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

No comments:

Post a Comment