Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Letter 12/15/2014

I played the piano for primary yesterday and it was super fun! I also helped the teacher teach a lesson that we had to throw together at the last minute because their teacher was sick. Sister Hoffman wasn't there because she attended the other ward. (Natasha and her companion are covering both wards)
We started doing FHE (Family Home Evening) at church on Mondays. We hope it will do well.
 
We were on the bus the other day and a woman standing next to Sister Hoffman suddenly started asking her questions regarding the name of our church, where we live, where we're going, where we're from, and other probing questions. It was so weird because some of those are questions that we sometimes ask poeple on the street. She told us that she had seen elders before but they're intimidating so she was excited to see us. We met with her two days later. She said she wanted to come to church but she didn't because her child was sick. She wants to come next week!
 
With combining areas we're busier than I imagined but it feels good to be so busy!
 
We taught a lesson to a member this week and as we were preparing we felt like we should ask her to repent. It was so scary to think about. But as we were talking to her it just naturally came up and she told us first that she wanted to repent! As we were leaving, she told me that she was really glad we met and it was exactly what she needed!
 
We were riding the bus home one day this week and something felt a little off. I didn't know what it was but I felt like I wasn't doing something right. I didn't know what it was so we kept riding the bus and got off to walk home. As we were walking a big crosswalk near the church came to mind twice so I decided that we needed to go there. We booked it over there but once we were there I didn't know what to do. So we just walked over to poeple waiting to cross the road and I talked to the closest woman next to me. The conversation went smoothly and I talked to about the Book of Mormon and she accepted a book!
 
In English class we teach the children and the elders teach the adults. Shortly after finishing, an elder came over to us and excitedly said, "The girl. She's downstairs. She wants to know!" We had no idea who he was talking about but "she wants to know!" had us running downstairs. We saw a girl in her twenties down there who wanted to meet with us. We met her yesterday and taught her the whole first lesson. We figured out that she was a former investigator who wasn't ready before! I think she's ready now~ !

Letter 12/8/2014

Last week we planned to teach an investigator the first lesson and we wanted it to be the best first lesson we had taught so we role played together, we studied, we practiced teaching it to two members, and we even taught it to a seven-year-old boy who is taking the lessons before getting baptized (his family are members). But then the investigator wasn't able to make it. We were so bummed. But then a member referred someone to us and we went to go visit her. We just showed up at her apartment because we only had her address and not her phone number. She let us in and WE TAUGHT HER THE FIRST LESSON! It was so cool!
And we taught a Japanese woman this week! She wants to learn English and she was referred to us because I speak Japanese. Her Korean is good so we mostly spoke in Korean so that Sister Hoffman could know what was being said. It was so much fun. She doesn't actually have gospel interest but we loved teaching her and her family.
 
At zone training we gave a training on the sacrament. I loved studying about the sacrament and being able to train on it because I want to improve my time in sacrament meeting. our purpose was to show the importance of it, how it can help us, how we can get more out of it although it's all in Korean, and how to turn those to help our investigators. We were hoping that by focusing on the importance of it and helping the missionaries feel more personal about it, it would give us all a little more 'umph' of helping our investigators come to sacrament meeting. What do you like to do doing sacrament meeting to get more out of it? I like to take a problem or question and seek an answer. I keep my planner open to write down Korean words that I don't know and I can also write down ideas that come to my mind. And I like to imagine Jesus and His attributes becoming a greater part of me as I partake of the bread and water.
 
I went to 안산 (Ansan - her first area) on an exchange this week! I called up some former investigators that haven't met with the missionaries for almost a year and we were able to meet them! The elders in 안산 (Ansan) had found a dog collar on the ground with a phone number on it so we called the number and met up with the lady to give it back to her. She told us that she was interested in learning English so we introduced the English program and she said she wanted to meet again!
 
We went to a member's house yesterday because he hosted the ward as a bonding-activity. We were very glad we went because a cute member went with her husband who is not a member and we were able to sit with them while we ate and it was time well spent! We were so happy!
 
Acts 8:28, 31

Letter 11/24/2014

We finally got our heater fixed!!!! Now our toes are warm. Our ward members all reached out to help us so much. One member ordered a plastic door to cover our front door to keep out the cold wind. One member brought electric mats to heat our floor. One member gave us various teas to keep us warm and heal our colds. And members would call us to make sure we were all right. Were it not against the rules for members to enter our homes, I think our house would have been flooded with members to come in and try to fix our heater for us. So cute.
We had so many teaching opportunities this week, especially to our ward members! We were able to visit with so many of them! Guess what? The stake president lived in Japan (about 20 years ago) and I found out this week that he lived in Senzokuike (where our family lived for 4.5 of the years we spent in Tokyo)!!!! The little boy in our ward that we've been teaching the lessons to was baptized by his dad on Wednesday! His baptism was very cute and a lot of ward members came to support!

We got to go to the temple on Thursday! We went straight down to Suwon, meeting a member on the way, to go visit the Hwaseong fortress in Sinpoong. It was so much fun. That's when all of the pictures are from. Our cute member who went with us is the best! She lets us teach practice lessons to her very often and she helps us with so many things! She's really the best! We walked around the castle there. We weren't able to see all of it because there was a drama being filmed.

We were calling former investigators a couple of weeks ago and a former member's mother answered the phone. She said she wanted her younger daughter to start studying (English) with us so we were able to meet this mother and daughter this week! They're from China but living in Korea, which is pretty common.

While we were doing our weekly planning we got a call from President Morrise (the mission president) telling us that our area will be combining with the sisters who cover the 금천 (Keumcheon) 2nd ward. (Natasha is serving in the Keumcheon 1st Ward) We got our transfer calls on Sunday morning telling us that Sister Driscoll will be leaving, sister Hammel will be leaving (she's going home!!), and Sister Hoffman and I will be combining the areas. I'm a bit nervous but I know that it's right so it feels good and I can feel calm.
We had dinner with a family who has a daughter who served with Emi (Natasha's best friend and roommate at BYU who recently finished her mission in Laie Hawaii)!
 
I have been interested in prayer lately because I believe that through prayer we can know God's will and better be able to accomplish His will but I'm not always sure how to have such wonderful prayers. These are some things that I enjoyed while studying True to The Faith:
If you have a difficult task before you, Heavenly Father is pleased when you get on your knees and ask for help and then get on your feet and go to work. We will help you in all your righteous pursuits, but He seldom will do something for you that you can do for yourself."

And in the Bible Dictionary we can read that sometimes we cannot secure blessings for ourselves and others that God is waiting to give to us until we ask. And sometimes our "no" answer is because the time isn't right and sometimes it's because our minds aren't the minds of Christ. When we pray in His name, we need to think as He thinks and ask for the things that He wants us to ask for. He knows what we need and what we should ask for. We can also know what to say as we follow the Spirit in our prayers. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Letter 11/17/2014

I'm sure you have been wondering to yourself over the past weeks what the best thing is about serving in Korea during November. No worries. I will end your wonderings. The answer is 김장 (kim-jang - the kimchi making season). That sums up our week.
 
We had a cute FHE with an elderly couple in our ward last week.
 
On Tuesday we helped with 김장 (kim-jang - kimchi making). We squatted for two hours and scrubbed daikons (giant asian radishes - she actually used the Japanese name for them here). We were able to talk with the other women helping and we tried to make friends with them.
 
Our ward members are really great. They really are. We are able to have a lot of practice lessons with them. We still have our dance practices. We talked this week about how the gospel blesses our families. I think the majority of the blessings I have received have been through my family.
 
We did more Kim-Jang on Wednesday. This day we harvested the heads of cabbage. We thought our backs were  going to break. Kim-Jang is hard work. I didn't realize. The Kimchi we made was for an orphanage so we made it in large quantities.
 
We had lunch with Sister Park's (the cute sister missionary who was recently serving in our ward here in Daejeon) mom and two aunts on Thursday. We also met a girl who the sisters met a while ago but we hadn't been able to meet for the last month. !!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Thursday was 수능 (Suneung ~ the huge college entrance exam - kind of like the ACT or SAT test, but MUCH more intense and gruelling, and you can only take it once a year. If you don't do well enough to get into college, you study for it for another year after you graduate for high school and take it again, and sometimes the next year, and the next....) day, the day that takes over the lives of all Korean students and determines their future.
 
On Friday we gathered at 7am to mix the gochugaru mixture (red pepper paste used in making kimchi) in with the cabbage. It was fun! Because it is a big production with a lot of volunteers and news coverage we were able to talk to a lot of people, introduce the church, and even be interviewed on TV.
 
The Gospel is so amazing. And it's true. It's the best thing ever. It gives us happiness, heals us, comforts us, pushes us, supports us, guides us, helps us give to others, strengthens us, fills us, cleanses us, makes us happy, gives us hope and somethings to look forward to, and a direction. What more could we need?

Letter 11/10/2014

We made cookies for last week's dance practice, hoping to bring joy to the sisters' stomachs while giving joy to their spirits. I shared Isaiah 41:10. An interesting translation difference is that instead of "dismayed" the verse reads "startled." We liked it because we don't need to be lonely and dismayed or scared about anything because He's with us and can take care of anything. We just need to use our faith to unlock God's power that can help us. God doesn't do anything for Himself but everything he does is for us. So why would He abandon us? Even trials are for our benefit. There is never any need for fear in God's plan of salvation. It just doesn't fit it. Fear only comes from the opposer of God's plan.


We went crazy with brownies this week. We took brownies to almost every household in our ward this week. It was fun. We felt like little messengers of joy, which we are called to be as missionaries. This was just a more physical delivery that we made. Everything about the gospel is joy. And brownies are joy. So we decided to share both. Isn't the Gospel great?
We had a really good practice lesson with a member this week. She pretended to be a person who knew nothing about God as we taught her the first lesson. And as we tried to talk about God being our loving Father she told us that she was an orphan. So we had to switch our focus in the lesson and the focus we turned to was happiness. Even those who don't know Him can still feel and see the happiness that He gives to us in our lives.
Yesterday was my one-year in country mark! Yay!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Letter 11/3/2014

Sister Park's mom (the missionary in our ward) is so cute and funny. Her Relief Society lesson and comments in Sunday School class kept making me laugh. We were going to have lunch with her this Thursday but we have a zone meeting and we have to put it off. I think I remember which one Sister Park is based off of her mom's face (we don't have a picture of her in our member records binder). 

Last P-day we went to 영등포 (Yeongdeungpo) because Sister Driscoll wanted to go sweater shopping.
We made a sticker-board and after p-day we went around with it (it was small and I just carried it in my hands) to ask people to answer the questions. We want to make cool board with the questions of the soul (why does God let bad things happen? Where will I go after I die? How can I strengthen my family? Does God exist?) for people to see what our religion can teach them and how it can help them.
At our service project Sister Driscoll and I danced our "Dancing Queen" dance for the grannies to help make them happy. One granny cried because it made her so happy.
In Korea before primary-aged children are baptized they are taught the lessons by the missionaries. So we are now teaching a little boy in our ward who will be baptized in a couple of weeks.
We had a 식사 (shiksa - a meal) with a super fun couple in our ward. We had fun talking about the fun similarities between Japanese and Korean.
The youth helped us decorate the church the night before the ward Halloween party. Each companionship took care of a different room. We were in charge of the face-painting/photobooth. We also had a feel-box room, a fishing for prizes room, a pin-the-face-on-pumpkin room, a and a mummy-wrapping race room. And then we all ate snacks together. A potential investigator came!
We went with our bishop's wife to help judge an English-speaking contest for elementary-aged children. And then all of the children came to the Halloween party afterwards. It was so cute to listen to them speak English.
We had a 식사 (meal) last night with a super cool family in our ward that has 5 children. FIVE!! (That is a huge family for Korea - it is super expensive to educate and provide all the opportunities that good parents are expected to provide, so most families feel they cannot afford to have more than 2 or 3) I bonded with one of the girls over Sylvanian Family dolls (Natasha played with those in Japan, and we still have our treasured set). It was wonderful.

Letter 10/27/2014

Yes, I found Sister Park's mom! (Sister Park is a darling missionary who is serving in our ward here in Daejeon - now Natasha is serving in her family's ward - so fun!) I talked to her about it yesterday! I told her that you like her and she said to tell you thank you. So thank you. I was in the MTC with her! Looking at her mom's face I think I can remember which one she was! Her district was my favorite! They were all so fun and cute!

We are choreographing a dance for the RS to perform at the ward Christmas party. It's to "Dancing Queen." When we have our dance practices I share a spiritual message. Last week I shared Mosiah 24. I liked the wording in the chapter heading (their burdens SEEMED light); "가볍게 여겨지도록 하심." God didn't make their burdens disappear but He made them SEEM light. God can't take our burdens because they're given to us for a reason and are critical for our progression, but He can help us to get through our struggles and help us to learn what we need to so that we can learn more through these experiences. I don't have my English Book of Mormon so I can't quote it verbatim but the people were patient and happy. They pleaded for help and kept working. Then they found that their burdens felt lighter and they were happier. God wants us to pray for help and then go to work. He can't do for us what we can do for ourselves but He can enhance our capabilities and our outcomes.
 
Does anyone have scriptures that helped them in any way?
 
We had zone conference this week. We're making a lot of changes to the mission and it's exciting!!!!
 
One set of elders had a baptism this week. The man is in a wheelchair and he has a lot of health problems. He smoked to release stress and he always woke up with a headache that he would cure with his cigarette. However, when the elder taught his about the Word of Wisdom he quit that day, not smoking once after that. And when he woke up the next morning, he didn't have a headache. Miracle!!!! Our boiler was broken so the water was cold. The cold water caused too much pain and the baptism was postponed until next week when the boiler will be fixed. 

Letter 10/20/2014

I was reading in the book of Luke today. Jesus talked about the church being like leaven. Sometimes I feel like a forgotten piece of leaven, hidden in the dough. And sometimes the church feels so small but it has the ability to rise up and help Korea to rise up. We're so small but the gospel gives the opportunity to make such a big, positive difference. I can help others is a positive way if I be how God wants me to be and not try to be something different.
 
Saying goodbye to Ji-Seung was much harder than I anticipated.
 
Saying good to all of Mok-Dong was really sad.  I love the members so much.
 
In my last ward mission council our ward mission leader asked the leaving missionaries to bear their testimonies and share what they're learned while serving here. I shared the testimony that I have gained of fasting and I learned from the members that difficult situations doesn't make it ever okay to be sad. There's never any reason to be sad. I was so impressed by the members' continual smiles.
 
We had a week full of rejections but it's always the end of a discouraging day or week that brings the most miracles. We were able to meet with a former investigator while we were knocking on doors and trying to find formers. We taught her and she invited us back!

Letter 10/13/2014


I'm transferring to 금천 (Keumcheon) 1st ward. I'm moving closer to you! (to us in Daejeon - so she must be moving south) It borders my stake in the 안양 (Anyang) stake where I started my mission! (This is only her second transfer, and she's been in Korea for 11 months.)

Because of General Conference I didn't think I'd get to give a good-bye talk in sacrament meeting. (Conference is broadcast a week later in places like Korea, where there are time zone differences, and translation that needs to be done) But right after lunch between the sessions (at the stake center) the stake president asked me to go up and talk. The tears started streaming after the first sentence. I'm so glad that I have been able to serve in Mok-Dong. I have loved it so much and I have learned so much. The members have been so wonderful and shown me such good examples. After I finished my talk and tried to stop my sobs I walked to the back of the chapel and Jee-Seung (the 15 year old girl that was baptized a few months ago) and I cried on each other's shoulders. Leaving her will be the hardest part about leaving. She makes me so happy and I'm so proud of her!

This week was crazy! We had MLC (mission leader council - or something to that effect) and a meeting with our ward missionary leader (no proselyting time) on Tuesday, we had our Culture Night at the church (NO proselyting time) on Thursday, Zone training (minimal proselyting time) on Friday, three sessions of conference on Saturday (no proselyting), and two sessions of conference with weekly planning on Sunday (no proselyting time).
During conference on Saturday we were seeking guidance of how to find new investigators and God answered our prayers! A girl who kept telling us that she wanted to meet but was too busy texted us on Saturday night, asking to meet on Sunday. She was only available in the morning so we skipped our morning session(of conference) and just watched it later. She is so cool! She told us that she wanted to know whether or not God exists and we taught her how to pray so that she can know. She was really excited to pray and find out.

Our zone trainings have become increasingly more intense. In this last training Sister Blickenstaff and I spent some time talking about learning the language. Missionaries often get discouraged with the language so I shared your story that you shared in Relief society a year or so ago. You talked about communicating with people through the Spirit, rather than Japanese to fulfill your RS calling. I wanted to share this story of yours and as I thought about it, I couldn't think of a time in my whole childhood when you complained about Japanese being 'hard' and I was so impressed. (I'm sure I did complain, but I'm glad she doesn't remember :) ) So I used your story to encourage them to seek learning the language through the Spirit as we put in as much effort as we can and not complaining.

We finally watched women's conference! There are two girls from our ward in that movie (of the primary girls in Hanbok - traditional Korean dress, singing "I Love To See The Temple)! It was filmed in 영등포 (Yeongdeungpo), which is right next to us! That's where we have our mission conferences because it's the biggest building.

I knew one of the girls would be singing. The other one surprised me. I only recognized the two. But the cute family at the beginning (in front of the temple) is the bishop is Ansan (her first area)!

I asked if she knew her release date yet, and this was her reply:
Yeah. I got the call as I was leaving (the internet cafe) after emailing last week. My release date is April 3rd(That will give her a nearly 19 month mission)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Letter 10/6/2014

We have our 'culture night' FHE (family home evening) activity this Thursday so we've spent a lot of time preparing for it.

We at times offer to teach our English class students one on one to help them learn English better and so that we can teach them the gospel (30 minutes of English, 30 minutes of gospel) but they usually turn us down because they're not interested in religion. So Sister Blickenstaff and I took a couple of our students out (one sinlge girl and one family with two boys) out for dinner. We went to a restaurant with the girl and we made dinner (curry rice) for the family at the church. We wanted to make Chinese beef and broccoli but after a series of events that prevented that from happening, we just put the beef and broccoli into the curry. I've never had curry like that and I'm sure they haven't either but it all turned out well.

At our service project we help mentally handicapped men and women stretch and play sports. One girl is really hard to understand so she was really angry with us the first time we went because we couldn't understand her and she called us "바보"(Bubo - Fools) but we became friends this last week.

On Wednesday morning at 8am I got a call from our fix-it man telling me that he was coming to fix our shower. We let him in and got back to studies. When companionship study came around I popped my head out of our study room to see what all of the noise was, I saw that our tub was GONE! "자매님! (Jamae-nim! - Sisters!) We don't have a tub anymore! Only a dirt floor!" They then put in tile on the floor so that our bathroom is just a giant shower. The problem was that we couldn't use the shower for two days! So we just hopped over to our neighboring sisters in 영등포 (Yeong-Dong-Po), announced to our ZLs (Zone Leaders) that we were leaving our zone, and were able to use their shower and have a sleepover (missionary sleepovers consist more of just enjoying each other's company and not getting hyper because no one wants to put off going to bed). And then we hopped over the river to the temple the next day.

After the temple on Thursday we went to Gangnam to meet Sister Blickenstaff's recent convert. We had lunch with her and tried to help her get excited for the temple.
We taught two women for the first time this week. I had met one woman on the bus about a month ago and she rejected me when I called her again but she suddenly called us wanting to meet. She and her cousin both wanted truth so they came to us because they liked the impression they got from us. We were excited. We met them at a park and we split up and taught them both seperately. The woman Sister Blickenstaff taught loved the first lesson until Joseph Smith came up and then she got mad because "Joseph Smith is not mentioned in the book of Revelations." The woman I taught was nice. She had a lot of doubts about the Bible and was confused by some scientific evidences to prove the Bible to be wrong. I tried to teach her to ask God for her answers (James 1:5, Moroni 10) but instead of getting excited about that, she got excited that I receive answers to my prayers and asked me to be her oracles, receiving answers in her behalf. But that's not going to happen.

Letter 9/29/2014

I'm wearing the cute black and white floral button-up shirt you gave me. The last time I wore it a woman said to me, "You bought this in Korea, right? It's so cute so I know you bought it in Korea."(it's from Old Navy in the U.S. :)

We spent a lot of time this week visiting less actives to make sure that we visited them all by the end of the week. We had a good turn-out for our special sacrament meeting! It was an exciting day! We all ate food together afterwards and it was fun to see the less actives talk with the members while they ate.

On one night we mapped out which less actives we would visit and in which order. After we got off our bus and walked towards our first destination, I realized that we were standing in front of the apartment where the second LA lived, not the first. I was annoyed wih myself for making a mistake, expcially because it would take extra time to have to go back to the first apartment. We decided to just go the the second less active first (confused yet?). We happened to have a PI (potential investigator?) in this same apartment that we hadn't been able to make an apointment with yet and since we were standing closest to her house we decided to go there first. When the PI answered her door, she told us that she was so happy we had stopped by right then because she hadn't been home all day and she was about to leave her house again. I was annoyed for my mistake but it turned out to be for the better because we wouldn't have met her if we had followed our plans!

While I was on an exchange this week I taught a woman in their area (the area where the sister she did the exchange with serves). As we were talking, she asked us if we can feel the Spirit all of the time because she really wants to feel the Spirit all of the time. It was so sweet to hear her say that she wants to feel God's Spirit because she knows how it will bless her. She said that she had become a better person since she started meeting with the missionaries and she has been trying to be nice to her family and more like Jesus!

We had president interviews on Friday. We were able to have 20 minutes, rather than the normal 15. I love talking to my president because he always says the perfect things. And he always makes me feel like I'm the best missionary, even though I'm sure he says the same things to other missionaries. He knows how to uplift me. I've learned a lot from him and I'm so grateful to have him as my mission president.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Letter 9/22/2014

Jee-Seung (a 15 year old recent convert) is so amazing. She inspires me so much. I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to know her. She just gets it. Although so many people struggle with the Book of Mormon in Korean because it's so difficult (the formal old fashioned language is difficult) she doesn't have a hard time with it. I think it's like Isaiah. It's hard but if you have the spirit and the desire to understand it, you can. We had just had an investigator tell us that no one likes the Book of Mormon and no one wants to read it. So Jee-Seung almost made me cry when she told me that she didn't have a hard time reading it and she enjoys reading it. She's amazing!
We've been working really hard to organize and visit our less actives this week. We were having a hard time coordinating with our elders so we finally just told them to visit the men and we would visit all of the women. And things have been good! We have a special sacrament meeting coming up!

I had an exchange this week with Sister Glauser. She's one of my favorite people. She just gets it about missionary work. She knows why she's here and she's going to do everything required to do what God wants her to. I sometimes feel especially  impressed to talk to someone on the street but it seems to me that whenever this happens the person is extra rejecting. It's usually a random person in a place that I would have to go far out of my way to talk to (and sometimes turn around to someone behind me or cross the street). So I was talking to Sister Glauser about this because the promptings just lead to rejection. And she said she has a the same problem. We both came to the conclusion that sometimes God asks us to do things to test us to see if we'll really do what He asks. If I'm not willing to talk to everyone and go to great lengths to talk to people that I feel that I need to, why would God send me a prepared person? How could He trust me to find them?

Sister Glauser and I were talking to a woman who wasn't interested but when we asked her to let us know if she knew of any service opportunities for us she offered to buy us dinner!

A less active woman in our ward who moved out of our boundaries but prefers our ward called us on Friday wanting to meet immediately. We got permission to leave our zone to go meet her, not knowing why she suddenly wanted to meet us. But she wanted to meet to give us her tithing! It was so sweet to see her hand us her tithing envelope.

Sister Kei and I met a cute girl from South Africa on the street back in June but we were never able to meet with her. I had a feeling to call her the other day and we were finally able to meet her yesterday! She's so cute! And it was fun to teach in English! Holy Moses, my English has gone downhill. She came here as a missionary through her church but when she got here she found out that instead of teaching about the gospel, she was surprised with teaching English instead.  It was sad. She's been here for 2 years. She read along in her Bible and we were surprised when we asked her to read James 1:5 and it used completely different words than we are used to. (probably because of the "modern" translations) But we're excited for her!

Letter 9/15/2014

On Monday (the main day of the Chuseok holiday) we went to stop by less active member's homes because we couldn't make appointments and the streets were rather empty. We wanted to
 leave messages on their doors but we actually met a less active girl that I have been trying to meet for 6 months!!!

On Tuesday we had a mission conference for Choo-Seok (The Chuseok holiday). It was fun! We received training, had a proselyting activity, had a talent show and members made Korean food for us!

I had a sister on an exchange with me who is a really good singer so while we were visiting a member I asked her if she'd sing with me and it really helped to bring the spirit and help all three of us to learn more from each other. I was so grateful to have her there. I always see miracles on exchanges (when she goes on splits with other sister missionaries to train them). I always see why each person was supposed to go/stay in the areas and why everything worked out the way it did on the exchanges.
We have a ward activity coming up in October that we're in charge of. It's a culture night and each missionary is supposed to prepare food from each country (Japan, China, Thailand, US, Mexico, Germany). We have to make enough food to feed 100 people! And we have to make the food at the activity with the guests. Any ideas of what I can do for Japanese food?

Thursday was my one-year mark! Already! I don't understand! It came so fast! To celebrate we ate bing-soo!

I had the weirdest day of my mission on Friday! But i's a really long story. It will have to wait until after the mission.

Our proselyting tool focus this last week was the Book of Mormon. It was amazing to see how many people actually asked me about the Book of Mormon first. I was able to share the purpose and my testimony of the Book of Mormon to people on the street all week.

Letter 9/8/2014

We're really happy to find a PC-Bang (internet cafe) that's open. We were worried that we wouldn't be able to email because everything shuts down. (It was Chuseok - Korean Thanksgiving) Today we're going to 영등포(Yeongdeungpo - and area) as a gathering of whoever wants to go to play games and watch 17 Miracles!!!!!!!! And tomorrow we have a mission conference with a talent show, training, food, and a proselyting activity. The holiday times are really ineffective (for missionary work). REALLY ineffective. The holiday was lengthened this year for the first time. 

I asked her about Elder Aoyagi's (a member of the Quorum of the Seventy who is from Japan) mission tour, which she went on with him as a Sister Training Leader. This is her response:

He had a translator with him at stake conference but he didn't have a translator at mission tour because he just spoke English and then other missionaries translated into Korean for the Korean missionaries. I sat on the stand next to Sister Aoyagi to translate for her. She had a copy of her husband's talks in Japanese so I only translated for President and Sister Morrise's talks and the comments made by missionaries. I was kind of embarrassed by my Japanese but anyways. We had a meeting afterwards with the ZLs and STLs (zone leaders & sister training leaders) to ask him questions. I translated for her then too and I translated for him a little bit (for him I translated from Japanese into English and for her I translated from English into Japanese). It was scary! My brain was fried at the end of the day! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Letter 9/1/2014

We had transfers on Wednesday! I think I already told you what was going to happen but Sister Blickenstaff has come to join us. Our five-man house is a mad house. (There is also another companionship of sisters in the apartment.)

This week will be crazy. Wc have MLC (Mission Leader Conference - I believe - for Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders) and our ward council meeting on Tuesday, Elder Aoyagi's (a member of the Quorom of the Seventy who is Japanese) mission tour conference on Wednesday, and zone training on Friday. I'm pretty certain we'll be okay. MLC is going to be different and we have a lot more to prepare for it. I'm really excited for our mission tour.

We had stake conference this weekend and Elder Aoyagi came to our stake! It was so fun!
A few weeks ago one of my sisters (on an exchange) told me that she wanted to hear what Japanese sounds like so I told her I would pray in Japanese for our next prayer. But it turned into a lot of silence and almost 50% Korean. I was so sad to have forgotten my Japanese. I was devastated but I trusted God that He would give it back to me if I focused now and studied Korean as well as I can. I was a little bit worried for Elder Aoyagi's talk but I understood everything!! (He would have spoken in Japanese, and then had it translated into Korean) (maybe with the exception of a few words but then Korean pulled through and helped too) I was so happy. Listening to Japanese was like Christmas!

We taught three people for the first time this week and we're excited for two of them (one of them dropped us the next day because she didn't want to be pressured to be baptized as she was just English interest and she wanted to cut the cords before we became friends and it became hard). One is a girl our age and she's super sweet and nice. She goes to school is ANSAN (Natasha's first area where the high school students that died in the ferry accident were from) and she comes home on the weekends. The other is a woman who was referred to us because SHE WANTS TO LEARN ABOUT THE BOOK OF MORMON!

Letter 8/25/2014

A sister who used to serve here has been in town and we have been able to meet less active members through her coming and it has been really good!
We had two exchanges again this week! (She goes on training exchanges with other sister missionaries as a Sister Training Leader) I'm grateful that I get to know all of my sisters! I've learned so much from all of them!
We went to the temple on Thursday! I appreciate it more and more every time I go.
We went to the Spanish embassy on Friday to get Sister Lee's visa! She's leaving in just a few weeks! (Her companion has been waiting for a visa so that she can leave to serve her mission in Madrid, Spain. She has been assigned to Natasha temporarily, while she waits for her visa)
We got transfer calls on Sunday morning! We normally have them on Saturday night but they delayed them at the last minute because President didn't feel ready to assign the trasnfers. We have a new companion! Sister Blickenstaff! We will be a threesome until Sister Lee leaves. I don't know her at all but I've heard good things about her. I'm so glad our area isn't being shut down! I was worried! Three sisters areas shut down this transfer and five more will be shut down next trasnfer!!!!! We got one sister this transfer but she's Korean! She's our first Korean sister to come to the mission since lst Spetember! Everyone's excited!
We have had a recent boom in potential investigators and it's really exciting right now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Letter 8/18/2014

Although I've felt myself change and progress I still get discouraged when I can't do everything that I want. Especially with us being sick this week. We're fine and it wasn't anything serious but it slowed down the work and wiped out all of my energy. It took me a while to figure out I was sick. I was so sad because I couldn't do all that I wanted. 

We have a lot of potentials right now but none of them have been able to meet us yet for various reasons.
 
Sister Lee got her visa!!!!!!!!!!!! (for her mission in Madrid, Spain - she's been Natasha's companion while she waited for her visa) She's leaving on September 15th. I don't know what's going to happen to me or our area (we're going to start shutting down sister areas this transfer because the number of sisters leaving exceeds the number of sisters coming in (we only have one coming in). We have transfer calls this Saturday so we'll see what happens. I'm really sad and I don't want Sister Lee to leave me! She's so wonderful and has taught me so much. I don't feel like it's fair because I'm her trainer but she's taught me so much more!

Yeo-rim was baptized on the 9th.
 
We had zone conference this week. I really enjoyed it! We had workshops taught by the senior missionaries, helping us to learn skills and be more effective.
 
We had another exchange on Friday.
 
We started teaching Ji-Seung and Yeo-Rim (the teenage girls who were both recently baptized - they showed up for English class on a week when it was cancelled because of a ward party. they joined the ward party, and became investigators)the lessons again!
 
I gave a talk on Sunday and guess who sat on the stage with me and gave a talk with me? Ji-Seung!! She was ssssoooo cute! She based her talk off of D&C 88:63. She didn't even have a script. She just shared her thoughts. When she bore her testimony at the end she repeated how grateful she was to find this gospel and what a blessing it was been to her life and that she wants to stay in the church forever! She's the sweetest thing! It was so special to be able to do that with her!
 
One elder in our zone had his companion have to unexpectedly leave him in a companion transfer (we had one temporary elder leave after he got his visa) and he asked the president if he could find his own companion rather than become a threesome. He asked a member about our age to come serve with him until the end of the month. Guess who his companion is? A man he baptized earlier in his mission! He gets to serve with someone he baptized!!

Letter 8/11/2014

This week was a good week.

Before Sister Kei left we met a family by knocking on doors that was interested in the English program. We went ot their apartment again but someone at their apartment said they were on vacation so we weren't able to see them. We went back a couple of weeks later and the mother was so happy to see us! She had lost our number and had tried to find us on the internet but hadn't been successful. Because we went back we were able to meet her! We taught her and her daughter (who's brilliant) and we will continue teaching them. The mother has been looking for a church and they're really prepared!

While proselyting one day we found a group of Japanese tourists. I talked to them a little bit. It was fun to hear Japanese again and to be able to see Japanese people again.

On our way home one night I felt like I should go to the back of the bus. I typically stand near the front so as to be able to talk with people who are sitting up there but I made my way to the back. There was a phone sitting on the seat in front of me so we took it and we were able to return it to the owner, who was a previous investigator of the elders. He said he would come to English class!

I get lost quite frequestly and it's rather embarassing. While I used to get really frustrated, I've come to notice that I usually have some of my best converstaions and miracle contacts while I'm lost. It may just be my confused brain, but I think I get lost on purpose sometimes to find people that wouldn't normally be in my path.

We were worried about Yeo-Rim (a young investigator) getting a signature from her parents (for permission to be baptized). Yeo-Rim didn't sound very hopeful and we were worried. When we got home that night we decided to fast as we began our planning. It had been a rough day and we had bought ice cream to eat while we planned. But we gave up our ice cream so that we could fast. Yeo-Rim texted us the next morning to tell us that she had received the signature from her mom! Based on what Yeo-Rim said, we think that her mom signed the form right around the time we started our fast. We knew that God answered our fast and our prayers!

My mission has helped me to understand the principle of God making weak things become strong unto us. I've been very frustrated with my weaknesses as a missionary, especially because I want to do the best that I can as a missionary. But I've found that the things that I struggled with the most have become some of my strengths because I've had to work harder to oversome them. It's really like God giving me a gift of a strength. I just have to work a little bit for it, like if He gave me employment. If He gives me employment He's giving me a salary; I just have to work to earn that salary.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Letter 8/3/2014

We went to eat bing-soo with Ji-Seung and Yeo-Rim on Monday to celebrate her baptism. On the bus ride back I saw a picture of a Maori man so I told Ji-Seung that my brother-in-law served in New Zealand. The first thing to come out of her mouth was; "were they married in the temple?" I was so surprised. We had a nice talk about temple marriages, ending in her making me promise to invite her to my temple marriage and she promised to invite me to hers. And she started reading D&C of her own choice! That was the last time we saw them until Sunday because they were at youth conference all week. It was so good for them! They BOTH BORE THEIR TESTIMONIES with the rest of the youth in sacrament meeting. Yeo-Rim cried during her testimony and is took her about 20-minutes to regain her composure. In her testimony, Ji-Seung said that the only regret she has is that she didn't find the Church and come into the Gospel sooner. This is a 15-year-old girl who has only been baptized for a week! Ji-Seung was confirmed yesterday. After church we taught Yeo-Rim the second lesson (the Plan of Salvation) and we gave her the baptismal commitment. She's getting baptized this Saturday and confirmed the next day! We can't believe how well everything worked out and how much the two of them have changed in the last month, especially after going to youth conference.

Someone asked me recently how to recognize promptings from the Spirit better. This is something that I have spent numerous hours worrying about, studying about, focusing on, and being quite desperate about. So I gave this person advice based on all of the things that I found had helped me. And this is the best way that I thought to explain it:
The main thing that I learned when I felt like I didn't receive revelation was that it's okay that I don't know how to do everything. If I were to build a chair, the hammer I used wouldn't need to know how to build the chair. Only I, the builder needs to know how. The hammer is required for me to fulfill my purposes but the only thing that it needs to do to help me is to just be a good hammer. The hammer just needs to be strong, functional, well-shaped hammer. It's not glamorous or prestigious. It just keeps it's self together and follows the guidelines of hammers and it's good. And it's the same with us. We don't know what to do to accomplish our work but we can make ourselves good tools to receive the revelation by being obedient, working as hard as we can, doing what we know is good, and following guidelines. We don't know how to do it but God will guide us and use us as we just try to be a good hammer. Then we will be a good tool for God to use us as He will.

Letter 7/27/2014

Little 지승 (Ji Seung) was baptized yesterday!!!!! 

Last Monday we had a birthday party for twin girls who were baptized in February but had to stop coming to church in April because their grandma forbids it. We're hoping to still fellowship them and keep them close to the church until they move out.
We met 지승 (Ji Seung) everyday this week to finish teaching her the lessons and prepare her! Missionaries used to teach the 5th lesson (laws and ordinances) after baptism but it's now required to teach it before baptism. She's just so cute and prepared!
Transfers were this Wednesday. It didn't affect us but we got two new elders and a new flatmate.

We had two meals at members' homes this week!! On our way to one we saw a woman looking at us while we waited for the bus but we were talking to someone else so we didn't talk to her and lost track of her. When we got off the bus we noticed that she got off with us and she called out to us asking who we were. We excitedly told her who we were and talked to her briefly as we walked into the area of apartments. We got her number and we gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. As we were going to the apartment where our member lives, we got a little turned around and it took us a little longer than normal to get in. But once we walked in we saw the same woman come in through another door! And she knew our member! When we went to our member's apartment she told us to go get her so we could all eat and teach her together. So we went up to her floor to find her and she lived behind the first door we knocked on!

We had an exchange this week with our 김포 (Kimpo - and area) sisters! Sister van Weezup came to 목동(Mokdong) with me. she so happy and positive she makes everything seem better! I love her so much!
지 승's (Ji Seung's) baptism was really good! It was so fun to see the difference in her after her baptism! The ward provided snakcs afterwards. She told me that A child's Prayer is her favorite church song so we surpised her and sang it for her. We also bore short testimonies. 예림 (Yeo Rim - another young investigator)sang a song too! It was so cute! I'll send you a program later. She and 예림 (Yeo Rim) are going to youth conference this wee kand we hope that it will really help them and introduce them to good friends!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Letter 7/20/2014

지승 (Ji Seung) is getting baptized on the 27th! She's so ready! Her answers to the baptismal interview questions were so good! 

We got transfer calls on Saturday. President had already told us that we're both staying so we had no surprises. Of my 6 transfer calls, I've only had one that didn't tell me we weren't both staying. Sister Lee will stay with me until she gets her visa (for Spain) (about two months) and then a new sister will come to be my companion. I hope I can finish training her before she leaves!

We're getting a new flatmate on Wednesday who will be a greenie so we'll have two greenies in the house! I kind of missed the important step of going to the training for trainers so I'm a bit worried about training her. 

Letter 7/14/2014

We came to our area on Wednesday just before district meeting. We came back with a surprise new companion. Sister 이승연 (Lee Seung Yeon) was called to the Spain Barcelona Mission and she's going to serve in our mission for a couple of months while she waits for her visa to come through so that she can enter the Madrid MTC. She was thrown right into missionary work without any MTC training! She's so good though! She's amazing. She's helped our investigators a lot.

지 승 (Ji Seung) accepted the baptismal commitment yesterday! We had another baptism for a little boy in our ward yesterday and she was in attendance.

We taught a woman for the first time this week who originally just had English interest but as the lesson continued she found interest in the gospel too, especially the Book of Mormon.

We went to the temple on Thursday, as you can see from the pictures.

On Friday night Sister 이승연 (Lee - actually Ee or I in Korean - Natasha's new companion) talked to the Young Women and our investigators about how much better and happier her life is with the gospel. She had been searching for a church for a long time, since she was a young teenager and she was baptized her senior year of high school while she was staying with a host family in Utah. She's the only member in her family.

Letter 7/7/2014

예림 (Yeo Ring) and 지승 (Ji Seung) came to church again! The ward members fellowship them well!
A sister brought a friend to church last week and she came this week too!

We had MLC and zone training this week. The focus was on the Book of Mormon. Sister Kei and I did our training on Moroni's promise. An interesting thing that I read about it is that all church members should repeatedly follow Moroni's promise, with not only the Book of Mormon but with all truth. I believe that if we follow this pattern of asking God we can know everything that we need to know.

In my studies this week I had an interesting realization. I discovered that when I'm disappointed with myself because of my shortcomings I'm focusing too much on my actions and my outside and that instead of focusing on those I should focus on inward traits (like the Christlike attributes) and I'm better be able to overcome my weaknesses.

Letter 6/30/2014

I had an exchange this week with Sister Glauser from Utah! She's so cute! And she's a wonderful missionary! We had a practice lesson with a super cute sister in our ward who was baptized a couple of years ago. We practiced teaching part of the first lesson with her acting as an investigator. It helped renew my testimony of the Restoration as I bore my testimony of the First Vision and the truths we have received from it. We also visited a less active member who was overjoyed to have someone to feed. 
This week we have MLC (missionary leader conference) and zone trainings.

We were able to confirm (where they live) a lot of previous investigators and inactive members in our area this week as we walked around visiting them.

지 승 (Ji Seung) and 예림 (Yeo Ring) came to sacrament meeting yesterday, one of our sets of elders had another investogator there, a member had a friend there, and a couple who used to be investigaors came! It was a booming sacrament meeting!!

We went to our service project this week (delivering lunches to elderly people who can't leave their homes).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Letter 6/23/2014

We met with a woman who had previously met with the missionaries but dropped them because she was afraid of her pastor. Some different missionaries found her and she had renewed interest and so they referred her to us. We met her this week but for some reason she was only expecting English. She kept trying to tell us that she could only be taught English because of her pastor so that we would agree but we had to tell her that we couldn't teach English without the gospel. It was sad.
 Natasha on a hike with other Sister Missionaries.
In our district meeting this week our district leader said something I liked. He said that after praying we should think; "I asked for [this]. What can I do to make it happen? What do I need to do?" I really liked it.
We had an exchange this week with our 부천 (Bucheon (an area)) sisters. I went there with Sister Hurst. She's super cute. She just finished her training. She was trained by a Korean sister like me.

Natasha with other missionaries at the Seoul Temple
While we were visiting some people and walking around an apartment area we saw a 할머니 (halmeoni, which means grandma, but is also used to address any older woman in Korea) in our ward who was exercising so we went and talked to her for a long time. As we were talking to her a boy was hanging around for a while so Sister Kei asked if we could help him. We ended up talking to him about the English program and referred him to the elders. Our cute ward member was so excited to talk to him. She was telling him everything she knew and was repeating everything we said. She was so excited to help with missionary work - it was the cutest!

We had a baptism yesterday for an 8-year-old and one of our teenagers (지승) (Jiseung (her name), an investigator) was able to attend! We were so happy! She was watching it and asking questions to know how she needed to prepare for her own!!!!!!! We were so excited!!!!

Letter 6/16/2014

We spend a lot of time trying to find people that we have records for but aren't on our ward CMIS list. Almost everyone we were able to confirm had moved but two (out of about 35 names) but we're happy we were able to confirm those that had moved and also those who still lived there. The family that we found through knocking doors a month or so ago (who had been baptized and forgotten) was actually one of the records we had! So they're an example of a family who was just lost even though they never moved.

We've been able to have a lot more LA lessons the past few weeks so we're super happy!

We had a proselyting activity with our elders two Saturdays ago and a girl that the elders talked to called us from our number on a pamphlet. She texted us asking if we could meet the next day. We went in not knowing what to expect and only planned to teach the first principle of the first lesson (God is Our Loving Heavenly Father) but we ended up teaching the whole first lesson! We discovered the definition of 'golden.' Her mom was baptized 20 years ago but hadn't attended church after that. Oh, this girl's name is Alyssa Won. A lot of people only give us their English name (many Koreans choose an English or western name because their names are so difficult for westerners to pronounce and remember) and refuse to give us their Korean names so we didn't think anything when she gave us her name. But she moved to New York when she was in middle school and stayed there until a month ago (the attends NYU and is just home for the summer). Her English is better than her Korean so we taught her in English. It was so weird. Saying everything in English was kind of awkward but it was fun. She reminded me a lot of Elle Kyle so it was like spending an hour with Elle! Alyssa just absorbed everything. She accepted everything and agreed with everything, even things that she didn't previously believe, like the Godhead being three seperate Beings. And there were things we told her about the restored Gospel that she said she really liked and was glad to have learned it. She wasn't able to come to church yesterday because she was out of town but she wants to come next week! She even wanted a tour of the church! We couldn't believe our ears the whole lesson. Her mom recently lost contact with her missionaries and has been trying to find them. We told her we'd help them find her. She has all three names for them but their names are so generic that she can't find them on Facebook.

We had a leadership meeting on Saturday for the ZLs, DLs and STLs (Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders). Our focus was on 'strengthening wards and branches.' The STLs had a meeting about ministering, and we also talked about convert retention.

Our little teenagers (investigators) are planning on going to Girls' Camp if they get parental permission!

Letter 6/2/2014

Elder (Quentin L) Cook (an Apostle) came on Saturday! (We had Elder Christofferson here in Daejeon on Saturday - a lot of apostles and general authorities have been visiting Korea and Asia recently) We were surprised by how soft he was but we realized later, as we studied our notes, that he was subtly strong in calling us to repentance. President Ringwood wasn't so soft. He told us to "consider our ways" (Haggai 1:5~6). Elder Cook left us with multiple blessings as well. (I told her that Elder Christofferson left the saints in our stake with a multitude of apostolic blessings.) The blessings just kept coming and my pen couldn't keep up with them. I forgot to bring my notes so I'll talk more about what he said next time.

Sister Kei's mom sent us so much food! (during her visit to Korea last week, when she visited us) We've had to turn down all dinner invitations. We can't do them. (Because of Celiacs and the other food sensitivities that Sister Kei has) And we can't eat out anywhere. But sometimes we don't have time to go home between appointments and the only thing we can eat is ice cream. It's a sad life. Sister Kei's stomach has been getting worse.
We have two new investigators this week! The wife just has English interest and the husband only attended because she was nervous her first time but they will both be gospel interested investigators soon! We're excited to teach a family!

Our teenage investigators still come to English class and mutual! And we teach them after church!!

Our ward mission leader created a referral box for members to put their referrals in, hoping we will get people to teach.

A married couple walked in to church yesterday who had been taught by the sister missionaries 5 years ago! They just decided to come back yesterday!
I read a quote in PMG (Preach My Gospel) suggesting that missionaries plead everyday for God to loosen their mouths to the blessing of others and as they do this they will feel the Spirit work through them more and they will feel happier with their work. I had been wanting to feel the Spirit more so I started doing it. And I did notice a difference! The biggest miracle that I saw was on Friday when I went to visit a less active sister while on an exchange. We had never been able to meet this sister before! As we talked I was able to find the needs of both her and her husband, and I was amazingly able to answer all of her questions. The thoughts of what to tell her easily came to my mind and I could feel that it was what she needed to hear. The things I shared with her were things that I had recently struggled with and I was able to give her answers because I had already struggled through it and found the answers myself. I could pull out scriptures that had given me answers to those questions I had had. I could see how God was using me to bless others, both at the moment and in weeks leading up to it.

Letter 5/26/2014

Tell Susie that I said happy birthday! I'm sending off her package tomorrow! (If for some reason I'm not able to, I won't be able to get it out until next week, so be prepared)

We met a less-active yesterday that we've never been able to meet before, despite our numerous visits. We've met her daughters, seperately, at a couple of our visits. We're working really hard to help the less-actives. We've seen more miracles with less-actives than average. We're hoping they will all return because they really do change when they come back. Their problems aren't all solved but they appear to be different. 

Talking to other sisters as I go on exchanges has helped me to help myself in ways that I couldn't have done unless I was working to help others. (Working as a sister training leader)

We gave 7 referrals this week! We kept finding people who are interested but they usually happened to live in other areas (or other missions)!

We have Elder Cook coming to speak to us on Saturday!

Sister Kei and I have discovered the magic in laughing. It's the only way to deal with some things. We keep finding ourselves on the floor, laughing so hard.

Our two teenage investigators went to the YW activity on Friday and they really liked it! They want to go again this week!

We had a boom in our English class with 10 members in the adult section!

We got caught in a rain storm last night without umbrellas but it's always good weather in missionary work! We were able to meet the the less-active that we've never met before!

Thanks for sending me so much food! We've had to buy ramen to feed the sisters who come on exchanges with because they don't understand that we can't get our food here and it's so expensive and precious. (We've been ordering them gluten free and other specialty foods from the U.S., like peanut butter, chocolate chips, cereal, oats, beans, etc that are difficult/impossible to get in Korea, because Sister Kei has celiac and other food sensitivities, and Natasha does too)

Love you!