Fun Korean Fact #2: Feet.
Most everyone knows that, in Asia, one must always take off one's shoes before entering someone's home. Actually, that should just be a rule for everyone. Shoes are gross. But, fun fact, the practice of removing your shoes extends far beyond people homes. To name just a few I've similarly gone shoe-less in various restaurants, dressing rooms, hospitals, 하권s, shops, and even a few church buildings. Hooray for no shoes! However, in the reverse, every time one enters a bathroom in Korea, one must wear bathroom shoes. I could probably write a whole other paragraph about Korean bathrooms, but basically since there's never a shower curtain (and in some cases not even a shower, just a sort of hose attached to the sink) the bathroom floor is almost always wet. And since no one likes wet socks...voila! Bathroom shoes!
Now. Contrary to popular belief, (Nick) I do actually teach people in my mission. Right now we have twelve investigators all varying in age and interest in the gospel. The thing about teaching investigators is that after you've been teaching them for a while, they kind of become your children. Not that I've ever had children, but if I had I imagine it would feel similar. Some investigators are the kind of children that hang on your every word and willingly do whatever you ask them. [Side-note: I haven't come across too many of these. ㅠㅠ] Others are like the sassy teenagers that find you awkward and embarrassing and avoid you whenever they can. And still others are the grown children who patiently listen, but don't actually believe a word of what you're telling them. Yet they still put up with you because they know you really do love them.
As of now our investigators include the following:
[Note, these descriptions will be rather vague. I promise I know and love my investigators more than this.]
One little girl with big eyes and a cute name. She talks incredibly fast.
Two little boys who don't really listen, but are slowly learning how to pray.
One sassy ten year-old who acts more like snarky twenty-five year-old. I love her dearly.
One Chinese-Korean immigrant with tattooed-on eyebrows.
Two teenage girls who we've met only a couple times. I'm still not sure we can call them investigators, but they call us 언니 and make us feel loved.
One Korean-American who lives waaaaay out in the country. I still haven't figured out how we can arrange to come to her house without sounding creepy.
One Filipino who still won't stop singing.
And then there are my favorites (to preserve privacy and not give non-Korean readers a headache, I'll just give them nicknames: Modern-Day Mulan, the Pretty One, and Sunny.
Modern-Day Mulan is still going strong. She's learning English, she's reading the Book of Mormon. She is humble, she is kind, and she is good. She knows God has happiness in store for her. I hope we can help lead her there.
I may have talked about "the Pretty One" before, but I can't quite remember. She's the investigator that showed up to church without us that day I was deathly ill (see: "Day of Puking"). For some reason, the members always have trouble remembering her name, so whenever they ask us about her they just say, "How are your investigators? What about...wait, what's her name? The pretty one..." Thus the nickname. She was a referral from the Busan Mission, but she attends college here in Gongju.we organized a young adult family home evening for the sole purpose of introducing her to some new friends in the ward. The funny thing is, it kind of reminded me when my roommates and I would invite boys over to our apartment to eat and play games. Except this time, I was a missionary and everything was in Korean. Anyway, my awkward college flashbacks aside, it went really well. Our pretty investigator had a really great time and by the end of the night all the young single adults in our ward had her phone number!
Finally, Sunny. I've talked about her lots and lots before. She's the nine/ten year-old girl that my companion and I have been teaching since we came to Gongju. She's been coming out to church pretty regularly for a couple of months now and has had a baptismal date for even longer. It's pretty much a Timon/Pumba/Simba situation that we have going on. I still haven't figured out whether I'm Timon or Pumba in the relationship.(If you don't know this reference, you must go watch The Lion King)
The tricky thing was that in order for Sunny to be baptized, we needed permission from her parents. But, as life goes, once my companion and I finally worked up the courage to go talk to her parents, her mom had a baby (honestly, we should have seen that one coming) and we had to wait a few more weeks. But this week, we finally asked! And her mom said yes! Just one problem--Sunny doesn't want to be baptized till. Not because of any problems with worthiness or fear, but because it's her birthday and she wants the day to be more special. Of course we said yes. We weren't going to take away her joy of being baptized on her birthday, but so.far.away. Ah...
And I am very much out of time.
I love you!