Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Cutest Boy (July 24, 2016)

Time to write about the cutest little boy (the Elder's investigator) who ever lived. His name is 홍. (HYB) He is 8 year old and yesterday he got baptized!! He has had a sad, hard life, but he has the brightest eyes, the biggest smile, and the sweetest heart. When he was a baby, his mom left him and his dad. His dad remarried a Vietnamese woman, then his dad passed away! And (understandably) it was really hard for the Vietnamese step-mom to take care of 유, so she gave him to his grandmother to live with. I think the step mom went back to Vietnam. Also, he has a really awful skin disease and has open wounds all over his arms and legs. And just by meeting him, you would NEVER guess he has had such a hard life, because he is the cutest, happiest 8 year old ever. Also, his grandma is really poor, so they have to get food and other necessities from the government center. So they go there a lot.
Anyway... I have had the privilege of helping teach him a couple of the missionary lessons. There is a man in our ward that lives above 유 and so he has brought him to church the past couple of months. I LOVE THIS LITTLE BOY! We got to teach him the commandments last weekend. I made a pretty adorable matching game to help teach the commandments. After we taught him, we played games with him for like 45 minutes. He literally only has 2 toys (and a cell phone). His 2 toys are a squishy little ball that looks like a basketball, and a little pirate game where if you push the wrong button, a pirate pops out at you. Point is... he was so HAPPY to toss a ball around with us for 45 minutes. SO HAPPY! I think he must be really lonely. We would cup our hands in circles to make basketball hoops. It would melt my heart because he would come and fix/arrange my hands to help me play the game and catch the ball better. But he would always give me the sweetest smile and say it was okay that he had to fix my hands.Whenever I would miss a basket, he would put the ball back in my hands and tell me to try again. I can't describe how loving and pure he is . When we left, he gave the sweetest prayer and asked to see us again. He also ran and picked up all of my stuff and handed it to me and helped me put it all in my backpack before we left. I literally think that he is the sweetest kid that i have ever met! 

This week was Sister J's Senior week. She did a great job! She decided to knock doors one day, and the apartment building had a gorgeous view. Here it is!
Hmmm...Also this week as I have been reading my scriptures, I have felt so much love from Heavenly Father, and I have realized how many times He has answered my prayers through the Book of Mormon. Whenever I read the Book of Mormon and find an answer to a question or prayer, I put a heart next to the verse and write the date. My Book of Mormon (that I have only been using for 3 years... it's my newish one) is COVERED with little hearts and dates. Just reviewing all of the times that God has answered my prayers through the Book of Mormon has really strengthened my testimony that 1) God answers prayers and 2) God talks to us through the BoM and 3) The Book of Mormon is TRUE! If you have never had the experience of getting answers to questions through the scriptures, I suggest you try it! Sincerely pray, exercise some faith, and then just flip open the scriptures and start reading. You will be amazed at the answers you get!
This is one of my favorite sisters ever! She lived in America for a long time. She was baptized a little over a year ago and has the most strong testimony!

This sweet member made us a treat! Beans mixed with watermelon and another type of melon (it isn't in America) with honey dumped on top with rice crackers! It was a fun experience. She was so excited to share it with us...it was adorable!
Hmmm...the bummer is that we still don't know about transfers! President Madson is going to have the APs do transfer calls TOMORROW...which means today is just agony! Hahaha. If I go I will only have a day and a half to hurry and pack everything. Also...sad news...today Sister K went home! Her mission is finished! I can't believe it! Six months with her went so fast. She really was like a BFF! AHHH!!! Tears have been shed. I LOVE HER! Also..it freaks me out because my mission is going by tooooo fast. When I first met Sister K, she only had six months left. Now that is where I am...six months left! Noooooo
Well. This was a long email. Sorrrayyyy. And next week I will maybe be transferred to a new area. We will see. Love y'all!  Gotta go.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Something I Will Never Forget! (July 17, 2016)

I want to hurry and write about an elderly lady named C. When I first got to this area 6 months ago, she was the old lady who got mad at me in relief society because she thought my skirt was too wrinkley. I wrote about that a while ago...Anyway! That was a really awkward experience, so ever since then I have been slightly terrified of her. But one member told us that we should try to go visit her and get on her good side. She told us that we will know that we are on C's good side if she pats our backs. Well...we went and visited her and she was a chatterbox! And she showed us a bunch of pictures from her mission. She was a legendary missionary in the Busan mission. She had so many baptisms! She served when she was in  her 60s, but it was weird to see her mission pictures because her companions were still young sister missionaries!
Me and "C"


 Anyway, by the end when we left to go, we got "the back pat" so we knew it was a success. But wait, there's more! We went and visited her again this last week, and it was even better! She was smiling and laughing, and telling stories. She kept saying how people probably thing she is boring because she lives alone. But then she kept telling us how she isn't boring -- she is a lot of fun. She told us about how she stares out her apartment window and looks at the sky. When the sky looks really beautiful, she memorizes it so that she can see it again later in her mind. She also talked about how God created such a beautiful earth. She kept talking about how she wants to be a missionary again, not just a member missionary. She wanted to work with us and put on a name badge again! She just kept talking and laughing and cracking jokes. 
Who can spy her waving out the window?

When we left, she kept hugging us and she told us that she was our missionary 선배 which means our missionary senior....like she did it all first...like a forebearer? IDK how to describe the feeling of that word. Anyway, she told us she wanted to watch us go and do our missionary work. So she stood at her apartment window and waved at us and watched us leave until we were out of sight, which was like 7 minutes, because she was standing in a tall apartment building. She was waving so excitedly and vigorously. It was adorable!! She just didn't stop. It was one of the happiest moments on my mission. I thought my heart was going to burst with love! I just love her! I wish I could explain how cute and happy it all was. Sometimes I wonder if I am really helping change anybody's life and if I a making a difference. But one thing is for sure...other people are changing and influencing MY life!! I am so thankful for that. One thing that President Madsen tells us every time he talks to us or emails us is, "Remember, when you look in the mirror each morning, you are a child of God. Know that each day you make a difference and that your service is acceptable to the Lord." That has brought me a lot of comfort lately!

One day we decided to match!
Also, this week President and Sister Madsen came and visited us! They are the BEST! We each had interviews with them, and they took us out for lunch. They also came and took a look at our apartment. It was so fun and good. I really love them and am really grateful for them.Yes! They said that they are going to move all of the missionaries to apartments which are 5 years old or less, and that we are ALL going to get AC. LIKE CHRISTMAS!  I was squealing with delight when they said that. :) My guess is that it won't all be able to  get done before this summer ends, but future missionaries will definitely enjoy it!  It meant a lot that they took the time to come visit us. They were so cute, too. They kept taking pictures of us and doing  fun, parenty things. It was a good experience!  They are also going to get us EACH a working fan!! Right  now we have only one fan and it only works on low! The fans alone are a miracle!


I took a picture of this shirt last P-day...the funniest part is that people really wear shirts like this all the time, and they think they are really cool and legit. Hahahaha!

We found some grass!!!!
Sorry I have to go. Love you guys!!

 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Nate's Off on His Mission!! (July 10)

This week was really awesome because we got to meet President and Sister Madsen. I ADORE them. They are so loving and sweet. We miss the Shins, but change can also be a fun thing! One thing that really stood out to me was how much the Madsens really care about us. They want us healthy and happy and successful. They really are like parents! So sweet.

I made mac & cheese this week!
This week has been so hot. I don't think your little Utahn bodies can comprehend what 89% humidity feels like when it is 88 degrees outside, but let me tell you...You feel a little like you might die. And the Koreans keep saying that this isn't even summer yet. AHHH! I am literally always covered in sweat. I feel so...gross! But it is good for my skin, I think! Also fun fact: in Korean the word sweat is pronounced dam but with a British accent. So when I am really hot I just say dam and I feel better but it isn't swearing because I am just saying the word sweat.  Hahaha. What doesn't kill ya makes you stronger! Nate is lucky, the Busan missionary apartments all have air conditioning. Right now in our mission, none of our apartments do, so being at home is kind of miserable! I think that might be one thing that President and Sister Madsen change. I think we might get AC!! :D Right now we have just one fan, and it only works on low. SO it is kind of difficult because we have four sisters all sharing one fan that blows only on low. But life really is good! And when we ride the buses they always have AC, so that is great. :) Also, it is rainy season in Korea, and it is so crazy fun. You get drenched in SECONDS. Kind of cool, but then it can be a little hard because you are soaked for the rest of the day.

Sethy, I talked about you in church yesterday! I went to the YW/YM Sunday school class, and we were asked on the spot to talk about family history.  I am a bad girl and didn't do it that much, but luckily little Seffy did, so I talked about Seth, and his good example, and the blessings that we have had as we went to the temple together to get baptized and such for the names that Seth found. Then the teacher talked about Seth the rest of the class and told all of the youth that he is their same age and that they can do family history, too. So GO SETH! Thanks for helping me talk about family history!

This week I have really been focusing on charity and trying to do what Jesus would. This is something I still need to work on SO MUCH! One thing that I love that Andrew wrote me in a letter was that showing charity and love even when it is hard is an opportunity to show Jesus Christ that we love Him, that we truly believe that His way is the only way, and that we want to stand with Him. So as hard times have come up, I have tried to see it as an opportunity to stand with Christ and show Him that I want to be like Him by loving even when it is hard. By doing this, I have felt that I am not alone, and that Christ has already experienced this. He knows how we feel! So here is my invitation for you all this week: show Christ that you want to be on His team! See challenges as opportunities to show Christ that you will never leave His side.

Last fun fact: last night I learned how to make 잡채 (the delicious Korean noodles and veggies)! It was so fun, and it was also a great opportunity because we made it with a member and her mom, who is not a member. We were able to build a pretty good relationship, so we hope that we can go back later and share the gospel with her! We have tried before, but her heart wasn't quite prepared yet. Last night her heart seemed more prepared! If you want to pray for her, her name is 이 ( E O J) Anyway, when I get back I now know how to make you all some delicious food. 

I love you guys! I never want to stop talking with you all because I always get so much strength from you guys!

And now here's a note for Nate:

벡켓 장노님! (Beckett Chang No Nim!)  AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! My boy is in the MTC! I am FLIPPING OUT! I calculated times and everything so that I could figure out right when Nate was going to go to the MTC (in Korean time) LET ME TELL YOU...I could not sleep at all that night (It was 4:30 a.m. here when he got dropped off!!) I have almost been having a cow all week! Nate...I completelyeletylyetly understand you! Because I know almost exactly what you are experiencing...I have been so excited for you, and slightly terrified. Just know that you can do it! It won't be easy, but God called you to to Korea at this time, with your specific companions and specific circumstances. YOU CAN DO IT! 화이팅! And Korean is tough, but don't get overwhelmed. Just so you all (meaning the family) know, three days after you get into the MTC you have to teach your first lesson in Korean. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ. After Sister M and I taught we laughed so hard we cried. But our second lesson we prepared so hard and tried our best that our "investigator" cried! So as long as you have the spirit, it almost doesn't matter what words you say! Just try your best! Also, Natey POOO...who are your MTC teachers? Are you serving with people coming to my mission? And President P is a stud! He was my Branch President, too. Keep your chin up, and keep trusting God! And try to love people even when they are hard to love. Also, fun fact: IF we are being perfectly obedient, then every morning at 6:30 a.m.when I wake up, you will be going to bed because it will be 10:30 p.m.for you, and visa versa. Just know that we are in this together! you can do it buddy! I have been praying so much for you!

Love your 누나 (older sister of a boy),
벡켓 자매 선교사

(Note from Mom:  I sent her some clothes, and she sent me some pictures of her with the new clothes. I love them on her!!)




HIKING! (July 3, 2016)

Happy 4th of July!!! How are you all going to celebrate this year? This morning, Sister G and I sang all of the patriotic hymns, and then we called the elders in our district and we all sang The Star Spangled Banner at the top of our lungs. Other than that...no plans. :( ㅠㅠ

AHHHH! Nathan, I have been thinking of you all week, and it has been weird because all of my pre-mission feelings are coming back! I feel you bro! It really does feel like a dream. So much excitement and nervousness and wondering what things will be like. I remember crying and crying after I walked away from you all and not being able to see where I should walk into the MTC because my eyes were blurry. And then I looked back one last time and everyone was in the suburban but Nate, and we did one last I love you sign. Then I walked into the MTC and the tears stopped! One of the coolest moments is when you receive your name badge...that helps you realize that THIS IS REAL! And let me tell you, something about putting on a missionary name badge gives you strength. You will continue to be in my prayers ( all of you!) all week. Also, when you go to the MTC (probably a couple of weeks after you get there) look for 정 and 이. They should be going to the MTC soon. The first name, J H Y is the one who I studied PMG with for a couple of months. I ADORE HER. She started her mission in May, but she for now she skipped the MTC and is just serving in Korea because her visa didn't come. She will hopefully go to the MTC soon, and then she will serve at Temple Square. She won't be in the Korean Branch though, because she will be learning English. The second name, E D Y is a cute girl that I have met a couple of times. She is Korean, but lived in Australia for a lot of her life. She is perfect at Korean and English and she will serve in Seoul. I think she goes to the MTC towards the end of July...but she WILL be in your branch, so keep an eye out for her! Yesterday in sacrament meeting, I decided to bear my testimony. I used to think in America it was scary to share my testimony, but it is so much scarier when you are doing it in Korean!! Anyway, because I went and bore my testimony, E D Y wanted to share hers, too. She said that because I was so brave, and Korean wasn't even my native language, that it gave her courage to share hers, too. That made me feel good. :)
Some cute little girls that I adore. Even when we can't understand each other...
Guess what? I WENT HIKING!! I have wanted to go hiking and go on adventures, but I haven't been able to until this week. Sister W was active and willing to do out-doorsy stuff, but we were comps during the winter, so we couldn't do that type of stuff. Sister K hates outdoorsy stuff, and so does Sister J.  Anyway...it was a miracle and we went hiking and everything was so green! SO GREEN! At one point you could look out and see the city of 청주 (Chong Ju). It was awesome to look out and see the tall buildings. Also there was an awesome pond covered in lily pads and gorgeous flowers and frogs. The reason we got to go hiking was because our investigators took us! I LOOOVE these investigators. They are two moms in their 30s who are best friends. Their names are 정 (J E Y) and 김 (K N U). They meet for 30/30, but they actually keep their commitments, which means the world to me. Still neither of them have come to church, but  정 accepted the soft baptismal invitation (As God answers your prayers and you feel this message is true, will you follow Jesus Christ's example by being baptized?) So yeah! That is pretty awesome!  ANYWAY...the hike was so beautiful! We were only able to do 1/2 because somebody ( I won't name who ;) ) was a little tired, but I am thankful that Sister J was willing to go hiking, that really was a big sacrifice for her! And I really loved spending time with 정 and 김. They are so funny and exciting and I adore them! I always want to remember them. Here are some pictures of the beautiful hike! :D


Soooo green! The adorable little girl is J E Y's daughter.

Me in the lily pads

I told them to do a funny face. So cute!
Happy 4th, ya'all! I'd better go, but I love you all so so so so much! Have a good week, keep smiling. Nate...YOU CAN DO THIS! God bless America, and HAPPY 4th!! I'm peacing out. Love you!

Learning & Growing

June 12:
BAMBOOOOOO!
안녕! Transfer calls will come while I am emailing you all today...I hope that I don't leave! It is also really weird because 11 missionaries are finishing their missions today...including my momma Sister W! I got to talk to her on the phone last night. She is such an awesome missionary. I learned so much from her! It is weird to thing that missions actually end. This seems like my life, and my pre-mission life seems fake!  What is crazy is that when Sister W became my trainer, she was starting the same transfer that I am starting now! AND NOW SHE IS GOING HOME! I am already on my 7th transfer and I can't believe it. I hope that I can extend another transfer like Sister W did.  

Transfer call came and I am staying!
Sister J and I with some wonderful children!

 I have to tell you guys a weird story that happened 3 weeks ago, but I always forget to email you guys about it. I was waiting at a crosswalk to cross the street, and all of the sudden I heard a plop/thud hit the pavement next to me. I looked around to see if somebody threw something at me, but NOPE! Sister J was also looking around to see what it was. SO I look down to see what it was, and right next to me was a dead bird! It just fell dead from the sky!!  We just stared at it, literally with our jaws dropped for like 60 seconds... speechless. And it's sad little mouth was opening and shutting. SO SAD but now it is a little funny. Can you imagine if the bird would have died on my head?! I told my bishop's wife about it, and she said that because there are so many apartment windows in Korea, birds fly into the windows a lot, and pass out or die randomly later. Hahah. Sad. Weird.


Yesterday a MIRACLE happened that I want to share with you all!
 
We were riding the bus (like we do every day) and I sat next to a girl probably in her twenties. She had earbuds in, which makes it hard to have the courage to talk to her. But, because I have promised to myself and to God to talk to every girl that I sit by on the bus, I talked to her. At first I only gave her a little pass along card and told her that I teach free English, and I also teach about God and Jesus Christ. Then I asked her if she had a religion. She said yes, but that she doesn't go to church very often and that she wants to try going to go to other churches because she doesn't really like her church. Then asked where our church was and RANDOMLY said, "Okay, I will try coming to your church this week!" WOW!!!! I have been praying so hard to Heavenly Father to find somebody that I can help spiritually, and not just with English. He sent her! He answers prayers! And He is pouring out blessings for having the courage to open my mouth, even when it is scary. Since yesterday we have been texting back and forth.

Hmm sorry I just reread that and it was pretty scrambled so I hope you can translate alright! I forgot an important part! She looked at my name badge and asked about my mission, and she said she wants to become a missionary, too someday. I smell a golden investigator sent from God!

June 19:
This is an awesome family that is from America visiting Korea. I love them!

Some of this weeks highs:
 
This week the missionaries (6 of us) were kind of group teaching the Elders' investigator after English class. At first I thought that it was kind of a waste, because there were 6 of us there, but my companion was doing a lot of the talking, so we stayed. This investigator has been an investigator for 5 years, and during the 5 years, he hasn't prayed at all! He is so stubborn! He knows all of the lessons, he comes to church regularly, and he wants this gospel to be true, but he won't pray. He is my same age. Anyway, I pretty much just sat quiet the whole time because the Korean sisters were doing a lot of good talking, and I thought that I really didn't have anything to add, especially because my Korean is bad. But...I kept having thoughts come to my mind, so finally I decided to share them. I just spoke really short and only a few sentences. After I said my "thoughts" (Holy Ghost, cough cough) the investigator said that out of the 30 minutes we had all been talking with him, what I said made his heart change, and he will keep pondering and thinking about what I said. I must have looked confused, because after he said that, he gave me thumbs up and a big smile, and in English he said, "Good thing!"  After we met with him, my DL told me that he felt the Spirit the strongest every time I spoke. Then when we left the church, all of the sisters were hugging me and squealing and they were so proud of me. Later that night, the other elders in our district (who weren't at the lesson) told me on the phone that they heard that I followed the Spirit and that they were so proud of me. The reason I am sharing this is NOT to say "Look at me!" or anything like that. The reason why this experience was so special to me was because God allowed his most rusty unqualified instrument play the song He needed played. Out of all of the people sitting in the room that night, my Korean was the worst. But because God is perfect, when we worked together I became a little better, too. With God, miracles can happen! He can help make something good and useful out of anyone.
 
Lows:
The miracle girl I met on the bus didn't come to church on Sunday. She slept in. On the bright side, we had a lesson with her last night. On the really dark side (in contrast to my last experience I shared when I listened to the Holy Ghost), it wasn't a very good lesson. We were so excited to teach her (because she has gospel interest, not English interest) that we taught her too much, it became boring, and the Spirit wasn't there. I don't know how much she learned from that lesson, but I sure learned a lot. I learned that I really do need to teach simply and with the Spirit. God's plan is ALWAYS better than my plan, so I better follow His plan! I hope that we never have a lesson like that again.
 
Fun fact: This week starts the "rainy season" in Korea. Apparently it is gonna rain like every day for a month. This should be...fun!


The new polish! :D Haha. Don't worry, I'm the only one who ever sees my feet!
June 26:

Sorry this email will probably be pretty short -- I am a little scatterbrained today! This week was kind of rough for a lot of different reasons, but I just keep trying to learn from the hard times and have faith that everything is in God's hands. I know God is my Father and I know He loves us and is guiding us, even if at times it is hard to recognize.

This week we had a goodbye meeting for President and Sister Shin. They are leaving in two days and our new mission president will be coming in. It will definitely be an interesting change. I will miss the Shins, but sometimes change can be fun.

I am so proud of Nate tonight, I bet he did great. I keep praying that I will get to see him before I come home. That would be a really special thing to see each other a) while we are each representing Jesus Christ and b) in Korea!! 

Remember that you can do all things through Christ! Love you guys!