Surprises Abound

The soccer tournament was fun–but I was also rather irritated. Here is why–Korean girls don’t really play sports. Especially not with boys. The first time that I made a save (not even a very awesome one–I slid out to get a ball just outside the penalty box–their striker was a couple of feet off the ball), people applauded. Not just people on the sidelines, but my team. And the other team. They seriously stopped playing and clapped. I was disgusted. It was patronizing. I know that they didn’t realize that it was, they were just genuinely impressed. But I was kind of sickened by it. Hmmm, interesting that I started with soccer. Let’s move on to the surprises.

On the way to soccer, Sister Oaks had a phone call from President Gilbert. A very long phone call. I could tell what it was before she hung up. He then talked to Sister Choo, who began to freak out. That confirmed my suspicions–emergency transfer. On Tuesday morning, President and Sister Gilbert came and picked up Sister Oaks. Almost all of the Sisters had their companionships trained. I think that I mentioned that one of the Sisters had her father pass away a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, she is having a rough time, so President Gilbert decided to change the transfers. After Sister Oaks left, Sister Choo and I just looked at each other, and the panic started to set in. Sister Choo is now my trainer. This is her third transfer. I’ve been a missionary three weeks longer than she (since Koreans going to Korea only go to the MTC for three weeks), but she has been in the field six weeks longer than I. She had only just finished being trained herself. She speaks about as much English as I do Korean, except my Korean is gospel related and her English is conversational. She had only been in the area for one week. I had been in the area for six, but mostly I just followed Sister Oaks and Sister Brady around and didn’t really know where much was. It has kind of been a struggle, but we are making things work. We have done a lot more walking, as I usually get us off the bus one stop too early or one too late, but we are finding our way around. She is so patient with me and my lack of Korean skills. She is very kind and encouraging. And I’m getting really good at charades! Haha. It has been hard, and will continue to be hard for us, as we are both so young in the mission, but we can do it! We are on the Lord’serrand and he will not abandon us! And I’m sure that my Korean will get better much faster, now.

This weekend, an Emeritus 70 was in the area (he is Korean). So we’ve had some extra meetings and special ones (like sacrament and combined Relief Society/Elders Quorum). Our investigator with a baptismal date (Min-jee) attended all of them. She is a champ and is progressing so much! Yesterday, we were at the stake center for a fireside with him. It was warm. I was tired (I think missionaries are always tired), and the fireside was over two hours long. And I understood nothing. I was into my fifth hour of meetings all in Korean for the day, and the circumstances were ripe for me to fall asleep. I didn’t want to! Our investigator was sitting right next to me and it would look bad to all of the members! But I was struggling and starting to do the head-bop. When lo, I heard a voice, calling me by name. It said “Jenessa.” That pierced through my sleepy brain. Who would call me by my first name? Who even knew my first name? And it wasn’t even the Korean-ized version of my name (for example, my last name is “Ma-keuh-raen-deuh”). I turned around, and there was 김기반 자매님! Sister Kim, who served in Seattle. She just happened to be sitting behind me at this fireside, because she was visiting her sister who lives in Daemyong. Tender mercy!!!!! I stayed awake after that. And we got to talk afterwards. Best thing ever! She is wonderful and made me feel so good! The Lord knows us and helps us. He is even aware of a sleepy missionary in Daegu.

This gospel is true, my friends. I know that it is.


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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