Monday, July 30, 2012


Hello family!!

Another week gone by! So, y’all may be wondering why this email is coming to you a bit later... Well, today WAS transfer day... but don't worry!  I'm not leaving Shin Jeong! We get to stay another 6 weeks which makes me SUPER happy!  I love it here and it's great to be able to stay and see how things continue to develop and change.  The only change to our area is that we are getting an Elder team!!! So now Shin Jeong has both Elders and Sisters! The branch is small, but I think this is Heavenly Father's way of hinting that Shin Jeong is about to see many many miracles... So much that He needs two teams to handle all of them. 

Are y'all ready for my miracle for the week?!?! OK!  So, when we first got to the area there were NO updated records. So, to get a feel for the area and its potential we started studying the Area Book.  In there it contains all the previous teaching records from past investigators.  As we were looking through the book, there were about 7 pages of records all about one lady, 양선옥 (Yang Seon Oak).  When we saw how much she was taught, and how much she had progressed we were really curious as to what had happened to her.  3 phone calls, and 6 weeks later we were FINALLY able to meet with her!  And she is AMAZING!! She had explained to us on the phone about her story.  She has already read the Book of Mormon through 2 times and knows it to be true.  She has also been keeping the Word of Wisdom and has been free of coffee for about 60 days.  She explained that she felt good about the church and she felt that she knew it was true, but she wanted to have a True, Firm Conviction before she committed to be baptized.  Well, last week an Elder, who is heading home this week, went and visited with her.  She was his favorite investigator and he wanted to meet again before he headed back to America.  After their meeting we called her the next day to see how it went.  She said that she finally got her answer.  As she was sharing her experiences with this Elder she finally realized that she already has a true conviction for the truthfulness of this gospel.  (It’s amazing to see how your testimony grows when you share it!).  After that call we set up an appointment to FINALLY meet her in person. 

The next day, at her home, after we talked and she shared what now can be called her conversion story she asked us how she can be baptized!!!  (*insert big smile here)

SOOO!! We now have a baptism!! ON the 25th of August!! (Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!)  There is even a neat thing about that date... On the 21st of August is the 100 day mark of being free of coffee. Sister Yang made a promise with the Lord, she asked Him that if this church was true, if this church was the church she was supposed to join and the gospel she was supposed to follow, then she wanted her answer by the 21st of August... and now she will be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the 25th. 

There are so many other facets to her story; so many other miracles that have taken place, but that is the condensed version.  I don't consider this as "my" baptism in any way. It's never really that way.  It is the Lord’s, and all the missionaries and members that have given their love and support and have shown their examples.  I am humbled to just be a part of her story. 

These next couple weeks are going to be hard for her I’m sure as she makes the final preparations to enter into this covenant and I know that Satan will not be happy that another Child of God is entering in the Fold, but I know that because of her testimony that she has been searching for and praying for and studying for the past 2 years will support her through the darkest of times and trials.  I know that, because that is what my testimony has done for me.

I love missionary work!! Sorry this week is a short email, we are pressed for time because we went to the Boo to say good bye to the missionaries going home, but know that I love y’all!!

OH! And I’m jealous y’all get to watch the Olympics!! I miss those!! Korea is really rooting for the Korean Swimmer.  It's like the Korean Michael Phelps, Park Teh Whan. 

I love you!! Kiss Love Hugs!! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hot and Humid!

Hello darling family!! 

Sister Wells-Longshore here, sending you this email from an extremely-hot-and-uncomfortably-humid Korea.  Though the weather is just like at home, it doesn't mean that I like any more then I did there. The worst part is, I can't just have a day of swimming at Katelyn's or the Breuer's house... sigh...

Fighting the heat these past couple of weeks has been a bit obnoxious. I think the worst part is that our apartment doesn't have AC! And then, at night, we have to close all the windows because the screens on the windows have tons of holes and we get eaten alive at night. Luckily, we do have ONE fan, and we sleep with that pointed at us...all in all I feel like I’m sleeping at girls camp every night. haha Just like then, it's some good times now.

This week I had some pretty fun talks with some of the members. First, Daddy! haha So I have a small picture book I take everywhere with me so I can show the members pictures of my family. The first picture in the book is of me, mom and dad before I went into the MTC.  At a dinner appointment this past week, a member was looking through the book and he saw that picture...paused...looked at me and said: "WOW! Your Father is handsome!!  He looks like an actor!!" hehe And of course I agreed! I told you, Koreans do wonders for your self esteem! =] 

On Sunday, we had a dinner appointment with a less active. She loves learning English and is actually really good. But, she said that she wanted me to prepare something to teach her so she could keep getting better. The activity we did was role playing!   It was lots of fun.  We did two situations; one was where we were all on a bus, the other was the first day back to school after summer vacation. The second one was my favorite. My story was that my family spent the summer on the beach and every night we would have a bonfire and make s'mores.  After I told her my story she just looked at me.... "What's a s'more?" she asked.  Well, I told her it was a marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate treat.  The next two questions where "what's a graham cracker?" and "what's a marshmallow?" 

HOW on earth do you SIMPLY describe a marshmallow!?! Ummm... "A fluffy ball of sugar"??!? haha I never thought I would have to explain that one in my life. So! Now I have a request for the next package...Will you send some marshmallows and graham crackers so I can make S'mores with her? =] please and thank you!!

The work this week did NOT go according to plan...but on most of those days that was a good thing. The miracle for this week (well, one of them) happened on Friday. It seemed to be throughout the entire week both our plan, and back up plans were falling through. We were in a certain area and we decided to visit a LA we knew of. She is an amazing woman. She is a RM, but she is married to a pastor from another church. Though they fully support each other in their faiths, it's hard for her to strengthen her family and juggle two religions within the home. The day we visited her was a special day. I remind you, that this visit wasn't planned or thought of before-hand, but we were able to visit and the conversation we had was amazing. In the course of talking, she explained that that day she had been thinking and, in a sense, praying within her heart for someone to help her.  She felt so spiritually weak and lacking. She felt like she needed someone to talk a hold of her hand and help her back to the path that she had strayed from. That same day we arrived. We had a wonderful talk with her and she recommitted herself not only to church, but to renewing her temple recommend. I am so grateful that the Lord made sure our plan didn't work out so that we could accomplish His plan. But, in accordance with that, if we hadn't had our plan, we wouldn't have been in the area to visit her.  I love missionary work!!

This week I was studying a lot about charity and love.  I just finished the "Daughters in My Kingdom" (I HIGHLY recommend it!!!!!!) and it was on my mind.  I love Moroni 7:45-47, these verses talk about the characteristics of Charity.  But we know Charity to be the pure love of Christ.  So, in these verses I like to substitute “charity” for “Christ.”  It's especially wonderful when you read "Christ Never Faileth".  I know that is true.  Christ will never fail us.

Thanks for all the love!! I miss y’all!! Kiss Love Hugs!

ps: Transfer calls come this week, but I think I'm staying...who knows!

Monday, July 16, 2012


OK, it's just a statue of Elvis, but he lives in Korea too!! I'll send the picture in the next package. Needless to say it brought a huge smile to my face!! =D

Well, as both Gwen and Dad said, Another week gone by... This week I have enjoyed some of the amenities that come with living in an 'established' (aka OLD) missionary house. For instance, this morning we cleaned to house singing along to the invigorating Christmas Tunes of Andrea Bocelli; in the depths of the junk closet we also found Amy Grant Christmas and a Josh Groban mix. Other treasures we have discovered are 2 broken fans, a chess set, an instrument that it like the mix between a keyboard and a bagpipe (Gwen: sounds like an accordion...LOL) and about 15 umbrellas! haha The umbrellas came in handy during the rainy days (we left our umbrellas at a members house). 

(Don't worry mom, the rain hasn't been too bad during our proselyting hours, and I can't really wear my boots right now. Yes, they would keep my feet dry, but the wool lining would just KILL me! Though it's raining, it's as hot as a southern summer over here.  But like I said, we haven't had to do much walking during the heavy rainfall (thankfully!). )

Another funny story of last week occurred on Monday.  After the P-day hours we had planned to go visit a LA (less active member) who lives about 40 min away by bus.  There are several buses that go in that direction, and because we barely missed the one we usually take, we had to hop on another. They go to the same place, but the bus we chose that day seemed to stop at EVERY station!! So what should have been a 40 min ride at most, turned into almost 2 hours...Then when we got to the general area we missed the stopped we needed, so we got off at the next and then walked 15 minutes through rice fields and farm lands haha. By the time we got to the right apartment complex it was 8:15pm; and because we have to be at home by 9pm we had to hop right back on the bus to head back home.  Yep, it was an Epic Fail!  haha But at least it was a fun one!! The sad thing was, the buses were nearly empty so we didn't even get to talk to that many people... I love missionary work haha (don't worry we were able to go back the next day and the visit was amazing! Worth every minute! And i think if we were able to have met with her and her family on Monday, the visit would not have been the same. Heavenly Father was definitely in control of that situation.)

Saturday was a neat day. It's amazing to see the strength of the Youth of this church.  On Saturdays is seminary and mutual day. But the leaders have recently added other programs to the Sat schedule. Now, every Saturday, the youth's schedule goes like this: 6:30 Breakfast, 7-8 Seminary, 8-9 PMG Mission Prep, 9-10 English Class and then Lunch. After Lunch they then have Mutual and an activity.  It is SOO much fun to see the youth at the church all day long.  The Church is their place of refuge.  It is where they gather together and they enjoy the company of their friends. They learn and grow from each other and their leaders and overall they just have a great time. I think back on growing up and i don't know if i would have willingly given up my Saturdays to spend all day at church, but as i look at them, and the joy they have just being with each other makes me so grateful that i had seminary every day and mutual every week.  We need the support of each other, whether you are in Korea or America.

My next favorite day this week was Sunday! We helped out our District Leader and his companion in their branch's music night.  It was lots of fun.  They had songs, slide shows and narrations for each point in PMG's Lesson 2, The Plan of Salvation.  The spirit was sweet that night. I love the joy and peace that music brings!!  The last part of the program, we watched the end scenes from The Testaments video, when Christ comes to the Americas. To close, us four missionaries sang Come Thou Fount and had half the people in tears. Like I said, the Spirit was sweet there.

So, speaking of singing...I have a surprise for y’all.  President said that he would send it to y’all, so i haven't said anything, but with the busy life as a missionary, he just put it up on Facebook.  So.... Way back when, we had the Sisters Conference here in the mission. For the conference Sister Gilbert asked me to help her make the scarves, but she also asked me to sing the song Virtue.  Well!  The Gilbert’s actually recorded that song! =]  It's up on Facebook.  I asked them to tag me, but i don't know when that will happen. (they tagged her, it is on her page!)  So Gwendel, if you go on my FB I am friends with Pres. Lynn Gilbert and you should find that video on the page. I hope y’all like it!  Sister Gilbert said she'd also put up the videos from this music night too. There also should be pictures from all the missionary gatherings and such. So enjoy!!!  My favorite one is the Virtue song. That one was a blast to sing! Elder Innis, the pianist, did the arrangement and it was just fun!

I learned something really cool this morning during personal study. Last night, during planning i thought about the Less Active sister that we are planning on visiting today. i started thinking about what message we should send to her when two words came into my mind: "mother's courage".  I have been reading Daughter's in My Kingdom, the book about the Relief Society and I have been so humbled to see the courage and strength of the woman of this church. The RS motto is “Charity Never Faileth.”  It has been through the woman's and mother's small, day to day choices and examples that have been the greatest influence of good in this Church and in the world. When i think of exemplary mothers i think of the 2000 Stripling Warriors. These young men went to the battle field with "exceedingly valiant courage" (Alma 53:20), with complete trust in the Lord and with faith unshaken. How where they able to do that?   They were taught by their mothers. Alma 56:47-48. I don't imagine their mothers standing at the head of the dinner table giving them a long sermon, or making the young men read their scriptures for hours on end, i see the young mothers, like my mom, teaching them through their example.  Through fulfilling their church callings, and visiting teaching, through small acts of Charity throughout their lives. I see the mothers living their testimonies, and in their living of it, they are sharing and teaching.  Again in Alma 56:45 Helaman says that he has never seen such great courage.  It takes courage to live your life with charity.  In a selfish world, it takes courage to turn out when the natural man wants us to turn in.  It was through the mother's charitable courage that the young warriors were able to have courage. To sum it all up I thought: It Takes Courage to Live Charity.

I love you all! Thank you for all the love and support!! Thanks for all the prayers and emails!  Remember that I love you and that I miss you.

Til Next week!  Kiss Love Hugs!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week 3 of the Whitewash

Hello dearest family!! How is everyone doing!?! 

Daddy, I laughed and laughed at your mini email! haha Thanks for making sure I had something to read.  And the other 2 emails were amazing.  I'm printing off one and I’m TOTALLY going to use the orange analogy in a lesson out here.

So, Happy 4th of July!! Sounds like everyone had a pretty grand time.  All day I was looking for an American that I could say hi and "Happy Independence Day!" but it didn't end up happening... so instead I said it to my District Leader that night!  I was so excited, especially because he had forgotten! lol To celebrate our country's independence, I did the most American thing I could do in Korea... I went out for pizza and Baskin Robins! =] it was delicious! haha I even wrote myself a little "happy independence day" sign, and drew myself some fireworks. haha Not as cool as Stadium of Fire, but it was worth it!  (and now that I write that I make myself sound a little pathetic hahaha it was fun though!!)

This week was, of course, a great week.  This week I really learned the importance of keeping records.  If y’all remember, I mentioned that when we first got to this area there weren't very many records, and the records we did have for a couple YEARS out of date.  Then, when we wanted to make new records, we found that there weren't ANY forms in the house. (FYI, missionaries have teaching records for their investigators as well as a simplified progress record so you can keep track of the work, the people and the needs of the area... we had none of those).  Along with those records in our Area Book, we also have a Member Book which allows us to get to know the church members in our area.  To our disappointment as we studied the Member Book we realized that past missionaries had filled its pages with some unkind words and opinions of the members.  Information like that does not help new missionaries, like ourselves, view some of the members with love.  Needless to say, all those things NEEDED to change.... So this week the projects began!! 

First, in our few weeks here we've seen the worth and the greatness of the branch members here.  And because we want future missionaries to have this same love for the members, we realized the current member book needed to go!  And then we realized if WE were the ones to re-write the member book, then opinions and bias might still creep onto its pages so... We are having the members make their own member book!!  We made a new form for the members to fill out, with all the basic information that we need, including an introduction of the family.  Who better to learn from then the family itself?  My favorite box has been "describe your family in one word".  It's been fun to see the families filling out this little form.  Now, not only do we still get a taste of the family's personality and their strengths, but we can help future missionaries in this area to not be misguided from someone else's opinion.  I think that's important to remember.  There are so many opinions in the world and soo many different ideas and judgments.  Instead of letting others influence your thoughts and actions, find out for yourself!!  Get to know someone for yourself, and really try to see the good in them.  People are so amazing!!  It's been fun to see them as God sees them. 

Another thing with records this week happened on Sunday.  After making a blank progress record we were able to fill it out and give it to the leaders of the ward for ward council that Sunday.  On the record we report about our potential investigators and the less actives of the branch that we have visited.  The record was full!!  There was an amazing spirit in that meeting as we looked at the names of people in this area who are in need of our help.  We discussed each of them individually and made individual plans on how we can help them.  The entire meeting, no matter what matter was being addressed, the members in need of rescue were remembered and were planned for.  It was a complete difference from the last ward council meeting where a record wasn't present.  Records truly help us remember. 

Later that day as we had a lunch appointment with a member family, the mother was talking about the journals she has been keeping, in particular a Spiritual Journal.  She explained her love for studying the scriptures, but there have been times when she hasn't felt much nourishment and growth from her studies as she would have wished.  But she then explained that she began to keep a study/ spiritual journal.  In there she would write the thoughts and impressions she received during the study time and anything else that she had learned.  She soon realized that when she wrote them down the next day she would learn even more during her study time.  And then, on days that were hard, she would read from this special journal and she could see all the help, guidance and comfort Heavenly Father has given her.  It was amazing to hear her testimony. 

Records help us remember.  The progress records helped us remember those in need.  The Spiritual journal helped that sister remember the Goodness of God.  And the scriptures help us remember the precious truths we think we may have forgotten.  In my personal study this week I learned a LOT from Helaman 5 (esp. 35-47).  This chapter is truly amazing and it has a lot to do with remembering.  First, the 2 missionaries in this chapter are told to remember their Names.  They were named for their ancestors.  They are descendants of a great and faithful heritage, and their father promises them that as they remember who they are and who they are named for then they will have the same power and blessings as their great grand fathers once had. 

Later in the chapter there is an account of a man, named Abinadab, who remembered.  Abinadab was once a member of God's church, but through his life and choices but fell away, and in a sense became Less- Active.  In a moment when they were encircled about by, what I like to think of as the clouded darkness of the world, Abinadab was able to remember.  He remembered what he had once been taught, and in the remembering he was able to help others around him see through the dark clouds of world and recognize the light and protection of the gospel fire that was surrounding them.  When he remembered, and when he helped others remember that is when they all were able to experience unspeakable joy and together they were granted peace.

The world we live in is scary.  It's full of filth and darkness that is blinding us from recognizing that light of the gospel that is surrounding us.  I hope, like Abinadab, that we remember.  We remember the truths that are inside us.  We are Children of God.  God loves us.  God gave us Families as a Blessing, and through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith, we can be with God and our Families for all Eternity.  What wonderful news!!!  I love this gospel!! I love the light that it gives and I am grateful and humbled to know that I can share this light with the people of Korea. 

Thanks for all the love y’all!! I promise that I feel it all the way over here in Korea!!  Thank you for your wonderful examples!  I remember each of you, and in that remembering I am strengthened in my purpose and desire to continue to serve.  Never doubt the influence you can have on others, help them remember too!! 

Till next week!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Has Come...

Hello darling family!!!

Sorry this email is coming to y’all early! (especially to you daddy! It must kill you that I keep having to switch up the times! lol)  But we have a fun day planned for P-day, so we got permission to get a little bit of an early start.  Today we are going to a members work place, he owns a pottery shop!  We get to go make some clay things. I haven't decided what I am going to mold yet, but it'll be fun, I'm sure. (and if I was having a conversation with you dad, I know that we would have a long talk building up an analogy! Don't worry, I've already begun and I'll share that with you next time =] )  OH!  And hopefully today I will be getting my haircut!!! Yeah!! I haven't decided how short yet, all I know is that I need a change! And with the humidity of summer finally showing up here, the long, thick hair has GOT TO GO! 

What a wonderful week it has been here in Korea!  Have I mentioned that I love everything about being here, because I do!  Like the week before we have been spending a lot of time meeting our branch members and building relationships of trust (BRT) with them.  I think they are really starting to see that my companion and I mean business and we are trying to work really hard.  Especially the Relief Society president and the Young Men's president; you can tell that they are trusting in our work because we have been getting a LOT of referrals from them for people that we need to visit.  It's amazing to see that in three short weeks how many people we now know about that we can help.  I love missionary work!  Though those two leaders are starting to trust in our abilities, I'm afraid the branch as a whole doesn't have the highest of hopes where missionaries are concerned.  I don't know what has happened in the past, and I'm sure past missionaries have worked their hardest, but I do know what we need the trust of the members in order to do the grand work of the Lord.  Without the support of the members, this work can not progress.  All we can do right now is work our hardest, be 100% obedient and trust in the Lord.  If we do that, I know the Spirit will prepare the hearts of the people of Shin Jeong to receive the gospel.  I am humbled to be a part of such a great cause. 

Speaking of 100% Obedient, that was the main topic of President and Sister Gilbert at Zone Conference (where all the missionaries in a decent sized are get together and have a spiritually uplifting meeting to learn about the Mission goals. There are usually 50-100 in attendance) this past week.  I LOVE when missionaries gather together!  It's seriously so much fun and the spirit that is present is nearly tangible.  President and Sis Gilbert keep reminding us that Heavenly Father is anxiously waiting to bless the people of Busan.  He is ready and waiting, He just needs us to catch up.  With conviction in their words they told us that this mission needs to rise, and it needs to rise quickly.  I can't help but think that a Temple is on the dawning horizon of Busan.  The Lord wants all of His children to come unto the House of the Lord and He is ready to make those blessings more easily acceptable to the people of Busan.  But now i need to do my part of the work.  As a servant of the Lord I need to prepare hearts, by inviting everyone to come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  That is my purpose.  I love how my purpose isn't to make people "Mormon" or to invite them to learn about our church, but we invite others to come closer to Christ.  Christ is my purpose, and it's through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that people are able to draw nearer unto Him than they could anywhere else.  With such an important purpose I need all the help I can get, and I know that I can only receive that strength through obedience. 

Sister Gilbert said something at the conference that reminded me a lot about you mom.  She told us that if we could glimpse even a small portion of our eternal potential, if we could see ourselves as God sees us, then we would be an unstoppable force for good in the world.  Mom, you always taught me that I am a Daughter of God and that I am precious; thank you for that.  In D&C 4 we are told that we need to keep our "eye single to the glory of God".  We learn in Moses that God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men.  We are God's glorious creations.  And all of His work is to bring us safely home; home to heaven, home to eternity.  That needs to be our focus.  We need to remember that we are children of God.  We have a divine heritage. 

This week we were able to meet with all the people that we found last week.  They are doing great.  One of our English class students, "Eric", is doing great and told us again that he wants to learn more about our religion.  We're planning on meeting him and his wife this week!!  I'm excited to teach him more about Christ and Christ's Restored Gospel. 

There isn't enough room to talk about all the people we have met, talked with and visited, but I am humbled to see how much the Lord is helping us help the people of Shin Jeong.  I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!! But really though, I do. 

In the MTC, Elder Holland said something along the lines of "This is Glory Work.  Prepare to Astonish People".  It's amazing to see that I have been one of the astonished ones as I have witnessed the love God has for His children and as He, through His servants, is actively searching them out and calling them back into the fold of His Son, Jesus Christ.

I'm excited for what this week holds and I can't wait to tell all y’all about it!!
I love you!! Kiss Love Hugs!!

**Food scare for the week hahah!! We were out to eat with our Ward Missionary Leader, and i was trying one of the side dishes.  He asked me how i liked it, and i said it was good.  Come to find out the name of that delicious side dish is "Mouse Jerky".... luckily it was only fish... but he then goes on to promise that next time he'll feed me real mouse...that'll be interesting....