with big competitions like the Olympics.  There are a number of nice facilities for a number of different sports like soccer and baseball and martial arts, etc.  Anyway, we asked around (Korean people are very friendly and willing to try to help answer questions) and walked around until we found the track…which was closed.  But the security man told us the hours the track is open to the public.  The morning hours he said will have about 300 people running on the track!  The evening hours will have 700-800 people running on the track!  Can you imagine!!?!  That’s a whole lot more people to run around and dodge during your workout than when Andy’s track workout is happening.  Dad ran over to the track this morning in the torrential rain (the walking path nearby was completely submerged under water!) and there were still a few people there to workout.  He said it was funny to see the people come using an umbrella and then put it aside to run in the rain.  I guess Dad talked with a Chinese man who is a missionary for his church…he will need to let you know about that.

In the afternoon Dad and I drove to the hotel to pick up Elder Whiting and then to a small island where the church was first established in Korea to attend the coordinating council meeting.  This time the wives of the presidents were invited (doesn’t normally happen).  Dad and I gave a devotional during the combined meeting, along with brief introduction of us as the new mission president and family.  Then they separated the wives to another room for our meeting where we each had brought pictures to show to the other women to introduce our families.  I had the two elders assigned to that ward there (Daeshin) to be my translators.  The wife of Elder Jong (I think that’s his name), the area Seventy in charge of this meeting was in charge of our wives meeting.  I had mixed feelings about how that meeting went.  It was fun to hear from each of the wives…most of them are my age or stage of life.  Two others of the six of us had five children, like me.  Most of them had returned missionaries and one still in the mission field.  Most of them had one or two of their children married.  I think a few of them were grandma’s like me…still having children at home, etc.  But one wife/sister was younger than the rest of us.  Her husband is a district president, meaning that the church is not as established where they live.  So you can guess that that means that they work very hard!  She had three young children at home (a boy and girl set of twins who were baptized at age eight three weeks ago, and a three year old girl).  She was trying hard but had her children there so she was in and out of the meeting, as was her young child.  I could feel for her.  It reminded me of the time I attended Philmont during LDS week and had one on one time with R. Beck and then also with S. Gibson…wonderful ladies!  I spoke with Elder Whiting briefly afterward when he asked me how the meeting went.  

After the meeting we drove through the CRAZY traffic on this small island to go to a restaurant.  We parked at a parking building…so fascinating!  It is like a vending machine.  You get out of your car and watch as the attendant pulls into the building like an elevator, which closes and then raises it up to whichever floor it is assigned in this tall narrow building.  When we went back for our car it came out the other door…I don’t know how they did it.  I wish you could have seen this place…amazing!  There was a native man attending the coordinating council meeting as Elder Whiting’s translator and directing us on foot to this restaurant for dinner.  But this brother Jong (I think) was not good at leading for others to follow.  Because of the national holiday weekend there was so much traffic by cars and on foot (just think of the movies that show CROWDS of people to get lost in).  He was trying to lead us to the restaurant and was hurrying because we were late for our reservation.  He lead us one direction, then another, stepped away out of view to take a phone call, reappeared, started leading again, took off on a SPRINT…all the while Elder Jong and his wife, Elder Whiting, and Dad and I were trying to follow.  We put Elder Whiting in between the two couples so in case he couldn’t keep up he would still be with somebody.  My goodness!  That was an adventure!  But we made it there.  Sat down on the floor to eat.  Elder Whiting instructed Dad and I, in the car on the way to his hotel, to remember to find a restaurant with tables and CHAIRS when he comes again.  He was a good sport, joking, but it was difficult for him to sit close enough to the table.  He lives in Japan but I guess they always try to have their dinners in restaurant with chairs.  Usually I fidget and wiggle so that my legs don’t fall asleep…not always successful.

Trying to find the parking elevator after dinner was an adventure.  Driving in traffic, again, was an adventure.  Elder Whiting said that Dad and I passed the test…he did not feel the tension from the front seat/us like he has from other couples when driving through such traffic.  I guess I’m used to Dad driving like the natives now.  it’s not unusual to see mopeds driving down the sidewalks dodging pedestrians and old Korean gentlemen walking down the street (next to the sidewalk) with traffic swerving around them.  We’ll see him next weekend for the first of the district/ stake conferences.  Same district next weekend.

Sunday morning we drove to Hogye to attend church in that branch.  Dad told me Sunday morning I would have to speak.  He told Ben he would have to speak, too…but while sitting on the stand Ben was relieved of that assignment.  I had been reading certain scriptures and talks lately so I put something together.  But I’m still learning about what I can/should say that can be translated.  When a sister speaks a Korean sister translated.  I had this sister missionary translate for me before and it wasn’t a good experience…again!  I need to work hard tomorrow to write my talks for the Saturday night session and Sunday morning sessions of district conference this weekend before I prepare my talk for MLCM this Friday.  Hopefully I will get organized and know my material ahead of time.  After church the branch provided lunch for us/everyone.  We ate bi bim bop.  I asked a woman how they make it.  We were served a bowl with portions of the following: cucumber, mushrooms, cooked eggs, radish, zucchini, all sliced very thinly and vertically….assembled in each bowl with rice, bean sprouts, and sesame oil/seeds and a red pepper paste (spicy) for flavoring.  They do not put much red pepper paste on our serving of bi bim bop as they think we cannot handle the spice.  It’s rather bland. But I don’t mind because I don’t want to burn my mouth.  Dad and Ben would like more spice/flavoring.  Dad had to hustle off to many interviews (Temple recommend interviews, prospective counselors to fill the vacancy in the branch presidency, a person for temple sealing issues, etc. about ten different interviews.)  Long day for Dad.  Long day for us waiting.

I appreciated learning from the Teaching of the Presidents: Joseph Fielding Smith, chapter 16 Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth:  

The importance of family unity—love and consideration for one another in the family—cannot be overemphasized. Spiritual solidarity in family relationships is the sure foundation upon which the Church and society itself will flourish. This fact is well known and appreciated by the adversary, and as never before, he is using every clever device, influence, and power within his control to undermine and destroy this eternal institution. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ applied in family relationships will thwart this devilish destructiveness.6

Individual, personal testimony is and always will be the strength of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A testimony is best nurtured in the family setting. … The gaining and the keeping of testimonies should be a family project. Do not neglect anything that will help to strengthen the testimony of any member of your family.16

Help your children in every way you can to grow up with a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Teach them to pray. Teach them to observe the Word of Wisdom, to walk faithfully and humbly before the Lord so that when they grow up to manhood and womanhood they can thank you for what you have done for them and look back over their lives with grateful hearts and with love for their parents for the manner in which those parents cared for them and trained them in the gospel of Jesus Christ.18

First Transfers!

Tuesday, August 12

We leaned over the edge to watch a school of some sort of fish feeding near the bridges with the gulls swarming and diving but they must not eat this type of fish because they weren’t afraid.

It was eerie watching the octopus swim in this tiny tank while we were at the fish market.  I know they are smalls but they still seem scary to me. One of the missionaries in our ward was telling us that when he went to the fish market one of the vendor let him hold one of the octopus. When he held it up near his face for a photo one of the tentacles reached over and attached to his face!

Another fun statue outside of the fish market Ben had fun posing by.

On Saturday we took the subway to Nampos, the shopping district Ben has been to with the assistants.  We walked to the fish market, down the street past where people were selling eels and fish, etc.  Ben and I saw a lady skinning eels to prepare them they were still wiggling even after they had been skinned.  We looked to the left where the entrance to the fish market was, and went inside.  There were many rows with what seemed like mostly the same types of fish from one vendor to the next.  One vendor seemed happy to show off his lobster and other fish and crabs.

Tomorrow is Transfer Day, our first. We have been working and preparing for this day for weeks. I can hardly wait to see how it goes. It also happens to be Ben’s first day of school. I feel bad that I will not be taking him to school on the first day. This year is so different from all the previous years of school for you guys. Ben will need to leave the house by 7:00AM to take a city bus 42 stops (about an hour and twenty minutes one way). Ben will not have early morning Seminary. The Seminary coordinator for our stake lives in our ward…sent Dad some information about online Seminary. I still need to see the information…but we will figure it all out for Ben. It just seems lonely to be doing online…not in a class full of other students and then carpooling to Clements afterward.

I will need to get up early in the morning to make homemade bread to go with the pasta I’m making for the missionary lunch at Transfer Meeting. As I was doing the prep work for the meal, I was remembering the fun times we had having the cross country team over for pasta dinners. The dinner tomorrow night for the outgoing missionaries will be a traditional Korean meal prepared by Sister Lee (pronounced Sister E) (North Korean heritage and spelling of the name Lee)…interesting fact one of the missionaries learned and shared with us. I will send you my talk that I have to give at Transfer Meeting. I’m not sure what I will say to the outgoing missionaries Monday night at the dinner in our home. Dad asked me to help with training at the MLCM on Friday. This week is full of meals…luckily Sister Lee is preparing most of the lunches and I have most of the breakfasts. Planning for 34 people at meals takes up a lot of refrigerator space.

We will have six new sister missionaries arrive on Tuesday and spend the night at our home along with eight new elders staying with the assistants and office elders.

This past Wednesday Elder Ringwood spent about three hours visiting us in our home. He was traveling from Seoul…through Busan…on his way back to Tokyo. Dad and I drove to the bus station to pick him up…luckily Dad thought to ask the woman at the counter because he found out we were at the wrong bus station. Then we went to the other station but had trouble finding Elder Ringwood.  We finally made it back home. Sister Lee had prepared a traditional Korean lunch for us. She seemed excited to tell me what she had planned…fish and shrimp…I didn’t want to burst her bubble so I didn’t tell her I don’t care for seafood. It turned out to be ok as there were other side foods to eat along with rice.

It’s late and I have to get up early. Hopefully all will go with Transfer Meeting. After this week we will have gone through one whole rotation. Whew!

The Great Wall of Korea

Tuesday, August 5

Sunday evening Dad and I were sitting in a meeting with the assistants when they received a frantic call from a missionary.  Both he and his companion were waiting for the bus at a bus stop when they were both engaged in separate conversations…when one elder got on the bus (the wrong bus) while busily talking with a person…not noticing that his companion had not gotten on (since it was the wrong bus).  The missionary who stayed behind had the phone and called WORRIED.  Then the other missionary must have realized what he did and switched at the next bus stop…to go back to his companion.  He didn’t have a phone so he must have borrowed one form someone to call the assistants to tell them what happened.  Be sure to stay near your companion, knowing where he/she is.

We have not been traveling like we did the first three weeks we were here.  But we stayed very busy this past week.  Dad is always busy with reading and answering the weekly letters from 140-150 missionaries!  Wow!  Dad has been having many interviews with missionaries…not during the regular interview rotation, and he has already started the exit interviews for the missionaries going home this next transfer week.  Because next Monday is our first transfer week here Dad and I have been meeting with the assistants often to learn from them when they have come back from exchanges.  I add my input from medical calls/impressions what i’ve learned from my interactions with missionaries.  But Dad has the most information from all his many interviews.  We are still trying to learn the names of the zones…and the districts within the zones…and the many names of the missionaries.  There are many Korean missionaries with the last name of Kim or Lee or Choi…big learning curve.  We will have the outgoing sisters and then the incoming sisters staying with us (Ben will have to sleep on the floor in the small room that has a treadmill in it).  I need to plan/make meals for that.

We did travel to another stake Saturday afternoon for Dad to attend the monthly stake presidency meeting along with the assistants.  There are three stakes and three districts…so it gets busy trying to fit those monthly meetings in.  Also, we have stake conferences and district conferences that need to be planned for (direction from the area presidency wanting to know the conference weekend outlines/themes/speakers/music/etc.).  There are upcoming mission tours and visits from general authorities so we have a busy August and September.   I need to wash sheets and plan for meals and time for visiting with them.  After that meeting Saturday the stake president treated us to dinner at a Korean buffet.  We followed him in his car, driving through the rain.  One of his men directed Dad to park the mission car right in front (I don’t know how he managed to get that spot!) Of the restaurant, then held an umbrella for us (I felt silly…I’m not going to melt! I felt like he was treating me like we were royalty) while he was getting rained on.  I used chopsticks for most of the meal…but then the stake president would send one of the assistants to go get us forks, and then drinks (this orange punch stuff in a bowl-not a glass- but then the Koreans didn’t get any).  I don’t want special attention singling me out.  We sat at a table on chairs…I think because I was with them, instead of on the floor.  It was nice…but I felt like I was an inconvenience. 

Sunday one of the testimonies shared, by the bishop’s mother in law, made me think of home.  She talked of her Primary class from 35 years ago…how much she loved those children, though at times it was a difficult class.  She would feel a peace in the lass when the children would say their prayers, in a very animated way, or seriously.  I remembered the children in my Primary class: Mason Moore, Ben Roskelley, Quentin Juarez…Dallin Pomeroy, Cayden Cutler, Robby Nielsen…I can picture those cute young boys as missionaries and then young fathers with wonderful families of their own.  Sometimes our classes were a little more difficult than others…but I love those young boys and miss teaching them.  They are so honest and cute and fun…good boys…good families. I really liked one of the articles in the July 2014 Liahona issue titled Becoming Perfect in Christ, by Elder Gerrit W. Gong.  Here are some quotes from it…but I hope you get a chance to read the whole talk.  It’s very good.  I think our family, everyone can benefit from reading it.

Fully accepting our Savior’s Atonement can increase our faith and give us courage to let go of constraining expectations that we are somehow required to be or to make things perfect. Black-and-white thinking says everything is either absolutely perfect or hopelessly flawed.  But we can gratefully accept, as God’s sons and daughters, that we are His greatest handiwork (see Psalm 8:36; Hebrews 2:7), even though we are still a work in progress. As we understand our Savior’s freely given atoning love, we cease fearing that He may be a harsh, faultfinding judge. Instead, we feel assurance, “for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). And we understand that time and process are needed for growth (see Moses 7:21).

A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now. Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect. Perfectionism can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, procrastination, discouragement, self-justification, and depression. These feelings can crowd out the peace, joy, and assurance our Savior wants us to have. Missionaries who want to be perfect now may become anxious or discouraged if learning their mission language, seeing people baptized, or receiving mission leadership assignments do not happen fast enough. For capable young people accustomed to accomplishment, a mission maybe life’s first great challenge. But missionaries can be exactly obedient without being perfect. They can measure their success primarily by their commitment to help individuals and families “become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.” Students begin a new school year, especially those leaving home for college, face both excitement and concerns. Student scholars, athletes, artists, and so forth go from being a “big fish in a little pond” to feeling like a minnow in an ocean with unfamiliar tides and swift, unpredictable currents. 

It is easy for students with perfectionist tendencies to feel that, no matter how hard they try, they have failed if they are not first in all things. Given life’s demands, students can learn that it is sometimes perfectly fine to do all they can and that it is not always possible to be the very best. We also impose expectations of perfection in our own homes. A father or mother may feel compelled to be the perfect spouse, parent, homemaker, breadwinner, or part of a perfect Latter-day Saint family now. What helps those who battle perfectionist tendencies Open-ended, supportive inquiries communicate acceptance and love. They invite others to focus on the positive. They allow us to define what we feel is going well.  Family and friends can avoid competitive comparisons and instead offer sincere encouragement.  Another serious dimension of perfectionism is to hold others to our unrealistic, judgmental, or unforgiving standards. Such behavior may, in fact, deny or limit the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in our lives and in the lives of others. 

For example, young single adults may make a list of desired qualities in a potential spouse and yet be unable to marry because of unrealistic expectations for the perfect companion. Thus, a sister may be unwilling to consider dating a wonderful, worthy brother who falls short on her perfectionist scale he does not dance well, is not planning to be wealthy, did not serve a mission, or admits to a past problem with pornography since resolved through repentance and counseling. Similarly, a brother may not consider dating a wonderful, worthy sister who doesn’t fit his unrealistic profile she is not a sports enthusiast, a Relief Society president, a beauty queen, a sophisticated budgeter, or she admits to an earlier, now-resolved weakness with the Word of Wisdom. Of course, we should consider qualities we desire in ourselves and in a potential spouse. We should maintain our highest hopes and standards. But if we are humble, we will be surprised by goodness in unexpected places, and we may create opportunities to grow closer to someone who, like us, is not perfect. Faith acknowledges that, through repentance and the power of the Atonement, weakness can be made strong and repented sins can truly be forgiven.

We climbed all the way to the top of this wall/traveling on the left side of the handrails.  It is difficult to see but there are small holes built into the wall maybe for men to shoot arrows or guns through to invaders.

Here is Dad near the wall (to the left).  We were down near the curve in the path with these lush mountains rising up near us. 

The next photo is of the view that we saw from down near the curve. When we entered the fortress we turned sharply to the left.  We climbed the stone stairs to on top of where Ben and I had been standing at the Entrance.  

The doors were locked but Ben was able to sit on top of the wall that went on and on for long way, in both directions.  The poles Near Ben are the flagpoles.  I wish I had taken a picture of the Different, colorful flags, on poles that look like spears on the end (kind of like lobster claws-two pointed).  The wall is steeper than it looks here though I have never been to China, it made me think of the Great Wall Of China. When we came /hiked up the rough road to the fortress Ben and I stood at the entrance and was off to the left side reading the sign something about the different invasions from the Japanese (a number of times Starting in the year 1500 something I think, maybe earlier) with Chinese invasions back to the Japanese invading again.  

We did not get a good photo of the different flags that were flown on top on the line on both sides of the fortress wall (look closely you can see one flag on the right side). We had walked up one path going through a village few buildings where people try to sell food/tourist trap.  At the cross roads there Was one sign pointing down to the village.  Another sign pointed to the cable cars (that we have seen previously when hiking).  And then another sign pointing into the fortress, where we entered.  We saw three mountain bikers coming from the fortress wondered how they got their bikes up there. 

On Saturday Dad, Ben, and I went hiking on the mountain back behind our Home.  There are lots of different trails so each time we go we usually Experience something different.  We entered the same way we always do and we happened to leave the way we came in.  But when we entered the forest we veered to the left this time, quickly came to the road which had this map/sign and more than one entrance to the forest by trail.  If you look at the map it shows the fortress at the top long/big.  We have hiked the forest trails a number of times and had not seen the Fortress before so the forest is larger than I realized.  We spent about four hours hiking.  The weather has been overcast and rainy so it felt good because we were sweating and breathing hard from nearly the beginning of the hike.