Christmas Miracles

안녕하세요!!!

메리 크리스마스!!! (Merry Christmas!!)

Oh my turkey and gravy it was fun getting to skype you guys!!!  I just loved seeing all of your faces and hearing your voices!  It made my Christmas one of the best ever!

So my week was pretty amazing…

On Tuesday, we had a mission conference where we listened to lots of music and musical numbers, watched fun slideshows of all the missionaries baby photos, and also heard lots of wonderful testimonies and received training from our leaders.

On Wednesday (Christmas Eve), we wanted to do something special, so we decided to fast until dinner for a Christmas miracle.  We went outside as soon as we could and started talking to everyone and sharing our happy message about Jesus Christ with the world. There were lots of people who listened kindly and took a message card, and there were some who didn’t.  My heart was filled with gratitude for the kind people that day; but I also was thankful for what those who didn’t listen taught me.

There was one person in particular that I wished a Merry Christmas and gave a message card with a picture of Mary and the baby Jesus on it .  She took the card and looked at the picture for a few seconds, and then shook her head and handed it back to us, turning the other way to head back on her path of errands and Christmas Eve duties.

I had encountered many rejections on my mission before this, but this particular instance seemed to fill me with sadness.  It was as if she had looked at the Savior and rejected Him.  I thought, “If only you knew.  If only you knew who He really was, you would let Him in.”

As we continued walking and sharing our message along the streets of Korea, I thought about Mary on the night of the Savior’s birth, looking for somewhere she could lay her child–the Son of God.  I felt like her as we looked for someone who was prepared to accept our message–to let Christ into their lives.  I felt more love for everyone, those who seemed to open their hearts to the Lord, and those who had closed their hearts for one reason or another.  I knew Christ loved and perfectly knew them all.

We had worked really hard that day and had found lots of people with lots of potential, but we hadn’t found somebody who was willing to accept our lessons.  Christmas Eve passed, and we retired for the night with our Bishop and ward members for a delicious, luxurious dinner, caroling, and Christmas Eve fun.

On Christmas day, we woke up at 6:30 (dead tired and completely excited for the day ahead of us–as usual).  We opened our presents in our Yos, then went out to skype!! (Woop Woop).

Lots of people have Christmas day off, so the streets and stores were crowded with families and friends having fun.  We went caroling outside of a mall for a couple hours with the other missionaries in our zone and talked to hundreds of people!  It was so fun and everyone was so happy and loved our singing (which is a Christmas miracle if you’ve ever heard us…haha).  That night, our ward mission leader invited us to eat 칼국수(kar-guksu–a yummy Korean soup), kimchi, and icecream.  It was a perfect day and Heavenly Father blessed us so much.

Other Mission Moments:

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Random pic of Sis. L in the wilderness

 

We found a couch so I naturally set up there to teach the gospel:)
We found a couch so I naturally set up there to teach the gospel:)

Heavenly Father lets us witness tons of little miracles each day, every week, but on Friday, He gave us a miracle that we’ll forever be thankful for.

We were on our way over to a member’s house (our Korean grandma’s house specifically), when we see this lady walking the opposite way towards us.  She was looking at us pretty intently (which isn’t that unusual because we’re blonde-haired Americans in Korea), so we said “Annyeonghaseyo” and bowed our heads a little bit like a normal greeting. She stopped completely and asked 한국말 아세요?” (Do you know Korean?).

We said Nay (which means yes in Korean) and started talking to her.  She asked if she can pay us to teach her family English.  We told her that we teach for free along with teaching about the Gospel and she got really excited.  She told us she was really open to hearing about our message and that we could come over anytime.

So Friday, we decide to stop by her house and meet her family.  They are all so nice and perfect, and Sister L and I knew as we met them that they were the answer to prayers and fasting.  They all are very kind and sincerely open to hearing and studying about our message of the Restoration of the Gospel.  The mom who met us on the street told us that she’s been looking for someone to help her family.  She said that she had seen us walking the day before as she was driving with her husband and felt like she should get out and talk to us. So her husband dropped her off a block over and she came walking to talk to us.  She told us that she felt very lucky to have met us.  I don’t know if she’ll ever know how lucky and blessed we felt to have met her.

Heavenly Father does hear and answer prayers, and this is His true, restored church. I love it with all my heart, and I love you guys too.

❤ Sister Stastny

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Almost Christmas

This week we had lots of fun spreading “the Gift” (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) to everyone in Korea.  Our mission gave us little pass-along cards that have a picture of Mary and Jesus, that says “그분은 선물임니다”-(He is the gift).  We’ve been sharing them with everyone that we can, and bearing testimony that our God truly loved us, and sent His only begotten son, our Savior, to the world for us.  It’s such a wonderful opportunity I have to share the Gospel this Christmas season.

To be honest, this Christmas has sort of snuck up on me.  Korea recognizes Christmas, and kids get presents, and there are a few Christmas trees up here and there, but it’s mostly considered a western holiday.  On Christmas, most people are going out to a movie or a dinner with their friends, or are staying home by themselves to relax.  The streets aren’t covered with Christmas lights, the shops don’t play Christmas tunes, the stores aren’t full of big lines with people waiting to buy gifts…but there still seems to be something special in the air that is making people’s hearts softer as we share the message of the Gospel to them.

There really is something special about Christmas, regardless of who you are or where you are.

At church this last Sunday, we had a Christmas program where the primary kids sang, the missionaries sang (I don’t know why they ask us, but we always do it), and a couple beautiful Christmas talks about the Savior and His birth were given.  I took turns translating for one of our amazing sisters from the Phillipines. We also had a nice bibimbap lunch after church that was prepared by our wonderful Relief Society. It was pretty simple, and completely perfect.

Because Christmas isn’t as big of a holiday as it is in America, it seems easy for everyone to focus on the main reason for Christmas–CHRIST.

I’m so thankful for this humble opportunity to serve as a missionary in Korea this Christmas season!

God is great!

Mission Moments:

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We made a temple out of chocolate mix and candy bars for a ward member we love (and are preparing to someday go to the temple)

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This one has a story- We were at one of our Korean grandma’s houses in our ward, and I spilled some of the drink she gave us on my skirt (I’ve come to the conclusion my skirts just want to be giant napkins). She called me a 바보 haha, which is what Laman and Lemuel called Nephi in the Book of Mormon…and then she gave me this huge aluminum apron to wear the rest of the time in her house.  I love Korea.

❤ Sister Stastny

Lord’s Tender Mercies

This week we had our Stake Christmas Party and it was the best!  We had a nice little dinner and then a huge talent show. Seriously my favorite Christmas party ever!  Laughed, met with lots of members, sang (wasn’t good, but sometimes you got to do things for the Lord that you don’t want to), ate, and just had the funnest time of my life!

All the missionaries sang Heal the World by Michael Jackson (don’t ask me why?  I don’t know, but everyone loved it).  Sister Lyman and I also got roped into doing a Korean love song with our district…it was..umm terrible.  We don’t sing, but we sang haha.  A disabled girl played the piano and sang at the end with us so she saved our act with her adorableness!  Anyway, Here’s a video with some very short clips from the show.

 CHRISTMAS VIDEO-KOREA

I honestly don’t know how people expect me to leave after things like this!  I just love Korea and everyone here with all my heart. By the way, Koreans love to sing!  And they belt their hearts out when they do!  I love it!  They have karaoke places everywhere!  It’s so popular!

I also got to go on an exchange with my Sister Training Leader this week and we had so many miracles.  Sister H gave one of the most amazing trainings I’ve ever had on my mission.  Usually lots of Training leaders are given a topic they can talk about and they apply it to each of the sisters individually.  However, Sister H wanted to try something different, so the day before she chose to study for me.

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Looking like an eskimo 🙂  I bought the coat because A) the owner of the store is a potential investigator, and B) it was cheap and cute and warm 🙂

I began sharing what I learned in Personal study with her, and she’s flabbergasted.  Everything I had studied that day she had studied the day before too–almost exactly!  I read 2 Nephi (the Isaiah chapters); and so did she.  I read in Jesus the Christ about the apostle Peter and his work after Christ’s resurrection- stopping before Stephen the martyr…and she read in Acts about Peter and the apostles (also choosing to stop before Stephen’s testimony and death).  We also read the same parts in Preach My Gospel.  And the best part is, none of us knew what each other was studying!

She also shared with me 2 Nephi 16 (where Isaiah sees the Lord and is forgiven of his sins)– honestly one of my most favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon (which she had no idea of before)…and we were just blown away.

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Sometimes there are ups and downs as missionaries, and I was having a rather down time before this…but when this sister gave her training to me, I knew that it was only through the Spirit that she could have planned so perfect for me.  I felt sure that God knew me perfectly and I was astounded and ever thankful for Him.

I realized that if God could inspire her to so clearly and conveniently to receive revelation for me (this random missionary from Idaho), how much more could He inspire me and all of the missionaries around the world to receive revelation for our investigators!

I was touched by the power of the Spirit, the power of God, and the power and authority of our calling as missionaries for the true church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I was uplifted, motivated, and grateful for the tender mercy of God. I really know that God does still inspire men and women everywhere! How amazing is the Gospel!

Mission Moments:

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Me and a recent convert from the Phillippines (honestly one of the most faithful people I have ever met in my life)

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Snow in Korea! It’s cold!!!

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A family I absolutely adore!  Meeting with them and preparing them so they can go and be sealed in the temple 🙂

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Erin (that’s her English name) is one of the most cutest creatures on the planet.  She’s amazing at English (and Korean) and is progressing little by little as we teach her each week 🙂  I love her to pieces!  She has a cute little lisp when she speaks English, and combined with her Korean accent, she’s just the most adorable thing ever!

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This sister is always at her hair shop, so we come there to meet with her and teach her the gospel.  She loves religion and listens and asks questions better than most of our other investigators. We have a lot of hope for her.  She also likes to cut my hair a little every other time I go into her shop!  I swear I’m going to be bald by the time she’s prepared to be baptized…haha.

Have a great week!

Sister Stastny

스태스니 자매

Baptism

Annyeonghaseyo! 안녕하셍요!

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Shabushabu? (샤브샤브) Such good food! You put a bunch of veggies and meat into a broth and them wrap it up in some rice paper and it equals the best thing ever:)

December came in as cold as it could! The ward gave us some fleece-lined tights and we’ve been wearing about 2 pairs, (along with 2 pairs of gloves, boots, 2 heavy jackets, a long sleeved shirt, and sweater or 2, a hat, a scarf, and pretty much anything we can find to keep us warm). Technically, I don’t think it’s as cold as Idaho (I’m not sure how Fahrenheit coverts to Celsius, so I’m just guessing), but because I’m surrounding by a river and an ocean, and because we are in a more country part of Korea than Seoul, the wind blows and it feels like you’ve just plunged into the icy Arctic waters!

But, God’s love is warm, so missionary work is easy!

An especially extraordinary experience happened this week! We have a recent convert in our ward from Singapore and if you met her you’d fall in love with her immediately! She got baptized earlier in the year and always comes faithfully to church even though she doesn’t understand everything that is said. Her husband is Korean and is not a member, but he loves philosophy and religion and usually accompanies her to church. The missionaries and the ward have asked him if he will ever get baptized, but he has told them “later” for a couple months.

Well, miracles of miracles, as the elders were meeting with him this week (on Wednesday), he told them that he pondered and prayed about it, and he wants to be baptized…on Saturday. What?!!

He’s been to church for months and has received all of the needed lessons, so all he had to do was be interviewed for baptism. All the missionaries were praying and fasting for him as hard as we could. Our mission president (who actually knows them personally) also joined in the prayers.

Saturday comes…and he passed his interview and he was prepared to be baptized!!!

It was a beautiful service, and more than half of our ward came (despite the late notice) to see and support him and his family!

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On Sunday, he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost! Both him, and his wife were radiating! It was amazing to witness them both come a little closer to Christ.

one of the famous twins
one of the famous twins

Even though his baptism did not come at the time that the missionaries and ward wanted or expected…it came. I know that the Lord is always watching out for those we love and preparing them in ways we can hardly comprehend.

My companion and I at the temple (before it got so freezing cold)
My companion and I at the temple (before it got so freezing cold)

God is amazing! Jesus is truly the Christ. And this is His restored Church. I’m so glad to be a part of it.

사랑합니다! (sarang-hamnida) LOVE!
스태스니 자매 (stastny cha-mae) Sister Stastny