Mar. 4 2013

Wow…..this past week has been the craziest, most fun, exciting, most spiritual experience so far in my life!! SOO much has happened and I don’t know if I’ll even have time to write it all! Ok, so I’ll start at the beginning…

So first, we had to wake up at 2 am in the morning in order to catch our flight and check out of the MTC. We get there at the airport at around 4 or so, and go check in our bags and go through security. We got there just in time because if we would’ve gotten there only 5 min later, we would’ve been at the back of a HUGE line! It would’ve taken at least an hour to get through that line! Anyway, then we go to our gate. But the Seoul missionaries are still in line and their plane is about to take off!! So we see them running trying to have them hold the plane for a few mins so all of them can get on! Anyway, it all worked out, but it was a really close call. The other gates learned and delayed their planes for a couple mins. So we board the plane, and this plane was the smallest plane I’ve been on so far. Seriously, I had to duck quite a bit in order to walk in this plane. It was cramped and I had to be on this plane for a couple hours, but I kept telling myself that it was just preparing me for the even more cramped plane I would be riding on for 12 hours. Haha! Anway, my seat is all the way at the back of the plane. (The church tries to position the seats so that the missionaries can talk to a lot of people.) So I sit next to this lovely old lady. I start talking to her and introduce myself. I explain about me and why I’m all dressed up and how I’m a missionary and stuff like that. She was very nice to talk to. She said that all her family lives in Utah and I assumed that a lot of them were mormon. But she said she wasn’t, but that when her sister died, the
Missionaries were very helpful to her and she liked how they dressed up all the time and looked handsome. haha! Anyway, throughout the time on the plane we talked about a lot of stuff. Like family history, her family, where she was going, what I was doing, where I was going, etc etc. i found out that she fell a year ago and that it has been hard for her to walk ever since. So she has to either have a walker or a wheelchair in order to get around. She just got back from her sister’s funeral, I gave her my condolences and shared a message about the plan of salvation and how she can see her sister again. She liked that, and we continued our conversation. As we landed and got situated at the docking station, I gave her a pass-along card and shared a quick message. She listened very nicely and intently and we said our farewells. As I was leaving, I forgot that I hadn’t asked her name. So I quickly returned and she said it was, “Nettie”. I’ll always remember her. She was very nice. I don’t know if she’ll ever learn more or become a member of the church, but I was glad that I could’ve made someone’s day better.

So then we transfered over to the plane going to San Francisco. It was a relatively short plane ride, (I slept most of the way)haha! Then we arrived finally in San Fran. We found our departing area, then we went to look for phones right off the bat. We found some and then I called you! Yay! But after the phone call, it was my companion’s idea to go get a quick bite to eat. Bad idea….as I got off the phone and quickly grabbed my meal, our names were being announced over the intercom. We started freaking out and booked it to our gate. We get there and the ladies at the counter are screaming at us to get our luggage and get our passports out! We were in turbo mode now! Haha! So we grab our luggage and get our passports out and hand them everything that they need, and finally go through the gate, barely getting on in time! HAHA!! It was scary but hilarious at the same time! Anyway, we get situated in our seats and I sat next to one of the other sister missionaries. Our flight went well, it was WAY long though. The branch president said we could watch the movies if they were appropriate, but I didn’t really want to. Although, I did watch a little bit of Wreck it Ralph. Anyway, I wasn’t able to talk to anyone really cause I was the aisle seat and people kept on walking up and down, also the people were korean. I guess I should’ve. Anwyay, as we arrived and landed, i looked out the window the get the first glance of Korea. it was almost surreal. It looked sorta like just outside of Seattle on a rainy day. That’s the best I could describe it. Trees and overcast. As we get off and get through security and our passports passed off and scanned, we get through the exit gates, and we see our Mission Pres. and his wife. Pres. Furniss and Sis Furniss and the Assistants to the Pres. We introduce our selves and right off the bat, as we’re waiting for our bus, they have us do a 전도(prosylyeting(pron. Jun doh)) activity. I go off with another elder and try to find someone that isn’t walking. They said to talk to people sitting down. So we go up to this one guy and as we go up to him, he stands up and walks away. Awww, darn it. So we try to find someone else, we were’nt very confident in ourselves. So we go back to the President and tell him about it and his response is: “Get used to it” Wow thanks president for those encouraging words, JK. But he was totally right. He explained himself of course, how not everyone is willing to listen. So, we “gird up our loins” and go out again. Only this time, we didn’t even talk to anyone….our bus arrives, so we just follow our Pres. with our heads a little low. I would have to admit it was a little discouraging and just to think that I would have to do this for 2 years was a little heart-breaking. But, nevertheless, i pressed on, promising myself that next time, I would not fail.

I sleep on the bus, and we get into 대전. It was wacky. I said to myself, “I’m not in Kansas anymore…” Seriously, it smelled weird. There was creepy guys yelling at us on the street. Cars were zipping by like crazy. Anyway, I’ll move on, but it was awesome and weird at the same time, if that makes any sense…anyway, we went to the mission home and sleep in the mission office for the night. The next morning was the weirdest. So, in Korea, most people go to the public bathhouses. Something either rare or non-existent in the US. We get there and they APs said to strip down and meet them in the room with all the baths in it. It was hilarious, there was naked guys
everywhere, and there’s just a naked guy laying face down on the floor in the corner of the room. I still have no idea what he was doing. Anyway, this was paradise for baths. There were 3 huge hot tubs. Showers, comfortable showers(which are awesome bytheway) and 3 steam rooms. Hottest to coolest. So, I start off with just a shower. Then the APs tell us to try out the hot tubs. It was so relaxing and you just wanted to stay there forever! Anyway, then they dared us to go into the ice cold pool that is there as well. So, as spunky young men would obviously do, we go over there and dive in. I swear, everything just froze and I’m pretty sure my lungs froze for a moment. Haha!! They also had us try out the 1000mph jet stream screaming from the ceiling. What you did is, just stand over it and have all your skin just be ripped off from off your body. Jk, but still, it was pretty powerful. But it was nice. You see, Koreans hate dead skin. They also take care of their skin, ALOT. Another thing that they do is at the end of their stay at the bathhouse, they rub themselves all over with salt. Then they wash it off, then they repeat that process a couple times. By doing this, it opens and cleans out the pores in the skin. and makes your skin shiny and clean. You feel like your whole body has botox or something. Just really tight and clean. Anyway, after we go into the ultra hot steam room where you feel that you’re breathing in nothing but water, we did the comfortable showers. What you do is you sit down on these seats and you have this long scrub thing. The best way I can describe it is, it’s sorta like that net fabric, toole or something like that…anyway, you scrub it with soap and you wash and scrub everywhere on your body. After we were done, i thought to myself, This is the cleanest I have ever been in my entire
life…anyway, we had training and at the end of the day, they had us do another 전도 activity. This time, we approached a guy(this is with an office elder this time, by the way)and we talk to him about the Book of Mormon. He seems interested and invites us into his house. Which is rare bythe way. and we tell him about the Book of Mormon!!! It was way cool. Anyway the next day, I met my trainer. His name is Elder Rice. He’s funny and awesome. He just had his year mark. Anyway, then, we go to our area, 정읍(pron. jung eup) it reminds me alot of Boise. Its a smaller town. It’s south of 전주 which is south of 대전. I love it here. I’ll have to catch up on my other stories next time, but I love you!!

Your 선교사,
스미스 장로
Elder V. LeVan Smith

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