November 10, 2014
Dear Mom & Dad,
You’re right, the MTC does feel like it was a dream. And then everything before the MTC feels like a dream within a dream. It’s so weird.
I don’t think it’s a liking for kimchee that I’ve developed, but maybe more of a tolerance. Actually kimchee in Korea is way better than the stuff I had in Utah. It doesn’t taste bad to me, but not exactly good either. I only eat it when I go to a sit down restaurant or to a member’s house for dinner, which is only once or twice a week usually. Koreans always eat it with every meal, so yes, they eat it quite often.
We have 12 in our district, it is one of the biggest districts, but also one of the most spread out. If you look on Google maps, the main cities in our district are Tongyeong, Geoje, Sacheon and Jinju, if that helps at all. We have district meeting once a week, so we see each other fairly often. I keep forgetting to tell you, but Elder Trentman got transferred and Elder Porcaro took his place. It was really sad, but that’s okay, it’s good to see Elder Porcaro more now.
We do a lot of walking, especially when we want to save money, but we also use buses pretty often, and taxis every once in a while.
The language is slowly getting easier, I’m starting to be able to pick out things here and there and understand parts of what people say. All I’ve heard is that Korean is one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn, harder than Chinese actually. Korean, Japanese, and Finnish are supposedly the three hardest. Missionaries almost never become fluent in Korean during two years they are here. The grammar is just so complicated, it’s crazy.
Did you ever find information about that famous Korean General? If not, try different spelling. I’ve also seen his name spelled ‘Yi Sunshin’ and ‘Yi Sunsin’, or maybe ‘Yi Sunsheen’. I thought the story was pretty interesting, and he is something Tongyeong is famous for, along with gulbang, which is like a honey roll filled with different things. Some fillings are pretty good, others are pretty gross.
Anyway, I hope everything is going well, we’ll see how long this letter takes to get to you. J
From a letter to his dad received January 2:
December 1, 2014
I recently finished reading The Book of Mormon, and some parts I really liked are Moroni chapters 7 and 10. Both of these chapters have a ton of really good things you can learn from every single verse. Some advice I’ve recently received is to pray to gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon regularly . . . for two reasons. One, your testimony can always be stronger, but also, regularly praying for that spiritual confirmation will help you better understand people who are not part of the church. Then you can better testify to them in order to help them gain a testimony of their own.
And from a letter to the family:
December 1, 2014
Thank you for all your letters, I love hearing from you, especially in letters. I got spoiled in the MTC, I just expected letters. Now that I’m so much further away, whenever I get letters it feels like it’s my birthday or something. :)
I think I might have already said this, but Korea is starting to feel pretty normal, so I have no idea what you want to hear about. I’ll try to make it interesting though. :)
Yesterday, President Barrow and his family came to my ward in Tongyeong. It was him and his wife, his son Ben, who is in high school, and his daughter Nikki, who just got back from her mission in England. They all gave talks, and Elder Suter translated for them. President Barrow actually gave his in Korean. He wrote it in English and had a Korean translate it a couple days earlier, but it was still really impressive. After church they were talking about missionary work in Korea compared to England. I always assumed missionary work was hard in England . . . but they have more baptisms than we do in Korea. Their baptismal rate is one per month per companionship. In Korea, or at least the Busan mission, the rate is 0.9 per quarter per companionship. I think Elder Suter said he has had three baptisms his whole mission. And everyone knows missionary work is about the number of baptisms you can get, right? Just kidding, I think how hard missionary work is here is why it’s so satisfying. Everything satisfying in my life has been difficult, like learning to whistle. :)
I started reading the New Testament, and something I decided to do was mark all the Joseph Smith translations in the footnotes so that in the future they will be easier to recognize. It is amazing how different the bible is without Joseph Smith’s translations, no wonder there were so many groups that broke off from the Catholic Church. The changes make it really confusing, as well as seem contradictory. Something funny I noticed is when Christ is teaching the Beatitudes in Matthew, it says that someone who gets angry without cause is in danger of judgment. The footnote says both JST and the 3 Nephi version omit ‘without cause’. So [someone] was reading through, read that, and must have thought, “Anyone who gets angry is in danger of judgment? That’s a little harsh, it must mean if you get angry without cause. I’ll just slip that in there . . . ” I can’t believe someone would think that’s okay. Okay, I can believe it, it’s just dumb. Thank goodness we have modern revelation.
To close this epistle, I want to share my testimony with you. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord, and for all my friends and family members who support me. I know that “the truth of God will go forth until it has . . . sounded in every ear”, and that God is overseeing this work. I know that if we can bring one soul unto Christ, even if it is only ourselves, our joy will be greater than we can imagine. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth, and by the power of God translated The Book of Mormon. I know The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it contains the fullness of the gospel. Through studying and applying the principles taught in it, we can become perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. I am so grateful for the gospel, and for all the blessing of being a part of it.
Oh, here are some Korean words that go with this:
간증 – Ganjeung – testimony
증인 – Jeungin – witness
I might have already told you testimony, but I recently learned the word for witness, and I thought it was interesting how the two words are related.
Thanks again for your letters! I love you!
P.S. See, my theory is if I slowly incorporate Korean words more and more into my letters, you will all be fluent by the time I get back. :)
January 4, 2015
I'm so glad you finally got those letters and they weren't lost in the mail!
Today I don't have very long to email, we are having a district p day in Gumi, and the train leaves at 10:15, so I have until about 10:00. But we're going to go bowling again, so that will be fun. It's pretty much the same as American bowling, I actually can't think of any ways that it is different.
I guess it's convenient that I don't have very much time today, since I don't have too much to say about this past week.
I love you!
|Elder Laney, Elder Hines, Elder Jung and Elder Payne|