It was so fun talking to all of you! Mother’s day is definitely one of the funnest days of the year as a missionary!
This week we did a couple of things–ate 보신탕(bo-shin-tang), I’ll just let you look up what that is. It was expensive, but it was so delicious!
We also had transfer calls! My companion Sister N is going to her greenie area in 인천 and I’m staying in 영등포 and going to train! Yah! I’ll figure out Wednesday this week who my new companion will be so I’ll let you know next week! I’m really excited!
One of the miracles we saw this week happened from attending a soccer game! Our ward and another ward usually meet Saturday mornings and play a game or two at a junior high field. Last week the sisters from the other ward had met a potential investigator there so they invited us to come this week to meet her. She’s so great! She’s a Korean, but lived in Africa for 3 years so she’s really good at English. She teaches English at the junior high and is really big into service and adventure. She thought that what we were voluntarily doing as missionaries here in Korea was amazing. We talked a little with her and then she invited us to share with her class for 10 minutes what we were doing here and why. What!?
It was a crazy cool opportunity and the students were genuinely interested. Lots of the students had seen missionaries on the street before but felt intimidated or shy so had never talked to them. It was fun explaining what we were doing here and why. The teacher texted us later that day and said that she and her class were really inspired by what we had said and by what we are doing! It was such a neat opportunity! Especially since, we had been praying and fasting for a new person to teach for a long time and this was an answer to our prayers! God is the best!
Some of my favorites in the ward
Graffiti– I swear it says CTR~ SO you bet I support it
Lanterns for Budha’s birthday
Near the temple (lanterns are for Budha’s birthday)
I’m excited to see what miracles this next week brings!
It’s funny how sometimes things turn out differently than you expect.
This week we had planned to drop by on a member’s house, but both me and my companion felt like we should change that to go and see our favorite grandma in our ward. We started heading over there and had a prompting to bring something to her. We went into a shop to buy some fruit, but instead felt like we should buy a delicious drink (aloe water-yum!).
I gave her a call when we were approaching and she answered “오지마!” “”O-ji-ma!” Dont come! – because she had been feeling pretty sick and didn’t have any food to give us (like is custom when you visit a Korean’s house). I persisted a little and told here that we had already eaten, and just wanted to give her a present. She told us not to. I told her we had already bought it, so she asked if it was 먹는 것 (something to eat), and I told her it was 마시는 것 (stuff to drink) and she told us s to 빨리와 (Come quick).
It was probably one of the funnest times I have had visiting a member on my mission, but it didn’t initially start off that way. She seemed a little down and lonely when we first got there- so we mostly listened as she explained how she’s been hurting lately and how she misses her husband that passed away a couple years ago. We listened, then she turned on her old-times Korean music. I started doing a little dance to it (just being my dorky self), and she thought it was so funny so she started doing it too- then next thing we know we’re just silly dancing for the next 10 minutes. Sister Lee (our Korean grandma) just had a huge smile on her face and even got up and danced as much as she was able to. The whole time she just insisted that we must have had professional lessons in America (even though our dancing was honestly terrible) haha.
I just looked at Sister N as we were doing our little jig and smiled. Would I have ever thought my mission would lead me here– dancing to old Korean music to make a grandma smile? Not really. But I could see that even though we felt ridiculous, we were brightening her day helping her get her mind off other things. She thanked us afterwards for cheering her up and for sharing a small scripture message.
It’s not really what we had expected, and I don’t think it would be appropriate for a lot of other situations, but we all felt happier and lighter afterwards. I feel like Heavenly Father works through us, and our unique and quirky personalities- whoever we may be, to help others when we are trying to do what’s right. Missionaries don’t have to be robots that visit, share a routine and outworn message, ask for a referral, and go. We can be ourselves, and rely on the Lord to work through us as we are and as we may become, to help and uplift others.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! I’m always excited for what the next day will bring and I’m excited for what the next week will bring!
(Sorry there’s no pictures! Forgot my camera cord- next week I’ll hopefully remember)
This week in 영등포 we worked really hard to find a service opportunity in the community besides teaching our free English class. It took a lot of trekking and talking to a lot of community centers and information places, but in the end we found a place that looks like it might have some really good opportunities! Yah!
As we were looking for a community service activity, I was amazed at all the unplanned, spontaneous opportunities to serve that came into our path. One day we ran into an elderly couple in our ward and learned that they were planning on spring cleaning for the day! Well, we quickly jumped on the opportunity and went to work in our missionary attire, scrubbing off mold, grease, and dirt, killing spiders, and washing blankets and clothes so they wouldn’t have to. When we left, the house was shining and the spirit was very strong. I think the more we served and scrubbed the more our own weariness and stress was washed away. We left feeling like we had gained more from the service than we gave.
In addition to that, multiple of our investigators called and asked us for help with this or that (packing for a trip, help getting groceries at Costco…and so on). On the streets, we were able to also meet lots of people that we could serve (whether it was giving them directions to a place, or help carrying a heavy bag). As we kept our eyes open for those in need, Heavenly Father just put tons of opportunities to serve in our path! It’s true that the one that serves always seems to get more than the recipient. Serving just brings so much happiness and joy!
President Thomas S. Monson said, “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness…we are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with a mandate to serve and to lift His Children.”
Thats so true! Service is the best!
View out our apartment
Artsy view of our apt
pasty Me (it has been a LONG time since my legs have seen the sun, don’t judge).
from an exercise contest with our President at a Zone Conference. Don’t be deceived, he beat almost everyone (elders and sisters) in the contest! Crazy
Our russian investigator (she’s moving to America soon so we had a party for her and brought her cheesecake wrote her cute letters)
This week there was a LOT of rain. It’s interesting how people see rain. Some see it as a burden and annoyance–a token of a bad day–while others see it as a blessing and acknowledge the strength and nourishment it can give to the plants and environment. I think this is a lot how people interpret commandments too.
We have been teaching a 10 year old girl and her mom. We talked this week about the 지혜의 말씀 (the word of wisdom) this week. We weren’t sure how they would accept this, so before we taught our lesson we prayed a lot for guidance and help. We started off with the question “How can we take care of our bodies?”
At first they didn’t really understand what this would have to do with church, but as they kept on thinking of ideas they included waking up early and going to bed early, not drinking alcohol, not smoking, and eating healthy food. The Spirit came into the room as they thought of more ideas and we began talking about how our bodies are a gift from God so we have to treat them well by keeping the Word of Wisdom. We read For the Strength of Youth together (on health) and they loved it (especially the mother). She accepted the Word of Wisdom full-heartedly and thought it was great that we should avoid addictive substances (like tea and coffee) in order to be healthy. They loved the Word of Wisdom and committed to live by it from here on out before we even extended an invitation.
A little after this we taught about the Word of Wisdom to another woman, who had a hard time accepting it. It seemed to be the most miserable thing she had ever heard. No coffee or tea or alcohol! She seemed so wrapped with what she didn’t like about it that she missed what she could gain from it–blessings of health and wisdom, strength and energy.
I realized that if we see rainy days as miserable days–we’re probably going to have a miserable day. But if we see rainy days as a blessing from God–knowing that rain brings nourishment and health and gorgeous spring flowers–we’ll probably be more thankful for them.
Just like rain brings nourishment and strength to the earth, so do commandments bring us nourishment and strength from above. We may not always realize it, but they do! Keeping the commandments will always be bring us blessings from above!
This week was a little slower for some reason, but we still got to teach a lot of people about the Gospel in different ways and that was great!
One of our miracles for the week happened after we had finished watching the Saturday morning session of Conference. We were going out to get lunch when these 3 college-age students stop us in the hallway of the church and start talking to us. Because our church is really big and there are lots of activities at it, I’m used to not knowing everyone who comes into the church. So I was assuming they were members when all of the sudden one of them asks– “Can you teach me how to pray?”
My companion and I were just taken aback, but we gladly obliged. It turns out someone on the street had handed them an English Flyer and they decided to come today (not knowing that it was canceled due to General Conference). They went to the Chapel and saw all the members watching General Conference and decided to join in. They came for English, but left wanted to know more about the Gospel! It was a great miracle and a great testimony builder about the power of General Conference!
One of my favorite families in the ward
Cherry Blossom Season
I think I wrote you a while back about the old poorer couple in our ward that are AMAZING!
They put up pictures of Christ and the apostles everywhere (even on their ceiling).
We visited them and I asked them if I could take a picture of their house because I loved it so much- so here it is:)
Sisters Conference! Ate Chicken together all crammed into the Secretary’s office! SO FUN!
CHERRY BLOSSOMS! The most heavenly, gorgeous, astounding season in Korea has arrived–cherry blossom season! Oh! I love it with all my heart! Everyone does. They just turn all the streets white and pink and everything looks so beautiful and almost sacred. It’s super fun being outside and talking to others.
Cherry Blossom Season
By Han River
Cherry Blossoms in Yeoido? (여의도)
Cherry Blossoms in Yeoido? (여의도)
So along with the coming of spring, has come a lot of miracles that happened because of the power of the Holy Ghost.
I realized a while back that I don’t always point out the spirit to my investigators when I feel it. Our Sister Training Leader told us if we can feel the spirit, so can our investigators. The problem is that they may not always be able to recognize it. If we let them know they are feeling the spirit, whether or not they decide to act on it, we will be more successful teachers.
That sunk into my heart as we began teaching one of our investigators this week. She attends the Presbyterian church actively and told us she doesn’t want to change that. We felt like we should teach about the Holy Ghost and how we can recognize it. As we were teaching I felt prompted to share an experience about when I first got my mission call to Korea. I told her it was absolutely terrifying. It was! I was so worried because I knew nothing about Korea, and absolutely no Korean. So that night I prayed more longer and more sincerely than I had in a long time, and as I prayed I felt the Spirit comfort me, and give me the confidence and courage to do the things that He wanted me to.
I don’t know why I needed to share it, but I felt the spirit fill the room as I did, and at the end she began crying (which I’ve never seen her do before). We waited a little bit, then I asked her, “Do you feel that good, warm, peaceful feeling?” She nodded her head and I witnessed to her that she was feeling the Holy Ghost. We then bore our testimonies that the things which have been taught her are true and we know they are true because we felt that same power of the Holy Ghost confirming it to us. It was a powerful lesson, and we felt that regardless of her decision to join this church or not, we have done what Heavenly Father wanted us to.
Since I don’t want to make a cohesive letter today, I’m just going to make a bullet list with some of the main things I did! Heehee sorry, but here it is!!! Cue the drumroll…
Met with our amazing investigator from Russia and had a girl’s night after a hard day of work for her where we could have fun, relax, eat junk food, and watch Legacy. She thought the acting was hilarious, but seemed really interested in the actual history of the movie. She’s been investigating the church for a long time, but didn’t know much about the pioneers, so it was cool watching her eat the history up.
Helped poor Sister L after she strained a muscle in her back during exercise that she couldn’t move from her bed all day. It was a good opportunity to serve her and it made us all thankful that we are in a tri-panionship so we could split with a member and teach some people we had made appointments with as well as watch out for Sister L. Tri-panionships are the bomb!
Played basketball and made a goal during the game!!! Woop woop! Have to be careful not to get prideful now that my basketball skills are improving. My companions and I are actually making a lot of friends with the people who come, and in turn they’re starting to bring their friends! It’s a really good way for people to be in our church and get to interact with missionaries and members casually and friendly. Our mission President even came this week to play and showed off how good he was at basketball–haha. It was really fun and a great opportunity to meet lots of new people.
Had 수화반! Korean Sign Language Class. I know a enough of the basics to have simple conversations with our deaf members now, but I (and they) have to use our acting skills for the rest:)
Got Transfer calls! Sister L is leaving and Sister N and I are staying in Yeongdeungpo!
Had a linger longer with our English Branch after church and ate more American food than I have my entire mission. It was delicious, but we were all sick afterwards. We need our Gimbab and rice and fruit!
That was just some of the things that I did this week! We always see a lot of miracles and feel the influence of the Spirit guiding us in all the things we do. It really is a great privileged to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love it!
Things are starting to warm up here in Korea! I didn’t even wear a big jacket one day! Wooh! That means spring is coming!
Well it’s official…I have hit my year mark as a missionary in Korea! What!? Where has the time gone! Stop going so fast! It’s crazy, but it’s neat to look back through my journals and see how much I’ve grown and learned in the last year. Heavenly Father has definitely blessed me and given me more than I could ever ask for or even imagine here in Korea. Heavenly Father is the best.
I heard a question the other day that really struck me: “Will your mission be your spiritual peak, or your spiritual beginning?” It made me think about the future and how my mission is not over when it’s finished. I still have to work and move forward everyday to become a little more Christ-like–a little kinder, a little gentler, a little more patient… I just love that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can improve and become something better than we were the day before. I love that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can keep progressing and repenting and moving forward, even if we fall short sometimes. I love that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can work on serving and blessing others. I just love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, period.
Anyway, this week we met one of our wonderful friends from Germany! She’s going back to Europe soon so we went to a cafe and had Tim Tam slams. We decided to make her a little gift package that included a bunch of yummy snacks and candy and put our testimonies in a German Book of Mormon for her and marked some of our favorite scriptures. We weren’t sure how she would take it, (we’ve never had a formal gospel discussion with her), but she seemed really grateful for it.
She texted us later that night and told us, “L., Stastny, N.- you are the sweetest and smiliest persons I have met here and I love you soo much! Thanks for the book, I hope it can give me some inspiration. See you again.” We almost screamed when we read it because we were so happy. She’s really special and we’re excited about the future for her. She’s awesome!
Cute family on a big swing (I know I’m a creep for taking their picture! It was just a Kodak moment!)
And a nice billboard in Gangnam
Bike riding along the Han River on P-day
Cool Asian looking building
Cool Asian looking building
Our Yeoungdeungpo district–trying to be normal
Biking along Han River
Me and the river (*dwerp) That’s a nice bird
Yeoungdeungpo districs–just weirdness
Hope you have a good week and have lots of missionary experiences of your own!
As I was studying, I read in Daniel chapter2…and Wow! was it interesting. In it, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and forgets almost all of it. It troubles him a lot so he gathers all the wise men and demands that they figure out what he dreamed about and the interpretation thereof. Hard, right?!
All the wise men tell the king, “There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the King’s matter.” Like seriously, how can anyone figure out what someone’s dream is and the interpretation without even a hint! I feel for them! Well King Nebuca-what’s-his-name gets all the wise men in the land and tells them he’s going to execute them if no one can figure it out. A little harsh, but it happens in the Old Testament.
Daniel hears about this and goes to the king and asks for some time to figure out the dream. With his companions (he has 3- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), he takes some time (probably studying, praying and fasting), as they call upon the mercies of God to reveal unto them the secret.
One night, Daniel is dreaming when BOOM! He receives the same dream that King N did and the interpretation!! He praises God then comes into the presence of the king and says:
“The secret which the kind hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers shew unto the king;
But there is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these…”
And then he tells him exactly what he dreamed about and the interpretation thereof!!! Ahhh! So cool!
Anyway, there is a reason for telling you all this! As a missionary we teach lots of people, who have lots of different concerns and questions which aren’t always voiced (just like King Neb-ster and his troubling dream). These people want an answer (just like King Neb), but they don’t always have the courage or even want to ask what’s really in their soul. (I understand, because it’s hard to truly open up to people sometimes).
But because we want to help people and really teach them according to what they need, we strive to follow Daniel’s example, and “desire the mercies of God of heaven concerning the secret” or their unvoiced questions and needs. Now this doesn’t mean that God reveals to us everyone’s deep dark spooky secrets or anything like that–we’re not mind readers. That’d be a little weird. But God does give us what we need to accomplish His work.
Sometimes we feel prompted to talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ with one person who is struggling to forgive themself for something done in the past that we had no idea about. Sometimes we feel prompted to just share a message from the Book of Mormon on hope and we don’t know why, but we know that it’s exactly what the person needed.
One time we were teaching and we could tell our investigator was troubled about some things. We felt like we should share a scripture and we didn’t know why. Our investigator read it and told us, “It’s like you find the exact answer to my question, and I didn’t even tell you it.”
I know that God does speak to men still, and he inspires and gives us revelation when we live worthy to receive it. He truly knows what people need, and what they worry about, and because He loves them, He wants to help them. I’m so thankful that we have a loving, living Heavenly Father!
Stake Relief Society Culture night, every ward did something different. This ward tried to represent all the countries and cultures: That’s chinese the lady is speaking at the beginning and Korean at the end. I think it’s cool because it’s so different sounding from Korean!
IT’S A SMALL WORLD!!!! In Korea! GOT TO LOVE IT!
(PS…our wards’ talent was hand bells! They made the sister missionaries join them haha! Was so fun!)
Sorry this was long! Love you! And hope you have a good week!
I was at one of my Korean Grandma’s house for supper, when I see this picture of a stingray on her fridge and a restaurant name. I asked her about it (just to start nice conversation and be a friendly missionary) when BAM! Out comes the stingray meat! It’s served raw, fermented, with a smell that reeks like urine and ammonia.
The meat is tough and there’s a bone in the middle so you have to chew and chew as the taste and smell begin to envelope you. There’s no quick-swallow fix to the situation. You have no option but to slowly savor it. The taste is literally (not figuratively) stingy. It literally started to numb my mouth. You don’t even want to know what it was like the next morning!
So being a good missionary and wanting to respect the culture, I ate 3 servings of it in total. Our ward member was really happy about it (though I don’t think my companions were). I’m going to be more cautious about starting small talk about anything potential edible from here on out. Haha!
On a different, more spiritual, less stingy topic, we were able to have a surprise lesson with one of our recent converts! We haven’t been able to meet with her the past two weeks and were praying really hard that Heavenly Father could provide a way that we could somehow meet with her. We felt like we should ask her for Thursday night. Unfortunately, she had already made plans and couldn’t see us then. We were pretty sad and confused, but kept moving on and set up another appointment with a member to eat and have dinner that night.
We go to the member’s house, and lo and behold, not one, but two of the recent converts that we have been praying to meet with are there!!! It was a miracle. They were all amazed at the luck of it. We knew that Heavenly Father’s hand played a big part in it. We were able to teach them both about Patriarchal blessings and help uplift and strengthen them.
That experience helped me to know that God really does inspire us and love us. We received inspiration that Thursday would be a good day to meet with our recent convert. Even though things didn’t seem to be looking that way, God prepared the way and helped prepare us to know what to say. If He didn’t love us or our wonderful recent converts, I’m sure none of it would have worked out like it did. But because God does love His children, we all were able to recognize God’s hand in our life, blessing, helping, and somehow putting us in the perfect place to do what He wanted us to. I’m really thankful for that experience!
Coat advertisement–a van with mannequins on it! We were pretty scared when we crossed a corner and ran across this! Interesting way to advertise.
This week we had the opportunity again to work directly with our members throughout missionary work!!
It started after we had a lesson with one of our recent converts. We were already planning on spending the day with a young woman to show her what missionary work is like, when our recent convert asked if she could join us too. Of course, we said yes and decided to go together (all 5 of us) to serve as missionaries.
On the subway, Sister L. noticed that a lady standing next to her was reading the bible on her phone in Mark. We started talking to her about our love for the Bible and the Book of Mormon and she was very kind and seemed genuinely interested in our message! Our recent convert bore testimony of her conversion and got her number, and our Young woman invited her to English class! It was awesome! We just took a step back and let our wonderful members work their magic! They were so amazing! I just love them.
As if that wasn’t miraculous enough, we saw a little while later a couple of people talking to each other in Korean Sign Language. Since we have a sign language class at church (and lots of amazing deaf members to talk to), we were somehow able to sign to them that we’re missionaries learning KSL and we have a good message about Christ to share! They were a little surprised that we were learning Sign language, but seemed touched that we had attempted to talk with them.
We were able to visit some needy members in our ward, do service, talk to a lot of people, teach our recent convert that 6-inch heeled stilettos are not practical missionary shoes, and just overall spread Christ’s love and help our members feel a deeper fire to share this wonderful gospel!
I went to Gangnam this past Saturday to the BEST RESTAURANT OF MY LIFE… called Spoon the Street, or Spoon on the Street. Oh so good! It was like this yummy shabu-shabu stuff (샤브샤브) and a huge buffet! LOOK IT UP! SO YUMMY!
The weather is warming us here (sort of- it’s bipolar so it changes all the time). My favorite smell comes in Spring when the flowers start blooming (especially the cherry blossoms), my all time hate smell is food trash…yuck! All nasty and separated because Koreans separate EVERYTHING!
Things that make me laugh–grandmas…they’re just funny. They just say (a-ee-go!) all the time (just a sound like Oh my or something), aren’t afraid to push people or touch people haha. I love them
My comps and I at the temple
My companions and I at the temple
Soccer with the ward
Picture of a cute brazilian in our English ward. She’s going back home this week so we got a picture with her:)
It was a wonderful week! Can’t wait to see what this next week brings!
This week was 설날 (seolnar)–Lunars year’s! So it was pretty fun! Most people went back to their hometowns to spend it with their families, so this week was pretty dead. Because no one has time to meet the missionaries, we had a big conference together where we went hiking and watched Meet the Mormons! So fun! On our hike, every district was given a Book of Mormon story to reenact through pictures only. Can you guess what story it is and what part me and my companion played (HINT…baah! Ahh! Arms off)
Being in a tri-panionship is super fun! Sister N. is from Salt Lake and is just an absolute sweetheart. She’s always finding ways to serve and help out at home and cares for everyone in Yeongdeungpo already so much (even though she hasn’t had the opportunity to get to know them very well). I love her and Sister L. We’re able to get a lot of work done with each other and work with each other really nice so that’s a blessing. We also are able to do this while getting little less sleep too because we love talking to each other at night time too! haha
This week Sister Jo got baptized! The missionaries have been teaching her for a long time, and she’s been attending church for a long time, but she’s been scared of committing to baptism. God helped her realize, however, that she needs to put her faith before fear and take those small steps that will lead her to something even greater! It was a really good baptism! The sister missionary that originally was in the ward she first attended before she moved was there. She had a big support group and it was great!
Missionary work is the best! Isn’t it!
Yummy snack of steamed silkworms. It didn’t have a bad taste, but when I bit down all the steamed silkworm juices gushed out and I spit it out–in front of the lady who sold them! Oh my goodness! I felt so bad. That’s probably so disrespectful….but she laughed so I think it’s okay. Haha!
Pictures of our fancy, cute little apartment. We have a washer/dryer combo under our stove, so we’re pretty envied by all the mission.