Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"I'm HERE!"

Hi family!
Well, it is official! I have made it to Korea! EEK!!!

The plane ride wasn't as tragic as I had expected.  Don't worry daddy, I got a couple of hours of sleep.  The worst ride was the one from Japan to Busan!  

Flying over Busan was stunning! I have never seen so many sky scrapers in one area in my entire life!!  I tried to take pictures but it didn't work out so well.

President and Sister Gilbert are even more fantastic then I could have imagined!  So don't worry, I am in wonderful hands.

Korea feels like home (literally... if feels exactly like Tennessee)  And in every other sense of the word.  
We have a big day planned so I'll fill yall in on the other details next Monday!!! 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

6 more days....

Dearest Family,
The LAST PDAY in the MTC has finally come! Can you believe it?? I know I can't!

Well this past week has been pretty fantastic!  On Wednesday our dong-ee (the group of Korean missionaries that came in on the 11th) all got to Host!!  Remember the missionaries that helped me with my luggage and everything on the first day at the drop off?? Yeah, we got to do that! It was so much fun.  The Elders all got to be on the curb, but us sisters were waiting in 17M for the arriving sisters.  We helped them up to their rooms, getting their new books, and then to their classrooms.  It felt almost like a right of passage. Haha Like passing on our knowledge and wisdom of 10 weeks to the newbies haha.  The best part is, we get to do it again this next week!!!

Another "first" that happened this last week was we became FAMOUS!! haha The MTC has added a new, smaller gym and they are now offering P90X.  The first day that you arrive at the MTC you have to watch an orientation video and Gym time is one of the sections.  In order to explain the new area they needed pictures of course!!  And guess who got to be in those pictures?!? THIS sister missionary haha.  OK, so I'm really not THAT famous, but at least all the new missionaries will have the honor of seeing me all sweaty as I work out haha.  (OOO and for all those RM's out there, remember "The District" videos? Yeah, we got to meet two of those people.. and they're pretty much like celebrities when it comes to MTC land. "That's what it's all about")  So for anyone of those missionaries who will be going into the MTC sooner or later... watch for me in the gym slide show! Whoot whoot.

Another "famous" moment will be happening tonight.  One of my companions, Sister Kersey, was asked to pray tonight for the Devotional!! Since we have to be attached to the hip we get to go sit up on the stand with her!! Yippee!  We hope it's someone good so we could possibly sneak a handshake =]

So every week I get to learn a little more about Korea and the things I will be experiencing.  I have known for awhile now that as a sister missionary I can't do several things: 1. Shake hands... with pretty much anyone.  My bow will be amazing by the time I come home. (So next time you see me and all I can do is'll know why.) 2.  Talk to boys.  Like, I cannot talk to ANYONE of the opposite in public because people will automatically think that I am flirting.  This includes at church (though the older people are ok to talk to) and street contacting (jun-doe).  Crazy huh? 

Are y’all ready for the MOST exciting thing that happened this week!?!?!? WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS!!!! AHHH!!!
Ok, so here it goes....
We are on DELTA AIRLINES the entire way.
From SLC:
Depart @ 11:05am (Mar. 26th)
Arrive in Seattle, WA at 12:17pm (FLIGHT NUMBER 2157)
From Seattle:
Depart @ 2:00pm
Arrive in Tokyo Narita, Japan @ 4:45 pm (Mar.27th) (FLIGHT NUMBER 155)
From Tokyo:
Depart @ 7:10pm
Arrive in Busan, South Korea @ 9:35pm (FLIGHT NUMBER 639)

So I will be trying really really really hard to either give y'all a quick call in the SLC airport (we leave the MTC at about 8:30am) or it will have to be a really really really quick call in Seattle.  I bought a calling card today so I'm all-good with that (PS it only works in the USA).  I CANNOT miss my flights, so if by some chance I can't call y'all at the airport, then well... mother's day is in about a month... Though let's all pray really really hard that I get to talk with y'all!!!

Other house keeping.. I won't be able to get any DearElders from the MTC after Saturday MORNING, So if y’all are sending me anything that way, just a heads up.  Also, since I'm FINALLY going to Korea, I figure y’all might need a reminder of what my Korean Address is!

Sister Chalene Cherie Wells-Longshore
Korea Busan Mission
(1/2) 1039-1 Oncheon 2-dong
Busan-si, Busan-gwangyeoksi 607-062

It's kinda funny, I can actually pronounce my address now! haha Mom, remember trying to figure it out!?!

Just think, the next time y'all here from me I will be in KOREA!  Time is already flying by so quickly, I hope it will slow down some, or the next 15 1/2 months will be over all too quickly. 

Thank you to everyone for the constant love and support since the beginning of my mission.  It has been an amazing ride as I have begun to realize and cherish the time I have had to grow and become the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be.  This is only the beginning of the journey, and I am excited to see the treasures this next year holds.  I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He has a personal plan for each of us.  He wants all His children to be able to return to live with Him, and I know the only way to return and live with God is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am humbled when I realize I have the priveldge to proclaim His Gospel to the people of Korea.  I know that there are people waiting in Korea who have been searching and yearning for the Light and Love of Christ, and I look forward to helping them come unto Christ.  I love the scripture in Matt. 18:20, and I know that as Missionaries of the Lord, we too are able to allow God to be apart of the lives we teach.

As I go Korea remember the words of Alma in Alma 17:10-13, especially verse 13!  I can't wait to share the experiences that are waiting for me in Korea. 

Thanks again, and I love you all!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

1 more week down, only two more to go!

Hello dearest family! 

How are y'all all doing this week?? Well, as you can imagine I have had yet another wonderful week at the MTC!!  Time seems to be speeding up, which isn't so fun. I hope it will slow down some in the field; otherwise these next 15 and 1/2 months will go by way way wayyy too quickly! Speaking of the field, did I mention that I only have 13 days left?? What about only one more P-day here? Did I mention that? Or that I only have to do my laundry 2 more times before I am completely packed!?!  But hey, who's counting right =]

I think what made this past week most fun was having the natives here.  When they first got here they were rather timid and quiet, which is understandable! Truthfully I'll probably be that way when I first go to Korea! Haha But now they are our friends.  The sisters are fantastic and it is such a blast having them in our room.  We have a good agreement going; we help them with their English if they help us with our Korean.  For example, Sister Yoon will say an English sentence, we'll correct her if needs be, and then we will say the same sentence back to her in Korean.  It has helped SO MUCH!  I think this has been our best SYL week so far! (SYL= speak you language).  These sisters are so much fun and have become dear to my heart.  I can see what they mean when our teachers have told us, when you show love to the Korean people they will give you their hearts. 

Something funny happened with me and Sister Park after gym one day.  We were back in our rooms getting ready for dinner, when her suitcase started falling from atop the dresser!!  I freak out and with my LONG arms grab the suitcase right before it hits her head.  The two other Korean sisters started clapping, Sister Park gave me a huge hug and I was called "Hero" in Korean for the rest of the day! Hahaha It was fantastic!

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been a little.... nervous... about going to Korea!  I've never been outside the United States, so I'm a bit anxious about going to a completely foreign land.  I like to have a picture in my mind of where I'm going and what I'm getting into. Haha It was so nice the other day because my teacher, who served in Busan, brought us a lot of pictures!  He showed us the city, some of the churches and the mission home.  Though I know it will be soo different when I get there, at least I now know what the place I'll be staying at the first night looks like!  I was extremely grateful for those pictures. 

Class this past week went really, really well.  After a really hard night Heavenly Father, in all His love and mercy, gave us a fantastic teaching opportunity the next day.  We taught our investigator Kim Haw Kee.  He has been meeting with the missionaries for ten years and we have been trying to figure out what it is we can do in order help him.  This past lesson went fantastic.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he really enjoyed it.  At the end when we were asking him questions, and not only were we able to actually formulate the questions, but for the most part we were able to understand his answers!!  We were then able to share our testimonies and calm some of the concerns he had and promise him that we were there to help him learn and grow.  It was a wonderful teaching experience!  And I know my companions really needed that confidence booster. 

Though this past week was fantastic, today was the greatest.  Every Tuesday we have the opportunity to go to the Temple.  Well, if you remember a few weeks ago we were able to go to the Temple with Elder Hem from Cambodia, it was his first time going and it was such a neat experience.  In Cambodia there is no temple and there are few members of the Church.  Elder Hem and his younger sister are the only members in his entire family.  Elder Hem had been working diligently before he left on his mission to gather his family's history so that he would be able to give his ancestors the same opportunity he has had to choose to follow Christ.  So today, my companions and I were able to join Elder Hem and his district in the temple to begin the work of his family.  Amongst the names were his grandfather and great-grandmother, and of course other relations.  It was such an amazing experience to see the joy on Elder Hem's face as "the hearts of the children turn to their fathers".  To hear the Cambodian names spoken not only by a Cambodian, but also their ancestor, is something I will never forget.  I am grateful for Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness for every individual person, and the family unit as a whole.  I am glad that we have the opportunity to be with our families for eternity!! 

I enjoyed the Fireside this past Sunday given by Richard I. Heaton, the Administrative Director of the MTC.  He topic was setting goals, but he took an interesting perspective on it.  He shared scriptures from Jacob in the Book of Mormon.  In chapter 5, verses 4, 11, 27, 53-54 it mentions over and over goals, but there is a particular word that is used that I hadn't initially thought as a "goal" word.  When we think of setting goals, we think of the immediate and measurable success that will come from those goals.  And if we don't see those successes we think that the goal was a waste.  Well, Brother Heaton has us think otherwise.  On our missions we will set goals.  Such as: how many people we want to come to church, read the Book of Mormon and even be baptized.  But those people we are inviting to keep commitments still have their agency.  All the wishing and praying in the world will do nothing if the individual doesn’t decide to act for himself or herself.  Just because we have to take into account another’s agency, or ability to choose, doesn't mean we should stop setting goals.  The word in each of those verses is PERHAPS.  The great missionaries of the Book of Mormon understood the agency each of us had, but their goals were still great and their faith was still great just because there was a Possibility that someone would accept their message and invitation to follow Christ.  Brother Heaton said that as we set goals we need to have JOY IN THE MAYBE.  We can't get discouraged; we can't stop setting our sights high, because even the possibility that someone might be able to come unto Christ is something to find joy in. 

Thank you for all the love and support!  Mom and Dad I LOVED the package with all the pictures and cards! It was exactly what I needed!  Thank you thank you thank you. 

Thank again to everyone! 
Kiss Love Hugs!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hello from the MTC

Hello my dearest family!!  Words can't describe my joy every week when I get to write home to y'all.  I know people like getting these emails, but I LOVE sending them!  I love being able to share all that Heavenly Father has helped me learn and enjoy.

Well, things are moving right along here at the MTC and stress levels seem to be getting higher for everyone involved!  We are down to the final countdown... yep three weeks... almost makes me feel like I'm an English speaker... almost lol My Elders, oh those funny Elders, decided to do a "25 days till...WE LEAVE THE MTC" countdown, and yes, Christmas lights are included in their celebration.  I think they are a little excited to be heading to Korea soon.  And finally after much anticipation OUR NATIVES ARE FINALLY HERE!!  YEAH!! I've only met 4 out of the 7 coming, but so far they are just as kind as the last batch (which really isn't that surprising).  The interesting this is, where in the last batch of natives, a lot of them had been to America before, unlike the new arrivals, this is their first time traveling to America.  I guess that means we get to show them how nice Americans can be.  =]

Speaking of the new natives, the 3 sisters get to room with my companions and me!  I'm so excited to have all that extra time with them.  Though I'm not looking forward to possibly being affected by their jet lag... haha it will be an interesting couple nights. 

So with the natives finally here, it brings the grand total of missionaries going to Korea on March 26th to 32!!!!  And of those 32, there are 12 of us that are going to Busan!  I am sooo glad that I am traveling with a large group; I don't think I could handle international airports on my own. 

Class is going great.  It was hard to be in class on Monday with all the beautiful sunshine!  But our teacher promised us a day outside on Friday if the weather is warm (with out luck it'll probably snow again... oh the bipolar-ness of Utah weather... lol) Right now I'm still trying to memorize D&C 4, but alas, it's not going over so great.  But what can you do but keep trying right?  My favorite day of class this past week had to have been when we practiced street contacting.  (Oh man, I almost forgot what it was called in English!)  Anyhow, we just practiced on one another and by the end we had to ask for the person's phone number (in Korean you ask the person if they can "teach" you their number lol) I hadn't realized I could speak so quickly!  It's amazing what happens when you are pressed for time.  I have to admit it was pretty hard though.  There is so much to say and so much to share that I don't want to condense it down to just 2 min. haha But it will be something I am going to be putting a lot of effort into over the next couple of weeks because I know that's what I'll be doing on of my first days in Korea.  (Crazy!!)  I may not be able to understand what people are saying to me, but at least I will have something to say to them. 

Have I ever mentioned how great the MTC is? Because it's true.  My favorite thing, as I'm such I've said before, is the Firesides and Devotionals!  For instance this past week we were able to hear from Elder Holland (IT WAS AWESOME!) and Alex Boye (ALSO GREAT!!).  Awww It was so sweet. 

Alex Boye's Fireside was really neat.  Of course he sang a couple songs for us, but that wasn't my absolutely favorite part.  He explained that he was a convert from England and he told us a little bit of his conversion story.  He explained that the thing that impacted him most was the boldness of the sister missionaries that taught him.  One sister shared all that she had given up to be able to go on a mission, but at the end of her long list she stated that "nothing comes close to the things that I share with you today".  And I agree.  I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss school and dating, but NOTHING comes close to the joy that I am feeling right now as I prepare to share the message of the gospel with the people of Korea.  The joy I have in my life that comes from the knowledge of the gospel is too sweet and precious that I would be sad not to share it with another, so they too could feel this happiness.  Another thing Brother Boye brought up was the power of our thoughts.  He shared Proverbs 23:7 and asked us who we are letting ourselves become by the thoughts that we think.  He said that we need to think about the response we want to give in 18 months when people ask me how my mission was.  Do I want to reply "ok" or "hard" or "ABSOLUTELY MARVOLOUS!!" Whatever I want my answer to be then, I need my attitude to be now.  And that is when we can create the type of experience that will change our lives. 

Then there was Elder Holland’s address.  The hard thing about sharing my notes from a talk like his is that you never quite get the same... experience... as you would were you to hear him live. I guess just think about him in General Conference and you'll have a pretty good idea. 

He began by reminding all of the missionaries of their sacred privilege from being here on a mission.   With fervent testimony and conviction he admonished each of us to not compromise the grand tradition of missionary work of this church.  If there was to be one picture that could signify our church, it would be two missionaries.  We should rise to the full height of our stature as we go out to serve, but even more so when we come home.  A mission shouldn't end just because we no longer wear a black tag.  Even when we are back in the "real world" we should still honor the rich heritage of missionary work that we were apart of.  I'm short on time so I'll only be able to share one more thing.  Elder Holland, at the end of his address, stressed the eternal and divine importance of the Book of Mormon.  He explained that he felt that the missionaries were not getting the Book of Mormon in the hands and lives of our investigators quickly enough.  He explained that he has yet to meet an individual that was solidly converted to the Lord who did not first have a personal experience and knowledge of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.  "You cannot have a true, powerful, lasting conversion without the Book of Mormon." 

In one of my last emails, I talked about the difference between a testimony and a conversion.  We need to have our own conversion, and that conversion begins with the Book of Mormon.  In a talk given my Elder Bednar he challenged us to buy a new, paperback copy of the Book of Mormon, think of a question that we had, and then proceed to re-read the Book and mark every instance that we feel answers that question.  By the time you finish the book not only will your question be answered, but you will also have a firm testimony of it.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I love the truths that it holds within its pages.  I love that the Prophets writings therein are simple and precious truths.  I am excited to share this Testament of Jesus Christ with the people of Korea!

I love you all!! Till next week!!

Sister Hatfield, thanks for the card and the article!  I shared it with my class, and my Korea teacher told us about all the bands mentioned haha it was pretty great!