Thanksgiving in Korea

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all throughout the day, only Kimchi was eaten, in almost every single way…plain Kimchi, fried Kimchi, Kimchi boiled in a stew, Kimchi eaten with hot rice, Kimchi eat with cold rice, and extra salty Kimchi..).

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2/3 of our fridge is filled with kimchi

 

It’s Kimchi season and oh do we have a lot of Kimchi in our house! So let’s just say I felt a little sick when Thanksgiving day actually rolled around. But I still ate some 김치찌개 (Kimchi stew) for lunch, and some nice 칼국수 (kar-gooksu) (I’m not exactly sure how this is explained in English but it’s like Korean chicken noodle soup with yummy homemade noodle). The good news, is I didn’t have to worry about gaining a million pounds from my Thanksgiving feast haha!

I think I eat more kimchi than Koreans do
I think I eat more kimchi than Koreans do

To be honest, more people knew when it was Halloween, than they did Thanksgiving day. Korean’s Thanksgiving (Chuseok) is on a different day, so it kind of just felt like any other day…which is great because any day as a missionary is awesome!!

So that was my Thanksgiving! Also, all the missionaries threw a Thanksgiving culture night for our Stake on the weekend. That was fun! We made pilgrim and Indian hats, decorated lanterns, made fortune cookies, Indian bracelets, did face painting (that was my job), and practiced our American archery with a homemade deer target…can’t get more Thanksgiving than that! It was so fun! I loved hanging out with all the people in the stake and meeting member’s friends and family. It was a great opportunity to meet lots of people.

Mission Moments:

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Sister L and I are loving life in Gimpo. We are getting to know and love our ward a little more each day, and we are really blessed with lots of opportunities to teach people about the Gospel. I know Heavenly Father is watching over us and blessing us a lot. I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to share what I love the most every day–the GOSPEL!

Keep on keepin on!
❤ Sister Stastny

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Plans–Ours & the Lord’s

In missionary work, we make a lot of plans.  We plan (and back-up plan) what we are going to do during every hour of the day.  Sometimes our plans work out, and sometimes they don’t.  What I’ve come to realize throughout my mission is that the Lord’s plans always work out!  If we are living faithfully and obediently, His work will never be frustrated (even if our plans seem to be).  The Lord has a plan for us!

This week I had an experience with this as we were preparing to head out the door to start our work for the day.  The lady that we had wanted to see, told us she couldn’t, our back-up plan sent us a last minute text cancelling too.  Our day was completely open and empty.  We said a prayer, asking that Heavenly Father would guide us to know what we could do that would be effective, and then we went out and started working.

As we were out, we passed an apartment where I knew an old lady who is a less-active member of our church lives. We had tried in the past to meet her without success.  Her apartment has a keypad and code to get in (which are not our friends as missionaries), and we couldn’t find her exact house number anyway to ring if we wanted too.  As we were walking past her house this time, however, a person just unlocked the door and let us right in (what?! That never happens! It was huge miracle!).

I know that Heavenly Father was leading us to her, because her husband had recently died and she seemed really lonely.  When we first got into her house, she was really somber.  None of her lights were on, and a window was open and it was freezing cold.  She cut up some fruit to share with us–like is natural in Korean culture–and then she sat there glazy-eyed. We said a prayer in our hearts that we could somehow help her, and felt prompted to start asking her about her family.  At first she just gave us little, one word answers…but as we continued to ask about her family and show genuine interest in her, she started lighting up little by little until we were looking at pictures with her and laughing and listening to all her good experiences.

In Preach my Gospel it says that “People typically have spiritual feelings as they talk about families.”  I witnessed as I was with her, talking about her and her family, how the spirit started entering the house.  It started becoming lighter and happier, and I could tell she was more willing to listen to us when we asked to share a simple message from the Book of Mormon.

It’s hard to describe in words just how meaningful and amazing being a part of these experiences is, but I hope you can always live worthy to have the Spirit’s influence in your life so you can have your own spiritual experiences and recognize them!  Just go out with a determination to do something good, even if you’re not exactly sure what it is yet.  I know that the Lord will guide us to where HE wants us to be if we are living worthily and faithfully; and that when we get there, we will realize just how amazing God’s plans are and we will be incredibly thankful.

This is the Lord’s work, and this is His restored church. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be a missionary sharing the good news!

❤ Sister Stastny

PS: Happy Thanksgiving! (I forgot my cord, so pictures are going to have to wait till next week, sorry!)

First Snow

Gimpo got it’s first snow for the year this week!  It melted by the morning, but it’s still freezing cold.  All the Korean high school students had their ACT/SAT-type of test this week…which is a big deal!  They study insanely hard because it determines whether they will get into college or not.  It lasts about 6 hours and it sounds SO HARD.  I think it’s part of the reason why we don’t really have the opportunity to teach much high school students (because they literally are studying from dawn to dusk during their high school years to pass this test.

Anyway I’m mentioning this because there’s a jinx apparently where it always gets drastically bitter cold on this day, and I want you to know that it was (and since then) has been bitter freezing, bone-chilling cold.  Because we’re right by the Han river, and close to the ocean on the other side…it feels like we’re plunging into ice cold water when we walk outside.  But, to be honest, it’s pretty fun.  When the conditions are hard, it makes me appreciate being a missionary and sharing this Gospel and warming up people’s lives.

Sis. H and I
Sis. H and I

This week has been filled with a bunch of amazing things.  My trainer, Sister H, is going home, and I got to see and catch up with her this last P-day.  While serving in Yeonsu together, there was a young single adult’s mom that we tried really hard to work with and teach. She’s the lady that we went on a hike with and took some pictures with a while back.  Anyway, she’s so lovely and I love her to death..but while serving there our schedules never seemed to work out, and we weren’t able to teach her.  However, I learned recently that she had been bedridden, deathly sick, but her sons and the ward started praying for her, and she miraculously got better!

After she recovered, she contacted the sister missionaries serving in Yeonsu right now and told them she wants to get baptized!  She said that she knew from that experience, that this church had to be true!  There just couldn’t be any other explanation for her miraculous healing.  So the missionaries are currently teaching her all the lessons and preparing her for baptism!!

I’m seriously so happy for her and her family!  Sister H and I had prayed really hard that she could taste of the joy of the gospel with the rest of her family.  I’m so glad that the Spirit was able to touch her and guide her along a path toward Christ!  The Lord is miraculous!  I love this Gospel!

I know that the Lord hears and answers our prayers.  The answer might not always come at the time or in the manner that we expect, but I know that it will come.  We just have to be faithful, patient, and hopeful.

Mission Moments:

Have a great week and stay warm!

❤ Sister Stastny

 

Sticker Boarding

안녕하세요!

Annyeounghaseyo!

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About once a month in our Gimpo ward, we have the opportunity to teach what we call Mini MTC at our church!  It’s where all the missionaries come together and teach the youth about missionary work and how we can share the gospel.  It’s really nice because it motivates our youth to be member missionaries and allows us an opportunity to teach them the things that we have learned through our missionary work.  So usually, we just teach a little from Preach My Gospel, then do a role play with the youth, but this week, we wanted to do a hands on activity.  So we decided we would go STICKER BOARDING with the youth outside on the streets!

I’m not sure if I have explained what sticker boarding is already, but I’ll give another explanation just in case.  So we have a board that is divided into usually four sections with  questions inside each of the boxes.  At the top there’s usually a big main question:–(the one that I used yesterday said “If you met God, what question would you ask?”.  The questions in the boxes included: “What is my purpose in life?”, “Why is there suffering in the world?”, “How do I balance my work and my family life?” and “How can I find peace and happiness?”

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We take these boards out on the streets (usually to a busy intersection) and pass out stickers to people to put in the boxes on the question that they would ask.  It’s a really good way to talk to lots of people, start conversations about the Gospel, and have a fun time while doing it.

I loved doing it with the youth because they really looked to us as examples and we were able to light a spark in them to do missionary work.  They obviously can speak Korean more fluently than me, but they kept on coming up to us and asking “What do I say if a person asks this, or does this?” “What do you say?”  So I would tell them the simple thing that I say, and they’ll say, “That’s perfect!”  I don’t think anything I was saying was too special, but it was nice to be able to help them anyway.  We told them, that the way to be a better missionary is to live worthy to have the Holy Ghost with you always and to faithfully, courageously follow those promptings everyday!

I loved having the opportunity to share a hands-on missionary activity with them and hopefully inspired them to better prepare to share the gospel in their own daily lives.

Mission Moments:

I know this church is Christ’s restored church!  There’s so much peace and joy that I receive from being a member of this church that I can’t help but want to share it with everyone! This Gospel is amazing!

❤ Sister Stastny

P.S–Check back on the Miracles post to see a video and pictures I couldn’t download last week from our Halloween party.

Miracles Every Day

Happy Halloween!

That was our topic in the conversation English class this week. Fun! For our Family Home Evening that we had as a ward, we had it Halloween-themed. We dressed people up as mummies with toilet paper, had a pinata, and drew those mix-matched monsters that we always use to do during family home evening! It was a blast.

Also, on Halloween, I had 낙지덮밥(nakji deoupbab). I’ll let you look it up to see what it actually looks like, but I think you will think it was an appropriate Halloween meal haha! It was actually really delicious. Me and my companion ate all of it (which is the polite thing to do in Korea, so we do that anyway), but we actually enjoyed this meal. 🙂

Stir-Fried Octopus with Rice – Octopus, onion and carrot, stir-fried in a red chili sauce

So in missionary work, we see so many miracles every day, and sometimes every hour if we’re looking hard enough for them, so I just want to share about 1 day this week and a few of the miracles we saw throughout it..

Nov.1:

The first miracle happened quite unexpectedly. We had 3 appointments scheduled for the day–Kate (Names changed: a recent convert from the Philippines who moved to Korea for work) at 1:30pm, Julie (an investigator we teach English and the Gospel to) at 4:30, and Eunice (another investigator we teach English and the Gospel to) at 8pm. So after we finished lunch, we had some awkward time before Kate’s appointment, so we went outside and started walking. I was racking my brain for what we can do, or who we can see, and I think of an investigator that we haven’t seen in a long time.

We had already tried to visit this investigator the other day, but she wasn’t there; but we decided to try again, and MIRACULOUSLY, she and her family is home!!! We were able to share a message with her about prayer, and she opened up more to us than I had ever seen (another miracle) about how she doesn’t know if God it there, so that’s why it’s been difficult to try praying. We told her to ask, “God, are you really there?” And talked about how she can receive answers through the Holy Ghost. It was a simple lesson, but it seemed to touch her and she seemed willing to experiment on the things we had taught her (miracle).

This investigator’s lesson was running a little long, but Kate (the recent convert we were going to meet next) texted us in the lesson telling us she was going to be about 30 minutes late (just the time we needed to get to the appointment on time). It worked out perfectly (another miracle)!

With Kate, we learned about her conversion story (she was baptized about 5 months ago in the Philippines) and about the hardships she is going through in her life right now but overcoming through her strong, triumphant faith in Christ. We talked about family history and she was really excited to learn how to do that and prepare to go to the temple to perform baptisms for her deceased ancestors. (She’s just a miracle in herself, so being with her was really fun and enlightening).

So after Kate, we headed over early to Julie’s area. I had spent a lot of the night before, going through old records and trying to find members, or less-active members that might live in her area just in case we had some extra time. So we were walking around the area and I see an apartment named “Oe–oolim” and it sticks out to me. I look through the sheets of addresses I have, but all I can find remotely close is an apartment named “oo-mi-lim”-which is nowhere in sight.

Because we have time though, my companion suggests we go over there just in case it is the right apartment (even though we know the names are different). We feel good about it, so we start walking toward it, and lo and behold, we greet these 2 ladies, tell them we’re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, and they tell us they’re interested! We get their number and set up an appointment to meet with them next week right then and there!!! Giant miracles!! It’s interesting how the sprit nudges us in different ways so we can meet the people we’re supposed to. I’m so grateful for it.

After that, we got to teach our investigator Julie the first lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel. When we shared with her James 1:5, we asked her “From this verse, what can we do if we have a question that we want answered?”

She seemed a little flustered at first, but as we asked a little more questions about the subject we realized she was just blown away at the idea that she could ask God anything she wants, and talk to Him openly as she would a close friend. I testified that Heavenly Father really does want to communicate with us, and her eyes just got big with amazement. At the end of the lesson she jumped and asked if she could say the closing prayer (another fabulous miracle)! In her prayer, she thanked Heavenly Father for the new things she had learned with us. It really touched my heart. I’m thankful the Spirit spoke to her and made our message more amazing than we ever could on our own (definite miracle).

To end the day, we got to teach our other investigator, Eunice, about the Restoration of the Gospel, too. I love teaching about the Restoration because it’s just a giant miracle in itself. I think about how crazy amazing it would be to hear something like that for the first time—that God does live and talk to His children today personally, just like He has in times of old; that Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I always feel the Spirit when I teach about Joseph Smith’s First Vision. I really know he was a prophet called of God. The Church of Jesus Christ is the true restored church of Jesus Christ.

In summary, it was a miraculous day! (I haven’t even included all the blessings, the nice people we got to meet on streets, the delicious foods we were fed, the lovely weather, and just the blessing of serving in beautiful Korea). I know God is always with us in this, His work.

Miracles do happen!

I love serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

❤ Sister Stastny

(<<that is a Korean syllable that looks like a person! When said, it sounds like “oot”) Random, but enjoy!