We’re Under Attack!!

Hello from the wonderful land of Gumi!  We’ve enjoyed a very busy and
stressful week.  I’m not even sure where to begin.  I know that I
can’t hit everything that happened this week, so I will try to get the
main points.

On Tuesday, around two, we were at an appointment when I got a phone
call from Sister Gilbert.  It was on “manner mode” but she called two
more times one right after another.  I eventually excused myself and
called her back.  She cheerfully announced that she and President Gilbert
were in Gumi and she would be spending a few hours with us!  Blood pressure
spiked.

We quickly left our appointment and booked it to the church where they
were waiting.  President Gilbert left to go visit the Kimcheon Elders
and we were left with our mission President’s wife for about two or
three hours.  On the bus ride there, we had quickly revised our
schedule so that we could present ourselves in the best light possible
to Sister Gilbert.  So we ended up switching our meeting with the
gypsy to later that night and decided to visit our corner mart
investigator and then just do some street contacting.

Here’s what Sister Wallace wrote home about the experience:

“Sister Gilbert began talking about something that neither of us were
paying attention to because we were determined to show her how real
missionary work is done.  We went to work the way we do every day –
talking to every one we could and stopping to help any one who would
let us.  She stood back smiling from ear to ear, I actually could feel
the spirit as we worked and it wasn’t like we were doing it for show
any more.  I was happy to know that the work Sister Markland and I have
been doing is real, it is really guided by the Spirit, it is really
helping others, and it’s really all about others and their happiness.  I
was so happy to realize this as we were working and completely
ignoring Sister Gilbert.  I know she had come to teach us something
about what she was studying, but she ended up forcing me to learn
something about what we were doing.  I realized that even though it
often feels like nothing I do matters, it does, to someone out there
who I don’t often notice but in the grand scheme of things this person
notices me.”

That pretty much sums up the visit.  Our apartment passed
inspection–she said that we probably had one of the cleanest
bathrooms in the mission, she took a pair of my nylon foot things (she
only had socks and it was not working with her dress shoes), we took a
picture with Jesus hugging a tree outside of the Catholic Church–her
idea (I was rather surprised), and we survived, with no adverse
effects. We wanted to show her that the Gumi Sisters work hard and
have fun. We wanted to prove something to her, but like Sister
Wallace said, in so doing, our Heavenly Father proved a much greater
lesson to us.  It was rather humbling.

Afterwards, we went to visit the gypsy, but she wasn’t there.  I did,
however, have my first successful haggling interchange in Korea!
Talked the man down to 75% of the original asking price.  I was pretty
stoked.  Yay!

On Wednesday, during district meeting, we got a phone call from our
same corner mart investigator (he’s the sweetest man ever – he owns a
little corner mart–think “Trinity” but Korean-style–where he works
in the afternoons and into the night, but in the morning he works at a
dental clinic making the crowns and caps, etc.  He was in a motorcycle
accident about five years ago and has lost the use of his legs.  He is
amazing and we love him.  Oh, and he also tells everyone who comes
into his mart that Sister Wallace is his future daughter-in-law)
called us and told us that we needed to come to the Catholic church
down the street right then.  We were supposed to have an appointment
with him and his family later that night, but he was quite adamant.  So
we left our district meeting and went down the street to the Catholic
church (he hadn’t found ours, so he’d pulled in there).  He met us
just to give us a gift–a box full of Korean red ginseng.  We found
out later that it’s worth about $100, but we didn’t know at the time.
Koreans swear by their ginseng.  It tastes absolutely nasty, but
apparently it will make us look younger.  Anyway, then we went back
up to our district meeting.

After district meeting was over, we all went out to get lunch
together.  That’s when the rain started.  It rained from Wednesday
until about Sunday morning.  As we were walking, we had a North Korea
invasion drill.  Great.  So the sirens were a-wailin’ and the traffic
was stopped and we weren’t supposed to be walking, etc.  So annoying.

That night, after Sister Wallace and I were asleep in bed, we were
awakened by a loud crash that shook our apartment.  We both jumped out
of bed (as in, we both sat up on our mats on the floor) and watched as
the sky was filled with an eerie glow.  We turned to each other in
horror.  We’d been invaded and Gumi, one of the manufacturing capitols
of Korea, was the target.  We had a moment of panic before we realized
that it was just a really bad thunder and lightning storm.  It was
terrifying, however.  Especially because of the drill earlier that day
and because of the tensions between us and the North right now (because
of our fly-by drills along the border with the Americans). And the
Japanese and Chinese aren’t really super happy with us right now,
either.  So, we were scared for a minute.  And didn’t really sleep
well for the rest of the night.

Other things happened during the rest of the week.  Met a couple of
new investigators, taught several lessons, ate some delicious food
(Shabu-shabu!), got lost in the middle of nowhere at the Kumiho
International University of Technology without bus fare (we
eventually made it back), and I think there was a lot more that
happened, too, but I’m kind of really tired, so I don’t really remember.  I
got a wonderful package from my sister on Friday, so that was aweome.
We had quite the misadventure tracking it down (we lost our cell phone
in the process–but the nice man at the post office called it for us
and the finder returned it.  Koreans are very honest), but we then had
wonderful Harry Potter fun times.

But, the highlight of the week, by far, was that Min-Chae received the
gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!  SOOO happy.  AND she wasn’t even
moody, or brattish about it at all!  Such a relief for Sister Wallace
and me!  One less thing to worry about.

We’re very busy this week with lots and lots to do.  I’ll try and get
pictures of some of the things that we have going on and I’ll update
you on that later.  So I best be a-leavin’ cuz, honeychild, there is
work be do!

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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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