Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy New Year!

Look at that big jerk... Ruined my life, and for what?! A stupid kid! Because of you I am now stuck here in this frozen wasteland!
Waste land? I think you mean WONDERLAND! I mean how about all this fabulous snow, huh? Oh, and wait til you see the local village, cutest thing in the world! I haven't even mentioned all the free yaks milk!
Wait... what did you say?
Uh, the yaks milk! Milk from a yak isnt exactly a picnic, but once you pick the hairs out, it's very nutritious!

Well Happy New Year everybody!! Happy Sonlar and New Years Blessings Many Receive please! That's the literal word for word translation by the way :) And I picked this one because it's kinda cold here in my new area. In fact quite frigid. We traveled to and stayed in Seoul for three days so we could make it to the mission conference/celebration. Which was incredibly fun, we had an absolutley fabulous time and ate deuk-guk. Rice cake soup, traditional for new years.... SOoooo good ^^ But yeah, we travel back, get to our house. Now, we're really high up in our building. And the area's in the mountains. And it is winter time. And it is really cold. And when we got to our house.... The water heater was frozen solid ^^ Happy New Years gift for us... You thing coal is bad to receive for Christmas? Try this one. The house was down to about nine degrees C, and... Well that right there should about cover any and all explanation needed. We finally got it fixed earlier this morning, and man... Don't think I was ever so happy to see the thermostat hit just 15 degrees ^^ Heh. Also fun little thing that happened. Everyone went out of town this week. Almost everyone. So, Saturday, during the conference, I get a call from the branch president. Asks if I can give a talk. I'm thinking of all the travel time we have to get back to our area, and I think, yes, I can do that. Two hours later, he calls again. Do I play the piano? ... I can try the right hand. Great! Here are the four we'd like you to play tomorrow, can you do that? ... My mind is racing, don't know if I'll even have time to get to a piano to practice this stuff once, but yeah, sure I can try. Ah, thanks so much... Hour later, he calls again. I look down at the phone, see who it is, kind of brace myself, and sure enough, ten minutes later I'm also teaching the Elders Quorum... heh ^^ It was quite the fun time. I hesitate to put it this way, but 'luckily' no one was able to make it for Elder's quorum ^^ Too much of a good thing, you know ^^

One of the things that impressed me has been the study of the the book of Alma (in the Book of Mormon) There was one word that stood out to me in the first chapter.Twentyninth verse. It begins, "And now, because of the steadiness ot the church, they became exceedingly [blessed]..." I want to point out to you the word 'steadiness.' I want to first point out what it does NOT say. It did not say righteousness, though that is implied. It did not say perfection, though the fact that they were striving toward that is unquestionable. It says steadiness. This word to me means diligence, it means constant and consistent perserverence. When I one time gave a few words about diligence, I had brought in the story of the tortoise and the hare. I went over the story, then compared the opposing sides of their personalities. Fast, slow. Arrogant, humble. Hair, no hair(yes that actually makes a difference). And we all realized though, that the only attribute that made the difference is truely steadiness, diligence. I think we all can learn this lesson ourselves, to not worry about the speed that we're at and if we're slower or even faster than other people. Choosing to be righteous for one day is fantastic! But if the next day we just go back to where we were before, that effort was wasted. Every day, do a little bit. And then the next day do a little bit more than the little bit you did the day before. It makes a difference.

Love you all!
새해 복 많이 받으세요!
Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed!
Elder Annen

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Weather! Very Peculiar!

What was THAT?!? HahahA! The weather! Hm. Very peculiar!
Yeah, it looks like the winds are changing. I know what I have to do. But going back means that I'll have to face my past. I've been running from it for so long...
OW! What was that for?!
Doesn't matter! It's in the past!
Yeah, but it still hurts...
Oh yes the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it! Or learn from it!
-tries to nail him agin, dodges-
Aha! You see? Now! What are you going to do?

Heh Lo Everyone! How is everyone doing?! I hope you are all just fine and dandy! I'm doing pretty well myself. Kinda cold, I'm not going to tell you how cold because I know you don't want to hear it. (guess where that quotes from^^) No! I'm told its getting down to about negative twenty degrees Celcius here sometime soon... No, excited is not quite the word I would use right now. This one was from the Lion King, pretty sure I've quoted this one before, possibly even a year ago... But, it's kinda hard to remember that far back. I like this one because of that incredible transforming moment before this quote.

One of the funniest reactions that I think I get from people is their reaction to just the fact that I'm a foreigner. Seriously, especially where I am right now, they will just be shocked to see a white guy walking down the street. Sometimes they even just yell it out loud, "foreigner!!" just in shock. And I think I've found my favorite way to respond to this. I was at the mart, just looking around, I think it was at the different side dishes to go with rice or something. All of a sudden, I kid you not, this woman across from me had been looking down at the dishes, looked up at me and yelled for the whole mart to hear "AHH! FOREIGN PERSON!" "Whe-Guk-Een!!" Everyone in the entire mart turns and stares. And I immedaitely answer, reacting exactly the same way she did. Surprised jump back, eyes get really wide and I say loudly (I didn't have to yell, people had gotten quiet) but I say "AHH! KOREAN PERSON!!" ... ...I don't think I've ever been the cause for so much laughter in my life! People were busting up, I was busting up, the woman was. It was great.

I also had a wonderful miracle happen yesterday. I just learned that a man I had helped teach in my last area had gotten baptized yesterday! Such a blessing. His story is definitely a keeper. The last email I had written was the afternoon before we met him for the second time, so I haven't been able to really talk about him. But anyway. This brother has been coming to church for actually a few months. His girlfriend is a member and he would always come with her. The missionaries had of course offered to teach him many times, but at first he really wasn't that interested. He was just there because he liked the atmosphere, and because, of course his girlfriend was there. He was also a very busy man. He was the president of his branch of the company, and didn't really have a lot of time to meet even if he wanted to. I arrived in the area around his fourth month of coming to church. We were able to meet him the day before transfer calls at the end of last transfer. So we meet with him and find out that while he has learned a lot from coming out to church so often, everything was just in a jumble. He knew about prophets, but really had no idea where they fit in. He had of course heard of Christ and God but he had no concept of what those things could possibly mean, and so on and so forth. So that evening, while we had planned to teach for about 45 minutes, the lesson stretched to about two and a half hours or so. The beginning was just packed with us answering question, starting with prophets, the Godhead, the Church, Apostles, and also telling him somethings we would just have to teach him later. He also asked a lot about baptism, telling us that his girlfriend really wanted him to be baptized. At this point we see where he is, and we focus the lesson on faith and prayer and of course the First Vision. We wanted to give him the desire and the faith for the actions. We had just enough time to watch the Joseph Smith Restoration video, and it went well. We answered a few of his questions after then we all bowed good night, and went our merry way. This was Friday evening. Sunday, we see him at church, and he is quite friendly to us. HE is the one that strikes up the conversations and is talking to us, before, he was with the bishop and the older members and didn't really talk much with us. This change was unexpected to us, but we were happy. We meet him that Monday evening, after I sent my email. We meet, and we exchange 'pleasantries' and the like, start with a prayer, and ask him if he was able to pray since our last meeting. He said no. We were disappointed, we thought our last lesson had gone so well. We started to talk to him about the importance of prayer, and how it was necessary to receive revelation from God. And he jumped on that. Yes! he said, Revelation! You mentioned it last time. What is Revelation, and how do we receive it?! We take this as a good sign, and we talk about the still small voice and the feeling of peace that most people experience. He waved that aside, and said, What about Joseph Smith? Was that just a feeling of peace? We then explain about the others, visions, angels, and dreams. He gets quiet. He looks at us with a very sober, thoughtful look on his face. He starts out interestingly. He tells us, "I'm a heavy sleeper" ...ok... He continues on, "I don't dream. The last dream I can remember was maybe three or four years ago... Last Friday night, I dreamed. I dreamed my mother came and spoke to me about that movie that you showed me." He went on to describe his dream, and ended with "When can I be baptized?" I've rarely in my life, but more frequently on my mission, rarely ever felt so happy for someone else. The Sprirt was incredible.

Then I transferred.... ^^

Hope you all are happy and healthy.
Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,

Elder Annen