Tuesday, 3 May 2011

1st of May...

Greetings and salutations! It's the beginning of another new month! I have some pictures and events for you again - from April..... It's been a busy and a full month.

Elder Howerton and 2 of the singles that come to our apartment on Monday evenings for Family Home Evening. On the left is Allison Williams from South Africa. On the right is Cara McCain from the states. Cara served a mission a few years back in Maryland. Allison joined the church here in Korea last June. Elder Howerton and I are also meeting with Allison once a week now for her Temple Preparation Classes! She is planning on entering the Seoul Temple to receive her endowments the first of July. What a special sister she is! We are so blessed to know her and to be a part of this journey with her.

This was taken the day before Aaron King flew back to the states after visiting Brittney and their baby, Amber. We all met at Taco Bell for a Hail and Farewell! Brittney and Amber will leave us in May to fly back to the states and they will most likely be living in Ogden. We miss Aaron and will most definitely miss Brittney and Amber!!

Here's the missionary group that wanted to send them off with love. Sister Cramer and Sister Chon on the left, me Brittney, Aaron and Amber, then Elder Howerton. Elder Harris and Elder Jo on the right. We all are so close to them and wish them the best life has to offer!

Another special day for us with another military family on post. The Whittacre's; Mom Ann, daughters Alissa, Ashley, Amanda and son Evan. The sisters were invited as well. We had a wonderful lunch and a great visit. Maj. Whittacre was not able to attend as he works in Busan, about 2 hours away...each day... and home each night! Thank heavens for the wonderful train system in Korea.....

You've seen pictures of Sister Lee on the left, and Sister Crowther in the middle. Two great sister missionaries that are in our zone. The 3rd sister on the right is also named Lee (a popular last name in Korea). She was staying with them awaiting all visas, etc, for her trip to the states! She is now in the MTC in Provo, UT and will be going on an English speaking mission to the Georgia, Atlanta Mission. She was such a sweet sister and was so excited to be able to serve in the United States.

Are these great guys, or what?!! We had a Mission Tour by President and Sister Jennings during April. It was a truly wonderful day with some great sessions of learning. Elder Wade is holding up a package of brownies he received from Sister Jennings as he has a birthday coming up. Sister Jennings makes brownies for ALL the missionaries on their birthday month!

Two of our favorite elders back together again... if only for the day; Elders Harris and Olsen. On the right you can see some of the inside of our chapel. The large white thing is a big air conditioner. I think I've mentioned before that they do not have central air or heat in Korea. They use these independent units, several in a room if the room is large. It also provides heat in the winter.

Elder and Sister Gibson who are serving a Senior Mission as an Area Mental Health Advisor. They traveled from Japan to visit us for this conference. He presented a wonderful program on the Inner Voice of Distraction and overcoming feelings of discouragement.

Elder and Sister Goth. They live in Japan as well and are Area Medical Advisors. Again, an excellent program focused on well-being, staying healthy, and eating right. One of her lines she said during their talk tickled us... she said something to the effect that they came all the way from the states to teach young missionaries how to wash their hands!! To the right looking toward the camera is Sister and Brother Bagley. They are the office couple to the Jennings in Busan. We're sad as we'll be losing them in June. Their 18 months will be up and they'll be heading back home to Wyoming.

Now here is a great couple!!! Sister and President Jennings, Mission President of the Korea, Busan Mission. They have loved their work and it shows! We have been so blessed to know them personally and to work with them. President Jennings speaks flawless Korean and has been a wonderful mission president. They are due to return to the states (Utah) in the summer. They will be GREATLY missed!

Now this was an evening I really need to share.... These are our neighbors. They live in the other building from us on the same complex. Elder Howerton was actually taking out the trash one day and this woman was also. They said hello, etc., she asked about where he was from and why were we here... Yes, she could speak English. Not perfect, but very understandable. Long story short, I met her also and she invited us to have dinner with her and her husband. Her husband is a doctor at one of the larger University Hospitals here in Daegu.

We set the date and went at the appointed time. They were absolutely the most gracious of hosts! This picture is on the floor after dinner for a wonderful selection of fruit for dessert. She served the fruit on the most beautiful plates, as she did her dinner also. She tried so hard to have more 'American' acceptable food, there was NO Kimchi on the table at all! She had marinated and broiled thin slices of rib meat, baked potato with cheese on the top. A wonderful tossed salad (and they don't typically eat tossed salads in Korea) with a dressing she made (I need the recipe for that!) and fried rice. Prior to dinner she placed a beautiful bowl in front of us with pumpkin soup. It was truly delicious! Dr. Shin, and his wife, Diana (this is an American name she seems to have chosen), informed us it was 'very healthy'. Literally everything they served was very healthy. Smaller portions with wonderful flavors. All the fruit for dessert we could eat. They are serious about eating healthy.

As they learned we drink neither wine, which was offered prior to dinner... coffee, nor tea, they were somewhat surprised but extremely gracious about it. Dr. Shin said over and over; 'no problem!'.... However, after dinner and into the living room for dessert they discussed the subject of tea. As we explained the best we could without their full command of English and zero command of Korean on our part... about our beliefs, they asked if we could drink herbal tea? Yes, we said. We can have herbal tea. Dr. Shin had his wife bring to our table a cylinder-shaped container that looked like it had green velvet covering it. He explained to us that the symbols on the velvet-like material on the outside mean that it's grown way up high, higher than the sun... it is hand-picked and packed into this container. He assured us that it was only herbal, very select products, and extremely healthy.  So we said that we would certainly try that. It was seeped in hot water then poured into another small pitcher that had cool water in it.

Immediately she poured it into these very tiny bowls, different from what we think of normally to use for tea, as in cups. You can go back up to the picture and see them. The flavor wasn't particularly good nor was it unpleasant. Not at all. It was just slightly bland. The good doctor insisted that it was the best thing we could drink for our entire system. Are you ready for this.... he also informed us it costs 120,000 won. That's just under $120.00! For that cylinder about 8" tall.... amazing. It ought to be gold! We found it very humbling that they would offer to serve something so fine with us. What an memorable evening it was for us.

Of course we told them we'd love to have them at our apartment for a meal. They gladly accepted. That hasn't happened yet.... I'm still trying to decide what to cook for them that's American - and healthy! They have one daughter who is in the states going to college. They are an absolutely wonderful Korean family and we felt so honored to be in their home.

Relief Society birthday is in March every year. Only this year in Korea it came in April. A great shot of several of our sisters that met at one of the Korean restaurants downtown Daegu for the celebration. It's so difficult to have a typical dinner in a ward as we would back at home.... In the Korean kitchens in the church buildings over here there are no stoves. Usually only two burners, set on top of a counter, and a sink. Oh yes, they usually do have a refrigerator. Not accommodating for U.S. sisters to cook, I'm afraid.

This is Elder Harman waiting to begin his song. He has the most beautiful Operatic voice - at 19! It's hard to believe some of the talent these young missionaries have, him especially. This evening was for their area in Daegu, to invite people out - for members to bring their family and friends - and to 'show off' the church and the gospel. They pass out invites to members, people on the streets, etc. It's amazing how many come to see and hear. They spoke (in Korean...), showed a church movie, had singing of hymns by Elder Harman and the other missionaries in their area. They then have food for all there. This is the 2nd one our zone has put on since we've been here. Very interesting and it's so good to see the turn-out and the investigators they get from these evenings. It takes a good amount of work to put it on but it's worth it!

These were the other elder and sister missionaries who sang also. Very touching.

Elder Chandler on the left came into our area a transfer back. He is a 'greenie' but he is doing outstanding! With him is his new companion, Elder Thompson, who just transferred into our area. They are standing in one of their favorite places!....like home....kinda......

The next 3 pictures were taken from an apartment on the 28th floor. It overlooks the East - Southeast area of Daegu. Quite a site from that height! This city is HUGE!!!!  Just look at all the TALL apartments! There is no 'ground' space here. I can only imagine what land must cost. Remember, this is just one small section (direction-wise) of the entire city.

I have an aunt back in Indiana that still has a mind set of Korea with huts..... this is NOT the case. While there are certainly some older and smaller buildings that people still live in, most are highrises. It's a very cosmopolitian city and Seoul is twice as large!

We felt very honored to not only attend a Change of Responsibility ceremony but Elder Howerton was asked by 1st Sergeant Robert J. (RJ) Gordon, on the left in front, to give the opening benediction. 1st Sgt. Gordon and his family are members in our branch. He was offered a new unit to take over which will double the number of military personnel he is responsibile for.

1st Sgt saying his farewell to the people he's worked with for some time. As in any change, it's a bittersweet moment. He is one of our Army's finest in our opinion and he sets an excellent example for his unit to follow.

Here with his wife, Serina. 1st Sgt. Gordon is our Executive Secretary and Serina is one of the counselors in Young Women. They have 5 children.

Of course we had to get into the picture-taking act too! We love this family and are honored to call them brother and sister in the gospel as well as good friends!

Spec. 4 Sha Keia Dunn. She worked with 1st Sgt Gordon and thinks so much of him she put in a transfer to move to his new area and continue working with him. That is quite a compliment to him. He has instilled great values in his people.... in fact she is now investigating the church! We are so impressed with her and her desire to learn all she can. The Lord does prepare his people... Sha Keia is actually attending our Institute class as well as taking the lessons from us and the sister missionaries. We pray for her and hope we'll have a baptism soon...

I have some more pictures to add but will do it on another post. We just had a big day yesterday in our apartment.... 21 missionaries plus us for a total of 23 people for an American style breakfast. It was our traditional transfer time but this time we did something different. Lots of pictures for the Moms to see! I'll have it on soon, I hope, and explain the whole event to you.

Thanks for following us on this blessed journey. It is the single best thing we've done.... I know, I've said that before. It's also something I'd highly recommend.....

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