Updated: Jun 15
My first month in South Korea in the City of TaeGu. They spell it DaeGu now. Rice fields all over. Most all buildings just one story tall. Riding a taxi or bus to get around, but mostly walking. Visiting almost daily with different people of Korea, and when we can, teaching the gospel. This is where my mission started. I was a Junior Companion in a missionary team of two. I followed the Senior Companion's lead and he pretty much ran the show. I tagged along and hoped I would one day, learn the language. The first three to four months were just hearing people speak and not having any idea of what they were saying. I could speak, but I could not hear it, could not process it fast enough, and there were new words I was hearing.
I had just spent two months in the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center racking my brains to learn learn and memorize a whole lot of discussions dialog. It was called the Language Training Mission, or "LTM" for short in those days (1978).
From all my memorizing of sentences and discussions, I could speak in the Korean language for two hours, which was amazing, but I could not, at first in Korea, have a two way conversation. THAT is where the Senior Companion came in. I would be teaching one of the concepts using my memorized language, and when I heard a question or comment from our Korean investigator, I said the following phrase very often, and then turned to my Senior Companion who finished the conversation. I said 무슨말인지모르겟읍니다 (Moo Sun Mall EenJee Mo Ruh Geh Sumnida...) which means, I don't know the words you said.
It was also so embarassing and a little bit debilitating to always have to do that when they look so earnestly into your eyes with a question. In time though, I began to hear and translate what the Korean people were saying to me. In time, it became extremely satisfying to communicate on my own (with the help of the Lord, of course).
Journal Entry: first day in DaeGu Korea, July 11, 1978