Talking to EVERYONE

This week I went on an exchange with my Sister Training Leader and she taught me a lot about the importance of talking to EVERYONE!  She is amazing Korean, and taught me a lot through teaching and talking to everyone on the street.

There isn’t ever a shortage of people in Korea.  On average, I would say we run across (AT LEAST) 100+ people a day.  There are lots of people, but talking to everyone isn’t always the easiest.  They can be busy; they can run away half way through a sentence to catch a bus; they outright ignore you; or be rude to you…BUT the blessings that happen from talking to everyone always outweigh the worries.

While I was on my exchange, my Sister Training Leader said “Annyeonghaseyo!” (hi) to a lady walking down the other street.  After this lady passed, my Sister training leader all of the sudden jumped around, came back to the lady and started talking to her.  At first, the lady looked uncomfortable and uninterested, but as my Sister training leader kept talking (naturally and kindly), she began to ease up, and start asking questions.  In the space of about 2 minutes, the whole disposition of this woman changed and she invited us into a cafe, bought us hot chocolate, and asked us to teach us more about our church..(so we taught everything about 예수님의 복음의 회복 The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ).

It was a big testimony builder about the importance of talking to everyone and to not be discouraged if they initially seem uninterested.  The lady was so grateful that we had talked to her, because she did (and still wants to continue meeting) to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I asked my sister training leader what she had thought to make her turn around and talk to the lady, and she told me, she just felt a big duty to talk to everyone that God placed in her path, and at least give them an opportunity to learn about the Gospel.   That really touched me.  So since then, one of my goals has been to talk to everyone that God places in my path, and not let rejections stop me from inviting everyone else to hear about our happy message. 🙂 I know Heavenly Father has been blessing me to know what to say to different people (and how to say it in Korean) ever since I made that commitment.  I feel really grateful for that.

Mission Moments:

In other news, we had our primary program this week at church, and my heart just completely melted.  Korean children are the cutest.  We had lots of people show up to see the program that hadn’t been to church in a long time and they all left with a big smile on their face.  Children are just the best at inviting the Spirit in with their honesty and sincerity in their love for Jesus Christ.  I loved it!

Here’s a video of some girls in our ward (who were in the hanboks in the front in the I Love To See the Temple video–at about :50). I love it!

I hope you have a good week! love you!

❤  Sister Stastny

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Spiritual Miracles and Stomach Flu

So before I begin, I did not have the stomach flu this week…but my poor companion did. 😦 We aren’t sure how she got it–because we eat the same things and do the same things, but she got it..and she got it pretty bad.  We spent 3 days of our week inside while she was sick, (and I think she spent most of that time in the bathroom).  For me, it was a good time to serve and help my companion, as well as do lots of the seemingly monotonous aspects of missionary work that often get procrastinated (such as organizing our member book, updating addresses and phone numbers, then adding addresses and bus routes into our phone).  It may not seem like much, but I was busy doing a lot of those things for three days and I didn’t even finish!!  It was good though to have something to do, and now Sister T is completely better so that is the best thing!

Our miracle happened this week as we went to visit a lady that has been less-active for quite some time.  I hadn’t met her before this, but I know that lots of missionaries have met with her and there hasn’t been much progress made.  As soon as I met her, I just felt this giant love for her, and I knew that it wasn’t just my love, but God’s love for her, too.  We had planned to teach a different lesson than planned, but because of time, we decided just to share a good scripture–2 Nephi 31:19-20.

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

We read that together and talked about the importance of enduring to the end–how it can be difficult, but the blessings in store for us outweigh any of the difficulties we might face.  We were talking about this, and she was nodding her head, but we weren’t sure if she was really taking it in.  As we were about to finish, I felt really strongly that I should testify about something.  The Spirit didn’t tell me what I needed to testify about, but I knew I had to.

The one thing I knew absolutely at that moment was that God loved her.  It seemed so simple, but I told her that God loved her and I knew that from as soon as I met her.  After that, she began to open up to us about how she felt like a bad daughter to our Father in Heaven because she hadn’t been enduring to the end and doing the things He wanted her to do.  She said she didn’t know if God loved her.

Sister T and I were able to testify that God loves her and that love is there for her whether she thinks she deserves it or not.  We told her it’s like a parent (like her, since she has kids).  Even though her kids may not do everything she wants, she still loves them.  She will be sad when her kids make a wrong choice, but she will still love them.

After we told her that, she, not us, decided to make goals to begin reading the scriptures and praying daily.  It was such a miracle!  After the lesson, we got out and prayed, thanking our Heavenly Father for allowing the Spirit to teach her and touch her heart to choose the right.  It strengthened my testimony that the Spirit is the one that teaches and changes people…not us.

I’m excited to see what miracles happen this week!  Missionary work is the best!  I know it is truly the Lord’s work and I love being a part of it!

❤ Sis. Stastny

Hanboks and Talks

This week was 진짜 훌륭해요! Really amazing!  We had 추석Chuseok- Korean Thanksgiving, and it was so much fun.  We had a big day with all the missionaries where we ate delicious food, received some training from our mission president and our mission president’s old mission president (yeah he’s still alive–he’s Korean), we went outside and did service, and then we had a big talent show!  It was such a great day.

 

 

Lots of the missionaries wore hanboks (the Korean traditional dresses that they had either bought or borrowed from members). I have a confession, I think Korean hanboks are gorgeous, but on average they cost 200,000-400,000 won–about $200-400USD.  I couldn’t find one in time for a missionary chuseok conference, but the day afterwards I obtained THREE, for $40. I was really blessed.  Two I got at second hand stores, and the third was given to me by a member.  Koreans are SO NICE!

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We had a meal with this member and I asked her if she had a hanbok that she wore for Chuseok.  She showed me the hanbok, had me try on the hanbok, then she told me it was mine!  I didn’t want to take her hanbok, and I told her I couldn’t take her hanbok, but the more I persisted the more insistent she got.  When Koreans offer you something, it’s like when Grandma G. offers you money, there’s not really an option but to take it.  So now, I have 3 beautiful hanbok’s.  I’m really 항복해요 haengbok (happy).

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This week was full of a bunch of great things.  I have been preparing a five minute talk about the Book of Mormon to give in Korean during Sacrament meeting, and I got a call Saturday night from the second counselor telling me that it needed to actually be 10 minutes!  AHHH!!  I screamed.

But I practiced all the things I knew, prayed a lot, and I was able to talk for a full 10 minutes in Korean during Sacrament about the Book of Mormon and why it means the world to me.  I used to be terrified to talk for 5 minutes in English during Sacrament Meeting, but now I can talk for 10 minutes in Korean and I feel really great.  The Lord is definitely helping me with everything.  He’s the best!

I love you!  I know that Heavenly Father can help you with anything you stand in need of too!  He’s always there!

Have a great week!  좋은 주 보내세요!

Sister Stastny

 

Chuseok

Annyeonghaseyo!!! (that is how you spell it in English correctly, cough-cough, love you mom ❤ )

안녕하세요!

So I’ve been better at not feeling sick after getting off buses…so Heavenly Father does bless his missionaries!!!  I’m also starting to memorize which bus goes to whose house, and which bus goes to whose house the cheapest. Woooh!  We keep track of how much money we spend on travel because we get refunded if we go over a certain amount (which from the sound of it, happens a lot in our area).

This week is super special because it is 추석 Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).  It’s so fun. Yesterday, our bishop’s wife and her two little daughters showed up to church in their 한복s (hanboks–Korean traditional dresses).  They were gorgeous.

Chuseok is a really big holiday in Korea (about the same as Christmas is for us in America), so lots of churches only had Sacrament Meeting, instead of the normal 3 hours.  Tomorrow we are having a big Chuseok mission day (since everyone–investigators, members, nonmembers–are probably going to be with their families that day).  I’m so excited!

It’s a time to be thankful (even more) for everything–the good crops for the year, families, friends, wealth, the hard times that have helped us learn so much, and all the blessings God has given us.  People wear their traditional Korean wear and the women, (usually moms, daughters, sister/mother-in laws), spend hours preparing tons of traditional dishes to eat at their Chuseok feast.  Some of the ladies we’ve talked to seem really stressed about it, but others see it as an opportunity to bond and develop a greater sisterhood with their loved ones.

I was thinking about the different attitudes and I thought of Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk about “Being Grateful in you Circumstances.”  Regardless of what comes our way (good or bad), we always have so much to thank God for! The people who live in an attitude of gratitude regardless of what they have been given, always find greater strength, hope, and happiness.  I know that is true, so I’ve been working on enjoying the rain and the rainbow afterwards.

I think of Job and how everything he had was taken from him in almost an instant (his family, his friends, his fortune), and how he reacted was by getting on his knees and worshipping God.  That’s how I want to be no matter what comes my way–hard times, horrible weather, horrific bugs, or anything else that can be thrown my way now or in the future…I just want to get on my knees and thank God for it all…Because God is always kind and knows what’s best.

Mission Moments:

I get fed really, really, really good in Korea…like really, really good.  Ummm… bulgogi meat, kimchi stew, kimbap, mandu. I’m excited to cook and feed you Korean food when I get back. :)))

Bulgogi
kimchi stew
kimbap
mandu (Korean dumplings)

I think my Korean skills are improving.  I’ve been studying extra diligently. My mission president said to study it like it’s the only language in the world..so that’s what I do…studying vocabulary and sentences all throughout the day.  Reading Korean is probably the easiest part of Korean, which isn’t saying much because it’s still pretty hard.  I can’t read like a Korean can (I’m not sure if I ever will), but I can read at a more comfortable pace now and I’m beginning to understand what I read and people understand me when I read.  I think reading from the Book of Mormon is actually the easiest part of my lessons.

I think Heavenly Father gives me the gift of tongues when I do everything and a little more to study Korean.  Sometimes Korean people will ask what certain words and phrases mean in the Book of Mormon because they honestly don’t know–(the Korean BOM has a lot of words taken from the Chinese characters and it’s written in a more archaic form–I think it’s like someone not understanding what “upbraideth not” means), but somehow I’m able to explain it clearly and I don’t know how.  It’s not like I practiced how to do that, but I can remember all the words and grammar I’ve been studying and it comes out naturally. It’s really cool.  So I think my language skills are improving.

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Our cool yo’s that we sleep on
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Gangnam

A quick pic of Gangnam–you bet I went there 🙂  But I haven’t heard Gangnam style or danced there yet so I’ll need to go back.

I hope you have a great week! Celebrate Chuseok and eat some kimchi! 😉

❤ Stastny자매

Power of Friendship

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Handwritten letter received last week from Yeonsu area

I don’t know when you’ll get this letter, but right now I’m writing it in the heat of summer. Actually, I’m in the church because our church has air conditioning, but our apartment doesn’t. Hooray For churches!

Well, my story is about the difference of one righteous person. You might think of the prophet Abinadi—one person, and he was able to convert one other person (named Alma), who was able to convert thousands , if not millions now, through his faith and service to God!

My missionary story today is about one faithful member missionary in our Yeonsu Ward named Li-Kuni (sidenote: last names are said first in Korea if you didn’t already know–and names have been changed for this blog). So Sister Li-Kuni is the greatest at visiting and befriending less-actives in the church.

One of her less-active friends is named Bark-Sundi. So Sister Bark (spellings keeps changing—there’s no good way to Romanize Korean—it’s so hard) has been a less active member of the church for the past 20 years. Sister Li has been her friend that entire time! Even though  Bark-Sundi didn’t have much interest in coming back to church, she let Sister Li give her a Liahona almost every month just because she’s her friend and didn’t want to offend her.

And then we come in.

Sister H and I once ran across the two of them at a restaurant and were able to introduce ourselves. We learned that Bark-Sundi had interest in our 30-30 program, so we set up a time to start meeting her. Teaching English was fun, but during the gospel time we realized that she didn’t know anything about Jesus Christ and the gospel (even though she’d been baptized years before). We had to start at ground one.

We taught the first lesson almost 6 times before she understood it. Even with Korean members present, she just didn’t seem to understand (or want to understand). I remember a time when I studied so hard for what I wanted to share with her, and during the lesson I was trying as hard as I could to relay what I love about the gospel in as much Korean as I know, and she laughed. She flat our laughed at me and my slow Korean. It was miserable.

I came home from the lesson and cried for about an hour. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so mean and impatient. A big part of me was crying that we should drop her—she was rude and she wasn’t progressing. But something small and something warm inside of me felt this love for her still and felt that we should still teach her.

So with all the courage I could muster, we came back the next week to teach her again. In the next couple weeks, something miraculous happened. We started reading from the Book of Mormon and she started marking things! She asked for the Liahona in English so we could do her English studies out of that.

She told us that she had never felt the Spirit while praying, so we taught her about prayer, and invited her to say the closing prayer and she accepted for the first time!

She prayed and something peaceful and warm came into the house. She ended her prayer and with tears in her eyes, told us that for the first time she felt that good feeling of the Holy Ghost. She finally understood, so she started attending Sacrament Meeting again.

Her friend, Sister Li was there for her every step of the way. It took 20 years, but now Sister Bark comes to church every Sunday with a sweet smile on her face (volunteering to read scriptures and sharing what she has learned from the month’s Liahona). One person…one persistent faithful friend really can make a difference.

“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”

And the story goes on!!!

Her kids, after seeing their mom read the scriptures, Liahona and coming to church each week—decided that they want to start coming to church too. One of her sons (none of her children have been baptized) told the Bishop that he wants to be baptized, so we have been teaching him the lessons too! (He wants the sisters to teach him because Sister K is Korean and can explain and answer his questions better and help him understand everything completely)

So that’s where we are now. It has gone from “I want to drop this lady” to “her son’s going to be baptized!”

The Gospel is truly miraculous. It can change hearts, it can change lives. I’m so thankful for faithful members, faithful friends who watch out for those they love and continually, persistently invite them to come to Christ even when at times it might have seemed hopeless. Hope is never lost.

❤ Sister Stastny

 

Riding the night bus

안녕하세요!

I’m in 김포 (Gimpo) and it’s awesome!!!  It is such a big area.  I’m used to walking a lot in my last area, but to get anywhere in this area we have to take the bus. The buses are usually crowded so we have to stand the whole time and try not to fall over when there’s any breaks or bumps.  I know I’ve said it before, but they really are so much like the night bus from Harry Potter that I almost have to remind myself I’m going to an appointment, not Hogwarts to share the Gospel (though, that’s a dream for sure).  I usually get off the bus and buckle over because I feel so sick, but hopefully the more I get used to them the less sick I’ll be.  We’ll see.

A lot of our time in Gimpo is spent traveling to appointments, and talking to everyone on the way (which has actually been pretty effective so far).  Me and Sister T split up on the buses so we can meet and talk to more people.  Everyone in our area is pretty easy to talk to.  No one seems to be in too much of a rush to not have a few minutes to talk.  It’s really nice.

Other fun facts about my new area: To get across our whole area it takes two hours by bus–which is a long time in Korean travel standards.  We also have the Gimpo airport in our area, it’s not as big as Incheon airport but it’s still a great place to meet and talk to people.  We’re also pretty close to North Korea (don’t worry Mom), that just means that on P-day’s we can travel to the peace observatory and DMZ and see it if we ever want.   We have a lot of farms and countryside–which are gorgeous!!!  And we have a couple ISLANDS that we get to travel to by ferry–I’m so pumped!  We’re probably the only area in the mission that has permission to get on a water-mobile thing–Booyah!!!

So everything and everyone in Gimpo seems really great! I already love the ward and our investigators to pieces.  I miss my precious Yeonsu, but Gimpo is winning my heart pretty quick, too.

It’s neat being with different people and seeing what their different talents and strengths are.  Sister T is from Las Vegas. Neato!   She also is fluent in Spanish, so we have some investigators that we teach spanish, English, AND the Gospel too!  Wow, that’s really fun!  It’s not always easy being with someone 24/7 (minus bathroom time), but I think it is fun to learn about different people and the way they think and view the world.  There seems to be something uniquely different that I’ve learned from every companion so far, so I’m excited to learn from and progress with Sister T too:)

[pictures from last week are posted if you want to go back and look at them] I love you always 사랑해! ❤

Sister Stastny