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.
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.
My companion and I
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.
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.
영등포 : The Land of Peanut Butter & Golden Investigators
Yeoungdeungpo is so cool. I don’t even know where to begin. First off, our church is the biggest Latter-day Saint (LDS) church in Korea. It’s massive. We’re in charge of the English branch (which consists of about 200 people living anywhere in or around Seoul, and on the military base), and the Korean ward, which consists of about 50-60 people. The church times overlap a little, so every Sunday we are attending church for a good 5 hours (English Sacrament meeting, English gospel principles, the Korean Sacrament meeting, Korean gospel principles, and Korean Relief Society/Young Women).
View from our apt in Yeoung-deung-po. We live on the 14th (top) story of our building & have a really neat view!
Attending English Sacrament Meeting for the first time in a year was SO WEIRD! Oh my goodness, the people who gave talks were so good at English! They spoke so fast and used really big words and I… I did not. I honestly asked someone (the Relief Society President, mind you) “How does your family become?” I just couldn’t think of a good way to ask about a person’s family and how many are included in it and stuff like that! She was understanding, thankfully! I’ll learn, as time goes on hopefully.
Anyway, I felt really at home when I got into my Korean branch and it was really quiet during the meeting and I could bow and ask how their family becomes–가족 어떻께 되세요?
In the Korean ward, we have a couple deaf members. A pair of Elders are called as the Korean Sign Language missionaries, so they translate for them during the meetings and travel to other places in the mission to teach investigators who are also deaf. Since we have so many deaf people in our ward, however, all the missionaries in Youngdeungpo attend 수화(su-hwa–Korean Sign Language) class so we can learn how to sign, too. I think Heavenly Father knows that I like to use my hands to express myself anyway, so he’s given me this wonderful opportunity to learn.
I don’t know hardly anything yet, but I’ve come to find that our deaf members are some of the most sociable in the ward. They came up to me right away and started asking questions, signing things that I didn’t know, then acting things out for me when I didn’t understand, and having me write where I’m from, and where my ancestors are from, and all about my life. I just love them to pieces! I think I moved to the best place in the mission.
Our investigators are amazing and have so much potential and desire to learn about the gospel (I just think they’re all golden). We have so much peanut butter and American toothpaste at our house (which is priceless in Korea, I think). And our wards seem really excited about missionary work!
Last pictures from Gimpo (my last area)
Sister in our teaching pool
View from apt
This is so long, but I don’t think I’ve began to cover just how amazing my new area, my ward, and my companion are! It’s seriously amazing! I’ll tell you more as weeks go on and send more pictures of my new area.
This week we had our Stake Christmas Party and it was the best! We had a nice little dinner and then a huge talent show. Seriously my favorite Christmas party ever! Laughed, met with lots of members, sang (wasn’t good, but sometimes you got to do things for the Lord that you don’t want to), ate, and just had the funnest time of my life!
All the missionaries sang Heal the World by Michael Jackson (don’t ask me why? I don’t know, but everyone loved it). Sister Lyman and I also got roped into doing a Korean love song with our district…it was..umm terrible. We don’t sing, but we sang haha. A disabled girl played the piano and sang at the end with us so she saved our act with her adorableness! Anyway, Here’s a video with some very short clips from the show.
I honestly don’t know how people expect me to leave after things like this! I just love Korea and everyone here with all my heart. By the way, Koreans love to sing! And they belt their hearts out when they do! I love it! They have karaoke places everywhere! It’s so popular!
I also got to go on an exchange with my Sister Training Leader this week and we had so many miracles. Sister H gave one of the most amazing trainings I’ve ever had on my mission. Usually lots of Training leaders are given a topic they can talk about and they apply it to each of the sisters individually. However, Sister H wanted to try something different, so the day before she chose to study for me.
I began sharing what I learned in Personal study with her, and she’s flabbergasted. Everything I had studied that day she had studied the day before too–almost exactly! I read 2 Nephi (the Isaiah chapters); and so did she. I read in Jesus the Christ about the apostle Peter and his work after Christ’s resurrection- stopping before Stephen the martyr…and she read in Acts about Peter and the apostles (also choosing to stop before Stephen’s testimony and death). We also read the same parts in Preach My Gospel. And the best part is, none of us knew what each other was studying!
She also shared with me 2 Nephi 16 (where Isaiah sees the Lord and is forgiven of his sins)– honestly one of my most favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon (which she had no idea of before)…and we were just blown away.
Sometimes there are ups and downs as missionaries, and I was having a rather down time before this…but when this sister gave her training to me, I knew that it was only through the Spirit that she could have planned so perfect for me. I felt sure that God knew me perfectly and I was astounded and ever thankful for Him.
I realized that if God could inspire her to so clearly and conveniently to receive revelation for me (this random missionary from Idaho), how much more could He inspire me and all of the missionaries around the world to receive revelation for our investigators!
I was touched by the power of the Spirit, the power of God, and the power and authority of our calling as missionaries for the true church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was uplifted, motivated, and grateful for the tender mercy of God. I really know that God does still inspire men and women everywhere! How amazing is the Gospel!
Me and a recent convert from the Phillippines (honestly one of the most faithful people I have ever met in my life)
Snow in Korea! It’s cold!!!
A family I absolutely adore! Meeting with them and preparing them so they can go and be sealed in the temple 🙂
Erin (that’s her English name) is one of the most cutest creatures on the planet. She’s amazing at English (and Korean) and is progressing little by little as we teach her each week 🙂 I love her to pieces! She has a cute little lisp when she speaks English, and combined with her Korean accent, she’s just the most adorable thing ever!
This sister is always at her hair shop, so we come there to meet with her and teach her the gospel. She loves religion and listens and asks questions better than most of our other investigators. We have a lot of hope for her. She also likes to cut my hair a little every other time I go into her shop! I swear I’m going to be bald by the time she’s prepared to be baptized…haha.
In missionary work, we make a lot of plans. We plan (and back-up plan) what we are going to do during every hour of the day. Sometimes our plans work out, and sometimes they don’t. What I’ve come to realize throughout my mission is that the Lord’s plans always work out! If we are living faithfully and obediently, His work will never be frustrated (even if our plans seem to be). The Lord has a plan for us!
This week I had an experience with this as we were preparing to head out the door to start our work for the day. The lady that we had wanted to see, told us she couldn’t, our back-up plan sent us a last minute text cancelling too. Our day was completely open and empty. We said a prayer, asking that Heavenly Father would guide us to know what we could do that would be effective, and then we went out and started working.
As we were out, we passed an apartment where I knew an old lady who is a less-active member of our church lives. We had tried in the past to meet her without success. Her apartment has a keypad and code to get in (which are not our friends as missionaries), and we couldn’t find her exact house number anyway to ring if we wanted too. As we were walking past her house this time, however, a person just unlocked the door and let us right in (what?! That never happens! It was huge miracle!).
I know that Heavenly Father was leading us to her, because her husband had recently died and she seemed really lonely. When we first got into her house, she was really somber. None of her lights were on, and a window was open and it was freezing cold. She cut up some fruit to share with us–like is natural in Korean culture–and then she sat there glazy-eyed. We said a prayer in our hearts that we could somehow help her, and felt prompted to start asking her about her family. At first she just gave us little, one word answers…but as we continued to ask about her family and show genuine interest in her, she started lighting up little by little until we were looking at pictures with her and laughing and listening to all her good experiences.
In Preach my Gospel it says that “People typically have spiritual feelings as they talk about families.” I witnessed as I was with her, talking about her and her family, how the spirit started entering the house. It started becoming lighter and happier, and I could tell she was more willing to listen to us when we asked to share a simple message from the Book of Mormon.
It’s hard to describe in words just how meaningful and amazing being a part of these experiences is, but I hope you can always live worthy to have the Spirit’s influence in your life so you can have your own spiritual experiences and recognize them! Just go out with a determination to do something good, even if you’re not exactly sure what it is yet. I know that the Lord will guide us to where HE wants us to be if we are living worthily and faithfully; and that when we get there, we will realize just how amazing God’s plans are and we will be incredibly thankful.
This is the Lord’s work, and this is His restored church. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be a missionary sharing the good news!
❤ Sister Stastny
PS: Happy Thanksgiving! (I forgot my cord, so pictures are going to have to wait till next week, sorry!)
That was our topic in the conversation English class this week. Fun! For our Family Home Evening that we had as a ward, we had it Halloween-themed. We dressed people up as mummies with toilet paper, had a pinata, and drew those mix-matched monsters that we always use to do during family home evening! It was a blast.
Also, on Halloween, I had 낙지덮밥(nakji deoupbab). I’ll let you look it up to see what it actually looks like, but I think you will think it was an appropriate Halloween meal haha! It was actually really delicious. Me and my companion ate all of it (which is the polite thing to do in Korea, so we do that anyway), but we actually enjoyed this meal. 🙂
So in missionary work, we see so many miracles every day, and sometimes every hour if we’re looking hard enough for them, so I just want to share about 1 day this week and a few of the miracles we saw throughout it..
The first miracle happened quite unexpectedly. We had 3 appointments scheduled for the day–Kate (Names changed: a recent convert from the Philippines who moved to Korea for work) at 1:30pm, Julie (an investigator we teach English and the Gospel to) at 4:30, and Eunice (another investigator we teach English and the Gospel to) at 8pm. So after we finished lunch, we had some awkward time before Kate’s appointment, so we went outside and started walking. I was racking my brain for what we can do, or who we can see, and I think of an investigator that we haven’t seen in a long time.
We had already tried to visit this investigator the other day, but she wasn’t there; but we decided to try again, and MIRACULOUSLY, she and her family is home!!! We were able to share a message with her about prayer, and she opened up more to us than I had ever seen (another miracle) about how she doesn’t know if God it there, so that’s why it’s been difficult to try praying. We told her to ask, “God, are you really there?” And talked about how she can receive answers through the Holy Ghost. It was a simple lesson, but it seemed to touch her and she seemed willing to experiment on the things we had taught her (miracle).
This investigator’s lesson was running a little long, but Kate (the recent convert we were going to meet next) texted us in the lesson telling us she was going to be about 30 minutes late (just the time we needed to get to the appointment on time). It worked out perfectly (another miracle)!
With Kate, we learned about her conversion story (she was baptized about 5 months ago in the Philippines) and about the hardships she is going through in her life right now but overcoming through her strong, triumphant faith in Christ. We talked about family history and she was really excited to learn how to do that and prepare to go to the temple to perform baptisms for her deceased ancestors. (She’s just a miracle in herself, so being with her was really fun and enlightening).
So after Kate, we headed over early to Julie’s area. I had spent a lot of the night before, going through old records and trying to find members, or less-active members that might live in her area just in case we had some extra time. So we were walking around the area and I see an apartment named “Oe–oolim” and it sticks out to me. I look through the sheets of addresses I have, but all I can find remotely close is an apartment named “oo-mi-lim”-which is nowhere in sight.
Because we have time though, my companion suggests we go over there just in case it is the right apartment (even though we know the names are different). We feel good about it, so we start walking toward it, and lo and behold, we greet these 2 ladies, tell them we’re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, and they tell us they’re interested! We get their number and set up an appointment to meet with them next week right then and there!!! Giant miracles!! It’s interesting how the sprit nudges us in different ways so we can meet the people we’re supposed to. I’m so grateful for it.
After that, we got to teach our investigator Julie the first lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel. When we shared with her James 1:5, we asked her “From this verse, what can we do if we have a question that we want answered?”
She seemed a little flustered at first, but as we asked a little more questions about the subject we realized she was just blown away at the idea that she could ask God anything she wants, and talk to Him openly as she would a close friend. I testified that Heavenly Father really does want to communicate with us, and her eyes just got big with amazement. At the end of the lesson she jumped and asked if she could say the closing prayer (another fabulous miracle)! In her prayer, she thanked Heavenly Father for the new things she had learned with us. It really touched my heart. I’m thankful the Spirit spoke to her and made our message more amazing than we ever could on our own (definite miracle).
To end the day, we got to teach our other investigator, Eunice, about the Restoration of the Gospel, too. I love teaching about the Restoration because it’s just a giant miracle in itself. I think about how crazy amazing it would be to hear something like that for the first time—that God does live and talk to His children today personally, just like He has in times of old; that Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I always feel the Spirit when I teach about Joseph Smith’s First Vision. I really know he was a prophet called of God. The Church of Jesus Christ is the true restored church of Jesus Christ.
In summary, it was a miraculous day! (I haven’t even included all the blessings, the nice people we got to meet on streets, the delicious foods we were fed, the lovely weather, and just the blessing of serving in beautiful Korea). I know God is always with us in this, His work.
Miracles do happen!
I love serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
❤ Sister Stastny
웃(<<that is a Korean syllable that looks like a person! When said, it sounds like “oot”) Random, but enjoy!
Okay! This week has been fabulous…I might say that every week…but I really mean it. I got put with Sister L from my same MTC group and we are just loving it. It’s fun being with someone that is at the same point in the mission because you get to really learn with and from each other more than other times. We get to learn and teach each other what we learn and I feel like we are progressing in the language even faster together! We’re just having a blast!
Since I’ve only been in Gimpo about 7 weeks (and our area is massive), I still don’t know how to get everywhere, but Heavenly Father helps Sister L and I out a lot. The other night we were going to visit a less-active, and we were trying to find an address and were really lost. We asked lots of people (who were very willing to help us out; if Koreans don’t know where a place is they will usually always take the time to search on their phones, or ask other people and help), but no one knew where this particular address was! So we were meandering through streets, humming hymns and saying hi to people when I look up and see the small apartment complex that we were looking for!!! It was a miracle! We couldn’t see any entrance to get into the complex area, so we jumped a wall (modestly in our skirts, mind you), just to look back and see that the entrance was a couple yards away, hidden by mass surplus of foliage (oh sweet missionary work haha)!
Anyway, the Lord has been helping us out like that in many ways! We’re not always sure how to get places, how to say things perfectly in Korean, or how to do a number of other things- but when it comes down to it, Heavenly Father is always there, and what needs to be done, gets done. I have a big testimony that this isn’t our work, it’s the Lord’s work. Even when our plans don’t go the way we expect, the Lord’s work is never frustrated.
churro factory truck (i love you Korea)
Happy Missionary work in Korea picture 🙂
Me in Gimpo on a chicken shaped statue:)
I know the Lord is definitely helping us out here and I’m so thankful for that. I love being a missionary and sharing this happy Gospel! It’s awesome! Have a good week!
So before I begin, I did not have the stomach flu this week…but my poor companion did. 😦 We aren’t sure how she got it–because we eat the same things and do the same things, but she got it..and she got it pretty bad. We spent 3 days of our week inside while she was sick, (and I think she spent most of that time in the bathroom). For me, it was a good time to serve and help my companion, as well as do lots of the seemingly monotonous aspects of missionary work that often get procrastinated (such as organizing our member book, updating addresses and phone numbers, then adding addresses and bus routes into our phone). It may not seem like much, but I was busy doing a lot of those things for three days and I didn’t even finish!! It was good though to have something to do, and now Sister T is completely better so that is the best thing!
Our miracle happened this week as we went to visit a lady that has been less-active for quite some time. I hadn’t met her before this, but I know that lots of missionaries have met with her and there hasn’t been much progress made. As soon as I met her, I just felt this giant love for her, and I knew that it wasn’t just my love, but God’s love for her, too. We had planned to teach a different lesson than planned, but because of time, we decided just to share a good scripture–2 Nephi 31:19-20.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
We read that together and talked about the importance of enduring to the end–how it can be difficult, but the blessings in store for us outweigh any of the difficulties we might face. We were talking about this, and she was nodding her head, but we weren’t sure if she was really taking it in. As we were about to finish, I felt really strongly that I should testify about something. The Spirit didn’t tell me what I needed to testify about, but I knew I had to.
The one thing I knew absolutely at that moment was that God loved her. It seemed so simple, but I told her that God loved her and I knew that from as soon as I met her. After that, she began to open up to us about how she felt like a bad daughter to our Father in Heaven because she hadn’t been enduring to the end and doing the things He wanted her to do. She said she didn’t know if God loved her.
Sister T and I were able to testify that God loves her and that love is there for her whether she thinks she deserves it or not. We told her it’s like a parent (like her, since she has kids). Even though her kids may not do everything she wants, she still loves them. She will be sad when her kids make a wrong choice, but she will still love them.
After we told her that, she, not us, decided to make goals to begin reading the scriptures and praying daily. It was such a miracle! After the lesson, we got out and prayed, thanking our Heavenly Father for allowing the Spirit to teach her and touch her heart to choose the right. It strengthened my testimony that the Spirit is the one that teaches and changes people…not us.
I’m excited to see what miracles happen this week! Missionary work is the best! I know it is truly the Lord’s work and I love being a part of it!
This week was 진짜 훌륭해요! Really amazing! We had 추석Chuseok- Korean Thanksgiving, and it was so much fun. We had a big day with all the missionaries where we ate delicious food, received some training from our mission president and our mission president’s old mission president (yeah he’s still alive–he’s Korean), we went outside and did service, and then we had a big talent show! It was such a great day.
Getting my hair done Korean style
Lots of the missionaries wore hanboks (the Korean traditional dresses that they had either bought or borrowed from members). I have a confession, I think Korean hanboks are gorgeous, but on average they cost 200,000-400,000 won–about $200-400USD. I couldn’t find one in time for a missionary chuseok conference, but the day afterwards I obtained THREE, for $40. I was really blessed. Two I got at second hand stores, and the third was given to me by a member. Koreans are SO NICE!
We had a meal with this member and I asked her if she had a hanbok that she wore for Chuseok. She showed me the hanbok, had me try on the hanbok, then she told me it was mine! I didn’t want to take her hanbok, and I told her I couldn’t take her hanbok, but the more I persisted the more insistent she got. When Koreans offer you something, it’s like when Grandma G. offers you money, there’s not really an option but to take it. So now, I have 3 beautiful hanbok’s. I’m really 항복해요 haengbok (happy).
This week was full of a bunch of great things. I have been preparing a five minute talk about the Book of Mormon to give in Korean during Sacrament meeting, and I got a call Saturday night from the second counselor telling me that it needed to actually be 10 minutes! AHHH!! I screamed.
But I practiced all the things I knew, prayed a lot, and I was able to talk for a full 10 minutes in Korean during Sacrament about the Book of Mormon and why it means the world to me. I used to be terrified to talk for 5 minutes in English during Sacrament Meeting, but now I can talk for 10 minutes in Korean and I feel really great. The Lord is definitely helping me with everything. He’s the best!
I love you! I know that Heavenly Father can help you with anything you stand in need of too! He’s always there!
Annyeonghaseyo!!! (that is how you spell it in English correctly, cough-cough, love you mom ❤ )
So I’ve been better at not feeling sick after getting off buses…so Heavenly Father does bless his missionaries!!! I’m also starting to memorize which bus goes to whose house, and which bus goes to whose house the cheapest. Woooh! We keep track of how much money we spend on travel because we get refunded if we go over a certain amount (which from the sound of it, happens a lot in our area).
This week is super special because it is 추석 Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). It’s so fun. Yesterday, our bishop’s wife and her two little daughters showed up to church in their 한복s (hanboks–Korean traditional dresses). They were gorgeous.
Add me into the mix
Such a beautiful family
My companion w/Bishop’s wife and children
Chuseok is a really big holiday in Korea (about the same as Christmas is for us in America), so lots of churches only had Sacrament Meeting, instead of the normal 3 hours. Tomorrow we are having a big Chuseok mission day (since everyone–investigators, members, nonmembers–are probably going to be with their families that day). I’m so excited!
It’s a time to be thankful (even more) for everything–the good crops for the year, families, friends, wealth, the hard times that have helped us learn so much, and all the blessings God has given us. People wear their traditional Korean wear and the women, (usually moms, daughters, sister/mother-in laws), spend hours preparing tons of traditional dishes to eat at their Chuseok feast. Some of the ladies we’ve talked to seem really stressed about it, but others see it as an opportunity to bond and develop a greater sisterhood with their loved ones.
I was thinking about the different attitudes and I thought of Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk about “Being Grateful in you Circumstances.” Regardless of what comes our way (good or bad), we always have so much to thank God for! The people who live in an attitude of gratitude regardless of what they have been given, always find greater strength, hope, and happiness. I know that is true, so I’ve been working on enjoying the rain and the rainbow afterwards.
I think of Job and how everything he had was taken from him in almost an instant (his family, his friends, his fortune), and how he reacted was by getting on his knees and worshipping God. That’s how I want to be no matter what comes my way–hard times, horrible weather, horrific bugs, or anything else that can be thrown my way now or in the future…I just want to get on my knees and thank God for it all…Because God is always kind and knows what’s best.
I get fed really, really, really good in Korea…like really, really good. Ummm… bulgogi meat, kimchi stew, kimbap, mandu. I’m excited to cook and feed you Korean food when I get back. :)))
I think my Korean skills are improving. I’ve been studying extra diligently. My mission president said to study it like it’s the only language in the world..so that’s what I do…studying vocabulary and sentences all throughout the day. Reading Korean is probably the easiest part of Korean, which isn’t saying much because it’s still pretty hard. I can’t read like a Korean can (I’m not sure if I ever will), but I can read at a more comfortable pace now and I’m beginning to understand what I read and people understand me when I read. I think reading from the Book of Mormon is actually the easiest part of my lessons.
I think Heavenly Father gives me the gift of tongues when I do everything and a little more to study Korean. Sometimes Korean people will ask what certain words and phrases mean in the Book of Mormon because they honestly don’t know–(the Korean BOM has a lot of words taken from the Chinese characters and it’s written in a more archaic form–I think it’s like someone not understanding what “upbraideth not” means), but somehow I’m able to explain it clearly and I don’t know how. It’s not like I practiced how to do that, but I can remember all the words and grammar I’ve been studying and it comes out naturally. It’s really cool. So I think my language skills are improving.
A quick pic of Gangnam–you bet I went there 🙂 But I haven’t heard Gangnam style or danced there yet so I’ll need to go back.
I hope you have a great week! Celebrate Chuseok and eat some kimchi! 😉
I don’t know when you’ll get this letter, but right now I’m writing it in the heat of summer. Actually, I’m in the church because our church has air conditioning, but our apartment doesn’t. Hooray For churches!
Well, my story is about the difference of one righteous person. You might think of the prophet Abinadi—one person, and he was able to convert one other person (named Alma), who was able to convert thousands , if not millions now, through his faith and service to God!
My missionary story today is about one faithful member missionary in our Yeonsu Ward named Li-Kuni (sidenote: last names are said first in Korea if you didn’t already know–and names have been changed for this blog). So Sister Li-Kuni is the greatest at visiting and befriending less-actives in the church.
One of her less-active friends is named Bark-Sundi. So Sister Bark (spellings keeps changing—there’s no good way to Romanize Korean—it’s so hard) has been a less active member of the church for the past 20 years. Sister Li has been her friend that entire time! Even though Bark-Sundi didn’t have much interest in coming back to church, she let Sister Li give her a Liahona almost every month just because she’s her friend and didn’t want to offend her.
And then we come in.
Sister H and I once ran across the two of them at a restaurant and were able to introduce ourselves. We learned that Bark-Sundi had interest in our 30-30 program, so we set up a time to start meeting her. Teaching English was fun, but during the gospel time we realized that she didn’t know anything about Jesus Christ and the gospel (even though she’d been baptized years before). We had to start at ground one.
We taught the first lesson almost 6 times before she understood it. Even with Korean members present, she just didn’t seem to understand (or want to understand). I remember a time when I studied so hard for what I wanted to share with her, and during the lesson I was trying as hard as I could to relay what I love about the gospel in as much Korean as I know, and she laughed. She flat our laughed at me and my slow Korean. It was miserable.
I came home from the lesson and cried for about an hour. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so mean and impatient. A big part of me was crying that we should drop her—she was rude and she wasn’t progressing. But something small and something warm inside of me felt this love for her still and felt that we should still teach her.
So with all the courage I could muster, we came back the next week to teach her again. In the next couple weeks, something miraculous happened. We started reading from the Book of Mormon and she started marking things! She asked for the Liahona in English so we could do her English studies out of that.
She told us that she had never felt the Spirit while praying, so we taught her about prayer, and invited her to say the closing prayer and she accepted for the first time!
She prayed and something peaceful and warm came into the house. She ended her prayer and with tears in her eyes, told us that for the first time she felt that good feeling of the Holy Ghost. She finally understood, so she started attending Sacrament Meeting again.
Her friend, Sister Li was there for her every step of the way. It took 20 years, but now Sister Bark comes to church every Sunday with a sweet smile on her face (volunteering to read scriptures and sharing what she has learned from the month’s Liahona). One person…one persistent faithful friend really can make a difference.
“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”
And the story goes on!!!
Her kids, after seeing their mom read the scriptures, Liahona and coming to church each week—decided that they want to start coming to church too. One of her sons (none of her children have been baptized) told the Bishop that he wants to be baptized, so we have been teaching him the lessons too! (He wants the sisters to teach him because Sister K is Korean and can explain and answer his questions better and help him understand everything completely)
So that’s where we are now. It has gone from “I want to drop this lady” to “her son’s going to be baptized!”
The Gospel is truly miraculous. It can change hearts, it can change lives. I’m so thankful for faithful members, faithful friends who watch out for those they love and continually, persistently invite them to come to Christ even when at times it might have seemed hopeless. Hope is never lost.