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.

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