How wonderful it was to open up my email today and see emails from all y’all!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Things are still a little bit on the chilly side here in Sangin, but we have had somewhat warmer days! I have to say that I am SO ready for Spring to come!
Oh man...I don't even know where to begin!?! Hmm...How about with: I LOVE MY COMPANION!! Working with her is the biggest blessing ever! Yes, it is really really really different! It's strange to speak so much English again (I don't think I have spoken this much English since September....) and it's funny when I just slip into Korean and then I realize she can't have Konglish conversations yet...but things are going well. Sister Taylor is picking up on things pretty quickly, so that's good. It's funny being the companion that talks the most in the lessons these days, but I know that Sister Taylor always has my back, and I try hard to keep her informed on what is going on in the conversation. She's a good sport and is always ready to bear her testimony and share the things we have practiced and prepared. Food is a little hard for her right now...She misses the "simplicity" of American food and some of the things still freak her out a bit; but again, give it some time and I think she'll warm up.
The fun part about serving with her (one of them) is that it makes me think about when I was a newer missionary and I thought everything was strange. Now, when she points something out, it's a bit odd to think that its foreign! I'm always like: "How is it in America??" Haha I don't really know what is odd and what's not; it all just seems normal. It has been fun sharing the things that I have picked up and learned. I like being able to share all the things that I have accumulated. I think Sister Taylor was rather relieved when her first meal at a members house was spaghetti hahaha!!
Well this week began with inspiration and was filled with miracles. Last week, as we were knocking doors, Sister Taylor just said: "You know what I think? I think there are some very special people waiting for us to find them, people who God has prepared, and I think that we need to search them out" As the Spirit also touched my heart, I couldn't help but smile and agree completely! And so it began!!!!!
Everyday we planned time to go out and proselyte, whether on the subway or bus stops, we even tried at a University (but it was closed because of vacations haha). As we take a look back on the week we can see how much Heavenly Father has blessed us! PMG teaches that finding people is an act of faith. We don't know what is going to happen, we don't know where the conversation will go (if they talk at all), we don't know how they will accept our message, and things like that. But that doesn't matter, because we love God, we love our message, and we have the faith that He will lead us to those people who need to hear our message. And can I just say!?! My journal is FILLED with stories from talking to people.
We met one lady on the train that knew who we were because as a little girl she played with the missionaries at the church, which was across the street from her house. To her, we gave a Book of Mormon.
As we were talking with someone else, a girl asked who we were and where we were from, she went on to talk to us in English because she was a English-Lit major and she gave us her number, really excited at the prospect of being about to meet again.
Another Christian family we met and they explained about their mother passing away and how that led them to search out God and beginning attending church. To them, we talked about God's love and the Plan of Salvation and we gave them a pamphlet and a Book of Mormon.
My companion and I took a bus we hadn't originally planned on, and I sat next to a woman. We began talking about her family and life and soon she asked for our number, texted us the next day and now we have an appointment with her this Friday.
As we were waiting for a subway, I saw a man reading a sign in English, and I went up and introduced ourselves and explained we teach free English classes. After talking some, he said that he went to church as a little boy and always believed in God, but he wasn't going to any church now. We got his information, referred him to our Elders, and now they have an appointment with him this next week.
We were out finding a house that we wanted to visit and we stopped into a market to ask for directions. The girl working recognized us because she said she had seen similar people walking around, but she had never talked to them, though they seemed nice. We had a great conversation with her, got her number, and we are planning to visit her again this week.
One day during pros. my companion was having a hard time, but was trying to talk to as many people as she had the courage to. At the end of the day, as we were about to say prayers, she shared with me something that she had just realized. She said that it was a hard day, but she was just praying for the faith and courage to be able to talk to people, and it ended up that EVERY person that she began to have a conversation with ended up speaking really really good English and she was able to do missionary work without any help.
I could go on and ON about the things that we experienced this week and the people we talked to. It was SO cool! By the end of the week we had received 15 contacts and given away 10 copies of the Book of Mormon.
Truly the Lord fills the mouths of His servants and He blesses us beyond measure as we put a little faith and trust in Him.
Of course my week has also been filled with funnies too (trying to figure out a sticker machine that is yelling at you in Korean, yet everything is in Japanese!, quoting movies and songs, having an old man whisper in my ear that I am beautiful and that he will miss me, and getting lost a couple of times and then having old grandmas argue about which is really the right direction, companion date night where we watch the Testaments movie while drinking banana milk....) but those moments just add to the silver lining of missionary work.
We've taught lessons, and testified of Christ. We have shared our message with those people around us and we learned for the scriptures. We have the desire to continue to do so! I have a feeling that the miracles of Sangin are only just beginning to happen!! There is SO much more waiting to happen, we just have to continue to work hard towards them. I know that the Lord is mindful of everyone and there really is a quickening happening in the work, and I am humbled and excited to be apart of THIS work at THIS time!!
Thanks for all the love and support! I love you all dearly and I hope you know that I miss y’all, but Korea has my heart right now! (so much that I am STILL having nightmares of ending up at home when I KNOW that I am still supposed to be in Korea haha ((really though, they are NOT fun dreams! I just cry and cry and wonder why I am at home and NOT in Korea!)) )
Love y’all, mean it! Oh...and I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!
So the last time I wrote I talked about how I would be having the AMAZING privilege of training again, and in the mean time (while waiting for the new missionaries to arrive) I would get to go play down in my old area, ShinJeong!
So the story begins there!! To my great delight I got to go down to ShinJeong with Sister Cutler, who is one of the girls I came with to Korea. This is both our second time training, and I think for the most part we were just excited to spend a couple days together. OH and was it fun or WHAT!?!
Our first night in my beloved Ulsan, we had a dinner appointment with the Priedman Family! Sister Priedman knew that I was coming, but none of the other girls did. So we head on up, ring the doorbell, the youngest, Emma, answers and at first she just says hello, and then she was like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?!" haha she was so excited to see me and then I spent the next couple of minutes passing hugs around.
The next couple days that followed were full of hard work and lots of growing!! From my Kiran experience, and a couple other events, I realized that YES! I can speak the language! And NOW, more then ever, was the time for me to use what I have been blessed with, to Open. My. Mouth. Wide and talk with the people around me.
I learned a lot from Sister Cutler in those couple of days. She is absolutely fearless, and with the two of us together, we were absolutely unstoppable!!!
The original plan was to spend Tuesday in Ulsan, and then go back to the Boo on Wednesday to meet the new missionaries and get things started... Well, the poor new missionaries decided to have one of their own adventures!! They arrived at the Airport Monday morning ready to go! They are dropped off, the bus leaves and then they go to check in... Only to discover that their plane had been canceled because of a snow storm in Japan! So they returned back to the MTC (which would just be awful!! haha) and left the next day!! Well, they finally left SLC and landed safely in Japan. Upon arrival in Japan, things were a MESS!! Planes where coming and going but they were all mixed up...So again, these poor missionaries missed their flight and got to spend the night in JAPAN! FINALLY on Thursday afternoon they arrive in Busan!
When Sister Cutler and I heard this, we were a little sad but at the same time, not really, because that meant that we got to spend a couple more days together! We shared the good, bad and ugly about training the first time and what we wanted to do differently the next time. We set goals, and made plans. It really was a good week of building each other up. I think her and I had to have set some sort of record or something!! We served together for 2 and 1/2 days and in that time span we taught 5 lessons and received 10 contacts from proselyting!!!!!! It was AWESOME!!
With those few days behind us, and more pumped then ever to do missionary work and to spread the Gospel, we met the new missionaries. Like the other times of training, we went to a big subway station, proselyted, and then had dinner. During that time, me and Sister Cutler switched between the American (Sister Taylor) and the Korean (Sister Pak). I have to admit that we both knew from the beginning who we felt we were going to be with. Sister Cutler hit it right off with Sister Taylor and I with Sister Pak. It was so easy to work with Sister Pak. We just flowed and fed off of each other. We chatted like old friends and it was the best. It was strange being with Sister Taylor because I have never been with an American before, and when I was ready to just talk a mile a minute, she was left behind trying to catch up. It was good though, to slow down at times, and give her the confidence she needed to have her say what she remembered from the MTC. That night, when Sister Cutler and I went back to sleep over at the Gumjeong house, we both just KNEW who we were going to be with!! It seemed so perfect, and things fit together soooo well!!
Then the DAY came. We head to the Boo to have breakfast with the missionaries and wait anxiously for President to announce who we were going to be paired with. (Which we already knew right!?!) The time comes for the announcements. We do something fun where Sister Cutler and I stand behind the trainees and when they open their eyes and turn around they see who they will be with! lol So we go and I stand behind Sister Pak and Sister Cutler behind Sister Taylor. And then we look at President.... And he shakes his head no... And motions for us to SWITCH!!!! Sister Cutler and I just look at each other with HUGE eyes!... WE SOOO DID NOT EXPECT THAT!!!!!
So, from that moment on, I became companions with Sister Sarah Meleana Eliza Rose Taylor from Provo, UT. ((Her family owns the arabian horse ranch in Payson and the "Taylor Maid" costume and beauty shop in Provo on Center St!!)) She is gorgeous and funny and sweet and FEARLESS!!! This was NOT what I was expecting to happen, but as every day goes by I know that Heavenly Father really does know what is best and He knew that we needed to learn from each other these next 10 weeks.
That's another thing!! Because the MTC is changing things, and we have to have a 4 week transfer. I only get 10 weeks with her! =[ But we will just have to make the most out of it!!
I can already see the miracles happening in this area. Things seem to be waking up again! We are getting visits with members, we are finding new places and new people. We are both loving the work, and I love being able to help Sister Taylor grow in her confidence. This is going to be SO MUCH FUN!! I know that Gwen said that she hoped that I would get the Korean Sister to keep my streak and to keep up with the language, but I have to push myself TONS now because I don't have a Korean to figure all of it out for me! haha And I do get to help her learn lots and it’s fun to be able to share the things that I have learned from my other companions. Though it is still strange speaking a lot of English again. ^__^
There are TONS of fun stories to share from this week, like going to go knock doors, and asking for directions, and getting a total of 18 contacts last week!! But the time is short right now. So we'll have to save some for later!
Know that I love y’all and I am SOOO grateful for all the love and extra prayers. They are needed and greatly appreciated. Pray for us this week!! We are BUSY and our schedule is so full of appointments; so pray for us not to kill over by the end of the week...and if we do die, know that we died in the happiest and greatest Christian cause of the WORLD: bringing other's closer to Christ!!
FAMILY!!! Hi! How is everyone doing?? From the emails it sounds like everyone is doing great, which makes me happy.
So...are y’all ready to hear about Transfers!?! So like normal, the calls came to us on Thursday night. During that week leading up to the calls, I really didn't have any particularly strong feelings of what was going to happen. I had some thoughts, but no strong impressions. Thursday night came and I found that I was nervous! Like really nervous!! I had butterflies like crazy, though I really couldn't figure out why. A little after 9pm my companion got a call from the AP's that told her she was going to be transferring...but they didn't say anything about me... When her phone call ended, the butterflies did NOT go away. I just kept thinking "there is going to be another phone call... there is going to be another phone call". At 9:26pm the phone rang again, and my companion handed it over to me. As soon as she answered, I knew who it was and the butterflies and nerves completely disappeared. The first thing I said was "I was wondering when you were going to call!" And then President replied with "I tried 4 times!!" haha
President Gilbert then goes on to tell me that, once again, I will have the opportunity of TRAINING a new missionary!!!!!! There are 2 sisters coming in! One is American (Sister Sarah Taylor) and the other is Korean (sister 박세영 bak seh yeong). The Korean Sister is also really good at English because she studied in Hawaii. Anyhow! Me and Sister Cutler from my MTC group will be training for our second time. I don't know until this Thursday who my new companion will be, but I have to admit that I am really really really excited to be training again!!
When the call came from President, I instantly felt peace, and joy, and excitement. I know that this is what I need to do right now and I'm excited for the blessings and miracles and opportunities it will bring.
I've been thinking a lot about what kind of companionship I want to create with this new missionary. More then ever, we need missionaries who are obedient, loving and grateful. Busan has a temple on the horizon and we are working hard towards it. I want a companion who will love; Love me, love the members, and love the work. For that to happen I know that I need to first love the Savior, and love her. Though I kinda feel like I'm whitewashing and training at the same time, I'm excited for the Light and the Spirit my new companion will bring to our area. What a blessing she will be, whoever she is, to the Sangin Ward.
I think what I'm FIRST most excited for in this week is spending time with Sister Cutler. She is currently serving in Shin Jeong, so I get to go back and visit everyone for the next couple of days!!!!!! I'm SO SO SO excited!!!!! hehe And since both of us have trained before, we are already talking a lot about how to do better and what to change etc. It'll be a good week of learning. I am so grateful every day to be apart of the Korea Busan Mission Family. Truly, this is the greatest mission in the world ^__^
I love you all and thank you so much for all your love, support and prayers. Say a little prayer for the new missionaries coming in. Bless them to come in with fire and to help us move this mission forward to the level Heavenly Father needs it to be at. I'm excited! This is an exciting time here in Busan!! More and more missionaries are coming in!! I actually hope that I will have the chance to continue to train these last 5 transfers of my mission. If I can't forever serve here, then I want to make sure the next 'generation' of missionaries takes care of my dear Busan.
Cool thing I learned/ realized this week...I was looking through my old MTC notebook and I found a quote from one of the elders in my classroom. He said "If we are not living to be loving, then what is the point?" Studying the Savior's attributes and life this past transfer I was able to see even more clearly that the Savior and the Godhead, are all personages of Love. So, "if we are not living to be CHRISTLIKE, then what is the point?"
**I think that this is something that I want to focus on this next transfer with my new companion. Truly, if we love the Savior, then we will love others. And if we are living to be loving then we are fulfilling our divine potential.
Hello!!! How is everyone doing?? Thanks for y’alls letters this week! Seems like things are going great for everyone. Crazy to think that we have just ushered in a new year!! 2013!! As Korean tradition goes, everyone goes up a year in age at the New Year...so between my American age of just turning 22, my Korean age of 23 last year, and now my new age of 24 this year, I'm feeling like time is going really really really fast. But it'll be fun to say that in my life I was 23 and 24 TWICE! Lol
Some other moments that hit me a little hard and made me realize how fast time was going by was the fact that this past Friday was my ONE YEAR mark as being a Set-Apart missionary and this Friday, the 11th, will be my ONE YEAR mark as a missionary with a name tag. I can't really comprehend it and I don't really like it, but I had some really neat moments this past week that have given me a new perspective.
For the past transfer I have been trying to meet an investigator that was taught by my companion and her pervious companion. Her name is Kiran. She in from Nepal and is here with her husband and family while her husband goes to school. Because of the holidays and her preparing to return to Nepal, we have been unable to meet. Christmas day I was able to send her some Season’s Greetings with a message telling her that we loved her and that we were praying for her and her family. She replied with “thanks” and told us that she knew that only God could send the missionaries. It was a sweet message. But as things would turn out that ended up being our last communication with Kiran.
On New Year’s Day, we sent her another salutation and said we could meet during the week if that would work better. Not a minute later, a reply came back saying the number had been disconnected and was no longer in use. My companion and I kinda freaked out and we cleared our schedule for the next day so we could head out to her house. We got there and there was no reply...we couldn't call her...There was no sign that anyone lived there anymore...All we can assume is that her plans to return to Nepal in February were moved up.
I have never met Kiran, but I loved her from the beginning. Just hearing about her from my companion and how the other teaching lessons had gone, I was SO excited to meet her and teach her myself. My companion recalls the first time that she met Kiran and in stumbled English, apologized for not being able to communicate very well. Kiran's reply was quick and full of love. She told her it would be ok because they would be able to communicate heart to heart. As we left Kiran's house my heart just sunk. With every car that passed, every person that walked by, my heart would call out, "Are you Kiran?... Are you Kiran?.. Are you the one I get to teach about God's love and your divine potential? Are you Kiran?" The hour bus ride home, I thought about that question a lot... "Are you Kiran?" Specifically the answer is "No", but generally the answer is "Yes". Everyone here in Korea, everyone in the world, is “Kiran”. They are a beloved Child of God who is in need of the message I bear. The same excitement I had to share this message with someone I had never met is the same excitement I can have with everyone on the street, everyone I pass by. When I ask the question in my heart, "are you Kiran?," the answer can always be a resounding “Yes”. I will forever be grateful for Kiran and the lesson I learned from her. I know that as she returns to Nepal, and she continues to search for Heavenly Father, He will find her. Kiran helped me begin this near year with a new perspective.
The next learning moment came on Friday as we did a 10 min member lesson. Sister Bek is the mother of 5, with the 6th of the way. Her husband is not a member. The stories of her strength of character and spirit and example could go on and on and on... but today I learned a particular lesson from her.
My companion and I have been talking about how we want to go back to the beginning of our missions! Back when there was more time, back when we had the drive and desperate prayers of a new missionary. I was thinking about that a lot, and during the lesson Sister Bek said something interesting. She said that many times in our lives we wish to go back, or to redo something, or to start again; but those thoughts tell Father in Heaven that we are not trusting in His plan and who He is creating us to be. In this life we will go through ups and downs, we will have great times and hard times, and time that we will need to change through the Atonement of Christ. But if we always bring ourselves back to the straight and narrow pathway, then those moments of trial will ALWAYS be for our benefit and good. They will be moments that Heavenly Father included in our personal Plan of Salvation because they are the moments of refinement that help us become who we are. So my thoughts have changed. I don't want to become a new missionary, I want to be THIS missionary who has chosen today to go down the path that Heavenly Father has created for me. I have chosen to be the missionary that trusts in the Lord, trusts in the Spirit, and trusts in what God is creating her to become. I chose to follow Him and I choose to go forward, not backwards.
I'm grateful for the timing of the new year and the opportunity we have to evaluate and make ourselves accountable, both personally and to the Lord. There are going to be a lot of endings and beginnings for me this year of 2013, but I'm excited for each of them.
Thank you, to everyone, for all your prayers and support, love and kindness. I need your strength and I feel in every week. I love missionary work!!! I love it. I love it. I love it SO MUUUCHHH!!! Hehe
OH!! Funny moment this week!! I was at a member's house for dinner and we were looking through old pictures when all of a sudden the face of Josh Brereton was there on the page!...but wait! That can't be Josh! haha It was Brother (Elder) Brereton! Back when missionaries had "mission moms" that cooked and cleaned for them, this Sister was Brother Brereton's mission mom!! So fun!! I took pictures of the pictures, so I'll send those home as soon as I can. It was a fun little experience lol The sister is 소경자 (So Gyeong Ja).
AND this past week was like Christmas Part 2!! I got packages from the Girls, and the Martineau’s and Carlson’s! Thank you notes are coming, but snail mail is slow. I just wanted to tell y’all thanks!! Really, the packages were wonderful!!!! =] And Mom and Dad, I got the Christmas letter from y’all...not a fan of my pictures lol! But I LOVE the black and white ones of y’all at Tyler and Brooklyn's wedding! Oh my goodness! I have the cutest parents in the world!! Hehe
LOVE YALL!! Talk to you next week! The email we be later...it's a transfer day. Calls come this week!!
OH fun fact, by May we will have 110 missionaries here!! In 3 transfers there are 10 new sisters coming!!! AHH!!! That means pretty much EVERYONE here will be training at the same time! so fun!!
Dear Family! Can you believe that it was only a week ago that we were able to talk!?! Seemed so strange to hear your voices and then just get back to work. But it was WONDERFUL to hear your voices. Like last Mother's Day, it was a relief to realize that you still sound so familiar. Silly I know, but it's true. I have to admit every time I read your emails I can hear y’alls voices. Good times. Though the call was a little sketchy, it was still fantastic.
Well like I said, after the phone call, the work just moved on forward. We have been able to do more and more less active finding and 10 min member lessons and that makes me so happy! I feel like I'm slowly getting to know this area. I still don't know the members as well as I would want to, but we are working on that. On Friday, the Lovely Daegu decided to snow... a lot... like one foot a lot!!!! YEAH!! We had plans to take a bus out to visit a member, but seeing the buses out on the ice roads changes our plans REAL fast!! Instead we decided to walk...for 5 hours! It was so fun though! Those are my favorite days, when we just go out and pound the pavement finding apartments and people. So that was really good. Mom and Dad, if I haven't thanked you for my FANTASTIC boots, then I really really need to!! THANK YOU!! I love them so so sooo very much! And my feet stay dry and warm. Really, thank you.
This week we got a new investigator!!! I'm in love with her already. Her sister is a recent convert and went to BYU. A long time ago the little sister would come to church with her sister, but lost interest. She decided to come back and try again. Her personality makes me laugh. She is a little bit of the cool girl, but she is so kind and sweet and we've become fast friends. I see a lot of potential in her and I'm excited to continue to teach her more and more. The only potentially bad thing is that she is going into the busiest school year for Korean students. It's called GoSam.Which means the third year in school. It's their senior year and it is absolutely brutal! Non stop studying and tests and preparations for university! So meeting with her might be a bit difficult, but she seems to have a big desire to meet so that helps a lot.
The work is all going well. I love it here in Daegu, especially for the members. They love missionary work and they are always looking for chances to share this gospel. They are a good example to me.
Sorry this one is a short one...we have to finish early today.. But I'll fill y’all more in next week. kiss love hugs!
PS Benny and Kara~ Congratulations 축하합니다 Emily and Gpa... no packages yet.... Matt and Kaylani - glad you liked your present!! Everyone else! LOVE YOU!!!