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.

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