Monday, September 23, 2013

What they teach you in the MTC is not how they speak!

We got to chat back and forth with Sydney while she was sending her letter.  We were having a hard time finding the city she is in but, she told us the old name is Chungju and we finally found it on a map.  There are many rivers and a big mountain next to it.  I think she could use prayers in helping her with the language.  

After spending my first two weeks in Korea, I have some thoughts to report...

Firstly, this. Language. And all languages for that matter. Why did the tower of babel have to be a thing? Why can't we all just speak a single, standardized language and be friends and hold hands and sing? Is that not a beautiful dream? Let me just say that, at least regarding Korean, the MTC is a lie.(I believe Nick said the same thing about Spanish.  ha ha) There are so many different language and grammar forms spoken here and the ones they taught us in the MTC are not really among them. For instance, yesterday, one punk little kid asked who we were, but asked us in king form. Um, what? In retrospect, it was actually pretty cute, but I was still disappointed that I had not learned these things. Seriously, the first thing my companion said to me once I got here was, "the way of talking you learned in the MTC is not real. So...sorry about that." ugh.

Secondly, the only sentences I can successfully say are the ones that no one wants to listen to: "I am a missionary. This is the Book of Mormon. I know this book is true and you can too if you only read it." Yeah, no. As soon as I say that, crowds flee before me. 

But it's not all sad things. Korean thanksgiving was great! We went to the Stake Relief Society president's house (Rellief Society is the womens organization in our church.  A congregation is a ward and a stake is about 9-11 wards. So she would preside and watch over that many Relief Societies.  There would be a ward RS president too.) and seriously, every food I've eaten in Korean has been delicious. I just want to eat it all the time and I can already tell that I'm going to sincerely miss eating this food once I've left. The best is, after church every Sunday, our ward always eats lunch together. The ward members make all the food before church and then we feast once sacrament meeting is over. So many yummy things to eat here. I wish I could bring them all back for all of you.  ( She apparently hasn't learned that she could learn to cook them)

(side note: In the cafe I'm currently sitting in, there's a Korean guy giving someone an English lesson. It's pretty hilarious.)

Honestly, there's not too much to report on this week. We still don't have any investigators or any cool experiences. We've mostly been traveling back and forth between our city and the other city that's in our zone. Lots of meetings. Lots of planning. Not too much actual work. Bane of my existence. We're still waiting for our phone to arrive, but it should be here later today, so fingers crossed. There have been a few times this week that we though someone was going to be interested in our message, but as the conversation progressed or if we asked them to come to church with us or anything, they just completely shut us down. It's rather discouraging and I realize that this is a bit of a downer email, but I never want to sugarcoat anything about missionary work or pretend like it's easier than it actually is. The fact of the matter is that this is hard and people often don't listen and there are many disappointments. 

But! there is hope. There's always hope. We only have to look and it can be found.
2 Corinthians 6:

But in all things approving ourselves as the aministers of God, in much bpatience, in cafflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
 In stripes, in imprisonments, in atumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
 By apureness, by knowledge, by blongsuffering, by ckindness, by the Holy Ghost, by dlove unfeigned,
 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the aarmour ofbrighteousness
 10 As asorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as bpoor, yet making manycrich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Yes, this is hard and it's often a heart-breaking, stressful, and slow-going process, but we know our message is true. That's one of the few sentences I can say in this language and I intend to hold to it as tightly as I possibly can because no amount of rejection or opposition can convince me otherwise. This is the truth and it is a beautiful truth and these people are going to have to deal with me proclaiming that to them in my broken Korean for the next sixteen months, so that had better get used to it.
I intend to have exciting things to report to you all next week, but until then,
Keep the faith. Smile often. Never give up.
The church is true and the book is blue.
love you all.
Sister Arvanitas 
Sydney's apartment is the second one in on the left
The view from her apartment

She found these old pictures in a cupboard at the church.  There were pictures of missionaries from the 1960's and 70's.  They found this picture of Jesus with James Dean on the back.  It reminded her of the movie "The Best Two Years", in which the Elders had pictures of girlfriends with the first presidency on the back.  

Random exercise equipment in the park

Sydney was proud of this picture!

Large spider on the left, KOREAN spider on the right.  Yikes!

Sydney snapped this while she was writing to us.  She got a new name tag, all in Korean now.  However, this picture is flipped, so its backwards.  

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