Korean New Year has come and gone. We were invited by a sort of investigator to attend her gathering on Monday morning, which was the second day of the holiday and the most important. It was a really big deal that we got invited to her house, as her husband is the head of family (oldest son of the oldest son). We showed up, and boy, did I feel out of place. There were about twenty or so middle-aged to ancient koreans, all in han-bokes (the traditional fancy Korean dress). I was white and dressed like a missionary.
They performed the ancestor respecting. Where they have a large table of food and the names of the ancestors and incense and everything and they do ritualistic bowing and more that I didn’t understand. It is interesting to note, that the Church is not opposed to this. It isn’t ancestor worship, but ancestor respect. In some of the Korean church videos, they actually show members doing this. We also had to do the very formal bowing to our host and hostess. They then gave us money. This is just what happens. As a missionary, we are not allowed to accept money, but we did, because we couldn’t offend them. When we tried to refuse, the host said one word in English: “curse.” I said okay, and thankfully and with several bows took the money. The two of us, especially me, were some what of a specacle at this gathering. Everyone wanted to talk to the American. I could understand very little, but I know they were impressed, because I addressed them all in the very highest Korean and addressed myself in the humblest. So even though I couldn’t say much, they were all impressed with my manners.
I wanted to say more, but the post office is closing. Sorry!!! I hope you are all weathering the storm well!
(Melina’s note: the title of this blog translates as “New Year’s Day”)