Sunday, August 26, 2012


Hello darling family!! 

As always, this is my favorite part of the week.  Not only do I get to read all the emails from y'all, but I FINALLY get to share what has been happening this week.  It's still hard not to be able to just call y'all up at any moment and tell you the exciting news or funny story.  But, it's all good, because now you get to have it all jammed packed into one letter. 

Something that Gwen reminded me of in her letter to me (yes Gwendel, I got it! ALLLL of it! bahah) was that when good things are about to happen, that's when Satan tries to get you down.  And though I know that truth, in the moment I completely forget that the "something good" part is about to come.  This week was wonderful, full of progression and new beginnings, but it was also a draining week; full of some disappointments and frustrations.  But if it wasn't for the bad we could never see the sparkling and bright contrast of the good, and I don't think we would appreciate it nearly as much either. 

So, first big thing that happened this week... SISTER YANG RECEIVED BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hehe YEAH!!!!!! It was soo amazing and wonderful.  But before we get to Saturday, let's back up a day. So, Sister Yang moved this past week.  Sad, I know.  She won't be able to come to our particular branch anymore, but in her new area she already has many friends.  We knew that this move was tough for her; new apartment, and new area far from the city and things familiar.  So, my companion and I decided to pay her a surprise visit!!  

Sister Gilbert had asked us to give Sister Yang a picture of the temple for her home, and sing to her as well.  On Friday we went and visited her and it was wonderful!!  We may or may not have had to lie to her to get her new address from her (it was for a good cause...) but the look of gratitude on her face when she opened the door to see us made the total of 4 hours travel there and back ALL worth it!!  We were able to give her a picture of the Salt Lake Temple with the words "Come Unto Me" written on it, and we sang her "Families Can Be Together Forever".  It was a wonderful message to share with her on the eve of her making a sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father, a covenant that has brought her one step closer to her Father in Heaven and the Savior Jesus Christ. 

Now, Saturday.  To see her dressed in white was a special moment for me, but to have her family there to see her in white was an answer to prayers.  She was nervous and excited, but everything went smoothly.  I think from the entire night, the moment that will hopefully remain with me forever is when we sang the closing song, "I Believe in Christ".  She didn't sing along, she just sat there.  She sat there with her eyes closed and a personal smile pulling at the corners of her mouth as she slightly swayed the the music; as if her whole being was in agreement with the words of the song: "I believe in Christ, He is my King!  With all my heart, to Him I'll sing".  It was a tender moment and tears came to my mind as I recognized that my heart sang along with hers.  I have no doubt that Heavenly Father has prepared her to bless the lives of many people.  We have asked her to write down her conversion story and we'll send into the Korean Liahona; I'm excited for her to share her faith with even more people. 

With one baptism over with, a missionary's heart can't help but look forward to the next opportunity to help someone else make that sacred covenant with our Father in Heaven.  And it's a huge blessing that I can now say that I won't have to wait that long!! My companion and I are hopeful and planning on baptizing our other investigator September 9th!!!!!!!  

So, her name is Kim HwaSoon, she is the grandmother of some members in our branch.  She is about 76 years old and so kind and sweet.  We started meeting with her a couple of weeks ago and things have progressed quickly!  Her background is interesting; her mother was Buddhist, and so she was also raised in that faith, but throughout her years she has gone to other churches to try and find which one was right for her.  Whenever she would go into a new church she was listen closely to the things taught and the feelings within her heart, if she didn't like either one of those she would get up and leave.  But, the first Sunday she came to church with her family she explained that she felt something different.  She felt good, she felt comfort, she felt at peace, so much so she couldn't keep the tears from flowing. 

This past Saturday she attended Sister Yang's baptism and she couldn't tell us enough times that she wanted to be baptized too!!  We have taught her two out of the three lessons necessary before baptism, and though she understands, her old mind has a hard time remembering.  But her heart is pure, and she is wanting to accept what we teach her with everything that she has.  We meet with her again this wednesday and then we will set the baptismal date for sure. 

I think the funny part about teaching her is when I talk!! haha She is old, and I think because I am American, and talk kinda like an American when I speak Korean, she just gets confused and doesn't understand ANYTHING that I say!! haha My darling companion is now translating for me in the lessons... not from English to Korean, but from Korean to Korean... yeah, it's a little disheartening, but she's such a cute lady that I can't really be that mad. 

A couple of weeks ago, in a package from mom and dad, y'all sent me stuff to make s'mores and those Reese's bars.  Well, this past saturday for our youth english program I decided to share!! We were talking about stores and shopping, so in the kitchen I decided to set up the "missionary cafe".  At the end of the lessons, they came up to the cafe window, and I gave them a Reese's bar and a cookie if they could tell me two things that they learned from PMG class and English Class.  It was lots of fun; but when the kids would come up for seconds, they only wanted another cookie... they all explained that the Reese's bars were WAY TOO SWEET!! hahah Poor things.  It's funny to see the different taste buds of Americans and Koreans... well more like Americans and everyone else... we really do like our sweet stuff!! Same with the people I have taught how to make s'mores; they can only eat like one because it is sooo sweet! hehe (though I did share some with Sister Kim (mom you got an email from her) and because she lived in America and served a mission there, she was SO EXCITED to have a s'more again... really though, her excitement was ridiculous hehe)  So thanks for all the packages of treats that y'all send here, they are being shared and 'experienced' by lots of people. 

This week in preparation for the baptism I was able to clean the font with one of the little primary girls in the branch.  As we were cleaning we were able to talk about the importance of baptism and following Jesus Christ.  She gets to be baptized next year and she is SO excited.  We talked about how she felt when ever she had to decided to "choose the right" and follow Christ's example; said that she felt good and happy.  I loved her simple and excited answer.  And I have to agree.  When we choose to follow the Savior, we will ALWAYS feel good and happy.  To quote our dear Prophet, President Monson: "Nothing good can come from doing bad and nothing bad can come from doing good."  And I think of the scripture that says that all good things come from God.  I know that days are hard, and somethings things don't work out, or people get annoying or whatever, but I know that if we choose to do good, if we choose to do as the Savior would do, not matter what the world would have us do otherwise, then we WILL ALWAYS be happy and feel good. 

I love y'all.  Thanks for everything that you do!! Thanks for the letters.  I love just hearing about your days. I hope you know that you are in my prayers.  There seems to be some rough days happening at home, but I know that there is a bright future just around the corner, hold on, choose good, and you will be happy.
Kiss Love Hugs!! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hi! It's Me!

FAMILY!!! HI! How's it going?? Good, me too. 

I am slightly worried that August is almost over with...time goes by sooo fast! (though I have to admit I am extremely excited for fall and cooler weather!!) I have actually been having nightmares about it!  This past week I have had a couple dreams about me being home.  I don't know why I had to go home early, and no one knew either, all I knew is that I was there and I was heartbroken.  I knew that I needed to still be in Korea and that I needed to finish my mission!! Really though, I was devastated in my dream! But luckily I would wake up and realized I was still in Korea, still in the country that has taken my heart completely.

This past week was the first time I realized how much the Korean culture has affected me...if I come back weird, I'm sorry! haha This last week my companion and I had a dinner appointment with the American family that lives in our ward.  The dad works for Exxon and is working in Ulsan with Hyundai.  Anyhow, we got the invite and my companion and I were SO excited!!  First, when we walked into their apartment I was greeted with a strange smell... it smelled like America! haha That night for dinner Sister Priedman cooked lasagna!!  It. Was. So. Good.  So we SAT at a table with a table cloth and we had napkins!  The table was set with forks and knifes and the food consisted of ONLY the main dish, salad, and bread.  SO STRANGE!! haha THEN on top of that I struggled with trying not to speak Konglish (KOR-ENG) and I had completely forgotten the words "will you please pass" (sorry mom, I know you must be in shock right now).  I am rather glad that is wasn't spaghetti, so I didn't have to show off my nearly perfected slurping skills.  haha 

I hadn't realized how much i have changed... It was rather funny.  I am so used to sitting on floors with short tables that are jammed packed with side dishes that you just reach for with your chopsticks to add to the only thing that is personal, your rice bowl.  The dinner was delicious though, and they really spoiled us with the American cuisine. 

This week my companion and I were able to find 2 more investigators. One is the mother-in-law of a lady in our branch, and the other is the guard of the apartment complex of a Less Active member we have been visiting.  I am extremely excited to continue teaching the both of them.  The grandmother is so kind.  When we taught her we began teaching her about God being her Heavenly Father, but she stopped us mid sentence and said that she wanted to learn how to pray!! She has little to no religious background, but she knows the beliefs of her son and his family (they are in our ward) and she is finally ready to see for herself if these things are true.  She has always heard their prayers and she wanted to be able to pray on her own.

The Guard is a sweet older man. We pass by and talk to him every time we go and visit our LA and he is always grateful to have someone to talk to for a bit. After trying to meet the LA this past week, we stopped by and talked to him again.  Soon the conversation turned to the gospel.  What started as a simple conversation turned into us teaching him about our purpose, the purpose of life (Alma 34:32) and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  During our conversation we found out that he has been looking for a church to join since his wife passed away.  Today we are going to go see him again and we will be teaching him the Plan of Salvation.  I am SO excited to be able to testify to him that God has a plan for all of His children, and that he will be able to see his darling wife again.  I definitely have a good feeling about this next meeting. 

Overall this week was really great!! We taught our last lesson to Sister Yang in preparation for her baptism THIS SATURDAY!!! I am soooo thrilled for her.  It’s kind of a bummer because she is moving to another branch (same district) but she'll be baptized in our area and then she'll officially be theirs.  Because she has been investigating for so long, she will already have friends in that area and they are soo excited to welcome her into the branch. 

This past Sunday was District Conference and we had our own General Authority visit. Elder Yamashita (spelling? Again, I only know it in Korean) come and spoke with us and it was wonderful!! His English was wonderful, so instead of going from Japanese to Korean to English he just had a Korean translator.  His talk was wonderful though.  He shared the story about Lambert the Sheepish Lion, explaining that this lion cub had grown up amongst the sheep and he thought of himself as one of them.  One night, as the howls of the enemy wolf drew closer to the flock, the lion cub felt something stir within him.  He started running towards the foe, and as he ran to save those he loved and stop this dreaded enemy, he realized who he was and who he could become.  He was a lion and he was stronger then his enemy.  Then Elder Yamashita asked a question of all of us.  He asked us if we were the lion or the sheep in this story.  I hope that we can be the lion in our lives.  I hope that we can recognize within ourselves the roaring lion of courage that can defeat it's enemy and protect those he loves.  I also think that because the lion had love is his heart, love for those who he thought to be his family, he was able to recognize the potential within himself.  Love truly conquers all; yeah it's a little cliché, but I still think it's correct =]

Thanks for all the love and letters!!
From the past emails, people seem to be curious if I have had any more bath house experiences... I'm sad to say that nothing outrageous has happened.  I still get stares (especially if someone new comes in that hasn't seen me before hehe) but its great because I am making LOTS of friends hahah  I did get a nice compliment for a sweet grandma the other day as she was glad to see that I was embracing the culture soo well haha!

I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!! And I love y'all!!

**Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Days

Hello dearest, darlingest family!  

How is everyone doing??  Thanks for all the fun emails this week. =]

It has been such a fun week here in Korea!  The excitement of the Olympics has every TV on and tuned in (no we don't watch... but we do catch the occasional glimpse).  There was one morning, though, that my companion and I weren't too fond of the Olympics, as cheers rang out in our apartment complex when Korea beat Japan in Soccer... that was 3:00 in the morning here... But after a couple more hours of sleep we were just as excited as everyone else hehe.

First I just want to say that I know that Heavenly Father knows each of us very personally!  Last week was a bit rough.  I was tired, and it didn't seem like we accomplished very much.. This week was an absolute blessing from above! 

I was so happy all this past week! It was wonderful. It was just one of those weeks when you feel cute, you see the rays of sunshine everywhere and no matter what you just have a big ol' silly grin on your face.  I LOVE THAT FEELING!! 

This week we were able to make some pretty amazing contacts. Tuesday, we had planned to go out and visit a LA.  We normally take the 327 bus out there, but because we had to give something to the Elders we missed that bus and had to take the longer route on 807.  WELL!  On that bus I met this super cute couple from Washington State that are out here teaching English.  It's always fun when you see another foreigner and you seem to become best friends instantly.  We got to talking and sharing what each of us were doing in Korea.  It was such a fun conversation.  Now, don't get me wrong, I adore speaking Korean... but it's not the same as speaking your native tongue. So it was fun to talk with them in English.  They had heard about the Mormons in the states, but they hadn't realized that we were a world wide religion.  I love that moment when the conversation turns from every day things to things of the Gospel.  Sadly, our bus ride had to end, but we exchanged numbers and I'm hoping that we can meet up with them again! 

Well, we got off to meet the LA...who then wasn't home...So it was back on the bus!! Then, on THAT bus ride home we met two students and I was able to talk with them.  After their fit of giggles subsided when they realized I could speak Korean we were able to have a really good conversation.  At the end we left them with their own Book of Mormon and we got their numbers to get ahold of them again.  We have already been talking to one of the girls, she has been reading and we are planning on meeting her this next week.  I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!  Talking to people on the street or bus is a little difficult at times...but when you do talk, and they DO listen, it's such a special experience.  I know, especially with these people, Heavenly Father took the plan that we had made the night before and made it His own. 

So, fun story for the week... haha So, me and my companion were going from Less Active (LA)'s house to LA house trying to see if anyone was home.  After visiting with one lady, we were told of a short cut through the mountains that would cut 20min off of our walk.  Her son took it every day to get to school, so it was perfect!! So we head up the road to the path... The way through is beautiful, and the pathway is clear.  So off we go.  And then we come to a fork in the road, luckily there is a sign!  The only problem was the way we needed to go, as the sign pointed,  was a LOT smaller of a path then the rest of them... but we trusted in the member so we made our descending climb.... Well, what was a really small path at the fork in the road only got smaller as we went on hahahah  Pretty soon we were beating our way through the bushes, hoping the end was near; and luckily it was.  The only problem, is the end of the trail was NOT the end of where we needed to be.  The little trail put us in the middle of nowhere lol.  After a couple more dirt roads we made our way back to a big road and a bus station.  We never actually found the Less Active family, but I can now say I've been hiking in Korea! (in a dress, and missionary shoes...) It was fun! lol

Well, our investigators are doing great.  Sister Yang is as amazing as ever! When we met with her this last week she talked with us about her feelings about church.  She loved every minute of it, but she said that there was something missing.  She shared with us that during the service she kept getting the picture in her mind of her entire family being there, sitting with her.  She wants her family to be apart of this Gospel as well! So, this next week she is planning on bringing her entire family with her!!!!! I'm so excited! She is truly an amazing woman.  She is and will continue to be a great source of good and inspiration to everyone around her. 

Our other investigator that is coming along is named 이소정 Lee So Jeong.  SoJeong is such a funny girl!! She is 17 Korean, 15 American age and she is a hoot! She likes to play it cool, but we have been seeing the funny side of her more and more often.  Her parents were less active for a long time, so her and her brother were not baptized as little kids.  Her mom came back to church and her brother was baptized a couple of months ago.. Up until now there has only been Elders in this area and she never really hit it off with them, but with us things have been awesome!!  This last week we taught her that God is our Loving Heavenly Father.  We talked about how she is a Daughter of God, and therefore a Princess =]!  We then whip out a tiara that we made for her!!! heheh It was stinking cute! and on it said "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him".  It was so fun to see this girl, who always tries to "play it cool," light up at the sight of the tiara. She loved it and it was an awesome lesson to give her!!

The work is moving forward so quickly here in this area.  It's amazing to see how many people Heavenly Father is preparing to receive the message of the restoration.  The stories and miracles would take hours to tell y'all about everything that has been going on.  I am sooo grateful that we were able to accomplish want Heavenly Father needed us to do this week.  I seriously was soo happy! ALL WEEK! hehe And i know that it was also because of the many prayers at home.  Thank you for those.  I feel those every day. 

Cool little thing that I learned this week as I was studying about The Plan of Salvation, in the book True to the Faith it said "The Plan of Salvation is the Fullness of the Gospel".  I love that.  The plan that God has prepared so that His children could return to Him is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not only sharing the Gospel, but I am sharing Salvation.  It's an amazing responsibility, but I am grateful for the opportunity. 

Love y'all!! Kiss Love Hugs

Monday, August 6, 2012


Hi family!!!

How is everyone!?! Sounded like a busy week for everyone.  Glad all y’all had fun.  Ella Holt, congratulations on your baptism!!  You looked so beautiful, and it wasn't just because of your white dress, you could see you spirit shining brightly, and that is the best kind of beauty.  Katelyn Elizabeth Jones, yes I got your letter... hehe.  Sister Holt thank you for the wonderful package!!!!! A thank you note is headed your way.  Grandpa, thanks for your package too!  I told Gwen, but I forgot to say thanks to you... and a thank you note is also headed your way! Mom, I’m excited for your package this week!! I hope everyone back at home knows how special I feel every week as I think about all the love and support each one of you shows me.  I feel your prayers, I feel your love.  Thank you!!!

Mom, it's funny how you commented on the missionaries working hard.  As PMG says, we need to have something productive planned for every hour of the day.  We go from one thing to the next and it's wonderful.  But don't think that we wouldn't LOVE a huge nap haha.  This week was one of those weeks for sure, where there was sooo much to do and 8 hours of sleep does NOT seem like enough.  Needless to say, I was barely functioning by Sunday.  But the things that happened this week are truly special.

This week we were able to begin lessons again for 양선옥, Sister Yang, in preparation for her baptism.  It has been a transfer since my companion and I have taught the lessons exactly so we were both a little nervous.  It went wonderfully though.  We know that she has been taught a lot so we decided to try and make things really simple; in a sense, going back to the basics.  The lesson was wonderful.  We have come to the conclusion that over the past two years she has gained so much Knowledge, and now she is trying to gain Understanding.  Understanding comes from taking the things we know into our hearts and letting it change us from the inside- out.  She has questions and she looking for answers, but she also know that this church is true.  I love to see her looking deeper within herself and within the scriptures to find understanding with her heart. 

Also, this Sunday she came to church!!!!! Church was something hard for her.  As a mom she didn't want to leave her family at home, and going to a place where she doesn't know very many people is also frightening, but the day was perfect!! Because she has been investigating for so long, many of the members knew who she was.  Instantly she was surrounded by loving Relief Society members who remembered her for the years past and welcomed her again to church. (*insert sigh of relief from the missionaries!) Next, it was fast Sunday, so the branch members began sharing their testimonies.  From the opening hymn of the meeting, the spirit was so tender and strong.  Sister Yang really felt it as well.  She kept telling us how full her heart felt.  When the testimonies began she asked if she too could stand up and share her testimony. Of course!! You could tell she was nervous, but we explained what to do.  After one sister finished her testimony you could tell that Sister Yang was feeling the spirit so strong that she just couldn't keep it to herself.  She stood with determination, mumbled a slight "me too" and walked to the front. 

I love her example there.  Her testimony was so dear to her, and the spirit was so sweet that she couldn't keep herself from saying "me too". I too want to share my testimony that God loves us and Jesus lives.  Me Too!  I want to share with you the things that I hold dear to me heart.  It's a moment that I’ll never forget.  And I hope that whenever an opportunity arises that I too will be able to rise and proclaim "Me Too!"

A couple other miracles happened this week.  The first, we went to go visit a LA, who ended up not being at home.  My poor companion had to go to the bathroom really really bad!! hahah So we knock on the other apartment door, plead our case and luckily a mom and her daughter graciously let us in.  The family was sooo kind!  We were then able to sit and talk with them for about 30 min about who we were and our purpose and we then we able to share a small part of our message about the Restoration.  It was wonderful!! They gospel interest is small at the moment, but the mother invited us to return whenever we would like.  I'm excited to visit them again.

Another miracle came when we followed the promptings of the spirit.  We had planned to go knock doors, but both my companion and I felt that we needed to go visit a member.  We didn't know why, it definitely wasn't planned, but we listened and we followed.  Upon arrival at the member’s house, she lit up!  She grabbed her shoes, and English Camp (youth program the branch is putting on, like youth conference almost, but it's to learn English!) flier and told us to follow her.  She then took us to dinner with two neighborhood boys she grabbed from their house.  (Let me mention that said member 이무정 Lee Moo Jeong is like the grandmother of the world! hehe really though, if you ever need a grandmother, she is the woman to go to!) So we end up in a restaurant with Sister Lee, and these two boys talking about church and the English program.  Both are interested and both want to come!! I think that if we didn't follow the promptings, we would not have had the opportunity to meet these two wonderful young men. 

Like I said, it was a wonderful week!! Mom, I’m glad you got the picture from Sister Kim.  She is my FAVORITE!!  I knew her and her family is my first area, and then they moved here.  She is a RM from Temple Square and a truly amazing woman.  Bless her; she is a new mom, in a new house, in a new area.  So that picture was from our day of service at her house.  We did the cabinets and I painted a wall in the bedroom.  Daddy, you would have been SOOO proud!! I got no paint on the floor, and my hands only had little speckles on them!  I didn't even do any goobers! =]  It was a fun day for sure.  When she sent you that picture I told her you would be sooo excited.  So I’m glad that you liked it!

Ok, funny story time.  I meant to write this in my last email but there was no time.  So while I have been in Korea I have had some very, KOREAN experiences.  I have had Korean companions, I have sat on the floor till I couldn't feel my feet, I have eaten dog, I have eaten a lot of things actually... but there was always something missing... Well, remember how I told you that I felt like I was at girls’ camp when I would sleep at night?  Well, the comparison now goes further.  You see, for the last weeks of July and the entire month of August our apartment complex has NO HOT WATER!! Nope. None.  We take freeeezing cold showers. (which, after a long hot day is fine for about 2 minutes).  When our frost bitten bottoms couldn't take it anymore we talked to President and he gave us some special permission.... WE GET TO GO TO THE PUBLIC BATHHOUSE!! (here is another link to another guys bath house experience!) hahaha My Korean companion is ecstatic…I was slightly skeptical... You see, on the streets, when I am fully clothed, I get lots of stares...I can only imagine what it was going to be like in the PUBLIC bathhouse.  Luckily there is one right next to our house and before we buy our month long membership we wanted to go check it out. The ladies there where very nice.  When I walked in, immediately all eyes were on me (this is still with clothes on).  The Korean women were a little toooo excited to see an Americans in the room.  One Korean lady was so kind that she left her shower to give us a tour of the facilities!!  My poor little American eyes weren't quite expecting such a warm welcome as she threw open the door and welcomed us into the bath house (yes, she was naked...).  Tour over with, and we see that everything looks sanitary enough; mental preparations begin for the next day when we will go and join the grandmothers of Korea. hahahah When my companion and I got there the next day, we sheepishly undressed, and quickly wrapped our towels around us.  Unfortunately, upon entering the bathing room we see that there is NO dry space to put our towels. ugh... So, back to the dressing room...big, deep breath of courage... off with the towels and back out to the shower. On our return to the showers without our towels, one woman piped in with the encouraging words of "just let it show!". hahaha I think I can now say that I have experienced nearly everything that Korea has to offer. 

I love Korea.  Every day is such an adventure!! I hope that I can share some of Korea with all y’all one day!!

Thanks for the love and support and all the prayers. They are needed!!

Kiss Love Hugs!! 

Picture from Sister Kim