Elder Cho and Billy Barnes

Friday, May 29

Today (Tuesday) was a long day of interviews for Ken, with me talking with the other missionaries waiting their turn to visit with Ken? I asked about the English class they teach, their investigators who they are working with, what they learned in personal study, etc. With Elder Cho I asked to look at his photo book (of his family that each missionary is supposed to have with him). With each page I asked questions, learning about how his whole family joined the church. They went on a trip to Missouri and met a woman who invited them to church. Sometime after they arrived back in Korea they were baptized. When I looked at the picture of Elder Cho¹s family dressed in white baptismal clothes I saw Billy (Caitlin¹s husband) as the missionary who baptized him (the younger brother/boy on the far right side of the photo).  I was excited to tell our missionary that the elder who baptized him married President Barrow’s niece.

Elder Cho today (same boy that is in the photo on the far right)

Last night, Wednesday, on our way home from interviews we noticed a lunar eclipse starting, that we didn’t even know about. I called Ben at home to tell him to look outside at the moon. I took this picture through our car window while Dad was driving us home. Ben sent a picture of the moons which he thought looked red but by the time he sent it to us, and we got home, it did not look red, outside.

I don¹t know if you can remember the children’s book Flat Stanley. One year your cousin, Trenton (I think) sent us a Flat Stanley which we took with us on trip to Utah, and took a picture of it to send back to him. As I was talking with a sister missionary today she showed me the Korean Flat Stanley her sister made and sent to her in the mail this day.

October 6, 2014

Thursday, May 28

This is our latest group of new missionaries, who went out proselyting in the rain. The group before them went out in the rain as well. We've had great weather in between those two
days of rain. Front row, with the umbrella down, is Elder Min. To the right is Elder Sutton, and then Elder Lee; all three are our assistants.

On way to interviews I saw this woman walking across the street with her dog, which has it's tail dyed to match her shirt, orange. When asked what the craziest thing I had seen so far in Korea was, I showed this picture to a sister missionary, that same day. She said this is normal in Korea.

Ben, at one of the few look out points, on his way up the mountain behind where we live. He and Dad climbed the mountain on Saturday. I stayed home to make banana bread muffins, YUM!

I don't know what Ben and Dad were doing here but this is at the top where you get on the cable car to go back down the mountain.

If you look at the picture of Ben on top of the mountain, and then look in the direction he is looking (over to his right side) you would see this view of Busan.

September 29, 2014

Ben in the middle of the big group of missionaries right before the start of the 5K run.

One of our new sister missionaries, Sister Kim, and I were matching on one of the days before they were given their companionship assignments.

At the train station with the departing missionaries. One of the sisters met her parents in Seoul before coming back down this way to visit places she served.  We were able to meet her parents and talk for a few minutes; in between the auditor, the office financial secretary, the assistants, BUSY!!  One of the elders is from Miryang; a branch where we spoke in church today.  We met his parents and grandfather, who is not a member of the church.

We went biking along the walking/exercise path that follows the water (that drains when it rains). We had to walk the bikes up the stairs and down on the other side of the walkway over the busy road.  Weaving in and out of walkers and other bikers, even rollerbladers.  The Korean people walk, bike, and exercise like they drive on the streets?……CRAZY!! 

Now, for the big ear.  

I notice Korean people wear long sleeves and face masks and hats to cover up as much as possible to protect themselves from the sun. But when we wear shorts and t-shirts and they are in long sleeves I wonder if they are really hot. We had more rain last week, right when it was time for our new group of missionaries to go out working for the first time. The missionaries had to take umbrellas with them and then the subways were a bit more crowded because of the weather. Dad, Ben, and I ended up not making it to the group of missionaries in time to eat dinner with them. But we were able to ride the subway home with them and watch them in action. And we walked back to the church to have a short testimony meeting. It’s exciting to watch the energy and enthusiasm of the new missionaries influence the trainers to work harder than they had been doing.

And we walked back to the church to have a short testimony meeting. It’s exciting to watch the energy and enthusiasm of the new missionaries influence the trainers to work harder than they had been doing. The next day Dad was able to make the assignments of new missionary with trainer to form companionships. The assistants and office elders along with Dad made it fun and suspenseful. It’s a process. Lots of work, time, and effort learning, observing, talking, researching, listening. And a lot of behind the scenes work goes on to feed and house these missionaries until they get out on their own. Eye opening! We had our MLCM on Friday. Long week. I spoke at the beginning but then had to go back home to prepare pasta for lunch. I made bread early in the morning, had the chicken cooked that morning as well, but still had to cook the pasta and mix it all together. I made the Lemon Chicken Pasta. Making it in bulk reminded me of the Cross Country Pasta dinners. Because I was making so much I never really knew how it would taste in the end. Luckily it worked. But Dad said I smelled like pasta, and he was right. It reminded me of the days I worked at Brick Oven and could smell pizza on me.

Saturday morning we tried watching a live stream coverage of the BYU choir, to hear Jacob sing.  We ended up switching to audio but it still had trouble connecting.  Over here we can’t just watch a BYU football game, general conference, or other broadcasts, etc.  We will watch general conference as a ward the Sunday after the broadcast. Saturday afternoon Dad, Ben, and I biked to a late lunch downtown, weaving in and out of traffic on the roads, along the path, until we found the new restaurant Dad and Ben researched.  It was closed until dinner time.  So we back tracked to go to TGI Friday’s.  I was reminded of a quote from President Uchtdorf from October 2012 General Conference: “My wife, Harriet, and I love riding our bicycles.  It is wonderful to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature.  We have certain routes we like to bike, but we don’t pay too much attention to how far we go or how fast we travel in comparison with other riders. However, occasionally I think we should be a bit more competitive.  I even think we could get a better time or ride at a higher speed if only we pushed ourselves a little more.  And then sometimes I even make the big mistake of mentioning this idea to my wonderful wife. Her typical reaction to my suggestions of this nature is always very kind, very clear, and very direct.  She smiles and says, “Dieter, it’s not a race; it’s a journey.  Enjoy the moment. ” How right she is! Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey.  I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing.  I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable.”

Sunday, as we were driving to Miryang to speak in a small branch for church dad asked Ben and I what we thought was amazing about our bike ride the day before.  I thought it was amazing that I was reminded of the time when I was 17 years old riding my bike on a busy Eastman Road behind Sister Rogers (amazed I could even remember her name from so long ago), as sister missionary in Midland, Michigan who I went on exchanges with.  I never thought I would go on a mission (until I was older like even older) and never thought I would ride a bike while on a mission (especially on busy roads, again!).  Ben was amazed at how many people there were that were out.  Dad was amazed at how many older people were out exercising; walking, biking, exercise stations, anything! Was reading in 1 Nephi 18:24 and was impressed with parts of this ongoing story of Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel, and family.  It’s all about attitude.  The boys are commanded to go get the plates; the older brothers murmur, but then they go along.  They are asked to go get Ishmael’s family.  The older brothers go along, but murmur and tie up Nephi on the way back to Lehi.  They are asked to build a ship.  The older brothers complain but then help build the ship.  The family crosses the many waters, tying up Nephi, almost to the point of being swallowed up in the depths of the sea.  They repented.  They finally arrived at the Promised Land.  Here’s the point I’m getting at with attitude and enduring to the end.  This attitude of Laman and Lemuel was back and forth murmuring and grumbling but then doing what was asked of them.  In verse 24 we read, “We began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem.  And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance. ” All of them, even Laman and Lemuel, planted seeds.  They planted ALL of their seeds.  That must have taken GREAT faith.  They did not hold any seeds back, like in their pocket or in their tent.  They planted them all and then they watched them grow exceedingly.  They recognized that they were blessed in abundance.  I’m not focusing on the rest of their lives, whatever pride cycle they went through.  But you can see that even with all the murmuring they had done and all they had experienced before, Laman and Lemuel were a part of this time when they exercised great faith and watched how they were blessed in abundance.  We all can be like them.  We might be like Nephi good attitude and obedient all the time.  We might be like Laman and Lemuel murmuring along the way but still doing what is asked of us.  No matter how we get to that point of exercising great faith, we can still do it.  And we will be blessed in abundance. BUT, we need to endure to the end.  Just think Laman and Lemuel could have stayed at that level of faith but somehow let their attitude change.  And then the rest of the story.

This week Dad and I will travel to different locations for dad to interview all the missionaries.  We will do it differently than when he interviewed them when we first arrived in Korea.  Each zone leader has scheduled the missionaries staggering times so just a few will be there at a time.  I will visit with the companion while dad is interviewing.  Today Dad had to interview a missionary in his office in the mission home.  It gave me an idea of what to expect this week as I visited with the companion.  Since he speaks hardly any English I now know some of what I will not be covering.  A more simplified discussion with some missionaries, and more in depth with others.  A work in progress.  We shall see how it goes.