Another Week at the MTC

Anyeong Ha Saeyo!

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Another week has come and gone here at the MTC and everything continues to move forward! This week was pretty normal in that we taught lessons, studied grammar and voacbulary, attended devotionals, ate meals, went to gym time, basically, all the basics of MTC life. As much as things are the same I can see them going forward and can see myself improving every day, or at least I hope so. 
 
One thing that is not so fun is that there has been a cold going around me zone.  A few weeks ago elder Beard got sick and it has slowly made its way from elder Godfrey to me (no doubt because of the amount of time I spend with these elders).  I’ve had a sore throat, runny nose, and headaches for the last few days but am feeling myself getting better.  Its more of an annoyance than anything to be concerned about.  Just the joys of being so close to everyone I suppose haha. 
 
Other than that things are going really well.  I find that a lot of the grammar and voabulary that I need is starting to come more readily to me.  The grammar of Korean is one of the biggest blessings/curses of the language, depending on how you look at it.  In many ways Korean is an extremely efficient and logical language.   I think that I heard that it was developed by Korean scientists using the basics of Japanese grammar, Chinese vocabulary, and a new alphabet.  Because of this the language is very clear, and unlike english, follows most of its own rules without irregularity.  The only problem with this is that because it is clearer than english, it is extremely different than english.  Many times, instead of using individual words to convey meaning, a korean sentence uses conjugations which attach to the verb to get the point across.  For example, take the phrase “when I was reading the book of mormon.”  In spanish you’d say something like “Cuando yo estaba leyendo el libro de Mormon.” (maybe??).  The words match up with english really well.  However in korean you would say I + (subject marker) + book of mormon + (object marker) + read (with the past tense, present progressive tense, and when form all added on).  Jeo Neun Mormon Gyeong ur erg go ess oss rde.  Fun stuff right?  
 
This week we’ve started to delve into some more complex Korean grammar forms including gerunds, plain form, and indirect discourse.  It is mind blowing stuff sometimes.  A lot of these things are what are necessary when bearing testimony.  Up until now, when I want to bear my testimony of something I just say “the Book of Mormon is a true Book. If you have questions, It will give you spiritual answers.” Or something like that.  Simple, but powerful sentences.  If you want to say “I know the Book of Mormon is true” it just gets so much more complicated because you have to change a whole sentence “the book of mormon is true” into a gerund and then use it as an object.  You can then use multiple gerunds within one sentence depending on the order.  Korean is kind of like an onion in this way, or Inception, you have to go deeper.  That might not make a whole lot of sense and I am a ways away from getting it down all the way, but theres a taste of the Korean life.  Im probably boring everyone haha.  Korean is honestly such a great language and I am learning to love it.  I honestly think it is beautiful and elegant in how it sounds and the logic it uses.  I cant wait to get to the point where I know it more and more.
 
One other thing I’ve really learned to love hear at the MTC are the hanguk saram (korean people).  Many of our teachers are Koreans who speak both Korean and english.  They are some of the nicest and coolest people I’ve met.  Particularly two of our Zone Resource Teachers Lee Ja Me Nim and Jeon Hyeong Je Nim.  While several of our teachers are returned missionaries from America, the korean native teachers knowledge of the language is baffling (almost like they were raised with it or something right?).  Sometimes when we are practicing something or my teacher Brother Scoville says something Sister Lee just smiles or laughs to herself and I just know that she is thinking (oh my gosh, these mi guk saram (americans)).  I feel like we are doing really well in the language but sometimes when I think of the equivalent of what we’re trying to say in english and how that must sound it’s pretty comical.  
 
We’ve also had the opportunity to have several korean missionaries come to the MTC to prepare for their own missions in Korea.  Our teachers say several of our companions will be Korean Natives in the field.  These elders and sisters are honestly so cool and so funny.  We like to play soccer with them during gym time against the Japanese elders (in honor of the hang guk Japan rivalry) and the hanguk elders are the best.  Not only are they so good at soccer but they are so funny and nice.  It is kind of sad though because sometimes we’ll try to talk to them in Korean and end up going to english because their english is so much better than our Korean.  Hopefully that will change though.  They taught us this game in that we like to play in the residence called 007 or gong gong cher bong, it’s a great time.  Ill have to remember it for when I come home.
 
 At one of the previous devotionals I had a pretty funny experience happen.  The devotional was on Charity and how we need to have love for others.  It was truly amazing and very spiritual and I learned a lot.  However, as normal, I was sitting next to my good friend elder godfrey.  The speaker showed a video clip from The district where two missionaries were inviting their investigator to be baptized.  It is a really powerful clip, but whereas we’ve been in the MTC for a while I think I may have seen it about 4 times.  There is one part where a brother in the clip gets up to get some tissues for his wife, probably during the most powerful part of the video, but it seems kind of awkward after seeing it a few times.  Anyway, as this happened elder godfrey leaned over to me and made a joke, saying, “this is awkward, I’m out, I gotta go get some cheetos.”  In retrospect it was a pretty stupid joke but being super stressed out I was in a mood to laugh.  I couldnt contain my laughter and in a devotional full of thousands of elders and sisters, no doubt having an incredible spirtual moment, there’s elder Lees crying and laughing super loud.  I felt so guilty but I just could not hold it back.  Everyone looked at me.  It was terrible.  I guess that is kind of indicative of the struggles of studying Korean all day long, but it was definetly an experience to remember.  Im getting to the point where I can laugh about it.  
 
But from that devotional and this week i’ve been thinking a lot about the attribute of Charity, or the pure love of Christ.  Our district chooses one christlike attribute to focus on during the week and this week we chose to strive to be more loving to everyone we come in contact with.  As I’ve remembered this goal when I am frustrated or upset with someone, it has changed my outlook entirely.  I think this a great goal for everyone.  If all people treated eachother with unconditional love the world we be such a better place (I sound like a hippy huh?).  I know for myself that sometimes when someone does something that annoys me I silently let it bother me, or make me angry, when in actuality this is not better for me, or the person I think wronged me.  I’ve been praying to have more charity this week and I know that as a missionary if I can express to people that I truly love them, I will have success and help others.  
 
Well things are going great!  Look for another update next week and let me know if anyone has any questions or if there’s anything I can do.  
 
Much love, 
 
Elder Lees
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