Tuesday, 31 May 2011

More May 2011

Well, nothing like starting a new blog with a picture of a Golden Idol..... The #1 religion in Korea is Buddhism and May is when they celebrate his birthday. Quite an event; parades, days of work off, evening celebrations as well as day events. They hang what I call Chinese/Japanese Lanterns all around any and all of the Buddhist's Temples in the area. It's very colorful and festive. This particular one is in front of one of the Buddhist Temples in Daegu.

Elder Wade is standing next to a float carrying a dragon that will be a part of one of the parades. They will cover the vehicle when they are ready to move.

On the right are some of the lanterns I mentioned. Very pretty at night all lit up! This is a pretty long dragon....

One of the ladies helping set everything up asked Elder Wade to have a seat at the wheel.....

Just before the float of the dragon was this float holding these beautiful bejeweled white elephants.

Along the sidewalks where people were starting to choose their places to catch the parade, the local growers were getting their vegetables lined up to sell. Beautiful home-grown vegetables!

I had pictures before from an 28th story apartment building. This one is better.... we are on the 55th floor! One of the Korean members of the Daegu International Womens Association held a luncheon/meeting in her beautiful new apartment. This is looking down the road from her place to the mountains.

Now this one was even hard for me to take.... 55 stories straight down! That's a long way down there.

Interesting shot..... the adjacent building to her apartment.... and we're looking at the TOP of the building at the helicopter landing pad! This was as high as I'd personally care to be. All I could think of was the movie entitled 'The Towering Inferno'.... anyone remember that one?!

Now this Elder Howerton thought was pretty neat! As this was a womens function he was not able to be there so I shot the picture thinking he'd enjoy.... he did.  When you don't know what else to do with a patio or balcony you may get an idea from these folks!

Inside her beautiful apartment. They moved in just about 2 months ago and were some of the first ones in the building. One of their bedrooms they've turned into a 'music room' for their 2 children. They had the walls of the room sound proofed. It was a lovely room with a Baby Grand piano. Her son plays the piano, her daughter plays the violin. Now these children go to an 'Arts' school of some sort. Remember, in Korea they can attend school up to about 10-12 hours a day. Then they come home and practice..... Her son is about 10 and her daughter is in high school. They play anywhere from 3-4 hours per day while at school, plus all the school studies, then home for more...

3 lovely ladies in the association. They all do a lot of community service and projects.

A good picture of an extremely upper-crust kitchen in this beautiful apartment. Notice the stove/oven. That's very unusual for most Korean apartments! This was truly a first class place. I can only imagine the cost. Most of these newer and more modern apartments are not rented as we think of it. They 'purchase' by giving a LARGE sum of money (can be upwards of $200K or more) to the owner/landlord. If that amount doesn't pay it in full I don't know how they work that out - but for the most part the large sum covers the price. Then while the people are living there the owner/landlord invests the money. In good times especially this can be quite advantageous for the owner/landlord. Now let's say the people decide to move in several years. They receive their money back from the owner/landlord, in full, and move on. The owner/landlord keeps whatever he's made off of their money in that time and turns around and does the same thing again.....

She had some wonderful food for us. The chunks in front are sweet yams. Wings on the right and dumplings on the left. In the center is the infamous Kimchi. It takes some getting used to; pretty spicy. Chicken salad sandwiches on the upper right. A transparent noodle dish and to the further left is Kimbap. It's seaweed with rice, veggies, etc, on the inside, rolled and sliced. Koreans love it. Watermelon on the far left, much more recognizable.....

The pretty lady standing is the owner of the apartment, and our hostess. The lady sitting is Kim, Myung-Sun. She is an artist and is holding an invitation to her Grand Opening of her work at a local art gallery in Daegu. She truly paints beautiful pictures, mostly flowers and arrangements.

As I felt fairly confident I would not be able to purchase one of her canvas paintings, I asked if she'd mind signing my invitation. She was actually pleased.... she told me it made her feel like a celebrity! The invitation itself is pretty enough to frame.

It was getting close to Brittney Burnett and baby Amber leaving for the states. Sister Burnett had a large group of missionaries over for dinner along with our fairly-new convert, Bro. Eems for a farewell dinner for them. Brother Eems brought Brittney a T-shirt from one of the universities in Daegu and some beautiful flowers for CJ.

Here's Amber with Uncle Jared. We miss you both Brittney!!

The Burnett's are a great military family that supports the missionaries so well. We love them and are so thankful for all they have done.

What a wonderful way to end another blog; a baptism!! Our newest Sister; ShaKeia Dunn. Brother RJ Gordon baptized her. She has been in a previous blog along with RJ. He is a Sergeant 1st Class and ShaKeia was introduced to the church by him and his wife, Serina.  ShaKeia worked for him and started asking questions about the church.

Here are the two along with Serina Gordon. The Gordon's are such a wonderful couple and family. Bro. Gordon is now our new 2nd Counselor in our branch. They take missionary work very seriously. We are honored to call them friends as well as brothers and sisters in the gospel.

ShaKeia with Sister Chon on the left. Next to her is Sister Oaks and on the far right is Sister Cramer. All 3 of these wonderful sisters spent a lot of time and teaching with ShaKeia and they, as well as all of us, fell in love with her. It's such a blessing to have been a part of all of this!

Our turn for pictures with Bro. Gordon and Sister Dunn. It's interesting..... as ShaKeia was asking all of her questions, Bro. Gordon mentioned he was attending a class (Institute on the D&C) that Elder Howerton and I are holding. ShaKeia asked if she could come? Well, sure.... but, he informed her, it's not a typical Bible class - or even studying the Book of Mormon class.... it was more 'in-depth'.... she said fine! She so came. I never saw anyone take more notes, or seemed to absorb everything that was said, than ShaKeia has! What a student she is! We know that's not the 'normal' way we would teach a new investigator but she loved it and we didn't want to say no. It turned out to be a beautiful thing. The Lord knows when someone is ready and what they can handle. He knows ShaKeia well - and now we're pleased to say we do also.

There is more yet for the month of May! We have pictures and topics about a trip Elder Howerton and I took to Seoul and further north.... where we were able to partake of the infamous DMZ tour. A ballgame in Korea, and more to share! Stay tuned, I'll add shortly.

Again, thanks for taking the time to read and follow our time in Korea. We love our mission and can't imagine what our life would be like if we weren't here.... oh, we'd have our grandkids and that would be wonderful. We do miss them, but being on a full-time mission for the Lord is still the best thing one (or a couple) could do. We thank Heavenly Father every day and night for this opportunity. The families we've met, the missionaries, the Koreans, and our experiences, we simply cherish it all. We need to contact Salt Lake and see what else is available...... thanks again, we love each and every one of you!!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Yes, we have been busy. So much so that I thought it best to download some of the pictures of the activities so you can enjoy seeing what's going on in Daegu, South Korea!

We've made a change. From our Transfer Sunday evening meals to 'Breakfast Monday'. It was, and will be, held on the first full Monday of new transfer week. This allows for all in our zone to meet the new 'greenies' and for them to feel a part of this zone and to learn of each other faster. We had 21 missionaries in our apartment - 23 with Elder Howerton and myself.....

Here's a group sitting around eating and talking things over. We offered Sausage gravy over hot biscuits... or toast....at least while we waited for more biscuits to bake! Sliced ham, fried potatoes, pancakes made by Chef Harman and 7 large cans of orange juice! Sister Cramer on the right in the plaid shirt (and cute new hair cut) is my kind of gal - she loves the potatoes; me too Sister Cramer!!

Elder Chandler is on the left patiently awaiting another pancake from Chef-for-the-day; Elder Harman. Elder Innis on the right is supervising, I believe, and discussing music with Elder Harman. One, a beautiful singer and the other a fantasitc piano player! Next to the cook is Elder Arnell, a new missionary in our zone. I'm back making another large pan of sausage gravy (4 in all).

Our zone leader, Elder Jung is in this picture getting ready to try some American syrup on these things called pancakes. He's BIG time into American Root Beer!

Here is the chef of the day in action. Elder Harman asked me if he could make the pancakes. I told him he owned it! He did a great job and boy! did we go through the pancakes. The sausage and gravy was another big hit also.

Here is one of his 'speciality' pancakes he made for one of the elders. Disneyland has nothing on him!

Elder Bagley seems happy to be eating but I think Sister Chon thought it was time to move on to  - games!

Looks like Elder Innis is Chariman of the Board.... at least at the water cooler..... Taking a break from the food before the games begin. What great new missionaries these 3 are! We are so impressed with the quality of young men (and women) that seem to be coming out these days. Must be the great parents at home!!

Now here's a group that has learned to multi-task! Let's not let the games interrupt the food!

In front of us is Elder Jung, our zone leader. Next to him is Elder Kim and Elder Yoo. Red shirt is Elder Harris, Hawaii shirt is Elder Wade, and I'm not sure of the other two from the back.... it looks like Korea Vs the U.S. though....

Elder Howerton looking out from our bedroom to the balcony to see what's going on. As it's P-Day and most dressed-down for the breadfast, at least those who live closer and can go home and change later, he wore his BYU shirt. Someone asked him if he went there.... he replyed, 'No, just my money...'

Looks as though Elder Thompson is giving some instructions/advice/or opinion to the others....

I love Elder Kim's smile. He smiles all the time and it is so genuine. While the elder on the far right is not visable, look at his organizational abilities!

Hand and Foot anyone? I think Sister Stevens on the far left knew the game besides me. Sister Cramer and Sister Crowther really got into it! It's a fun way to spend time together.

Shhhhh...... Sister Crowther is really concentrating on her next move!

Sheeps, Wheat, I don't know what all was traded in this board game but they sure had fun playing it1

Prior to our breakfast, out of the blue one day here are Elder Harman and Elder Wade at our door! We moved in last year during the hottest and most humid time of the year; August. While this area outside our master bedroom had dirt in it and was ready to go, neither of us felt like doing a thing. I mentioned literally a couple of days prior to this about planting some tomatoes.... and here are 2 of our missionaries with plants in hand, ready to plant for us!

Elder Harman assured us he has a huge garden back in Idaho and he took the lead on this. His companion, Elder Wade, jumped right in and helped. The two of them refused to let us do a thing and before you know it, we have a new garden!

They came still in their good clothes! They'd been out all day and it was late afternoon. They had a dinner appointment later with one of their Korean members so they were very careful to remain clean. They just wanted to do this for us. Special, special missionaries who take the word service seriously.

I do believe Elder Harman knew what he was doing! Elder Wade did a great job as well but his love of  the earth is slightly different. He loves to place a small ball on top of a tee that is sitting nicely on green grass someone else plants and cares for while he hits that ball as far as it will go.... he was a 'scratch' golfer prior to his mission!

VOILA! Their finished product. Now if I can just keep them alive!!! You're literally standing on top of them, looking down. You can see the tiny tomatoes on the vines already! To the left is some color.... they planted a lavender plant for me also. Perfect combination; lavender in color (my favorite) and it will  have aromatic leaves... what more could anyone ask? 

So on this breakfast Monday here are some of our elders found sitting close to Mother Nature as they visited with one another.....

While some of the sisters just relaxed for a while and chatted. On the floor is Sister Oaks, who's new to our area and is with our Suseoung Sisters; Cramer and Chon. We have a 3-some now and believe me, they are 3 great sisters! We are so blessed to have them in our area.

While others stayed indoors to play a board game.... and stay closer to the food, I think.....

It's good to see the elders sharing time, stories and company with one another.

2 very sweet and spiritual sisters; Sister Cramer and Sister Crowther enjoying a moment together.

Going into Elder Howerton's office to 'Jam' is good too! Elder Chandler on guitar, Elder Innis on the closest thing to a piano we have.... and Elder Harman waiting to get in on the action.

Elder Wade is trying his hand at the guitar while Elder Wilcox (standing by closet) is listening.... and seriously, too.... is he by chance a musical adjudicator???

Elder Harman lends his voice to the group. So much talent in one small room!!!!!!!

Just a sampling of the cameras here this day from the missionaries as they all capture the day for their own memories. We pray they had good ones, we know we did!

Now here's the end result when you put the camera in the hands of a missionary! Interesting picture however.... look at the eye closely.... you can see the reflection of our apartment window he was looking out ..... kinda neat.

So here it is... I'm ending this for now. I do have more things to add other than our missionary day but this filled up enough room. I will make another post of things going on with the military and the Korean community shortly.

Parents and family of our missionaries: enjoy! Your sons and daughters are doing well and they are happy and healthy. They are so dedicated to their work and to serve the Lord. Elder Howerton and I are so proud of each and every one of them. I've said it before and I'll say it again; the church is in good hands and the future is so promising. Parenting is not an easy task. It is however, one of the most important things any one of us will ever do. You've done well. I am especially impressed with the number of Eagle Scouts we have within the elders. That sets them apart now and it will in their futures. We know that most boys who earn their Eagle Scout do so because of a loving and caring mother behind them. Bless each of you for that.

I know that Heavenly Father lives and knows each one of us. I'm grateful for His Son, Jesus Christ, and for the attonment in my life. We are so blessed to be serving this mission. To be serving the military and their families and help wherever and whenever we can is a joy for us. Korea is an interesting country and we're grateful for our calling here. As I always say, time is going quickly, but we are taking it day by day. We miss our family, of course, but we seem to have adopted family here too!!

I will post again soon as there is more to show you!! Thanks for following and may God bless.