Sunday, February 18, 2018

Crazy Few Weeks!

We hope you understand that when there is a large gap between posts it is because of the pace of our schedule!  What a crazy few weeks it has been.  However, in the midst of the busyness we got lots of time with our missionaries.

We wanted to start this post off with some amazing thoughts from a missionary.  Think of this as a small summary from a general conference.  We get a few of these each week and would like to share it:

I started by searching the word "negativity" in the General Conference section of Gospel Library. There weren't very many results, but one that I found linked to a talk related to gratitude. I realized that was what I needed: gratitude. For a long time, I have been struggling to focus on my blessings and was focusing unhealthily on things that were wrong: the things I wasn't doing, the things my companion was struggling with, the investigators who weren't agreeing to baptismal dates, the few ways we were failing to be imperfect in obedience. I was focusing on these things so much that I was missing the joy and happiness that came from the blessings Heavenly Father was giving to us: a couple progressing investigators, a loving and always serving companion, a desire to do God's will and a testimony of the restored gospel, and most of all, the marvelous wonder of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I realized that gratitude for what we have, what others do, and what the Lord is doing for us is needful for me to conquer my self-defeating attitude and for other missionaries to work with greater faith, hope and optimism.

We posted last time about the fireside with Alex Boye.  Later in that week, Alex did a special concert and any missionary who had an investigator with them was able to attend.  Over 300 non-church members attended the two nights.  So many with interest in our message.
Two of our missionaries were invited by Alex onto the stage to participate.  I only captured a few moments, but you'll see their faces and their loved ones will recognize them.

Later, Alex invited all the missionaries in attendance from the Seoul and Seoul South Missions on to the stage to share some feelings and music. Sorry if it comes out sideways! If you want to better appreciate the energy of this song, you can go to YouTube and search for Lemonade - Alex Boye or click here: Lemonade
Over the weekend the missionaries were busy filling fonts for five baptisms.  We wish every weekend were like this.  There were too many for us to attend them all, but we attended the ones we could.  What bright lights they are.

The tall Korean missionary third from the right is one of the ones going home this transfer.  His parents, who are next to him, came to see his final work!  What a great experience we had with them.

The weekend was all about preparing for and making transfer calls.  Given an important late meeting Saturday, we moved transfer calls up 24 hours which got everyone excited.  Then on Monday, those wonderful, dear missionaries who have been faithful to their 18 or 24 months came to enjoy the evening with us before they departed.  There may be signs of puffy eyes in the pictures! (okay, really it's just Terri but, what's a mom gonna do?)

 Sometimes they like to get a little funny!  Our home is full of laughter and happiness.
They are great about being willing to help clean up.  We have to have aprons for them!!!
It was hard saying goodbye, but there is also joy in the departure.  They have new adventures ahead and we can look forward to future meetings, the dates of which are unknown.
 The sister in the olive jacket actually helped us say goodbye to both groups, but she didn't leave until her family picked her up the next day.  We had two Filipino missionaries return at 4 in the morning and we didn't get good pictures. We had a Korean elder go home, but in the madhouse of the train station didn't capture his picture.
On the evening of the departure day for these thirteen we got six new missionaries.  One will only be with us four weeks before she heads off to the US for her service.  She will actually be in much warmer climes serving in the Hawaii Visitors Center - Korean speaking.  All of us resident in Korea right now would love to consider such an assignment!  Here she is with her mother who dropped her off into the care of her two trainers:
 It's always fun to travel to the airport to meet the new missionaries.  Terri makes it an adventure for those who accompany us to give them their first experience on the subways meeting people.

 We then welcome the terrific new missionaries coming from the MTC. We have Hawaii, Washington, New York, and Utah represented in this group.
The next morning we had a nice visit with them all, assigned companions, oriented them to their new surroundings, fed them lunch and sent them on their way.  We have lots of pictures here, but we want the families to have them for their records.

You know how parents are always so proud of her children?  Sometimes when things go well, and you're left alone, you can gaze at each other, after all it was Valentines Day!.
With transfers come new leaders.  We had new zone leaders, sister training leaders and a new assistant to the president.  We had our first  Mission Leadership Council with these leaders. This is a great group to be with. They are full of great ideas and faith.

We had another great opportunity to visit with some of our missionaries who had returned home. It's like having the kids come home for a few minutes.  It's never enough time for the parents.
We think it's important you get a sense for the amazing insights we see from our missionaries as the emails come in each week.  Here's one from a fairly young elder:

Super funny analogy but this investigator really liked to workout. We compared his workout routine to trying to learn the gospel for himself. We told him that if we workout for one day, we aren't going to gain all the muscle in that very moment. But as we take it one day at a time, and learn to work as hard as we can, we can gain the image that we want to be. Same with the gospel, we begin learning little by little with the simple things. Things such as praying, reading, and attending church can really build us up into what the Savior wants us to be. We explained to him that through this life, we experience trials and challenges that try to push us down, just like a weight may when we are benching. But its that resistance, or those trials, that really pull and tear at our spiritual muscles and help us grow.

 Thank you for sending such amazing, intelligent young people!  We are amazed and humbled as they share their gifts.

This week we also saw a few funny things while driving:
If you missed it, Buzz saved Woody again this week.

 If you ever want to have your excess cellulose babysat, here's the place for you.
 What at first glance looks like a construction worker is just another 'dummy' to get your attention. These workers are less expensive to replace and take care of...

Lastly, there has to be food.  After a very long day, a few of the missionaries invited us to join them for dinner and to chat with a young man who is here teaching English.  We love food and good company.
Another two weeks has passed on this fast track.  It's like we're in a whirlpool that gets faster and faster as we get closer to the middle.  Thanks for all your support and prayers for each of our missionaries!  It's great to be part of their lives.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Wow, these missionaries are so fun! We even had some special visitors...

We had another great week! Four days of interviews with amazing missionaries!  We did some in our home for those closer. We'd love to have them all here if it were not so far for them to travel. We may do more house visits next transfer.
 It was a bit warmer this week!  There were a few times of cold toes, but rare compared to last week.

 The two elders below both have mothers from the Philippines.  One is a cousin of a missionary in our mission from the Philippines.

 Some are not happy unless they can do a few things...

 What can be said more about this photo.  You can tell who's taking the picture based on who's missing...

 After a long day of interviews, sometimes it is fun to sit with them and just chat.  They are wonderful young people!

 The lone threesome in our mission right now.  They are such a delightful set of missionaries!

We could say something special about each one of these missionaries.  We have so much fun chatting and joking with them.  They literally occupied the entirety of our week, Tuesday through Friday with the last two being the Assistants to the President on Saturday.

Sunday was  amazing. After a great day of spiritual uplift, we had the opportunity visit with some wonderful individuals.  Many of our missionaries were able to participate as well.  The recording star Alex Boye (spelling miss I know) is in Korea for a few days to share his love for the gospel and to share his talent to lift and bless others.
Additionally, coming to welcome the 2018 US Olympic team members to Seoul is the 2014 Silver Medal winner, Noelle Pikus-Pace and her husband and designer of her sled, Janson.  She has a wonderfully inspirational story.
Alex Boye is an amazing performer. There's a wonderful story about him he tells in his fireside.  A little background can be found on YouTube: Alex Boye
He shared his life story and then performed several songs, one of which he performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir which was very touching: I want to walk with Jesus
We will have the opportunity to visit with him again this week.

The upcoming week is all about preparing for and announcing transfers.  Thirteen missionaries are leaving and five coming. That will affect many.  The blog update next week may be smaller.

We are so happy to be here!  How many times have we said that?   From our first day we have been incredibly  blessed and time is racing.  We so miss the ones who have finished their missions and returned home. We get to see a few periodically, but with most living in the US or other countries, the opportunities are few for another year plus.  We miss them all!