Monday, July 21, 2014

And the Prisoner Shall Go Free

I just need you all to know that it is hotter than Hades here in this PC 방. How can people spend so much time in here?! I'm suffocatinggggggg. I blame the sheer massiveness of the monitors. Just so you too can know how big they are, here's a picture:

Okay, so it doesn't look as big as I wanted it to, but I swear it's three times as big as my head.
This week is a list week!
1. Last Monday, while waiting for pictures to print at the picture-printing store (yes, they have those) I saw Germany win the World Cup! Go Germany! I'm not going to lie, I really like the World Cup and it was quite exciting to watch them win. They were just so happy! And their hair was so European! It was a nice taste of the rest of the world as I, a girl in Korea, witnessed the joy of Germans winning a trophy in Brazil. It definitely brightened my day.
2. My companion and I discovered EFY music this week. Seriously where has EFY music been my whole mission? We've listened to it non-stop since last Monday and have already memorized the words to all the songs. I forgot what it felt like to sing along to intelligible lyrics! I mean, I love you MoTab but, I can never understand what you're saying.
3. On Tuesday, we had zone conference. It was quite the event as it was in 정읍 (Jeongeupfor the first time ever, President and the APs changed weekly planning (I know, right. They just changed PMG. Is that even allowed?), and one of our youth received a VIP Member Recognition Award for referring so many of her friends to the missionaries (Another thing we just made up. We do as we please over here in Korea). There was one particularly memorable moment at zone conference when Sister Shin, our mission president's wife, was talking about health and wellness. She went around the circle of seated missionaries and, pointing to almost all of the elders, said to them one by one, "No muscles. No muscles, no muscles, no muscles." Bahahaha. I love Sister Shin.
4. Our youth are preparing a fun dance for Youth Conference this month. Boys and girls alike, Koreans love to dance! They've been practicing so hard for weeks and they've nearly perfected it.  I wish I could send you the video, but you'll have to wait. The song is called "Carmelita" and is really popular right now, so go look it up and learn the dance! And then imagine all our Young Men and Young Women dancing it together!
5. My companion and I found an old Korean Book of Mormon this week! Okay, so story about the Book of Mormon in Korean. Originally the translation in Korean was a lot easier to understand, as the words were a lot simpler and the grammar wasn't so ancient-sounding. But since that version wasn't as close to Joseph Smith's original translation, the Church recently re-translated it so it's more exact, but less easy to understand. A lot of the members here still have a really hard time reading the Book of Mormon sometimes, just because the newer translation in Korean is so difficult to understand. In fact, sometimes my companion has to read some verses in English just so she can understand it better. Anyway, I got the chance to look through some of the older version this week and I could read it! It was so exciting because I always get so discouraged when I try to read the scriptures in Korean because it literally feels like I don't know anything more than the alphabet. But I could understand and it really helped me realize just how far I've come.
6. Because all of our youth are trying to go to Youth Conference, but none of their parents are willing to pay for them because almost none of their parents are members we had a sort of garage sale at the church this Saturday in order to raise money for them to go. We gathered what we could and sold trinkets and headbands and clothes. The Young Men President even brought an English version of the sixth Harry Potter book which I may or may not have peeked at a couple of times...We also made a ton of food and sold some of that and then just ate the rest. A lot of the members came and it was so sweet to see their love and support for the youth of the church and their desire for every one of them to go to Youth Conference. They know, and I do too, what a blessing activities like this will be in the lives of these youth and how much their testimonies will grow because of it. I feel like I've taken for granted every time my parents have paid for me to go to EFY or a temple trip or even a mission so I just want to say right now again: "Thank you parents!!! It really has made all the difference in my life. I love you both."
7. Recently I've been studying a lot about the Spirit World, the Plan of Salvation, and the spirit of Elijiah. As we know, the promise in the last chapter of Malachi goes as follows: "Behold I will send you Elijiah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers" (Malachi 4:5-6). I know that this verse is talking about our families, our ancestors in the Spirit World who have accepted the gospel, waiting and praying for us to come to their aid and do their work in the temple, but as I have studied this promise this week, my mind has constantly gone to our Filipino member, Grace, and her waiting ancestors. I finally had the chance this week to tell Grace about all of this and we even worked together on her history, writing down some information about her parents and her grandparents and all her family in the Philippines. I feel as though the spirit of Elijiah has been working through me in behalf of Grace's ancestors. I know they're waiting for her to do their temple work and whenever I think of them it's like they're reminding me, "C'mon Sydney, you're the missionary. Grace can't do this by herself. We need you to help her help us." And then of course I answer them back with good old D&C 128:22, "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free." Which in other words means, "All right. I've got it. You can count on me."
Love, love, love,
Sister Arvanitas

Zone Conference has become a MTC reunion

Bishop, youth who got the award, and President and Sister Shin.

Everyone was looking tired so President Shin made zone and district leaders and the APs do push-ups. Welcome to zone conference.


Wares sold at their garage sale

 They made me put on this pink bandanna and apron, like I was a doll to dress up. But I liked it. ^^

One of our young men modeling the clothes for sale.

 She kept asking me to show her all the stuff off the tables and tell her how much it cost. Then I put this curler in her hair.   I love her because we speak the same amount of Korean. ^^

They used the slang we taught them in English class! We were so proud.

 Em and I aren't the only friends who think matching clothes is cool.

Food for sale at their garage sale.  

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