Monday, January 27, 2014

This week is Solnar

Hello hello!!!!!  Wow!!!  Sounds like it was a great week for everyone.  It has been a good week here!!  It went by SUPER fast!!!! 

Monday, we were in Daegu like I told you for breakfast, then we went and enjoyed some McDonald's for lunch.  I think the highlight was the strawberry-Oreo McFlurry!  Then we came back just in time to do some grocery shopping and print pictures.  You know how I told you that you can paydar (get delivered) anything here??  Well, we found out we can paydar our groceries!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You just go to the store and buy them (since we don't have internet access... if we did, we wouldn't need to even go to the store!)  and then they deliver them to your house like 20 minutes later!  How convenient!!!  Then we had English class and somehow we got on the subject of Stupid Human trick-type things, so I tried to teach them how to do the thing that Josh does where you wrap your arms and then pull them over your head.  None of them could do it, but the attempts were pretty hilarious! 

Tuesday, we took some message cards to less actives.  It seems like we do that a lot, but we are trying to see the bigger picture, hope that through our love, they can feel the Savior's love, and then remember the faith they exercised when they were baptized and come back to church!!!  Then we went to Jinbo (a tiny town like 50 minutes away) where we taught the two little girls I told you about.  We are teaching them English for 30 minutes, and then the lessons for 30 minutes.  We invited their parents to join us for the spiritual part this week, and they said a pretty flat out no, which we were pretty bummed about, but the kids seem to really like it.  They got a little restless at the end after sitting for an hour, but we taught them how to pray and they listened really well.  *** prayed and the spirit was SO strong, even as my comp was whispering to her what to say.  It is easy to see the power that little children have in bringing the spirit!!!! 

Wednesday, we went to Daegu for zone meeting.  A senior couple in our zone gave a great lesson about how our thoughts impact our words, and how much impact our words have in our lives.  The power of words and what we say really has such power in our lives.  It made me really think about how important it is to always say kind, uplifting things!!  One of the zone leaders then taught about doing our best, and what is our best compared to the Lord's best, and how we should strive to make our best the Lord's best.  I loved thinking of it in this way, and it makes me want to set my standards even higher, and not use "oh, I'm doing my best" as an excuse to do less than the Lord expects of me!  Then we did exchanges and I stayed there.  We went to find a less active, but the address we had was wrong, so we talked to some other ladies there, but they didn't have much interest.  Then we went to a 부동산 aka budongsan aka real estate office to use one of their maps to figure out where to go next.  The guy there was super nice, and we took the opportunity to talk to him a bit about religion.  We introduced ourselves as missionaries and asked him about his background.  He said that he went to a Presbyterian high school, but didn't have much to do with religion after that.  He has been really interested in science lately, and wants to learn more about that.  So we took this opportunity to teach him the entire first lesson!!!!  I told him how I studied chemistry in college, and as I learned more about it, it made me realize how much control that Heavenly Father must really have over our world because he can control the elements perfectly.  He thought that was interesting. Then we gave him a Book of Mormon and told him that he had to read to find out.  It is just like studying anything else.  You have to put forth the effort in order to really learn.  He said that he would read, and then we got his contact info and was going to refer him to the Suseong elders. 

Thursday, we met back up with our companions.  The others had to run to an appointment, so my comp and I grabbed some lunch quick.  The lady thought it was so funny that I was ordering Korean food!  I told her that I eat it very well. haha.  Then we had an area meeting with the elders, and had to weekly plan.  So exciting!  Haha

Friday, we went to an ice festival with the youth!!! The festival ended last week, but the branch president said that everything was still going on. So we went, but sadly, it was kind of lame.  Skates were like $10 to rent, so we just walked across the frozen river, and then wandered up on the mountain where there was a Confucius village.  Pretty cool.  Pics to follow.  Then we came back and got 떡볶이, rice cakes with spicy red sauce, and 순대, which looks like sausages but is actually just intestines.  It is one of the Korean foods I still avoid.  My companion likes it, but she said that her favorite part is the lung and liver on the sides.  GROSSSSSSSSSSS!  Then that night, the adults in our ward were going to a 노래방 aka Karaoke room. (They are literally EVERYWHERE here.  The Koreans love them!!!)  But we cannot go, so we just joined them for dinner before.  We ate more Bulgogi than I thought I would ever see in my life.  The relief society sisters just kept ordering more and more and more for us!  We, well especially the elders, enjoyed it of course,  but were SO full afterwards.  I think between the four of us, we ate 9 peoples portions worth.  Haha.  I do love going to things like that and seeing how much our branch loves each other. 

Saturday, one of the members called us and invited us to come visit her, but she wanted us to go right then.  Luckily our plans were flexible!  She works with her husband making Korean traditional paper.  She and her son come to church, but her husband is not a member.  She has had a really hard life, but it is so neat for me to see how much faith she has, and how she loves everyone around her so much.  Then we came back and taught the sisters we are teaching who are 19 and 17.  They tried to come up with a Korean name for me, but are still thinking about it.  They, too, have such a desire to learn.  We read the story of King Lamoni's father in Alma 22 and how he really wanted to know if there was a God. They still don't understand everything yet, but I think they can tell it is good.  They promised they would read and pray, even if they said they weren't sure why they had to. 

Sunday, was church, which is good as always!!  Then we visited a couple less actives and former investigators, and jundoed that night with the elders! 

So as you can see, it has been a fun, exciting, quick week!!!  This week is Solnar, aka Chinese New Year on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so this week will go by quick too!  One of our investigators invited us over for one day, but not sure what we will do the others yet!  One of them we get to spent 6 hours cleaning our house!!!!!  I am strangely SUPER excited haha.  Not that it is too dirty, but, you know...  Haha

As you can tell, we are really trying to focus on the Book of Mormon!!  PMG chapter 5 is all about the Book of Mormon, and we are especially focusing on the "Questions of the Soul" it says the Book of Mormon can answer.  Confession.  I have kind of avoided that page my whole mission because I think it sounds so cheesy, and have never really wanted to spend much time on them.  BUT now that we are being asked to, I am doing it and learning a lot!  Last week, I printed out a talk that President Benson gave in October 1988 conference about the Book of Mormon. It is short and to the point. In it he said, "The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for many reasons which the Lord has given.  In this age of electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.  We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need.  The time is now!"  Well if the time was NOW in 1988, that means it is even more time now in 2014!!!!  He goes on to say, "I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps that we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it."  I am really trying hard to do this now.  I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but like anything else, I want it to grow. I am spending more time studying the Book of Mormon, and I love hearing about you doing the same.  I challenge you, and everyone you forward this too, to take on President Benson's challenge!!  ALL of us can grow because of the Book of Mormon and the testimony of Christ it so powerfully teaches. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



I can't believe how fast the time is going either.  I have started to freak out about it a little bit.  But I just stop thinking about it and start trying to think in the good old 한국말 (Korean) again and that gets me a little confused, and back on track haha. 

You asked about my companion.  She is the same age as me.  Her parents are both members--her dad joined the church and served a mission in Seoul, then married her mom and then she got baptized and sealed in the temple.  She is the oldest, and has a brother that is 19, doing his required military service right now, and a sister who is 12.  She is double majoring in English and Korean literature.  She loves to draw and loves stories.  The elders are great.  We have a great time with them, and they work so hard!  Yes, one of the elders is Korean.  He is 23 and is from Seoul.  He went to BYU for a bit, then did his 2 years military service, and now is here.  His older brother is serving in Washington right now, and his younger sister in Daejeon so there three missionaries from his family right now!  (I think he has two other siblings too.)  And the other is from Orem.  Hope that's a bit more info for you!!  They are all SUPER great missionaries! 

It has been a good week!!!  It was quick.  Nothing too exciting happened but, here's a quick overview...

Monday-English class after P-Day as usual!! 
Tuesday- We went and visited one of the harmonys (grandmothers) that is on our list.  (I think they flock to Sister missionaries.  Every area I have been in we've had a few.  Probably because they are lonely and we will go visit them.)  She is 91 and has cancer, and is always so excited to see us.  We hadn't gone in a couple weeks, and she was wondering why we hadn't gone.  I have a SUPER hard time understanding her because she speaks in  super thick satori (accent) (yes there are Korean accents...)  but thankfully my comp is amazing!  Then that night, we went to teach the new family that our members referred us to in Jinbo.  The two little girls we taught English to were super cute.  They are 11 and 8, and literally don't speak any English, and can't read it either. So we are starting from the basics.  They listened to our message really well about Jesus and how we can pray when we have hard times.  We really want to include the parents more with everything next time, so we're not just the English teachers, and have thought of a few ways that we can do a better job at that.
Wednesday was district meeting!  I usually enjoy district meeting, but I really loved it this week!!  The theme for this transfer is Flooding the Mission with the hope of the Book of Mormon.  President really wants us to focus on the Book of Mormon and getting it into the lives of the investigators, less actives, and members.  It has been awesome already.  At district meeting, we talked about Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life.  When he partook of the fruit, he didn't just eat it, and enjoy it himself, but he wanted to share it!  He yelled to his family to come and partake of it with him.  He wanted them to feel the joy that came from it too.  So we related the fruit to the Atonement.  When we feel the power of the atonement in our lives, we want to share it!  We can't just keep it for ourselves, but instead, yell to others to come have the same feelings from it!!  I have thought a lot about this this week.  The more I feel this joy and happiness and enabling power of the atonement, the more I want to share it.  I love it!  It makes me want to work even harder!  Then that night, we went and shared it with one of the members and she loved it!  Already seeing miracles from it!
Thursday, we went and visited the super old deaf harmony again that I told you about.  We took the member that she knows with us this time, so that was a help.  I didn't understand a lot of it.  She came to church again on Sunday though so that was good. Still not sure how we're going to teach her though!
Friday, we taught the sisters again.  I tried to correct one of their English papers for school and it was hard. Seriously my English grammar is going down the drain.  I think I did okay though!!  Then we talked about families and told funny stories, then turned it to how we can show love in our families.  Koreans don't really show their love within their families.  So, we challenged them to write their dad a simple note that just said I love you.  They also read in the Book of Mormon, but had a hard time understanding it, so we read it with them.  So fun!! 
Saturday, we had pizza with some of the members which was fun.  Then we got a really awesome jundo plan together with the elders.  When we do jundo, we do lots of stuff for English class, because that is what gets lots of people's attention, but we haven't had a lot of success with it.  So we decided to try something new.  We want to introduce ourselves as missionaries.  It is still in the works, but are trying to do it using the "I'm a Mormon" stuff.  So we made a survey that had them guess how old we are (most people thought i was 25?!?!), how much money we earn, how long we serve, and how much internet we use.  It was pretty funny to see the results, and we got people more laughing and involved with us.  We are excited to contact them this week. 
Sunday, we had church, and then did the jundo activity  i just told you about!!  Good day!! 

So overall, as you can see it has been a great week!!  I have loved continuing to see all of the little things that are going on here!!

I love you all so much!!!!!!!  I hope this week is AMAZING!!!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Staying in Andong

Hi hi!

Sounds like you are all doing great and it has been another great week!

I'm glad that you enjoyed my last letter!  I'm still loving it here!  And the best news is that today is the beginning of a new transfer and WE ARE ALL STAYING HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!  I talked to President last week telling him about are area and all the great stuff going on, and said "You know President, I have had 7 companions in 6 transfers.  That has to be some sort of record."  He said "yeah that's too many.  We'll see what happens though!"  So we thought we would be fine, but we, as well as the elders, were glad on Thursday night NOT to receive a transfer call!

As for the last week...
Monday:  So we found a new hobby in Andong.  Thrift Shopping!  Our good friend/investigator showed us where her favorite thrift shop is.  I got 2 new coats for about $7 each, and a really funky skirt for $3.  Then dry cleaning was like $5 for each, but still not bad!  You bet we're going back today:)  Then we had English class that night, which was fun! She brought one of her friends which was great of course!

Tuesday:  I woke up with a cold, so that was a bummer.  But just carry on!  We went to the tiny town of Jinbo where some of our members live, and they introduced us to a family that we are going to teach Family English too.  The mom owns a restaurant, and so we had lunch there.  FISH SOUP!!!  nom nom nom....???  Fortunately, as my love for the Korean people has grown, my love for their food has too, and I ate it just fine.  Are you proud???

Wednesday:  We had district meeting.  Nothing too exciting, but good as always.  Then we came back and had dinner with *** and her friend which was great!  I love all these people introducing us to their friends!!!

Thursday:  This is our adventure day of the week.  We went to Ye-chon where one of our members live because there is an old harmony that they want us to teach.   Here's a brief summary:  She lives in the middle of nowhere in the tiniest house I've ever seen.  She's almost deaf and can't hear what we say, unless we yell in her left ear, so we took a whiteboard, but she can't read well either.  Then the member, made curry for us to eat with harmony and then left, so we start to heat it up, but she runs out of gas, so we have to call to get more of that, and wait for that. So we try to teach her about eternal families, and tell her that we can live together after we die, then she just starts talking about funerals.  Then she started talking about a lady who stole money from her, then we found out it was her daughter, then we found out she really gave the daughter money because she was sick, but now she won't answer her phone calls.  So she tried to call the daughter from our phone, and she answered, and then all this other family drama came out, and so the harmony was crying, and then my comp was crying because she didn't know what to do, and then I'm just sitting there like what in the world is happening?!?!  Where in the world am I?!?!  It was pretty great. Then that night, we ate chicken with two of the girls in our branch who are like 19, one of their boyfriends, and the elders, which was super fun.  They enjoyed our story from that day too.

Friday:  We had deep cleaning.  Our apartment has to be one of the cleanest sister apartments in the mission.  I'm quite proud.  Then we planned what is called the 암탉 프러그램 aka Hen Program.  President Kimball once said that if you pray for someone to accept the gospel for 21 days straight, it will happen. (21 days is how long it takes for a hen to lay an egg or something so that's where the name comes from) So like everyone in Korea does this thing where it is like a relay fast/pray while reading all the same scriptures.  So we got that all ready.  Then we had a youth activity which was super fun!!!  We played the "Random Game"  where you play a bunch of different games (similar to girls camp games) which was SO hilarious.  I'll teach you all when I get home.  Don't worry.  Then we taught our investigators.  They read the part of the Book of Mormon we asked them too, which we were stoked about, and then we taught them about the plan of Salvation which  they really liked.  It was great.

Saturday:  We had English class, and then one of the members took us to this FABULOUS bakery  that is only here in Andong.  Seriously its so delicious.  The cream-cheese bread is addicting.  We had been a couple times before,but she wanted to go together, so we were excited about that of course.  While we were there, I learned that it is totally normal here to tell someone that their forehead is beautiful... and that it is like a big compliment...what the heck?!  Then we went to Youngju where we had dinner with one of our investigors that I have told you about, and  our member who is her english teacher.  We had a great time, and she said she wants to introduce us to her husband and kids!!  She said the Book of Mormon is still hard for her, but she knows there is something special about it and that's important.  That's a pretty great sign!!

Sunday:  We had church, and then lunch after with the branch.  The branch president is really excited for our plan to get lots of people to come when the church moves, so we were super stoked about that.  Our branch president really is amazing.  He told us yesterday about when he was on his mission, he build up a branch from really small to a pretty good size.  Then when he lived in Seoul, he turned one of the smallest branches into a ward.  Now, he is here, and his goal is to do the same thing.  He said that he and his wife probably won't go on a senior mission, but just keep moving aroud Korea, helping to build up small branches into big, stable wards.  Pretty amazing!!!

I am so grateful to be here at this time.  As we have been planning, and with the new year and transfer, I have thought a lot about the importance of goals.  As missionaries, we set daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals and transfer goals.  We also have personal goals, which I have really tried to think about this week.  Lots will continue to change this year in my life, so I want to have goals that will help me keep growing, and learning more  as I try to be more like Jesus Christ.  One of my favorite quotes in PMG is by Elder Ballard.  He said, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to MASTER the techniques of living, we can reach a ripe old age, and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential.  When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life."  Pretty awesome, eh??  I am so grateful that we have such great guidance from our inspired leaders to help us reach our full potential, and become the person that our Heavenly Father desiged us to become!!!

I love you all so much!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

An Amazing Week in Andong, Korea!

Happy New Years!!  새해 복 많이 받으세요!!!

2013 was definitely a roller-coaster.  I was reading through my journal last night, since it has almost been exactly a year ago that I went through the temple, which is when I started this journal. I was flipping through different parts. Being scared at the MTC, then getting sick and having to come home for a bit.  Then coming here, and experiencing tons of new things.  Then all the craziness in September.  I think my journal became a vent book for a little bit.  Then I was reading stuff I have written recently.  I really feel like I was literally carried through all the hard stuff that happened last fall, because when I was in it, it didn't seem too bad.  But now, seeing how happy I am, and how well things are going, I am so grateful for trials, because I can literally see the comparison between the good and the bad!

So what you said about new years totally reminded me of one of my favorite articles ever that I found in an old Liahona a few months ago. I just found the link on I may have sent it a few months ago (I don't remember) but you should read it. It's awesome.

So basically this week has been awesome.  This morning, we compared our branch to popcorn.  There have been lots of little things going on for a while and the oil has been heating up.  But now all the kernals are starting to pop, and once a few start, the rest follow!  (Ok random analogy but it works!!)

Monday, we had an English class party to celebrate the New Year/Christmas.  It was fun, but nothing too exciting to report!

Tuesday, we took a note to a less active, and then as we were walking down the street, we heard this cat sound.  It sounded too fake to be a real cat, but we were confused who would be following us down the street making cat sounds. We look around a little more and the elders were in one of the members cars following us. Haha.  They took us to get chicken (like fried chicken.  it's great) though so no worries.  That night we went to visit one of the members and teach her a short lesson (she is the cute old lady preparing to go to the temple) about having faith in the new year.  We shared the quote, translated by my comp of course by President Monson: "Be of Good Cheer. Your future is as bright as your faith."  It is one of my favorites, especially thinking about the new year!

Wednesday was NEW YEARS!!!   It was also my companion's birthday, so that was fun.  We got up bright and early at 5:15 and went with some of our branch and hiked to the top of a mountain to welcome in the New Year's sun!  Its a Korean tradition.  Get ready to do it new year with me!  We sang "High on the Mountain Top"  (naturally) and then the Branch President said a great prayer.  He prayed for all of the members, and missionary, work, and that there would be a stake in Andong one day!!!!!!   Our future is as bright as our faith!  Then we went back to the Branch President's house and had 떡국,aka like little rice cake soup.  Ok that totally makes it sound weird but, it was actually pretty tasty.  When you eat it is when you traditionally turn a year older.  So I am offically 22 in Korean age!  (It is by birth year).  I may or may not have been singing the Taylor Swift 22 song all week...  We tried to teach the youth Phase 10, which was pretty entertaining.  I think they got bored pretty fast.  Now they want to teach us a Korean card game this week that is supposedly super complicated.  We'll see!  That afternoon, since New Years is bigger than Christmas here, and everyone was in their homes, we decided to ride some of the random buses we had never been on, find where they go, and jundo. On the way to literally the middle of nowhere, we taught the restoration to a lady.  She didn't want to give us her contact info, but we left her with our number, so we'll pray that something will come of that in the future! The we went to dinner with the elders to celebrate my companion's birthday (dad's treat. Thank you!) and then had area meeting with them to plan our awesome new plan!

So the church is moving at the end of February or beginning of March, and we really want to take this as an opportunity to get all the less actives (well lots at least) who haven't been to church in a while to come, and stay, as well as lots of investigators, and lots of members to bring people. We came up with a list of 40 investigators, potential investigators, and former investigators that could potentially come.  Plus less actives. Yesterday we had 37 people at church!  The average a year ago was like 15!  3 members brought friends yesterday, and we are going to visit a family and another lady that members have for us this week!  See, the kernals are popping hahaha.  Our goal for the church move, which Elder *** has officially named 주님의 집들이, or basically the Lord's housewarming party, is 70 people, and we may bump it up to 80!  We are really working with the youth too, and trying to help them be the ones to plan all the activities, so they will want to bring their friends, and we will be the ones to facilitate it.  So exciting!!!

Thursday, we went and helped a lady at our English class, then her daughter took us to get delicious pasta for lunch to thank us.  We we were going bowling with the youth later that day, so *** just stayed and hung out with us the whole day!!!  She has been pretty shy up until now but, has totally opened up, and wants to come do stuff with us now!!!  We are hoping that if we can teach her, then her mom will come along with her. We had to teach some of the youth, and my companion, how to bowl.  It was pretty hilarious at first, but they got progressively better! 

Friday, we had district meeting, which takes up lots of the day, and then came back and taught our Chinese investigator.  We love her so much, but have the hardest time because we cannot communicate with her.  We really need to figure something out.  We do have a Chinese Book of Mormon, so we can share scriptures with her from that which is good.  Her daughter comes at the end of February, so we are excited to meet her!  She is continuing to go to church in Seoul!

Saturday, we met with one of the oldest members in the branch (who is like mom's age) and asked her which less actives have the potential of coming back.  Then that night, we went and visited an old couple in our branch, who just got baptized in July.  Their story is pretty awesome so I will try to summarize it for you.  Between 1963 and 1964, Brother *** met missionaries in Daegu, and had all the lessons, but was never baptized.  Then he was really strong Presbyterian for a really really long time, along with his wife, Sister ***.  Then, he started remembering about our church like 5 or so years ago, and was curious, so ordered the Liahona and started to read the Book of Mormon.  Then he met the missionaries on the street, or something, one of who was one of my MTC teachers!  Then the missionaries taught them for 3 or so years, and they were finally baptized in July!  So we went and visited them the other night, which was the first time the Sisters had ever visited. Before that, it was always the Elders.  So we went over, and ended up talking for like an hour and a half!!!  She told us a story about a lady going into the store she works in and seeing her Book of Mormon, and getting really excited about it.  The lady said that she was an active member of the church for like 10 years, with her family,but her husband's family is strong Buddhist, so finally gave into pressure from them and stopped coming to our church.  They ended up talking for like an hour, and Sister *** told her, very boldly, that she needs to come back to our church.  The lady didn't want to tell Sister *** her name or anything yet, but we talked with the old members, and found out who it was based on the story.  We have been texting the lady's daughter, because her number is the only one on the record list, and have been trying to meet with her, but we have both been busy. WE will definitely try harder now!!! We have studied a lot about how to work better with members and getting them involved more.  We have said how we want to be the tools, but really let them be the building blocks.  The missionaries will come and go, every few transfers, but they will stay, so we really need to make sure they are strong!

Sunday, we went to church, which was a great testimony meeting, and then went home with one of the less actives and her daughter and friend (who is not a member but we will probably teach) and had a late lunch with them. 

We are so excited about all the great things are happening!   We know that we will have another amazing week!!!

I love you all so much!!!  I hope you all have fabulous weeks!!!