This past Thursday was Liberation Day in Korea! On August 15th, 1945, Korea was liberated from its long subjection to Japanese rule and dominion. So, in honor of the holiday, I got to go to the beach with the Chungjang Ward! It was an early morning. We met at the church at 8:00 AM to catch a chartered bus. I sat with Sister Kim, who’s been meeting with missionaries for many, many months. I think a lot of the members think she’s already been baptized and everything because she comes to church almost every week and comes to big activities like this. Before we got to the beach, we stopped at what looked like a field of mud and rocks, but what was really a place to dig for and harvest CLAMS! I got to go CLAM DIGGING! All the Koreans were, except for their feet, still clean and presentable after the 45 minutes or so we spent squatting in the mud, but I was totally a mess! My bowl was full of clams, so all the members thought I’d done it before. Really, the owner of the clam farm thought I was interesting, so he helped me and taught me the best methods. But I was still pretty pleased with my efforts.
After we rinsed off and our clams were clean and ready for transport, we got back on the bus and headed to the beach. I don’t really have any idea where we were; just that it took a long time to get there. We got off and unloaded the picnic! It’s funny because the only thing different about a normal Korean meal and a Korean picnic is that the rice is cold. Other than that, there’s fruit and kimchi, fish and duck meat, corn, and rice and side dishes enough for an army! Such a blast! One of my favorite things right now is when they smoke duck meat. You take and dip it in honey mustard, set it on a lettuce leaf, and wrap it up with rice and maybe some kimchi or spicy sauce to give it a kick, stick the whole thing in your mouth and WOW delicious.
As missionaries, we aren’t allowed to go swimming in the water, so we just hung out on the beach. The elders and I had brought a Frisbee, football, and volleyball…but what we didn’t know was that Korean beaches are sufficiently lacking in sand, so we just took pictures and enjoyed the members threatening to throw us in…
Even though it was kind of a party day, we are always missionaries and are here in Korea to serve a purpose. So, on the bus while sitting with Sister Kim, a member and I taught her about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. And…Now she has a baptism date! Seriously, people can have spiritual experiences anywhere! Even sitting on a bus with a missionary who is in shorts and flip-flops. Regardless of which clothes I’m wearing, I always have my missionary name tag pinned to my shirt with the name “Jesus Christ” printed in big, bold Korean letters. There’s never any doubt what I’m thinking about or what my goals are because people can see who I’m here representing. It was such a happy experience to do something so fun and Korean, like going to the beach and digging for clams, but yet I was still able to do what I’m always trying to do and help someone come closer to Christ by accepting his gospel. The first step is baptism!