Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Family's in Florida!

Buzz? Uncle Frank?
-flight attendant lady- We're the last ones off the plane!
Where are those guys? -goes to look out the window- Excuse me! But
this is an emergency!!
Yes? Sir?
What city is that out there?
... ... That's New York, sir...
-whispering- Yikes I did it again...
Something wrong, sir?
-still whispering- I'll be fine... Oh no, my family's in Florida and
I'm in New York... My family's in Florida? I'm in... New York :)

Hey howdy hey everybody! It's been awhile. Well, a couple of weeks
anyway. I wish I could tell you guys all sorts of stories about really
awesome things like, just off the top of my head, that we found Jack
Johnson's house that he was here in Korea and that we're going to try
to talk to him in the next few days and baptize him
(ahem, FIRST by the way, first), but... I don't actually know if he
has a house here or not, we still need to find it. Anyway! As is
classic during this season, I just had to quote some Home Alone. I
just had to. I was debating about changing it to "my family's in Utah,
my sister's in Hawaii and I'm in... Seoul" but that would be taking
it too far.

This was a good past week. I got transferred yet again to a place
called KangDong, my companion is an Elder Griffin who apparently,
exciting fact here, was in Proctor's math class at Utah State! So!
That was really fun to hear. He tells me he didn't talk much with him,
but when I mentioned the Van Dyke, he knew exaclty who I was talking
about ;)

This area that I'm in right now is the kind of area where we don't
have any investigators yet so we do lots and lots of talking to people
on the street. We run into a lot of fun people, I will try to pay more
attention to them so I can tell you the stories later. Just a fun
fact, drinking is a huge part of Korean culture, so a lot of the
people we talk to area really happy to see us when we first talk to
them! But then they sober up when we try to contact them again and
then they use words that I don't know and haven't had the courage to
look up yet ;)

But there is a really inspiring story that is told in this mission.
The bishop of a ward in my greenie district had a story that just
keeps me going. His story in a nutshell is that during a really rough
time of his life, he had turned to drinking. One night he's out
drinking and partying with his friends, he runs into the missionaries
on the way from one bar to another. They start talking to him and he
reacts in a way that may or may not surprise you. He started swearing
and threatening and shaking his fists at them, so they of course
backed off. This was in the evening or so. On the way home these
missionaries find him on the side of the street passed out from all
the alcohol he had. Kind of as a joke, one of the missionaries put a
Book of Mormon on top of him and left. As for the rest of the story,
I'm sure you can guess it. After all I already told you he is the
bishop of a ward now. He read the whole book that next week and the
Spirit in that book changed everything. Such is the power of the Book
of Mormon. Don't ever take it for granted. Don't let yours sit on a
shelf or a table somewhere. Read and study it as often as you can.

Good Luck God Bless God Speed
Elder Annen

Thursday, November 29, 2012


He should be here in... I'd say half an hour..
Who? WHO?! I'd like to know who!!
I told you Archimedes I am not sure... He'll be a... a boy, smaaaaaal
boy, eleven, twelve years old... Oh no no no that can't be the one!
Surely that fella must be nineteen or twenty! ... There! Yeah, there
he is! Hehe, a scrawny little boy round twelve! Yeaaah he's a regular
little grasshopper.."
And where, where are you guessing he'll be at this very moment?
I am not guessing Archimedes I KNOW, where he is... Uhh.. about a mile
from here, just beyond the forest. Right on schedule... If all goes

-Fast forward a bit-

Well! -cough cough- you did decide to drop in after all didn't you?
Oh... Oh you are a bit late, you know...

Hey howdy hey everybody! It's been a few weeks hasn't it? Sorry about
that, we had some extentuating circumstances here... The North
attempted to invade but we held them off easily. No big deal...

Actually I probably better not joke about that, that is still entirely
possible. Anyways, how's everyone doing? It has been an interesting
few weeks for me. This quote is actually a very rough one...I'm sure
there are lots of messups.. My movie memory is starting to fade on
me... Sad sad day. But the reason for this one is interesting. I don't
know how many of you actually recognize the movies that I quote, but I
usually explain clearly the reasons I picked them. This one is going
to be the reverse. The movie is Sword in the Stone, but the connection
is one that some may know and others may not, and I will not be
explaining in depth. I picked this one just to show that even though
Merlin knew what was going to happen, sometimes things are thrown a
little out of whack. They don't happen as we exactly expect them to,
or when they do happen they still shock us. I'll just say that the
second option happened to me in the past couple weeks. And Yeah! Hope
you understood that one!

This one I will keep short. We had a great time learning to make
kimchi and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the church in the
country of Korea. I personally love kimchi now, but after making it
for about 6 hours solid... Let's just say I'm eating it in very small
doses now. It was a blast.

I wish I could report that we are teaching tons of people and that
there are many stories of people being baptized, but I'm afraid right
now the Lord is teaching me many lessons in patience. I chanced upon a
very curious scripture that I have never remembered reading when I was
studying patience. James 5:10 and for convenience I will quote it
right here. "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the
name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of
patience." I have never heard this one. I have heard many many
differing scriptures regarding the heavenly attribute of patience, but
I do not think this has ever before crossed my path. The beautiful
simplicity of it is so incredibly to me. Take the prophets for an
example of patience. My study here has often brought me to the life of
Joseph Smith, and over and over again I am in awe of the incredible
patience of this man. None of us can of course count the number of
times we've heard the stories of his sufferings and trials and I think
that because of that we are slightly desensitized by the true horrors
that this man faced throughout his life. Serious horrors. I will not
disturb the Spirit by mentioning them individually, but it shows both
the incredible patience of the man Joseph and, to me, illustrates the
incredible comfort and love our Father in Heaven offers us in times of
strife and turmoil.

Brothers and Sisters, God lives. I hope none of us
will ever become desensitized to the incredible feeling the words
bring as we say them out loud. I know that God lives. I know it. I
know it. I know, with all the resoluteness of my soul, that God lives.
He lives. But I think more important than that is the knowledge that
He loves us. Roughly quoting from anothers words, The paradox of man
is that compared to God we are nothing, but we are everything to God.
He lives, He loves you. I testify that regardless of how difficult you
think the problem you're facing is, God is there. Remember and look to
Christ and to the prophets to how we can grow so much closer to God
during moments of extreme trail.

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,

Elder Annen

Monday, October 29, 2012


Hagrid, the stranger who gave you the dragon egg! What did he look like?!
Dunno, I ne'er saw his face, kept his hood up!
This stranger though, even he must have talked.
Well, he asked me what sort of creatures I looked after, I told him I
said after Fluffy!
Did he seem interested in Fluffy?
Well of course he was interested in Fluffy!! How often do you come
across a three headed dog, even if you're in the trade! But I told him
I said, I said that the trick with any beast, is to know how to calm
him! Take Fluffy for example. You just play him a little bit o' music
and he falls straight to sleep! ...

... I shouldn't a told ya that...

Hello and what is up everybody?! Hope everything is doing so fine and

dandy! It is over here. So, uh, funny connection with this one, I'm
sure as all of you have guessed it, due to the fact that I left in the
references to a three headed dog named Fluffy, something to do with
dragon eggs... oh and the fact that the first word was Hagrid should
have been a dead give away. Heh. If you did not understand that this
was from Harry Potter, you should hang your head in shame and go stand
in the corner. Seriously. Do it right now til someone comes around and
asks you what you are doing. Then you can come back and finish reading
this letter. 

Quick sidenote, it has been so long since I have even
thought about Harry Potter, I can't remember, tell me if I'm missing
something obvious, but what on earth does happen to Fluffy? Seriously!
I can't remember what happens to him... Them? Hims? They can't be
Hers, Hadgrid mentions its a boy... 

Ahmuhtin, Anyway! The funny connection, so, when I first came to countrty, 
I knew I was gonna see some weird things. I thought that with that kind of 
attitude, I'd never really see some thing that surprised me. But then, what do you
know, I'm on the street one day when I all of a sudden see a man with
a leash which was attached to, believe it or not, a three headed... Ok
I'm just gonna stop right there, I can't write with a straight face
anymore. No! There are no three headed dogs here, but I hope I got a
couple of you with that one. Moving on!

So, sorry I didn't write last week, I was having the kind of week that

makes it so I had a lot on my mind, and I couldn't think well enough
to type so I just... Yeah. Skipped it. But I will tell you the reason.
So I hope everyone remembers the North Korean couple because the story
is about them.(See episode .... .... someone keep track for me)

Ahmuhtin, From what they have told us, the
North Korean couple had to go back to North Korea. Apparently they
need to go back to their hometowns to sign papers and some random
thing or another. There are around maybe fifteen hundred North Korean
dissenters that had to do so. They were having a tank escort them.
But, we've been talking to a couple of members about it and they say
that stuff like this has happened before, but they never come back.

They are immediately arrested and no one outside really hears from

them again... So... Yeah.. That is a really quick rundown of the
drama that unfolded all the night before I had to email. Can you blame
me for having kind of a preoccupied mind that day?! But, they are fine
now. Unfortunately I don't know any more to the story. Some reports I
have heard was that they only had to be really close to the border,
and Yeah. This is the extent of my knowledge of it. One huge reason
being that I was just barely transferred so now I'm gonna have to hear
the story second hand as well... Sad.

My new area is really nice though! I like it, really far away from my

last area though, and I gotta say the move is a tough one. Remember
the subways here at rush hour? (See episode... again, I need someone
to keep track for me I don't have time to cite all these references...

Is it plagiarism if I don't cite my own stuff Mrs. Mattson?) So,

subways, rush hour, now try that with some two really heavy suitcases
and a backpack. (No I didn't lose the other one, we just sent it as a
package... trust me, it was a good idea) It was crazy.

I'm gonna end this email here, wish I could think of a funny story to

send y'all, but... I'm drawing a blank. I'll prepare better next time.
Thousand pardons and all that...

Love y'all tons!

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed

Elder Annen

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode: Saving Seouls Ep. #... ....

.. Seriously someone keep track.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Not sure what to call this one...

Here is another little reunion... Jeremy with his trainer, Elder Choi,
and Elder Choi's trainer, Elder Christensen.

The fun has arriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiived! Thank you very much!
Turk what took you so long?!
I had a little pest control problem but it's all taken care of... WHOA OWW....
Hey guys!
Turk what is this?! Some kind of a joke?! Tell me I'm not looking at
the hairless wonder...
Well, Turk said I could come along if I could keep up..
-whispering- I'll handle this guys, Ok? -normal- Lusten buddy come
here! We gotta tiny itsy bitsy  problem here. Personally, I love to
hang out with you you know I do, but the guys... They need a little
convincing you know?
OK! What do I gotta do?
DO?! Whatta you gotta... Ohoho, it's so stupid!
Well, you gotta, uh you gotta go, get a hair.
A hair...?
Yeah, a hair, uh huh... -elephant trumpets- ...an elephant hair...

No reason for this one whatsoever. Popped into my head. Good movie, I
like it. So, I think I've kind of crossed a line or something on my
mission where all of a sudden I really don't have a lot of new
experiences, particularly in this area. This is an area where the
missionaries before us left us kind of high and dry, no investigaotrs
to really talk to , or pick up again, etc. so we've done a lot of
street contacting. Lots and lots and lots. So I'm terribly sorry, I
don't have a lot of really fantastic stories to tell. Unfortunately,
have not had times that worked out for us to meet with the North Korea
couple, but we're gonna keep pushing for that.

One of the fun things we did this week was kind of mess with the new
missionary in our house. He has a great sense of humor and he laughed
really hard when he found out what was going on. I'm telling you this
so you won't worry and think we were being jerks to him. But, he's at
the phase where he asks all the time what the word for _____ is in
Korean, and all that fun stuff. So, unofficially, we tell him words
that are just way way off, just to see what people's reactions to him
are. Now, the first night we did this, it was with a half hour left or
so before we had to go home. So pretty late. And in Korea, that means
there are a lot of drunk people around. So, one of the things that we
usually like to ask is, have you seen foreigners like us before?
Foreign missionaries? Now the word for foreigner sounds like this.
whehgukeen. Wheh, meaning foreign, outside, different, guk meaning
country or nation, and een signifies a person.whehgukeen. Foreign
country person. Now, we told him to use a slightly different word, onw
they had only told me recently, but we told him the word was
whehgukay, which I think means alien, or something along those lines.
Every person he talked to was just roaring with laughter. We were too.
He caught on pretty quick, but we just had a grand time with it. We
also told him the word for girlfriend was dwehjee, which is actually
the word that means pig. So we had some great laughs to name only a

Ok, I only have time for one more story, and I really need to make it
short, if I had longer I could tell it better, but ... What can you
do. So my companion and I get a call the other day from a name that
neither of us recognized. We answer and the guy asks if he could meet
with us now. So of course we say yes, we meet him at a park and show
him the way to our church. When we saw him, we recognized him right
off the bat. He was a minister we had met earlier, maybe two or so
weeks ago, and he said he had met missionaries before, and he wanted
to chat it up again with us. Got his number, yatta yatta, and here we
are now meeting him. We get to the church, we're in, we sit down, they
try talking to us. Sorry, he had brought his friend with him. They try
talking to us. Then, of course we're not native speakers and they just
start complaining up the whazoo about how they need someone who speaks
better Korean although my companion is really good at it. So, they're
making a lot of noise, and the bishop and his wife downstairs hear it,
and they come up to see if everything is alright. The guys we're
meeting are of course overjoyed to see Koreans to talk to and
immediately have them sit down and discuss stuff with them. Typical
Bashing scene, honestly. Most legit throw down I have ever been a part
of in my life, and I will explain. I do not like bashing, I do not
like that type of fighting. It is fun, true, but the Spriit is
instantly gone, and it seems that no one is really happy about them. I
am not advocating them. BUT! This one was so legit. The bishop and his
wife have both served missions, they have met people like this before,
and, let's just say they know how to handle them. They tagged teamed
it really really well, we helped them out when it came to harder
questions and scriptures, etc, and they were stumped after many of the
answers and questions we gave them. After an hour, we thanked them and
said that we have to leave. They immediately got up and started
yelling and saying stuff like, no we're not done yet, etc. etc. but
right before they left they told us that they had lied originally when
they had told us the name of their church and they now 'revealed' it
to us. All dramatic like. kinda creepy. One guy said I was you to
remember three jahs, -three characters- and he them proceeded to say
them , and announced, that that was where they were from, and a whole
bunch of other stuff. The creepy part was the other guy, the whole
time he kept chanting yook yook yook -six six six- over and over.
REally weird. But yeah, crazy meeting.

This story was really quite an eyeopener to me. I was told afterward
that that was their missionary work. That was what they did. They
found ways to meet with people of other churches, then fight and bash
and destroy those people, and then convert them to their religion.
There are many things going through my mind about that. Normally I
would be more eloquent about this, but time restrains me from doing
so. First thing is that I am so incredibly grateful for the strength
and power of a testimony. Particularly of my bishop and his wife's.
Such strong testimonies coupled with knowledge not only helped them to
withstand such blows from unfriendly sources, but to also rebuke them
and show them that the truth from God will always trump the the so
called wisdoms and philosophies of man. This also brought to my mind
the great appreciation for this gospel. Because, the gospel never
wishes to break down. The Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will
never break down that which is good, true, and just. The Gospel only
asks, that we keep all the good that we already have, and allow the
Fullness to add to our knowledge, and multiply our happiness to an
extent that we cannot believe.

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,
Elder Annen

Sunday, September 23, 2012

추석!!! Choo-sock!

"This was kind of a little reunion.  These elders were all in my district for the first transfer I was here. The blonde one is Elder Stein, my district leader.  The other is Elder Cobabe, his companion.  Both really, really awesome people.  Love 'em to death."

....Uh, Iiiiiiiii gotta go to the bathroom..
Dinner! Is served!
Never mind! I can hold it.
We won't waste time, everybody dig in!
Don't mind if I do Lillian...!

I know this one was short but it was the only movie, for some reason,
that popped in my head that had something to do with a lot of food.
Reason being, Korean Thanksgiving is coming up next week! Super stoked
for that, I heard you get tons of food. I probably shouldn't do that
whole count the eggs before you scramble them or whatever that saying
is... Anyway, I'm excited.

SO. Funny story. I love learning about the myths from Korean culture,
mostly because it is so different from American, and also because they
are really entertaining. Now, I can't remember this story perfectly,
so please bear with me. If you know this story and I mess it up,
please take it easy on me... I don't mean to :) Anyway, during English
class this past week, one of the students told us the story of the
creation of the first Korean. Anyway, the story, I'll just summarize,
goes like this:

There was a tiger and a bear trapped in the sky. They both wanted to
come down to earth but they were unable to on their own. They were
given the chance when they were told that if they ate garlic for 100
days, they could come to earth. The bear and tiger agreed to try.
After struggling for a long time to eat the garlic, the bear gave up,
but the tiger kept going, completed the hundred days, and then came
down to earth and became the first Korean. The End.

Terribly sorry, not very exciting, but you gotta understand, I was
told this story in broken English, and this is what I (think I)
understood. Anyway, that was at the beginning of the class. Near the
end, we asked the question about if they could change one thing about
the past, what would they change? When the turn fell to my companion,
he said, as a complete joke of course, "I'd go back to the 99th day
and steal the garlic." Now, I thought it was hilarious, and I was
about to burst out laughing, but... Turns out, Koreans don't really
have the same humor as us Americans... Hehe. We realized it wasn't
funny to them then, so we apologized and kept straight faces. It was
really hard though when one of our friends there faked anger and
asked, "ARE YOU ENEMIES OF KOREA?!" It was so much fun, loved it.

Well, this area has been a much tougher one. We don't really have any
investigators, our records are kind of warped and we kind of were
having a hard time trying to figure out what to do. So we just hit the
streets and tried to literally talk to everyone. And oh my goodness,
we had a great time. We found some boring people, fun people, crazy
people, old people, young people, old people who looked young, etc
etc. But  we got an interesting reaction from one couple whom we
talked to. We told them we were sharing a message about Jesus Christ,
and it was fascinating what happened. Now, I don't care if you are
white green blue black or orange, you have heard about this man named
Jesus Christ. It's a fact. But this couple we talked to had literally
no idea who he is. We were kind of taken aback, never had this
reaction before, so we asked them where they were from. Guess where.
Just guess. This is really not that hard, just think about it. They
are in South Korea, they look Korean, they seem to have literally no
idea who Christ is, guess where they're from. .... -insert announcer's
voice- If you answered 'North Korea,' you WIN... a pat on the back,
well done. Anything more than that and it would cost me an arm and a
leg to send to you so... pat yourself on the back. Yep, they are both
from North Korea. I wish I could say that they comitted to baptism
right away, but they didn't. But, yesterday we had an absolutely
wonderful time with them.We showed them the Finding Faith in Christ
DVD because we didn't know where else to start. Their reactions were
incredibly touching. They were both listening and watching with rapt
attention to the movie. I have never prayed that hard, asking God that
they would feel the Spirit. I hope that we'll meet again soon with

Hope y'all are doing wonderful!
Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed
Elder Annen

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 9, 2012

I'm gonna stuff you into a blender, push 'Puree' then bake you into a
pie and feed you to the social worker! And when he says, "Mmm, this is
great! what's your secret?" I'm gonna SAY... Love, and nurturing. Hi!
You must be the.. uh...
The Stupidhead.
Ah... Ohhhhhhhh, yeah I'm reeeeeally really sorry about that, if I'd
have known who you were, of course I never would have.... I can pay
for that.
It's a rental. Are you the guardian in question?
Yes, I'm Nani, nice to meet you Mr. ... uh..?
... ..Bubbles..
Mr. Bubbles.... That's a strange..
Yes I know.

Ah yes. This one, not quite my favorite movie but I happened to have
this one stuck in my head on the way over here so I thought why not.
Here it is. Lilo and Stitch by the way.

Ah man, quite the week. Nothing really happened, but it was quite the
week. We actually had a pretty big typhoon sweep through here, and let
me tell you, when people know there's a typhoon coming, they go all
out. They give out free sandbags, tape, newspaper, everything that can
prevent a lot of damage to your apartment and all that. So members of
course were calling us all the time, telling us to tape our windows,
get the sandbags, and to grab a newspaper to help entertain yourself
while your waiting for the storm to pass... Ok, not that last one, but
you get the idea. So we did. Got all the stuff ready, and we were told
to exercise caution, as missionaries, if we were going to go out and
work. And, judging the members' warnings and all that, we decided it
would be best to stay home, because the church is far away and only a
few buses were actually operating. So, while this storm was going on,
for some reason it reminded me of things like 'snowmageddon' and swine
flu. Because it turns out the typhoon actually curved up to North
Korea right before it was gonna hit us. While that was kind of a
relief, I was disappointed, wanted to see what it was like. Ah Well!

That was the big excitement this week. Wish I could add a lot more but
these past two weeks have been kinda slow as far as missionary work.

I did find a really wonderful scripture this week though that I wish I
would have discovered earlier. It's in Doctrine and Covenants 58:3-4
-"Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the
design of your God concerning these things which shall come hereafter,
and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after
much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye
shall be crowned with much glory, the hour is not yet, but is nigh at

There is not much for me to really say to go along with this one, as
it is explained quite clearly. Self explanatory and all that. But for
me this message carries a wonderful comfort with it. We have shared
this with the members who we feel may be needing an extra boost and an
extra hope in their lives. I love it because this scripture seems to
cover so many points, though not all of them are explicitly mentioned.
This scripture speaks of the trials and tribulations that all of us
must go to. It acknowledges them, but points us away from them. It
points us to the many things that we ourselves can do. It gives us the
hope to hold onto, and exhorts us to trust in our God, as well as to
have patience and endure these trials. And it also is such a wonderful
testament as to the character and nature of God. By reading this
scripture it reminds me that although many things are difficult, there
is indeed a grand plan for all of this. It assures me of God's
infinite love and care for all of us. And, most of all, it reminds me
to keep that chin up and to carry on.

I love this Gospel and know it to be true with all my heart and mind.

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed
Elder Annen
"This is at the top of the apartment I'm now in.  This was during dinner, and my companion saw it.  Of course I jumped up and said we're going to the top to get some pictures.  Priceless stuff."

August 27, 2012

Well then. How about a quick round of ... Catch and Fire?
Ca...ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca Catch and Fire?! You mean ME?!
You're the only one with enough c-c-c-c-c-c-courage!

Are you sure you're all right?
Hmm..? Oh ys yes, I'm fine... OUCH! Too tight! Too tight!
Whoops! So sorry.
He's ready! Remember now, aim for the heart! Right between the shoulders!

-shoots arrow-
-catches arrow, fires it right back. Splits apple in half-

Fifty two!! Out of fifty two! Well done, Derek! ... Extraordinary
courage man, just think! One inch lower, and that arrow would have...!
-Bromly passes out-

Ah, love this movie. I had completely forgotten about this one too,
until my companion recently brought it to my attention; one thing that
has been a huge change for me from the last two companions of mine has
been that my companion not only understands all my English, but happens
to know his movies like the back of his hand. Way too much fun. Anyway,
this one's from a movie called the Swan Princess. Yes, yes I am
shocked too that I did in fact use a princess movie. Sorry. But!
Give it a chance, it's a funny one.

Ah, alrght. These past few days have been absolutely incredible. I
honestly don't know where to start. That was just an expression that
just popped out of course I know where to start you just start at the
beginning, everyone knows that. When I had first received my transfer
call I wasn't sure what the deal was. They had transfered me to an
area that was just a 20-30 minute bus ride away. In the same zone
even. It was one of those calls that I didn't really know how to react
to just... Oh, oh ok, yeah I can go there. Little on the disappointing
side, not gonna lie, but this area is awesome, I love it. I also
realize the incredible blessing that being close to my last area is.
There was a really big event in our ward there. The Nepali Sister I
helped teach had her wedding. My last companion invited me to the event
and, against all odds, everything worked out for my companion and I to
miss our meetings and appointments, etc. Nothing short of a miracle. I
wasn't really sure what to expect either. I've been in this new area
for the past three almost four weeks and I was wondering how things
would go.

Basically, it was hilarious how the members reacted to me.

Some of them would realize right off the bat that 'Oh! Elder Annen
came to visit!' and then they'd ask me which area I was in and how I
was doing, etc, etc. Others, I'd be talking to and they would
originally just be 'oh yes, elder, how are you nice to see you, yes I'm
well, the food's good isn't it?' and then all of a sudden in the
middle of the conversation their eyes would go huge and then they'd be
'Oh! Elder Annen! You're here? What are you doing here?' We all got a
really good laugh out of that. The Nepali Sister's husband was the
greatest though. I shook his hand and greeted him no less than five
times. I don't really blame him, I imagine he couldn't really think
straight that day. But finally on the sixth time I went up to him,
about an hour and a half after the wedding, he finally got it. We had
such a wonderful time. It was honestly like a large family reunion for
me. So much fun. The greatest part was the kids though. Many of them
didn't remember me, sad day. But one of the kids was asked by his dad
if he remembered me. When the kids said no, the dad reminded him,
'this is the elder that came to our house and ate all our meat!' ... I
was taking a drink at the time and let's just say that was very bad
timing on my part. The dad and I had a great laugh about that. And it
turns out, the kid remembered after that! I loved it.

There's really a lot that went through my head after that big event.
Seriously a lot. I have been told countless and countless times that
the joy from missionary work is beyond any joy that you have ever felt
before. And let me tell you, I didn't believe it at all. When I first
came here the work was hard, the language was hard, working with my
companion was hard, the food was weird... In all honesty, this was not
a joyful expeience for me. At first. I have thought countless times
that these people really don't understand happiness if they think that
this work was the most joyful experience in the world. But after this
weekend I realized how truly and deeply wrong I was. It's true, I have
had so many experiences where I felt really happy. I felt happy at
baptisms, at confirmations, at picnics, gatherings, but last weekend
was the first time I experienced something that the only way I could
describe it would be to describe it as joy. Pure, brilliant joy. It is
honestly not something that can be described through anything other
than actually feeling this joy. The feeling of the seeing those
friends of mine making covenants with God, with seeing my friends
happy, seeing people who I worked with, seeing people I only saw at
church, seeing, meeting, talking with these people coupled with the
Spirit of God in every corner of that room... I cannot describe it. I
have heard many times people answer the question "was it worth it?"
with "yes, of course it was." But I don't think I have understood that
true conviction and certainty of being able to answer without a doubt
that all the homesickness, all the pain, all the sweat, all the tears,
all the rejection, everything that afflicts missionaries in the field,
that all of that is of course worth it. It is worth it. This mission
has been the greatest decision of my life. Even if that is the last
time that I feel that kind of joy on my mission, it will be enough for

I wish you all the greatest, and the best of luck in everything.

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,
Elder Annen

August 12, 2012

Boys, boys less noise please..
Oh hello Father..
You old bilge rat!
Wha-wha what?! Now see here Michael..
Oh, not you Father, you see he's Peter Pan...
... And John's Captain Hook!
Yes yes of course. Have you see my cuff link OH NANNA FOR GOODNESS
SAKE! Where are those cuff links!?

This one just popped into my mind and I had a really fun time just
replaying the part where Michael says "You old bilge rat!" I don't
know why, but hey, it's funny.

(By the way, in case you missed the dead giveaway on the fifth line...
It's from Peter Pan)

Big News!! My first transfer to a new area! And turns out it's in the
same zone as I was before, literally the next subway stop over. The
members here and I have a great little laugh about that when they find
out that was my first area. Next time, they tell me, I'm going to go
all the way across the country. Outside, I laugh and agree but
honestly, I hope not. It is a huge hassle to take your bags onto a
subway crowded with people. Anyway.

Had some fun with my new copmanion! He is American, and guess what? He
loves his movies. WE quote them all the time and no one has any idea
what's going on. It's like old times again for me, I love it. Ran into
a little bit of a hiccup though. We were quoting Spongebob episodes a
couple days ago, having a great time. One of my favorite episodes is
the one where everyon is throwing Sandy a surprise birthday party, and
the only to get her to the party without her knowing is to uh make fun
of Texas :) So, I jump to this episode and start cracking some of the
stupid jokes that they make and I am just having a great time. I tell
him, " Remember this one? Where Spongebob is in the shape of Texas and
he asks, 'Hey, Patrick, guess what I am!' 'Uh... Stupid?' 'No! -insert
Spongebob laugh- Texas!' to which Patrick replies, 'what's the
difference?'" I'm just busting up at this point then I realize he's
just smiling, not really laughing.... Do you know what a heart attack
feels like? I didn't either until he told me he was from Texas. Heart
stopped right there. It was all chill though, he's awesome.

Ah, one of the things I am enjoying about this new area is that I am
able to meet tons of new people here. I was quite blessed my first day
to meet with a member in his early nineties, one of the coolest
experiences I have had so far. I honestly don't know how to really
describe the experience. He is too old and frail to really leave the
house, but man does this man have the Spirit around him. When he
opened the door and greeted us in his quiet voice and big smile, I
couldn't help but really smile with him. Nothing incredible happened
to us there, but it was one of the tender mercies of the Lord to have
him be the first person I visited with in this new area. The message
we shared with him was one that was shared to me by another
missionary. I love it mostly for it's simplicity, and it's ability to
capture everything we teach. 1 Ne 11:17. "...I know that he loveth his
children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things." How
profound a statement. Many people here have indeed challenged our
knowledge of things. It is common for missionaries here in Korea to
have confrontations with those members of churches who have an
incredible knowledge of the scriptures, far beyond anything that we
could honestly argue against. It isn't uncommon for people to attack
our religion as well, slandering and criticizing those who lead this
church, for those who are members, to attack them on the basis that
they aren't perfect people and therefore they can't be called of God.
If they were, they wouldn't make mistakes, or mess up, etc. etc. One
of the things that I have really learned as a missionary is how
imperfect we all are. Many people in the MTC mentioned that
missionaries are looked up to as spiritual giants, as people who
should have the Spirit with them at all times, always on a spiritual
high. I'm just going to mention quickly that we don't. WE aren't
perfect, we're 19-21 yrs old, and we definitely do not know all
things, not even the language we're trying to communicate in. But we
can tell you what we do know. We know that God Lives. We know that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and His gospel has been restored
to the earth through modern day prophets. And we know, without a
doubt, that God "...loveth his children." And we are here trying to
help everyone feel that love.

Love y'all tons, and I hope these next few weeks are awesome for you!

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,
Elder Annen

July 29, 2012

Hey kid, what's eating you?
Nothing! He's at the top of the food chain!
(Timone bursts out laughing)
The FOOD CHAIN! Ha ha.... eh...

What's a motto?
Nothing, what's a motto with you?!
(Timone bursts out laughing again)

Ever had those moments where either you are the only one laughing at a
joke or the only one not laughing at a joke cuz you didn't get it?
Because I have had so many of those moments it's hard for me to count.
Now, there's also that situation where someone doesn't get the joke
and then a little later on they all of a sudden get it and burst out
laughing. Love those moments. Mostly for the fun fact that jokes
people would tell and comments people made about three or four months
ago are starting to make sense and I'm beginning to chuckle randomly
as the weeks go on. For example, -insert concrete detail- -insert
source-. -insert deep yet witty commentary about concrete detail-.
Sorry, English class joke. Anyway, I would make comments when I first
got here like, "Wow, it is so humid here!" "Whoa, that is a crowded
subway" and "Man, it's raining hard!" For some reason unknown to me at
the time, My companion and whoever was with me at the time would start
laughing and always tell me something along the lines of "you have no

I did not understand at all. That subway I had talked about didn't
have anyplace to sit down and about ten people were standing. Now, in
America, that can be considered crowded. Then, I was on the subway
when rush hour hit. Believe me, I was laughing really hard as I
finally figured it out. You know how there is a steroetype for Asian
public transportation being crowded? There is actually a reason for
that. Rush hour equals you are squeezed into the subway and once the
subway is completely full, squeeze another ten or so people in there.
That is rush hour. It's awesome.

We also had some small fun moments here. Turns out, Korean culture has
the idea that milk is the reason people are tall. My zone leader is
about six foot four, and everyone comments that wow he must have had a
lot of milk when he was younger. Then they look at me. I'm not short,
but compared to him I am. So last Saturday, we're playing basketball
and a little girl asks the zone leader why I'm not as tall as him.
After he shrugged and said he doesn't know, she made the comment "He
needs to drink more milk." For those of you who know me or have lived
with me, you know why this is funny. For those of you who don't, I
will explain. Before my mission, I went through about six gallons a
week. Dead serious. The best part was I asked my zone leader. Turns
out, he hates milk. Loathes it. I am terribly sorry Korea, but I think
we can safely assume that milk has no effect on height whatsoever.

Ah, alrighty. When missionaries are being trained, we get to watch
these wonderful DVDs of missionaries actually teaching people. They're
called "THe District." And they are all over the place. They can be
spiritual, kind of annoying, funny, basically all the things that can
happen during the mission they make sure to cover. But they
interviewed one of the recents converts, she made a comment that
really got my attention and touched my heart. She said something along
the lines of, "Here, everybody cares about you. Even if they don't
know you, there's always a warm smile for you. And if things are so
happy and warm here, can you imagine in the in the heavens? I just
can't wait." Many testimonies of conviction and hope have been given
in this world. But this is a testimony that touches hearts. This is a
testimony that brings the Spirit. This is a testimony that everyone
can understand. And I will tell you right now that I completely agree
with her statement. I testify also of what is to come in the next
life. What is waiting for us there is nothing short of warmth and
happiness that comes from being in the presence of God and in the
presence of each other. I just can't wait. But I will, and while I
wait, I am going to try as hard as I can to help people understand

I know and love the truthfulness of this gospel. I love our Saviour
Jesus Christ, and am in awe of the sacrifice which he gave for every
one of us.

Until next time y'all :)
Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed
Elder Annen
"My first visit to a Buddhist temple!  It was apparently a small one but it was fun to go.  A monk gave us a little tour.  She was shocked that I understood a little Korean ;).  Really fun."

July 15, 2012

Hot crispy pill bug, for the happy couple. Mazel tov.
(Inhales deeply) Oh boy! (begins eating)
Ich... Ach... plech...
Oh! Here! Let me get that for you!
Bah! cough cough..
Where're you going?
I'm just going to slip into the kitchen and have a word with the chef.
You're going to get us thrown out.
Please! With this disguise, I'm invisible...
-skipping a little-
Look, all I know is that the food looked iffy. Alright? And I'm not
the only one who thinks that, Im sure. So I'm just here to make sure
that you're gonna take the main course up a notch.
Listen, it's a simple question. Is there or isn't there anything
edible.... On this menu?

This is the third time I have quoted form this scene so I am terribly
sorry if y'all are getting bored of it but this one actually has some
relevance to today. Let's just say, these past two weeks have been
full of some really fun foods. Like really fun foods. Actually fun is
not the best word to describe it... I'm not sure what would be a good
word, but I'm sure that after I describe what I ate, y'all can figure
out a great word for it later on.

My companion and I are greatly blessed to be in our area. The members
are absolutely fantastic, I love them to death and I hope I'm not
leaving this area too soon. And, they happen to really love to feed
us. Among some of the food we were given was a small package of what
looked like marbled meat and some other random meat that I really
wasn't sure at the time what it looked like. Never seen it before but
there were a lot of bones and meat here and there. Now, when gifts
like these are received in Korea, you eat them. You eat them and you
say they are delicious and you thank them profusely for it. This
obviously entails ignoring what is said in the scriptures about liars
being thrust down to hell. Anyway, I'm eating tha marbled meat, tasted
alright, I just put a lot of spicy goodness on top and it tasted
pretty good. The second package was not so good. The texture was like
rubber the taste as it turns out was like rubber too. Now, I wait
until after I am completely done eating before I finally ask my
companion, "Alright, what was that?" How glad I am that I waited until
after I ate to find out. Tender mercy. Turns out, the Koreans use
every part of the pig that they can when they kill them. Including the
feet and the face. Still makes me kind of cringe at the thought...
ooh... So yes, to put aside all doubt, etc, I have now added to the
list of weird and frightening foods, pig face and pig feet.

For this next one, I need to start off with an apology. Family means a
lot to me personally, so I want to apologize to someone who may be
offended family-wise. To my dog Coco: I am terribly sorry. I was not
aware of this at the time that it happened, please believe me. But one
of your distant cousins was in town last week. We happened to run into
each other at a restaurant, only we happened to be in kind of opposite
situations. I was sitting at the table, eating a delicious bowl of
soup, and your cousin was on the table... More specifically in the
soup. Heh... Again, sincerest apologies.

It was actually really really good. Loved it. Was my companion
chuckling again while I was eating? Yes, yes he was.

Too much fun.

These weeks have been quite a blessing to many of the people here in
our area. Particularly with the baptism of the Nepali Sister. It was
such a wonderful past two weeks for her as well as us. In preparation
for the baptism, we have been scrambling to find translatoins,
pictures, movies, and anything that we could find to teach her about
the gospel. It was insane. And in all honesty, we had no way of
knowing that we were teaching the right material, whether we were
making sense, whether she was understanding... It was literally an
experience of pure faith with us. Then we had a wonderful experience.
Our new mission president actually had a connection with a Nepali
Sister who served in England, who speaks excellent English. We wanted
to arrange a Skype chat to be able to help teach, but it quickly grew
extremely complicated. Then, one of the greatest blessings this week
was that it literally all fell into place. It all worked out so
beautifully for us. Everyone that needed to be there was there, the
computer worked, we were able to get the Skype working. This was our
Nepali Sister's first opportunity to speak with someone in her native
tongue or even to really communicate at all since she came here. I
have never seen her so happy before. Reminded me a lot of my
experience when I first got here. MY companion and I had to leave,
unfortunately, but we had emailed all the material we needed to teach
to the Sister, and trusted it would all work out. We received an email
the next day which contained the words "She is so ready to be
baptised," I don't think I can describe how much joy I felt after
reading those words.

I testify of the power of the Spirit from this story. There is a quote
I believe from John Tanner that states that "conversion is the
greatest miracle." And true conversion can only come from the power of
the Holy Spirit. I can tell you right now that I am not telling this
story just to tell this story, or to say "Hey! We were able to teach
in Nepali!" I am telling this story because, like all stories of true
conversion, it is the convert that changes. It is the convert that
exercises the faith. It is the convert that receives the answers to
prayers that no mortal can sufficiently answer. No credit to us.

I testify of all these things in the name of Jesus the Christ, the Son
of God, Amen

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,

Elder Annen
"This is the big day! July 15, 2012!
This was a really good picture because I don't think Nepali people smile for pictures....But we caught her!  Her husband (left) baptized her.

July 1, 2012

I just want you to Marty that you are truely a one in a million friend!
Thanks buddy, you're the best ever!
I know you won't mind what I tell you...
Go on, t-tell me anything, tell me what!
I broke your iPod!
The buttons were so small, it made me mad!!
I'm Sorry!
I'm going to KILL you for this!
(back and forth fighting)
I love you Gloria! I always have!
Like... uh... like you love the beach... or or a good book... or the beach...
-skipping to the end-
Love transcends all differences. We are gathered here today to
celebrate such a love. Do you take each other for better or for worse?
For better, please!

Ok, ok, this one's going to take a bit to explain, so bear with me.
And don't jump to conclusions . It's ok, I'm still a missionary, I
have not proposed to anyone, I have not set a wedding date, it's just
a movie quote I will tie in to something later. I'm pretty sure most
of you didn't really think that in depth into the movie quote pick,
but I just wrote this little disclaimer because I can guarantee
someone out there will read this and all of a sudden go into a panic
mode. "Why is he writing about this? He's a missionary! He's not even
supposed to use words like marry! What is this? Has he met someone?!"
If you are the person thinking stuff like this... It's all good. Just
take a breather.

When I came out here, I knew there were going to be communication
problems. I mean, it's just a fact. When I saw the words "Korea" and
"Korean" on my call letter... I mean, c'mon... It's obvious. Went to
MTC, learned that I was really gonna have a rough time. Came to Korea,
had a rough time (still am as a matter of fact), but I have gotten to
the point where I can get the gist of stuff going on even if I don't
know the words, etc, etc... Turns out, Heavenly Father has a wonderful
sense of humor. One of our members has just proposed to his wife who
is not a member. She has agreed to let us teach her, and she wants to
be baptised. It is awesome, in fact it will be this next week, which
we are all excited about.. . . So, I imagine some of you are asking, "
where's the humor in that?" Well, this is where the movie quuote comes
in. Because, she is from Nepal. She speaks Nepali and Hindi. Her
husband only speaks English and Korean. She does not speak English or
Korean. We only have a Hindi Book of Mormon, and a Nepali Gospel
Fundamentals book (we can't find a Korean or English translation of
the book yet :) ) Nothing we have,besides the Book of Mormon, is in
both languages. Needless to say, our lessons are pretty entertaining.
Lots of picture drawing, miming. It would be so much fun to film and
watch over and over again.

Also, transfers were last week! They were awesome, it's nice to get
some changes. I'm still in my same area and I have a new companion!
And... he's also Korean! It's legit! Apparently two Korean companions
in a row is almost unheard of. There's an Elder here though that has
for his whole mission been with Korean companions, so when people hear
about what's up with who I'm serving with now, they almost always say,
"Oh, you're going to be THAT Elder.." I never know how to react to

Ah, in these past couple of weeks though, there have been some amazing
things happening. I will only recount one of them for you due to time.
We've been teaching a couple of kids ever since I've been in thise
area. They are both in middle school and we teach them English as well
as about the Gospel and Father in Heaven. Our meetings are pretty
casual, because they are just kids. We've taught them to pray, which
we do every meeting, but really nothing formal. For the fiirst eleven
weeks of meeting with them, I honestly didn't see anything happening.
With my new companion, we taught a little about the Holy Ghost, and
one of the kids pipes up and comments that that's what he feels when
he reads the Book of Mormon... Um... What? This is the first time (I
think) that we've brought it up. But it was such a sweet experience
for my companion and I. And to wrap it all up, about an hour after we
left, we were on our way to another appointment, we get a text from
their mom. Their mom was the person who asked us to teach her boys
English. Her text is a keeper. She described to us how before we had
met, her boys were slowly on the decline. They started hanging out
with come people who probably weren't the best examples of model
citizens. They didn't focus on school and one of them was suspended
for a couple of weeks. But once we began meeting with them, she says
the change was incredible. Looking back she can see the biggest
difference in how they act, how they talk, and all sorts of stuff. One
of the greatest texts I have ever received. Because they are so young,
and their parents are Buddhist, they probably will not be baptised
while I am here. But our purpose as missionaries is not just baptism.
Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. Even if they
dropped us now, and told us never to come back, I would be Ok with
that. I have full confidence in the Lord's plan for them. As
missionaries we are told constantly that the Lord is preparing people
everywhere and we just need to find them. I feel so blessed to be part
of the Lord's preparation.

Missionary work is such a joy to me. It is impossible to fail in this
work. All the Lord asks of us is to try. He knows we are learning as
we go, He will always be patient when we fall short. But he expects us
to keep trying.

"Why do we fall, Sir? ... So that we can learn to pick ourselves up."
"Haven't given up on me?"

He will never give up on us. Father in Heaven lives. He loves us. He
will always stand with us. I say these things in the name of Jesus
Christ, Amen.

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed
Elder Annen

"Our zone during my 2nd transfer!"
Top row, L to R:  me, Elder Lee, Elder Sargent, Elder Stein, Elder Christensen, Elder Boyer,
Elder Murdock (My 3rd companion)
Middle row: Sister Sonhee Cho, Sister Hill
Last row: Elder Brian, Elder Pulsipher