Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beatboxing door knocking and family reflections

Dear Family,
After the phone call with everyone this week I thought a lot about things, family, life, Korea. The more that I am here the more I realize that I really like Korea. It is different in some ways, but in a lot of ways it has become my home. My companions and I were playing a game of "would you rather" and Sister Jung asked "Would you rather go your entire life only eating Korean food or American food?" I thought about it for a long time. If I never could eat American food it means no bread, which is a big deal because I discovered that I really love bread and that Koreans just don't know how to make it. Could I really go the rest of my life without eating bread? But then again, could I really go the rest of my life without eating kimchi or rice wrapped in kim or car-guk-su? In the end it doesn't really matter because I know that I can eat both, but it was interesting to think about.
I was also thinking a lot about family. While at district meeting the other day I was listening to one of the Elders give a training and my mind started to wonder. I love missionary work, I love missionaries and I love the Elders in my area, but sometimes they can say things that are a little inconsiderate. So while I was sitting there feeling slightly ticked off I suddenly got a thought "what if that was Jonny?" or even "What if that was Louis?" I realized that no matter what they would have said I wouldn't have cared because they are missionaries and I would be proud of all that they had to go through and their determination to be there. Suddenly every Elder in the room became my brother, not like the over arching thought of "we are all children of God" but like my actual brothers. I could see Louis slouching in the chair next to me and Jonny giving a presentation about faith in finding people and Josh flicking paper wads at his companion. And suddenly I realized that's what it's like. That's what God sees us as, his family. We are not just like little paper dolls that he plays with, but literally his children that he knows by name. It was one of those moments where the things that you testify about every day becomes real and it sinks even deeper into your heart.
Then last night we were teaching a girl. Her name is Han Jung Yun and she is brilliant. She is 12 years old, but doesn't go to any afterschool program and yet she wins awards all the time and is almost fluent at English. So while we were teaching we pulled out the "Family: A Proclamation" and started discussing how the gospel helps our families. The first question we asked her was "How important is family?" She sat and thought about it for a minute. Then she responded "It's like air. You have to have air to breath and to survive. That is how important family is." Then her mom told us about how last summer when the daughter went to Canada to learn English the mother didn't eat kimchi for two months. Because the daughter couldn't eat kimchi the mother decided to commiserate with her by not eating any herself. If you understood how important kimchi is to a Korean you would be really touched. Koreans eat kimchi with every meal. Kimchi is as or more important than rice. As an American I'm not sure if you understand that statement, but just imagine how much you drink water, or how often you brush your teeth and then imagine stopping for two months.
Other things:
  • I am going to a cooking hog-won today. Hog-wons are like the staple of Korean education, EVERY child goes to at least two or three, they are like after school programs (ballet, basketball, art, piano, accordian), but then imagine that with the intensity of army boot camp from the time you are 6 and you have Korean education. Our bishop's wife runs a cooking hog-won and so I get to go today
  • I am going to see if I can't get some plastic surgery. Korea is known for it's plastic surgery which is amazing cheap and wonderful because everyone does it. My companion is getting a mole removed so I am going to see if I can't get a couple freckles taken off or this weird chicken pox scar filled in. Nothing too dramatic, no worries. We'll see....
Challenge of the week, reread The Family Proclamation and try something new with your own family.
Also, where is Roman? Is he still alive?
Sister O'Bryan
Daejeon PO Box 38
Chungcheong bukdo 300-600
South Korea

Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible- and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.
-Elder Uchtdorf

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