We have attended local wards or branches of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the United States, France, Japan and now Korea! In France and Japan the meetings were all held in the local language, but here in Korea we are split between Korean and English. The children attend Korean primary, and we have an English sacrament meeting. We would have loved to go to a fully immersive Korean ward, but with travel times it would be more difficult than it would be enjoyable with a family of six to get ready. Lucky for us, we chose the branch that offers Free Korean Language Classes!
You can read all about our first Sunday at the Songdo Branch at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in South Korea on Day 4!
Day 11 South Korea Family Travel Journal
It doesn’t seem to matter what time church is at, we’ll still struggle to make it on time. We struggle to make it anywhere on time really (except for the free Korean language classes held after church). As it turns out, we were more on time than our new friends in the branch and we actually stopped to wait for them as they ran down the Subway tunnel. What may seem trivial to others felt like a huge accomplishment to us!
We made it to church just a minute or two after the start time and separated into our classes. We promised Eclair cookies during Sacrament if she made it through all of primary. She loves her teacher at home in Utah, so she’s having a bit of a struggle going to church without her familiar routine.
It was fast and testimony meeting and I got the biggest kick out of the 1st Counselor announcing there was plenty of time for every single member to bear their testimony. The potluck this week was chicken wraps, and someone brought a bag of mini candy bars: twix and snickers. We haven’t had candy bars since Halloween, and we may have helped ourselves to more than our fair share.
I know, these details are riveting!
One thing that stuck out to me this week was at the end of Sunday School the teacher asked us to ponder one question. What questions do you think Christ will ask you personally when judgement day comes?
I’ve been reflecting on this question throughout the day, and can’t get it out of my head. Our Sunday School teacher shared that he didn’t think the Lord would ask us about a candy bar we stole, but that the questions would have deeper meaning and more introspective consideration. As a mother, in particular, I know I’ll be held accountable for the way I speak to my children. Am I patient in the shadow of their many questions? If I’m not patient am I still kind? How are my individual actions teaching them to behave?
When I reflect on my life up to this point, and the memories I have of important events it’s a culmination – like a map to the finish line. But nothing is accomplished in one leap. It’s individual moments that shape and mold our character to get us there. I want to bend down and look my children in the eyes when they are hurting. I want to hug them tighter so they never forget what it’s like to be loved by someone with a force stronger and more powerful than the sun. I want to take the time to answer every question they have, but maybe it’s okay to tell them to listen when their sister just asked the exact same question and they already heard the answer. I’m grateful for the chance to search my soul for the answers to these questions.
Now, the second best part of church today is that the missionaries started a beginner’s class for learning Korean! Our family is so excited to have access to free Korean language classes every single week for learning the local language! Six elders were there this week to help introduce the class. We’ll be studying from the book Korean for Foreigners.
In this weeks installment of free Korean language classes, we began by learning the most commonly used consonants and vowels, how to say them, write them, and recognize them. The reason Korean phrases are so lengthy is that sounds are combined to form syllables, and up to three consonants and one vowel can be combined per syllable. I’ve never felt so inept in my life.
And guess what! We found all the people. They come out from their hiding places on the weekends.