Thursday, July 15, 2010

Words from a Nephite

Dear family,
This past week my companion, Sister Copeland, returned home. (Technically she is staying with her mom's family in Gwangju for a few weeks and then headed back to Atlanta, but for all practical purposes she has returned). Which means I got a new companion, Sister Nam (남윤회)! She went to BYU for a few years before her mission as well and her home is up in Seoul right next to the temple, neat huh? We also have a new face, Elder Stephenson, who came to Korea last week. But I haven't really seen him because he has been in the hospital with an ulcer. Getting an endoscopy is not fun in America, but in Korea where they don't really use anesthetics, it's really not fun. Poor kid.
Last week we met with Moon Un Sook (문은숙 )and her children. A few weeks ago we gave the children the Book of Mormon story books to read and they have since read the entire thing. It was funny because as we began teaching the daughter, You Me (오유미) looked at me and asked "Are you a Nephite?" I was a little taken aback and began to try to explain that I was actually European when she said "You're skin is white. The Nephites had white skin. Am I a Lamanite?" Then she asked how you say that in English. It's hard to explain that usually that kind of thing is not really kosher in America, but she and her brother just kept going back and forth making fun of each other's skin color and then she looked at me and said "How do you say you have red skin, because your face is really red!" Oh... kids.
One of the other Elders who finished his mission came by with his parents to see the traditional folk village in Jeonju and later stopped by while we were having English class. It was really weird to see Americans. I guess I see myself every day in the mirror and I see Elders, but it's different, because they know Korean. But these fresh-off-the-plane foreigners from Springville, Utah just seemed so out of place. In Korea when you are not Korean people usually point at you and talk about you-- because most foreigners don't understand Korean. I'm used to it because I've been here for a while, and usually I just talk back in Korean and they get really shocked. It's the funniest with little kids because they will point and tug at their mom's shirts saying "mom, look at the weird foreigner" so then I will say hi and they will get big eyes and look at their mom and say "they speak Korean!"
Other things I will probably have to become re-accustom to when I get back to the US:
  • Being politically correct (things like calling people fat, asking your age, job, salary, telling people to remove the unsightly moles on their face, and other socially acceptable things in Korea are a little rude in America)
  • Eating with a fork/ eating only from my own plate
  • Not recycling everything/ throwing my food in the regular trashcan/ not having to buy special trash bags
  • Having to bum rides from people (since there aren't any good bus systems or taxis)
  • Being normal, no one calling me beautiful and patting my back the first time we meet
This weeks challenge is from the Lord. I was reading an article from the July Liahona by Elder Oaks which talked about sharing the gospel. He mentioned the fact that most people view Mormons as being shy about their religion and kind of defensive, like we expect people to reject it. But really, this is the best thing I have to offer other people. I don't have money, I can't solve all their problems myself, I can't give them candy or food or shelter, but I have the gospel and it has helped me more than anything in my life to overcome trials, to feel happiness, to meet other people, the feel fulfilled. It's the only thing I have. It's the best I have. So let's share it.
D&C 19: 37
" 37 And aspeak freely to all; yea, preach, exhort, declare the btruth, even with a loud voice, with a sound of rejoicing, crying—Hosanna, hosanna, blessed be the name of the Lord God! "
Sister O'Bryan
Daejeon PO Box 38
Chungcheong bukdo 300-600
South Korea

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