So I got my new companion. She’s from Australia (which I’m so happy about because that means I’ll start and end my mission with an Australian)! Her family is originally from Tonga and her name is Sister Tui for short. I’m super excited to serve with her. It’s actually really cool because I had received a prompting about two months ago on March 11 to start praying for the people in the MTC, and it was so interesting that I had actually written about it in my journal. But then I had forgotten about it. I asked Sister Tui about the date and she told me that day (in Korea) would have been the day she entered the MTC in America! So cool! It’s FATE!
One of the first lessons we taught together was actually with a missionary from another church. We were talking to people on the street when I ran into this lady, and we were both excited to share with each other what we believed so we set up an appointment to meet for the next day.
To be honest, the church she was from has a really bad and scary reputation in Korea and I had heard a lot of bad experiences from other people about this church which made me second guess whether it was right or not to meet with her. We prayed about it and felt that whether she would accept or reject what we believed, we should still give her a chance to know more about it. We also felt that regardless of all the bad things we had heard about the church, we should focus on seeing her as God sees her, and treat her as such.
Our meeting with her was a bit wild, but because we had decided beforehand that we were going to treat her as God wants us to, we didn’t bash any beliefs. She tried a lot of the time to convert us to her beliefs, but we told her upfront that because we had read the Book of Mormon and gained a witness of its truth for ourselves, we couldn’t turn away from what we knew was true. We listened to her beliefs and testified of the truths that were in it; then she listened to what we believed. In the end we concluded that both of us didn’t have any plans on changing religion soon, but that we respected each other for what each of us were doing. A situation that could have caused a lot more contention ended in us nicely getting smoothies together.
It taught me that we should see everyone as God sees them, and eliminate any judgement that could lead to negative or un-Christlike feelings. It was a fun week with a lot of lessons learned!
Pretty place in our area
Lanterns for Buddhas Birthday outside of a Buddhist place
Outside the BYU wind symphony concert which we attended with members this week
Picture of a place in our area
Cool Korean Writing
Lanterns for Buddhas Birthday outside of a Buddhist place
Lanterns for Buddhas Birthday outside of a Buddhist place
Lanterns for Buddhas Birthday outside of a Buddhist place
Sis. T and Lanterns for Buddhas Birthday outside of a Buddhist place
Me reading the Book of Mormon as statue man reads too
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!)
Our Yeoungdeungpo district–trying to be normal
Cool Asian looking building
Cool Asian looking building
Bike riding along the Han River on P-day
Yeoungdeungpo districs–just weirdness
And a nice billboard in Gangnam
Me and the river (*dwerp) That’s a nice bird
Biking along Han River
Hope you have a good week and have lots of missionary experiences of your own!
Oh my turkey and gravy it was fun getting to skype you guys!!! I just loved seeing all of your faces and hearing your voices! It made my Christmas one of the best ever!
So my week was pretty amazing…
On Tuesday, we had a mission conference where we listened to lots of music and musical numbers, watched fun slideshows of all the missionaries baby photos, and also heard lots of wonderful testimonies and received training from our leaders.
On Wednesday (Christmas Eve), we wanted to do something special, so we decided to fast until dinner for a Christmas miracle. We went outside as soon as we could and started talking to everyone and sharing our happy message about Jesus Christ with the world. There were lots of people who listened kindly and took a message card, and there were some who didn’t. My heart was filled with gratitude for the kind people that day; but I also was thankful for what those who didn’t listen taught me.
There was one person in particular that I wished a Merry Christmas and gave a message card with a picture of Mary and the baby Jesus on it . She took the card and looked at the picture for a few seconds, and then shook her head and handed it back to us, turning the other way to head back on her path of errands and Christmas Eve duties.
I had encountered many rejections on my mission before this, but this particular instance seemed to fill me with sadness. It was as if she had looked at the Savior and rejected Him. I thought, “If only you knew. If only you knew who He really was, you would let Him in.”
As we continued walking and sharing our message along the streets of Korea, I thought about Mary on the night of the Savior’s birth, looking for somewhere she could lay her child–the Son of God. I felt like her as we looked for someone who was prepared to accept our message–to let Christ into their lives. I felt more love for everyone, those who seemed to open their hearts to the Lord, and those who had closed their hearts for one reason or another. I knew Christ loved and perfectly knew them all.
We had worked really hard that day and had found lots of people with lots of potential, but we hadn’t found somebody who was willing to accept our lessons. Christmas Eve passed, and we retired for the night with our Bishop and ward members for a delicious, luxurious dinner, caroling, and Christmas Eve fun.
Christmas Eve Dinner
Christmas Eve Dinner
Christmas Eve Dinner
Christmas Eve Dinner
On Christmas day, we woke up at 6:30 (dead tired and completely excited for the day ahead of us–as usual). We opened our presents in our Yos, then went out to skype!! (Woop Woop).
Christmas Present from Sis. H in Australia!!! TIM TAMS!! CRICKEYS YEA!
This is a scary pic…but our Korean grandma bought us animal hats for Christmas haha so I had to share a pic
All my amazing presents. Spoiled!
Christmas Morning. Yikes!
Lots of people have Christmas day off, so the streets and stores were crowded with families and friends having fun. We went caroling outside of a mall for a couple hours with the other missionaries in our zone and talked to hundreds of people! It was so fun and everyone was so happy and loved our singing (which is a Christmas miracle if you’ve ever heard us…haha). That night, our ward mission leader invited us to eat 칼국수(kar-guksu–a yummy Korean soup), kimchi, and icecream. It was a perfect day and Heavenly Father blessed us so much.
Other Mission Moments:
Heavenly Father lets us witness tons of little miracles each day, every week, but on Friday, He gave us a miracle that we’ll forever be thankful for.
We were on our way over to a member’s house (our Korean grandma’s house specifically), when we see this lady walking the opposite way towards us. She was looking at us pretty intently (which isn’t that unusual because we’re blonde-haired Americans in Korea), so we said “Annyeonghaseyo” and bowed our heads a little bit like a normal greeting. She stopped completely and asked “한국말할줄아세요?” (Do you know Korean?).
We said Nay (which means yes in Korean) and started talking to her. She asked if she can pay us to teach her family English. We told her that we teach for free along with teaching about the Gospel and she got really excited. She told us she was really open to hearing about our message and that we could come over anytime.
So Friday, we decide to stop by her house and meet her family. They are all so nice and perfect, and Sister L and I knew as we met them that they were the answer to prayers and fasting. They all are very kind and sincerely open to hearing and studying about our message of the Restoration of the Gospel. The mom who met us on the street told us that she’s been looking for someone to help her family. She said that she had seen us walking the day before as she was driving with her husband and felt like she should get out and talk to us. So her husband dropped her off a block over and she came walking to talk to us. She told us that she felt very lucky to have met us. I don’t know if she’ll ever know how lucky and blessed we felt to have met her.
Heavenly Father does hear and answer prayers, and this is His true, restored church. I love it with all my heart, and I love you guys too.
Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all throughout the day, only Kimchi was eaten, in almost every single way…plain Kimchi, fried Kimchi, Kimchi boiled in a stew, Kimchi eaten with hot rice, Kimchi eat with cold rice, and extra salty Kimchi..).
It’s Kimchi season and oh do we have a lot of Kimchi in our house! So let’s just say I felt a little sick when Thanksgiving day actually rolled around. But I still ate some 김치찌개 (Kimchi stew) for lunch, and some nice 칼국수 (kar-gooksu) (I’m not exactly sure how this is explained in English but it’s like Korean chicken noodle soup with yummy homemade noodle). The good news, is I didn’t have to worry about gaining a million pounds from my Thanksgiving feast haha!
To be honest, more people knew when it was Halloween, than they did Thanksgiving day. Korean’s Thanksgiving (Chuseok) is on a different day, so it kind of just felt like any other day…which is great because any day as a missionary is awesome!!
So that was my Thanksgiving! Also, all the missionaries threw a Thanksgiving culture night for our Stake on the weekend. That was fun! We made pilgrim and Indian hats, decorated lanterns, made fortune cookies, Indian bracelets, did face painting (that was my job), and practiced our American archery with a homemade deer target…can’t get more Thanksgiving than that! It was so fun! I loved hanging out with all the people in the stake and meeting member’s friends and family. It was a great opportunity to meet lots of people.
Sister L and I are loving life in Gimpo. We are getting to know and love our ward a little more each day, and we are really blessed with lots of opportunities to teach people about the Gospel. I know Heavenly Father is watching over us and blessing us a lot. I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to share what I love the most every day–the GOSPEL!
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.
Happy Missionary work in Korea picture 🙂
Me in Gimpo on a chicken shaped statue:)
churro factory truck (i love you Korea)
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!
Okay, so there’s a lot of things that happened this week! First off, thanks for all the birthday wishes!! It was seriously one of the best birthdays ever! I went sightseeing and finally danced in Gangnam (haha pictures are below). Everyone called me and wished me happy birthday and it was just the best! At night, I got to be with my ward and do family home evening night with them. It was just perfect! I loved it.
cool places I saw on my b-day
Yes! I’m totally dancing!
We also had transfer calls and I’m going to be with Sister L. as my new companion!!! She was in the same group I came into the MTC with and we’re so excited to be with each other! My first companion (Sister H) has actually been with Sister L. for the past 12 weeks, and now we’re switching and I get to be with her! So fun! If you look back at my early MTC pictures, I think there’s a picture of her and me in our P-day clothes in the MTC laundry room (she has super long blonde hair). I’m really excited to serve with her here in our lovely Gimpo!
I also saw General Conference this week! Woooh for 살아계신 선지자 (living prophets)! I just loved everyone’s talks. I realized that the way I watch General Conference has changed a lot. I used to just watch General Conference for myself- so I could be edified and uplifted, and so I could receive answers and revelation from God through our prophets and apostles. I don’t think that’s bad at all, but now when I watch General Conference I have a bigger reach in mind. I watch General Conference for the member who is struggling with her testimony because of seemingly unanswered questions; I’m doing it for hair-dresser we teach on Tuesdays who wants to know how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differs from other churches; I’m doing it for the 학생 (hakseng) on the street that doesn’t have enough time to meet because she has to study and is in desperate need of hope. I watch it now not just for me to be spiritually uplifted and edified, but in order for me to assist in uplifting and edifying others along with the Spirit too. General Conference meant a lot more to me than it has in the past because of this. I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to have watched it.
Ward meal between conference
Dinner heehee (kimchi, kim, icecream, and brownies). A balanced meal in my opinion
More pics of our cute ward
Ward meal after general conference
picture of all our cute ward together:)
Along with many other things, I also got to go to one of the islands in my area and take a tour around the North Korea Peace Observatory. We got to look through binoculars and see North Korea across the water about a mile and half-two miles away. The guide showed us a village that had been destroyed in a mudslide a couple years back, but that was rebuilt just to be rebuilt, (no one lives there or goes there apparently), and then he showed us a place where people do live and go to school. It was interesting. We learned a lot about Korean history, too, and it was sad and fascinating. Through the binoculars, I saw people in the fields harvesting rice, some people riding bikes, some people (probably soldiers) standing and talking to each other in the heat of the day, and a few people walking the path by the gate which surrounds their side. It was a cool experience.
Haha, view from the binoculars. These are the real towns I think (if I remember)
Sister T and I at the Peace observatory on the island in our area
Lookout to North Korea
North Korean money
Across the water is North Korea
Our island and pretty fields
Peace Observatory’s room where you could write hopes for reunification
Lookout at Peace Observatory
Me a mile and a half away from North Korea
Town in North Korea
We also talked to a lot of the people that were in the observatory and had a lot of good, spiritual conversations with them. Lots of the older generation actually knows people (whether friends or family) who got separated from them when Korea split. They come to the observatory because it’s a place where they remember and try to renew their hope for reunification someday. Many people we talked to were willing and wanted to hear about our message because it truly is one of hope, peace, and happiness. As the day went on, we got to share our testimonies that God lives and truly loves everyone of His children (regardless of where they are or what they may be doing), and that His love is (and will always be there) for everyone. It was powerful, and the spirit was strong.
I love being a missionary and I truly honestly love God and His church–the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know it to be true for myself, and I want everyone to be as happy as they can through living this gospel.
First off, I’m probably the luckiest person in the world! I can’t believe I get to spend my 20th birthday in Korea. And it’s a P-day so I can eat some cake, go to some fun places, and talk to everyone in my path (because that’s what I love to do as a missionary). Also, I’m still 21 in Korean age (I’ll turn 22 in the New Year’s)…but I’m 20 now in American age!! Age is confusing.
Anyway, this week I learned that the little things do matter. We are always doing a lot as missionaries–talking to people, teaching those who want to learn, serving others, uplifting others, and spending time with the ward. Sometimes, it seems like the little things don’t matter or mean much to people, but I learned that they do.
This last Sunday, during Relief Society, there was a discussion about inspiration. One of our lovely members (who we had visited a couple weeks before and shared a quick message with that we hadn’t prepped beforehand) talked about how she felt really strongly that the scriptures we shared was pure inspiration from God to her. I remember that we had originally planned to practice teaching a principle with her (so she could help us with Korean), but because time was running short, our plans didn’t work out so we shared a scripture instead. The scripture was small, and it didn’t seem like much to us at the time, but she said it really meant a lot to her. It taught me that the little things that we do to help people come closer to the Savior really do mean something. No effort to do good is ever wasted…and I truly mean and believe that.
I also learned from that experience that Heavenly Father always provides a way for His work to get done. Our plans may not always work out as prepared, but the Lord’s plans are never frustrated.
It was temple week! I love that I have the opportunity to go to the temple every 6 weeks in my mission. Such a blessing. The temple is a place of peace and love. I always feel strengthened when I visit it.
One of my favorite Korean desserts–bingsu! MMM…
Yesterday we were fasting…but my companion cooked brownies (for the nighttime) and put them right in front of me to see how much will power I had!! AHHH 유혹! Big temptation, but I resisted (thought you might like the picture though…hehe)
I love being a missionary and I feel so blessed to share what I love most (this Gospel of Jesus Christ) with others! I know this church is true and that God does live and love all of us individually. I wouldn’t be a missionary if I didn’t feel that undeniably in my heart and soul.
This week I went on an exchange with my Sister Training Leader and she taught me a lot about the importance of talking to EVERYONE! She is amazing Korean, and taught me a lot through teaching and talking to everyone on the street.
There isn’t ever a shortage of people in Korea. On average, I would say we run across (AT LEAST) 100+ people a day. There are lots of people, but talking to everyone isn’t always the easiest. They can be busy; they can run away half way through a sentence to catch a bus; they outright ignore you; or be rude to you…BUT the blessings that happen from talking to everyone always outweigh the worries.
While I was on my exchange, my Sister Training Leader said “Annyeonghaseyo!” (hi) to a lady walking down the other street. After this lady passed, my Sister training leader all of the sudden jumped around, came back to the lady and started talking to her. At first, the lady looked uncomfortable and uninterested, but as my Sister training leader kept talking (naturally and kindly), she began to ease up, and start asking questions. In the space of about 2 minutes, the whole disposition of this woman changed and she invited us into a cafe, bought us hot chocolate, and asked us to teach us more about our church..(so we taught everything about 예수님의 복음의 회복 The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ).
It was a big testimony builder about the importance of talking to everyone and to not be discouraged if they initially seem uninterested. The lady was so grateful that we had talked to her, because she did (and still wants to continue meeting) to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I asked my sister training leader what she had thought to make her turn around and talk to the lady, and she told me, she just felt a big duty to talk to everyone that God placed in her path, and at least give them an opportunity to learn about the Gospel. That really touched me. So since then, one of my goals has been to talk to everyone that God places in my path, and not let rejections stop me from inviting everyone else to hear about our happy message. 🙂 I know Heavenly Father has been blessing me to know what to say to different people (and how to say it in Korean) ever since I made that commitment. I feel really grateful for that.
Our view from our apartment in Gimpo
This ride reminded me of biking along the greenbelt in Boise…except I was in Korea and it was awesome!
P-day ride along the river
사거리 (I don’t know what that is in english-intersection maybe) in our area that looked cool
Last P-day we went biking along a river and it was beautiful and so much fun!
Blurry giant spider web with spider and dragon flies included (welcome to bug season in Korea)
In other news, we had our primary program this week at church, and my heart just completely melted. Korean children are the cutest. We had lots of people show up to see the program that hadn’t been to church in a long time and they all left with a big smile on their face. Children are just the best at inviting the Spirit in with their honesty and sincerity in their love for Jesus Christ. I loved it!
Here’s a video of some girls in our ward (who were in the hanboks in the front in the I Love To See the Temple video–at about :50). I love 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!
This week has been pretty fun! Yesterday was the best. We had a surprise person come to church. She is this gorgeous 40-year-old girl (who looks like she is–no exaggeration–21). She used to attend our English class, but got so busy she had to stop coming. We met with her once and gave her an overview of the Gospel, but she told us she didn’t have much interest. She does, however, have a couple friends in the church because of English class and has been hanging out with them a lot lately.
Anyway, on Sunday, we see her walking up to church in high-waisted mini shorts, high heels, and a Marilyn Monroe crop top. Haha! She didn’t seem to feel out of place, and because we were so happy that she came at all, we decided we would tell her about church dress code another time. She sat next to her friend that she knew from English class and seemed really comfortable. We even noticed her during the passing of the Sacrament with her head down and eyes closed–praying! She’s wonderful! She told us that our church was a lot different from any other Korean church, but that she liked it a lot and wanted to come again. Sweet! We love her and we know God loves her too!
Me, my companion, and our lovely investigator
Me, my companion, and our bingsu:)
A ship building. It was random, so I snapped a picture of it:)
Bingsu- my favorite dessert
Eating coconuts on a hot day
I also ate a whole chicken filled with rice at a member’s house yesterday. That’s random, but because I only had metal chopsticks to take the meat apart with, I would say it was a feat for sure. It was really good! I’ve never eaten anything like it before.
Everyone seems to be asking how I’m doing with the language lately. I’m not fluent, but everyday I’m picking up on new words and understanding something that I couldn’t the day before. It’s a slow process, but I’m trying my hardest and Heavenly Father helps me with the rest.
Something I learned early on about the Gift of Tongues is that it’s not the ability to speak fluently, but the ability to speak by the Spirit.
We’ve been teaching this less-active lady for a while that told me this week that even though I don’t speak perfectly, and it’s hard to understand me at times, she feels the spirit when I speak because of simple sincerity, and that’s what’s been moving her to read the Book of Mormon and pray a little more every week.
It’s humbling, but once I rely wholly on the Lord, He provides the way for His work to get done. Not knowing the language perfectly doesn’t hinder the Lord’s work as long as I’m doing what He wants me to do. So don’t worry! Have a good week!
❤ Sister Stastny
More Pics of Songdo-the crazy man-made island in our area. Check out the picture of me and a mural of a Van Gogh painting I came across in an apartment complex one day. So sweet. I love Korea!
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.
near the top of the hike
hike to the fortress
Our Cool Korean Cat Shirts
Sweet ancient fortress at the top of the mountain
view from up top
Korea is so beautiful
Cute Pic of my mission president and his wife–Pres and Sis. Morrise
view from the top of the mountain
Panoramic of the Culture Center
Devotionals along the hike
view from the top
Walking along the fortress
Best Zone Conference EVER
On the way up the mountain
our zone hiking along the trail
at the fortress
history of the fortress gates
hike to the fortress
pretty trees on the hike
Korea is so green
history of where we were
ancient Korean fortress
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.
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.
Dressing up in hanboks at the Korean culture center
Acting like a velociraptor with my companion. Sums us up–ha ha
Our zone walking down a cool Korean street
Posing with a lovely sister in my zone
pretty Korean architecture
Korean Culture Center–where we went with other sisters on our P-day
detail of tile-work
I love Korea
A fake rooster in a hanbok. I don’t know why, and don’t ask questions
On a bus with our entire zone on the way to zone conference in the mountains. It was so crowded, I can’t even tell you. Ha ha.
Maybe a watchtower?
Some other rad folks that also wore matching outfits to zone conference. Wooh!
Konichiwa! 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)
Agh! I feel so bad that my nametag is off; I took it off for the temple and it was in my backpack.
Seoul, South Korea Temple
Pic of my district at the temple
Beautiful temple grounds
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!
Yeah we did that. Might as well get creative getting to know and talk to people
The streets are just full of color right now!
Old pic, Easter egg hunt with the primary and this cutey!