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 lds.org http://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/01/the-best-is-yet-to-be?lang=eng 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!!!