Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Buddha! 2556!

Hello my darling family!

Sorry this email is MUCH later than usual...I know y’all have been anxiously waiting to hear about the adventures of Sister Wells-Longshore!

Well things are going fantastic here in Korea, I was so jealous to read about all the fun all y'all had at the wedding and both Tyler's and Katelyn's weddings looked like they came straight from Pinterest!! (Which they probably did, eh??) Haha No really though, they both sounded perfect!!!  I'm glad the family could all gather together and I’m suppperrr bummed I didn't get to stay in that SWEET house! Haha Glad y'all had fun.

Well when I left off last week I mentioned that we were heading off to an amusement park. It was tons of fun!!  But it would be more fitting to describe it as a glorified fair. Haha The nice part was NO one was there!!  We would just sit on the roller coaster and the workers would just let us ride over and over. Our favorite part was the bumper cars though and I have the shin bruises to prove it!  Overall it was a super fun day.  The only bad part was it felt like we used up alllll of our energy for the rest of the week.  But its all good, we survived.

The rest of the week went pretty well. But there were a couple of moments that really made the week fantastic!

First, was MISSION TOUR!! So we had Elder Aoyagi and his wife come and visit the mission and have a training meeting of sorts with all the missions. I already LOVE it when we can get together with other missionaries, but add in a General Authority and nothing really gets better. So Elder Aoyagi is from Japan and, though he knows English, it's pretty hard for him to speak freely. So, for the meeting, he had a side-by-side Japanese-English translator.  Then, in the back of the room, so that all the Korean missionaries would be able to understand, there was an English to Korean Translator.  Then, throughout the meeting, as the need would arise, the translators would have to go from Korean to English or from English to Japanese and my personal favorite is a missionary that is from Canada, Elder Jang, he is fluent in both English and Korean and he studied some Japanese, so when he helped with translating we even had some Japanese to Korean.... Hahaha It was SO COOL!

The meeting was truly wonderful though, we heard from Pres. and Sister Gilbert as well as Elder and Sister Aoyagi.  The main message I got from all the discussions was love. We need to love the people we teach, not only with all of the love in our hearts, but we need to love them as Christ loves them, and love them as God loves them.  We talked about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion, but in order for people to feel the Holy Ghost, they first need to feel our love. The ways we can show our love is anything from service to teaching to a simple smile and a compliment.  Elder Aoyagi actually talked a lot about compliments. He defined a compliment as "little messages of love". I really like that!! Think about how good you feel when someone gives you a sincere compliment! Even if they are just telling you that you have cute shoes or something, if it's sincere you can feel their love.  So in language study this week I started studying some words I could use to compliment people haha! And the smiles that I get on the subway when I tell someone, in my little Korean, that their handbag is dazzling shows me that Elder Aoyagi was right.  That compliments show our love.  And if we are to share the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to share it with love.

The entire meeting was fantastic!  I was in a small group of missionaries that sang at the meeting and the song went really well. We sang "Lead Kindly Light" in both English and Korean. There were some other really great points in the meeting, but as always there is never enough time!

Another really cool thing happened this week with 김수진.  After church on Sunday she had to rush up to Seoul for a weeklong training.  At the end of the week she calls us up and says that she got in contact with the missionaries up there and she was headed to go visit the Seoul Temple =] I was sooo excited that she was going to be able to see the House of the Lord and feel of its Spirit.  She loved it!  She went more towards evening time so there weren’t very many people on the grounds, and she said how much she felt God's love just sitting there and praying. If she felt so wonderful just sitting on the grounds of the Temple, think of her joy when she will go inside!!!  Every time I talk to her I appreciate more and more of the blessings that are given to those who strive to always come unto Christ.

Saturday was a fun day!! We have TWO cute little girls that we are teaching.  And this week I made brownie cookies with a "special American mix". Haha they thought they were the greatest things ever!! Thanks mom!!

Yesterday, P-day, was fantastic!!!!  The ward picnic was sooo much fun!! Sorry y'all, but it was better than any American picnic I have ever been to! Haha There was tons of food and they laid out this giant mat so we could all eat together, there were games from everyone and everyone participated (old people included!)  There was soccer and baseball, kick ball and some games for the little kids.  We would all go out and play, come back and eat and then go right out and play again haha.  It was in Gyeongju (I think...) Anyhow, we were at a park where there were ancient burial mounds of kings from the Silla dynasty.  So cool!  Dad, you would have loved it!  Sorry, I didn't find any pamphlets though hehe

After the ward picnic we headed up the mountain to Boemosa Temple! It was BUDDHA’S BIRTHDAY yesterday!  He turned 2556!!  The temple was decorated with thousandsssss of lanterns and it was sooo beautiful! They only light the lanterns on the night of his actual birthday so it was really neat being about to see that bit of Korean culture.

Anyhow, things are going well!! I love this work and time is going by wayyy too quickly! I can hardly believe I only have 2 weeks left as a trainee!!

I love you all dearly and thanks for the emails and love.

Kiss love hugs!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bring on the Tan Lines

Dearest Family,

I can hardly believe it has been a week since I heard all y’alls voices!!! It was sooo wonderful to talk with everyone.  I explained to Sister Gilbert that it felt like we were just sitting around the kitchen table, like always, laughing hysterically and swapping stories! I loved every minute of it.  When you don't talk to your family for months you're almost afraid that you won't recognize their voices... (Silly yes...) so it was such a comforting moment to realize how familiar each of you still sound.  ^^ I loved every moment!

The next day brought more family fun!! I FINALLY GOT THE PACKAGE! And letter!!  Hehe It was WONDERFUL!!  Thank you thank you thank!  The contents were so much fun.  I'm excited for the craft and the goodies. A big thanks to the primary kids and their BEAUTIFUL cards!!  I loved all of them!  And another shout out to the Belnap’s! Thank you!!  The only sad part is, I think someone stole some things.... yeah... so the package was open on one side, and on the registry on the outside mom, you wrote "hair bows", but there weren't any in there (only a super cute flower from the Belnap’s).  Sad day.  But I loved everything else! The opened part of the package was just enough for someone to slide their hand in, so for future reference you might want to put to good stuff in the middle...

We had fun this past week for sure!! With 김수진 and everything else. So, as a missionary we try and find service opportunities to do every week. Well this week was tons of fun!! haha We found an opportunity at an old person home... a BUDDHIST old person home haha.  You think English grandparents are hard to understand?!? Holy Cow!  You haven't heard Korean Grandparents talk.  Good thing I’ve perfected my nod and smile haha! It was a lot of fun; though, for the first hour we just dusted and talked to everyone.  They are always so excited to share their stories. And then the last hour we got to help feed them lunch. Me and this cute little grandma had a pretty good system worked out. She would spoon up some rice, tap the side of the metal bowl *ding ding ding* and I would use the chopsticks and place some meat on the rice. She would eat and all parties were happy haha.  It'll be fun to go back this next week.

These past two weeks with 김수진 were soooo wonderful.  These lessons leading up to her baptismal date were so tender and powerful. To see her great faith and conviction in following Christ's example, even when it was hard, was amazing.  The greatest part was she wasn't just excited to be making this choice for herself; she was more excited for the blessing that would come to her family.

This week we also saw the amazing support of the ward members. Like on Sunday, not 2 minutes after telling the bishopric about 김수진 baptismal time, did we hear the Relief Society talking about who was going to bring what food, and who would bring a gift, and who would send out invitation reminders...etc!  On Friday, after an appointment was canceled, we were invited over to a sister's house from lunch. When we showed up there were about 10 of the Relief Society sisters there, just eating and chatting and 김수진 was in the middle of them!!! We had NO idea that she would be there!!  But the RS got ahold of her number and they invited her themselves.  It was such a touching moment as a missionary to recognize that the members were just as involved in bringing people unto the Fold of God as we were.

The Baptismal service was great, definitely hard... definitely NOT as organized as my Longshore genes would have liked it to be, but the Spirit was there and that's all that matters. 김수진 looked like an angel in her white dress and I had the privilege of braiding back her hair and tying the "princess bow" on her dress. It was a special moment for sure. Everything went smoothly.  I'm always surprised on how short the actual ordinance is, but I realized that that is exactly how it needs to be. It's by Small and Simple things that Great things come to pass.  Heavenly Father's plan isn't big and flashy; it's not about presentation or ceremony.  It's simple and tender; it is easy to understand; yet there is great power behind its simple principles.

At the Baptism, 김수진 was able to bear her testimony and it was amazing to see how much her faith has grown in just a month.  I know that it's not because of anything my companion or I did, it's because she allowed to Spirit to enter into her heart, which allowed her to follow God's plan.

At the service we were able to give 김수진 the gift that we had prepared. We got her a small Bible and BoM/Triple with cases that we had made. We also gave her a picture of Christ and the Temple.  The RS gave her a large BoM/Triple and the BoM study manual that has tons of good quotes and explanations.  They also prepared some roses for her as well.  It was wonderful (and the food afterwards was delicious.)

Then, to see 김수진 again on Sunday as she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost was another tender moment.  It was such a spiritual moment.  It was almost as if you could see the Holy Ghost coming to stand sentinel by her side, always willing to be her companion, to guide, and warn, protect, testify and comfort, if 김수진 was willing to be worthy of His companion.  I love the Holy Ghost's companionship, and Sunday was a little reminder to me that I need to not take it for granted.

Every day I feel so humbled and blessed that, for some reason,
Heavenly Father trusts me to do His work. He trusts me enough to send wonderful souls, such as 김수진, my way and allows me the opportunity to teach them.  I love missionary work, especially missionary work in Korea!!!!!!!

So next week I don't know when my email will come, but it will be a bit late.  We have the ward picnic next week and who knows how long that will last!!  OOO and this week we have our Area General Authority Elder Ouiagi (sorry... I only know how to spell his name in Korean... and he's Japanese... hahah ya, sorry!) But Mission Tour is this week and I’m super excited to hear from him.  I'm in a small missionary choir that gets to sing for him!!

I love you all!! I miss y'all like crazy!  Take care this week!! Kiss Love Hugs!

PS Congrats to Tyler and Brookelyn and Zach and Katelyn!!!!!! Sorry I can't be there but I’m sending my love from Korea!

Monday, May 14, 2012



Hello dearest family!  I hope this finds everyone well.  This week has been SUPER exciting... so I can hardly wait to tell all y’all about it. 

First, (and most importantly) I GET TO CALL HOME NEXT WEEK!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! (Can you feel my excitement yet!?!?! ahhhhh!!!) So daddy, you were exactly correct in your predictions.  I will be calling Monday morning my time, so that's Sunday night, Mother's Day, for y’all.  I will call about 9am, so for TN that makes it 7pm I believe.  =] I’ll be getting a calling card and I'll call either from the Church or the Boo (mission office).  But either way I get to hear all y’alls voices!!!!!!!  I can hardly wait.  Gwen, I hope I get to hear yours and Emily's voice this time too.  And of COURSE Matt and Kaylani!  (I realized that after next Monday, the next time I call y’all at Christmas I'll only have 6 1/2 months left! weird....)

So Monday to Tuesday was a pretty special day! I went of my first Exchange!! So for 24 hours I got a new companion!  Not gonna lie, I was super nervous before hand.  I don't know many of the sisters, and I am still a new missionary! Not to mention that she was going to be coming to my area which means I had to be able to take us to all the appointments without getting hopelessly lost.  Needless to say, during Sunday night planning I had my companion go over all the maps and we chose to visit people in the places that I actually knew where to go. It was a pretty funny planning session. lol  But Monday came and the exchange happened!! I was with 이가희 자매님. (Ee GaHee)  She is from Seoul and she is a convert of 4 years. IT WAS SERISOULY SOOO MUCH FUN!!! I loved all of it.  She was definitely different from my companion, but we are still missionaries with the same purpose and desires.  So though the personalities were different, the work is still the same. 

I know that the exchanges happened at that time with that person for a specific reason, it was all inspiration for sure.  On Tuesday we met with 김수진s (Kim Su Cheen).  We have been teaching her for a couple weeks now and she is amazing.   I swear I learn more from her then I actually teach.  Well, it just so happened that on the day of exchanges, during the lesson we had planned with a member, we prepared to extend the invitation to be baptized.  After an amazing lesson, I asked her if she would follow Christ's example to be baptized.  At first she was hesitant, as I’m sure most people would be when they make a life changing choice.  But this is where 이가희 자매님 was heaven sent.  She was able to share her conversion story, and her hesitation to get baptized so quickly after starting the lessons.  But she explained the need to exercise our faith, and all the blessings that have come to her because of it.  The spirit that filled that little apartment was wonderful.  And with confidence 김수진s accepted!!!!!! We will be having her baptism on MAY 19th!!!!!!!!!  I am sooo excited!!

Other exciting things this week were SISTER'S TRAINING!!  After weeks of planning with Sister Gilbert we finally got together with all the sisters for this fun meeting.  It was awesome to be able to meet all the other sisters in the mission!! There are some really really amazing Sisters serving here!! I love them all already!  A fun meeting was between me and a fellow Tennessean!!! A MEMPHIAN even!! Sister Foy is from the Collierville ward!! Small world for sure huh!?! We started talking and I asked her where she was from... needless to say I was a little surprise when her response was "Memphis, TN" lol.  We were friends instantly.  As usual it was a blast seeing and catching up with Sister Kersey, and Sister Baker is doing great, the Korean people are softening her heart little by little. 

As it so happens, Sister Gilbert discovered my love of singing and it didn't take her too long to enlist me!!  So at Sister's Training I sang a song called "Virtue".  It is seriously an amazing, powerful song.  The chorus reads, "I didn't come to earth to compromise.  I came here to hold up my light.  No matter what the world may do, I'm a Daughter of God, and I'm holding on to Virtue." I had Elder Innis from my district play! OH man is he amazing on the piano!!! After our first practice I said that it was a little hard singing so low, so he said! "OK! Let's transpose it! What Key would you like?" Who does that!?! (Elder Innis).  He also loves putting his own twist on songs, so we jazzed it up a little bit.  It was so much fun to sing.  I even got President to Cry! 

After the talks from President and Sister Gilbert we were able to watch the YW General Broadcast.  What an amazing meeting.  I hope all the Young Woman took lots of notes! I know I did!!!  I loved the part when they quoted a Prophet of the Lord, saying that the Young Woman are like Sleeping Giants, waited to be awakened to their full potential.  I agree with that, and I hope that I, and the rest of the woman of the world, arise!  Arise and Shine Forth as the theme states.  I think of the Lakeland Ward girls and how wonderful each of you are.  I hope that when you look at yourself you see the miracles that you can perform.  Even the small things that you do can bring light into someone’s day: a smile, a kind word, and a compliment.  I hope that we all can awaken the sleeping Giant within ourselves and astonish the world with all the goodness we have within us.  I look forward to getting the Conference Ensign issue and rereading all those talks... aww so amazing. 

Of Course, time is going by WAY too quickly Transfers happened this last week!!!  I am now on my 2nd transfer in Korea.  (For those who may not know, in a mission you work in 6-week increments called transfers.  After 6 weeks you can change areas and companions) Anyhow, Transfer calls were on Thursday.  Apparently it is a Mission tradition that you eat chicken on transfer call days!  Yumm.  Like everything else the chicken is delicious, they do a great job with the fried crispy chicken and all of the spices.  So on Thursday we bought the chicken and ate it while discussing who might be going where, and who might be training and so on.  We didn't expect a phone call because typically trainers and trainees stay together for 2 transfers.  At 9:30p the transfer calls would begin.  After planning we were finishing up our chicken when our phone rang.... dun dun dunnn.... When we first saw who it was we thought nothing of it because the AP's are apart of our district, but then we looked at the phone again... looked at the clock... back to the phone...and then to each other.... My companion answered with a "무슨??" (what??)  Out of both surprise and nearly contempt that they would be calling us!! 

This was NOT supposed to be happening!!  Next I hear my name being said and my companion hands me the phone.  Before I even say hello all I can say is "why are you calling me?!" You are NOT supposed to be calling me!!!"... Next I hear that I'm moving... WITH MY COMPANION!! haha We are still in the same ward, we just got a new house!!! Yeah! =] They are adding Elders to our ward (the AP's were in our ward but they got switched) and the new Elders get our old house and we got a SUPER cute apartment!!  It’s so new and clean and wonderful and TINY!  I love it!  Seriously though before he told me that I was staying with my companion I almost started to cry.  I didn't want a new one yet! I still need to learn so much more from 이예정 자매님!!  So thank goodness that we are staying together.  The only down side to the move is it takes 30-40 min of subway or bus travel time now rather than a 5 minute walk to get to church, but that also means we get a LOT more time to talk to people during travel! I'm excited. 

Saturday brought an adventure in and of itself.  So my companion hadn't been feeling too well over the past couple of days.  And then coupled with the stress and business of moving and cleaning, her body just didn't have the stamina to keep going.  After several dizzy spells and absolutely NO energy, we decided to head to the doctor.  Well, Saturday was a holiday so everything was closed besides the ER.  SO I got to see inside a Korean hospital!!! It was interesting.... haha I prefer American ones FOR SURE!!  Everything in the ER seemed so outdated.  When we got taken back to our bed for the doctor to come take a look and it was just in a big room with about 20 other beds. Anyhow, after they took some blood for test and hooked her up to an IV (which, PS they were NOT nice AT ALL with needle!! They were wiggling it around and I don't think they even put it in right because nothing form the IV bag actually went into her systems...and the bruise on her arm is huge!! THANK YOU American nurses!! I'll never complain again!)  Well, while waiting for the doctor with my companion knocked out, I needed to find something to do... Luckily entertainment was just on the next bed over!! =D A man came in with a broken arm and it was to my delight (seriously though!!) that I got to watch the doctors set it!! awww sooo coooool!! It was like tug-of-war with body parts, and the doctors were putting their entire weight into it! I was completely enthralled! haha Terrible? Maybe... but it was soo cool!!

Sunday was a fun day.  I love hearing the testimonies of our members.  We were invited over for a dinner appointment where we had homemade pizza! So, in Korea they don't have ovens, so this pizza was completely made in a pan! It was delicious.  I think my favorite moment was when we arrived.  The member gave us BIG hugs, and told us that for the night she was our mom cooking us dinner at home.  When we left we got another round of big hugs.  Really made me miss you Mom.  I miss your hugs.  But don't worry; I'm being taken care of!

President and Sister Gilbert have been talking to us a lot about Knowledge, Understanding and Intelligence, especially with excerpts from Elder Bednar's book.  (from the sounds of it mom and dad, y'all would LOVE IT!  I'm planning on reading it when I get home).  Anyhow, a part of Knowledge, Understanding and Intelligence is the place that each of those things works within us.  Knowledge in the mind, Understanding in the heart, and intelligence in the application and the doing.  I realized this week as we were reciting D&C 4 that we are called to serve with all our "heart (Understanding), might (intelligence), mind (knowledge) and strength (intelligence)".   I love that it takes twice as much action to get things accomplished!  But the basis of the K. U. I. is that understanding is the keystone built on the foundations of knowledge that leads to intelligence.  So cool.  SO much to still study and learn about it though.

I love you all!! And I can't wait to call y’all next week!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!

PS Matty, thank you thank you thank you for the email! and the picture was AWESOME!!!
Emily: It took me a minute to remember the song but then I just laughed!!
Gwen, it takes about 10 days for a letter to arrive so I’ll count down with anticipation!!
M&D I’m super stoked for the package!! Our new house is in need of some goodies!!
Thanks again for all the letters!! I wish I could reply to all of them individual but there is just no time! Sad day.  But don't forget that I love you all!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I am sorry to those out there that have been waiting on pictures of your favorite Sister Missionary! I have been kind of selfish with these. I miss her like crazy and I wish that I could squeeze the crap out of her! She had a huge supply of hugs building up inside of me that is going to EXPLODE when I see her next!!

But alas, here are some fun memories she shared with us from the MTC! ENJOY

HAHA! Chin People!! 

The Best place to be from....going to the best mission!

She is a pro at chopsticks!

She is the SHORT one in the middle!

Cousin Willie's GF Hannah Cole

We sent her the BEST packages!