Sunday, July 23, 2017

Transfers! The Big One!

President and Sister Sonksen got matching ties for all the office elders!  Two of these elders returned home this week and two were transferred to other areas.  Don't they look great?

We had another temple day on Tuesday, then we received new missionaries from Provo.

We have one new elder and two sisters.  Plus a Korean elder who is waiting for a visa to go to the MTC.  He is assigned to the Durban South Africa mission, where my cousin and his wife Elder and Sister Petersen are serving as the office couple.

This is the group of elders returning home.  Wow!  This was taken after their testimony meeting the night before they traveled home.  We've been dreading this transfer for some time.  That's going to leave a mark.

Plus we lost some sisters.  Two Korean sisters were picked up by their parents.  These sisters' plane left early Thursday to go to the Philippines.

We're going to miss them all!  The plane from Seoul to Seattle was delayed three hours, so it was an extra long trip home for those missionaries!  There's always a few hiccups, but they all made it home.

Alan has been wanting to visit the Seoul Fish Market ever since we got here.  So we decided to go Saturday morning.  Our A/C was not working well and the repair guy was coming in the afternoon, so we took off.

We entered at the second floor, so we could get a look from up above.

It was a major let down for him.  He was expecting to see lots more varieties of fish, but we can check that off the list now.  The fish market in Japan was practically brand new.  Well that's because the old one was destroyed in the tsunami.

They recently opened this new park near Seoul Station.  It used to be an overpass (for cars) and now it is a walking park.

There's a good view up here of the old Seoul Station and the new one on the left.

There was also a good view of the old city gate, but apparently I didn't get a photo of it this time.  On a week day, the traffic is much worse than this!

And at the end of the walkway, we came down near one of the fun markets, Namdaemun, so the day turned out OK.  And the a/c guy came to rescue us from the heat.

At church today we had some interesting talks about pioneer ancestors.  One was about an ancestor in Indonesia, another about the Philippines, and also one from Yonkers, New York!  We have lots of variety here.  Plus, we got to see some familiar faces from Tucson today.  Brother and Sister Hildebrand from Rita Ranch Ward are visiting their children and grandchildren who are living in Seoul!  It was fun to reconnect.

We also have a new senior sister and a senior couple that arrived Saturday to serve in the Seoul Temple.  They are at the beginning of a wonderful experience.  Since none of them speak Korean, it will also be a bit of culture shock!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Temple Day / National Museum

Another great day at the temple this week.  We're sending so many home soon.  This will be their last temple day in Seoul.

A group photo of the current office staff.  We have a great time together.

A few of our missionaries have had some trips to the clinic recently.  We escorted an elder a couple of times and ran into some missionaries from the Seoul South mission too!  But we just keep swimming!

On Saturday we went to the Korean National Museum.  This is next to the museum.

This is the Army base next to it.

President Sonksen tells us that there used to be a golf course here before the museum was built.  You can see the Seoul Tower between the two buildings.

An ancient suit of armor.

This is a large pagoda on display.

There's lots of Buddas

And dragon designs.  Also lots of porcelain and other arts.  You can see the Chinese influences.

Some of our Arizona kiddos dressed up like cows for Chik-fil-A day!  They had a fun day together!  Just missing the four older ones and our four Idaho kiddos or they'd have been way up the stairs!

We've lost some loved ones recently.  Alan's mother's sister passed away last month.  Mildred and her husband and Grandma and Grandpa Anderson spent some time in Arizona to get away from the cold winters back in the 1980s.  So we got to know them quite well.

Then last week, my mother's brother's wife Elaine passed and just a few days later, my mother's sister Vonda passed on too.  Vonda reminded us so much of our Grandma Grace.  We can only imagine the great reunion they are having on the other side.

She was an Aggie fan through and through!  She kept her basketball season tickets up until last year.  She was 97!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July Transfers Part 1, (More to Come)

Our friends Elder and Sister Cannon returned home to the US on Monday.  They will be missed!  They already have been missed!

Sister Lee Jisu returned home on Tuesday.  I was her companion for a few hours.   She needed to get home to NZ a little bit early for her schooling.  She was born in Korea, but grew up in New Zealand.  One of her converts came to tell her good bye.

We are sending a lot of missionaries home this month!

A family in the English Branch had us deliver a gift to one of our elders.  "We Shall Over Comb"!

We had some rainy days this week.  These cute kids were heading to school with all their umbrellas.  I'm not sure when they will get a summer break!

After temple day on Tuesday.  (Fourth of July!)  These sisters came to get tacos with us afterwards.

It was cloudy, but still fun to enjoy the view from a restaurant overlooking the city.  The Sonksens took us and the office elders for dinner.

They wanted photos of their food!

They have really worked hard recently.

Costco was not as fancy, but we enjoyed lunch with these sisters too.  Sister A is returning to the Philippines soon and she needed money for her luggage.  The airline only allows one checked bag so the other one needs to be shipped home.  (It's been a bad hair week)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Mission Tour

The missionaries were getting ready for their group photo with Elder Choi and his wife Sister Yoo and the Sonksens.  This is the chapel where the Chois met each other when they were 16 years old.  Sister Yoo also told us that this is where the first stake in Korea was made when she was 13.

Shindang June 28

Dongdaemun June 29

Gangneung June 30 2017

Here they are teaching the missionaries about having a good attitude.  They were the mission president and wife in Seattle Washington before he was called as a general authority.  Some of the missionaries were having a hard time dealing with the rainy weather.  They started a new rule in their mission to sing in the shower and to sing when they were discouraged.  We are all going to face difficulties, but we may as well be happy so the Spirit will stay with us.  Look Up!

We didn't expect to see our "road" all ripped up.  They put fresh pavement down the next day.

The deconstruction next door continues too.

Saturday we went to the temple with some of the other senior missionaries.  These young people served in the Pusan mission and came to the temple to have a session with their mission president and his wife who have completed their mission.  They were able to spend some time together before they returned to the US.

We went out for noodles after our session.  We loved checking in with our friends.  The Cannons return home Monday, so we wanted to spend some time with them.

These cute girls in the red helped us get directions for the tall ice cream cones they sell around here.  I had to ask for help the other day too because I got on the wrong bus and had to walk farther to my dentist appointment.  I walked way farther than I should have, but they helped me get there.

There were lots of street performers out Saturday evening.

And here's a little cutie keeping occupied on her subway ride.

We also were able to order some curtains for some apartments and get them hung up this week.  Plus I was asked to teach R S today.  So, another busy week for us!

I had an email from a brother the other day asking about our mission to Sendai.  He told me that he and his companion baptized Brother Sekiguchi 35 years ago.  President and Sister Sekiguchi have arrived in Sendai to begin three years of service there and President and Sister Smith have returned to their home in Utah!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Seodaemun Independence Park, BBQ, Tucson Temple

We visited the Seodaemun Independence Park Saturday.  It is just one stop away from us.  If we're on a bus, we usually just look and pass by, but we decided to go take a closer look.  This gate was built in 1897 as a replica of the original gate that was here.  Chinese envoys were traditionally greeted here.

This is the location of an old prison that was built in 1908 when a certain island nation to the west of us invaded Korea and established control.  The prison housed Korean activists fighting for independence.  It was originally built for 500 prisoners, but ended up with a much larger population.

They had various forms of torture depicted, but I didn't want photos of them.  This was one of the least offensive, a cabinet to hold a prisoner in a very uncomfortable position.  Some kids locked their friend in one, but I let him out.

The buildings were partially destroyed after independence, but was reconstructed per the original bluprints.  That's why the bricks are different colors.

The big dish has names of resistance activists who died while imprisoned here.  You can also see the watch tower at the top of the fence.

This exercise yard was built in a fan shape.  The guards could see into all the sections from the base.  The walls were to keep the prisoners from communicating with each other.

A group of school kids getting a group photo.  It was an interesting but sobering place to visit.

The Sonksens have been having some BBQs for investigators recently.  We had a little rain, so this week it was moved indoors.  We had a big crowd enjoying American foods.  Alan got to cook a lot of hot dogs.

Some of our cute friends!

Last week we had a special guest singer at the BBQ.

She has a lovely voice!

Another group performance at the Folk History Center

Apparently they are tearing the building down next to us.  It is (was) a church.

We were surprised to see dirt under the tiles.  Insulation?  There was no nails or adhesives, the workers just stacked the tiles up and took them down.

Then they put a tarp over it to protect it from the rain.

Not sure what's up with these guys on bikes with Mickey Mouse ears.  They about ran over us with  their bikes.  Late for their protest I guess.

This has to be the biggest movie poster ever!  I saw this when I was headed to the dentist.  Spiderman is here!

This is Sister Lloyd.  She and her family lived in Astana after we had left Kazakhstan.  They were visiting the Keeley family in our branch who also lived in Astana after we left.  We enjoyed sharing about our time and friends in Kazakhstan.  And to be able to reconnect with them.  One of our Kazakh friends is in Maryland for the summer.  How fun it is to make friends all over the world!

We had a new branch presidency called today.  It is great to see how the Lord's church rolls forth.  We had to say good bye to more friends who are leaving this week.

We love Seoul

More pictures of our family at the Tucson Temple.  Some of them "forgot" to take a picture!  But they all made it to the open house.

Heather and Nate and their girls and Jackson.  He's in sumo training I think.

Chelsea and Lamar and the boys!

Bryan came from Brazil to take his buddy Cisco to the temple.

Sandy and her little angels riding the bus to the temple.  They have had opportunities to help with the Open Houses and have worked in some intense heat.  Now they continue to work on their dancing for the cultural celebration coming up in August.