So this past week wasn't too jam packed with events and appointments because it was Seoullal. From Wednesday to Friday Koreans celebrate the lunar new year together. It's pretty much vacant when we go outside and everyone is busy because everyone goes home to their hometowns and visits family. The younger generations dress up in the traditional Korean Hanbok and wish their elders (grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents) a happy new year by performing one deep traditional bow and say "saehae bok mani badeuseyo" (새해 복 많이 받으세요) which translates to "Please receive a lot of luck in the New Year" or "Happy New Year." Then the older generation gives them new year's money, or "pocket money." Now my question is why does America not have this tradition?? I want money! haha
So because everyone is busy all the missionaries got together by zone and we had training and celebrated Seoullal together. I tried my best to take lots and lots of pictures. So enjoy! We made our own dumpling tteokguk (soup with sliced rice cakes) and homemade kimbab. Which is a traditional Korean food that is customarily eaten for the New Year. The Korean New Year is similar to a birthday for Koreans, and eating tteokguk is part of the birthday celebration. Once you finish eating your tteokguk, you are one year older. So you age pretty quickly here in Korea. I'm already 22. I can definitely feel my body aging because every morning my body aches and makes cracking or popping noises. Definitely not a good sign. It's probably not the tteokguk that's the problem. Missionary work is taking it's toll on my body.
After making dumpling tteokguk and Kimbab together we all visited Chinatown and did a picture scavenger hunt. It was so fun! It was definitely a smart idea that I didn't bring my wallet. So many cool souvenirs. I thought of a majority of you when I saw things you might like. I just was bummed because it was all Chinese and nothing Korean. There's a video I sent home of a Turkish man teasing people with ice cream. Seriously, he's hilarious and a good entertainer. Sorry nothing is in English and not really at a good angle. We all had a good laugh watching him though. After Chinatown we all met back at the church and here's the best part of the day... we watched Meet The Mormons! So fun! You have no idea how much I've been wanting to watch it. President Morrise and his wife and been talking about it and I was so anxious to see it. It was pretty good too. I liked that they showed members from all of the word with different backgrounds. And having all the TV shows that joke about Mormons at the beginning was funny. If you haven't seen it, definitely watch it. It's a great way to know more about Mormons and get the correct facts not just rumors. I'm sure a majority of you have already watched it though. I'm just so behind haha.
Other news is that I'm living with a Korean again. Sister Mortensen who is serving in Bupyeong is training and on Wednesday we found out she's training the cutest Korean greenie, Sister Gil. So it's been nice having her join our apartment. It also means we have to speak Korean a lot more too, but that's ok. Elder Dewey and Elder Andersen's investigator Sam is progressing like crazy still. A cool story was the about a week ago I was watching the Mormon message about fatherhood and it made me think about Sam and how it would be perfect for him because he is a father. I had a feeling (the spirit!!!) that I should tell the elders to show it to them. Well, they did this past weekend and it was perfect! The elders called us later and said that Sam said, "if that's a Mormon then that's who I want to be." He's really excited for his baptismal date in March. Great right? It gets even better. Yesterday, I asked the elders before church started if Sam would be coming and because of Seoullal he had told the elders he couldn't. BUT after sacrament meeting he came! It was such a surprise! Turned out that he really didn't want to miss and he had an hour of free time before he needed to go so he came just for Sunday school and then had to leave. He's just so solid!!
Our investigators are still doing well. We were able to meet with Crystal again. She is doing so great! She even brought her cousin to our lesson and we played bingo together. :D
We are still thinking about giving her a baptismal commitment but just aren't sure how to ask or when the right timing is because she still has no clue what baptism is and what it even means to be baptized. We're going to continue teaching her and so far she's doing well. Today when we meet her, we plan on following up on how her experience with prayer has been going and then begin teaching her simply what the Plan of Salvation is. I love her so much and can already see her in a white beautiful dress one day going to the temple. She has lots to learn but if she continues to seek to find the truth in her life, I know our Heavenly Father will bless her and the Lord will help her find her way to Him.
We have lots of potential investigators so we've mostly been trying to keep in touch with them and our other investigators. We officially referred Esther over to the sisters living in her area. We met with our grandma investigator Catalina and she's hilarious! She is so good at writing in English too. She can write in cursive! I was so shocked! haha But she struggles with speaking so most of what we will teach her is through her practice and communicating with us in English. For our gospel message, we read the very first principle of the Restoration pamphlet with her and asked her what role God has played in her life. She told us a great story about her conversion to Christianity and cracked jokes with us. It was a great time. I was reminded of my own grandmothers and I couldn't help but love Catalina like I love them. She's a wonderful spunky fun lady. We commit her to read the whole restoration pamphlet and we'll see how that goes this coming Saturday. She has a great testimony of God already and I just hope we can help her continue to feel His love as we visit her and help her come to know more gospel truths that will bless her life even more.
I love you all so much!!! <3