This was a crazy-town awesome week. As in, too crazy and too awesome to be contained in a blog. So I will just give you some (not so) randomly selected vignettes, just so you can get the gist of how awesome my life is.
Firstly, last Tuesday. Sister Wallace and I decided to hoof it way far out into the middle of nowhere while proselyting. In the general direction of the birthplace and monument to President 박정희, who is really famous and influential in modern Korean history. Anyways, after having trekked it out there ( maybe around 4 or 5 hours of walking) we were taking a rest in a park near the historical site, when a Korean on a scooter wearing a bright yellow vest calls to us. He’s maybe in his mid sixties. He asks who we are, so we gladly tell him. He says that he is a professional photographer who takes pictures of tourists near the giant bronze statue of the President in the garden. He told us he wanted to take our pictures for free. So we tentatively agreed.
The proselyting in the area wasn’t the best, so we decided to stop by the statue before heading back to civilization. Sure enough, there he was. He took about twenty pictures of us all over this monument. And then printed off a copy of each picture for both of us on these little portable photo printers he had. In all honesty, he is probably the worst photographer ever. The pictures are all really, really bad. Not just as in unflattering towards the two of us, but out of focus, blurry, etc.
I’m pretty sure he only wanted the photos for two reasons: 1) so he can show potential buyers our pictures (foreigners doing something is always a big sell) and 2) because he wants me to marry his son.
Right?! Another marriage story, but one where I’m actually telling you about it. Shocker, I know.
So he starts by asking how old we are. A very common question here in Korea. So we tell him. He looks at me for a second and then says in Korean, “Bunny!”
I was super confused. “Bunny?” I asked.
“Yes. You are a bunny.”
I turned to Sister Wallace. “Why is he telling me that I’m a bunny?”
“Oh, yes. I was born in the year of the rabbit.”
“We like bunny women. My son is a horse.”
“Yes! He is 31 but doesn’t have a wife yet. He graduated and has a PhD and a good job. Here, I have pictues!”
Sister Wallace and I looked through his photo album. An entire photo album.
“Oh, yes, he seems very nice.”
“Do you have a husbsand?” Again, a very common question.
“No, as missionaries we don’t have husbands.”
“But later you can have husbands?”
“Yes, we plan on getting married after our missions.”
“You should marry a Korean!” Also very common.
“My son is a good Korean! He doesn’t smoke or drink!”
“Oh really? That’s great–” Here we tried unsuccessfully to segue into a conversation about the Word of Wisdom.
“So you can’t have a husband, right?”
“Yes, right now I can’t have a husband.”
(switching to English) “But can you love as missionary?”
“No, we can’t love either.”
“But after mission, you can love, yes?”
“Yes, after our missions we can love.”
(Back to Korean) “When does your mission end?”
(Okay, I straight up lied here:) “I don’t really know, just February.”
“And after that day you can love?”
“Yes, but I’ll be back in America.”
“Why not love here in Korea?”
I tried to sort of explain setting apart and releasings, but it didn’t work so well.
“So wait, you’re not allowed to kiss as a missionary either?”
“No, definitely no kissing!”
You’re probably wondering why we stayed through this whole conversation–it’s because he was printing the photos for us and we tried to tell him that he didn’t need to give us a copy of every single one, but he was pretty adament and we felt like we just couldn’t walk away.
Anyway, he took one each of all of our pamphlets and a Book of Mormon. He gave us some pins with monument pictures on them as well as his contact info.
So, being a good missionary, of course I contacted him. He was out of town this Sunday, but he said that he will bring his son to church with him next week. I’ll let you know how that goes. ^.^ (Oh, and just to clarify, I am absolutely in no way interested or even the slightest bit tempted by said son!)
Next, we have Wednesday. On Wednesday, we had scheduled in a few hours of “soul mate 전도”, wherein we planned to go back and proselyte near the river where we had seen Sister Wallace’s horsed soul mate. This involved us tracking horse prints in the mud near this river. Not kidding. My feet were covered with mud. And although there were definitely horse prints in the mud, neither of us knows anything about tracking. We were just making crap up. Ha. The only people to whom we could actually proselyte down by the river were people out strolling for exercise and the people fishing. I was all about talking to the ones out for an evening stroll, but I felt rather weird wading through the reeds to talk to the people who were fishing and dozing etc. Sister Wallace had no qualms about it. After she’d more or less forced a pamphlet on this guy, I shot her a funny look. To which she asked, “What?” “Isn’t it a little weird to be talking to the guys who just want to fish?” I asked. Sister Wallace looked back at me. And with her usually laughing blue eyes filled with complete sincerity, responded, “I”m not the only one to have proselyted to fishermen.” I, of course, was instantly humbled. It was a good reminder.
Anyway, so we were headed back home (having talked to many people but not having found a soul mate), when we hear horse hooves in the distance behind us. Two men on horseback. Neither of them the aforementioned soul mate. While I watch them pass by, I turn to find that my companion has taken off running down the street after them. No joke. So I am then forced to do the same. We catch up to them at a street corner. They don’t dismount, but they talked to us and gave us their contact info. The one man owns the ranch and is the President of the Korean Horse Breeders Association. As Sister Wallace pointed out, he may not be her soul mate, but he probably at least knows him. We have an appointment this coming Wednesday.
Then on Thursday, we had district meeting. I was not having the best of days for whatever reason and was in somewhat of a foul mood. Sister Wallace was all too well aware of this. So the time finally comes for the bearing of testimonies. Sister Wallace jumps up first and bears a great testimony. Until the end. Where she bore testimony of me. Something to the effect of “…and I know that all the success we are having in Gumi is largely because of Sister Markland and what a wonderful missionary she is. She is the best missionary in the world, right after the three Nephites.” She went on for a couple of minutes, but I blacked it out in my embarrassed stupor.
Afterwards, we, of course, had to have a little talk. It went somthing like this:
“Sister Wallace, you know you really can’t be bearing testimony about me.”
“Why not?! People bear testimony about the prophet all the time!”
Then on Friday, Sister Wallace was up to it once again. We were beat Friday night. We had taught a lesson to our Filipino less-active sister, which was mentally and spiritually exhausting and had then spent pretty much the rest of the day walking in the Gumi heat. We were so whipped. Bed time finally comes and we are both so sleepy and done for. Sister Wallace starts praying. She starts off pretty well, but then she started getting more and more out of it and her prayer became more and more familiar. When she finally finished, she sleepily turned to me and said, “Was there something weird about my prayer?”
“Yeah,” I replied, “You just quoted most of the Sacrament blessing for the water.”
“Oh. Yeah, it seemed like I was saying something I’d heard before.”
And then we have Sunday, which is not actaully funny at all. We decided that we were going to fast as a companionship. We really wanted investigators at church (the past week our most progressing investigator had no-showed and we were really worried about her and her family) and we wanted a baptism. So we fasted.
Church started with Relief Society and no investigators. Actually it started with just the teacher the RS president and us. Our ward runs very, very late.
Then came Sunday School. No investigator. Since we weren’t teaching our investigator during that time, we went to Gospel Principles which consisted of a less-active sister that we’ve been working with, our ward mission leader, the teacher and us. The teacher had not prepared a lesson and was just winging it. Which mostly meant having the missionaries teach it. After the lesson, he told me that I wasn’t a very good missionary. He said that I hadn’t been articulate enough and that I should be better at Korean and should be able to explain the gospel better.
I, of course, was devestated. So here we were fasting, with no investigators and I was just told that I sucked as a missionary. We went to Sacrament meeting and I just kept my head down and cried. Right after the Sacrament was passed, I felt a little hand on my shoulder. I turned around and found our 10 year old (Korean age) little investigator. I turned around further and saw her mom there. A couple of minutes later, in walked an investigator who we haven’t seen in weeks. She just came in and sat right down next to me. I was no longer crying because I was sad.
Then after church we were able to teach the 10 year old and talk with her mom. She now has a baptismal date–August 11th.
It was a rough day at the start, but ended so well.
So yeah, that was just a brief sampling of what it is like to live a week in my life. But it was so much more awesome than I can even articulate.
I hope that you all have a very Merry Cajun Christmas in July. We plan on it, too. The Elders won’t know what hit them when they show up for district meeting on Wednesday. I’ll let you know how the Korean Jambalaya turns out. Haha
Also, this is transfer call week. I’m praying that nothing changes! Love you all. Hope you had awesome weeks, too!