Friday, August 23, 2013

Breathe. In. Out. In. Out

I received a precursor email today from Sydney asking to send some specific pictures to her.  I sent pictures of Steve and I dressed in 20's outfits of which she said we looked ADORABLE!  Also, one of the newly picked Dr Who of which she decribed him as the CRYPT KEEPER.  He is much older than the previous but I wouldn't call him a crypt keeper.  She also tells Maddie about wearing vacuums for her service job that are just like the ones on a video game called Luigi's Mansion.  She said she hummed the theme song the whole time and felt like looking for ghosts to suck up.  Funny girl!  The picture is of some of her don-gee and the native Korean Elders and Sisters.  


and breathe.
in. out. in. out.

Now that my hyperventilintations (look! i made a new word!) are out of the way, a few matters of business.

Firstly, THANK YOU GRANDMA AND GRANDPA GRAY. I got the hymn book you sent me yesterday and it is wonderful. The fact that it says, "Sister Sydney Arvanitas" on the front and has your signatures on the inside makes it all the better. You both are the best. I may have burst into tears I was so grateful. Also the box you sent it in smelled of your house. I inhaled deeply and wept some more. So, thank you. I love you both so much.

Secondly, I SAW ELDER FAUCETT AND ELDER LONG. It was so exciting! I actually saw Elder Faucett two Sundays ago, I just forgot to write about it. He looks great and seemed to be really, really happy. I saw Elder Long last Sunday just randomly in the cafeteria. We talked for a little bit and he says he loves it here. It was funny because he was like, "Well, it was so great to see you, Sydney, but I just REALLY wish I could see Nick." I feel your love, Hunter. I'll gladly take second best. :)

Thirdly, even though Elder Long didn't get to see Nicky, I DID!(Actually, so did Hunter.  He wrote it in his letter home. I'm sure Nick was happy about seeing both of them.)   We both sang in the devotional on Tuesday and I met up with him afterwards. I think he's liking things better here. He's made good friends with the Elder that randomly bleeds from his abdomen (bleh). We got to talk to each other for a little while and actually got separated from our companions because of it. Everything turned out all right in the end though. At least I hope it did. If you haven't heard from Nick yet...well, you know why.

But enough about everyone else, let's talk about ME.

We got new Korean-speaking missionaries this week! which means the older ones left (super sad, let's not talk about it) and which also means that WE'RE THE OLDEST NOW.
Our whole dong-ee is kind of freaking out about it. we should get our travel plans next week, so hopefully I'll have exciting things to tell you next Friday!
With the new missionaries here we now have 66 people in our zone. Not as big as we were before, but still fairly enormous compared to everyone else. also, I feel like people (namely, my mom) are a bit confused at my Korean MTC  terminology, so let me just take a second to explain.

The word dong-ee: EXPLAINED.
dong-ee - (n) in korea, the word "dong-ee" means the class with whom ones proceeds through school. 
if I were a thesaurus I would say "graduating class," "team," or "group of students with the same amount of educational exposure."
In the mtc, and regarding my life specifically, "dong-ee" is a word which means 
"the group of korean-speaking missionaries who arrived here nearly seven weeks ago--July 10, 2013."
In my dong-ee there are two districts, or classes in which we learn Korean and spend all our time.
Thank you for you time.
We shall now return to our regularly scheduled email.
[so not a district leader, momma. :)]

A little more about my district: we have six elders and four sisters. Three of the sisters (me, my companion, and sister K........) are going to the Daejeon mission. The elders and the other sister, Sister H......, are going to Busan. However, all the missionaries in the other district in our dong-ee, both Elders and Sisters, are going to Daejeon. It's happy because we'll get to go with them, but overwhelmingly sad because it means my companion and I will have to say goodbye to our Elders, not to be seen again for a VERY, long time. And we love our Elders like our own younger brothers, so that's going to be hard. really, REALLY hard.

In other news, Sister H....... (not the one who is in my district, but her twin who is in the other district. confusing, but true) came up with a rap this week to help us remember our missionary purpose in Korean. I swear, everyone here is unbelievably talented. I can't even handle it. I'll have to record and send it to you next time. It's fantastic.

Also, this week in my district we all got to pretend to be investigators and taught each other, instead of just our teachers. It was so helpful being an investigator and really trying to understand what questions and concerns I would have if the gospel were a new concept to me. It really helped me to realize what things I would care most about and what doctrine I would want explained. One of my favorite things about this gospel is that it is a gospel of INDIVIDUALS. We are all unique and we all have specific personalities and specific problems. The wonderful thing, though, is that God understands that. He loves all His children and it is only from Him that we have obtained our many different gifts.
Here at the MTC, they stress so often that we need to remember that Christ's name is on our name tag, that we are acting in His place as missionaries on the earth. I think sometimes, despite the beauty of this concept, that missionaries get a little panicked about this. We think we need to be flawless and uniform and that in order to meet the requirements set before us, we need to squash our personalities and become these model missionaries, all exactly the same. But the thing is, it doesn't have to be that way! Even though it's SO important for us to remember that Christ's name is on our name tag, we need to remember, silly though it may sound, our names are on our name tags too. We're allowed to be different and to express our personalities. We're called to specific missions because these people specifically need us. This is a gospel and a church and a world of individuals. individual members. individuals investigators. individual missionaries.

We ought to all rejoice in our differences, in our uniqueness, and never forget the one name that ties us all together. The one person we're constantly striving to become more like--Christ.

I love you all. I think and pray for you every day.
All my love,
Arvanitas Jameh <3

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