Family!! HI!!! Can you believe it!?!?! Not only has Feb. gone by ridiculously fast, but another transfer has gone by as well!! Seriously, time needs to slow down.
As I was talking with my MTC group, we all realized that we only have 4 transfers left, and this next transfer is only going to be 4 weeks! (We have to match up with the MTC or something). ((Daddy, transfer days are the 29th, and then I will leave for Seoul on the morning of the 30th, go to the temple, play a day up there and their our flights are on the morning of the 31st.. which means I'll be in America on the 31st. Sorry for the confusion)) It makes me sad that I only have 4 weeks left with Sister Taylor, but by the looks of this past week, we are going to be busy!!
We have had SO many miracles this past week! This whole transfer we haven't had hardly any opportunities to teach. The investigators we had from past transfers all dropped us and so we were left to try our faith with proselyting and referrals from others. Heavenly Father loves His missionaries, but He also loves those who He has prepared! He loves everyone, and He will give people the chance to hear the gospel in the most unexpected of ways.
We were blessed with SIX! 6! new investigators this week!! All were amazing, but I only have time to tell y’all about one right now. His name is Bak Shin. He is about 70 years old, and he studied at Duke University in Philosophy. One day on the subway he came up to my companion and asked her about the book she was holding. "What is the Book of Mormon?" "How are the Mormon's different?" "Are they Christians?" My fabulous companion was a superstar are she began to testify of who we were. The ride was short, but we left him with a pamphlet and he left us with his number, saying that he would like to meet again.
Fast forward a week. We meet up with him with one of our members who is about to leave on her mission. We had sincerely planned for this lesson, knowing that with his mind and knowledge, we could do nothing but bring the spirit into the lesson and let a member of the Godhead take our message to his heart. It's always hard trying to describe later how a lesson went, but here are some of the highlights that I liked and remembered.
We first began by asking him about his background and belief in God. On the train he said that he was atheist, but we wanted to see if there was a time in his life that he ever believed or thought about God. He explained to us that in middle and high school he was a part of one of the first Christian schools in Korea. There, he was 'instructed' in religion, but he never seemed to be able to find the answer to his questions. When we asked what his questions were, he said that he had always wondered why man was here, where did we come from, what was our purpose and where would we go. The way he explained it was that he could never find his answers within the church that he was going to, so he turned to other sources, which I believe led to his study in philosophy. Here the Spirit prompted us to ask if, while studied in that field, he had found his answers. He did not reply.
As the lesson continued we were able to testify to him that we had the answers that he was looking for. We could teach him, and he could find out from himself. We made it clear that we didn't want to prove us right, and prove him wrong, but we wanted to help him find the answers he had always searched for. We knew that our message was right, but we also knew that if he did not put forth his own effort, he would not know the truth of what we were saying. Being a Professor of Learning, he readily agreed to put in his own effort. We were able to teach him about Prophets, after he made the comment that he hated when he saw “professed christians” going to church, and then going back to live their lives however they wanted the rest of the week. We taught him that through a prophet, we not only know of Christ's gospel, but we also know how to live it, and we know that there are people in the world that live their beliefs every day.
We talked with him about Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ, receiving the call to be a prophet and restoring Christ's church upon the earth. His favorite part of the lesson is when we said that there was evidence of what we were saying, and that evidence he could read and study for himself. That is the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God, then Joseph Smith was His prophet of the Restoration. He kept on saying how much he liked that there was a book, something he could read and study for himself.
As we were finishing up the lesson he confessed that he made it a point not to visit with or meet with people of other religions. But, apparently he saw us a couple of times on the train and he felt that he needed to talk with us. At the end of the meeting, he said that he wanted to continue to meet and learn more about the Book of Mormon. My companion finished the lesson with a powerful testimony that she knew the Book of Mormon contained the answers to all of the questions he has ever asked, the questions he has had gone unanswered in a lifetime. The Spirit in that lesson was so strong and so tender. It may have taken a lifetime, but I know that Bak Shin is about to find the answers to all of his questions.
How grateful I am for this Gospel and the fact that I get to teach it and share it with people! I got to read the Book of Mormon with a man, and he said "Joseph Smith is a prophet, huh?" I got to testify to 2 girls that they were Daughters of God, divine princesses with the potential to become queens. I got to teach a mom and her sister about the beauty and importance of family. This week was WONDERFUL!! I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!
A fun thing this week too, my first trainee, is going to be training this next transfer!! That makes me a "grandma" in the mission field. President told me today that in 2 transfers every sister in the mission will be training!!! (That's how many new people we are getting!) So you never know, I could train 2 more times! Oh and I found out my trainer is dating the AP of my first transfer and I think they are going to get married (in Canada) which makes me SO HAPPY!!
Oh and crazy thought, within 2 transfers, my sisters group will be the oldest in the mission!! ahhh!!
Well I love y’all! thanks for all the lovin and prayers!
Hi family!! How is everyone doing??? I hope y’all had a fantastic Valentine's Day!! Because the dear Sister Taylor and I sure did!
We had decided last week that we were going to have a companionship date night (more like date dinner, we don't have THAT much time as missionaries!) But Sister Taylor called dibs on being the 'man' and I was the 'girl' in the "relationship". When dinner time came around, I was banished to the other room so Sister Taylor could make our dinner. For her, I was able to take some time and write her a "love letter" and then I had the other sister's in the house buy me a box of chocolates that I could surprise her with!! (in Korea, Valentine's Day is a bit different. It's a day when the girls give to the boys, not the other way.. and typically the girls give chocolates. ((so because I was the girl in the 'relationship', I had to follow tradition!!)) ) Time came for dinner and I walk out to the BEST Valentine's Day date that I have EVER been on!! haha Sister Taylor had gotten two red roses that were sitting on the table. The table had been decorated with hearts earlier in the day. There was Josh Groban playing the the background and we have a little chandelier in the kitchen that was turned on for some good mood lighting haha. Sister Taylor had made CREPES! They were so stinking delicious! Crepes, flowers, chocolates, Groban, love letters...yep, it was a wonderful Valentine's Day!!
My favorite part about the week was that my darling companion wrote me a small note every day with a little quote and a piece of gratitude. Needless to say, we both felt perfectly spoiled this week. Not only from the love that was within our companionship but also the outpouring of love that we felt from our Father in Heaven this week!
This past week was a little hard when it came to appointments. A couple times this past week we had made an appointment to meet up with people that we has met while proselyting. We made the appointment, confirmed the day of... and then we were waiting... and waiting.. They wouldn't answer their phones and they never showed up. ㅠㅠ (Korean crying faces..) That was hard, and then on top of that, my companion is having a hard time with homesickness as well. It just seemed like that our hard work and such just was not going how it was supposed to.
On Wednesday, things began to change. With permission we were able to get Priesthood Blessings from our district leader, Elder Hahn from New Zealand. The Spirit of love and comfort and peace abounded. Heavenly Father was near, and He knew us. He has heard our prayers, and He promised that we were doing what we were supposed to be doing and the direction we were to take was going to be evident soon.
From that day on, Sister Taylor and I really evaluated how we had been talking to people on the subway and on the street. We were doing a good job opening our mouths, talking to people, introducing who were were and then exchanging numbers, but nothing had been happening from those. After lots of prayer and another special fast we realized it was time to be more bold, but also more trusting. We were going to give ourselves over to the Lord and our purpose completely. We wanted to share our testimonies and really truly invite people to hear our message and the happiness we have to share.
Since that choice and the actions that followed, there has been that thing...That something that was missing before.. and that has made all the difference. We are talking with people and we are sharing our testimonies! It's such a neat experience, and so far, most of the people we have been talking with have asked for OUR number first. ^_^ And then this week we have 3 appointments set up with people who have GREAT potential!!
Oh there are so many stories I want to share!!!!
Ok, real quick, I'll share 2!
First, Sister Taylor met a girl named Chanda in the MTC what is preparing to go to Hong Kong on her mission. Chanda was an English teacher here in Korea for awhile and was able to build relationships and share a little bit about the church. We got a letter from Chanda the other day and in it was her phone number list of the teachers she taught with and she asked us to call them and give them a chance to hear the message that she so desperately wished to share with them. She highlighted one name in particular and said that if not anyone else, she hoped that we could meet this one. Doing all 29 phone calls was a blast!! I certainly had to use my fast speaking Korean to explain who we were before they could hang up... but I didn't really have to do that. As soon as I said Chanda's name, EVERY PERSON was SOOO excited that I knew Chanda and because of this kind foreigner that was soo nice to them, they were all very willing to hear us out, and we were even able to set up times to call again and/or meet later.
One lady said that she was going to a different church, but because of Chanda she knew that our church was so good and she knew that Mormon's were wonderful people and she would always remember that. So many other said the same thing. Though they weren't interested in the moment, they were so grateful for the kindness and love of Chanda. The best moment is when we called Chanda's special friend. She was soo excited to be able to talk to us. Chanda, from just being a friend who was kind and sharing the Light of Christ she had within her, has touched so many people and they will forever remember her! It was an honor to talk to these people and be able to associate myself with someone who had obviously been such a good example of her Savior and for her testimony.
Second, in the process of making these phone calls, my companion and I had to find some quieter places to go. First was a post office. Here we met a man. He is in his 50's, he was an English Literature teacher and spoke pretty great English. We talked and when he found out that we were missionaries he started talking about how he was studying the bible in English and such... the conversation continued and one thing led to another and we set up a time to meet the next week at the same post office, and we are going to begin reading and studying the Book of Mormon together in English!!! We gave him a Korean copy so he could read in advance and be able to understand a little better, but this Thursday we will begin!
It's amazing to see the blessings that come from putting your trust in the Lord. When you think you are doing good, you can always be better when you take no other thought then wanting to answer the Master's call of "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men". (Thanks daddy!)
I love missionary work! It's not easy and it has some disappointments, but this chance is so wonderful and joyous and makes you have a smile on your face every hour of every day!
I love y’all! thanks for all the love and support! kiss love hugs!
Happy Korean New Year!! It's now the year of the snake!!
Sorry this is coming to y’all a day late, and I’m afraid time is short, so the email will be the same. Like American big holidays, everything here seems to shut down for a couple of days... Saturday we had a fun meal with some members. Because of the holiday we got to go to it with the Elders and we just sat around sharing funny missionary stories, especially because the family's son just came back from his mission. It was a blast!! We just laughed and laughed. My poor companion had a hard time following along and relating at times, not having had the crazy times yet herself, but she was a good sport.
On Sunday for church we had a total of 24 people (including the 4 missionaries.. this is a ward that usually has about 80) But Korean holiday tradition is for everyone to go to their hometown and relatives. After church we had the Korean traditional New Year dish!! It's a rice cake soup and it is SO GOOD!! I love it!! So that was a fun highlight.
Like mom said, this week went by really fast with nothing too huge standing out. But the work is going forward and my companion and I are doing great!!!! I love her so so so very much. We have the chance right now to prepare for the Sister's Conference next week down in Busan. We are going to sing the song "See it in Everyone” by Hannah Bradshaw, it's an EFY song ((I discovered in on my wonderful iPod from Gwendel!! thanks!)) It's goes along with what we have been talking about and it's going to be fun! Sister Taylor has been practicing it on the guitar, Sister Kersey will be on the piano and we are planning on doing it with all the Sisters, so hopefully it turns out great.
Today was a really amazing day! We were able to go down to the Boo to have a Training meeting with all the new missionaries. I love being able to get with the other missionaries and feel of their Spirit and see what they are all learning. The Spirit there is so special as we really learn from one another. One Elder made a comment that I loved!!
We were talking about the things a companionship needed to be successful: obedience, submissiveness, prayer, a testimony. But Elder Mortenson made a comment saying that you can have all those things and still not be successful if you do not have LOVE in your companionship! How true is that!?! Goes back to the first great commandments, which all the laws of Heaven hang on: Love the Lord Thy God and then Love your Neighbor.
How grateful I am to have the love in my companionship right now, and how much that is enabling us to recognize and receive the blessings from Heaven.
Sister Taylor also taught be something really sweet today. We were doing a practice teaching where the new missionaries had to teach the trainers, in Korean. It was hard. As we began I could see Sister Taylor forming a question within her mind, one that would take vocab and grammar forms that she wasn't too solid on. She tried once... stopped... tried again... stopped and then sat there quietly. You could see the Spirit working within her and she thought deeper of the things she could say. The question that she then asked was so simple, but it was a question of power. One that went into my heart, and made me think and really feel the spirit. It wasn’t pretty Korean, but it was from the heart and the Spirit, and that's what made it matter. I realized again today that there is power in simplicity.
I love this work and I love learning this Gospel!!! How grateful I am to be here every day! Thanks for the love, the prayers and the support
WOW!! Can you believe it is already the second month of a new year!?! I know I can't! How is everyone doing? Sounds like there are some fun plans for the Super Bowl, I hope everyone had fun getting together. I miss those family gatherings!
Well another week has gone by in the Beautiful Daegu! There were some days this last week when it really really felt like spring time and I LOVED it! Unfortunately, it took another turn for the cold.. but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be changing for good soon.
I forgot to tell y’all about my fun P-day adventure last week! We went to the the Largest Buddhist temple in Korea, and it is the one of most importance as well. (Though the name is alluding me at the moment! haha sorry!) It was absolutely beautiful. Our bishop actually took us up there, and as a special bonus for the American missionaries, he found us a guide that spoke English!! She was awesome and she let us know what everything was and what everything meant-that had to be my favorite part-finally understanding the symbolism of things.
This temple is the home of the largest Buddhist Monk University and it houses the religion's most precious library! And Gwen, you would have LOVED the 'secrets' to this library. The library is a record of the Buddhist scriptures that are written on boards of wood. There are 80,000 pieces of wood, and each piece has 642 characters written on them. They are considered to be the most perfect record. Every monk that wrote on the plates had to pray and bow to Buddha before they wrote a single character, and did that every time. There is some belief that Buddha himself wrote it because the handwriting is exactly the same on all the boards. A more modern feature to this ancient temple was one of the temples houses Korea's oldest Buddhist statue. But the temple was HIGH TECH! It constantly measured the humidity and temperature, and if at any point it detected that the buildings where on fire, the Buddha would be send 6 feet underground to be protected. I'll have to share later all the other cool things I learned, but it was really neat to be able to go there and understand a little bit more about this religion that is such a huge part of Korean culture.
As for the work, things are going great!! We are still doing a lot of tracting and proselyting and it’s going great! We've had some pretty neat experiences with the kind people of Korea!! This past week we were coming back from a visit, and we were taking a bus we've never been on before. Well, when in doubt, ask for directions, right!?! I had been talking to my companion in English, but I needed to know where to go so I asked the boy in front of us where the nearest Subway stop was at and where we needed to go. He quickly told us that it was the upcoming bus stop, so we got off really fast. When we got off and started walking I soon realized that he had told us the wrong stop... Luckily I'd been down that road before, so we made our way in the general direction of the stop.
As we walked a little ways, there was the boy again, coming our way. He came up to us and apologized profusely because he told us the wrong stop! He said he was surprised by Americans speaking in Korea, and he got confused. This boy has gotten off at the next stop and came to find us so that he could fix his mistake. We walked together to the Subway stop and we shared our message and got his number. He was SO NICE!! And it was so kind of him to go out of his way to make sure we didn't get lost. We're referring him to the Elders, and I'm excited to see what happens.
There are a few more stories like that this week, and I'm excited to see how things go! One student I talked to on the Subway texted us first, said that she read the pamphlet and proceeded to tell us all that she had learned about Christ, and she seems excited to be able to learn more.
I think of all these experiences and I'm grateful for Dad's perspective in his last email. He said that baptisms will mean nothing if there is not something deeper within. That is something that my companion and I have been trying to remind the members of here in this area. They are too focused on getting people into the water, that they forget to bring them closer to Christ. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father's method is always one of progression and growth, constant development and not just a singular moment or goal.
At our district meeting this week, Elder Han was talking about "ARISE". He shared a story about the Savannah's and how the lion and the antelope wake up in the morning running to survive. He said that as missionaries, we were awakened when we were set apart as missionaries, and now is the time to arise. Go up, Go forward. He said that if we wanted blessings withheld from us, then all we need to do is stay absolutely still. I loved that. I'm already awake, the sun is up, but am I running? Am I going forward? I'm grateful that every day brings a new day to improve and go higher.
I love missionary work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like...A LOT!! It's so fun, and hard, and funny and worth every moment of it! Thanks for all of you love and support and prayers. The missionaries in the world can't do it with out them.
I miss you all! And I love you more!
kiss love hugs