It's amazing how little time you have to do things here at the MTC. You get a lot accomplished (i.e. I have already learned to pray, bear testimony, read, and sing in Korean) but it seems that all those other things seem to dissipitate.
It is amazing being here at the MTC, I can feel the Lord's love more than I thought possible. The first day, in trepidation, I met my new companion and low and behold, there are actually two of them. There are currently 11 missionaries in the MTC who will be going to Korea and 5 of them came in at the same time that I did. This means that there is a threesome of elders and a threesome of sisters.
My companions are Sister West from Emmet Idaho and Sister Kelley from La Canada (which I'm told is near Los Angeles). They are both really neat people, Sister West studied Chinese for a year previously and so she picked up on the pronunciation and everything else really quick and is much like a tutor for Sister Kelley and I. It is nice to have three people trying to learn it because when you forget something then they can remind you.
I suppose they are cutting back on the missionaries that they send to Korea because my teachers talked about the fact that there were 70 missionaries who came in at the same time they did, but now there are only 6 of us. Something about a redistribution of missionaires churchwide. I'm not sure, but I'm glad I'm going to Korea.
On Sunday my branch president (who served with my mission President, President Perriton) told all the sisters all about Korea. For an hour he and his wife just talked about all the wonderful things about Korea. For example, since Koreans are smaller it may be difficult to find the right sized clothing, but you can pretty much find anything if you know the right place to look. Also, if you are smaller than you can find anything because Korea is the fashion mecca for all of Asia and so they have all sorts of great fashion.
Koreans are also some of the most friendly people in the world and some of the most honest as well. Branch President Carlson let us know that when he lived there with his two daughters he never once feared for their safety. Also, there are no guns in Korea and since I am a foreigner then they will show special respect towards me (it's just their culture).
Interesting tid bit that I learned from my branch president's wife: it is custom when you are in a public bathroom to knock on the stall to see if someone is inside. If there is someone inside, you knock back, otherwise they will attempt to come in. Yikes!
They also have really good shoe repair and dry cleaning (always a plus) which is really fast, honest, and reliable.
If any of you guys want really discounted scriptures inscribed with your name, send me some money and I'll buy you some because at the MTC bookstore missionaries get a pretty decent discount on everything. I'm not sure the exact price, but if you are interested, let me know.
I don't think I will be gaining the MTC pounds. My companions go to morning gym which is where the gym is open up for an extra half hour from 6-6:30 AM just for sisters and an instructor teaches things like step aerobics, yoga, toning/stretching, and other miscellaneous fun work outs. I also am on the 4th floor of the residence halls and the 5th floor of the class rooms. This means that my buns burn every day, every day. Especially if one of my companions forgets something and we have to make an extra journey.
I have four teachers, which I suppose is a little unusual, usually you just have two in the MTC, but I find that each knows a little bit more and so I get to learn a lot.
I love learning Korean because for one of the first times it requiresme to really try. It is not like in school where I can go home and study or like many topics in school where I just breezed by. I have a very limited amount of time and God expects me to use all of it and to do so effectively.
As I apply myself I experience real brain struggle (it's like my brain is burning). However, I also get to feel how magnificient it is when things finally "click" and I know it is God helping me. The gift of tongues is real, but like the gift of prayer or anything else God gives us-- it requires our effort. After ALL we can do (and He means it) then He will help us.
Challenge for the week:
Boyd K. Packer said:
"true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."
How have your gospel studies changed you lately? How do you see this change in your life? Respond (preferably through snail mail since my email time is extremely limited).
If someone gets this, please call mom and tell her to check her email, because I know she doesn't do that too frequently.
I love you all,
Sister Rebecca O'Bryan