Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Week 2 in Gwangju

Dear family,

Being a missionary is great. My companion, Sister Jeong, is a wonderful trainer and although I have to ask a lot of questions because I am American and she is Korean, she works really hard in her limited English to answer all of my questions and concerns. In Korea there is something called Jeong, which is a type of friendship, except closer. If you can build jeong then you can basically get people to do anything, come to church, read scriptures, etc. Sister Jeong explained that it goes back to when Korea was mostly a farming country and farmers would go to the surrounding farms in order to help out their neighbors in farming and then they would of course talk about their families, lives, and feed each other. Sister Jeong, like her name would denote, is a master at building jeong. Usually it consists of being very friendly, showing pictures of family, and eating. A lot. I think I will probably gain 30 pounds on my mission.

For Christmas I am allowed to have a family phone call of 40 minutes or less and since our phones can't call internationally I will need you to call me. The phone number is 010-2779-9048, I don't know the country code and since my companion has never had to call she thinks it is either 40 or 48... you can look it up because you all have the internet. Anyway, so I am allowed to have one prelimanary call to set up a good time to call on Christmas. Whoever wants to do that can, probably Dad or Josh since they know how to do all that neat technology. Times that work best for me, in Korea, are in the morning (8am-10:30am) or later at night (after 9pm).

We have been meeting a lot of great investigators this week and they are really progressing, reading the Book of Mormon, praying and things like that. Almost all of our lessons though are split lessons, 30 minutes English 30 minutes Korean. I never learned how to teach English and so when I found out that suddenly I have to teach all of these lessons by myself and come up with games, vocabularly, etc, it was a bit daunting. Thankfully, I know English.

Also, my speech has slowed down a lot. In order to be understood in English I have to talk VERY slowly and since I know so little Korean that is also very slow. When I return I will probably sound like a robot.

Korean Things:
-There are these ladies who sell yogurt drinks that wear these yellow outfits and walk around with their cute little carts. So funny.
-Bus drivers are a little crazy. Actually, every driver is. I think that they must not have any traffic laws because red lights are basically just yield signs, crosswalks mean nothing, and bus drivers manuever their buses like they are motorcycles.However, it is not bad, just different. Also, no one wears seatbelts. The other day we got a ride home from a member family and they piled five of us in the back seat, a 100 day old baby, 2 year old, two missionaries, and a mother and when I went to put on my seatbelt they explained that they are necessary unless you are sitting in the front. I think they must think the same of child car seats.
-We eat lots of vegetables and fruit. The members feed us as if we have never seen food before and of course we have to eat everything they put in front of us or else we may offend them. Since it is all delicious, I have no problem with this. Surprisingly, even though I have eaten at lots of different member's houses, there always seems to be some new side dish they serve.

Christmas time is a time of miracles-- Christ was born miracles and his entire life was spent performing miracles. Also the Lord tells us that through faith we can perform many miracles. As my teacher at the MTC said, the greatest miracle is the changing of the human heart. God can control the elements, he can control the weather and the earth, but he gave us all our wills and when we choose to make right choices then we become miracles ourselves. Since we are approaching Christmas time, I thought it might be neat everyone sent me a story about miracles.

I love you all, sorry that my English has gone down hill, the lack of email time and trying to learn Korean has done that to me I think.

Sister Rebecca O'Bryan


  1. Gwangju was my greenie area! (충장 ward) That is so cool.

  2. hey cutie pie! i am going to write you soon (i hope!) but i'm glad i found your blog. hope you are well! merry christmas! i'm in utah right now and i wish i could come visit you. love you!