Seems like Elliott has had a healthy dose of the very good along with some frustrations this week. Life, right? We have to have the bitter to appreciate the sweet. Hope your week is sweet! M
March 11, 2013
Hey family, friends, devoted stalkers and other friendly types,
Well, again, I apologize about the super lame email last week. I'll explain the canker sore bit... got one on the lower lip, outside. The next day, the blister burst... I've been nursing a rather lame scab ever since. Terribly inconvenient, but hey, it makes for good vocab practice when you field the question, "what happened to your lip" 5 times a day. Words and phrases that I learned include, but are not limited to cold sore, fighting while tracting, lips, and somebody didn't make it home that night. Anyways, I think it was stress induced. You can only take so much not being able to pronounce a certain word (ironically, it's the equivalent to "bother" as in "what's bothering you") and have your house (with 2 natives and one missionary who returns home in 6 months) either get a little frustrated or tease you for the heavy American accent (yeah, I have trouble wrapping my head around that concept too). Anyways, it's just been one of those weeks. Today hopefully being the climax... I'll explain in the next paragraph:
Finding a good place to email is super hard in South Korea.... internet cafes are few and far between, and public use computers (like in a library or a job search building) are really unreliable (because the institution may be closed or somebody cracking down hard on the rules). So, we couldn't use the place we've been using for the past month, nor could we use the library (the computer part was closed), so that resorted to internet cafes. The first one we went to... the computer had a virus, and I already ordered a drink so that I could use the computer guilt free. Oh, here's the kicker. Sometimes stuff under the non-coffee menu is actually coffee... So, that was a nasty shock and a grand waste of 5 bucks... Last, I think I'm coming down with something; I'm under the weather, and my goodness, I've been running on reserve energy for the last week (focus is completely shot right now... huzzah?)
So, now that I got the worst part of the week taken care of, let's move on to some happier things. Like what went right.
I got the birthday package on Tuesday, and waited until Friday to open it. It was awesome. I love the slippers, candy, and everything that was included (like the 1G photo card from 2008-2009.... it put a lot of things in perspective.... high school until now =D), and the letters and card . All in all, the birthday was super special. My district made dinner for the entire district, and the ward mission leader bought me a cake. IT was nice - a really good missionary birthday. I was singing I was so happy. Off-key, but singing nevertheless.
And yesterday was SUPER good. We had stake priesthood conference... put a lot of things about missionary work in South Korea in perspective (note, this following translation is from a ward member who's pretty decent at English... again, this last week was an off week - not for the lack of spiritual experiences or growth, but just a lack of language and the stupid cold sore/email/getting sick thing): South Korea needs consecrated missionaries and I need to be working harder to consecrate myself to this work. I'd be lying if I said that I was a perfect missionary. I do everything that I can to be obedient, and I've been working hard to change my attitude about tracting (oh, great story coming up) - let's be honest, referrals are a way more effective way to find people. And tracting has just been ho-hum.
It still hasn't completely stuck, but I've been privileged to see just how many opportunities I have to talk to people (example, Elder Kim's back is a bit out of whack, so we have to go to the hospital once a week or sometimes have to work more out of the area book). Aight, my parenthesis are a bit weird, that last little bit was a background, here's the example. When we went to the hospital last week, I counted about 14 opportunities to talk to people on the busses, at the bus stops, or in the waiting rooms.... and it would have been all-natural, not chasing people down style of tracting. And, then I realized that as a missionary, I've got this great opportunity to just talk to people and make friends and love people for more than just being a number.
I realize I didn't do that justice (remember, I'm sick, tired, and slightly out of whack from this morning). Hopefully this next bit will make it make more sense. Our mission has a standard of excellence of talking to 20 people each day... from Elder Holland. Now, when I first heard this standard, I thought it was just 20 people a day, and end. But, there's a good qualifier on that standard that I never realized until last week.... it's talking to 20 people OUTSIDE of finding activities. That means just on the street as we're going from appointment to appointment. On busses, at bus stops, at crosswalks, in waiting rooms, wherever. The trick is to find an excuse TO TALK to somebody, not to find an excuse TO NOT TALK to them. The result? I had perhaps the single most fun tracting experience a few days ago... all based on the fact that the weather was warm and that I can't pronounce a good majority of words correct (Heavy American Accent for the kill ^^)
Next, I realized I haven't doing my part in the wards to be part of the ward, not just a missionary in the ward. Yesterday, in the course of 2 hours, one of our members became a real person, and not just a photo and a record in the member book. Yes, I really want to start focussing on members and getting to know members (it's a shame that it took me 6 months to figure this one out... lesson learned). And it's giving me new direction in how I want to do missionary work and what type of missionary I want to be. It's not just going out and standing on soapboxes; it's going out and being a real person and then inviting these new friends to be part of something so magnificent.
Anyways, I got to go. I hope this week's email is better than last weeks. Sorry about the 1 paragraph pessimism at the beginning. This week, as hard as it's been, has been a really good learning experience. I love you all. Thanks so much for the updates! I hope Spring Break is fun! CIAO