All posts by Charissa

I'm Charissa...a wife, mother, writer, reader, & believer that life should be joyful!

Coming back home

Hello! It’s crazy to think that this is the last letter I will be writing about my missionary work.

Well, my last couple days as a missionary were fantastic!  My companion and I got to talk to a lot of people, see a lot of members and potential investigators, and have a blast as we did all this.  I love serving with her so much.  I learned that I should have started packing early because the time from 9:30-10:30 at night is not quite enough to stuff everything I’ve obtained in these 19 months in a suitcase (let’s just say the night before transfers was a very long night).
Wednesday (transfer day) was emotional and extremely hot (which is not the best combination because you end up wet from both sweat and tears).  It was hard for me to wrap my head around being transferred back to America–with no companion assigned to me!  It was a sweet and spiritual day though.  It was so hard looking out my apartment window for the last time and saying goodbye to my area and the people that I have come to love like crazy these last 8 months of my mission.  
It was strange.  The hardest part about leaving my beautiful mission area came because I had invested everything there, I knew I had served there with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. It was hard, but it was also for that same reason that I was able to find the comfort and courage to leave it.  
The last days in the mission were spent at the mission home trying to get our suitcases to the correct weight.  That wasn’t very fun, but it taught me the importance of provident preparation.  We had a big fireside/testimony meeting where all the missionaries returning home bore their testimonies and we talked about how we can still keep Christ close in our lives.  
One of my favorite parts was going into the stairwell of the mission home after that meeting (though it was extremely hot and humid and everyone was sweating), and singing hymns in Korean as loud as we could.  I think the spirit enveloped everyone as we sang and we knew, that even with our mixed emotions on returning home- things were going to be okay.
In one of the songs it said:
Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.

As we sang that song I felt the spirit gently reminding me of how much God has guided me these past 19 months.  I have truly witnessed miracles because of His grace and endless kindness.  If God helped me that much through my mission, I know he could continue to guide me after it.

This gave me hope…

Though my mission has ended, my life as a missionary has not.

I’m so thankful for all that I learned on my mission, and to my God, Heavenly Father, for helping me through all of it.

I know this church is the true church of Jesus Christ restored to the Earth.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  And Heavenly Father does hear and answer our prayers.

I’m so thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you all!

Sister Stastny

Goodbyes, Emergency Room & Miracles

I don’t even know where to begin this week!

Well, I took what you said to heart and I worked 110% this week. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder in my life. I was a bit unfortunate, though, because I got a bladder infection out of the blue and I didn’t want to cancel any appointments, so I just bought a gallon of cranberry juice and drank it. It started getting worse where it hurt for me to stand–(which I still thought was okay because who needs to stand when you are teaching investigators or with members, right?), But Wednesday night it got really bad, and my mission President finally sent me to the Emergency Room at 11:30.

It was crazy! The emergency room in Korea at 12 AM is a blast by the way- unless you’re way sick, then….yah, you are in a lot of pain. I thought I was in pain- I was writhing and crying, but I was definitely not the most hurt person there. There was someone that looked like he had got shot in the eye, another girl that was pale and couldn’t walk by herself, another lady had some nice cuts on her face and blood and bruises on her body, and a person was wheeled by us as we were waiting whose whole shirt was stained in blood. We spent about 3 hours there before they got the test results and some medicine for me (it fixed me up pretty quickly so you don’t have to worry about me now). It was definitely an adventure, though.

I learned that no matter how much you think you are suffering, there is probably someone that feels a little worse than you. So why not try making them feel better? It was hard in the Emergency room when I was the sick person, but I tried to think of Christ and be more like Him. A nurse had been very serious and a little stressed looking before, and I gave her a compliment (I was buckled over because of the pain so it was about her shoes), but it completely changed her whole countenance. She smiled and it just lit up her whole face. It wasn’t much, but it was the best I could do then. Even though I was in pain, I felt the comforting peace and love from the spirit.

I’m better now, by the way:) Nothing to worry about now.

What was more painful than going to the hospital, was going to my 영등포 ward for the last time. It broke my heart. They asked me to give a last talk, and I don’t think my whole time on my mission could have prepared me for the feelings I had as I went up to the podium and looked at the faces of the ward I have worked with for the past 8 months.

I saw every member and I felt like I have come to know them so individually the past months; the deaf members, my recent converts, the less-actives who have started coming back to church, and everyone else that I love so much smiling at me. I looked at them and I just felt so much love for them. I don’t know how I can leave them.

I looked and reflected on everything that has happened in 영등포 and throughout my mission here in Korea. I have grown so much, learned so much, and developed a personal relationship with my savior Jesus Christ. And yet I wish I could do something more to serve the people here, but I’m not sure what.

I know that I served the Lord and worked my hardest. It’s going to be so hard to leave this beautiful country and the food and the people that I love so much here, but I know that a release as a full-time missionary is just a call to serve as a life-long missionary.

I’m excited that this isn’t the end.

❤ Sister Stastny

Rainy Season & Reunions


I have no idea where the time is going but everyone is telling me that I have only 2 weeks left!  This week I was told I have my exit interview with President Morrise.  There’s about 19 other missionaries going home with me so he has to start early.  Thankfully, an exit interview doesn’t mean I’m finished yet.  I still have time to serve the Lord here in Korea. 아싸!~

This week the monsoon season hit us full blast!  It’s humid and rainy all the time and I think I haven’t been completely dry since last Monday.  But I absolutely love it!  All the trees and flowers are bright rich colors and everything looks so beautiful.  I just love Korea with all my heart!

We had a zone conference this week where a person named P.J. Rogers came and talked to us. He was hilarious and so fun to listen to.  He served his mission in Korea and came back here afterwards to go to school.  He made a goal to have a conversation about the Gospel every month.  After a while of doing that it became too easy, so he changed it to a conversation about the Gospel with someone every week. He seems to be having a lot of success as a member missionary and was really inspiring.

We met for zone conference at a new church in 인천 (Incheon)-where I first started off my mission.  It is probably one of the nicest churches I have ever been to, anywhere.  It was gorgeous.  What was even better was that I got to see a bunch of sisters from 연수 (Yeonsu)-my first area!

In my first area me and my companion worked really hard with a lady named Sister Park who had been less-active for 20 years.  After teaching her a couple lessons I felt like there was no point in coming over ever again.  Her heart seemed so hard and she couldn’t understand our lessons no matter what materials or members we brought along to help us.  I honestly wanted to drop her at one point, because I thought we were wasting our time.  It was then that out of no where, I was filled with the most warm, indescribable love for her.  It was bigger and stronger than anything I think I’ve ever felt.  I knew it was God’s love for her and that we had to continue teaching her.  About a month later she was re-activated, and her children began to take the lessons too and come to church, and were eventually baptized.

I saw her at the Zone Conference helping the Relief Society sisters with a service project.  She was smiling so big and talked to me about how she has completed been changed, and now is “completely active” in the church.

I think nothing could have made me more happy than to see her so happy and to hear her say that.

Mission Moments:

It’s hard to think that soon I will have to leave, but I know that my efforts to serve the Lord in Korea have not been for nothing.  No effort is ever wasted.

I love serving as a missionary with all my heart!  And I find a lot of comfort knowing that I can serve as a missionary my whole life-where ever I am- with or without a badge.

❤ Sister Stastny

Elevator Miracle


View at night from our apartment

This week I official hit my 18th month mark.  I say that, but I don’t believe it!  At least I still have some more time left.  Whew.  That’s great because this week we had some big blessings!

A couple weeks ago we began a conversation with a lady in the elevator.  It wasn’t anything special (I think we just gave her a compliment) and then parted ways, but no sooner did we say goodbye than the lady ran back to us, asked if we were missionaries, asked if she could learn English and the Gospel from us, and asked for our numbers.  We learned that she lives two doors down from our apartment!

We were in the middle of sending a text to her and following up when we get a knock on our door from her this week!  She asked where our church was and we set up and appointment to meet the next day.  I think it’s the first time that an investigator has come to us!

It’s not that often when people knock on missionaries doors asking to meet! It was great.

What’s even greater is how much she loves and cares for families.  She began going to church as a young mother so she could pray and obtain blessings for her family.  How cool is that?  We’ve been focusing all our lessons on how the restored gospel blesses families.  She seems really open to our lessons and because we live so close to each other and so close to our church I think she has a lot of potential to learn and progress really fast!

Mission Moments:

We’re really excited to teach her more!  This week we also went to the temple! Yah!  Love the temple!

❤ Sister Stastny

Rainy Season


Rainy season has begun! It got really hot and humid one day, and the next day it began to rain and it’s been raining ever since! Even though we always have an umbrella, somehow we always end up at our destination wet. It’s been a lot of fun, though.

This week I heard an analogy about a master that asked his servant to push a rock for him. This man put all his effort into it and pushed and pushed and pushed the heavy rock, but couldn’t get it to move even an inch. He kept on pushing without success and became frustrated and discouraged. With a feeling of failure, he returned to his master and asked him how he expected him to move the rock. The master wisely replied, “I never asked you to move the rock, I just asked you to push the rock.”

Sometimes, we like the servant, think that our success is based upon some outside factor, (for instance in missionary work, this could be thinking that success depends upon how many people accept your message); when in actuality our success is based upon how much we are pushing (how much we are trying and desiring to work our hardest and be obedient everyday). I really love that.

Rainy season

This week included my last zone training where I had to give my 마지막말씀(goodbye testimony-thing), learning 수화 (we have a ASL speaking family in our English branch now so I’m learning that and KSL), having the opportunity to meet with some members and practice our Korean, and teach our recent convert about charity. I also ate bab-burger–which is like Korean’s version of a hamburger (the patties are rice and in between is kimchi and yummy Korean meats). Oh it is fantastic! 마시당! yumm!

❤ Sister Stastny

And the Lord thy God shall lead thee


This week was great! But it did not start off ideally how I thought it would.  Every appointment I tried to make cancelled and we were left to knock on doors and talk on the streets- where I felt like we faced more rejection than I ever had.

I came home pretty discouraged one night and began to wonder, “why me?”  “why now?”.  As the remainder of my mission is ticking down, I’ve never felt like I have worked harder; but with that I’ve never felt like I’ve faced more hardships.  A while later, out of the blue, I received a text from my mission President telling us he had been thinking of us and wanted me and my companion to ponder over the blessings promised in the hymn Be thou Humble. The blessings are these (promised to the humble that seek to serve God):

  • The Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answers to thy prayers.
  • The Lord thy God shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.
  • The Lord thy God shall teach thee to serve His children gladly with a pure and gentle love.

Those promise gave me a lot of hope and comfort and I knew that if I got on my knees and asked God in sincere prayer for help, He would answer my prayers.  So I prayed for a long time that night truly believing that God would hear and answer my prayers, and lead me by the hand throughout as I asked.

I was a bit worried when the next day I got a text from one of our members saying that she couldn’t meet with us as planned.  But, right after that I received a text from another member saying that she wanted to introduce us to a family friend of hers who might have a lot of potential to become members.  A REFERRAL- no way!  I can’t remember the last time I’ve received a referral while serving here.  It was a giant blessing!

And the blessings continued.  Lots of members that hadn’t been able to meet with us in past weeks found time and offered us a lot of help and referred us to less-active members and other people that really needed our help!

Even though the hardships and worries didn’t completely stop, I feel as if God gave me new eyes that are more able to see His hand and influence in my life.  And because of that, the worries and hardships I was struggling with don’t even seem to matter anymore!

Because I felt that God answered my prayers, I desired that He could help make me an answer to someone else’s prayers.

On Sunday before church we got a call from a family on their way to China (where they would have to do church services online for a couple years).  They wanted to attend our English branch before they left but didn’t know how to get there.

During church I received a random text from who I thought was the family, asking for help to get to the church.  We left the service and went to the subway station, where we met the family.  They kept on thanking us for showing us where the church was and saying that we had been an answer to their prayers.  We felt thankful to God for the opportunity to serve, but we began to realize how miraculous the situation was when after dropping them off to the Sacrament Meeting, we received a text from the same number saying that they had almost arrived at the station. What?

We ran back to the station just in time to meet a college student studying abroad who needed our help getting to church, too.  We gladly showed her the way.

It was then that we realized the family didn’t have a working cell-phone to text or call us on outside of their apartment.  They had simply prayed that someone would be there to guide them to church, and there we were–waiting outside the subway station for them.

It was humbling to realize that God had guided us to where we needed to be at the right time to be a tool in His hands and help his children.

I LOVE SERVING AS A MISSIONARY! I love you with all my heart too! Have a great week and always trust that God will guide you!

❤ Sister Stastny


Pretty sky out our window

This week I had a lot of opportunities to ponder about what charity is and how it has been manifest in my life. First off, I was thinking about how much Heavenly Father loves all of His children.  He loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ so we could all become something better than we were through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I think the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the greatest manifestation of love ever to be in the history of the world.  Every time I apply the Atonement in my life, I am filled with a love that is just bigger than myself, and I want to in turn share it with everyone!

Next, I experience the pure love of Christ when I talk to people on the streets and subways.  There are lots of people that we talk to that simply don’t like us because we’re missionaries, Christians, or representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I realize that regardless of how people treat us or accept us and our message, I love them anyway.  It doesn’t make any sense really. Rejection, lies, unkind words, or looks can’t put a canker on the love we find for Heavenly Father’s children.  I always find a love that seems outside of myself for everyone I talk to; and I know that charity is truly a gift from God.


I also see charity manifest every week through the actions of others. Our deaf members each week lovingly lead a man who is both deaf and blind around the church to his seat. They keep an arm around him to let him know they are there.  They take one of his hands and write with their finger what is being discussed during Sacrament meeting, and form his hands into familiar signs that he knew before he lost his sight to communicate with him.  They lovingly and selflessly serve him; even though they too are in need of other’s help and assistance.  Every time I see them I can’t help but think of the scripture found in Moroni 7:45, 47

Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…Charity is the pure love of Christ.

I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week!

❤ Sister Stastny

Bingsu–Love it!

Funny Quote of the Week: “What does Kangaroo taste like- it tastes like horse!” ~Sister Tui

Missionary Joy


This week was great!  The MERS epidemic panic is slowly dissipating and the weather is getting warmer and warmer everyday. Apparently typhoon season is just around the corner, so we’re starting to get ourselves prepared for the fun rain!

If I haven’t said so lately, serving in Korea is fantastic!  I love being a missionary here with all my heart!  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how my view of missionary work has changed since the start of my mission.  Before my mission, I used to think that missionary work was inviting others not of our faith to come and learn; but on my mission I’ve learned that it’s so much more than that.  Missionary work blesses everyone–it’s inviting and helping everyone to come closer to Jesus Christ.  It brings us closer to Christ, and because we experience the happiness and love that comes from living the gospel, we in turn want to help everyone–regardless of who they are, how long they have or haven’t been in the church, their position, calling, race, or economic status–experience the joy and peace that can only come from following Jesus Christ.

Missionary work changes lives and saves souls.  It’s changed my life.  My hopes and dreams in life have changed to fit a beautiful eternal perspective.  I’ve realized that I can’t possibly just live complacently and strive for worldly success when I could spend a lifetime courageously following my Savior and seeking to serve Him and His children.  How could I not want to help others after Heavenly Father has so mercifully helped me so much?

I realized that this week as I began a simple conversation with a lady who looked like she had just finished work.  She looked like a very important business woman who had more than enough to provide for her needs and wants. She was very kind as I began talking to her and seemed really interested in why I was here.  She couldn’t believe why anyone would leave their schooling opportunities back home to pay to go on a mission.  I had to admit that it did seem a little crazy looking at it from that perspective, but I testified that the Gospel was worth more than anything that could possibly be obtained in this world.  It had changed me so much, and brought so much hope into my life, that I couldn’t possibly just be complacent and not share it with others.  As I testified, I knew that there was no place I’d rather be right now than here, serving as a missionary and sharing the gospel.

I know that the Gospel is amazing.  God is amazing!

❤ Sister Stastny

Subway miracles

In front  of our church
In front of our church

This week we were blessed to see some little miracles due to our efforts to talk to everyone!

On Tuesday, We were on a subway seeking to talk to people, when a man sits down next to me and we start talking.  We only had time to exchange a few words (hardly even had time to tell him we were missionaries) because his stop was next, but I got his business card.  I felt prompted to send him a text as soon as he got off the train and explain who we were and what we were doing in Korea.  At first I was hesitant, hoping that I could do it another time. But I felt the prompting again and sent the text.  I explained that we were missionaries serving  in Korea, that we taught about Jesus Christ, and that we want to serve just like Jesus Christ did so we taught free English.

To my surprise, he texted immediately back asking if he could be invited to our church’s English class.  I gladly told him yes and gave him the church’s address. That Saturday he showed up to church for English class, met the other missionaries, and loved it!  He promised to come again this week and seemed really excited for it.  He seems to have a lot of potential so we were really happy!

Another small miracle we saw from talking to people also occurred on a subway.  It  was rush hour so  there  were a lot of people packed on the train and we were standing really close to people.  You think this would be an easy time to talk to people since you have about 7 people directly next to you, but most of them have earphones in and are on their phones and refuse to make eye contact with anyone.  I noticed however, a lady that didn’t have any earphones in and was just fanning herself with a pretty hand fan.  I bowed toward her, she bowed back-then I started asking her about herself and her family.  I got to telling her that we were missionaries and we started a more religious conversation.  She attended another church and refused to take any flyers or pamphlets from us, but  as we were getting off  the train she  stops me, puts the Korean fan in my hands, smiles and tells me thank you.  It sort of shocked me, but I was really grateful for her kindness.  Even though she refused our message, I knew that we had represented the church  in a good way and that perhaps next time in the future she would be more open to  accept our message.

I really have a testimony that as long as we work our hardest to open our mouths about the gospel (regardless of whether others accept or not), we will feel that God is pleased with our work.

Mission Moments:


Every day we’re Missionary-ing


This week there’s been a big scare with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).  It hasn’t really affected our missionary work at all!  Just  mouth-masks and hand sanitizer are sold out at all the pharmacies.  We got permission to wear masks if we want to, but I haven’t been able to find any, so just doing missionary work as normal here.  It’s actually been an easy way to get a conversation started with anyone-

“Are you wearing that because of MERS?”

“Yes I am. How do you know Korean and can you tell me about that blue book in your hand?”

…and then the rest is history! Haha!

Anyway, this week has been really good!  We’ve been trying to work a lot with members and part-member families in need and have seen a lot of blessings from it.  We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to teach investigators lately, but because we want to prepare and practice for when we are blessed to teach, we’ve been asking the members to help us out with practice lessons.  Because my companion is still fairly new and not completely comfortable with Korean yet it’s been a good, non-pressuring way to practice without the fear of making mistakes.

I think it’s helped members in the ward trust us more and show them that we really do care about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and want to teach it with everyone we can. We’re hoping that the more we work with them, the more they will develop the courage to ask their friends to meet with us because their testimony will grow and they will have faith that the Spirit will testify through us and bless others.

Every day we are blessed to see miracles-whether they seem big or small.  We know that Heavenly Father is watching out and guiding us.  We’re so thankful for all our blessings!

Funny moment of the week:  

When my companion who comes from a place where it’s not bad to say the H or D word over the pulpit (ie. AUSTRALIA), gets up in Zone Conference and bears her  beautiful testimony that you can’t teach without the spirit, and slips out that if you’re teaching without the spirit then what the ( H—insert word here) are you doing!  I think it nearly knocked half of the elders in our district off our their seats in shock.  Regardless of that, the spirit was still strong as she was spoke! 🙂 Love her!


❤ Sister Stastny

Mission Conference

This week we had a combined mission conference with the Seoul Mission at our pretty Yeoungdeungpo building where we got to hear from Elder Ringwood and Elder Maynes.  To prepare we did A LOT of cleaning and reorganizing so everything looked up to par for everybody.  Although parts of the church, like the bathrooms and kitchen, were a bit sketchy looking at the beginning, we made them all spic and span by the end!  It’s interesting how as you clean out a little at a time it’s hard to see the difference you are making, but when you take a step back and see the end result, you realize how much of a change there is and how clean things have become.  I guess that’s how life is sometimes.  You may not realize the difference you are making, but when you have an opportunity to take a step back, you can realize that you really have made a change; both in yourself, in others, and in the world!  It’s awesome!

The conference with Elder Ringwood and Elder Maynes was really inspiring and relevant to us as missionaries.  They talked a lot about goals, faith, planning, and prayer.  Without doing those four things effectively it is harder to fulfill our purpose as missionaries.

Mission Moments:

In other news, this week we also went to the temple!  I love the temple with all my heart.  When I truly prepare and go to the temple seeking inspiration and direction, I can always find it.  Sometimes, it’s not always a specific answer like I’m expecting, but just an overwhelming feeling of peace that as long as I keep on seeking to do good and choose the right path, things will work out how they are supposed to be.  It’s a peaceful reassuring hope that allows me to keep pressing forward unwearyingly.

I love serving as a missionary with all my heart!

❤ Sister Stastny

Diligence in the Face of Opposition

Flowers in Seoul

This week was pretty humbling.  Sometimes you can work your hardest, strive to be completely obedient, and feel like you’re just pushing a mountain without even making a dent in it.  Investigators that you thought had lots of interest will return the Book of Mormon you gave them and tell you they don’t want it, you talk to a hundred people without any success, and the every appointment you make seems to fall through or cancel.  It’s sometimes easy in these times to get down and think that nothing is paying off, but I know that Heavenly Father allows us these hard times so we can more fully rely on Him, and so we can exercise and build our faith through a continued diligent effort.

Even though, things like this can be a little tough, I realized that it’s nothing compared to what others have been through.  The prophet Mormon writes to his son in the Book of Mormon telling him this (during a time when people are being tortured and violently killed)…

And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

Even though Mormon and Moroni lived in a near-barbaric time, they knew that they must press on and continue preaching and laboring diligently to save souls.  Even if times seem hard, Heavenly Father will always hear our prayers, and give us the strength and ability to accomplish what He would have us do–even if it’s nothing more than just a faithful continued effort against a pile of opposition.

I know Heavenly Father lives and loves us so much!

❤ Sister Stastny