Everyone seems well, thanks for all the emails this past week. I love you all dearly! It's fun to say that I'm writing y’all from my beloved ShinJeong. For my last p-day I get to go visit an old area. Oh I love it here and its fun to see some of the people that are truly like my family!
This past week was full of some really neat miracles. My favorite day by far had to be this past Sunday! We started off the Sabbath day by teaching the last lesson to our 12 year old investigator who will be getting baptized next Sunday - my last Sunday in Korea. What a wonderful moment that will be. What I love even more is her father will be the one baptizing her!! This family, who has been Less-Active for several years, is once again united in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
After that we headed over to our other ward. For the last couple of weeks we lost contact with a progressing investigator. She was doing great, she was living the commandments and had made plans for her baptismal date, but then all of a sudden... nothing... no answer to calls or messages or anything. It was heart wrenching. But we would still send messages and let her know of our love. In preparation for my last week, we sent her a message telling her that we wanted to see her one more time. A miracle happened= SHE REPLIED!! Not only that, she said she would be at church. Seeing her at church was amazing. It was a tender moment too when she decided to give us a little fashion show. In our last lesson with her, we talked about modesty and it's importance. Usually when she would come to church, her skirt was a little short and her shirt cut a little low. But this Sunday, with a grin, she explains all the alterations that she made to make sure that dress was to her knees and everything else was covered. She remembered. She may not be ready yet to get baptized, but her heart is changing and she is remembering. It was awesome to see that!!
This next week is already jammed packed full of visits with investigators, LA and members. I'm excited for the hard work that is ahead.
For this last part of my email, I want to share with y’all some of the things I had to write for my "exit papers". Not all the words in the world can express the things that I have learned and have felt and experienced since I have been on a mission, but here is a small taste.
Q. What have you learned from your mission so far that has most affected your life? Stairs. The ascending stairs of knowledge, understanding and intelligence are foundational guides for gospel learning and application. As we ascend the stairs, we experience the miracle of the gospel. With Christ as our center, He is also the catalyst that raises us to each new level. He allows us to repent, change and lighten our load as we continue to move forward acting in doctrines understood, the things that will bring us home.
Q. What was your most memorable experience? My most memorable experiences happened on several occasions with several different people. For me, the knowledge that I am a beloved daughter of God and I am granted opportunities to commune with Him is most precious. So to see and hear someone else, maybe even for the first time, calling upon their Father in prayer is sacred. To see someone recognize that God IS there and he WANTS to speak with them and then see them offer up their first prayer is truly a memorable and life-changing experience.
Q. What did you gain most from your mission? I gained understanding. I now more fully understand who I am and I can more clearly see who Christ is and needs to be in my life. I understand a little more of the Kingdom of God and the privileged role I get to play in its development. I understand that love truly is everything. I understand that I want to have my life constantly governed by intelligent actions.
And now, a small part from my testimony that I wrote...
After receiving my call letter in the mail, yet before opening it up, I knelt in prayer to ask for comfort and again the confirmation to know if I really was meant to go on a mission at that time. Upon closing my prayer, the words of a scripture trickled into my mind. "Lovest thou me?" inquired the Savior of Peter in John 21:17. Peter's reply "Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." Then come to me the same admonition that Christ gave to Peter, "Feed My Sheep".
For the past 16 months, I have sought to fulfill the command that come to feed the sheep of the Korea Busan Mission. It has been a labor of love and devotion. I have struggled and wept and I have experienced joy and successes. But most of all, I have sought to maintain the integrity of my love for the Savior in the divinely appointed calls to go forth and Feed His Sheep.
The Savior Lives. He Loves Us.
Thank you to everyone and anyone who has every prayed for or supported the missionaries. We cannot do this work without y’all. Thank you for your love and support.
I love y’all!!! See you soon!!!
(side notes: Monday - last day in Busan with a birthday party. Tuesday - 8 am from Gupo, we take a KTX to Seoul and get to go to the temple and play! Wednesday at 1:30, I get on my plane to Tokyo on.... but I'll give all those details to y’all when I see you.)
Well, it certainly feels like summer here!!!! There have been some HOT days! It has always been rewarding (and slightly disgusting) as you come home at the end of the day quite literally drenched in sweat.. Wait girls don't sweat... umm.. how about glistening like a bedazzled vampire! Yeah, that... Haha
This week has been a wonderful week in the beautiful Land of the Morning Calm. Last Sunday was packed (actually it's like a normal Sunday for us now) as we went between both of our wards. The Sabbath begins with a lesson before church begins. We are teaching the sweetest 12 year old girl. Her parents had been Less-Active for a couple of years, and so their daughter didn't have the opportunity to be baptized, but now that they are coming back to church, we have the blessing of teaching her. With her mom with us in the lessons, I think that the things that we teach are really needed for both of them. The mom's testimony is still weak from inactivity, so to see mother and daughter growing together in the Gospel is awesome.
After the lesson, we head up to Sacrament Meeting, and as soon as that is done it's down to the subway to head over to Haeundae ward. By the time we get there, it's the start of the 3rd hour. We enjoy RS with those wonderful sisters and then we teach our investigator right after church ends. She is so amazing. We've been talking a lot about showing our faith and following God's plan. She is heading to BYU the same time that I'm coming home, and so we are already making plans to been up there. I know she will one day make those special covenants with her Father in Heaven and I look forward to being the member present/ translator at all her lessons in the states. The work surely goes on.
This week we did some fun proscelyting on the Haeundae beach. We watched a mormon message about what things you are grateful for, and so we decided to do our own little version! On the beach we like to take boards and stickers. The boards ask the question: "in this world, what is most precious to you?" and we have categories of family, health, friends, education, money and English. We have people put their stickers under what one they would choose and from there we can ask them why they chose that, and then offer them something more. We offer them some eternal truths that could make those things most precious to them even more so. I love being able to offer the things that are most precious to me as well.
According to our "numbers," it may not look like we had a good week this week, but it was a wonderful week full of going out and talking with people and searching out the 'lost sheep'. I love just being on the streets of Korea!
This week it was again my privilege to go on exchanges. This time was fun as we put Sister Scott with Sister Yokam...they came to Korea at the same time! But Sister Gilbert and I had absolutely NO worries! (and they did great). But then I got to go with Sister Beh, who is my first trainees, trainee...This exchange was going good, nothing too exciting or anything, just missionary work...but I felt that there was something that needed to be learned, as there always is. The night we were together I was praying and one word just came to mind 잠재력 which means potential.
The next morning after a normal personal and companion study, we were about to start language study when I felt again that we needed to take some more time to just learn from each other, and see if we could remember our true potential. The Spirit was so sweet as it prompted us to share with each other what our greatest wish or desire was as we continue on in our missions. Sister Beh's was to be an successful missionary, and mine was to finish off with no regrets. It was a really neat moment as we turn to each other and asked for help. We took the next hour of study time studying for each other. Finding places in PMG or in the scriptures that would lead us to know how we can fulfill our greatest desire. As we turned away from the thing WE wanted most and turned to helping someone else, the Spirit that was in the room was very special. We were in tender tears by the end of the experience as we shared with each other exactly what the other person needed to hear. Originally we had both been trying to find the answer for ourselves, but it wasn't until we put someone else before us that we found, at least the beginning of, what we were searching for.
The gospel is just great!! Everything seems to come down to Turning Out, emulating the Character of Christ, turning beyond ourselves and just loving. The First 2 Great Commandments are indeed LOVE! I love this work and I love being able to learn from so many different sources! I love being able to feel the love from Heavenly Father, from my Family, from the Koreans, but even more then feeling it, I love trying to give it all away (which is pretty much impossible, but it's fun to try!)
I know this Gospel is true and it contains all the answers, comfort, love and guidance what we will ever need in our lives. And beyond my personal hopes and desires, I want everyone to be able to accept this Gospel more fully with their hearts!
Thanks to everyone for all the love and support. For the prayers and the sacrifices. For you wonderful examples as Christians who have Christ at the center of your heart.
I love y’all! mean it! kiss love hugs!
PS next week will be the last email I send as a full time missionary, it will also be the last time I check my email (I believe..)
Darling family! Hello!! It was wonderful to get all y’alls emails this week. Sounds like everyone is doing well. Hope you are surviving the heat of summer...I think I am...if you call sweating 24/7 then I think we are surviving. At least the AC in our house makes it feel a little less like girls camp this year, so that is good.
This week was a fun week for sure! Independence Day in Korea was wonderful! We certainly did NOT let anything rain on our parade... quite literally actually. In honor of Liberty's Land, my companion and I spent our dinner in the best way we could imagine. First we headed to the near by Costco and got ourselves the most American pizza you can find in Korea! With our pizza box in hand, we head over to the beach near our house. This is when the rain began to fall. Luckily, there were little tiki umbrellas set out on the beach!
It was so much fun sitting on an empty beach in the rain under a tiki-looking umbrella eating a Costco pizza and singing patriotic songs at the top of our lungs!!! haha Definitely going in my top 5 most memorable July 4ths! We were bummed there wasn't any fireworks, but Heavenly Father made up for that with a little bit of lightning. Truthfully it was pretty relaxing sitting on the beach thinking about where we were last year (me in Korea, Sister Scott in Cali) and where we will most likely be next year (Sister Scott in Korea, and according to her, me married!) haha
This week it was also my privilege to go on another round of exchanges! I was able to head back to my FIRST area and spend 24 hours there. We were able to see a couple of the members, and it was fun to still be known as the tall sporty one that saved the day last year! haha The members are wonderful, and the missionaries there, including the beautiful Sister Taylor, are doing so well. I'm grateful for all their work.
At the end of the exchange I asked the sisters a question: If there were in my position, what advice would they give to the other sisters? I loved Sister Taylor's reply. She said "it all comes down to Christ. You need to build that relationship with Him, and when you do that, that is when missionary work becomes fun, that's when you understand your purpose. Everyday you need to look in the mirror and ask 'Do I love Christ? Do I love Him enough to do what He asks of me?' There is nothing to loose, only love to give"
As my time is winding down, President and Sister Gilbert have emphasized the dire need to have Christ at the center of our hearts. To have Christ's love fill every chamber. If Christ is not at our center, then we have done our mission in vain. If He is not at our center, then when we go home we will not be able to sufficiently defend ourselves against the world that we have not had to battle for 18 months.
Someone dear to me advised that it's not only proper but necessary to ask in prayer and fasting of what Heavenly Father has thought of my efforts as a missionary. To gain the confirmation that I have done all that I could have done, and I did serve with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength, and that Christ is willing to sanctify the work I have done and put His name to it as well. The prayers I have been able to offer have been sincere, and I'm excited to continue to show the Lord my efforts for these next couple of weeks, and for the rest of my life. Oh how I love missionary work!! I love doing the grand work, and I love being able to do it in the name of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for all of you love and support! Have a wonderful week and remember that I love you! kiss love hugs!
FAMILY!!! 안녕하세요! 잘지내고있죠?? You know it is going to be a good day when you walk into the world's largest department store as it is opening and having all the workers bow to you, welcoming you in. Yep, it was fantastic!
Anyhow, How is everyone doing? Me, great! Sounds like weather is getting pretty toasty for y’all, and I guess it is for us too. We had a day that was about 91* but other than that it hasn't felt too bad...
This week we were able to mix some things up a little bit with exchanges! Sister Scott had to finally break her 7 week record of being with the same person 24/7! Never before has that happened. (and it probably never will.)
I was able to go over to the nearby SuJeong and serve with Sister Redford. That area is beautiful. Over there is what I initially expected all of Korea to look like. Everything built up on the mountains and just a maze of color houses all squished together with no rhyme or reason. It was fun being able to walk those streets as we went out finding Less-Actives.
The neat thing about exchanges is to see that no matter who you are with, you are united under one purpose and the work continues to move forward.
As the Sister Trainer Leader, I was able to see how they were doing and help them set goals. They are whitewashing into an area and figuring out where to even begin is always a killer! But at the end of the exchange, I felt like I learned more, and I am grateful that I get to be with the amazing Sister Scott for these last 2 transfers! If anything I feel like she is not just my friend, but my co-senior companion.
Next mix up of the week is we gathered again with the Zone Leaders and STL in the mission for a training meeting. President and Sister Gilbert already having seen the broadcast on missionary work, it was amazing to see their excitements in the hastening of the work, especially where new convert baptisms are concerned and working with the members.
Sunday gave us the opportunity to watch the broadcast for ourselves!! ((and thankfully in English!)) It was amazing! Afterwards my companion and I talked about it a lot and these were some of our thoughts:
We love how they emphasized that the call for member missionary work has never changed or dissipated. It just needs to be remembered. I feel that Heavenly Father is calling us all to remembrance of the covenants we made at baptism to stand as a witness of God at ALL times and in ALL things and in ALL places. I know that I have not kept that covenant as well as I could have in the past, but now the servants of the Lord are asking for a recommitment to that covenant and ordinance of Salvation. We are a covenant people and our Master expects us to fulfill it to the highest. There will be overflowing blessings comparative to the diligence and love we put into this work. We loved that the Church is embracing technology for our benefit and they want all of us to do the same. It can and should be used for so much good. All the things they talked about weren't high lofty goals, they are as easy to achieve as we have the love to serve. Fear is a child of pride. That is what is bringing so many people down. But when conquered through love, lives are changed.
I'm excited for the internet usage, especially because EVERYONE is plugged in on the subway. And I can't tell you how many people have said they have been to our church, but no one is ever there!! The church tours will be an amazing blessings!
Another part that I thought was interesting is when they mentioned that something that might be holding the members back is a lack of understanding. That reminded me of a quote by Elder Bednar. He said. “Miracles= The natural result of the correct application of true principles" So what doctrines and principles do we need to understand and then apply to see the miracle of baptism, and growth in activity in the church?? The broadcast included many!!
Oh, I love missionary work!! As a missionary with a tag, and as a member with one printed upon my heart. The work is going forward, and the Lord is leading us on in boldness! I LOVE IT!
**So funny moment of the week, and especially fitting with Will Hatfield coming home from Russia. There is a lady in our ward that goes to Russian often for her job. So she speaks Russian well. She brought back a song from there for us to sing as a choir. At first glance, with the Korean written under the Russian, it looked like she had just translated the song...NOPE!! The Korean written is the pronunciation of the Russian. haha I am currently learning a Russian song through Korean pronunciation. So Will, if you want to sing together that would be awesome, though I may do it with a Korean accent!!! Hahahah
This week was one of those weeks that shows me that missionary work is not only the greatest work ever...But it's also FUN TOO! Seriously, Sister Scott and I had way too many chances to giggle this past week. It was a blast.
Sister Scott has taken it upon herself to fill me in, occasionally, on some key phrases that I should know when I go home. This past week was "YOLO". (For those of you who don’t know...YOLO means “You Only Live Once”. It’s kinda like Carpe Diem) She said it...I looked at her like she was strange... She said it again... still strange look... and she just shook her head while mumbling "wow, you are old". Haha
Some other fun adventures with Sister Scott this past week, took place yesterday. With our busy schedules, we tend to forget to schedule in meal times... and the meal times that we do have are with members and they feed you so much food that it makes you not want to have any other meal for the day! When we go shopping every p-day, we tend to get nothing more than what is needed to survive at breakfast time, and for the past 7 weeks that has been perfect!! Well...Sunday night found us without an appointment... and without any food in the house... Well, no...that's not true. There was food. This is what we had to work with: 2 slices of bread. Eggs. 1 lemon. and a little bit of baking goods. What did we have for dinner, you ask??? We had french toast, pancake like "biscuits" ((we didn't have enough of.. well everything.. so we just kinda winged it!)), and lemonade! It was a dinner for champions! Now we REALLY don't have ANY food in our house! haha Luckily we are going to Costco today! whoot.
Fun moment #3. I am convinced we have the worlds coolest Ward Missionary Leader. EVER. He works for the Department of Defense in the US gov. He is the one that signs off on any operations that go on in the military. In his words "things that you never will know about and never should. And things that you will never know about and probably should". That night we were supposed to have MCM, but it turned into a question and answer session! haha Though some of the answers were cut short with "that's classified" or "I can't officially say". Needless to say it was the coolest entertainment we missionaries have had since reading Alma 52 this morning! Other highlights of the night were going to the meeting at his home on the 53 floor of the tallest and nice apartments in the area and seeing Haeundae at night! Yeah, I could wake up to those 180 views every morning. This man in his 30's has a pretty interesting life!
On the other facets of missionary work, this week was really neat. We were able to meet with our progressing investigator and had some pretty key lessons on the commandments this past week. The spirit was there as we sat by the beach talking and teaching of the Word of Wisdom and The Law of Chastity. To contrast the eternal laws we were teaching, to the world around us at the time, was powerful. She knew that she too wanted to change and luckily there isn't anything standing in her way for living them from that point on. We might have to push back her date because school and work makes meeting during the week hard, but every time we meet, I am amazed at her pure and humble heart.
This last week was lots of fun, but it wasn't without some tears. This past week we had a zone meeting... it was my last zone meeting as a missionary. There are still zone conferences (2 zones combined) but in this smaller setting the Zone Leader, Elder Gomez, and I gave our 'good bye' testimonies... It gave me a neat time to begin to reflect a little bit about what has happened and what has been learned over the past year and a half. So many things really, it's hard to put into words. But as I was thinking about it, I kept thinking about Stairs. In our mission, with the teachings of Sister Gilbert, we have talked a lot about Stairs. There are the steps of life, the steps of progression, of moving forward and going heavenward. Each step takes our efforts in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding and intelligence, but we can never rise to the next step without the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then, at the landing of the next step is the refiner’s fire. Think of it as a bucket, sitting there waiting for you to empty out whatever would be there keeping you from going through the same progress and rising again to the next level.
These steps are in each of our lives, yet we cannot and we are not meant to take them by ourselves. We need our companions, our leaders, our family, and our Savior. These steps have taken me closer to my purpose, closer to my call, closer to my Savior, and closer to who I am. People may ask me how I feel like I have changed while I have been on my mission, and my answer will simply be "I have become more ME". I am different then I was before, but I just feel more like me. The Me that Heavenly Father created me to be.
I still have more steps to climb these last couple weeks and MANY more to climb after this time is over, but I know that with every step we take, we draw closer to Heaven and closer to Home!
I love you family!! Thank you for all that you have done!
Family!! HELLO!! How is everyone doing this week?? (Don't worry I'm making sure my email is saving so i don't lose it like I did last week...again, sorry about that one...)
FIRST HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!! Daddy, I love you!! Thanks for being the best daddy in the whole world!
This week was so amazing! I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!
We had a fun P-day with all the missionaries last week at the Haeundae Sandcastle Festival. It was fun to go again this year. I love getting to see all the other missionaries.
So, last week I didn't get to tell y’all much, but we have been continuing to work with our investigator who has a baptismal date for next month on the 7th. She is so amazing!! This past week as we taught about prophets and Christ’s ministry, we talked about the 10 commandments. After going over them and discussing them a little bit, we asked her what commandment would be difficult to keep. Her answer "thou shalt not murder"... slight awkward silence... and then we asked her to explain. She said that even killing a bug, a creature of God, could be considered as bad. And then thinking ill of someone, or wishing bad upon someone, could be considered breaking the commandment as well. The discussion that followed that, about keeping the commandments in our actions and hearts was really neat. I'm grateful for the bubbly, humble, and faithful heart of this investigator. It's neat to see her progression. ((She even sent us some scriptures the other night of where she was reading in the Book of Mormon))
I think the really learning points this past week was the exchanges I got to go on Friday. The missions have added a new calling for sisters. Called Sister Trainer Leaders. And I have the privilege of helping 6 companionships in my zone and the one neighboring it. As a part of the call, I get to go out on exchanges with the sisters. This past weekend Sister Scott and I went to Daeshin and GuPo.
I have to say that we have the best sister missionaries EVER in our mission! The sisters are so amazing. I learned some pretty neat things with them. At the end of both exchanges, I asked the sisters to share with me some words of advice they would share with other sisters if they were in my position.
Here are some of their replies: One companionship, who are both newer missionaries, was worried about whether or not they were doing the work "right". At the end of the exchange one sister said that she was most grateful to see that even though we are all different people with slightly different styles, that each of us are doing the work through our purpose and the Spirit. There may be doubts of "am I doing it right?" And "Is there another, better way?" but to see that everyone else was figuring it out too, that there was no one set way, but each was going forth relying on the Lord, was a relief to see.
Another sister talked about sharing God's Love. We constantly strive to tell investigators and members and people we see on the street that God loves them, but we also need to constantly be telling our companion those things as well.
In the other set of exchanges with the sisters, a discussion we had led to some really neat insights. We discussed that what people need most to understand is the importance of personal revelation and relying on the Spirit. We cannot do this work by ourselves, that is why we have a companion. The relationship between you and the Spirit, and then you and your companion is very similar. Just like you rely on the Spirit for guidance, support, comfort and peace, you need to rely on your companion for the same things. If you companionship is weak, then your relationship with the Spirit cannot have the strength that it needs. Unity in the companionship begins with your efforts to be united with the Spirit. ((I'm sure these things are easily applied to other things outside of missionary work))
Again, thoughIi went on those exchanges to help, I felt like I left with much more.
I have had a special feeling in my heart these past couple of weeks. I feel Heavenly Father's love filling my heart. It's comforting and wonderful, and if I focus too much on it, it makes me want to cry. I love it here. I love Korea. I love being a missionary. And I vow to have nothing left in my heart but love, obedience, and satisfaction at the end of these 6 weeks.