Sunday, June 8, 2014

Oh the Places We'll Go

Korean Fun Fact #8: Places to Go!
Momma, you would love these places. It's like every craft-related thing you could possibly imagine all crammed into one store. Stickers, stationery, hair accessories, photo albums, inexplicably adorable smart phone cases. I remember the first time I stepped foot inside a 문구 I was like, "Oh. I get it now. This is why I was called to Korea."
Korean to the rest of the world as a karaoke room. Fun fact: Koreans love to sing! (This is made especially apparent at baptisms during that awkward period between the baptism and the closing remarks while the recent convert is drying her hair. While other people may plan a special musical number or video presentation, Koreans like to get up at random and sing a solo or a duet of their favorite hymns. It's just karaoke, but more spiritual.
Anyway back to 노래방s. Missionaries aren't allowed to go into them, but I imagine them as sound-proof rooms filled with brightly colored couches, disco lights, and a karaoke machine. You just go with your friends and sing and dance to your heart's content. I realize that this is exactly what my friends and I used to do in high school (okay, and maybe college too), but we would just sing and dance down in the basement. But since Koreans don't have basements, I suppose this is the next best alternative.
Where I am right now! Technically missionaries aren't allowed to go here either, but President gave us special permission because there's literally nowhere else to email in this town. They're exactly what you'd think--rooms filled with computers (and enormous monitors) where students and creepy middle-aged men come to play hours upon hours of World of Warcraft. They smell like stale sweatshirts and broken dreams.
As for the week, still no investigators. We have been trying though and we're not gonna stop! In an effort to find new people to teach we...
  1. Did a street survey activity with our district. Basically just questions about people's views on family and religion. Ha. But only sweet 할머니s and 할아버지s would talk to us because they're kind and old and slightly confused.
  2. Held a game night activity for the youth in the ward in the hopes that they would invite their non-member friends. But they didn't. ㅠㅠ
  3. Spent many a lunch and dinner hour reading through the area book in search of old investigators we could start teaching again.
The Area Book - (n) A huge binder filled with the names and records of people the missionaries in an area are teaching or have taught in the past.
In every record there are three major parts: how they met the missionaries, how they progressed during the lessons, and, if they stopped meeting with the missionaries, why.
Also keep in mind that these are handwritten records, most of them kept by 19 year old boys.
Can you here the exasperated tone in my typing?
Just to give you an idea of what reading through the area book is like, I've recorded a few of the gems I've come across this week.
How Did the Investigator Meet the Missionaries?
Most of it's here, yo. We 가가호호'd. he was gonna close the door. I said English. he said come in.
How Did the Investigator Accept the Message of the Gospel?
They asked good questions about ghosts.
Why Did the Investigator Stop Meeting with the Missionaries?
They wanted to drop the lessons. They said that they
I'm assuming this elder got a little distracted. Or maybe all the investigator said really was just, "                                                               ."
Anyway, reading the area book makes me feel a little like, "ASDFJKL;ALSDKFJOAIWEF" But then I read entries like this and I laugh:
He said the hard part about coming to church is his son. He said he'd feel bad if his son started to cry in the middle of sacrament meeting. I wish I could explain to him that no sacrament meeting is complete without a baby crying in the middle of it.
Area book nonsense aside, I know everything will work out soon. I promise, parents, I have learned a great deal about faith and patience on this mission of mine. And I think I'm also starting to trust more in the promises of the Lord. I found this scripture in my personal study this week:
D&C 75:2-5
"Hearken, O ye who have given your names to go forth to proclaim my gospel, and to prune my vineyard. Behold, I say unto you that it is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idle but labor with your might--lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, proclaiming the truth according to the revelations and commandments which I have given you. And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life."
I feel as though I have given my name in order to be a missionary. For these 18 months, I'm no longer Sydney or Syd or even Sister Arvanitas, but 아바 자매. But I also know that in exchange for my name, I have gained one much better--the name of Jesus Christ that I wear on my name tag every day--and surely that's a name worth wearing. I know that as long as I am diligent, as long as I am obedient, and as long as I am faithful, the Lord will keep His promises and all difficult things will work out in the end.
I love you dearly.
아바 자매

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