There Are Mountains We Must Climb

Ah.  Gumi.  This is the most beautiful place in the world.  I can’t even describe the beauty of it.  And the area is hopping!  It has been waiting for me and Sister Wallace for a while.  Our first week here, we got 5 new investigators and 5 referrals ( including a Church HQ referral, which is the first of my mission).  Heavenly Father definitely has us here for a reason.  And he has already planted this field for us so it is finally our turn to be reapers and not sowers.  It is so awesome!
And Sister Wallace is the best!  She is so, so, SO amazing.  I love her so much!  Thinking about either of us getting trasnferred already makes me cry.  So I don’t think about it.
Despite the fact that Gumi is so wonderful, there are definitely some unique challenges:  the hot mess of an apartment that the Elders left us (yes, there ARE roaches, and I’ll send you pics of the bathroom and kitchen before we cleaned them *shudders*), the ward doesn’t have a lot of respect for missionaries, we have almost no records in our area book after 2010 (and zero from 2012), we didn’t have a single investigator when we got here (we’ve since remedied that), the Elders left no food in the house and we have no money and no dinner appointments, and probably some other stuff, but that would just be nit picky.    We can overcome these things though.  With the Lord’s help, of course.  He has already rewarded our work and diligence so much!

Today, we climbed a literal mountain.  We are dying.  We passed caves, Buddhist temples, a waterfall and ate lunch at the summit.  On the way back down, we decided to take a different path.  We almost died.  Not literally (though one slip and we would have tumbled), but it was hardcore.  There was no one on the path.  It was all shale and hard, slow going.  We’d been going forever and it seemed like we’d gone nowhere.  We were super discouraged and Sister Wallace’s foot was bleeding.  We stopped and leaned on a rock.  Our P-day was already so close to being over.  I told her that we needed to be home in an hour and a half if we wanted to be able to email.  We both felt that wasn’t possible.  And right when we were about to start our descent once more, there appeared before us–a mountain spirit.  That’s what I’m calling him.  And maybe he is.  I need to ask some Koreans about their folklore.  He was old and carried a long thin staff of a walking stick.  He told us (in Korean) that we could make it and were so close (we were at post 16 and had taken over an hour to get down to that number from 20).  He said he would show us the way.  He went steadily downward with no difficulty and it seemed as if every rock were made for his legs and feet.  Sister Wallace and I ran down the face of the mountain to keep up with him.  As in, we were literally running.  We did our best to follow him and managed not to fall and die.  Eventually we got to a crossroads and he pointed us in our direction.  I offered him our leftover lunch (in case he was a mountain spirit I didn’t want to offend him–don’t roll your eyes mom, these kind of beliefs run strong here).  He refused and disappeared into the woods.  We followed the dirt trail until it became the highway.  After we met him, our descent took only about thirty minutes.  It was really quite miraculous.

We then limped along to a gas station and the woman there called us a taxi and we were able to make it home (taxis are cheap here and it cost us less that four dollars even though we were in the middle of nowhere when we got picked up).
We then ran home and came here to this cafe to email.  We are sweaty and smelly and dirty and exhausted but even more in love with Korea.  And very grateful that Heavenly Father sent us that mountain spirit (or if you’d rather, a human angel) to help us get home safe and sound.
I’ll try and send pictures next week.  It was GORGEOUS!
I don’t know how to end this blog so I will just stop it awkwardly.

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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