Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from Korea!!!!!! It is freezing!!!!!

Christmas was great. Very busy, but wonderful. We ate Christmas dinner at Elder and Sister Howerton’s and it was wonderful to have some nice American fare (roast). I even got to cook!!! That doesn’t really happen much, as we don’t have much time and my companions always cook for us (I don’t really cook Korean food). In that regard: Megs/Mel–try making corn dish with crushed Ritz crackers (mixed with melted butter) on the top of everything else–soooo good (and sooooo bad for you).

I got to call home today, which was awesome. I love my family so much!!!! It was great to hear them all. Random note: if you’ve written me, your letters are coming!!! I respond to them all, it just takes a while sometimes to fit them all in on P-day. But I got several written today. And will mail them off this week. I love all of your letters and support. I appreciate it so much. There is such a thrill that goes through you when you receive a letter as a missionary. I probably won’t write next week and might not have a blog post, as it is transfer day. I’m in a threesome–we are getting one new sister—>there will no longer be a need for any threesomes in the mission. My trainer, Sister Oaks, predicts that Sister Brady (my other companion) will stay here in Daegu and train and that the two of us will go open a new area for Sisters. We have some thoughts on where that might be, but we don’t know for sure.

Regardless of what happens, I will let you all know as soon as I can.

Have you ever watched Kung Fu Panda 2? We watched it on Tuesday with the whole mission down in Busan (it was our mission Christmas party). We then had a gospel discussion about it–parallelling the movie with gospel principles in general and missionary work specifically. You should try it–the conversation lasted for over 45 minutes and would have kept going were there not time constraints. It was suprisingly fun. You could also tell who had been out on their missions the longest based on who laughed the loudest at the movie (except for Sister Milius who is from my 동기 but laughed the most–I love her, haha). It was surreal. You should try it.

So, there wasn’t a baptism on Christmas Eve like we were planning. And it is my fault–I was praying around Wednesday or so and I asked Heavenly Father why we had felt the need to plan this baptism if we had no one to baptize. And while I was praying, I saw her–a girl on a subway with whom I didn’t talk. Heavenly Father let me know that He had prepared someone, but we–I–didn’t do my part and talk to her. She was ready, but I wasn’t. It was a devestating lesson to learn, but I’m glad that I learned it now and not at the end of my mission. It is hard talking to people in my broken Korean, trying to make myself understood and then not understanding anything they say back to me, just smiling, nodding my head and saying “ah.” But as Elder Holland has said, it is supposed to be hard. Salvation wasn’t won cheaply and the work of salvation won’t be either. I just need to work harder.

In general, it was kind of a rough week. Our best investigator dropped us and another Sister in the mission had her father pass away, so Sister Brady went down and spent a few days with her companion. So things were all topsy-turvy for us up here. Not to mention the Christams program for our ward–Koreans go crazy for ward programs! It’s not the haphazard, last-minute type of thing that it is in America. They prepare for months!!! And spend pretty much all Sunday at the chruch practicing. The five of us American missionaries (Sister Brady, Sister Oaks, Elder Babcock, Elder Claflin and myself) made fools of ourselves doing a Konglish version of the 12 Days of Christmas (with props) about what our ward has given to us. Then the ward mission performed “Silent Night”–with me on saxophone. Not what I was expecting, but I wasn’t given the option of saying no. It was a student model that belongs to a member and not all of the notes would sound–I was mostly mortified, but oh, well.

Anyways, this is turning into a novel. The Church is true. Jesus Christ was born. He established His Church. He performed many miracles. He took upon Himself our sins and Atoned for all mankind. He was risen and lives again. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His restored Church upon the earth. I know these things, there is no doubt. I leave this Christmas message with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

P.s. Here is my flow, as requested:

Sister Oaks and Sister Markland here in Daegu city,
where the girls are real cute and the boys are real pretty
out sharin’ the Gospel, preachin’ the word,
you know it’s the best thing that you ever heard
(why?) cuz eternal salvation is at stake
so here are the steps that you gotta take:

First, faith in our Savior Jesus Christ
He came to earth and He paid the price
Second repentance, you know what I mean,
so from your sins you can be made clean
Third baptism, gotta take the dip,
and thus begin your eternal trip
Here is number four and I’m gonna pick up the speed,
cuz this is something that you really, really need
It’s confirmation, the gift of the Holy Ghost,
the thing in life that’ll help you the most
It will lead you, guide you, show you the way
and help you be saved at the final day

Gonna slow it back down now so you can hear,
but there’s no need to worry, no need to fear,
I’m tellin’ you this, cuz you’re my friend,
but, boy, you know you better endure to the end.
It means keepin’ the commandments, repent every day,
Listenin’ to the prophets, and followin’ what they say
read your scriptures and always pray
partake the sacrament every single Sunday

Do these things and also love
and again you’ll dwell with your Father above
you’ll receive exaltaion, the greatest gift of all,
never again to trangsgress or fall
with your family have eternal progression
and live with Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven

So if you want these blessing please step this way,
Cuz we’re lookin to fill the font today.

I love you all!! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!!

(melina side note:  this is the mission’s christmas blog post which includes a video of the korean version of the efy medley!  jenessa is sitting in the front row, fourth from the left, wearing mostly black. )


About gwenogjones

I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving for 18 months in the Korea Busan Mission (as of September 7, 2011). I have a fanatical obsession with Snape and the Harry Potter series (in that order), I recently graduated from university majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Arabic). Prior to this major, I was working towards a degree in Jazz Saxophone performance; ergo, I love music. I also love reading, writing, painting, spending time with my friends, playing soccer, watching movies...the usual types of things early 20-somethings enjoy.
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