Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bazaar, Temple, Kimchi, Bulgogi and a Baptism!

After staff meeting this week, we sisters went down town to the Lotte Hotel.  They have a bazaar every year.  All the embassies from other countries bring things like crafts or clothing and food to sell and part of the proceeds go to charities in Seoul.  These beautiful Christmas trees were in the lobby.

This restaurant is just off the lobby.  The view out the window is quite nice.  Waterfalls coming down on the granite.  The photo does not do it justice.

These beautiful costumes from Kazakhstan caught my eye!

As did this T-shirt!

This elementary school choir performed.  They were amazing!

Tuesday was another temple day for us.  Here's a few of our favorite missionaries!  Afterwards we visited our favorite taco place.  Every time we go, we bring more people with us.  Our elder from Scottsdale was so happy to hear about this place.

Wednesday was the day we got to go help make kimchi for the Korean Red Cross.  Everyone gets masks, gloves, hair nets and a plastic bag to wear to protect your clothing from the sauce.  It is super hot!

They had tons of cabbage to process.

Then it is taped up and loaded onto a truck and taken away to ferment for a while.

Mormon Helping Hands (in Korean)

We also had two earthquakes this week.  I thought we were out of the earthquake zone here, but apparently not.  They were down south, but I felt both of them.  I recognize that feeling!

I got to go have bulgogi with some of our sisters!  (It's fun to say but bibimbap is more fun to say)

And to top off the week, we had a baptism Friday evening.  Sweet Grace is from China, studying in Seoul.  She does not speak much Korean, so she has been attending the English Branch.  Unfortunately, the missionaries cannot attend that branch since the building is located in the Seoul South Mission, but the members have loved making Grace feel welcome.  The baptism was held in our mission so the missionaries were happy to be there!

Meanwhile, back in Tucson, it's El Tour de Tucson.  The kiddos were out serving fruit and water to the bike riders just like their parents used to do when they were little.  Looks like a beautiful day in Arizona!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

November Zone Conferences

We were happy to see that they remembered to come back and work on the sidewalk again.  The lady in the red vest waved us over to keep us out of the way of their equipment.  Never mind the traffic.

And the next day it was looking pretty good.  They left some sand on it for us to trample into the cracks.

The mountain by the mission home is looking pretty colorful now.

Tuesday was temple day for the Seoul Stake missionaries.  It is wonderful to be in the temple with our missionaries!

The Zone Conferences this transfer had to be all squeezed into one week because the Area Mission President Seminar is this coming week.  The first one was out at Gangneung on Wednesday, then Seoul and Seoul Buk (North) on Thursday and Dong and Dongdaemun on Friday!

Sister Sonksen taught the missionaries to make stars to share with their friends.  We will be starting another "Light the World" Christmas service celebration soon.

We were trained about using the smart phones as a tool to help with missionary work.  Also that the brethren trust them to make good decisions and form good habits with media that they will use for the rest of their lives. 

After the conference, we went with Elder & Sister Whiting to the new Dairy Queen in town.  And then we went to see the light display down town.  Lots of the decorations were about the upcoming Olympics.  We've heard that there are plenty of tickets still!

Ski Jump


Speed Skating


And Transformers!

We also had some VIP visitors to our neighborhood.  The Presidential Palace (Blue House) or Cheong wa dae is just up the street and around the corner.  I took these photos from the laptop rather than trying to go over there.  But it was fun to see the traditional guard welcome ceremony.  We had lots of police out and about and American flags waving on the streets.

Friday evening after the last zone conference, we had a dinner with the senior couples at the mission home.  Two couples will be returning home in a few weeks and we have two couple that have just arrived recently.  Sister Sonksen called it a "Hail and Farewell" party.  We had a good time together.  Apparently we all forgot to take a picture though!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

More fun in Seoul

At church last week we met a young man and his father that were visiting in Seoul.  They had lived here a few years ago and had come back for a vacation.  Just before they left on their trip, the son had opened his mission call.  He will be coming to the Korea Seoul Mission!  He will arrive here in March.  We told the Sonksens that we had someone who would like to meet them and they came to the office on Monday.  They were surprised to be able to meet one of their missionaries before he went into the MTC.

We also had a missionary return to the mission after being home for a while.  That's always a happy day!

We've been working on emptying out some apartments recently.  One day, the elders showed us a fun place for lunch.

Don't ask what it's called.  Some kind of ramen with "American Meats" (spam and hot dogs?).  But it came with unlimited Tater-Tots!  And kimchi!!

Saturday was our district temple day.  We had several of the senior couples there.  The Blacks will be returning home to Utah this month.  We also had a surprise visit from Elder & Sister Park who went home to Australia last year.  They had served in the Seoul South Mission.

We had a wonderful day at church today.  From the opening hymn "Israel Israel God is Calling".  We had visitors from Russia that brought a special spirit to our meetings.  Luckily, we have a young man who was able to translate for them.   We had testimonies in Tagalog and Russian.  It was sweet to our ears to hear the Russian testimonies and it was nice that we could still recognize a few words, but mostly it was nice to feel the Spirit.  Then a sweet baptism of a filipino sister after the block.  Then we had a "Break the Fast" luncheon afterwards.  We have volunteered to be adopted into the filipino group!  It is a special, unique branch of the church.  

The Olympic torch has arrived in Korea.  They had a welcoming ceremony at the Incheon Airport and now it is in the south part of Korea.  It will be coming through our neighborhood in January.

This is how the flame was transported from Greece.  You can follow along at:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Wonju trip and New Phones

This is a photo of some of our senior friends.  We got together for dinner at our apartment September 30th.  Elder & Sister Bowman had just arrived to start their mission (Military).  We had taken them out earlier in the day to show them around Seoul.  We about wore ourselves out since it was just at Chuseok time and there were crowds of shoppers everywhere!  We also had Elder and Sister Nielsen and Sister Pence from the Temple, Elder & Sister Robinson (Public Relations), Elder and Sister Ulvestad (Military) and Elder & Sister Black from Seoul South Mission.  We had a great time together.

This week we welcomed another senior couple.  Elder & Sister Whiting have arrived as our medical specialists.  We're happy they're here.  He's already taken several calls from ill missionaries!

We have been trying to get out to visit one of the apartments in an outlaying area of the mission.  We decided to have Elder Whiting do the driving (break 'em in early!)  Elder & Sister Black have been wanting to visit the pottery factory we visited last year.  Actually Elder Black did not want to, but he humored his wife.

This is the wholesale shop for the dishes.  No website for them, but we've tracked them down by word of mouth.  The factory is in the back and they let us go watch the process for a while.

We did actually help the sisters with all the repairs for their apartment too.  We had to go explore the town to find a shop that sells curtains.  We were happy that it ended up successful!

To get a real Korean experience, we stopped at a highway rest stop and found something to eat.  A nice man offered to take our picture for us.

We've still had to dodge the land mines from the trees, but we're hoping it's about over since the leaves are beginning to fall now.

Big news about the new phones!  They finally arrived.  We have heard rumors for months but had no idea when they'd actually come.

So the elders have lots of training to do this week to get everyone set up by Tuesday.

Are senior missionaries allowed to use ear phones?  Now he can be like everyone else in the subways.

They are actually putting up a building on that little tiny piece of land.  They'll have to use a ladder because there's no room for a stair well!  It's like a big giant set of Lincoln Logs.

Friday we also had a branch camp out.  We went for the dinner.  We actually went to the wrong park on base and had to call to have someone come find us, but it was fun anyway.

We had our Primary program at church today.  The children did a great job.  So sweet!  They sang the first verse of "I Am a Child of God" in Korean!

They're having Halloween parties back home.  I have to share this one of our son in law and our grandson.

Who is having more fun?  Dad or baby!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mapo Shrimp Festival 마포

One of our projects recently has been hanging up maps to show where our missionaries are from.

We have 11 missionaries from countries other than US and Korea

We even have a special one for Utah from Ogden to Santaquin.  We decided this one was too small.  We'll get a bigger one for all our Utahans.

We've also been working on some apartments.  After our meeting Monday morning, we went with the office elders to move the Ilsan Sisters into their new place.  Their old apartment was so very tiny.  The new apartment is not especially "new" but it is much bigger.

And since we needed a new tire on the van and we were in the neighborhood, we spent some time at Costco while the tire was being changed.

Tuesday afternoon we went out to fix a light at the sister's apartment in Girum.  It was a pretty quick fix.  Someone at church asked if we had been in Girum this week.  She spotted us at the subway station.

Then on Wednesday we took possession of another apartment.  This is for our new medical couple that will arrive this Tuesday.  We've been gathering up more stuff to stock this new apartment.

One morning on our way to the office, we saw these workers.  One man has a stick that he uses to shake the limbs of these trees to make the berries fall.  They are nasty to step on so they're trying to get it over with.

And we saw this interesting building one day when we were out and about.

And we "found" a burger shop.  Wow, remind me not to do that again!

Saturday we went out to Mapo.  The World Cup Stadium is right at the subway station.  We had heard about this festival they have every year, so we wanted to see it.

This was a pretend school and the kids are trying to learn their symbols.  A little girl that was pretending to be a teacher was hitting the tables with her pointer and telling them what's what!

This was a mock up of an old prison.  He looks pretty happy to be locked up though!

Games for old & young

Instead of sand, it has rice husks to play in.  It's a wrestling game.

An ox cart ride

And some Chinese costumes.

Weaving with rice stalks

But this is what we really wanted to see.  We thought it would be at 2:00, but found out that it would be at 4:00.  That's why there was no one around.

So, in the mean time, we went next door to the fish market.

Giant crabs

And lots of other stuff.

And even some non-crowded space.  We found some snacks to eat while we waited.

Then this "Pop Orchestra" started up.  They're pretty cool guys.  I mean, look at those hats!

One couple even did some dancing.

And before you knew it, they had a big crowd.  The little ladies that came late somehow managed to work their way to the front.  Watch out!

These are very typical Korean ladies.  With their visors, wind breakers and backpacks.  All they're missing is their shopping carts or their hiking poles!

Finally it was time to line up.  All the kids got a bag for their shrimp.

He threw the shrimp into the pond,

Then this guy went in and picked up all the dead ones and threw them at the crowd.  One landed by us, but we let the lady by us have it!

Then they let all the kids in.

After a few minutes, the shrimp were all caught, so the kids climbed back out.  If they didn't get to catch one, they could go get one from the guy in the truck.  I only noticed one boy crying about missing out.  One older man went in with the kids, but they made him get out.

The staff had some neat t shirts

Then they let the adults go in and have a turn after they restocked the pool.

We decided that was enough fun for one day, so we headed home.  Turns out everyone was heading home then too.  It was pretty crowded.

When we got back to town, there were thousands of people with these yellow hats on.  Some type of convention maybe.  They didn't seem to be protesting anything!