New group of missionaries arrived!

Thursday, October 27

Last week we had a large group of new missionaries arrive, 24 total!

In this group of new missionaries we had a couple score perfectly on the ACT, a few champion athletes (like one young man was on the All-State and All-National teams for rugby).  We have some talented artists and talented musicians, that can play numerous instruments as well as sing (three sang in this last general conference missionary choir). We have a baking elder who supposedly makes great cream puffs! Recently an elder completed his mission who baked wedding cakes before his mission. Such talent! We have an elder who has such self discipline that he lost over 100 pounds in order to go on his mission (50 of pounds were lost in the MTC!). I’m sure he looks way different than he did before. We had a sister arrive with short hair (not the picture she submitted with her application-unrecognizable).  I needed to consult with a few missionaries before they left for their first area as they had medical problems.  A number of our missionaries have a sibling serving in another Korean mission.  One missionary was described by his bishop, on his application, as the most easy going and stress free person who makes friends with anyone, and that you would want him by you in case of an emergency!  And this group of missionaries came saying they met our son in the MTC, with a couple of them having pictures with Ben on their camera (I hope they forward those pictures to me).  The last transfer we had 14 new missionaries come. With this group of 24 added, plus trainers, we have 76 missionaries working through The First 12 Weeks program. That’s more than half our mission! We have a young group of missionaries in terms of time serving and leadership. 

Visit from Elder and Sister Bednar!

We have had a very busy weekend with the visit to our mission from Elder and Sister Bednar along with Elder and Sister Choi. Starting many weeks ago phone calls and emails were exchanged back and forth between President Barrow and Elder Jung Tae Gul, making sure all the arrangements were in order so that everything would run smoothly while the general authorities were here. Instructions for International travel from a general authority were given discussing what hymns to use in the conference, who should be assigned to give the prayers (non-spot light missionaries), translation equipment; all this was to be submitted and approved prior to the visit, discussed, resubmitted, etc. Gift baskets for the hotel rooms and gift bags for travel in the cars needed to be arranged (Sister George the office secretary handled that doing a fantastic job—even when suggestion after suggestion was strongly given from Seoul). Meals/menus had to be submitted and approved. Western food was what we were told to provide (apparently the Bednar’s had a negative experience their last visit to Korea)(actually, the day before the arrived in Busan they were served live squid soup—wiggling around—GROSS). Well, come to find out some information was wrong so last minute (and I mean after the shopping had been done and the food was started to be prepared middlemen were calling with new assignments) changes took place. Sister Lee was very good with all of her meal preparations.

I was given two talks to read in preparation for an individual interview time: me with Sister Bednar and Sister Choi, chatting. It was good to hear about scripture study habits, exercise routines, amounts of sleep, struggles/faith, etc.

Our missionaries were given a number of articles written by Elder Bednar in order to read, study, and prepare for his visit and instruction to the missionaries. I Googled Elder Bednar in order to learn a little bit more about him and his wife. I asked questions about what kinds of food they liked to eat and if they had any allergies to certain foods and to avoid those. I had my day planned and organized in order to prepare the lunch that I was to serve and still get to the train station in time to greet our visitors. I was happy to have studied the words of Elder Bednar. I was excited to see him, to meet him, to ask him my questions, and to listen and learn from him. When Elder Bednar stepped off the train he extended his hand to me, looked me in the eye, and greeted me by name saying, “Hello Sister Barrow.” I thought to myself, “Oh! He knows my name!” And immediately the thought came into my mind, “Oh, He (meaning the Savior) knows my name.”

This experience made me wonder how well do I know the Savior? Would I need to Google Him to learn more about His life and His calling and mission? To what source do I go for the truth? Have I studied the words of the Savior like I should have and could have? Do I organize my days in order to prepare to greet the Savior, as if He were to visit me that day? Would I be excited and ready to see Him? Would I have questions prepared that I had studied and pondered about to ask Him? Do I prepare that way now before going to Heavenly Father in prayer, every day? Am I ready to listen to and to learn from Him?

Wasden's Visit!

Monday, October 17

We ate well with the Wasden’s the couple of days they were here. We had lunch at a little soup shop (interestingith a roll of toilet paper hanging on the wall, instead of any napkins). They salt their Dwaeji Gukbap (pork soup) using little shrimp with the black eyes looking up at you!  It wasn’t just me saying ³No; ask Leslie! Walking around the market across from Jagalchi Fish Market we waited in line to buy some Ssiat Hotteok (sweet pancake with seeds). Another night we ate Shabu Shabu; down the road a ways to walk off dinner.  The weather has cooled down enough to make you appreciate the warm broth cooking at your table.

After spending time at the fish market and across the street at the outdoor market we rode the subway down to the Busanjin Market looking at fabrics and trinkets; they took a bus back home.  Long day!

Hiking up to the statue!

Oh, and Ben saw Sister Yoon Dayoung when she visiting America in September.

Bear and Papa Goodbye for now!

More of Bear and Papa's Visit!

On Thursday we traveled to Suseong to finish the Daegu Zone quarterly interviews.  The Dustin’s, the military couple, took Bear and Papa to the market while Dad interviewed and I visited with the missionaries.  That made it so much easier on me as on Tuesday I did not get to visit with the missionaries.  Instead, I took Bear and Papa to some sites in Gyeongju while Dad interviewed.  Afterward we drove to the pottery village, while eating our packed lunch in the car.  Then Dad dropped us off at the bus station while he traveled further from Gyeongju to Hogye, for more interviews before attending the stake presidents meeting, then coming home late at night.  Dad must be exhausted!  Back to Thursday, we went together to the subway to get chicken and then dessert (this fluffy shaved ice type of stuff that was actually good, kind of just melted in our mouths); one fruity and one chocolate.  There was a door in the middle of the walkway of the underground subway station.  Elder Dustin said it led to Narnia!

We ate dinner at a Korean barbecue place - lettuce meat wrap place. Notice Papa’s use of chopsticks and a fork together. The last picture was dessert, Korean style pop binsu which is a fluffy frozen shaved ice something.  But this time it was the traditional kind with red bean mashed up stuff (slightly sweetened).

Wednesday our schedule got all changed up with Typhoon Chaba hitting our mission area.  Luckily it was not as bad as it could have been.  Some of our missionaries got dressed in their yellow 5K/10K shirts hoping to help serve people but there just wasn’t the need, even though the media had predicted such bad weather telling everyone to stay indoors.

Friday morning early Papa and I went for a walk to show him how to get to the bank to exchange some of his money along with writing down where other landmarks are (like a bakery and place for Bear to shop, etc).  While Dad and I were busy with our MLCM Bear and Papa went exploring.  I took them exploring even more in the other direction where we stopped for them to take pictures at Geumgang Park in front of the flowers (on the way to the Busan Marine Museum—though they did not go that far).  We tried to go inside the 119 Emergency Building Museum but it was closed by the time we got there.

The missionaries had fun visiting with Bear and Papa when they came with Dad and me to the quarterly interviews.  Sister Kim Suji shared these pictures.

Sister Kim Sujeong enjoyed visiting with Bear and Papa, too. Bear and Papa came in, sat down with the missionaries, and looked like they were ready to teach English class or something with them each busy working with different groups of missionaries.

BEAR AND PAPA (Ken's Parents from Texas)

Bear and Papa arrived Sunday afternoon.  Monday was a holiday in Korea, Founders Day, Gaecheon ("Opening of Heaven") refers to 3 October 2457 BCE (their way of recording dates??  Not the same as saying 303 BC), the date when Hwanung  descended from heaven to live with mankind.  The Daegu Stake had a hiking activity that we were invited to.  We chose the shorter route rather than the longer hike up into the mountain.  I’m glad we chose the shorter route as it started to rain on us, turning into a downpour! The woman in green was very kind to us/particularly Bear.  She gave Bear her umbrella to use while she walked without an umbrella until I returned it to her/thus the picture.

Bear and Papa were amazed at how many people shop at Costco!

Looking at each other through a hole in a tree.

Bear got a new hat!