Monday, September 28, 2015

092815 Chuseok, Bath House and Learning Not to Judge Others

Hey everybody!

Life is pretty exciting here. There was a huge holiday this weekend called 추석 choo sok. It is kind of like thanksgiving but has to do with ancestors. I don't really know.

Anyway because like everybody leaves Seoul to go to visit family or ancestor places.( )

We had a mission conference on Friday and Saturday. We talked about how being committed to repentance is how we can really get converts to stay in the church. Also talking about faith and fear. How having fear is a part of faith. It was cool. Then we had a talent show. That was super fun. There was obviously a lot of music, a guy who loves Star Wars a lot did a reenactment of several memorized scenes, tae kwon doe, and just some crazy and funny things. The next day the Korean taught a little bit about the holiday and stuff, and they tried to do some of it in English, but not enough for me to really learn that much about the holiday. We went to Olympic park, where the Olympics were held. 

We played this Korean game and talked with people and sang the Korean national anthem. We were also supposed to take pictures and do Book of Mormon titles for them. Plus we had some food and I got to meet lots of people. It ended with the President calling on people to bear there testimonies. It was a fun couple of days. So we still don't have any investigators, we are finally going to have a normal week or more so we will hopefully be more successful this week. Another cool thing about the Holiday is that Seoul was like empty. Well obviously not completely, but is was quiet, way less cars, and relatively very few people at all on the streets. It was cool just walking around a little bit last night.

Let's see cool things that have happened this week... Oh yeah the bath house. We went to this bath house. It was a pretty nice one. And they are like 5 dollars. They had four hot tubs in the middle, and they are all different temperatures. Then they have like a cold tub and a more normal temperature one. Then they have like seats with jets to massage you back and feet. Plus they have several things that you can turn on that spay water from the ceiling at different speeds and stuff. Then they had 3 saunas. The hottest one was 90 degrees Celsius. It was crazy hot. It hurt to breath. Then they have little places to lie down and stuff. You can get toothbrushes and shampoo and everything. And they have both standing and seated showers. Plus massages and a barber shop if you want to pay for those. Anyway, in case you were wondering this is allowed. 

 And I think like what Brian and Dia were talking about doing family baths with there kids. I thought a lot about that while I was there. It was cool to see fathers come in and wash there kids in the shower, and have men of all ages together not being weird. I think it is actually socially healthy, as well as physically, at least that is what they claim.   That was a cool experience. 

We went to a meat buffet today. It is just a Korean BBQ with all meat. I am not a huge fan of meat, but it was pretty delicious. We ate at two member's house this week and that was also delicious. I don't remember the name of most everything I eat, other than Kimchi. But there are a bunch of different kinds as well. They just always have it as an option. 

It is cool going to both the English and the Korean wards just to see the difference. English is more relaxed and informal. Then the Korean one is very formal in a lot of ways, but then also more friendly is some ways too. They all introduce and talk to each other and are very respectful to each other. They love missionaries. Anyway it is cool and both are great. One of the youth in our ward spends a lot of time with the missionaries. I felt like yesterday I connected with him a little. We had dinner at his house as well. There family has 9 kids, and they are Korean. That is crazy. I don't know how they fit everybody into there house, or if they lived somewhere else when more kids were home. Anyway that is unheard of. My companion at one of his last areas was asked by the ward mission leader to commit to having 10 kids. So, he is now committed to having 10 kids. Haha. He used to be inactive and stuff. I think he must have been pretty popular. But it is awesome to see him here on the mission. Everybody loves him. All the missionaries he has served with care about him and he cares for them. It is cool to see. That is something I probably need to do better at, is validating people and making it clear I care for them. That is something I definitely can learn from my companion.

 As I have seen how the work goes in Seoul and I am sure in other places like Europe, and I was reading about Ammon. How he goes and saves, his friends- I am spacing there names right now you can fill them in- and they are in jail naked and tied up. And it says that it was their part to play or whatever. I thought that was cool. Because looking at the results of those two side by side, many questions could be raised. Perhaps even if there missions were worth it at all. However having more context we know their faith and how God uses them all. Anyway that related to me especially in regards to judgement. When I see people, the results of their lives, or habits, or whatever, I don't know where they are coming from, where they want to be. There is so much I don't know, that at the moment I may question if they are a good person, or if it is somebody who deserves the gospel, or somebody I want to share the gospel with, etc. I cannot judge them. It is so hard not to though. I think that is what I have learned most thus far, from missionaries mainly, that there are a lot of awesome, good people that come in different social groups and everything. But the gospel allows me to more easily see that goodness. It brings everybody together.
Anyway I love you all.
Hurrah for Isreal!

Monday, September 21, 2015

092115 . I am in 영등포

Hello Everybody! 
I am in Korea, so that is exciting. I am in 영등포 (young doung poe). It is like the center of Seoul. So we have the embassy/congress building,

and the Korean Times Square, and a little island city thing almost like Manhattan, just not as big. So lots of big buildings. It is pretty awesome. My companion said that our area has about a million people in it. So, I don't know but I bet that it is one of the bigger area's by population in the world.

My companion is Elder Grossgebauer. The Koreans think it is such a hard name because it is a bunch of hard consonants in a row, so that is funny. Anyway, he is really nice. He is the District leader and we live with the zone leaders. Elder Grossgebauer served in the area before just after being trained. So he knows some people which is nice. These two transfers with me will be the last of his mission, so we will hopefully work hard and be successful for him. He has helped several people get close to baptism, but has always been transferred before they were actually baptized. So we are going to get him a baptism! Actually our goal is 2. The problem with that is we have no investigators. So, it will be pretty miraculous if that happens, but God can do all things. The people of Korea are super nice, especially because we are American and missionaries. However, nobody actually wants to listen to us. A lot of people will just say they are busy. Or some will just ignore us and look the other way and walk away. But a lot of people will talk to us, and accept what we have to give them and even say they will call, but nobody does. Nobody is mean though, so that is nice. 

Another cool thing about Korea is that it is super high tech, fashionable, and polite. So when I get on the subway, it is clean, silent, there are six seats for elderly, or disabled on the end and those are empty, unless old people are sitting there. Every other seat is filled with super classy people and nobody talks much. If they do it is quiet. And EVERYBODY is on their smartphone, including the grandmas and grandpas. So it is a little funny trying to talk to people. They are pretty nice since we are foreigners but they think us trying to talk with them is weird.

 Pretty much how it works here is that your district are the missionaries in your ward, so we have 6 missionaries in our district, the four of us in the apartment and two sisters. Plus we are blessed since we got this little castle church (it looks like a red brick castle) to have an English branch as well, which is actually bigger than the Korean ward. So I could actually understand what was being said there! haha. Church was pretty exhausting. I catch words and sentence patterns and stuff, but really have very little idea what is really being said. I can figure out general topics. So just focusing and trying to figure out what they are saying is exhausting. Pretty much everybody speaks better English than I speak Korean, so I still end up talking quite a bit of English. Our bishop is fluent in English so that is nice. They took us out to eat and bought me some none spicy Korean food. Then after church the bishop’s wife and a bunch of the ladies from the ward made a little dinner/lunch for us and the bishop, it is really cute. They definitely have specific roles for men and women. 

One of my favorite parts of my week is teaching English class. It is kind of fun being on the other said of language learning and having to talk really slowly for them to understand me. English is a crazy language. Plus in one of these classes there was a lady who is inactive I think. She just talked about her work and stuff. Anyway it led to a discussion of what rich really is. And how important family is and stuff. Everybody seemed interested and I guess it was some good English practice too. 

The food is good. I haven't had too much Korean food yet, but what I have had is good. The soup thing the sisters in the ward made had a bunch of muscles in them. I don't love the fishy taste still but I ate them all. So no crazy food stories yet. Anyway I don't really know how to street contact well since I can't communicate super well. Any suggestions? Here is my letter to the mission president.

Hey President,
This week was good! I love my area. Right in the middle of the big city. We don't have any investigators, so I don't feel like a super  effective missionary currently. I can't really hold conversation with people well, and most of the time we just go and talk with people, so my companion does most of the talking. The rest of the time we do ward activities and stuff. So I have enjoyed it. It is a little funny doing the 12 week program with no investigators since it asks us to apply all of the principles to our investigators. However, I am still learning a lot. My companion is great. He really cares about people. And I will be his last companion, so we are going to try to work hard to the end. I don't feel like he is an amazingly hard worker, but we do talk and our relationship is also important so I don't know what the right balance is. 
Cool story from the week. We were going to go and visit some people Elder Grossgebauer knew when he was previously here who all weren't there. However while we were walking there was a kid around our age who was carrying this big mettle case, so I asked "what is that thing?" And he said it a camera. After that I couldn't converse much, but my companion took over. It turns out he was just really nice and a good kid. We walked with him and helped him find the subway. He gave us his phone number and said he would like to eat with us today, so hopefully we will get him to come to the family night at the church tonight. Anyway, who knows if anything will happen with him but opening your mouth does bring opportunities and blessings.
Elder Sabey
P.S. I get an hour and a half to email so I should have enough time. Oh plus I am going to a bath house today, which is a big Korean thing. So I will report on that next week. Haha :) And another thought Mom, you could maybe sometimes change the name of the post on my Facebook if you want just to mix things up if you want to. Thanks for all the letters!
 Also, so fun facts. They don't have beds here. Just mats you use on the floor. 
 Showers also  aren't a thing.  hey just have the shower head coming out of 
the sink and there is a drain in the  floor so the whole bathroom is your shower. 
Plus a lot of places of bodet? The thing that squirts water in the toilet... I have no 
idea how  French spelling works. Though I think most apartments 
don't have them. Also I didn't say too much about my first little bit. 
My mission president and his wife are nice. I don't know them super well yet.   

We spent the first day or say with them and that 
was nice. We had some delicious food. Love you all again!


Friday, September 18, 2015

091815 Daniel is in Korea!

                                                        I've arrived and I'm excited!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

091015 Last Week In the MTC and Korean Name pronounced Sabey

Hello everybody!

First off, Danielle, Happy Birthday! I totally remembered it was your birthday before Mom reminded me... So yeah, sorry about the late birthday wish. Anyway, I am so happy you are a part of the family. It sounds like you had a fun birthday. I would sent you a present, but there isn't anything cool at the MTC to buy. I remember when I first met you, we went to one of your piano recitals. And you were pretty good, I guess. :) Also, I just remember many times when we would joke around or laugh together. You are just a fun person, always.

So about BYU. Go team! That really sucks for Taysom Hill, but I like a throwing game more than a running game anyway. I did hear some game day party thing going on at the stadium I think, but for some reason they didn't let me actually watch the game. I thought it would have been a very productive and uplifting way to spend my personal study time, but oh well. Have it recorded for when I get home. Haha. David and Danielle, I appreciated the play by play. Wait, I am pretty sure that was you. Everybody's life seems to be doing well. Mom and Dad, I am so impressed with you just complete willingness to have people stay at our home (I still consider it partially mine.) 

President/Elder/Brother Causse (I don't know what you call a member of the presiding bishopric) gave the devotional on Tuesday. I loved what he and his wife said. They were just pretty open and real. The wife talked about two times in her life. The first was when they were called into the Seventy. They had to move to America, and she didn't want to. She had to leave her family, friends, native language, etc. And how that was hard. And she found out that in the spit second when they had to reply and she said yes that she loved her family and friends a lot, but loved God more. And I thought that was beautiful. Then how when her husband was travelling a lot and they were in Germany, and she didn't have many friends, how one night she prayed for snow, so they would have a good excuse not to go to church. It didn't snow and she took it as a sign that she did indeed have to go to church. Anyway, both stories were great and real. Plus they are often how I experience life. I have my doubts or problems, but when I actually have to make a choice, I find I choose God more than I would expect. Then Brother Causse talked about getting the calling as well and feeling inadequate. He quoted first Corinthians 2:1-5 ish. It was how Paul came not in strength of speech or knowledge but in the power of God. And he, who has had to learn a new language at a much older age than all of us, has clearly done quite well. He also talked about being bold. So at the end of the devotional he said. Well I am asking you to be bold, so I must be bold too. So instead of a closing song, I am going to play a song on the piano. He played an awesome version of Come Come Ye Saints. It was cool.

So again, just trusting God enough, trusting you calling, and that he will give you the ability to do the work he asks of you, takes a lot of faith. But it is beautiful and worth it. God does love us and wants what is best for us. I am excited to try to talk to people in Korean about the Gospel, to meet new companions, and to love them.

Well I got my name in Korean this week it is 세이비. It is pronounced Sabey. Well maybe a little bit more like seh-ee-bee. So technically an addition of a syllable, but when it is said at normal speed it just sounds like Sabey. Korean vowels are actually pure vowels, so your mouth is in the same position as you say the vowel, and doesn't move. So like our A like in Sabey is a mix between an "eh" and "ee." Hence why in Korean they have to add another syllable. So it is kind of nice because the vowels always make the same sound. However it is really unnatural for Americans to not move there mouths during vowels, so it is kind of hard. Basically the mouth is supposed to be in the same position for the entire syllable, and you just move you lips and tongue to make the consinents. 
We also got our flight plans. We leave Salt Lake City at 7:30 AM. We go to Detroit Metro, MI and arrive there at 12:58 PM. We then leave from there to Seoul at 3:30 PM and get there at 6:05 PM the next day. We have to report to the travel office at 3:30 AM, so that should be fun. Plus somebody said when they went to China, they went from Michigan and went over the top of  the earth, so I think we will be doing that. So that is pretty awesome. My flight number is 159 on Delta, if you want to look up and see if we do go over the top. So we are supposed pretty much pack today. Tomorrow we have in-field orientation. Saturday is a normal day of classes and Sunday we have church and then we leave. 

We can call home in the airport, so I should have started planning this before my last time to email, but you can dear elder me what you want to do. I can just buy a calling card and use a pay phone. Some of my friends' parents are sending pay as you go phones with some minutes on them, so they can call and then just throw the phone away. I have no idea if that is actually worth it or not. If you do that you would have to have Matt send it since I will only have the next two days to receive mail. He maybe would even have to drop it off at the MTC. So I think I will just plan on the calling card. You can just Dear elder what you think. So I will probably have several hours in Salt Lake but that will be at like 4:30 in the morning till 7. Or I call at Michigan. So yeah that is exciting. But we don't get mail on Saturday night's or Sundays, so if you want to dear Elder tomorrow is the last day.
Some more fun stuff about Korean. So they don't have words like the or a or an. But they do have subject and object markers. So after every subject you have to mark it and every object. It helps clarify what action is happening to who etc. Anyway it is kind of cool, though not what we are used to. So often I will be listening or reading and not know the work. Then later realize it was an obvious work just with a marker on it. But I am getting better at realizing it. Yesterday we there was a Korean studying out on the table next to our teacher who is learning English at the MTC. So Brother Driggs asked him to be a fake investigator with him. So we taught them both at the same time. He thought our Korean was really good. He said he understood everything (doesn't normally happen...haha). He asked how long we had been there. However he is still pretty hard to understand plus he was talking slowly to us. But I am feeling like I can say more than I used to. It was kind of funny though. Two of the most common words are person/people and love. And one is pronounced saurong and the other saurom. So during the lesson several times I said we can feel God's person. However they still understood and knew what I meant. But still funny and embarrassing that I messed up like two of the main words we use. It is amazing how long it takes to learn words. I feel like I should be able to remember hundreds of words a day. But there is so much you could possible learn in one day that you can only hold on to so much. Some of you watched 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

090315 Two weeks left in the MTC

So we did this funny thing at service assignments called guided imagery. It was kind of a joke and everybody laughed but it was kind of nice to have a little meditation time. Plus my companion and I do 5 minutes of medidation before companionship study, I thought you would be proud mom.. So here is a picture the worker took of us during guided imagery.  [Can you find Daniel?]

Hello everybody!

Well I have less than two weeks in the MTC so that is exciting! So this week, we got one native Korean who will leave with our group. Since there was only one and Elder Litster is pretty good at Korean, they made Elder Litster Elder Lee's companion. So in the words of Timone and Pumba "our trio's down to two" (I got that from Elder Rees' email. He said I need to cite him.) I think it will probably be good for our Korean. We will have to do more of the transitions in the lessons and stuff. Plus I think we think more similarly which hopefully will be good in the lessons. Elder Lee is taking out his endowment today which is exciting. In Korea honestly probably around 25-50% of people are either brother or sister Lee or Kim. I don't know the history behind that but it is kind of funny.

Also before we got the new Elder, Elder Litster was sick for a couple days. So we switched of going to class and church and stuff. Honestly it was nice just to have time to review words, and work on Korean by myself. There really isn't a bunch of time to do that. Another great thing about that is that I missed sacrament meeting (that wasn't the great part) and my companion was chosen to talk. I don't know if I would have been chosen or not if I were there, but I am glad I didn't take the chance.

Elder Oaks talked to us at the devotional on Tuesday. He gave a very Elder Oaks-esque talk.) "There are three teaching tips I want to give you. The first..." However it was really good. He talked largely about the importance of partaking the sacrament, and explaining the plan of salvation. Both of which I think he said some insightful things (obviously, he is an apostle.) Anyway, those are the main things that were exciting this week.

Another few things about Korean. So I have no idea whose idea this was, but in Korean they have two number systems. One if pure Korean and the other is based of Chinese from forever ago. That alone is a little annoying, but what is even more annoying, is that they use one number system for hours and the other for minutes, and you still have to label hours and minutes! Plus they use one for when you are counting things and another for when you are already assigned a number (or something like that, I still don't totally understand it), or for counting minutes, days or weeks. So yeah that is annoying. But I do feel like my vocab and stuff is increasing solidly. I may get to 1000 words by the end of the MTC. So at some point I would have known 1000 words. Recalling them quickly and using them is harder without planning. So taking that into consideration, I will hopefully be at around 10 words a day as I kind of planned on. Understanding perhaps even less that that, especially when they talk quickly. However that too is getting better slowly but surely. Our teacher wants my companion and I to pretty much only speak Korean from here on out, which is virtually impossible, especially if he wants us to say many insightful things beyond pretty simple truths. Another funny thing about Korean is that they have adopted a bunch of English words. So a one piece dress is called "one piece suh" or to shower is "showah ha da " (ha da is just to do something) part time is "partuh ta eem" or pancakes or "pan cake uh" anyway those are always fun to find and use.

We were supposed to study a little bit about the Book of Mormon this week and then we had some time to bare our testimonies about it. Elder Littlefield, who is awesome, said something very similar to what I would say. Just that he has never received any super direct answer. However for a while he just decided to really read it daily and then to try applying some things into his life. Then a year later looking back on his experience, he was a totally different person. I don't know what principles he applied or how he feels he changed, but I do know that I am a happier and better person because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have no idea who I would be without it. I am so grateful for it in my life. And through looking back on my life, and the feeling I get while studying and living the gospel is truly the basis of my testimony. And that is enough for me. I mean an angel would be nice and all, but it is okay if I don't get one of those. I have said this a lot, but I am still beginning to grasp the fact that God is our father, and how important that is. As I have studied and thought about the plan of salvation and the gospel, I see the touch of parents' hands. It is powerful and real. I don't know when God chooses to work miracles and when not to, but it does seem much like parents to me. When they intervene in their children's lives or let them keep going with much gentler assistance. I like the idea that God is all-wise. I like that more than all-knowing. Plus it makes Him feel more like a parent. A lot of scriptures say God is all-wise or something like that, and that just struck me. Anyway as always, I love getting everybody's letters. Life seems to be going well. Matt what classes are you taking? Sarah same question for you. Mom and Dad, how is being empty nested again? Or is Misha still there? Brian and Dia, I always love hearing about Zina! haha. Also you guys. Josh, what are you doing now that you are more settled in? David and Danielle, how is the beginning of school and finding students and everything going in Nashville? Rachel, I am about to email you, but I would love an update! Anyway I love you all. The church is true, and I am a better person because of it. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Sabey