Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Catching up on the Last Few Weeks

This is Allie's Mom--sorry I haven't blogged the last few weeks; Allie didn't have much time so she sent me pictures of her journal, so I can't just cut and paste it but I have to retype it. So that's my excuse for taking so long to post.  But here are snippets from her journal the last few weeks, along with some pictures she has sent, of her ongoing, wonderful adventure in Korea. Thanks for checking in!

Here's a little from her flight to Korea when she flew out of Detroit to Korea (she got to call us from the airport), and then I'll keep adding things from her journal.  

I accidentally started crying in the airport because I was saying bye to my fam, and I was saying bye to America. That's when it really hit me that I was leaving America. I'm a patriot, don't you know? I really love the USA! I love the freedoms and culture, and I was terrified to be leaving the continent. One cool thing is that we flew over the NORTH POLE! Looking out the window was crazy, because the ocean was frozen. And the TV screen said it was -89 degrees F!

Nov 8: Last week we didn't get to email our families on p-day because we went to this gorgeous mountain place. As stunning as the changing leaves were, I don't think I can ever survive another week without emailing my family. I get so much strength and encouragement from them. But the mountain was an awesome experience! I kept wondering if my life was for real. Not only was I surrounded by gorgeous, vibrant trees, I was also surrounded by a bunch of Asian Buddhist temples, paper lanterns, monks, and I even drank holy dragon water that gives good luck if you drink it. It tasted a little strange, but I'm only in Korea once, you know!  I wish my family could look through my eyes occasionally and see what I'm seeing.


Lucky Dragon Water! Tasted funny...

This is a panorama of the temples we saw.

YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE IT!  Yes my friends, I ATE DOG! I can't even explain the nastiness!  At first I was stoked to try it. It was at a member's house, and it looked like roast beef. I was thinking heck...I've eaten fish ovaries, fish intestine, bring on the K-9!  Then the man handed everyone a spoonful of dog. I was like hmm, yep, it looks like roast beef. Then, it's my turn to get a spoonful. WHAT THE HECK! MINE ISN'T MEAT! IT'S STRAIGHT UP FAT!! Okay, I can't eat fat. It kills me. Imagine a spoon with a string of meat and a giant blob of fat hanging an inch off either side of the spoon. I couldn't do it! So I tried to give it to Sister S because she's a champ. I still wanted to try dog, but not DOG FAT. Anyway, the member saw me trying to give it to Sister S, and he forced me to eat it! So next thing I know, I have dog fat in my mouth, a huge bite. I was dying and praying! I was just going to try to swallow it whole, but I remembered Mom telling me how her cousin Elise always does that with hot dogs, then needs the Heimlich. So I was like, okay, I'll chew.  AND WHEN I CHEWED, THERE WERE 2 BONES! I was plucking dog bones out of my dog-fat filled mouth. AAH, the HORROR! So I sat there for like 3 minutes, not able to chew or swallow. Finally, I swallowed, and it came back up! so dang it all, I had to RESWALLOW.  So yeah, I ate some nasty dog and I thought I would die. But I lived, and I hope to never do that again.

Dog Soup with Sister S
Here are some fun Korean & Mission Facts that I should write before I forget.
1.  Smoking--Almost all Korean men smoke.
2.  Face masks--people wear them all the time, often just to keep their faces warm.
3.  Hospitals--same thing as a doctor's office in America! Koreans go to the hospital for everything, even colds. Every day I see people walking the streets in hospital clothes, sometimes with IVs!
4. Heated toilets--toilets in Korea are huge and have a billion buttons that I'm too chicken to push. But when you sit on a toilet, it usually beeps and the seat starts warming up! Also, it is uncommon to have toilet paper or soap in bathrooms, so I carry both 24/7.
5.  Laundry--nobody uses dryers in Korea, so we ALWAYS have to hang our clothes to dry.
6.  Shoes--NEVER wear shoes on the floor. Koreans sit on the floor to eat, so they like to keep it clean. I'm now used to eating on the floor!
7.  Korea has music blasting on the streets all of the time. They have some fun K-pop songs, so fun that sometimes I can't control my dancing!

Nov. 12:  Yesterday we had a meal with a member, and I ate squid soup, kimchi, and pork fat. Fun fact--ever since I ate the dog, something switched in my brain and I like kimchi! Yeah, weird, I know. I ate a lot of kimchi last night, and it made the member so happy!

I had a lot of squid this week!

More squid!

Also, Dad would die at some of the things here--the cleanliness of the food (lots from the street vendors) and also the way we eat it. Besides the soup and rice, everyone shares whatever is in the middle. I have really lost all my worries about sharing food. Also, mushrooms and onions don't even phase me! Mom would be so proud. As for the cleanliness...that still kills me. Like when I buy delicious street food and the man takes my money and then hands me my food with his exact same hand. But the deliciousness of fish bread (sweet pancakey stuff filled with red beans or vanilla pudding) is just too divine.

Panorama of me in the countryside
Sister W and I started out here with zero investigators, because we opened a new area. At first it was so hard and frustrating because every day we would just do street contacting and visit members. But look! Six weeks later, and we have 9 investigators! Heavenly Father is so kind and so good to us! He is pouring out his blessings on us. And even though I haven't really been able to be an instrument in God's hands through my Korean abilities, I've been looking back and I've realized that I've still been able to help push HIS work along. I haven't been completely useless!  Also, my Korean is slowly improving, and I'm very thankful for that. I'm starting to see that when we are doing our best to follow Heavenly Father, He uses us without us knowing! Here's an example:

One day we were trying to get in an apartment building, but we didn't have the code. I said that I was going to go try a side door. The other sisters all told me that it would probably be locked so it was not worth trying, but my stubbornness is occasionally a blessing from Heaven, because I decided to try it anyways. A lady saw me, and let me in, and now she is our #1 investigator! That's just an example.

So yeah, even though I have a long way to go in speaking Korean, I'm still making a small difference in Korea, and that is comforting to know. Whenever I look back in my life, I can always see how God has helped me. He's the best!

The Konglish here is so funny, I laugh every day! Here is a pic of me and the "Joyful Taekwando Van!"

Nov 15: Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to die and come home. BUT!!! I tried to look at the bright side, and look, I survived! Yesterday we were supposed to have 4 investigators at church. None came. Our recent convert who we have been teaching texted us and said she is rethinking the church and doesn't think she wants to be a member any more. My favorite gas station lady who I never told you about also dropped us because she was too busy. We survived, but literally, yesterday was my least favorite day in a long time. I was disappointed in myself, but I have just been trying to remind myself that the things we teach as missionaries apply to us, too! Christ knows my imperfections, and He still loves me. He always understands me. He knows how I feel. He forgets my mistakes and sees me for who I can become. He knows what it feels like more than anyone to be sad when somebody doesn't want the gospel to be in their lives anymore. HE KNOWS! And I am so thankful for that.

Sister S and I in the country