This might be areally short horrible email on account of I am so ferociously hungry i cant really focus on the keyboard or remember anything that happened this week.
Im really hungry because we keep playing on p day instead of buying food and there is nothing in our apartment and last night i ate two oreos four saltine crackers and salted nuts for dinner.
Dont feel bad for me. It is completely self inflicted.
This week was dreamy. Time is drifting by and I just get to spend all day talking to people I love about things I love.
One of those people is named brother pak. He and his wife are old investigators who we used to meet with but they are Buddhist and never kept commitments so we had to stop meeting with them but the other night i really felt like we should go visit them. I walked up to their house and I hear through the screen brother pak say "our American princess!" They both hugged me like a granddaughter and made us some crazy juice and they kept asking me why i stopped coming and how much they had missed us and reminded me of every nice thing we had ever done for them. I never realize how much me mean to people or how much people mean to me. We sat and talked on their front porch through the evening about their children and they gave me dating advice for when I go back to america (i should probably write a book- it was hilarious). We laughed and told stories and he finally turned and looked at me seriously and said- ive been reading the book you gave me. I said really? what do you think? He told me that he really liked it and he felt really good when he read it. I told him i did too. I asked them if they would pray about it and they said I dont know how to pray. Ive taught them maybe ten times but we went through it one more time this time they prayed at the end before they left. In his very first prayer to God he asked Him if i could stay in Korea and marry a Korean man and visit them a lot. He asked that i would always be happy and never be fat. He prayed for my family because they are probably not happy without me. He sincerely prayed to know of the truthfulness of the gospel and if what we teach is true. By the end of the prayer I was a crying mess realizing how much i love them and feeling that I had given up on them too early. I know that missionaries will come after me to help them but I want it to be me! what if they give up on them? What if they are lazy missionaries or cant find their house? AH! its the worst feeling in the world.
On a happier note Naomi had her baptismal interview on Sunday. She has completely transformed as she has learned about the gospel and read he book of Mormon. She completely glows. She is so full of hope- something that was absent from her life just a few months ago. As she has started living the gospel I think she has realized what she wants out of life and how much more she is capable of. I wish you could meet her. She is amazing. I got to sit in on her interview and hearing her testimony was one of the happiest moments of my life. Her testimony is so strong- i love hearing those first simple testimonies. I love that with the gospel you don't have to know all the details to know that it is true. I remember being a really little girl maybe eight and praying to heavenly father if my family would really be together forever. I remember feeling heaven around me and knowing it was true. Isnt that amazing? That God cared enough about a little eight year old girl to be listening to and answering her simple prayer? And He still does. I love being a missionary- i feel like he listens extra hard to our prayers because they are always about taking care of his children.
I am so grateful that people can and do change. Im so grateful that I can and do change little by little. Im so grateful for personal revelation. Can you even believe that the God of the universe truly speaks to us!? I am grateful that I have listened to that guidance in my life- not that ive been perfect at it, but im getting much better.
Im so grateful for the macro and micro plan that heavenly father has for us. He is even in the minute details of our lives- even when we dont see it.
I know this gospel is true. I feel it more and more every day i am a missionary.
President Furniss often reminds us to be "happy always- content never" something that i love. Never give up on yourself- or others. The lord never does!
This week was memorial day in korea. ko sun ray the wife of shim gwang shik (the guy who passed away a couple weeks ago) asked us to go with her to his grave with her. We all loaded up in her car and drove about two hours into the Korean countryside where Shim gwang shik grew up. We drove up to this giant old korean mansion and walked behind it the the Shim family cemetary. At the entrance were these giant dragon statues and the Shim family creed or something. SO COOL. The cemetary sits up on a hill and looks out over his hometown and miles and miles of rice fields. In the far corner was a fresh mound of earth. We walked over and Shim Ji yoon (his daughter and our investigator) got on her knees and started to talk to her dad like she was there. "Oh dad we miss you so much, its been so hard." They place fruit in front of his grave and pour him some coke. We brought him some flowers and they placed them too. We all did full bows a couple of times and them sat and ate apples. His wafe sat by the grave holding the bills and paper work she is struggling through asking him what she should do. It broke my heart. We sat and talked with her daughter about her dad. We told funny memories and she told us about what he was like before he was sick. Then my companion turned to me and asked me to share the dream I had about him the night he died. Im not sure why but i started to cry before i could even get a word out. I felt the spirit settle in like thick fog as i told her about seeing him happy, young, radient, and surrounded by those he loves most. I told her I had lost someone too- my big brother. I told her I knew we would have them again. I and I told her I knew how we could have them again. That before we were born God created a plan for us so that we could learn and grow. He knew we would make mistakes so he provided us with a savior. I told her how the savior knows exactly how we feel. and more importantly he knows how to help us out of it. We talked about temples and their sealing power. All in Korean beyond my ability. I love these people more than I can express. I am so humbled and grateful that the lord trusted me enough to be apart of their lives during this tender time.
Adriene had her baptsmal interview on sunday. They changed to rules and i got to be there for the interview. It was one of the sweetest experiences of my mission to hear her tell her conversion story and bear her testimony. It was so amazing seeing how much she has changed and grown over the past few weeks. The lord has been in her life leading and guiding her to this place. While I was sitting in the interview i felt how much the lord loves Adriene. I love her so much. SO sorry im out of time.
I lost my wallet. I royally freaked out. I called everyone in the city of chungju and most of Seoul and everyone was so incredibly unhelpful. I think someone stole it. I cant wait till the day comes i can tell them how rude it was to steal a missionaries wallet. I think maybe i cant get back into america now. It had all my ID in it. too bad for me. I gave my dying talk in zone conference. I feel like it is all a big joke. There is no way that i wont be here for the next one. I will always live this way and it really seems that i have always lived this way. The missionaries feel like my family. Korea is home.
I AM SO WEIRD.
Adriene found a bunch of anti mormon stuff online and i was really nervous to meet with her because i've never looked at anti mormon stuff i have no idea what it says. Her concerns were about the different accounts of the first vision, crazy stuff brigham young said and weird things the early saints did. Her main concern was that if there was indeed a restoration how were there imperfections in a "perfect" religion?
I love when i am teaching and I feel the spirit take over. I was able to explain things beyond my understanding, use scriptures I had forgotten were there. As we talked i explained- or i guess the spirit explained that although the gospel is perfect, man is not. The early saints were doing the best they could with the information they had. I told her to not let what you dont understand perfectly get in the way of what you do know. I told her that no matter how hard you try you can not prove logically that the gospel is true- its not the way the lord works. He will never take away our agency. And there always has to be room for faith.
We are reading 17 pages of the book of mormon so she can finish before her baptism. oh boy. She is going to be the most incredible gospel scholar. She reads every footnote. On sunday after church we read together and we got to the end of one chapter and i asked her if she had any questions. she was quiet for a minute and then she said i know this sounds weird but sometimes i just love the book of mormon so much that i want to eat it! hahaha
I love her so much.
Do you remember the mongolian that was riding his bike around the church parking lot and turned out to be a former investigator? He got baptized on Saturday. There was an awesome turnout for the baptism and the elders forgot to fill up the font before hand so we had a huge badminton tournament while we waited... maybe not the most reverent activity but we had so much fun and everyone was sweating to death.
After the baptism i asked him how he felt. He said it felt like he had been carrying a heavy backpack and it had been really hard but today he got to take it off. He said he felt free. He was radiant.
I feel so content. Which feels good.
President told us in zone conference "happy always, content never" which probably means my companion is going to get transferred. Im TOO happy.
Sorry for the late email. It was Buddhas birthday. If you go to Buddhist temples they will give you free food!
Also we went to a picnic with our ward and its was so so fun. We taught them to play football, i dominated in badminton, the bishops kids destroyed my in a water gun fight.
That night all the missionaries had dinner with the Jung family. Brother Jung is in the mission presidency and one of the most Christlike people I have ever met. I love spending time in his home.
I had a miracle this week. I have been in the middle of trying to get my visa renewed and it has been more than an ordeal. The last time i tried we got this terrible woman who was so incredibly unhelpful and was making me fill out this crazy paperwork and wanted me to buy a new foreigner card and I tried to tell her nicely yes but i have two months left I would really rather not buy a $60 foreigner card plus buy these special blue stamps that seem to have absolutely no purpose and cost lots of money I'm really only here to be a good citizen of the world so could you please help me out here lady. also did I mention i am a MISSIONARY?! Then she looked at me like there was absolutely nothing she was going to do to help me and sipped her coffee. Then my companion made me leave. I kept thinking about how grandpa used to say- why be difficult when with a little more effort you can be impossible. so true. anyways we went back the next week and my companion told me to pray to get a nice person this time. I laughed but then i really did pray. And we got a wonderful gentleman who didn't make me fill out any stupid paperwork in Korean or buy any blue stamps or stand on my head. He just stamped my papers gave me a lollipop and we were on our way. I love that Heavenly Father cares about the silly things in my life.
Adriene is progressing beautifully. I don't know if i ever told you her whole story so sorry if I already said this-
Adriene is an English teacher. She has been teaching at a school here for almost a year. She works with Mallory a returned sister missionary who came back to Korea to teach and is one of my favorite people on this earth. Adriene is probably one of the most prepared people i have met on my mission. The other Sunday we were in the middle of the lesson and I asked her what she thought about the book of Mormon- she said she felt it was true. Then she said I know it sounds weird like if been searching all these religions but with all the other religions I always hit a point where something just doesn't feel right but with this, i feel like all these questions that i have had all my life are being answered so easily. She said that when she was trying to decide where to teach English she really wanted to go to south America because it would be easy to find Catholicism there. But for some reason my mom kept saying you are going to end up in Asia I can just feel it! She talked about how she wondered what brought her here. The spirit filled the room and I felt so strongly to tell her that there was a purpose in her coming to Korea and it was to find this- the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I bore her my testimony that the things she was learning about and starting to understand were things that I knew to be true. Things that had filled my life with peace, purpose, clarity, and joy. Then I asked her if she would be baptized and she said yes! We are going to read the book of Mormon together before her baptism. 17 pages a day. Its killing me. But so so good. She asks really hard questions that I don't know the answer to but I always find myself responding and giving answers I didn't even know that I had. I am so grateful for the spirit we carry as missionaries. I'm so grateful to never be alone in what we do.
I am speaking in zone conference tomorrow. Ive been really stressing feeling like i have nothing to say but then i realized its actually that I have too much to say. How do i sum up my feelings about my missions into a five minute talk? I cant.
We are teaching a Chinese investigator who is the cutes thing in the world. We watched the video on the restoration and when it was over I asked her what she thought. She said she thought it was true. I loved how simple her response was. and realized sometimes i complicate the Gospel. It is so simple. God is our loving father, Jesus Christ is his son. If we follow his example and live by his teachings we will be happy. If we live the Gospel nothing will ever be permanently wrong but if we don't nothing can ever be permanently right. We are hoping to get a baptismal date this week so be praying for Ga Yoo.
WE were SO busy this week. I am exhausted. I totally get why sisters serve a year and a half. I am the crypt keeper. We are teaching incredibly prepared people right now and i cant wait to see what happens. We are getting ready for two baptisms in the next few weeks and I think a few more are on the way. We are being blessed. My favorite is Adriene- the American. SHE SPEAKS ENGLISH. I have no idea how to teach the gospel in English but its a blast saying anything and everything I want to say and understanding every word that comes out of her mouth. Its weird to think that is how my life used to be all the time. Anyways Im excited to see how everything unfolds...
We are getting our apartment remodeled. Our wallpaper dates back to the Mongolian empire and they decided that espestice is actually not that great for your health. We got to pick out the wallpaper this morning. I was going for a Versailles look but the lady really wanted this crazy technicolor candyland theme. We had a big fight and I prevailed. She told me it was grandma wall paper. Whatever. I gave them soymilk and choco pies.
Do you remember the recent convert who has been really sick? I dreamed about him the other night. He called me on the phone and wanted me to come see him. He sounded so happy so i hurried over to his house. I walked in his front door and he was sitting in the middle of the room surrounded with all the people that matter to him- his wife, the elders who baptized him, his children and lots of little kids that were his grandchildren in my dream(even though he doesn't have any) He was laughing and telling stories. The most striking part of the dream was his appearance. He was young, handsome, full of life, and radiant. I remember sitting and watching and feeling his joy. The next morning one of the elders called to tell me that he has passed away.
We rushed over to the hospital where they were having a viewing. The room had a wall covered with flowers and a picture of him. They lay fruit and have incense burning. As you walk into the room you do a full bow- meaning forehead to the ground two times and then a half bow. Afterwards we sat with his wife and daughter and they just cried and cried. And i cried and cried. The timing of everything was really sweet. It was the day before transfers and their elders got to be there for the funeral. They were like sons to them- he even bought an English book so he could visit them in America. That night we stayed and served food to their friends and family that came. It was pretty incredible to see how grateful their family was to the missionaries. His sisters came and thanked us again and again for being there and being part of his life.
The next day was transfers and half of our district got transferred or went home. I hate change- you'd think id get used to it but i don't. Im so happy i got to stay with 서나리 she is an angel.
That night we went to part II of the funeral, this time with the ward. Only a few people showed up. Most of the room was filled with missionaries and family members. The bishop and stake president spoke about the plan of salvation but i didn't hear much because i sat across from his wife and my heart broke watching her sob. I hate funerals. I always completely lose it no matter what. I know he is in a better place and that their family will be together again but as a sat looking at her I couldn't help thinking what about between now and then? Who will take care of her? Does she have enough money? what about the loneliness? Everything gets better with time but i also know that the pain never really goes away. I felt so angry and upset feeling that life just has too much pain sometimes. I got on my knees that night and prayed. I prayed for her. for her family. I wanted to know everything was going to be ok and wondered why does it have to be so hard?
The next morning I opened my scriptures and found something in Corinthians- "for now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall i know even as I am known." I thought about life and all of its joy and all of its sorrow and I remembered, once again, we are here to obtain an education and work out our salvation. Life isn't easy because it cannot be a cheap experience. We are to model our lives after the saviors- how could we expect it to be easy for us when it was never easy for him?
So yes we must endure trials and sorrow and loss but we must always remember that He is ever with us. Right now we see through glass darkly- we cant see why but a day will come that we will stand face to face and thank him for loving us enough for letting us hurt sometimes. I know that He lives I know that he loves us. I trust Him. I know that the atonement is real and when we seek its healing power there is nothing to large or too small.
안녕하세요! it literally feels like five minutes since i emailed but now that i think about it so much has happened there is no way it has only been a week!
First of all the weather has been incredible. Spring in Korea is probably what the celestial kingdom is. The whole country turned into a flower garden. Every other day something else blossomed. Because of the nice weather peoples moods are pretty nice as well. We have seen so many miracles this week. The other day we were heading to an appointment and stopped by the church randomly to get some water or something when I saw a kid on a bike staring up at the church. He saw us a started to ride away and then the next thing i knew i was chasing him down asking what he was doing here. Turns out he is from Mongolia and used to meet with the missionaries a few years ago. He said that he remembers feeling a lot of happiness when he met with the missionaries. His mom is really sick- maybe cancer and he has been really struggling being so far from her. That day he was riding his bike and saw the name of our church and felt like he should come in. We talked for a while and invited him to English class (so he could meet the elders). He showed up and that night the elders set a baptismal date with him. I love how as a missionary I think I'm in control of everything but i am reminded often of how very much the Lord leads and guides His missionaries. I just thought i needed a drink but the lord has a better bigger plan for us.
We got a call from a member the other day wanting to give us a referral. Her friend is about 44, single, wealthy, beautiful, and alone. She recently quit/lost her job (not exactly sure) her crazy neighbors are suing her and her dog died. yeah.
SO we went and met with her. In the standards of the world this woman has it all. Her apartment is unbelievable. I think her Picasso was an original... and yet there she sad in tears unable to be consoled. I sat in terror for a moment wondering what in the world i would say to this woman and then i realized oh yeah... dork... you have EXACTLY what she needs. THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
So often i find in Korea people who don't need God or just don't know where to find Him. They seek joy and happiness in beauty or wealth status or education. But in the end their hunger persists. They still need more.
And then i compare that to my bishops family. He has six children under the age of 11 which is unheard of in Korea. They live in a two room apartment- in worldly standards they have nothing and yet when i think of them the word that comes to mind is JOY. They are the happiest people I have ever met. What it the difference? Its perspective and a life filled with everything the gospel teaches. Service, love, devotion, family centered life.
I don't mean to say you cant be happy and affluent but any worldly success cannot compensate for spiritual neglect.
anyways. guess what else? I've been praying my heart out for 김경선 (my less active recent convert) and making the missionaries down there go after her. I wrote her a letter with a picture of us at her baptism- reminding her of the best day of our lives! and the lord answers prayers- she came to church for the first time in two months on Sunday! I am so grateful for those missionaries- that no matter what i know that there with be two elders in 그경선's ward looking after her. I hate that I'm so far away from her.
AH! I have so much to tell you! I have no time. I'll tell you everything someday.
But what you should know now is that I have a testimony. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that with the gospel nothing in your life can never permanently be wrong. Without is nothing can ever permanently be right. I love being a missionary. I love Korea!