Monday, December 16, 2013

저를 비행기에 태우지 마세요

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go,
I'm standing here outside the door
I hate to wake you but you're my c'mpanion
But the dawn is breakin' its early morn
The subways leavin', it's blowin its horn
Already I miss kimchi, I could cry

So gimme a hug and shake my hand,
We'll meet back in the promised land
Teach and Preach and Baptise til you go
Cuz I'm leaving on a jet plane!
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh HanGuk, I hate to go

I threw this song together in the past five minutes, please be nice as you read it. ^^

My feelings right now are quite confusing. My body is telling me that this is just another day, another day of conversing with people on the street about the gospel, another day filled with the gentle inspirations of the Holy Ghost, the bitter smell of cigarette smoke, the frustration of another hand in my face as I speak, the thrill of speaking with someone who would like to learn more, the satisfaction of coming home with sore feet and worn out shoes. Physically, this day will not be any different from any other.

Mentally, I'm not allowing myself to dwell on the idea of going home, those thoughts still have no place in my mind, they will wait until the airplane ride this week to begin.

Emotionally, I'm fine also. Yesterday was of course a different story, but there weren't many tears shed. As I said goodbye to many of these members, there were the initial pangs of sadness, but it was strange that I remembered that I can still easily stay in contact with many of these people and the time proven cliche "this is not the end, only the beginning" ran through my head more than once. It was a conforting gentle reminder that many of these friends made will indeed last.

I say this now, because yesterday I had also known that there was going to be a farewell party for us later tonight, so this story may change drastically to free falling tears later, but for now, these are my thoughts.

There are too many thoughts going through my mind right now, though there is not the space nor the time nor the need to express them here.

I look forward to seeing many of you again soon this week, and many more of you in the coming days.

I love you, and I miss you.

For the last time from Korea,
Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,

Elder Jeremy Annen

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Asking for Direction

Tarzan! No!

Oh ho, we're TOO LATE! If you would have just STOPPED and asked for directions!

We didn't even get to say goodbye...

Well, everyone I believe I had left off with one more story to tell.

This was quite a touching one for me at the time though the story is now a few weeks old. I would still like to share it. This was one of the most complicated situations I was in. I was on exchanges in a place here called BongCheon, and we planned on switching back in about three hours, because our Halloween party was that night. While we're working we get a call from another of the areas and it turns out that they had doublebooked their schedule, so there needed to be another exchange, they couldn't find members on such short notice in their area. So, after taking the jam packed subway, we get off at the right stop, and realize two things. One, neither of us had actually visited that particular church building before, and we had heard that it was a good twenty five minnute walk from the subway station. Two, the companion I was with had... well accidentally locked our phone so we couldn't ask anyone how to get there, and the battery was about to die. Now this is Korea mind you, downtown Seoul. There are so many alleyways and roads. Getting lost could mean that you are just one street over and you have no idea where you are. We prayed and were luckily able to track it down. Made the switch, and then I found myself with another companion trying to find a place in his area on a bus he had never ridden, to a place he had never visited to meet someone whose number we didn't have. This is a regular occurance in my mission. Long travel story wrapped up, we arrive at his house. We exchanged pleasantries, and talked with him and his son. The son then pulls out the Book of Mormon and begins talking about it. We learned their story. The son has had kidney disease for several years, and he told us of how he had found out about it and his subsequent reactions, with this final one turning to religion. But he didn't feel much in it, he told us. He had visited neigh on fifty to sixty churches he informed, and to use his words they felt hollow. They didn't FILL him. His dad, then, as he was away at his work, to his surprise meets some missionaries on the subway, who loan him a copy of the Book of Mormon. And his son studied it. And I mean studied it. When we had gotten there, he had diligently read the first book of Nephi three times. The first time he was curious about it. The second time he felt it to be true. The third time he was feasting. He told us that he *knew* it to be true. As we explained about the Book fo Mormon to his father, the son would finish everything. It was humbling for me to see this. It is indeed incredible, to see someone like this man. Hungry, as he put it. It is a common word used to describe how converts felt before they find the gospel. Thinking back to fast Sundays, I can't imagine surviving with that 'hunger' existing for longer than a few days, yet there are people across the globe with it. It is humbling.

On a sadder note as well, I was talking with the Sign Language People and they requested that I stay until I leave Korea, they tell me that there are just a whole bunch of people that they want me to teach, but that there is a whole new culture to learn, the language to master, and to actually meet the people. It was honestly with tears that I told them that this was my last transfer, that I would only be there for a little longer. I wish more than anything to extend right now, but I realized that too many wheels are turning. I wish, hope beyond hope that I had this chance. It was a testimony to me, realizing that of course missions end, but never did I realize what that means for me, to have a mission end. This work is the Lord's, I am forever in his debt for it. Those people prepared among the KSL using people will still be there, even if I won't be.

I love you all as well,

Good Luck, God Bless and God Speed,

Elder Annen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Coach they're calling a holding penalty on me everytime...

Did I ask for your excuses?! You want to act like a star, you better give me a star effort, you hear me?


Forget about him! Alan! you're up!
Now, I don't want them to gain, *another yard*
You BLITZ ALL NIGHT! If they cross the line of scrimmage I swear I'll take every last one of you out!
And you make sure, that they remember, FOREVER! the night they played the Titans!

Love that one ^^ No connection I'm afraid.

Alrighty everybody! Hello! How are you? I'm fine thank you and you?

All I can say is... I'm going to be so I'm going to be so incredibly weirder when I get home. I will explain. So, for those of you who can remember, I just got transferred to the area with the English branch included in it. Now, I can be a funny guy. I have no problems whatsoever going up to complete and utter strangers, speak to them in Korean, carry on a conversation, get a appointment and the like... I have no problems with that! Absolutely none! I don't think that I seriously look at myself anymore and really realize that that's what I 'm doing, but yeah! So, I've been thinking as people constantly and consistently remind me that I'm going home and not to get trunky, that I'm actually not going to be that weird when I get home. I honestly was thinking along those lines when I got the transfer call. Then last Sunday came around...

Do you know what reverse culture shock is?

I didn't either... But ooohhhhhhhhhh boy......... Heh... Yep...

So... We're waiting at the subway station for someone we invited to church. All of a sudden, a foreigner comes out of the subway, nicely dressed, comes right up to me, and says "Hey Elder how are you?" And do you want to know what I said?! I just looked at him for a second.. then another.. and then responded, "I'm fine thank you and you?" ... now that might not be that bad, it's an acceptable answer. But considering the fact that I had said it in a KOREAN ACCENT, made it ten times more awkward. If it was on purpose it would have been funny. If the foreigner had been there for several months he probably would have gotten a good chuckle... Instead, he just kind of looked at me funny, sadi he was fine too... and then walked away... You could have cut the awkwardness with a butter knife. Man... I kind of shook it off then went to the English sacrament meeting. I have never seen so much blonde hair in one place in my life. Ok I probably have, but... WOW. What followed was a day full of people coming up and talking to me and my responses full of blank stares trying to understand what language these people were speaking to me in ^^ Needless to emphasize further... I will be when I get back home ^^ So, please cut me some slack ^^

But this weekend was full of incredibly wonderful moments. We were able to watch General Conference, as well as two baptisms. They are such wonderful people, I know I felt the Spirit incredibly strongly in that baptismal room. One of the Brothers that was baptised was the husband of a convert, baptised about twenty years or so ago. That wonderful wife of his bore a tender testimony at that service, speaking first of the love that she had for this son of God, her husband. She had led her life, filled with love for both him and for the gospel, and was blessed to see her husband baptised for the remission of sins. She spoke often of patience and being blessed with the ability to wait. What captured my attention the most though was her words for how much she loved her husband.

This spoke deep to me, and the words mentioning that 'charity never failieth' entered into my mind. I continued to ponder that. Why is it that charity never faileth? Why not patience? Why not faith? And who could forget humility and diligence? Why charity?

Perhaps the Lord's example points to a solution. Those who have felt to 'sing the song of redeeming love' know that the greatest feeling, comes from knowing that someone loves you unconditionally. Regardless of what you've done, knowing that someone will never ever voluntarily turn away from you, gives the greatest everlasting hope. To start again. To keep going. To not only survive and get through something, but to discover, to create, to excell!

The possessor receives blessings just as sweet, though maybe more difficult to express through words to those who have never felt it. I cannot yet express it. I have not yet felt pure charity, I do not yet know what giving such charity feels like.

However, I do know how it feels to receive charity, and to give only an imperfect amount of it.

I love you all,

Make this a great week,

Loves and misses,

Elder Annen

Monday, October 7, 2013

D-Day date 받았네!!!!!!!!

D-Day, December 17th is the last day of missionary work for me, and I should be getting my travel itinerary soon that'll tell me when I'm going back to America! ^^


Normal? What do *you* know about normal? What does *anyone* in this family know about normal?!

Now wait a minute young lady

We ACT normal Mom! I want to be normal! The only normal one is Jack Jack!! And he's not even toilet trained!



Lucky... Oh, I meant about being normal!

Speaking of which I really have no idea what on earth normal on a mission is supposed to be... I'm not sure wif this is supposed to be what happens all the times in other missions around the world, but all I know is is that I haven't really met anyone who has had to move as often as I have had to. It's been nice this last little bit, didn't move for five months, but here we go again ^^ Packing! Love it ^^

You guessed it, transfer calls. I'm not one really for statistics, but most of the people that I know end their missions with four to five areas. I still have a little bit to go and I am on to my seventh area, and my twelvth companion! ^^ Am I excited or what?!

I unfortunately don't have enough time to really share a spiritual thought, but I thought I would give an update on the mission on goings for once ^^

Please pray for us!^^

Elder Annen

Now....Where Was I?

Alrighty everyone, sorry to have left you hanging there with that last story.

Now where was I? ... Oh yes... The older Brother in our ward. His name is Brother Hong, and he is one of the most awesome people that I know. He is incredibly fluent in English... and when I say English I really mean like Old English. He has memorized the greater part of the Bible IN ENGLISH, and just loves to quote it along with other things... Gettsyburg address for example ^^ Naturally, we hit it off quite well from the start. One of the things that has happened these past few weeks has really been seeing the progress that this incredible man is making. He was baptized several months before I arrived in this area, and I've heard several reasons for why he joined this church. The beginning ones were interesting. He told us that the only reason that he "joined this church is because of" us missionaries. He loves having people, especially foreigners, to talk English to (not 'with', mind you, 'to' ^^) But that's all he would tell us!! Everytime we met with him he would tell us this. I could list so many other complaints that he would tell us about our church, from the hymns that we pick to sing to the fact that some of the children are too noisy, he told us all of them. However, slowly but surely, he has changed. We had heard him tell one of his teachers that "the only reason he comes to this church is because of the way that the teacher 'lectures' and teaches him about the gospel. A few weeks ago, after a lecture about fast offerings, he immediately went and paid his tithing and fast offerings right then and there. Without a moment of hesitation. Most recently, after telling us that the songs we sing aren't hymns, they're just serenades, they are too quiet, etc etc, he mentioned to my companion yesterday of the fact that he loves the music in this church, it helps him feel peace and calm, helping him to relax after his week. It has been such an incredible blessing to be with this man and see his progress in the gospel. It reminds me frequently of how many times I feel I had gone to church thinking thoughts like the only reason I go is because my parents tell me too. The only reason I go is to see my friends. The only reason I go is cuz of my youth leaders. They usually bring donuts this week. Regardless of how many times those thoughts and reasons have crossed my path, I am eternally grateful for them, for they have helped me change as well. They have helped me experience all of the blessings promised to us. They have helped me to see, that taking a full day off of worldly things to exclusively focus on spiritual progress, both personal and others, is one of the greatest checks you can give yourself. It helped me see the blessing of the sacrament, to truly start over with a determination to do much better this week.

I stand right by this 92-year old Brother from my ward. The only reasons I come to church are often not the right answer. But, looking back has confirmed that as the promised blessings continue to be experienced, our very natures are changed. As we continually strive to be obedient, God helps our tendencies to come closer to His own.

The "Look Back Principle" is this: If you can look back on your life and say to yourself, I would have done that better, then you are progressing.

I love you all!

Receive Many Korean Thanksgiving Blessings Please!

Elder Annen

Monday, September 9, 2013

Spiritual Experiences

So I feel like everytime that I email I am always coming back from a nice long break and I need to sincerely apologize to everyone for the long time I've taken to write and then make a whole bunch of promises that involve me saying I'll do better next time and I'll write more but that I never actually intend to keep... So, skipping that 老馆利牢introduction...

Would you take a look at that? Pretty pathetic huh? Well you'll never believe this but that llama you're looking at was once a human being. and not just any human being, that guy was an emperor, a rich powerful ball of charisma. Oh Yeah!... ... This is his story. .. Well, actually my story. That's right, I'm that llama. The name is Cuzco. Emperor Cuzco. I was the world's nicest guy and they ruined my life for no reason! Oh is that hard to believe? Alrtight tell you what you go back aways, you know, before I was a llama? And it'll all make sense...

Ok see now that's a little too far back... Oho, look at me! Thats me as a baby! ... Ahem, now let's move ahead

So, short email for today. We had some absolutely incredible experiences this week. Small, but incredible. I was really impressed with two different styles of teaching this past week. One of them was with an investigator that we picked up early on when I first came to this area. We have been teaching him for awhile, and our mission has really been stressing asking questions to find out needs etc etc. We tried a lot of that, but it didn't get us anywhere whatsoever. As we went to teach him, I realized that I just wanted to just get started. Regardless of him only having English interest, not caring about religion, I decided that I just wanted to start teaching. Why not? I really remember that prompting, because we started talking, just about what he believes about God. What followed was one of the greatest spiritual experience discussions I have ever had. It never ceases to amaze me, how often, regardless of the previous background, how often everyone feels the need to talk to God. And then, as the hymn movingly portrays, I always stand all amazed at the love Christ and Father in Heaven offers us, at how much they care to reach out to every person, regardless of action or belief. It is a beautiful thing to see and feel such love. I cannot wait to meet him next week and see how our conversations go.

The other moment was with an older Brother in our ward right now. I will have to wait until next week to do this story justice ^^

Good Luck God Bless and God Speed Everyone!

Loves and Misses,

Elder Jeremy Annen