Our first Mission Tour and Zone Conferences and Bugs!

Monday, September 15

We have had a busy week!  Tuesday we were busy cleaning up from the Chuseok 5K run activity we had with the missionaries.  Well, we weren’t doing lots of clean up from that as much as we were trying to NOW get caught up with our own cleaning and organizing.  Elder and Sister Aoyagi (he is a counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency) came to tour our mission.  Dad and I picked them up at the airport.  On our way out of the airport (paying the parking fee) we saw a poster saying Smile Patrol, that I pointed out to the Aoyagi’s.  We had been sent a copy of Sister Aoyagi’s talk that she would be giving in English as the assistants and each of us would be having a part in her presentation.  But the points she made about missionary works were: to Smile, the Book of Mormon (keep it in your hand to give away), and to Push (work hard).  We came home from the airport to a nice meal Sister Lee had made for us.  I say nice because Sister Lee tries hard to make meals that she likes to make but also that I will eat (she has noticed that I don’t like to eat mushrooms or seafood).  She made some seafood (which means the smell of that permeates our home for days before and after the meal) and some beef ribs (but the Korean beef ribs are tiny, thin, little things with the bone still in—interesting way of soaking the beef to draw out the blood before cooking them).

What was fun to see was Elder Aoyagi presenting Ben with a boxed treat—of cigars.  Not actual cigars (which he kept referring to as cigarettes) but delicate little cookies shaped like cigars—like Pepperidge Farm cookies called Pirouette Rolled Wafers without the filling.  I think it’s funny that because we have Ben with us the visiting authorities try hard to be fun.  Who would have thought a general authority would bring “cigars”?  Or when Elder Whiting visited he sat in the back of the car with Ben as we traveled and they talked about the latest and greatest cars they liked.  When I asked him how he knew the most recent released models he said he travels on planes so much and sees them in magazines.

We had the assistants come over after dinner to go over the agenda for the mission tour/zone conferences.  This is our first mission tour and zone conferences!  We don’t know how it’s supposed to go EXACTLY so it was good to discuss everything.  There were changes that needed to take place, still more work to do that night.

Wednesday morning I got up early so I could make muffins before Ben had to go to school and then for our breakfast before we had to drive almost two hours.  We pulled up to the church building (the Aoyagi’s kept saying comments about what small roads there are in Korea—compared to what they have in Japan, “My goodness-you are a very good driver” to Dad, etc) and parked in the back parking lot.  But the back door was locked.  We had to hike around the building to get to the front side and finally were able to go inside.  The office elders forgot the translation equipment so they had to drive back to the mission office (two hour drive).  Sister Aoyagi was so cute and fun and funny.  Before climbing up the steps to the chapel she felt like telling me about the time her stake president called her to be the stake YW president, even though her husband had just been called (but not announced) to be as a Seventy/General Authority.  Ask me about that story when you come home.

The feeling from each zone was so different.  It’s hard to explain.  Dad spoke in the morning session, and then Elder Aoyagi.  We took a picture as a zone and then ate lunch.  After lunch I was the first speaker.  Each zone I started off my comments personally, then went into my talk.  I spoke about Abish.  I think I sent you that talk a long time ago.  I would have used it for a stake conference Saturday night talk…but then something happened and I spoke about something else.  Then I would have used it again at another stake conference Saturday night session. But then something else happened and I spoke about something else.  Heavenly Father was just saving this talk for me to use in this conference.  It went along with the request for the mission tour preparations Abish was on the list at the first zone conference, but not on the second zone’s list.  The second day of zone conferences it was easier for me to feel the Spirit as if the missionaries were more in tune.  The third day was the hardest to feel something.  There were beautiful musical numbers presented, but the Spirit wasn’t easily felt.  After more teaching and instruction from Elder Aoyagi the missionaries seemed to absorb what he had to teach.  The Aoyagi’s continually told us what wonderful missionaries we have, how lucky we were.  They were fun to have in our home for three days.

Sister Aoyagi had Dad, Elder Aoyagi, both the assistants and me stand up on the stand (while all the missionaries stood up where they were sitting) to help her lead the missionaries in a hymn, Put Your Should To The Wheel (Push Along).  We stood with our feet shoulder width apart, hands stretched out in front of us to the side, crouch down in a stance (think of doing the football stance with moving your feet super fast), then sing while moving up and down while “pushing” our hands out in front of us to alternating sides, then gently pounding on the person’s shoulder next to you, switch to the other person’s shoulder, then pound your own back, and so forth.  I don’t think anyone could believe we were actually doing this!  We all just laughed and had fun with it.

Wednesday night we came home to a delicious dinner made by Sister Lee.  I think we were all so tired and hungry.  We had Brother Ahn, the Aoyagi’s translator come for dinner at our home, too.  Brothe Ahn is from Korea, served his mission in Japan, and just recently graduated from BYU Hawaii.  So he was able to translate from Japanese (especially for Sister Aoyagi—Elder Aoyagi can speak some English), to English, and also from Korean (when the Korean missionaries would answer a question during the meetings).  When Brother Ahn walked in the front door and around the corner he saw the stuffed alligator moving (Ben had his foot underneath it and was just moving a little bit) and thought it was real!  We have had so much fun seeing the look of surprise on peoples faces as they first see that toy alligator.  Sister Aoyagi was excited to ask Sister Lee for her recipe for the beef ribs from the night before.  She was excited to share with me a syrup recipe she received from one of the other mission president’s wives recently (it reminds me of the syrup Aunt Tricia liked from Magleby’s Fresh)…although it is difficult to communicate from Japanese to English—but we make due.  So Thursday morning I made German Pancakes (thank you Shanna!) and the syrup Sister Aoyagi liked for breakfast.  It was fun to have Sister Lee come into our home to start working on lunch—but first to sit down and try the pancakes and syrup.  Gotta have some fun with all this!  And that reminds me of sitting on the stand for HOURS!  Even Sister Aoyagi was happy when I pulled out a ziplock bag of Starburst, and also doing leg stretches while her husband talked.

Thursday night we brought along a missionary to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, with us, as he was going home the next morning.  When we took him to the train stain early Friday morning and waited with him on the platform, then said goodbye…who can say they were sent off home by a general authority?  I think the voyage’s enjoyed it the most.

Friday morning we had to leave early for the train station and then for zone conference.  As soon as the conference meeting was over the assistants had to rush the Aoyagi’s to the train stain, on their way to Seoul.  Dad had missionaries to interview.  I cleaned up the chapel in preparation for the next day meetings of stake conference.  Ben got on the subway right after school to travel to the train station to take the KTX (Korea Travel Express??) up to where we were.  Dad and I drove over to the missionary military couple’s apartment and went on base to an American football high school game.  We bought dinner at the concessions stand paying with Korean Wan (money) and receiving American Dollars in change…it looked so strange to us!  We had to think for a minute what to do with the change…not for long.  We bought a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup!  It’s been months since we’ve had one of those.  Ben’s train came in not that late so we saw just about a quarter of the football game before heading off to the train station.  We spent the night with the missionary couple.  Ben walked over to the chapel where the youth gathered to take a chartered bus ride up to Seoul (about 3 1/2 hours ride) for a youth activity amongst all the military youth in Korea.  They played get to know you games, ate lunch (American food!) on the military base, and had a spiritual message before getting on the bus for a long ride back.

While Ben was traveling and up in Seoul Dad and I saw the outdoor market in Daegu, saw a Buddhist temple, saw some Korean military equipment from the Korean War era, took a cable car up to the lookout observation platform on Apsan, that overlooks all of Daegu, and then prepared to speak at the Saturday night session of the Daegu Stake Conference.  Ben came into the meeting at the back and sat down by the assistants.  After all that meeting and what all Dad has to do we all (the assistants traveled back with us in our car) arrived back home late…and had to get up early the next day to travel to the Changwan Stake Conference.  I keep my short talks with me in my bag.  There was some mix up with the different translators so I had to give my Saturday night talk again on Sunday morning instead of what I would have given.  Saturday night was sweet…the translator was emotional as was I.  Maybe because she told me later her sister will be leaving soon for her mission to New Zealand.  What a different feeling on Sunday morning!!

After the Sunday morning session we ate a lunch the stake president organized.  At the same time a baptism was happening right across the hallway.  I was able to slip in after lunch, as the baptism was taking place, and then to share my testimony.  I love going to baptisms!  You can always feel the Spirit strongly, even if you don’t know the person well.  Dad had more meetings with the stake president…and then we could drive home.  A staff meeting that night.  Wow!  Long week!

Today Dad and I went to Costco and spent lots of money for this next transfer meeting one week from today.  We won’t be able to shop later this week as we need to go to Jeju Island for district conference.  Dad leaves Thursday for more meetings.  After Ben gets out of school on Friday he and I will fly over there together.  We won’t get back until Sunday night and then the next morning is when the Transfer Meeting is with missionaries going home.  I better prepare my talks earlier rather than later!

Dad, Elder Aoyagi, Sister Aoyagi, and Brother Ahn standing at the train station right after Elder Campbell said goodbye and is traveling up to Seoul to attend the temple before flying home.

Dad crouching down by a cart of bugs. I don't know what kind they are.  The vendor woman would not get in the picture.  Just 10 feet away was another cart and vendor woman who didn’t want her picture taken either.

At the market we walked down the aisle where pigs parts were being sold.  The lady in the background had trays of pigs skin pieces she was selling. Another vendor lady was insistent that we try/taste the pig skin.  I  took a toothpick and skewered my own tiny piece barely nibbling on it and letting Dad try the rest of it.  Sister Fairhurst, the military missionary coupe skewered a larger piece.  It was soft from being soaked in sesame oil.  It was slimy feeling, mushy.  But I was surprised at how clean the area must have been because there weren’t any bugs flying around the shops. There was a bucket just around the corner where they were soaking pig heads in water (gross, spooky, erie like a scary movie), before putting them on display like the one Dad is crouched beside.  I don't know if you can see but they pin the ears back with clothes pins. The next aisle over chicken parts were on display.

These are two of the four statues at the entrance of a Buddhist temple we saw on Saturday as we were site seeing with the Fairhursts, the military missionary couple in Daegu.  Sister Fairhurst said that each Buddhist temple has four statues guarding the temple.  Each of the four statues has a different expression on its face.  I don't remember what was in each of their hands but each was holding something different.

The other guarding statues.  I think it's fun to see their expressions and what they are holding.

I like the bright colors used to paint the ceiling.  I wonder how long it took to paint along with all the carvings?

This reminded me of the dragon in Mulan.  The steps up to the temple.

Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving/Harvest Festival!

Monday, September 8

This is a picture of Ben running the 5K course we chose to race earlier today.  Today is P-Day for the missionaries.  It is also Chuseok, a national 3 day holiday, the harvest festival.  It follows the lunar calendar, on the 15th day of the 8th month, so it is not always held on the same day year after year, such as Christmas which is always on December 25.  It’s not like the American Thanksgiving which is held on the fourth Thursday of November each year.  Today is the official holiday with the day before and the day after as part of the holiday.  Chuseok started during the Gabae (third reign of kingdom?) during 57BC-AD935.  Back then there were festivals that had contests such as weaving/for a month.  The team that wove the most fabric during the month won.  There were archery and martial art competitions, too.  That is not known/mentioned today.  But the people do gather as families, traveling to an older relative’s home.  It was a time to visit ancestral hometowns.  So we invited our missionaries to come together at the mission office.  If they already had a Chuseok invitation they did not need to come here with us.  We had about 72 missionaries come, change clothes, and then we all walked over to the walking path for our run.  The path is down below the street level, so during the flooding water reached all the way to the top of the areas that are covered (a short segment of tunnel under some of the subway line).  The path follows a creek/drainage area that has different stops along the way with exercise equipment (think of the exercise stations near LA Fitness back behind where the Moline family lives-mostly grandparent age people use these machines).  There are basketball goalposts that are still down from the flooding, along with downed nets for badminton.  There are a few bushes/flower gardens along the way, too.  We had it set up to where the missionaries ran 1.55 miles down the pathway, crossed over one of the bridges, and ran back to the finish/near where we started.

Sister Bowcutt was at the beginning of the race, the one who said “Go!"  She was also at the end of the race with a stopwatch to call out people’s times.  I think she said my time was about 48:54, bringing up the last of the walkers/runners.  I didn’t really run the race.  At the second of the bridges that crossed over I crossed (instead of crossing later on where the turnaround was) so that I could take pictures of the runners on the other side.

Sister Bowcutt had water bottles and homemade muffins for all the finishers.  I made the muffins over the past few days.  Elder Suter ordered me some muffin pans since we couldn’t find any in the mission home.  Then I started trying new recipe (ones I had in my recipe box, links Kenzie sent me to try, others that I found on line).  I kept some recipes and threw others out.  It’s interesting trying to adapt recipes with the ingredients that can be found.  Now I know a little more what we like.

We plan on gathering again, October 3, for the next holiday (when Korea was founded-way long ago when it was one Korea) to run again.  We told the missionaries to listen for their times and when we run again we will try to beat our times.

Dad is in the green shirt.  He is amazing!  Dad woke up early (like he always does) and ran 12 miles, before he ran in this fun run 5K.  He started at the back of the pack of runners, cheering on the sister missionaries who were walking.  Then he worked his way up to the front, encouraging all along the way.  The first sister missionary to finish came in behind Dad with a 25:00 time.  Not bad Dad!

A recently returned missionary sister in our ward wore this beautiful traditional Korean dress that her mother made (her mother is standing with her) to church yesterday.  I thought there would be more people dressed in the traditional dress, but this was the only one.  I was happy to take her picture before church started in case we got held up talking to others afterward.  The bishop announced that we would be having Fast and Testimony Meeting, only, because of the holiday.

More about the Holiday, etc…..We had about 72 missionaries gather at the mission office/chapel to celebrate.  They came from all over, dressed in their missionary clothes, so then they had to change into exercise clothes.  Dad and I walked ahead to the park/trail/walkway to make sure things were set up.  The office couple were there already in place.  Elder Bowcutt rode a bike down to the turn around/half way spot while Sister Bowcutt handled the start and finish of the race.

The soghees (office elders) set up the water, muffins, table, banner, etc along with getting the bike and Elder Bowcutt situated.  They did lots of running back and forth.  Surprisingly they ran in the race well.  We did have one missionary get sick, maybe from the heat combined with the running and extra stuff.  One of our assistants ran the race well.  But after the race the assistants and office elders started running back to where the mission van was parked to hustle back to the mission office parking lot to start cooking the meat for lunch.  Before they got to the van the assistant vomited, continued running but didn’t turn when the others turned.  He just kept running, jumped a fence, said later he didn’t know what he was doing/didn’t feel like he had any control of himself/couldn’t clearly remember what happened.  Somehow the other missionaries got him back to the mission home (along with Dad’s help) to lie down on the living room floor there.  We elevated his legs and feet with cushions from the couches, put a cool wet towel on his head, cranked the A/C down, had him take sips of cold water then Gatorade, slowly ate a few crackers to get some salt in him (his leg muscles were cramping in front and in back), then slowly ate a few grapes.  He slowly started remembering/talking like normal.  I showed him a few of the pictures I took—but he couldn’t remember anybody’s names.  I asked him to sit up to take a sip of water—but he didn’t seem to comprehend what I was saying right away.  It was weird and scary.  After some time he went back outside to where all the other missionaries were playing games (board games, basketball, volleyball, badminton) while others were cooking the meat on the grill (pork like thick slabs of bacon that they grill then cut with scissors-fat is way more desirable than what we would want in America-roll up the meat with rice, onions, and red spicy sauce in a lettuce leaf), but his legs were kind of wobbly.  Overall the activity was lots of fun and successful…besides the scary part with one of our assistants.  Remember to DRINK LOTS!

Another part of Chuseok was a dinner invitation we had Sunday night with the assistants and the office elders.  Elder Min is a Korean so he knows all about this holiday, as opposed to me who doesn’t.  So I guess Elder Min decided to cook traditional Korean foods for Chuseok, which he told us a number of times that he was doing that, until we finally had Ben ask if that meant he was inviting us over to share in his meal.  Sometimes the art of an invitation gets lost in the translation.  Anyway, we had a great dinner last night that Elder Min prepared.  The other missionaries either helped cut up foods or set up the table and chairs along with the tableware upstairs in the church, while Elder Min did the cooking.  He made two kinds of soup—one is soybean (a thin broth with tofu and I don’t know what else in it) and a dumpling type soup with some Spam, dumplings, thin broth, etc.  Kimchee pancake thingies—even made one without shrimp for me, jopje (I’m not sure of the name but it has clear noodles with cut up vegetables and egg and stuff—it’s the STUFF that I never know what it is that surprises me), Spam with onions fried, rice, kimchee, maybe something else.  It was good, as good as fried Spam can be…but it all tastes even better than it probably did because the missionaries made it with love for us.  They are wonderful missionaries.  We had good conversation going around the table answering how a mission has blessed our lives, how it has blessed other’s lives (I guess I was thinking that when we serve others-maybe starting out with not the best attitude- that as things progress we see that the person receiving the most blessings is us!).  They all had great answers.

Earlier in the afternoon one of the stake presidents had meetings with Dad.  He stopped by our home beforehand to give us a box of Bae-Korean pears.  It reminded me of each year when LE Simmons gives Dad/us a box of grapefruit for the holidays.  What a treat!  That was a fun surprise.  Also, Saturday night the man in charge of the FM (Facilities Management) group and his returned missionary daughter (Eugjin) stopped by with some traditional Korean food for us for Chuseok.  Her mother made breaded pork medallions, breaded sweet potatoes, and breaded zucchini.  She made these puffed rice (look like the size of Puffed Cheetos) thingies that are honey coated and rolled in something.  Also some rice cakes thingies—well they call them rice cakes but it’s nothing like a cake.  Anyway, people here have been very generous and sweet to us.

On Saturday we had another MLCM with our zone leaders and sister training leaders.  We had a MLCM two weeks ago and we set this one up to follow up with the challenge to comeback with ideas on how we can increase teaching opportunities.  Our numbers have been down/frustrating/stagnant…I know that the numbers aren’t the most important thing but here’s an example to give you an idea of what we mean.  At this meeting one of the sister training leaders mentioned that we need to increase our expectations of everyone we meet.  She mentioned that at the service project in the park cleaning up debris we had lots of missionaries there, there were lots of people there, the opportunities were there, but maybe we just didn’t think that was the time to find people to teach.  Maybe we thought they wouldn’t be interested.  Maybe we limited ourselves.  It made me think of a portion of Sister S. Hulet’s letter she wrote to her sons both serving missions of a missionary letter she read: 

The last one I read talked about him going to the temple with the Sisters and Elders serving in his area.  Once in the temple, the missionaries no longer wore their name tag but instead “became like one of us”.  He got to thinking about how so often, he thinks that the temple work is his duty, and missionary work is their duty.  Yet, there in the temple, the missionaries were doing the same work as him.  He realized he should be doing the same work as the missionaries!  (that was a rough summary).  After reading the article, I started thinking too!  Ya know, the missionaries here in our area have a goal to invite 25 people a day!!!!  B’s goal is to invite 20 people a day!!!  What if I was to invite or at least talk about the gospel to just ONE non-member every day?!!!  Umm…Well, my friend and I talked about it and decided to give it a try.  I’m some days kinda failing.  I had fears that I’d be accosting people at Walmart or the gym every day.  It’s sorta true, but ya know what?  Almost every time I went out the week before, I was given the opportunity to at least “mention” the church.  Sadly, there were times I skirted the topic and then later wanted to kick myself.  I told the family and the Sister Missionaries about my goal.  T. decided to do it too and guess what!  He brought up church (by mentioning you guys) to his friends at lunch!  Pretty cool huh!!  And tonight K. told me that she has been taking on the challenge and has been talking about church in some way every day this week.  Guess what!  I have succeeded 4 out of 5 days this week!  We’re taking small and simple steps and working to make them bigger! 

One of the office elders had his birthday on Friday so I made Rocky Road Fudge Bars to celebrate.  I have found that everything tastes a little different here.  If I try a new recipe then I’m ok with it.  But if I make something from before then I get a little disappointed or my expectations just haven’t been met/hard to explain.  But for dinner that night Dad, Ben, and I tried a new restaurant that we think all of you will like.  First of all, we sat at a table in a booth…with our feet dangling down rather than Indian style with our ankles rubbing on the floor and our legs falling asleep.  A huge pan of broth was set before us over a heating element, with bunches of leaves and vegetables and then meat to be put inside to cook, incrementally.  The hostess who seated us came by to show us how it’s done.  It was fun, plopping in meat and stuff a portion at a time.  Then a later stage we put in these noodles and skinny long mushroom thingies.  Then when we thought we were all done she brought out some rice (I had even commented that we hadn’t been served rice with our meal) and she ladles out the leftover soup type broth stuff, plopped in the rice scrapping the sides, then adding some eggs and then some broth back in to make a creamy rice dish.  We were stuffed!  That was a different experience than what we have had before.  

Wednesday during the day Egjin K. (who brought food to us Saturday) took me shopping at a big mall.  At stake conference last week she mentioned she would like to spend some time together so I asked if she knew where to buy cards—like birthday or wedding cards.  She came over to show me where to go.  We had to take the subway a few stops on the red line, then transfer on the brown line, before transferring on to the green line.  We exited inside the subway station and took the elevator upstairs all without having to go outside at all. I was surprised when Dad called to say that it had started raining again hard enough to where he thought the tunnel by our house would fill up with water again.  I didn’t hear a thing of a storm while we were inside shopping.  Eugjin and I walked through the food court area of the mall.  Everything in Korea is so fascinating and different from what I’ve experienced in America.  The way the shops set up their foods is different yet one way is not right and the other is not wrong.  We could watch while foods were being prepared behind a glass barrier…yet no smells were all around us (think of First Colony Mall Food Court with the smells of pizza baking and Chinese food cooking and McDonald’s fries smell in the air.  But then going around another corner where the people sit down with their food all the aromas seemed to hit us.

Monday night of last week we were invited to the former stake president’s house for dinner with the assistants and the office elders, and a companionship of sister missionaries met us there.  The best of the foods missionaries could want to eat was all prepared for us.  People are so kind and generous.  Wow!  Food is a big deal with the members here.  We drove up incredibly steep hills/roads to where this family lives.  The view from their apartment over the city is amazing.  Life was so different back at home.  The weather here has been great…it will be difficult to endure 95-103 plus degree heat when we go back to Houston in three years.

Mormon Helping Hands/Latter-Day Saints Helping Hands T-Shirts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Wednesday, September 3

Here are different styles of the Mormon Helping Hands shirts/vests. The one on the left is a different fabric from the one second from the right.

The one on either side of Dad say the same as what Dad’s shirt says: Mormon Helping Hands,  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The white vest says: Latter Day Saints Helping Hands.

Dad and I brought our Helping Hands shirts from home when we helped with hurricane relief back in Texas…many years ago. I think the concept started back in 2005 with Hurricane Rita/Katrina. The church made these shirts to distribute to volunteers who helped. After some time the Church started making vests that could be used/reused by volunteers. 

Dad and I worked on this line of bushes that was further along the park trail than at the beginning. When we started working on it we didn't realize how long it would take to uncover the bushes from the muck. The bushes were very heavy so Dad would go on the back side and lift them up from being flattened against the rocks. We would shake them and pick out debris. We were finally able to lift them upright and they would stand on their own. We think they will survive.

Elder moving debris.

A huge toad found that looked like an evil monster from a science fiction movie.

The first picture is of the machetes used, handed out by the man in charge. He gave the machetes to the elders telling them that they could use them; bending over their backs since they have short handles. He gave out rakes to the sisters to use. Some rakes were more like hoes which caught in the grass/difficult to use.

At the beginning the man in charge gave the missionaries small boxes of milk and individually wrapped pastries to eat. He was rather gruff in handing out the items. It was almost like he HAD to give them something to at and drink first…in order to entice them to work. Our missionaries were there to work and have fun. They were so excited! One missionary said she hadn’t done manual labor the whole time she has been on her mission.

We have watched training video clips of (like in Hastening the Work) where it shows a man helping an older gentleman carry his garbage can to the street. The trash system here is different than that. There is a “food stuff” small red plastic can (about the size of a 5 gallon ice cream bucket—or smaller) that people put their food trash in: like peach pits, watermelon rinds, banana peels, chicken bones, etc). We have a garbage disposal in the mission home, which is RARE. I have learned to chop up banana peels and watermelon rinds to go in the disposal (after watching Lee do it).

Other video clips might show missionaries helping with yard work—but Koreans don’t have yards. Ben would not be able to find a yard to mow, here in Korea.

The second picture is of a sign found amongst the debris. The sign is from a barricade that reads Safety Number One (or Safety First).

 Powerful force knocked down this pole. Surrounded with debris.

This corner of the platform, when uncovered, had an outstretched hand sized rat hiding underneath. As I uncovered more junk it scurried about and ran out from under the platform toward me. Then it jumped into the water and swam away. I was not brave! I let out a scream! (not a shriek, or a long scream….kind of like a “I don’t want it coming near me” scream.) I was fine uncovering huge/fat worms. We were warned there may be snakes—though nobody discovered any of those.

The force of the water was powerful enough to down this light pole.

We worked to uncover the debris that gathered around the light poles. It looked like it should be so easy to uncover, but it took effort to uncover one small piece of junk at a time.

The missionaries hauling away the huge tree and debris…..looks like they are playing tug of war.  Another tree in the background with debris gathered around and stuck to it. The missionaries climbed on top of it to start the process of removing the debris from around the tree.  It was interesting to watch the missionaries solve the problem of moving a huge tree stump, with accumulated debris.

The missionaries worked on clearing debris off of this outlook/observation type platform. When talking with some of the Korean people who were at the park they said they enjoyed coming to this park to observe nature and feel close to the beauties of God. They were so sad to think that this park would never be the same. They were so grateful to see our missionaries working to clean the park up.

The first picture is of the bridge that we traveled across to arrive at this city park called SuPohWon. City officials contacted our missionaries asking them to organize a group of volunteers to help clean this city park after the recent rains and flooding. The rains happened on Monday. The missionaries were out helping neighbors into Monday night. The next day word of mouth carried the news the missionaries helped clean up the neighborhood.  The city officials called Wednesday asking for help at the park on Friday.

After a while one of the organizers of the clean up project came around and asked us not to go onto the platform as it was structurally unsound. As debris was cleared we could finally see underneath the platform; that the supporting beams were leaning/damaged.

The bushes were flattened agains rocks/laying flat, covered with debris. The water level rose up carrying the debris and then as it receded the junk clung to the bushes. The bushes were smelly and heavy with gunk.

This is a picture of Sister Shin, sister Atwood, and Sister Bowcutt—the office secretary who is serving with her husband, Elder Bowcutt. The Bowcutt’s served in the Houston Texas Mission before coming here.