That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters… As of Thursday June 27th, I have been on my mission for ONE WHOLE YEAR! I thought I’d share with you some of what I’ve picked up in the time that I’ve spent away from the world on the Lord’s errand.
Things I Haven’t Learned
How to take a short shower- Anyone who has ever lived with me, been my roommate, or spent a night in a hotel with me knows I take long showers. At the MTC I improved, but once I got to Korea, I slipped into my old ways again. I don’t know what happens, but I just get thinking and then I realize I’ve forgotten that I’m in the shower! At the beginning of my mission, I would be thinking, and a thought would trigger memories of a movie. I can’t tell you the number of movies I’ve imagined from beginning to end, only realizing during the final scene what’s happened. But ever since I’ve become senior, I can’t stop thinking about our members and investigators, and in the shower I get some of my BEST inspiration!
How to Keep a Journal- I’m a disgrace. I’ve never been very good at keeping a journal, so I don’t know why I thought that coming on a mission would change that. I just feel like I have SO MUCH to say that looking at a blank page terrifies me. The fact that I keep this blog and write letters helps, but I’m still determined to do better. If I’ve written to you on my mission, be prepared to make a copy of my letters for me when I get back…
Things Still Blowing My Mind
The prevalence of socks and sandals in this country- As the humid and not yet miserable summer envelopes Korea, people are breaking out their sandals. Heels, wedges, flip-flops, crocks; you name it, I’ve seen it. And it doesn’t matter how old a person is…sandals and socks, sandals and socks, EVERYWHERE! I’d give anything to wear a pair of sandals.
Gardens everywhere- I might have mentioned this before, but Koreans will plant a garden anywhere: middle of the road, on a curb, in a parking lot. I see them everywhere and they always bring a smile to my face!
Everything is recycled- I’m so ashamed when I think of the amount of TRASH we throw away in America. Everything here is recycled…even the food! Paper, all the plastics, batteries, Styrofoam, you name it, it’s recycled.
Things that aren’t Weird Anymore
Couple items– As we put away our coats for the summer, everyone is breaking out and buying new couple items! Shoes to t-shirts, watches to cardigans. If you’re in love, you have to match! No question about it!
Sitting on the Floor- When members tell us to sit on their unused couches…I have no idea what to do and usually just end up back on the floor anyway. When you sit on a couch, you can’t see each other! The floor is much better.
Asking Everyone I Meet Where Her Hometown is- Because practically everyone has the same last name in Korea, their hometown is really important. You wouldn’t want to marry your family member, would you? I can totally imagine myself meeting someone in downtown Kingsport, Tennessee and asking, “So is Kingsport your hometown?” That’s not normal, right?
Things I Miss (Self-Explanatory)
Things I’ve Learned
Eating a lot of Rice Gives you Stretchy Skin- This is one of those MTC lessons that I somehow missed. A few weeks ago, a different sister came to our apartment for splits, and we were discussing how much rice we eat. She said something about how she is positive her skin is more stretchy, and then proceeded to pull on her neck skin. I had no idea what she was talking about and that’s when I learned! If there is a lot of rice in your diet, your skin is extra stretchy! It doesn’t affect the Koreans as much because they naturally have thicker skin. I pulled on my neck and grossed everyone out with how far I could pull it…
Kimchi Diet- Replace bread with rice and dessert with kimchi. It totally works. If you can’t stand kimchi, try fruit instead. My name is Sister Roueche and this is my story.
Korean- I’m not perfect, but a year ago I didn’t know the alphabet, and now I can carry on whole conversations and even tell jokes!
How to share- Germs are totally a Western thing. Sharing food is like sharing love! But even more so, sharing of your time and resources, even if those resources are all the strength and effort you have left, is the real spirit of sharing. I’ve learned how satisfying it is when there’s nothing left at the end of the day because you’ve spent all you have for others.
How to Listen- I always thought I was a good listener, but I’ve learned that it’s so much more than just sitting there patiently and sharing wise words. It’s understanding where someone’s words are coming from, and asking him questions to understand better. It’s loving her no matter what she says and helping her to love herself more, the way the Savior does.
How All-encompassing the Savior’s Atonement Really Is- I’m totally weak. I’m not perfect and every day I only make a little progress towards being who the Lord needs and who he knows I can be. But, despite my weaknesses, he still uses me to accomplish his work and still fills in the holes I leave, either by helping people find us, or by prompting me with the words and ideas I need. He understands us all perfectly, and I LOVE it when members and investigators experience that perfect understanding and love for themselves. When they pray or read, or we ask just the right question, or recognize the warm, joyous feeling of the Holy Ghost for the first time, they can know for themselves that our Savior Jesus Christ not only lives, but he lives for us and loves us beyond our comprehension.
I’m so thankful for this experience to share my tiny understanding of the blessings that come from the Atonement and from the Restoration of His Gospel. Because of that Restoration, we better understand the Atonement, that it not only satisfies the requirements of justice for our sins and what we do wrong, but for the wrongs of others, for all our imperfections, for all our pains and illnesses. There is nothing like the reassurance that there is someone who understands everything we feel; the good the bad and the ugly.
I’m so thankful to be a missionary!