Monday, October 29, 2012

No Words

Darling family,
Sorry this is coming to y’all so late, and it will have to be a short one too...

Today we went to an Amusement Park! haha Gyeong Ju World! It was a blast!  I love my district, though it's strange being only 1 of 2 Americans in it; good language practice though, right??

This week was full of some ups and downs.  We were excited this week to have a lesson with our other investigator JeeHee (she is the daughter of our recent convert).  Lessons with her have been going wonderfully!  Her faith has grown so much and, as always, I'm blessed to have the privilege to be able to see it happen. 

If you remember in my last email, I talked about weekly planning and setting up 2 baptismal dates for the two girls, and then we switched them. This led to the miracle of JuHee being able to accept the date of the 11th, the day before her birthday. Well, this lesson with JeeHee we were going to give her the date for the 18th.

As we were walking to the bus terminal to head to her house I had mixed feelings.  Part of me was excited to go, but the other part was telling me that it wasn’t the right time for the invitation.  I brought the concern up with my companion to see what she felt. She was skeptical. She didn't feel like there was any problem, and so I decided to trust her and we would keep to our plan.

The lesson with JeeHee was amazing!! The Spirit was so strong as we talked about Heavenly Father's Plan for us.  At the end of the lesson it was time for my companion to  give the commitment. When we told JeeHee the date that we had been thinking and praying about, her eyes went big.... "my birthday?" she said. At that moment I couldn't keep the tears from coming to my eyes.  We had no idea, but Heavenly Father did.  Heavenly Father knew that it was JeeHee's birthday, just as He knew that it was JuHee's birthday.  So amazing.

That moment I thought that the bad feeling I had early must have been a mistake.

After the lesson we are heading out when we run into our recent convert, her mom, Sister Yang.  We tell her the exciting news about her daughter preparing to be baptized.  Her eyes get big... "OH, I hadn't realized it was going so well..." Hmm... I realized with dread that we hadn't been involving the busy mother as much as we should have.  Sister Yang explained that it was good, but that she wanted to talk to JeeHee for herself. 

The phone cal that we got the next day wasn't very encouraging.  Sister Yang explained that after talking to JeeHee, she felt that JeeHee wasn't ready; that she wasn't taking things too seriously.  I am grateful for the mother's concern. Baptism is a big thing, something that needs to be prepared for with a sincere heart. But a part of me is afraid that because it took Sister Yang nearly 3 years to decide she was ready to be baptized that she might make JeeHee go through the same process. 

My poor companion has had a rough time with all of this.  And I'm sad because I didn't listen to the promptings as well as I should have.

But we felt that the date needed to be extended, and so we did.  Through this we can now see how to help JeeHee and her mom work more closely together in building up one another. Now everyone realizes again, that as missionaries we have a purpose and we will work towards accomplishing that purpose through the promptings of the Spirit.  Right now the hardest thing is just knowing what to do next....

Other parts of the work are going great.  We are getting busier and busier every week and it is so much fun!!.

I love you all, and you are in my prayers. Thank you for keeping me updated on home, I'll make sure to keep a certain beloved family in my prayers this week. 

Emily: I love the house!! It looks super cute!!! More pictures please!!
Gwen: maybe I'll see if we can send Mallory your way again!! He's always willing to answer questions... I'm really really really sorry that you missed him.  Thanks for the updates on your life!
Mom and Dad. I love you both!!! Thanks for being great!!
M&K... are y’all alive ^_^ ㅋㅋ(korean haha)

kiss love hugs! 

Monday, October 22, 2012


Hey y’all!! So last week I wrote in the title of the email that it was a "week of wonders".  Well, if last week was a week of wonders, then this week has been truly miraculous! Where do I even begin!?!?!

The week began as any other. We were finding old members, and trying to see why they weren't coming out to church.  We had some amazing meetings with a few of them and it was good in being able to finally put a face to a name on a list.

Thursday rolls around and it is time for our weekly planning!  I LOVE weekly planning!  Though it lasts FOREVER it is wonderful to be able to really sit down and think about the area, to think about their needs and the people we are teaching.  It is fun to pull out the teaching records and, with a prayer in our heart, plan what we are going to teach and when. I love being about to think about all the people individually and really think about what Heavenly Father wants for them.

This session we were doing just that for our newest investigator JuHee. (Bomi's friend).  She came to church again that Sunday and she is just drinking everything up! She is so beautiful, inside and out. During weekly planning we got out her teaching record and we began to see what she had been taught and what we wanted to teach her that night for our appointment.

We decided that we would finish the first lesson, but that we would also extend her a baptismal date.  (A specific day that she could prepare for to make the sacred covenant of Baptism.)  We had done this process for one of our other investigators and made her date for Nov 11th.  For JuHee we decided to make her's for the next week, on the 18th.  After we made that plan, I had a prompting from the Spirit that I needed to change the weeks around.  I sat there looking at the calendar and I kept feeling that the weeks needed to be switched. JuHee needed to be baptized on the 11th.  I expressed my feeling to my companion and we decided to make the switch.

That night was a fun lesson. We met JuHee and Bomi at the church where we made pancakes and then had the lesson.  The lesson was wonderful!! The Spirit that was there was so strong and tender. We talked a lot about prayers and what the answer to prayers are like for individuals. I was again SO grateful for Bomi to be there as she bore her testimony about the answers to prayers.  The Branch President even joined us at the end of the lesson and bore his testimony as well. It's fun to have all this support.

The time came during the lesson that we were to extend the commitment to prepare to be baptized on the 11th.  My companion asked her if she would be baptized and she agreed.  Expressing that is was what she really wanted to do.  Then, I told JuHee that we had been thinking and praying about her a lot that day and during that week.  I explained that we felt that she could be prepared to enter the waters of baptism on November 11th.  When I said the date, JuHee's eyes lit up and a smile spread across her face.  "How did you know?" She asked. Confused, she then explained that her birthday was the next day and the 11th sounded like the perfect day!!!

I am so grateful to know and recognize that Heavenly Father truly knows each of His children individually.  He knew when Juhee's birthday was, and He knew that she would be ready to enter into that sacred covenant the day before.  I am grateful that He told us and that we were ready to listen.

The next miracle, came the next day.  And I will never forget that morning.  Like any other Friday morning, we were at home doing study. At 9am we get a call from President that we were not expecting.... OK... Let's back up... If y’all remember a few months ago, after Sister Yang got baptized, Sister Yun and I were preparing for another investigator to be baptized as well, the darling grandmother, Sister Kim HwaSoon. The date was set {Sept 9}, but after the interviews we were informed that we would have to wait a little bit longer.  For whatever reason, we needed permission from the First Presidency before she could be baptized. Then, because of General Conference and other things, we had been waiting 6 weeks.  Being able to continue to teach her and see her testimony grow and grow was amazing. The phone call Friday morning was from President telling us that the permission had been received and Kim HwaSoon could be baptized as SOON as was possible!!

That phone call was sooo special to me!! Sister Kim had been waiting anxiously for 6 weeks. She wanted to be baptized soo bad!! She was ready to make that step, but not just for herself, but so she could help her family members as well.  She knew that she had found the truth and she was ready to join in with all of her heart.

As soon as the phone call ended with squeals of delight, I remember just sitting there for a moment, and then falling to my knees in tears as my companion and I offered up our deep thanks to Heavenly Father for granting Kim HwaSoon the chance to be baptized.  As soon as the prayer was over we called her up to tell her the news!! The tears were renewed as we combined our joy with hers. 40 minutes later, after countless phone calls, the date and the time of the baptism were set=Sunday Morning at 8:30am!!!!!!!!!!!

Our last lesson with Kim HwaSoon as an investigator was a sweet one. We talked again about the covenant of baptism and she was just so excited.  And then, in her tender, simple prayer she thanked Heavenly Father to have finally been able to find the truth, after a long life of 73 years. 

Sunday morning my companion and I were at the church at 6am to fill up the font.  The Baptismal service was wonderful.  Sister Kim truly looked like an angel dressed in white, and you could feel the presence of countless other angels gathering in around her as she entered into her new life.  Her grandsons played a piano and violin musical number and my companion and I were able to talk about her grabbing onto the Iron Rod as now she draws even closer to Heaven and Home.  We then gave her a new Triple Combination with a picture of Lehi's dream in front and her name, baptismal date, and a note from us on the inside.

My joy is truly full!! It was wonderful to have JuHee at the baptism that morning and now she is even more excited for the 11th to come!! I am excited for her.  She is going to be, and already is, an incredible strength to the youth in this Branch.

The miracles continue in ShinJeong and I'm excited to see what this next transfer holds! With the spirit, and the ever growing companionship unity, I'm excited to be able to bless more and more lives with this wonderful gospel.

My study time this week only added to these spiritual experiences. This week I recorded 15 pages worth of what can be called my "Conversion Story".  It was wonderful to be able to look back on the years of my life and the months of this mission and to see how I have changed and grown.  In a personal letter I wrote to Emily I said that since I have been here in Korea I have felt more like "me". I'm not the same person I was before, or have ever been in my life.  I am learning and growing and changing, but in that change I feel like I am coming closer to my Heavenly Father, and in this journey heavenwards I am becoming whom I was created to be, I am becoming "me". 

I love this glorious work.  I love the change it brings to people's lives and I love the happiness it can, and does fill you with.  I am humbled that Heavenly Father has trusted me to teach these wonderful people.

Thank you for your constant prayers! I love you all and I miss you like crazy!!

kiss love hugs!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


YAY! I got pictures from Sister Wells-Longshore today!! Enjoy! {Complete with her captions!}

"My Korean haircut and glasses"

Her and Her Companion

"A sweet grandma in our Branch. We were walking her home to have lunch and she needed me to carry the umbrella because it was SUNNY outside! lol"

Elder Mallory and Elder Hwang
"District Elders. Out at lunch after a District Meeting. Her comp, Elder Mallory, Elder McBride, Her!"
"This is Elder Hwang's watch. Yes it's real....Yes, it's about $600...And YES, I got to wear it! LOL"

"Eating cake as cake should be eaten: With chopsticks sitting in the kumchi squat!"
"Yeah....we were on a bit of a sugar high after eating this 9:40pm. LOL!"
"Sister Kersey"

"Beautiful clear day after the Typhoon! The apartments in the background are nicknamed "Mega Tron" because they look like Robots! This is a fun walking bridge that reminds me of the Memphis bridge."

"Elder Grose" {He is 6'5" and makes her feel short!}

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Week of Wonders

FAMILY!!! HI!! How are all y’all doing!?!

So first, a couple of "thank you’s".  Thanks mom and daddy for the "hump day" (half day) package! It arrived PERFECTLY on the 11th!! Y’all planned well =] and I LOVED EVERYTHING THAT WAS INSIDE!!!  Thank you Thank You THANK YOU! (a card full of more thanks will be coming soon.) Emily, Gwendel and Grandpa, I also got y’alls package.  Gwendel... Bravo!! lol  It was such a treat to get those and I've already put to good use all the little goodies inside!  The earrings were fantastic!  Super cute, unfortunately they were too long.. but luckily my darling companion makes jewelry so she shortened them down for me! Thanks for those and everything else in between!! Ms. Beth and Big Mamma, y’alls package hasn't come yet, but I've been notified that all the lovin’ is from y’all =] Thanks for thinking of me!!

This week here in Korea what WONDERFUL!!  It was a busy week, but it was full of wonderful little miracles.  Because we watch Conference a week later then y’all, we had our Fast Sunday this last week.  The day of fasting was for our investigators and to know of our purpose here in Shin Jeong.  As I was ending my fast in prayer, the answer to my questions came in a simple reply: "prepare for Conference".  The excitement and anticipation I had for Conference was multiplied by thousands!! I could hardly wait for the weekend to come!! During that week Heavenly Father gave my companion and I some very tender blessings and miracles.

It was a fun week that began with a trip to Geong Ju, the capital of the Silla Dynasty.  There we visited the ancient city of BulGuk Sa.  The weather was perfect and the sites beautiful.  While there we took pictures as a Zone in our matching jackets!! After the picture was taken, a family approached us. They thought it was fun to see Americans and Koreans mixed and having fun, but they were most excited to see our black name tags!! They were from Canada and their daughter had served in Seoul about 5 years ago and they were back visiting Korea.  Small world.  The next encounter happened as we were leaving to head back when we passed another group of foreigners.  They again recognized who we were and one lady put up her hand and said "I'm the Mormon in this group!" haha It was fun to talk with them as well.  They were from California and in Korea playing a senior's soccer tournament (who would have thought!?)  It always fun to see how the church makes the world so small.

The rest of the travel this past week consisted of a Training Meeting in Busan (I'm happy to report that my companion and I are the ONLY missionaries who have done the training program every day without fail! boo yah) and then to HoGye for Zone Meeting.  That meeting was a bit sad as my first companion, and trainer, gave us her departing testimony.  She returns home next week at the end of this transfer and I will miss her so so very much!!!!!

After the busy travels, we were able to begin receiving the tender mercies of the Lord.  First came at the loss of a loved one.  Sister Yang's, our recent convert's, Father in Law passed away this past week.  We are also currently teaching her daughter and we got the distressed message from her, JiHee, that her grandpa had passed away.  It was a tender moment shared between us as the missionaries, servants of the Lord, and this sorrowful daughter of God when we were able to share with her words of comfort; our words mingled with the words of the Savior and His prophets.  The next night I was able to attend my first Korean viewing service.  The family members were a little surprised to see a tall white girl show up; but when they realized we were from the Church of Sister Yang, they welcomed us in.  Part of the service is to pay your respects to the family and the person who has passed away.  You go into a separate room that has the casket covered in white lilies, with a picture of the loved one.  Because of the Korean devotion to ancestors, many people will bow down.  As missionaries we went in, gave our respectful bows to the family members and simply said that we wanted to pray.  There, in front of the picture, I was able to offer up a silent prayer to our Heavenly Father for the comfort of this family.  

After we paid our respects, Sister Yang's husband thanked us for coming.  When Sister Yang had begun investigating the church, her husband also began the journey, but soon lost interest as his wife persevered.  In that moment of his deep thanks he also did something that he has NEVER done before, he asked for our help.  Instantly we agreed.  I am thankful for the organization of the church and it's leaders.  In a matter of minutes it felt like we had notified everyone who needed to know the situation and this family, in their time of need, were able to receive the help that they needed.  I am grateful that they were able to receive the support that they needed, I'm also even more grateful and humbled to know that Heavenly Father gave Sister Yang's husband the opportunity to feel the support of our Savior through His followers and disciples.  I pray and hope that his heart will continue to be softened.

On the topic of members, I'll share the next miracle of the week.  I have always been grateful for the examples and the light of the young women!! I LOVE Young Womens!! I love the lessons that I learned there.  In the Shin Jeong branch, there is one YW that has grown dear to my heart.  Bomi is a wonderful example to everyone around her!! She lives what she believes and she is constantly inviting her friends to come and see for themselves.  Since I have been here I have seen her invite her friends numerous times to our Saturday activities (seminary, mutual, english class).  She has also invited her friends to come to church.  

Last week’s Fast Sunday she did just that.  She invited a friend from school to come to church.  It was at school and Bomi was defending her standards.  This friend noticed and explained that she had gone to our church years ago with another friend.  She didn't remember anything, she just remembered going.  Bomi didn't hesitate inviting this friend to come again.  Last week we met JuHee.  She is amazing!!  She has such great light and love and she enjoyed every hour of church!  It felt like she had been coming her whole life.  That day we set up a "dinner date" with her and Bomi that weekend.  That weekend we asked JuHee if she would continue to meet with us... SHE SAID YES!  She is excited to learn and is thirsting for all the knowledge we can teach her.  She came to church again this last Sunday, during the General Conference sessions.  (she was even a half hour early so she wouldn't be late!! She arrived even before Bomi!)   She sat in attention, occasionally taking notes, and during the songs she began to open up and read, and mark her Book Of Mormon we gave her the past week.  When there was some things she didn't understand, she would ask, or simply reply "I'll learn that more during our lessons, its ok if I don't understand now".  I'm grateful to be able to have the opportunity to teach this dear girl!! (ps Bomi will be going to the BYU English Learning Center this January!! I'm so excited for her!!)

The next miracle this week happened with the girl from Colorado, Valerie.  Valerie is here in Korea teaching English.  We ran into her on the streets, and since then she has been constantly running into either us or the Elders!!  Her best friend since toddler years is a Member who served a mission in Russia and is now married.  She explained that she learned her standards and the goodness of Christ from her example.  After a couple of weeks of trying to get ahold of her, Heavenly Father let us meet again on the street! There we asked her to dinner with us and the American Family in our Branch.  She accepted!! Sunday night dinner was perfect! (and delicious! I haven't had enchiladas since the MTC!!)  At the end we talked about Christ, and shared 2 Nephi 25:26&28.  We talked about who He is and why, as missionaries, we teach of Him.  We talked about the blessings that have come to us because of Christ and the changes we have made because of Him as well.  It was a wonderful lesson.  My poor companion got a taste of what it's like for the foreign missionaries when they first come to Korea (having a lesson in a language you don't fully comprehend).  But her simple testimony in broken English, I feel, was the highlight!!  Like JuHee, Valerie agreed to meet with us again and begin reading parts of the Book of Mormon.  It amazing to realize that I'm not a missionary just for Korea, I get to be a missionary for the world. {Valerie keeps a blog of her adventures if you want to read more about her:}

The crowning moments of the week came on Saturday and Sunday as I got to sit at the feet of the leaders of this Church and be taught by them.  It was an amazing time. With the Conference dubbed in Korean, the Priedman Family allowed me to borrow an iPod and headphones to listen to it in English.  Conference was amazing!! I don't think my companion quite understood my giddy excitement, but I couldn't hold it in!! I got the hear the Prophet's voice!! I got to learn for the leaders of the Church and from the Spirit.  It was amazing.  The themes of family, repentance and discipleship really stood out to me.  I loved all the stories about the Apostle Peter. They were especially tender because my chosen "mission theme", or scripture, was quoted often in the words of "Lovest thou me?... Feed my Sheep".  

Here in the Korea Busan Mission, President and Sister Gilbert are urging us missionaries to go the next level.  To rise higher and rely on the Lord.  To do His will and be worthy of it.  I felt that that was the theme of this Conference, for me.  We are doing good, but we need to do better.  We need to be refined more from the Atonement.  We need to repent, or change, ourselves so we can be the servants He needs us to be.   We need to reach out more.  Forgetting ourselves and taking upon us the Character of Christ; which is to turn out.  We need to show our love always.  We need to love God.  We need to forgive.  And we need to be firm in our faith.  There are so many other things that I learned, but I'm still in the middle of processing them all.  

The end of Conference was a bitter-sweet. As a missionary in Busan I don't have the blessing of being able to attend the sacred halls of refuge of the Temple.  There are so many days when I would give anything to spend a day in the Lord's House.  Not being able to go to the Temple has been very, very hard.  But, as I listened to conference, as I gathered with the Saints of the world to be taught by the Prophet and leaders, I felt again like I was in the Temple.  The Spirit was so powerful.  It was hard to leave the Church building on Saturday knowing that I had to go back outside, into the world.  And Sunday, as the words of "God be with you till we meet again" were sung, I pleaded to be able to stay a little bit longer in the 'temple' of the Conference spirit.  But the song and the answer to my prayer gave me a promise.  God will be with us until we meet again.  Whether that again is at the next Conference, when I return home from my mission, or when I can again physically enter into the Temple walls, I know that God will be with me.  And I know that I can continue to have my own personal 'temple time' as I follow the counsel that was given at Conference.

I love this Church.  I love this Gospel.  I love my Savior.  And because of this love I am striving hard to “feed His sheep.”

Thanks for all the love!! I miss you all dearly and I'm praying for each of you constantly! May God continue to be with you!
Kiss Love Hugs! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Hello dear family!!

Welcome to October!! The air is getting crisp, the leaves are changing colors and we get to watch conference!! Things can't get much better!! Though I haven't been able to watch General Conference yet, I did hear the news about the age difference!  Can I just tell you how excited I am!!!! I am sooo excited that Sisters will be able to leave early to serve the Lord!  What an exciting time!  I'm also slightly jealous because those extra 2 years of waiting were excruciating.  But I know I was supposed to serve at this time, so I really can't complain all that much. 

I thought about y’all this past weekend watching Conference, eating "conference" food, and spending time with one another. I hope that you enjoyed every moment of it!  I had a neat experience while saying my prayers this past weekend; I could feel the power and the strength of the Saints gathering together to hear the words of our dear Prophet.  I could feel the power of the General Authorities as they made their final preparations to speak by the Power and Spirit of God.  It was a tender and powerful feeling, and it only made me that much more excited to be able to hear their words myself!!  I am so very excited!  Words can't even begin to describe it!!

So this week in Korea was busy and wonderful! The extra P-day after the holiday was a little strange to have, but then we could get right on with the work.  (and it really is my favorite work!)

This week we taught our dear grandmother investigator.  She is so tender and I'm excited for the day she will be baptized!!! We talked this past week about Repentance.  My companion and I came up with an awesome analogy to help with the lesson ((ps: after the lesson I was talking to the Elders and tried to tell them about the "비유" that we had used...I COULD NOT, for the life of me, remember what "비유" was in English!! It took me a good 2 hours of thinking and a couple of dictionary searches to realize the word I was looking for was "analogy"... hahah oh learning Korean! lol I love it!!))

Anyhow... So the idea started from watching the District Videos (Gwen will remember those well lol)  In one of the videos, the Sister Missionaries where talking about "turning a new page".  So to the lesson we brought a black piece of coating paper (lamination paper??) and a white board marker.  We talked about how the paper is us, and the marker is sin.  We talked about some of the things we may do that would be sins, and we wrote those on the paper (not keeping the commandments, lying, gossiping, etc).  Then I explained, using the same 'sin' marker, that sometimes in our lives we grab onto sin, and only though repentance can we let go.  We then taught the 5 steps of repentance: recognition, sorrow, prayer, turning away, and reconciliation.  With each step and explanation I raised one finger away from the marker I was holding in my hand.  At the end the marker dropped. My companion then explained that once we have let go of our sins, our hand is now free to cling to the Atonement of Christ, which is our eraser.  We cannot erase our sins on our own; we do not have that power.  But Christ does.  And through Christ we can be made clean again.

It was such an amazing lesson!! It was first wonderful to see our investigator's understanding, but also, on a more personal side, to see how far my new companion and I have come.  Our first lesson we had together was with this same investigator and, wasn't very good. There was no love, no unity, and little spirit. (Which are the things that every missionary absolutely NEEDS to have!!) But this lesson, all those things were present.  I think one of the biggest things is that we weren't focusing on ourselves or trying to teach the perfect lesson.  We were just sharing the message that we know to be true and we were sharing it with love.  It was amazing. 

The rest of the week went well.  We are still going out nearly daily to try and find the Less-Actives of our Branch.  We have a list of 426 members that are supposed to be coming to church...currently we have about 65 active members who come every week.  It's heart breaking to think that so many people have lost sight of the truth and light of this Gospel, but little by little we are trying to make contact and find those who have been lost.  On Sunday, we spent about 3 hours walking around finding different houses.  None of the people were home, but we were able to leave a note and a pamphlet and some cookies.  Little reminders that God loves them, and we do too. 

I'm excited for this next week though!! We have a couple of lessons with our English Class members that should go really really well!  (One lady we taught 2 weeks ago (everyone who comes to english class is required to sit in on one 30 min Gospel discussion/ introduction of our church) after seeing a picture of Joseph and Moroni explained to her friend about who Joseph Smith was and the Book Of Mormon, etc... it was a neat moment to see that she HAD payed attention!! And that she remembered so many details! I'm excited for the next lesson with her!! ) 

And then we have a dinner appointment with the American family in our branch and a girl from Colorado we met out on the street!! She knows about our church, and her best friend served a mission in Russia. We, and the Elders, keep running into her... Heavenly Father is ready to have her hear the Gospel I think.  Really though, the work is going great, and the next couple weeks should be pretty exciting!!

I love you all!! Thank you for all the love!!!!

Mom asked the question of how my Korean is coming along... things are going really well.  I can understand a lot of things, though forming all that I want to say is pretty hard.  My companion said that my pronunciation, especially when reading, is pretty good.  I'm starting to learn more and more words everyday just from listening, which makes things nice.  It helps to have a companion that doesn't speak hardly any's hard to communicate, but it forces me to try, even when I fail =]. 

Haha, funny thing!! For some reason this past week I kept getting compliments from the members that I am really good at chopsticks!! So if my chopstick skills are in any relationship to my speaking skills, then I think I'm doing ok. ((Though korean is still really really realllllllyyyyy hard!! lol))

kiss love hugs! Have good week!!! 
Her using Chopsticks at the MTC!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy 추석 (Chuseok)

((추석 sounds more like Choo Suck, but i didn't really want to put that as the title... hahah))

Hello darling family!

 Sorry this letter is one day late, I was busy having a blast at the mission p-day!  It was such a fun way to celebrate the Korean Thanksgiving!  Everyone got to see everyone and catch up! I LOVE getting together with all the missionaries!  The crazy thing was, it that I don't recognize people because of all the new missionaries that have been coming in... that thought led me to calculate that I am now at my HALF WAY MARK! Ridiculous right!?!?!  I'm having anxiety trying to wrap my head around it.  I was looking through my calendar the other night and I could hardly believe that I was already on October! 

Well, Korean Thanksgiving went well!  It is tradition on this holiday for Koreans to go to the "land of their fathers" so to speak.  Typically they go to the Father's side of the family's hometown. (Typically it seems around the 3 major cities of Busan, Seoul, and Dejeon).  Because of the mass exodus from Ulsan to the other cities, the city was extremely empty!!! It was nearly eery to see the streets neither crowded with cars or people.  Everything was closed down, and at church we had 3 families come (which is actually a LOT more that we were expecting actually!  We really thought it was just going to be the missionaries! (and until 10:10am it was lol) 

After Sacrament meeting one family took pity on the missionaries and we got invited over for lunch!!  Of course it was delicious! And they gave us a HUGE bag of leftovers at the end. One thing I did learn from 추석 was how to make the traditional rice cake!! They are typically white, with sesame and sugar inside and they are shaped like a half moon (which is also their nickname). 

Our other 추석 adventure came Sunday night.  Again, the town was dead and everyone was busy, so at the church we had our own 추석 dinner with the Elders!  My companion and I cooked and we all ate together.  It was fun.  Reminded me a little bit of home because as we were cooking we had the MoTab playing and, because we weren't in an apartment, I got to FINALLY sing my little heart out without worrying that I would disturb the neighbors. I miss being about to sing out like that!!!

As I talk about the Feasts of 추석, I think about the Spiritual Feasts that I have been able to have this past week.  It's been a blessing as I have been with my new companion, who is also a new missionary, to realize, in part, what it is that Heavenly Father needs me to do and how it is we can work together.  This past week I really recognized the importance of asking questions.  Yes, I can speak Korean to an extent, but when you want to really try and get something across, I find that my limited vocabulary tends to still fail me.  Instead, I have started asking questions.  When there is a principle that needs to be taught, or a matter that needs to be discussed, instead of beating my way through an explanation, simple questions are much more effective.  Through questions, the answerer has to look within themselves to search the answer.  They ponder and think, they apply it to the knowledge and experiences they have accumulated, and then they answer.  This process allows us to come to the same conclusion that I wanted to share, but with one difference. Because the answer came within, it is already internalized and therefore can be applied. When affirmed by another or more importantly, the Spirit, the questioned answered now becomes a truth learned.  We have been able to grow a bit closer to the Savior and to each other this week because of questions. 

I've once again realized this week that the principles taught in PMG, are not just for missionaries teaching investigators, they are for everyone!  They are meant to help every person draw closer unto Christ.  PMG isn't just a guide to missionary work, it is a guide to conversion.  And when we are converted we will want to share the gospel.  I really like in the September Liahona (or Ensign..) Where it talks about sharing the gospel by FIRST being a friend.  I love that.  Be you.  Live the things that you believe.  And when you do this, others will see the light that you have and a gospel discussion will come naturally.  When you live what you believe, you are constantly testifying of Jesus Christ.  I am reminded of the quote by an Apostle of the Lord, he said something like "Share the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words". 

Monday was a fun P-day as all the missionaries traveled to Busan for a mission p-day!  Again, I LOVE getting together with all the missionaries. We played games, had spiritual messages, prepared a Christmas surprise for our families =] and just had a grand ole time. It was neat though, one of the requirements, your "ticket" to get in, was you had to write a letter.  Last week we were assigned a name of a missionary and for a week we had to pray for and find a scripture that we could share with this missionary.  It was a neat thing to do to inquire of the Lord of how to help a fellow Sister and servant.  Well, at the p-day, Sister Gilbert announced that for Christmas we were going to be doing the same thing.  But instead of a letter, we are now reading a Book of Mormon.  We are to pray for what Heavenly Father would have us mark and learn from the Book of Mormon, then on Christmas day we will receive that name of the missionary we will give it to.  Again, I'm excited to see the new things I will learn and what I'll be able to share! 

Anyhow, I love y’all!! Thanks for all the letters and love.  I'm jealous you got to see the RS Broadcast already... it might be a couple more weeks for us.  I know that we don't watch conference here until a week after y’all, but I think Sister Gilbert wants to get all the sisters together so we can watch it; we'll see what happens.

I love you. You are in my prayers!! I missed you lots this last week as my companion got to call her family for the holidays!! But it's only 2 more months till I get to hear your voices again!!! {Missionaries only get to call home twice a year...Mother's Day and Christmas.}

kiss love hugs