Monday, December 26, 2016

12/25/16 at 8:26 PM


MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hurray for time zones (and also not, because it super confuses me, but that's okay), because that means that it's actually Christmas in the States! 

I'MINKOREAYAYAYYAYAAYAY! I mean, it's not like that would've changed since last week, but you know, just thought I would remind you. Seriously, though, pretty much everyday I find a new way to appreciate the city. The tall shiny buildings and the smaller, older brick buildings; the people's grins when they are enthusiastically greeted with 안냥하세요! by a foreigner; and, of course, that special Seoul smell. Couldn't call it Seoul without it. 

One of our investigators arrived at our lesson, sat down, and one of the first things she said was, "Do you have church tomorrow? I want to go." It was so great. And sure enough, she came and sat by us for Sacrament meeting. (I found out afterwards that she couldn't really hear anything, so that's a bummer, but on the other hand, I couldn't really understand anything, so we're in it together, I guess.) But my companion and I are thinking about the whole "not being able to hear" thing. We'll figure it out, I'm sure. 하나님 아버지 wants that lady to hear the gospel, so by golly she'll hear it. :)

I got to Skype family yesterday, so hurray for modern technology! (Except for when it tells me I spelled "hurray" wrong...) Maybe it's because it's only been a couple months, but it was sort of like I'd just had a really long day (and not more than 2 months) that I was telling them about. We were in three different places--one of which was a third of the globe away--and two different time zones, but it was like we had just seen each other yesterday. I'm so grateful to have such great relationships with my family members. Dey ahr deh behst. (Yes, that's a Nacho Libre quote...) 

We ate dinner at the bishop's house, and IT WAS SO DELICIOUS. It's not like we've been starving (my companion and I are perfectly capable of making ourselves food), but man, nothing beats a home-cooked meal. It was just like my mom had cooked us dinner, and it was amazing. There was also cake, so that's good. 

I feel that I must warn the readers that when you see me in 2018, there's a good chance I will be even more giant than I already am, and it's because I eat all the rice in the whole world. I try not to, and then I don't feel like being creative enough to come up with a meal that doesn't involve rice, so I eat all the rice in the whole world. I'm sure there'll be no need to point it out to me, as I am surrounded by Koreans. ;) I'll work on it, but I don't want to make any promises.


Last night (our Christmas night), we watched The Testaments with a recent convert. You know, the old Church movie with all the feathers and the bad acting and the spray tans on white people? Well, there were still as many feathers as I remember from watching it as a kid, but the acting was great, and the tans looked pretty natural for the most part (I'm giggling as I type that because, let's be honest, there's no way they looked natural, but it was still great). The point is that I LOVE THAT MOVIE SO MUCH. If you've never seen it, or if it's been a while, watch it. It's old, and maybe a little cheesy, but it was great. (And if it's too cheesy to watch it in English, watch it in Japanese with English subtitles, 'cause that wasn't too bad. Those Japanese people do good with the voice-acting thing.) There were a couple moments that I wish we had the technology to record feelings. Just bottle up the feelings to save them for later, then open up the jar when we want to feel like that again... Unfortunately, there is no such thing, but I will try with words to express the things.

As I was watching, at the part that all the video clips of the Atonement are playing, especially when you see Christ carrying the cross, I just had the distinct thought of, "What if your best friend was doing that for you?" And then immediately following, "Your best friend did that for you." Isn't that an amazing thought? That this perfect, loving, powerful being is already your best friend, you just have to reach out to Him? 

The second part that really got me is right at the end when (*SPOILER ALERT*) Jacob is describing the goings-on to his dad Helam, and then right at the end you see Christ's hands touch Helam's face to heal his eyesight (he was blinded earlier on) and you just hear Christ say, "Helam." As soon as He says his name, it was like jab to the heart: He knows our names! Individually! That fact is supported even more when you think of Joseph Smith's story. The first thing Heavenly Father says is Joseph's name. How incredible? That such wonderful, powerful beings know our names, that they think of us individually? There's no telling how that's possible, and I'm not sure our mortal brains could wrap our heads around it even if we did know, but it really is a thing. 

I'm grateful for the gospel. I think I take it for granted a lot of the time; because I grew up with it, particularly in an environment where pretty much everyone else believes the same things I believe, I think I didn't really realize the impact it can have on a life. I feel that impact a little more each day, and I hope to be able to help others feel it as well. 

Love you all!

Sister Chun 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Companion & Awesome Trainer

 Dec 18 at 10:13 PM


*music notes* I'm in Korea Yeah! *music notes*

There is so much to say, which means I probably won't get it all down, but I'm going to try. It's going to be a jumbled mess, so buckle up.

When I introduced myself to the ward during sacrament meeting yesterday, as soon as I explained that my dad is a 한국사람 (Korean), literally every member of the ward nodded with understanding. I had to refrain from giggling.

Koreans are SO nice. The food is SO good. The city is SO gorgeous. Be jealous, all of you! ;)

My companion is so sweet and optimistic and focused! She's doing a great job of training me, and I'm learning a lot. Hopefully I can learn quickly. She's a quarter Korean, but doesn't really look like it, which means we get a lot of interested looks when she starts speaking Korean better than I do. :) But I'll get there soon, I'm sure.

Having said that, I still don't really understand what people are saying, and it's great. I just nod and say "". And if I think they may be complimenting me (they bestow pity compliments when they learn I've only been studying the language for 9 weeks) I say "감사합니다" and then [humbly] "아니요 아니요 아니요." Like I said, the Koreans are real nice people.

While in the MTC, I had heard that Koreans don't really get sarcasm, and now that I'm here, Koreans don't really get sarcasm, and that is also great. There's an elder in our district who it seems like is always trying to make facetious jokes with them, and there's always a pause before he has to clarify that it's a joke... Hehe good times.

I love Korea so much. I mean, it's not all cupcakes and rainbows (although I did have delicious apple spice cake last night at the mission home), but I love it. I have found this past week that the cure for feeling discouraged, sad, lonely, faithless, and testimony-less is to get over myself, forget myself, and think about other people! It really works, y'all, in sort of an amazing way. But it's one of those things that constantly needs to be re-learned, I think. I guess that's what the next 16 months is going to be, huh?

I love you all!


PS - The place where we come to email is SWEET! It's literally just a room full of computers, totally decked out in gamers' equipment. These Koreans know how to do things. 

Also, the monitors are bigger than Uncle Bong Soo's. (Uncle, now you have to get a bigger one! 농담이에요!!!)

PPS - Me and my beautiful trainer and also my district with the bishop and some Filipino members that showed up to our sacrament meeting. They're visiting Korea, and they were so cool. Pretty sure we're going to hang out after the mission.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Korea-Seoul District Arrives in Korea
December 14, 2016

Sister Leanne Chun with President & Sister Sonksen

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30, 2016
Today at 1:00 PM

I got bangs!

Our Little Christmas Tree

Well, I totally forgot to say Happy Thanksgiving literally the day before Thanksgiving, so... Happy Thanksgiving! I think I mentioned the service project last week, though, and it went really well. I had the great privilege to be asked to serve as one of the table leaders, which basically just meant that I helped the missionaries at our assembly line know what they're doing, get them water when they need it, celebrate each box of meals that we completed... weirded them out with Nacho Libre quotes and loud, somewhat operatic singing along with the Christmas music that was playing... It was a good time. My whole district ate our Thanksgiving meal with chopsticks, and I'm happy to say that I can still do that (use chopsticks, I mean). Good and bad, because it probably means I'll gain A TON of weight when I get to 한국. Ah, well. It will be worth it. 

Friday we were right back at it, the regular schedule, teaching two lessons (and yes, I realize that's not nearly as much as we'll probably be doing in the field, but for now it's a decent amount to do). Here's the thing though... Sister Chun got a little crazy, and totally monopolized our afternoon lesson. Literally talked the entire time. My 동반자들 (companions) couldn't get a word in edgewise. *Facepalm* And then, to continue in the vein of me thinking that I know what I'm doing, that night we had Skype TRC, which is basically just a lesson with a member; it was supposed to be a 30 minute lesson... Definitely cut it off a full 10 minutes early. Just, right at the peak of spiritualness... ! "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Will you pray?" Very abrupt, and I think the member knew that it was, but he was a good sport about it. We laughed about it for a solid ten minutes afterward. Good heavens... But! Besides me being a little crazy, it was an amazing lesson. It was one of those lessons where you absolutely know it wasn't the missionaries, even starting from planning the lesson that morning. The Spirit was with us all the way, and that was fantastic. Next time I'll try not to cut Him off...

I got to teach the Relief Society lesson on Sunday, and, admittedly, I could have spent some more time preparing, but it went really well. It was sort of like what D&C 50:22 describes: I was absolutely learning just as much, if not more, even though I was technically the "teacher". Gosh, don't you just love that? 

WE ARE NOW THE SENIOR DISTRICT. Well, we're one of two of the senior districts. We're getting a new district today, which just makes it official. :) Honestly, don't feel that "senior". I guess I do know a little more Korean than the younger districts do, but even then, it's not much. And it also means that we're leaving for 한국 in 12 days... Start that countdown: 12 Days of 한국말 (Korean)! 

One of the Elders from one of the younger districts asked me last night how I could be so happy all the time (I think I was jovially, and probably somewhat obnoxiously, singing a hymn while going up the stairs). I don't remember what I said to him, but I was thinking about it last night during quiet time, and I think the answer is... I just feel so grateful. I have amazing companions, I have an awesome district, I have a loving family, I can feel the Spirit, I'm learning how to be a missionary... everything is just great! And yeah, tomorrow I'll probably be super stressed that I don't speak great Korean, but that's all part of it. We make mistakes and we learn from them. It's great. Everything's great. b(^_^)b

Pardon me while I fan girl about Ammon for a second, but can we just talk about what a boss he is? (Is that an appropriate way to refer to someone in the Book of Mormon? Probably not, but it happened, so... moving on.) I've always loved reading about him, but maybe especially now that I am also a missionary his story hits super close to home. I mean, not that I'm going to go around chopping people's arms off, but... yeah, I'm not going to do that. But Ammon is awesome. Also, in Alma 18:14, Ammon asks King Lamoni what he can do for him, and Lamoni doesn't answer for an hour... talk about being okay with silence in a lesson (see PMG). Go Ammon! 

Okay, lastly, I want to invite all of you to send me missionary moments. Just shoot me a quick DearElder (the MTC version of texting... kind of). I would love to hear from you! It could be something that happened to you on your mission, something that happened to you at school... I'd love to hear about them. :) 

Love you all! Have a good week! 

Sister Chun 

^^ Our Korean nametags came, but they spelled my last name with a  instead of a , and yeah, it doesn't look like a big difference, but I feel like it will be nice to be called "Chun" () by people who actually know how to pronounce it... so hopefully the nametag folks can get it changed before I leave for Korea. Huzzah!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nov 23 at 12:47 PM

Hey everyone!

Well, things are happening. The latest news is that one of my companions and I have been asked to help lead the service project that we'll be doing MTC-wide tomorrow. We'll be assembling over 350,000 meals, and I'm super excited! Hurray for service! 

I just want to share with you something I came across in personal study the other day: 

Ether 12:41 "And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen."

There are several things that I love about this verse. First, I looked up the definition of grace in a 1828 dictionary, and here's what it came up with: "free, unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive of him; divine influence or the influence of the spirit in renewing the heart and refraining from sin". We also understand grace to be the enabling power of the Atonement (see pretty much every Bednar talk on the subject; but actually, do, because they're amazing). The other thing with grace is that the speaker wants it to be in us and abide in us forever. The word "abide" seems like grace will be with us, but the interesting idea of grace being in us... As we strive to be more like Christ, He will give us strength to be His hands. I'm very grateful that's a thing, because we at the MTC for sure wouldn't be able to do His work without His help. 

Love you all!

Sister Chun 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sisters Chun, Gottfredson, Wright; Elders Huillet, Edwards, Jarman, Driggs, Horne
Elders Martinez, Gilmore, and Boden

Photogenic, yes?

Elder Edwards

Nov 9 at 12:46 PM
Dear everyone, 

The MTC schedule is messing with my head. Technically we're on week 5, but today marks 4 weeks that we've been here (week 1 was the last half of the week)... yeah. Don't over think it, you'll get a headache. ;P

I don't have much to report, since my day to day schedule is pretty much the same. If we had time I would give you a blow by blow of all the funny things that happened during the day, but... you'd have had to have been there. (English is the worst. I'm just trying to imagine how that would conjugate into Korean... O.o) My district has made it a goal to be on time to things, and since we spend most of the day in the classroom, that goal includes being on time to the classroom. Our motivation for being on time is that the door will close at exactly the time we need to be there, and anyone who comes after that must knock, and then translate an English sentence into Korean. I must say, it's been pretty good motivation. Luckily my companions and I have only had to do it once so far; hopefully it stays that way. 

It seems that every week I spend here at the MTC, a theme of spiritual-ness tends to become prevalent. This week the theme for me was optimism. The speaker at last night's devotional, Sister Jones (who is the Primary General President) summed it up perfectly, but I'll have to paraphrase: We can't be gloomy if we've really recognized and accepted what our Savior did for us. And how could we be? That's my goal for the week, and for the rest of my mission. 

I don't know much, but I do know that when I talk about the gospel, when I learn about the gospel, when I think about the gospel, I feel really happy. 

Love you all!

Sister Chun

PS - I met someone from Olathe 2nd ward on Monday, and I'm pretty sure he's Leah Bluhm's brother... 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nov 2 at 2:55 PM
Hey everyone!

Life is good here at the MTC. This week was pretty fun. We watched a recording of a previous MTC devotional talk by Elder Bednar on Sunday; the recording included shots of the audience and guess who I saw?! Elder Hacking! It was nice. I kind of flipped out. Good to see a familiar face. :)

We met a really interesting elder the other day. His name is Elder Van Tonder (I think I'm remembering that correctly); his mom is Chinese, his dad is from South African, he was born in Paris, and grew up in London and lived most recently in Germany, from where he came to the MTC... Yeah. 

Sometimes I make poor choices, like trying to play volleyball at 6:45 in the morning, and the result is a jammed thumb, exacerbated by all the hand-shaking that happens. (Especially when I shake Brother Facer's hand, because his hands are giant, and I don't think he realizes how firm his handshakes are...) But it feels better now. :)

I sing all the time. I should probably calm down a little bit... It's just so subconscious! And fun! I really appreciate going to the MTC choir. It feels good to be a part of a musical group like that, and it helps that the choir director (whose name escapes me) is so great. Pretty much every rehearsal is a devotional just as spiritually uplifting as actual devotionals. Ees deh behst. 

Also, I guess I didn't realize how often I make weird facial expressions, and just how weird they are, because... I think my companions are a little embarrassed sometimes. ("Sometimes you embarrass me..." Name that movie!) But mostly it just makes us laugh, so that's good. 

Thank you to everyone who sent me things! I so appreciate it! Shout out to Lorin for the Halloween package; my companions and I will be enjoying the tootsie rolls for a while. :) And no worries, Uncle, I'm not smelling the Elders. xP

Okay, last week's final thought was a little rushed. That was my bad. I decided to write the weekly letter last, so I was a little pressed for time. Rest assured, I'm okay. I mean, I was freaking out, but I'm feeling a lot better about things. I guess I didn't really think about how... difficult this would be. The language is difficult, yes, but it's also... In one of the devotionals we had, the speaker talked about how the MTC is not the Language Learning Center: it's the Missionary Training Center. Learning how to be a missionary is SUPER important, and learning the language comes in a really close second (or, at least, it seems to me). Coming to the MTC, I didn't realize how hot this refiner's fire would be. 

So, after the difficult time I had last week, I have come to a conclusion: It all comes down to my choice. (That's part of the Plan of Salvation, right? We just studied that...) Bottom line: I just needed to decide if I would be converted unto the Lord. there's still a lot to do once I am committed--I don't think we'll ever really stop progressing and becoming like our Heavenly heritage--but committing is the first step. So! I'm happy to report that I'm committed, more so now that I was ante-mission. (I used that prefix correctly, right?) Plus, the MTC is so spiritually nourishing! there are so many opportunities to bear my testimony, study the gospel, teach the gospel, listen to others' testimonies... It's really quite amazing. We even have opportunities to hear the apostles of the Lord, like last night, when Elder Russel M. Nelson and his wife came to speak at the devotional. (That was pretty sweet.) I've had some derpy moments (quoting so much Nacho Libre...), but overall, it's SO amazing. I'm very grateful to be here; as difficult as it is, I love it. 

I love you all! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


Sister Chun

PS - Auntie Andrea! I met Elder Granados! He's in the district just older than us, lovingly dubbed the "Chucklehead district." They're a little crazy, but also great mentors with the language and the ways of the MTC, especially when we first got here. They're pretty great to have around. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 12, 2016

Entering the MTC!

 Brandon & Lacy Csere, Grandma Patty Kiser, Logan, Leanne, Lorin, Andrea, and Scott Chun


So! First week at the MTC has been crazy! In some ways it's what I thought it would be, but in many ways it isn't. First things first: my companions (I wish I knew how to quickly type, or write for that matter, in Korean, because I actually know the word for companion). My companions are Sister Gottfredson and Sister Wright, both of whom are wonderful. It's really interesting to have to be with someone at all times, with a few exceptions. So far, not that bothered by it. Our district is made up of four other companionships, all of whom are elders, and they are also wonderful. I feel like we're all watching each other grow up, even in just a week of being here. 

Oh, gosh, what else to say? The schedule is not that interesting, if I'm being honest, just a lot of studying and teaching and whatnot. I really look forward to the times when we get to exercise (varied throughout the week and for an hour here at the MTC; we'll have a half hour in the field). I think I kind of scarred Sister Gottfredson the first day we went to the gym (Sister Wright decided to do her own workout, so Sister Gottfredson, who is a swimmer and doesn't really like dry-land workouts, decided to work out with me): I had us do the 100 calories in 10 minutes warm-up on the tall bike cardio thingy, and then we did three sets of the 10-10-10-10-10 dumbbell complex. Squats, squat jumps, etc. I was dying, because altitude, but Sister Gottfredson was just sad. We've since gravitated toward the gym-gym, court gym, with the volleyball and the basketball and the four square (yup, that's a big thing here), so that's been fun. I miss having all the weights from Prairie Life available, just right there. The weight racks are not very impressive. But that's okay! I need to practice working out with minimal to no weights, so it's good. 

The MTC is basically like EFY on steroids times 1000, but not at all, mostly because the way we must conduct ourselves as missionaries is much different than how 14-18 year olds conduct themselves at EFY. But the spirit here is amazing. I've already learned so many things about myself, and I already know so many things that I need to work on. Sunday we had the opportunity to watch a Church video. The one we watched was Elder Bednar's address to the MTC from... before we were here... called "The Character of Christ." SO. GOOD. I'm sure it's on, and if you get a chance, you should watch it. I'm pretty sure I was crying most of the time he was speaking. The gist of Elder Bednar's talk was what the character of Christ is and why we need it. Here's what I took away from it: the character of Christ is the ability and willingness and... follow-through (? not sure what the correct word is for it) to think of others in situations when the natural man would want to turn inwards. When Christ finished His task in Gethsemane, keeping in mind that three of His disciples had kind of let Him down by falling asleep several times, and that one of His disciples was going to betray Him, He healed the guard's ear. The natural man in that situation would have wanted all the attention, right? Acknowledge what I did, I need sympathy, maybe getting angry at His disciples for falling asleep... but Christ didn't do any of that. Amidst all the hardship that He was experiencing in that moment, His first instinct was to heal yet another person. And a person who was coming to carry Him away, beat, and kill Him at that. The character of Christ is to think of others before yourself. There was a ton of other stuff in there that I'm not getting down because I don't have my notes in front of me (plus, Elder Bednar says it way more eloquently than I do), but I thought it was a really great talk. 

We only have an hour a week of computer time (How different from pre-mission lifestyle!), but I have a feeling that as we settle into things a little more, the letters will get easier to write, mostly because the schedule here is the same for pretty much the entire time we're here. 

I love you all a lot! Hope you all have a good week!


Sister Chun

PS - If you want to send me letters, or shoot, even hand-written letters, I would not be mad. ;P 
PPS - My companion was much more diligent about taking pictures than me. I'll try to be better in the future. :) 

The group pictures are of my district. In the back row, left to right: Elder Huillet, Elder Gilmore, Elder Driggs, Elder Jarman, Elder Edwards (glaring at the camera), Elder Boden, Elder Horne. In the front row: Elder Martinez, Sister Wright, Sister Gottfredson (we look related...), Sister Chun. #nailedit