October 20, 2014

Friday, June 5

On our way to a lunch appointment at the Kim’s home two of the three assistants let the other assistant along with Dad and me out of the car to start walking while they found a place to park. A man was in the street and an assistant asked him directions, then we followed him for a while. I thought he was just directing/walking with us because the streets were so winding and tight and confusing. Finally one of the elders told me this man we were following was the host/Brother Kim. Oh brother! Did I feel silly. But as we were walking to his home we saw this building and I HAD to take a picture for you! I enlarged it so this picture is deceptive? The streets are more narrow than they appear in this picture. I would not be able to find this store again.

Brother Kim showed us his family pictures of his two sons and their wives. Both daughters in law are expecting babies…..their two first grand babies! Their home was nice with a view from different directions. It was an amazing climb up to the upstairs apartment after winding through little side streets and alleyways. We saw small doors that led to cafes and homes. Wondering how anybody could fit their way down or up or in. A truck was parked maybe a quarter of an inch away from a brick wall. I don’t know how it got there. The Kim’s have access to the rooftop of the building their apartment is in. They hang their laundry out there and have a garden/trees as well. Amazing looking. 

Brother Kim showed us his certificate when he was called as a bishop (the first time), in Korea, in 1979. If you look closely it was signed by the First Presidency: Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney. Dad remembers when they came to Korea back in 1979, when Dad was in Seoul. Then they traveled down to Busan to form the first stake there.

As we were leaving the Kim’s home I just had to take a picture. It reminded me of action movies. Like maybe the Bourne movies. I could picture somebody being chased by bad guys jumping across from rooftop to rooftop, down stairs, upstairs, turning corners, zigzagging in and out of alleys.

After going down the stairs we walked across a small walkway and saw this tiny garden plot that the Kim’s have taken such good care of. They have about a 2 ft. By 4 ft. Piece of grass that is beautifully manicured with orange trees, a plum tree, an apple tree, a tangerine tree, and an Asian pear tree. When they left on their three year mission they did not ask anyone to care for their garden or apartment. They said that when they came back the grass had grown so high but all the plants survived without any care. It’s like a little piece of solitude in a crazy outside world.

These beautiful, dainty flowers were planted around the border of the Kim’s garden. They took such great detail and care as to paint the ends of the intricate twig fence.

This week we had zone conference in Poole and Elder and Sister Adler came as visiting authorities from Germany. It was amazing to hear them speak. I felt as if he was talking directly to me. He spoke of how we need to be converted, converted to our missions. He spoke about how success in life is related to our level of conversion. It really made me think, how converted am I? I have gained a testimony of this gospel that I am so grateful for- I never want to stop building that testimony and living that faith. I want to always live and share this gospel, no matter what trials come my way or the circumstances I’m in. All the little things are so important, reading the scriptures daily, going to all my church meetings, and making time for prayers each day accounting to the Lord. 

At the beginning of his talk Elder Adler said that he was struggling as to know what to talk about because the spirit had prompted him to speak on something so different then the day before. He then spoke about repentance and forgiveness. He said that the key part of repentance is forgiving yourself, which was cool because that is something that a lot of missionaries need to hear, they spend time thinking about past mistakes they have repented of but it’s not full repentance until you move on, it’s over, and you forgive yourself. This is the case with many people actually, they hold on to their past mistakes and forget to move on or let the Atonement really change them. We do have a Savior, He did die for us, so that each of us could have faith, and repent, and be cleansed from sin, and to change if we let Him change us. 

After the conference was over Elder and Sister Adler had us all give them a hug and gave us a little chocolate. They are so sweet and you could feel the love. It was a great zone conference. 

Afterwards all the other district leaders, STL, and other missionary companionships were traveling back to their respective areas, but the zone leaders had interviews and a leadership meeting with Elder Adler, and since Sister Kofford and I had gotten a lift with them we had to stick around. We walked in the chapel to wait for them in their interviews and saw Sister Adler and Sister Millar on the stand just sitting so we took the opportunity to go sit on the floor next to them and talk. It was so fun, and it made Sister Adler light up, she got to talk about her family and show us pictures. She is a cool lady! She was a convert when she was 21 and when she shared her testimony she just speaks with the greatest love and appreciation for the gospel. She’s amazing.

After a while they went in to the leadership meeting but after two minutes Elder and Sister Adler sent the AP's out to get me and the one other STL that had stayed they said they wanted us to be a part of the leadership meeting. It was great to be included and to feel of their love. 

October 13, 2014

Monday, June 1

We came upon this directions sign, that reminded me of the sign at the beginning of each episode of MASH, that tells how many miles to each of the cities/homes of the doctors and nurses. So I looked it up on the computer: Niki is the closest to us, in Busan, Korea as she is in Exeter, England, at 5855.6 miles away. Steven and his family, along with Alex, inProvo, Utah are 5975.3 miles from Busan. And then Kenzie is 7010.8 miles away from Busan, in Austin, Texas.

On Saturday we hiked up the mountain. Dad gave us the impression we would be hiking for about an hour. We hiked for over four hours. This is outside of one of the gates (not the South gate because we hiked to that gate a couple of months ago), of Geumjeongsanseong.

We had finished walking down the hill entering into this courtyard area,looked at the map to continue, when this lady named Claire asked for helpwith directions. I wanted to take a picture with her because she spokeEnglish with a French accent. She was born in Seoul and was adopted by herfamily and raised in France. Fun surprise.

While walking and talking with some other people this man, Mr. Lee,overheard Dad and asked if he was a member of the Mormon Church, saying that his wife and sons were members of that church. In fact, his son is serving a mission now in Seoul.

After walking to two of the gates at Geumjeongsanseong we walked down the trail to Beomeosa, the largest premier Buddhist Temple in Busan. There were numerous statues of turtles and marble etched signs guarding the temple.

 Outside a Buddhist Temple there were these statues of different animals,also a cat and a turtle, lizard; which was around the corner from the LDS church where Dad had interviews with the missionaries last week. I don't know what the different animal statues represent.

Last Wednesday Dad and I were invited to eat lunch with the assistants and two elders serving in Gwangan, to a members home.  The Kim family, an older couple who just recently returned from serving a mission in the Seoul Temple.  I will send some pictures from our visit.  I feel like I’m torn between two cultures when we eat at a member’s home.  I sat by Dad, along with the host (husband) and all the other missionaries.  Near the end of our meal I commented that Sister Kim’s plate was still clean/not eaten on.  If I was back at home I would be helping the hostess in her kitchen with preparing the meal, if she needed any help.  But the hostess would sit and eat with us.  I felt bad like I should not be sitting there enjoying this wonderful meal while she is still working hard in the kitchen not able to sit and eat with us.  After eating the local missionaries shared a spiritual message.  When they were done teaching their message the host asked each of the assistants to share their testimonies.  This whole time the speaking was done in Korean.  Then the host asked me and Dad to share our testimonies.  I told them I was going to speak in English, which I did, but it took me a moment to get started.  I felt so grateful for the kindness and hospitality, the graciousness, the fun!  I feel very fortunate to be here and to be treated so warmly by the Korean people.  I sit and listen in on the conversations between Dad and the host (whenever and wherever we may be), and the conversations between the assistants/missionaries and the host (this visit was fun to hear of one of our assistants as a youth—thought to be a troublemaker back then—look how he’s grown up since!), and the daily activities of our missionaries (that I wouldn’t ordinarily hear about during a zone conference or mission tour).  It reminds me of the conversation I had on Sunday with a young returned missionary sister in our ward.  I asked her if she ever met a general authority/apostle while on her mission, to which she said yes.  I asked her if she was excited to meet them, to which she said yes.  When I asked her why she said she was excited for what she could learn from them, and the feeling she got/love when she shook their hand.  The same thing when she attended a mission tour.  The same thing when she attended zone conferences—but this time Dad and I were the ones teaching and sharing our love.  But we can feel of the missionaries’ excitement and love for us—just to come to zone conferences.  And we can feel the love and excitement from the members when we attend their stake/district/branch conferences and regular Sunday meetings.  I feel like I am blessed with such a warm reception—the same way I felt excited about having a visiting authority attend our church back at home.  It’s hard to believe being on the receiving end.  It kind of reminds me of a part of the lesson we discussed in Relief Society on Sunday, taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church Joseph Fielding Smith: 

“One day at a church conference in the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square a 12-year-old boy, excited to be there for the first time, had come early to be sure to get a seat close to the front. … Just before the meeting began, and when all the seats were taken, an usher asked the boy to give up his seat so that a late arriving United States Senator could have it. Meekly the boy complied, and stood in the aisle, disappointed, embarrassed, in tears.” President Joseph Fielding Smith “noticed the youngster and motioned him to come up [on the stand]. When the boy told him what had happened he said, ‘That usher had no right to do that to you. But here, you sit by me,’ and shared his seat with him, in the midst of the apostles of the Church.
I have tried to get to my meetings early in order to get a seat up front.  I remember doing that as a youth when our family traveled to Detroit to see President Spencer W. Kimball speak along with Elder Thomas S. Monson, back in the late 1970’s, in the Pontiac Silverdome.  I remember the people filing into the seats in the stands and the floor seats were reserved for the missionaries and whoever else got there early enough.  But Janine and I wanted to sit up front so we told our families we would be down in front—and we were!  We sat on the second row (I could tell because I remember seeing a picture in the Church News with a sea of dark suits/church coats row after row but the two inside seats on the second row were light colored—dresses).  I remember writing in my journal how excited I was to sit up so close that I could even see the spit fly from Elder Monson’s mouth as he spoke!  Now when I sit up close at meetings like stake conference I do so in order to help me hear and see (aging).  But I can relate to the boy in this story from the manual, lesson 20, because I get excited to shake the hand and hear the talk from a general authority.  I want to be close to them to feel of their spirit/love.  Really, that’s what it’s all about.  Love.  We are drawn to love. And as a representative of the Savior, a general authority brings the Savior’s love to the people.  We feel it and want to get close to it, longing for it.

This reminds me of the scripture in 3 Nephi…when the resurrected Jesus came to the people of Nephi, from the Book of Mormon.  He had taught the people many things but when it was time for Him to go the people didn’t want Him to leave just yet:

3 Nephi 17:3-7 “Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again. But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them. And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.”

3 Nephi 18:32 “Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”

3 Nephi 19:1-3 “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children and did return to his own home. And it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus and that he had ministered unto them, and that he would also show himself on the morrow unto the multitude.  Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude.”
It kind of reminds me of the Saturday night session of stake conference.  The meeting was so good that the people did not want to go/did not want it to end.  They were instructed to go to their homes and ponder, ask/pray, and prepare for the next day’s meeting.  When the Savior saw how sad they were for Him to go He had compassion on them and asked for their sick to be brought to Him, any that are afflicted in any manner.  He would heal them. They were healed for just being there at that wonderful meeting.  When I say was there, full attention mentally/spiritually as well as physically.
Then we see in chapter 18 that we do not want to cast out any from our places of worship (look at 2 Nephi 26:26—Christ doesn’t tell people to stop worshipping. He wants to add to our knowledge/good.). Come unto Christ with full purpose of heart and I shall heal them.  Attending our meetings/coming unto Christ with full purpose of heart we shall be healed.  We invite everyone—no exclusion.  No blocking or shutting out.
Do you think you would want Jesus to go or to stay?
In chapter 19 we see that the people noised abroad, who were they telling about the Saturday night session of stake conference? And they worked all the night and did labor exceedingly all that night.  I haven’t gone forth from a meeting like that and worked all the night laboring exceedingly.  I can do more.  I should do more.  I will do more.

Dad was on Jeju Island attending the Seogipo branch conference.  He left later in the day Saturday and returned Sunday early evening to go straight to the Busan stake presidency meeting with the assistants.  After that they hustled home to have a staff meeting here in our mission office that night.  Long weekend for Dad.

Saturday morning Dad, Ben, and I got up early to drive to Ben’s school for him to take the PSAT test.  While Ben was taking the test Dad and I visited one of our sister missionary apartments to do personal study with them and then share what we had learned.  Also I was able to see a missionary apartment for the first time.  Wowie!  Zowie!!  I was trying hard not to sound shocked.  I know that this apartment is for just two missionaries.  But my goodness!  Their whole apartment could fit inside our master bedroom.  But then we went to see the elder’s apartment.  Let me tell you a little about this apartment.  It is for four missionaries so it is quite a bit larger than what the sisters live in (it happens to be one of the largest apartments we have, I hear).  BUT, there is a reason why the missionaries will be moving into a different (smaller) apartment in less than a month.  Apparently the pipes have been clogged for months and months. 

Today Dad and I went to Costco, typical of every Monday for us.  We saw some funny car signs/decals on the back of car windows.  One said Baby in Car and had a cartoon baby holding an ax (think Paul Bunyan as a baby) (Dad didn’t believe me and I didn’t get my camera ready quickly enough to get a picture-but believe me!).  The other car decal was Baby on Board with baby footprints and a baby bottle and heart around it—much nicer.

We have seen a sign, up from the walkway over the big road that says BLESSU (so I think of someone sneezing whenever we walk by).  And a banner was placed over Outback Steakhouse that said Outback True Steakhouse.

Dad and I have zone conferences on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week.  I need to work on my talk to make it better and shorter.  I used Elder Klebingat’s general conference talk as my basis and then added different examples to it.  Great talk!