Category Archives: Yeonsu Area

Quentin L. Cook in Korea

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Quentin L. Cook came to Korea!!!  No big deal or anything..but he came and spoke to all the missionaries in the Korea Seoul and Seoul South missions.  There were about 400+ of us, and at the beginning of the meeting, he told us he wanted to shake every missionary’s hand.  It took a good 10-20 minutes, and I’m sure his arm was probably dying as he got to the last missionaries, but he was so happy and sincere, and he made sure to look into everyone’s eyes as he gave them a nice smile and a “Hello Sister/Elder!”

It was such a neat experience to get to see and learn from him in person.  I learned that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and him were companions on their missions in England.  That’s only the coolest companionship in the world, and I think it’s so neat that they are now serving together as general authorities.  That was definitely inspired of God to put them as companions on their missions.

My favorite part of the meeting though, is when Elder Cook gave all the missionaries an apostolic blessing.  He told us that what we are doing here to serve the Savior is so important that everybody we love and will love will be blessed because of our service.  That meant a lot to me and since I love all of you so much I wanted to share it with you.  I know Heavenly Father is watching out for you and I’m so thankful for that!

The weather in Korea is getting hotter and more humid.  It’s hard to describe what heat + humidity feels like, but if you want to get a taste for it, I would suggest standing above a pot of boiling water.  It kind of feels like you are getting steamed.  It’s uncomfortable, but since everyone is in the same situation it’s not the worst thing.  I heard from members and missionaries that the summer is so hot and humid, that the clothes you hang up (no one really has a dryer machine, so everything is hung up on clothes rack) don’t dry…and if they do dry, they’ll be damp in a couple minutes because of sweat.  That’s a nice visual.  I’m kind of excited for it, though.  Bring it on, summer!

Mission Moments:

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Here’s me with the two hakwon teachers that we are sharing the Gospel with!  Sister H plays the guitar so we promised them that we would sing some hymns for them.  I don’t know why I’m holding a guitar in this picture, because I can’t play the guitar, but here you go anyway 🙂  Humidity is the worst for hair – ahh!

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Me rolling some 김밥 (kimbab), hands down my favorite food. So good!

In Doctrine and Covenants 31:7 it says,

Yea, I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you, and I will establish a church by your hands.

I know that God is working through us to build His church.  The Gospel is true and it only brings peace, comfort, and happiness to those who receive it, so why not share it with everyone!  It can change lives and change the world.  I love it with all my heart.

❤ Sister Stastny

 

 

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Cool Zone Conference

Sis. H and I decided to wear Korean outfits to the conference, so we bought cheap cat shirts and grandma pants at the market. Ha ha. Don't judge us.
Sis. H and I decided to wear Korean outfits to the conference, so we bought cheap cat shirts and grandma pants at the market. Ha ha. Don’t judge us.

This past week we had a really sweet Zone Conference where we went hiking and had missionary training up in the mountains to Namhansanseong (or South Han Mountain Fortress). Ahh! It was so cool! I loved it a lot. It was a really fun day of hiking and having devotionals along the way. It was really great! Sorry, I did not budget my time very wisely today with emailing, but I tried to write a few tiny details with all the photos I tried to upload this week.


This week we get to go to the temple and see Elder Quentin L. Cook. It’s pretty exciting! Because we are going to the temple this week, today isn’t our P-day. We only get to email, but that’s pretty cool with me!

This last week we met a girl from England who is here teaching little children English and Korean, and we started teaching her! There is so many accents when Sister H. (from Australia), her (from London, England), and me (from the coolest–Boise, Idaho) are together! I love it. It’s also really nice to be able to understand everything that she says since she speaks English. She doesn’t have any religious background, but she told us that she believes there is a God because everything in the world just seems to point to it. I like her a lot.

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China Town

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I look a little strange, because when I was posing in front of this wall in China Town, another man turned around and started taking a picture of me too, and I’m like…”Ummm..I gotta go now.”

 

The weather is starting to get more hot and humid but it’s not too uncomfortable yet. Everyone keeps telling me horror stories about summer in Korea and I’m pretty pumped to experience them first hand haha.

Love you a lot! Sorry this letter is short, I will write more next week. Here are some more photos from the Korean cultural center we went to for P-day and some other zone conference pics.

❤ Sister Stastny

 

 

Blessed through Trials

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Hahaha, I’m not going to say that we weren’t studying, but I am going to refer you to page 20 in “Preach My Gospel” if you want to see why we took this picture.

This week has been pretty hard, but Heavenly Father has been blessing us a lot through our trials.  We started meeting with three new people who have Gospel interest and who also happen to be fluent in English.  Two of them (a husband and wife) are hakwon teachers. A hakwon (I think that’s how you romanize it) is an after-school school.  I love Korea.  They’re so studious with their schooling.

They just approached us on the street one day and started talking to us (in English) about how they really like our church, and we were like, “Well crickey’s” (I have an Asian-Australian accent now). We met with them a couple days later.  They love learning and teaching, so we gave them the Restoration pamphlet in Korean and gave them an assignment to translate and teach it to us next time in English.  Haha!  I really like that assignment.  They were pumped about it, too.  They started translating it right then and there because they were so excited about it.  Meeting them was a big blessing!

We also got referred to meet with this woman who other missionaries just met on the street. She is fascinating.  She speaks English fluently, and is very intuitive and smart.  She told us that she read the Koran on her own just to learn more about Islam.  I really love her.  She listens really well when we talk about our beliefs and has been reading everything we give her and asking for more.  She really likes everything that we are teaching and has actually been referring us to all her friends’ and neighbors’ so we can start teaching them English and the Gospel, too.  Oh my goodness!  I don’t know how we got so blessed with meeting her, but I’m really thankful we did. 🙂

Mission Moments This Week:

Bishop gave us a giftcard to a free meal at a meat buffet!  Oh my goodness!  He’s so nice!  It was so good!  You just choose a bunch of different meats and then you cook it at this charcoal grill right there at your table and just dip it in a bunch of different sauces and things.  Mmmmmm!  It was awesome!  Meat is pretty expensive in Korea so we usually don’t buy that much of it as missionaries.

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This is an ice cream sandwich with red beans inside of it in the shape of a fish.  I took a picture of it because it started looking really pretty scary after a couple bites–haha!  It’s really good though.  I would have never thought red beans would make such a delicious dessert item, but they’re awesome!

This is really the Lord’s work, and I know that even in the really hard times, Heavenly Father is there. Hope you have a good week!

❤ Sister Stastny

Cookie Analogies

I LOVED SKYPING YOU for Mother’s Day! The skype machine is so brilliant! Ahhh I loved it! Sorry if I rambled a lot. I was so excited to talk to you that I didn’t really think of what I should say–haha. I’m so grateful that I have such a wonderful family though!

This week we were reading in Alma 44 where one of Moroni’s soldiers does a nice object lesson with the scalp of Zerahemnah, and Sister H and I thought that was really effective, so we decided to do some object lessons of our own with everyone we taught. But instead of cutting off scalps, we decided to make cookies.  It went great! I think what made it really meaningful is we thought of a different analogy for every person.

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Me and a little cookie monster (our investigator’s son)

With a few lovely less-active members, we ate cookies and talked about how each ingredient is a commandment, and how all the ingredients combined make a delicious treat that brings us happiness (Eternal Life), so it’s important to keep all the commandments.

With one of our investigators we made cookies with her, her friend, and family and talked about how some ingredients by themselves don’t taste good, and seem to have no meaning (like flour, or baking soda, or raw eggs), and how this is often like trials in our lives–they don’t taste good and they seem to have no meaning. Why do we have them? But in the long run, all the things we go through in our lives do have a purpose and are very important. Just as a cookie needs to go through heat before it is completed, so do we need to “go through the heat” and hard times before we can be perfected.

We had a couple more analogies for different people, but I think you get the point.  Everyone seemed to really like the analogies and get a lot out of them. We were really happy. Even though missionary work is really hard at times, this week taught me that you can have fun and still be a good missionary.

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Here’s a quote Sister H and I made up:

“Sometimes you might feel like a grain of rice in a big bowl of rice, but remember Asians love ALL their rice.”

Deep. We know. We eat a lot rice. Hope you have a fantastic week!

Love,
Sister Stastny

Bipolar weather

This week the weather has been a little bipolar.  One hour it’s sunny and nice and then the next hour it’s raining!  I thought there was a lot of rain coming down, but people have told me that it’s nothing compared to Monsoon season.  Someone tried to explain monsoon season by acting as if they were pouring a jug of water out…yah can’t wait .  Haha, no, but I am actually pretty excited for the rainy season.  It looks gorgeous when it rains.
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A picture of a Korean-looking street
Yesterday, we had a miracle while fasting where we were walking around the street and we saw our English class coordinator who wasn’t at church yesterday. Since he’s had times where he has been less-active we were worried about him, so we started asking him inspired questions and learned that he is struggling with his faith, so we shared our testimonies with him how God does love him and is willing to help him through hard times. It’s amazing how you can see people change right in front of your eyes when they are touched by the Spirit. The Lord helped and comforted him a lot. I love that the Lord guides us to those in need when we ask and actively seek for the opportunities.
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Here’s a picture of a member who made a huge painting of this picture of Christ!  It looked amazing in person.  Even better than the original.  She’s so talented.
So I learned recently why Koreans make the two finger peace sign in every picture. There’s a couple of different reasons. The main one is that it actually is a “V” for Victory. It’s like expressing that everything is going awesome! Victory! It references Korea’s past history and how they are now flourishing economically as a country.
Another reason is that it’s prettier to have a “V” shaped face (I’m not sure why, but that’s what Koreans think) so lots of the girls like doing peace signs next to their face because it helps with that appearance.

The third reason people do it is because it’s just what people do. Koreans are really proud of their culture, and peace signs are a part of that. Whenever I took pictures with the Koreans in the MTC, they would ask if we could “do something Korean,” and then they would flash peace signs, so it’s kind of become a habit for me. Koreans like it, but I’m going to try to not do it in every picture. I promise!

Fun mission fact: We go out tracting and talking to people a lot.  We actually have to keep track of how many people we talk to in a day (whether it’s about the Gospel or not).  By the end of the week we usually try to aim for 100 people that we had conversations with.

Anyway, have a spectacular week.  Love you!
Sister Stastny

Seoul Temple

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESKonichiwa! Just kidding. Annyeong-Haseyo! Missionary work is as awesome as ever. It’s funny because I really didn’t experience too much culture shock when I got to Korea. I was really tired and I remember thinking, “Wow! Everyone is Asian here and everything is written in Korean.”

But that was pretty much it. I just felt like it didn’t really matter much where I was because the Lord’s work is the same everywhere. With that said, however, everything in Korea seems to be different. I’ll give you a few examples:

  • garbage – has to be separated into piles of plastic, paper, glass, and food (all wasted food needs to be put in its own pile).
  • masks – people wear those doctor masks when they’re sick. It’s kind of scary actually because it looks like there might be a plague-outbreak or something, but really, sick Koreans just don’t want to get anyone else sick…so I guess it’s nice.  It’s ridiculously hard to understand people though when I can’t see their mouth!
  • rice cooker – everyone has one. I eat rice every day! You have to wash the rice here a little before you cook it—that’s why it’s so yummy is what someone told me.

We got to go to the Seoul temple this week!  It was beautiful.  It’s crazy because you really can be a block away from it and not be able to see it.  I love how they keep up the grounds. They’re gorgeous!  It was such a beautiful day when we went there, too.  Perfect!

(Click on any picture below to see full size pics)

This week, Sister Linda K. Burton and Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson from the General Relief Society Presidency also came and spoke to us.  They were amazing.  They talked about a scripture in 3 Nephi 5:13 that says:

“Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”

I love it so much!  I think I say that a lot, but oh my goodness there are just so many things I love about the Gospel, and Korea, and missionary work that I can’t help it.  I still don’t really know the word for hate in Korean because I just don’t use it, ever.

Story for the week is about Family History Missionary Work.  Woohh!  Sounds super boring right?  Wrong!  We really wanted to start using family history work to get to know people so we asked a member about his family this week and we learned that most Koreans have a written genealogical record.

The member we met with was from China, and he was so excited to show a bunch of foreigners his history.  He even had ancient scrolls from Kings that mentioned some of his ancestors on them!

We asked him after he had shared with us his family records what some of his ideas were for how we could better use family history work in our missionary work, but we must have asked him how he can do missionary work for his family because he started talking about those who had no religion in his family and how he would be a better missionary to them. Well neato!  If we help motivate members in any way to do missionary work than we are successful!

As a missionary, the members who find people for us to teach help the most. If my mission has done anything for me, it’s made me realize I want to be a better member missionary when I get back.

There are a couple people in our ward that do so much for the Lord’s work. I’ll tell you about one lady in particular. She prays everyday for missionary opportunities, but she also does the work for it. One of the things they taught us in the MTC is that “If you want to teach people, you need to talk to people.”

This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn to do. It’s scary talking to random people, but it’s something we must do.  Just talk to people because you love them and believe that God loves them even more! Most of the time, people are courteous enough to carry on a conversation if you start it.

So this woman in our ward talks to everyone, everywhere she goes. She just gets to know about them and their family. From this, she met a woman who’s daughter is going to BYU (and who isn’t LDS). She shared with her that she is LDS, too, and established a friendship that let this lady know she loved her for who she was, but she told her that she would love if she met the missionaries.

We were invited to this lunch that was really chill and relaxed and friendly and got to know a little more about this lady. At the end, the member asked her friend if she wanted to do more with us and she said yes. And then, (I don’t know how things work in Korea, but this woman was so bold) she told her frankly that she was going to be an investigator of our church, and that she would have to search and do the work required to really know if our church was true.

Then she started teaching her friend how the Gospel blesses families. It was amazing! She was the missionary and we were just there to bear another testimony and witness that what she was saying was true. That’s how I want missionary work to be always. When we met with our new investigator to teach the first lesson, she was ready to receive it. It was amazing!

 

Have a good week. Hoorah for Israel!

❤ Sister Stastny

 

Easter in Korea

I’ve been hearing all week about the ferry.  There is a school in our area with a bunch of young kids that were on it, and everyone is in mourning.  It’s really sad.  But this video brings so much hope.

Have I told you that I’ve been to a Korean funeral?  It was a couple weeks ago.  A new member in our ward’s mom passed away and we came to support him.  It was very different.  It started the day she died, and it lasts for 3 days.  From what I understood of it, there’s a mourning room and then a happy room where everyone is fed and just hangs out.  We were in the happy room most of the time.  They fed us flattened pig head meat, and it is the grossest thing I have eaten yet.  Anyway, it meant a lot to the man because he loves the missionaries and it was an interesting experience to have for sure.

So funny story about Easter in Korea.  It’s actually called Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, or Resurrection day.  That’s what it literally translates to.  When I heard that, I was just like, Thank you, Heavenly Father, for making my life so easy!  So all of Easter Sunday we went around and asked people if they wanted to come to Church because it was Jesus Christ’s Resurrection day.  Everyone was really nice, but no one had time to make it.  We had a bunch of wonderful conversations from it though.

At church they fed us boiled eggs and it was pretty awesome.  I’m understanding a little more in Church now than I did my first week here.  I can understand a few words here and there and try to piece it together so I at least know what the topic is they are speaking about.  Slowly I will get to where I can understand everything.

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Last week I told you about our sweet investigator from China who had dropped us.  We felt prompted to visit her out of the blue this week and share the story of Esther with her.  We told her that just like with Esther and the King, the hearts of her husband and mother-in-law could be softened if she had the courage and faith in God.  She told us that she didn’t believe God could soften their hearts, but she still loved us and would let us meet with her every now and then.

Before we left, she gave us a tithing envelope that she had taken the day she dropped us off at the church.  We thought it was a bit weird, but we didn’t think too much of it. On the envelope she wrote a note in Korean that said, “Thank you God.  Even though I cannot meet with the missionaries, I will always pray for them.  I will also still come to English class.  Thank you God.” 

She had given a really generous donation to the church because she loves it so much.  It was a testimony to me that all of our efforts did mean something to her, and that the Holy Ghost had touched her heart. Even though she doesn’t believe that the hearts of her husband and mother-in-law can be softened, we believe.  We love her so much!

Sometimes I feel really inadequate here in Korea, but I never feel incapable because I have God. Sorry no new pictures this week!  I only have time to email. We’re going to the Seoul Temple on Thursday, so that will be our P-day.

Love you!

❤ Sister Stastny

The good and the bad

안녕하세요!

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This week has been full of ups and downs.  We had lots of good things happen, but we also had a lot of pretty devastating things happen.

Learning Korean is going okay. It’s getting a little easier to understand the jist of things, but it’s still really difficult.  The hard thing about Korean is there’s a couple hundred ways it seems to say the EXACT same thing depending on who you talk to.  In the MTC, they taught us high form, which is used in Church and when teaching lessons or when talking to old people, but that’s pretty much it.  Most people speak in middle form casually, so I’ve been learning that.  It’s a little easier to learn though now that I know high form.  There’s also low form which is easy, but you only use it when talking to children or animals, or in writing.

This week I actually learned a form higher than King form from a Korean missionary. I used it to thank members for a meal and they thought it was so funny.  It would be the equivalent of a missionary saying: “Thank you a lot, your emperor/majesty!”  I plan on using it more now, haha.

Something fun is that I made Kimchi for the first time with a new investigator a member referred us to.  It was great.  We thought that we were making the Kimchi for her for service, but at the end, she wanted us to take it. So now it’s fermenting in our apartment because that’s just what you do with Kimchi. Yum!

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Making Kimchi
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Final product (it still needs to ferment before we eat it)

She also gave us these really neat traditional Korean fans that her 80-year old grandma designed.  It was so nice!  I felt bad because I didn’t want to take such a nice thing, but it would be rude and insulting not to.  She liked us a lot and wanted to give us a bunch of nice things.  Korean people are really giving.  As missionaries, we actually take a lot of care to never look too closely or take too much interest in any item in people’s houses because they would probably give it to us if they thought we liked it, even if they didn’t have the means to do so.

Even though there’s been a lot of fun good things that happened this week, we faced a lot of rejection and that’s been really tough.  Even though the majority of Koreans are very kind, just as in any place, there are people that can be rude and mean to you just because you’re a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I think the thing that broke my heart the most this week was when one of our investigators from China told us she didn’t think it was good to meet with us any more for lessons.  Even though she loves everything she knows about our church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, her mother-in-law and husband are against her going to meet with us, and she decided to respect their wishes.  She even had a baptismal date, but she doesn’t believe it’s possible anymore.  I cried when she left because it broke my heart.  I think that’s the first time I’ve cried since in Korea (not counting the times when spiciness of food has made me cry).  She told us that she’s still going to read the Book of Mormon because she likes it a lot.  We’re not actually giving up on her.  She has such a love for the Gospel and so much faith that she acts on, that we still believe things can work out.  We’re not sure what to do next, but we’re praying…and we know Heavenly Father’s going to help prepare a way.

General Conference was really great!  We watched all the sessions in the cramped clerk’s office in our church and it was fantastic!  How often will I get the chance to be squished in a tiny church room so I can hear the prophets speak in English, while upstairs everyone’s watching in Korean.  It really picked up our Spirits and built our hope after our investigator told us she didn’t think she could be taught anymore.  I loved Elder Holland’s talk.  He is such a powerful speaker!  I want to be as bold and brilliant as him when I teach and talk to people.  You can tell he is a man of God.  Everyone that spoke was amazing and definitely spoke the word of God.  I love it.

Even though Korea is super modern with some things, other things are a little..um..interesting. In lots of the public bathrooms you have an option to use a normal toilet, or what I like to call “the squatter.” It’s pretty much what it sounds like.  A toilet in the floor that you just squat and go, I guess.  It’s umm…I’m not going to talk about it any more.  But while I’m on the subject, I’ve never used such low-tech and high-tech toilets before I came to Asia.  There are some toilets that are so high tech that they play songs when you’re on them.  There are so many buttons on them too.  It’s hard sometimes to find the flush button!

I just want to let ya’ll know that I’m going to be a really interesting person when I get back…like in a weird way.

  • I’m going to bow when I say hello to anyone.
  • I’m going to feel weird if I have to shake any guy’s hand (girls and guys don’t shake hands in Korea because it’s almost like flirting- we just do a small bow to them at church).
  • I’m going to ask weird things like “How does your name become?”  or “How does you phone number become?” because that makes a lot of sense in Korean.
  • I’m going to get really excited over stickers and making things cute (you should see the planners of the missionaries in our mission–even the Elders decorate their planners because hey! It rocks).
  • It will probably take me a while to say “bless you” again when someone sneezes, or “I’m sorry” if I run into someone a little.
  • I’m going to want everything to be really spicy and hot, and I probably won’t want water with a meal because that’s how Koreans do it.
  • And I’m going to know how to be a good Kimchi-making woman, which is the best of all these things because who doesn’t want a woman who can make a spicy fermented dish out of any vegetable? C’mon, really.  It’s awesome!  Actually, Kimchi is really growing on me.  Cucumber and radish kimchi are my favorite.  Also rice.  I eat rice every day and it’s become a staple in my life.

 

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Take care this week!  Bye!

❤ Sister Stastny

 

 

 

 

Cherry Blossoms

This week was really fantastic!  The Cherry trees have bloomed!  I never thought I had a favorite tree, but I love cherry blossoms so much.  They make the streets looks like Heaven because they are so white and they smell so good.  I love them!

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I have a quick story to share with you this week on listening to the Spirit. So we were walking home one night when we passed this girl walking the other direction.  I said “Hi” to her, and she smiled and we kept on walking.  As we were walking, though, I got this big feeling that I needed to go back to her- but I felt like that would be super creepy if I did.  It would be so easy to keep on walking because Sister H was busy on the phone, but I felt like I needed to go back to her.

So I turned around, and literally ran until I caught up with her, then I think I yelled, “Where are you going?” (because it’s one of the few phrases I know how to say in Korea).  She said something that I couldn’t understand and pointed, and I smiled and nodded like I understood and said, “Great.”  Then I just stood there and I couldn’t think of anything to say.  My mouth was open but I didn’t have anything to say.  Sister H came up and said that we were missionaries, asked a question, then said goodnight and that was it.

As we were walking home after that I thought about why I had felt such a strong prompting to talk to someone without really receiving the ability to do so.  I didn’t feel weird about what I did at all, which is interesting because usually I would feel a little creepy running back to a random person and yelling a question at them…but I felt good.  I just felt this big love for the girl that just jumped out of me.

I think the purpose of me being prompted to go back to her was for the Lord to see if I was willing to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and put my faith before my fears.  Even though nothing really seemed to happen from it (we didn’t even get her name or give her a card argh!)  I think we made her happier that night.  I think my faith has grown a lot from that simple experience.

I keep on thinking back to the story of Moses in Exodus, and how he is “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue,”  but the Lord provides a way for him to accomplish what he has commanded still.  In Moses’ case it was Aaron, his interpreter; and in mine I think it is Sister H, my trainer.  When the understanding and words I want to say just don’t come, Sister H is there to make sure that the Lord’s work still gets done.  I know God put her into my life for a reason, and I’m so thankful for it!

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Our ward had an activity this week at this Korean cultural center. We took our investigator who is absolutely lovely. The place was beautiful! All the missionaries were dressed up in traditional Korean dresses (I think they are called hanbok’s) and then the ward took pictures of us like they were the papparazi or something.  Funnest, weirdest ward activity ever. (Click below to see full pictures and captions)

Me dressed up in my Korean queen outfit (the headpiece made me feel like Princess Amidalla from Star Wars.  It was fun)

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We went to a place in China town with a member and her friend who she’s wanting to introduce the Gospel too.  We had dinner inside this place then took some pictures outside haha.  It went really good! Member missionary work always seems to be the most successful. We’re going to meet with her this week to start teaching the lessons!

I love Korea so much and I love missionary work even more!  It’s so cool!  Everyday we have so many miracles.  It’s the best!

Love you lots!

Sister Stastny

 

I love Korea!

me and investigator; dressed in kimono
Me and one of our investigators.  This was the first time I met her and I didn’t understand anything, but all of the sudden I’m dressed up in a Kimono and we’re taking pictures.  Okay!  Right on!

I love Korea!  First off, we committed one of our investigators to baptism.  She’s amazing!  She has so much faith.  She’s from a town outside of Hong Kong, China, and she’s learning English and Korean right now.  We teach her in English because she understands it better than Korean (I do, too), but she reads the Book of Mormon in Mandarin Chinese.  She’s so cool!  She loves the Church, but her husband and mother-in-law go to a different church in Korea and don’t want her to attend our church.

She actually told us that ever since she’s met with the missionaries, she feels really guilty every Sunday that she’s not at our church.  She’s starting to give up coffee, and pray, and do everything that we’ve been teaching her because she believes it’s what God wants her to do.  We felt prompted to promise her that if she keeps trying to keep the commandments, the hearts of her husband and mother-in-law would be opened to her attending and eventually becoming a member of our church like she wants.  Ahh!  She’s so amazing!  I’ve been praying for her everyday.

Something about Korea that I wasn’t expecting was how many Christian churches there are.  There are so many!  I realized that every single corner has a cross on it for this or that church.  Lots of times we run into other preachers on the streets who are passing out things for their church.  Lots of people advertise by putting their info on packages of tissues and wipes.  We have so many wipes in our apartment.  It’s actually kind of nice because some bathrooms in Korea have the toilet paper on the outside of the stalls (don’t ask me why), and their packages come in handy when I forget to grab some before I go into the stall. Haha!  I think lots of the preachers would be mean to us, but they just assume we don’t speak Korean.  I haven’t learned the vocab for anything mean so I wouldn’t understand even if someone was mean to me.  I guess that’s one of the perks of not knowing Korean very well:)  Woo!

This morning was amazing because we invited one of the members in our ward and his mom (who isn’t a member) to come hiking with us. It was so fun!  Something I realized with missionary work is you can make it as boring or as fun as you want.  My companion and I definitely like to have fun!  We like to change things up.

I’ve done missionary work in a bunch of ways already.  I’ve been on the streets just talking to people, I’ve passed out flyers for our free English class at the church, I’ve knocked on doors (it’s fun in Korea, because people will just yell, “Who are you?” from inside their doors, and you start having a conversation while they’re inside their house and you’re outside).  There’s a bunch of things I’ve done.  There’s never enough time to email all about it, but I’ve been a diligent journal writer for once in my life so I can share all my experiences with others when I get back.

I love the old people in Korea.  They are so great.  All the teenagers seem to be at school, or after-school schools, or studying at home.  They don’t seem to be out as much as they do in America…but the Grandmas and Grandpas are living it up.  They’re always at parks with their friends just hanging out and being great!  I love them.  I can’t understand them, and I don’t think they can hear me enough to realize they don’t understand me, but they are so funny and nice most of the time.

All is going well here.  I’ve actually been fed lasagna and pizza already by some members and it’s pretty good.  I don’t miss any American food.  I really like this dessert thing called patbingsu.  It has this sweet red bean paste over this icy mixture that’s kind of like a snow cone!  Oh! It’s soooo good!  I can’t go back to America where they don’t have it now.  It’s too yummy!

I love Korea!  I love the Church!  I love sharing what I love with others!  I also love reading the scriptures!  Ahh they’re just amazing to me!  I’m trying to read the Book of Mormon (Korean and English), New Testament, and Old Testament each day.  It’s my goal to finish reading the Korean Book of Mormon before the end of my mission (and understand at least a little bit of it).  It’s hard for Koreans to understand sometimes, but I really feel like I should do that.

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Me and my companion in China Town

Love,

Sister Stastny

1st Week in Korea

안녕하세요! I’m in Korea!!!!!   It’s crazy and I love it!

View from my apartment
View from my apartment

When I stepped off the plane it felt like paradise!  It was a crazy first day.  I met my mission President (President Morrise) and his wife in the airport.

0319 Stastney and Hammerl

They fed us some Korean snacks, gave us a 몰몬경 (Mormonkyong–a Book of Mormon), and then threw us on the subways and we just started talking to people. I had no idea what was going on and I was so tired from jet-lag, but people are so kind.  You can just say Hello to people in Korean and they will then compliment you on how good your Korean is.  People also like my hair and eyes and will tell me I’m pretty no matter how I actually look (haha).  They love that a foreigner is trying to learn Korean.  It makes them so happy.

Subways are fun. So many people squeezed together ignoring each other to look at their phone...except us. We talked to everyone.
Subways are fun. So many people squeezed together ignoring each other to look at their phone…except us. We talked to everyone.

That night we were fed a delicious Korean meal by Sister Morisse (some sort of spicy/sweet meat  over rice with Kimchi). It was delicious!  The next day I got my companion, Sis. H. She’s from Australia and says “Crickey!” It’s probably the best thing in the world!  I love her so much.  She doesn’t have that much of an accent when she speaks Korean, but she does when she speaks English.  Lots of people will actually come up to us on the street to practice their English and they make me translate what she’s saying because they don’t understand English with an Australian accent.  I feel bad, but she’s a good sport about it.  She speaks the Korean, and I speak most of the English (haha).

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View from apt. We ran up that hill one morning and met a guy who used to take English class from the missionaries, but then moved. We invited him to ours and he was super excited.

We’re in the Yeosu area.  It’s not as crowded as Seoul, but it’s so lovely!  We teach a free English class at the church every week and it is my favorite thing so far, I think.  That’s where we have found most of our investigators.  People really want to learn English here so they are really excited to come.  We teach with the Elders in our ward a beginning, intermediate, and free-talking class.  I’m teaching the free-talking class because I don’t know enough Korean yet to explain everything, but I love it so much!  Everybody is so kind here!

I love our ward so much!  There’s about 50 people in it.  They made me introduce myself and I was so nervous, but somehow I got the words out. At the end, I did say something that would translate to, “I PRAY this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (which is wrong). I realized as soon as I said it, so I jumped back up to the pulpit and yelled the word for “to testify” in Korean. The ward thinks I’m super funny now because of it.  I hope they like me.

I didn’t understand anything of what was said in church.  Apparently during Gospel doctrine, they were talking about First and Second Estates in Korean, so that makes me feel a little better that I didn’t understand.  I don’t think I even understand that very well in English.

I love the food so much!  My strategy at the beginning was–if I don’t throw up after eating it, I love it!  I actually do love most of it.  Except one of our investigators fed us a meal, and I was eating something really crunchy and delicious…and then I realized there were a bunch of little eyes staring back at me.  Haha! I think it might have been crunchy anchovies, but I’m not sure.

Vegetable Kimchi pizza I made with my companion. Nothing about it was like a pizza...except its shape...but we had fun
Vegetable Kimchi pizza I made with my companion. Nothing about it was like a pizza…except its shape…but we had fun

Everyone likes to ask if you’ve tried Korean food yet and if you like Kimchi.  If you like Kimchi, they love you a lot!  So I love Kimchi SO MUCH (haha)!  Korea actually does have the best drinks I’ve ever tried though.  I had aloe water for the first time and it’s SO GOOD!  I also had this milky soda drink and I don’t know if I can live without it now (haha).

Everything is fantastic!  I’m so happy I’m in Korea.  I feel so blessed. Love you all!

Sister Stastny

I’m here!

Hi!   I made it to Korea all fine.  All went well with our baggage and flight. 🙂  It felt like paradise when I got off the plane–the weather is perfect right now!  The food is delicious and the people are really fun and kind!  We went preaching on the subways and it was definitely a new experience.  So many people.  So much Korean.  I don’t blend in at all, but I think that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you more later.  Till then,

Sister Stastny