Monday, June 30, 2014

A Day at the Park


I can't believe it's already P-day again! The weeks are going by SO fast and they say that the "greenie" stage is the slowest! Almost halfway done with this transfer! Transfers are 6 weeks.

Here's an outline of my usual day: I wake up at 6:30 a.m. and go workout outside when it's not TOO hot yet. At 7, we have showers and we can only take 10 minutes. My record is 6!

We get ready, eat breakfast (rice and egg?) and then at 8 we start our studying which, for me, is 4 hours of: personal, companion, and language study. Then, we eat lunch (more rice?) and go out for the day to talk to people, go to lessons, meetings, English classes etc. We usually come home for dinner (rice?) and then leave again for more service. We come back at 9 p.m., plan for the next day, and finally sleep at 10:30 p.m.
So you'll understand when I say I still haven't gotten over my jetlag :)
We have had some tricky situations this week but we have also had some wonderful miracles. The good things will always always outweigh the bad things if you know what to look for.

One miracle is that we have this investigator who has been taking the lessons for almost a year now and was still unsure if she wanted to get baptized because she didn't feel like she knew everything yet. She even goes to church each Sunday. We kept telling her that she was ready and that she can learn even more after she's baptized but she was still unsure. On Thursday, we met with her again and we reviewed the baptismal interview questions and we asked about baptism again and she nodded! So we have an interview date and everything and we are so happy for her.

(Sidenote: She wanted to feed us something so she asked her daughter - a member, our ward's young women president -  to make us something. So she ordered us our own pizza and prepared us fried chicken and watermelon -- she said she wouldn't continue with the lesson till we ate it all...I don't think I've ever eaten so much in my life! The sacrifices I make for lessons ;))

I also got to go on exchanges with a Sister Training Leader this week! It's a 24 hour exchange and I get to go see somewhere new and sleep at her apartment. It was really fun! We had a lesson but it was all in English which was nice fore me :)

She took me to Olympic Park (and there were bunnies!):

Anyway, I love you and miss you all! I will work on taking more pictures!


- 홀다웨이 자매

P.S. Everyone makes these awesome Book of Mormon covers and I was pretty proud of mine:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Photos! There's Photos!

[Editor's Note: Sister Holdaway did not send a letter for this week, but made up for that by sending lots of photos.  Here are some she sent out with descriptions.  You can find more photos on the Photos page.]

One last "Goodbye" party with my District Sistahs! (Shout out to how great we all look) 

All the Korean missionaries at the MTC!

Apparently the sister on my left (Sister Wilson) -- her dad served with my parents in Korea

My first home in Korea! I got a great welcome!

We like to have parties for weekly planning!

My beautiful companion Sister Berry! And our dinner :) Sometimes we had to get creative with our meals. Oh, and Koreans use toilet paper for everything...

The view from outside our apartment! This is actually the clearest sky I've seen yet in Korea. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sister Holdaway is in Korea!!!

That's right! I've been here for about a week now and I don't think any amount of MTC time could have prepared me for this. It's been a crazy week but it's like a rollercoaster: it's fast going, bumpy and sometimes you're scared out of your mind but at the end of the day you want to do it all over again! 

So, I don't have a lot of email time because today I went to get my foreigner card and that took forever so, I'm just going to list everything I know about Korea so far: 

  • In Korea, you take your shoes off in the house. So in my house (which is a 4 person house) we need like 3 separate slippers. A pair for walking inside the house, a pair for walking outside the house, and a special pair for the bathroom. 
  • Speaking of bathroom, we are so lucky to have a bathtub in our bathroom! However, we don't have a shower curtain so when we shower everything gets wet. 
  • We sleep on mats on the floor. I actually quite enjoy it. But there are some weird bugs in Korea so we'll see...
  • It's HOT. And it's only just beginning. My best friend is the fan in my room. I get my own personal one. It's fun :) 
  • My OTHER best friend is MY NEW TRAINER/COMPANION!!! Her name is Sister Berry and she is Snow White personified. She is the sweetest, kindest human being every. Sometimes we spend our entire study time complimenting each other. I love her so much already. 
  • Speaking of people I love already, the people in my ward! I'm in the 수지 (Suchi) ward and it's a pretty big ward for Korea. I spoke on Sunday in my broken Korean and they all complimented afterwards :) I hope to become friends with everyone. 
  • Speaking of compliments, the Korean people are very humble and very complimentary. It's nice because some days I look terrible because I had been walking everywhere in the hot humidity and yet the still will call you "beautiful." It definitely makes me feel better about myself :) 
  • I live in 미금 (Migum) which is a really nice area on the outskirts of Seoul. However, my area is 수지 area. I love it so much! 
  • Everyone else living in my apartment are Korean (only one of them is actually from Korea though), however, this means that our fridge is made up of mostly kimchi and rice. I don't think I remember I meal that didn't have rice a part of it. I'm grateful that I already really like Korea food. However, my housemates really think it's funny for me to try new things at their house because "It's better than trying it for first time at members house." Because of this, I have tried a lot of fishy things.....not too bad but....hmmm.
One thing I tried was called 멸치 (Myeolch'i) which is basically long skinny small fishies that look like spaghetti but it's kinda salty and crunchy.

[Editor's Note: Here is a picture of stir-fried 멸치.]

There's a first time for everything! I remember when mushrooms were on my "don't eat" list but they are a walk in the park now! I made it a goal to try everything though . . . 화팅!!! (or "Hwai-ting!" -- Korean-ification of "Fighting!," a great cheer to get you motivated and moving forward). 

To end, here's an excerpt of what I wrote my mission president: 
This is my first full week in the country! I remember I used to think the MTC was busy, and stressful, and exciting, but nothing compared to being out in the field. I remember the first subway ride to your house and we had were asked to talk to real people and I was so terrified! I remember sitting there with wide eyes and not knowing what to do and wondering if I could even do this. Then, I simple scripture came to mind: "Fear not." And so, with more courage I talked to someone for the first time and he actually spoke english which I was relieved to hear. I told him about why I was here and what our church believed in. He actually had some questions and offered him a Book of Mormon. He declined but said that "we seem like good people." Which, what I have learned this week, is that if any interaction can end with them knowing that Mormons are "good people" then I think it was a very successful interaction. 
- Sister Holdaway 

Pictures will be up soon! I haven't figured the whole picture email thing yet. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Here!!!

[Editor's Note: Sister Holdaway won't have a P-day until next week, so we're posting a picture we received from her Mission President, letting us know she arrived safely and has been assigned a great trainer.]

Friday, June 6, 2014

MTC Final Week!

Alrighty folks, this is it. The next time you hear from me, I'll be in the beautiful land of Korea! This week I have been counting down my lasts like: last Monday, last Tuesday, last Wednesday, last Pday, last Temple trip etc. But I'm excited to have all my firsts on Tuesday when I fly into Korea! 

This week I have just been hanging on to every single second because time is just slipping through my fingers. On Sunday I was released as a Sister Training Leader. I was so sad! I loved serving the sisters in this branch and I can already tell I'm going to miss them all so much. We have all become so close and it's sad to know I may never see some of them again because they're all in different missions. 

Sunday night devotional was wonderful. Mostly due to the fact that we all sang a special arrangement of Called to Serve. You all should add "Hearing the MTC missionaries sing Called to Serve" on your bucket list because I've honestly never heard anything more powerful. We asked to sing with all our heart and strength and it was so magical! I love the MTC! 

On Tuesday we committed our investigator to baptism, which is great because it was our very last lesson with her. This was the 5th time we asked her and she finally made the commitment. Even though she isn't a real investigator I was so happy for her and I am still happy just thinking about it. I can't wait to teach real people! 

Yesterday was my companion's birthday!!! I now know the "Happy Birthday" song in Korean by heart :) "생일 죽아합니다!" She received so many great surprises from her friends and family and it was wonderful to be able to show her how much we love her!! Birthdays in the MTC are the bomb-dot-com. 

Today was my very last P-day here at the MTC. My companion and I mostly spent the day packing. We were able to get our entire branch to attend the temple together for our last time all together. Another sister was sent some Korean names for the sisters to use and it was so special for all of us to be able to do that together. 

I'm going to miss everything I've learned here at the MTC. I've grown so much. I'm going to miss my teachers and my fellow missionaries. A lot of people ask me if I feel ready to go to Korea but I always say, "Is there any such thing as ready?" I don't know if I'm ready but I do know that the Lord qualifies and prepares those that He calls. Everything will turn out alright :) Besides, this isn't about me at all. It's about the Korean people. 

I love this work! 

- Holdaway 자매

P.S. Sorry there aren't any pictures! I forgot to bring my card-reader :( I'll post them on my blog in the next few days, I promise! I know pictures are a lot more fun than words anyway. 

Editors Note:

We now have photos!!! See the photo page of the blog for some great ones.  In the meantime, here's a video of Sister Holdaway's district singing happy birthday to Sister Purcells -- note that the candles made so much smoke that they almost set off the smoke detectors.