Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!

This past week was so great!! On Tuesday we had a Christmas mission conference where we received a lot of training and also had a lot of fun. I saw all my missionary friends and It was just the best way to spend Christmas here in Korea. We all play apart in the hastening of the Lord's work. Each one of us has different abilities and talents that we use to help other people. I really liked how we did this really cool activity where we went from the beginning of our mission to the transfer that we are in now and we were able to see how each one of us is connected to each other and we all play a role in this mission.
The main celebrating of Christmas that we did was the mission conference. The Lord's work doesn't stop so we don't stop working hard either. Plus, Christmas eve and Christmas are like the best day to go out and find people in Korea because it's more of a "date night" than a stay in with family kind of thing. So Christmas day we walked to Mc Donald's for lunch. We tried to be somewhat American on Christmas haha. While we were on our way there, we got a surprise call from our ward mission leader inviting us over for lunch at 1pm with him and his family. Being the fatties that we are though, we still went and ate McDonald's still and then ate more at his house.
I love how I teased Tyler for eating too much McDonald's but I've probably eaten it more in this past two weeks than he has. Shame on me.. so embarrassing.
Christmas Evening we attended the ward Christmas party. The primary children played some bells and sang and us missionaries put on a little musical for them as we sang Christmas songs. I didn't get that filmed sadly. So I'll have to ask around if a member has it. I think the Bishop got it so I'll ask him later.
On Friday I skyped home and saw my awesome family. That was probably the best Christmas gift I could ever ask for. I miss you all so much!!<3 Sadly, that short time was just not long enough.I can't wait till I can talk to you all again on Mother's Day. But no one's counting... hehehe
Friday night we had a lesson planned with our recent convert and her coworker that we usually meet with twice a week, but she was running super super late so we had to cancel on her sadly. Then we hurried to our next appointment that's about an hour away by bus and met with our 30/30 program investigator. It was our 11th time meeting so after English time we had to kind of "break up" with her and remind her about our program and see if she is interested in our gospel message... she totally isn't which we already knew but we asked her anyway, and so next week will be our last time meeting with her. After that we will have no investigators. :( It's really interesting how when I first came to Ansan I had picked up a ton and was teaching a lesson or two daily but now we have like no lessons practically. Really sad... But we still have been working with the ward and a lot with the young women. Sister Carter and I have taught young women's every single Sunday and done the young women's activities so we are at least still doing something with our time. The young women are all mostly less-active though so it's been a real stress for us because there's no one helping us really. :( This week is transfer calls though, so I'm eager to find out if I'll be leaving Ansan finally or not. If I stay, I'll be happy cause I love the ward members, but I'm going to go nuts with all this stress. Bleh! Let you know next week!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Skyping Home For Christmas

Don't have too much to write this week, but I'll be skyping you on Christmas so that'll make up for this lame email.
This past week were had a pretty stressful weekend, but we made it to P-day so we're doing good. Elder Gordon my district leader sold me his guitar for $20 because he doesn't want to take it home so I want to learn. Sister Carter said she'll help me learn. Hopefully I won't get bored and give up but if I do I'll sell it haha. No big deal. It was only $20 haha. Sorry this is so short. I must be going now. We have a lunch meal with the Bishop's wife soon so I must go and I have no time to write. Sorry!!!

Because I had to get off in a hurry I almost forgot something I wanted to share with all of you.
At this special time of year don't forget the real gift we've been given, our savior Jesus Christ.
Share the gift with everyone you know :) The church made a fantastic video and if you haven't watched it, please do. I've shown it to everyone here that we have met with pretty much.

Love you all!! <3

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Can You Feel So Now?

I have been super excited all week for today to come so that I could email. Knowing that little baby Tucker was going to be born and I couldn't be apart of it when it was happening was really hard, but it's been really great seeing all the pictures and videos you all sent me. He's a cute little stud! So happy to meet him in person when I get home. Thankfully by then he won't be as fragile.

Anyways, back to missionary work.. this week included Taco Bell two days in a row, participating in Anyang's new stake center ground breaking, and a great interview with mission president! We only got 2 lessons this week, but that was improvement! They were member lessons too! Of coarse the taco bell was my favorite part, but I had a rather spiritual week this week.

My district leader, like I said last week, is getting pretty trunky since he will be going home at Christmas. However, he still prepared a really spiritual training for our district meeting that I really wanted to share with all of you. We read first from Preach My Gospel about the spirits role in conversion. The Bible dictionary says conversion is "changing one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God (Acts 3:19). Conversion includes a conscious decision to give up one’s former ways and change to become a disciple of Christ. Repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ make conversion complete. A natural man will be changed into a new person who is sanctified and pure, born again in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17; Mosiah 3:19).

In the Book of Mormon there's the story of Alma the younger who was the son of Alma a prophet. He did not believe the teachings of his father and became a wicked man. Alma the Younger and the four sons of King Mosiah fought against the Church. They persuaded many people to leave the Church and become wicked. But one day an angel appeared to them. The angel spoke in a loud voice that shook the ground.  The angel asked Alma the Younger why he was fighting against the Church. Alma the Younger was so astonished that he could not speak. He became so weak that he could not even move his hands.Alma, along with other Church leaders, fasted and prayed and asked God to help Alma the Younger become strong again.After two days and nights, Alma the Younger was able to speak and move. (Mosiah 27)
Long story short, after that experience Alma the younger repented, along with the sons of Mosiah and all of them became missionaries. This story in the Book of Mormon is kind of known as Alma the younger's conversion story. However, it's not quite and I'll explain why.
Later on in the Book of Mormon in Alma 5, Alma the younger speaks to people in their cities and villages throughout the land. In verses 45-48 he shares his testimony.

45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
 46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

According to the bible dictionary, a conversion includes repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, AND continued faith in Jesus Christ. Just seeing an angel wouldn't convert Alma. I'm not saying it's not a spiritual experience, but that was just one of the many spiritual experiences that make up his personal conversion as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Everyone at some point in their life has or either will experience a change of heart and has a deeper desire to follow Christ's example.
In Alma 5:26 it says, "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
"Can you feel so now?" it says. I love that! During our district meeting this question really caused me to reflect on my own personal conversion story. I've grown up in this church so it was really hard for me to pick a time in my life where I had this really big experience where my heart was changed and I knew I needed to be baptized. It's more like the little spiritual experiences and truths that I learned that helped shaped my conversion to what it is now. I sure wouldn't be on a mission if I wasn't converted would I? hehe
From when I was a little 5 year old in primary I've known I am a child of God and that families are eternal. I learned from the parents the importance of attending church weekly and keeping the Sabbath day holy. I bet Kara can remember how I couldn't ever play on Sundays haha.  I learned the importance of scripture study and prayer. I learned all about the stories in the Bible and the Book of Mormon; then later as a young woman, I read the Book of Mormon for the first time cover to cover and came to know the truth of that holy book of scripture for myself. In college, I learned God's plan for me and that going on a mission was the right thing for me to do. I could go on and on about different things or events that happened that helped develop my faith and conversion.
The point is that conversion isn't just a one time thing. "Can you feel so now?" Are we continuing to feel the spirit testify to us the many truths that the gospel brings to our lives? If we aren't feeling the desire to be grateful to our Heavenly Father and "sing the song of redeeming love", then we need to do all the things in order to continue to feel that again and again. Those things are going to church weekly, reading our scriptures and praying daily, fasting, service, and just doing everything we can to exercise our faith. I've seen such a difference in how much more I can feel the spirit because I'm daily doing those things. I wasn't perfect at doing all those things before coming on a mission. In fact, it was rather easy to just slip into going through the motions. I occasionally picked up and read my scriptures, went to church every week but it was more like I was putting my time in the pew inside of really trying to feel the spirit and learn while there.

I don't know exactly why I felt a prompting to share this with all of you, but I know there is a reason. I really felt the spirit strong during that district meeting as we shared our personal experiences and so I hope at least one of you appreciated this :)

I love you all so much, and I just hope you all will continue to strive to feel the spirit more in your life.
Sister Kelly

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

21 Days of Trunky Christmas

Sister Carter and I had a less eventful week this week. Almost all of our appointments fell through and there's not much of miracles to share. :(
On Monday night though we did family home evening with Brother 유상대 (second counselor in the bishopric) and his family. His wife Sister 이금희 made us some spaghetti just like all Koreans feed us missionaries. Except she had garlic toast too! :D I love spaghetti though so I'm not complaining. Their 11 year old daughter is adorable. She really wants to have a puppy so her mom made a deal with her that if she read the whole Book of Mormon she can have whatever she wants.  On Monday she was currently at Ether and yesterday at church she said she finished  all of the Book of Mormon and showed us a picture of her new beagle puppy. Just made me laugh because she reminds me a lot of myself. I'll have to tell her mom to have her read the whole Bible. It's a lot bigger hehe.
 Anyways, for family home evening Sister Carter and I shared the message of Christmas and together we all made a paper link chain. Each link we wrote a scripture about Christ's birth on it so that every day as a family they can read a scripture together and be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. However, members here in Christmas don't really need to be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is a lot less worldly than it's become in America. After the lesson we played a fun Korean game called Oh-Moke (not spelled correctly.) It's similar to connect 4 but on a game board and you have to get 5 in a row. After watching everyone play I figured out the strategy pretty quickly. Haha I beat the son 3 times in a row! He was getting so butt hurt and kept wanting a rematch. Every time I see him now I ask him if he is practicing. I'm not sure if I can keep my winning streak, it might have just been beginner's luck, but we'll see.  
Our English class still had a good amount of people show up. We even had a some new faces too. The elders are even meeting one on one with one of them too so that was awesome!
We also had exchanges with the sister training leaders this week. Sad to report that I didn't really witness any miracles this time. I think the new sister training leaders are bit more serious and make it awkward. As soon as exchanges were over Sister Carter said she had missed me a lot haha. I love having a fun missionary companion. Missionary work doesn't always have to be serious you can have fun with it :) So, I'm grateful we only had to do that for one day.
Our district leader Elder Gordon is going home at the end of this transfer so we came up with an idea of 21 Days of Trunky Christmas album. Every day we sing a trunky Christmas song for him. So far we've come up with All I want for Christmas song "All I want for Christmas is to go home", Oh Christmas tree song "Oh airplane ride or airplane ride how soon I will be flying", I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus song "I saw president with travel plans" and today's is Feliz Navidad song "i packed all my bags. I packed all my bags. and sent them to the mission home."

Last night we all had dinner with a member who has two less active children one is in young women's and the older is now almost done with high school. So they invited all of us missionaries over so that we can become friends with them. Seriously, I have been trying for like two months trying to be friends with the daughter but Sister Carter is so great that as soon as she meets her she has her laughing. So I'm positive Sister Carter was meant to serve here in Ansan. The members just love her and compliment her on her Korean. Haha last night they said you are just like a Korean who can't speak Korean. We think that's a compliment...maybe? haha Either way they love her!
On our long bus ride home, we all began talking about miracles that we've seen and how when people talk about missionary work it's a lot different than what you experience on your mission. Yes those amazing miracles of having the spirit guide right to a prepared person who is ready to receive the gospel into their life does indeed happen, but for all of us at least, we probably have those type of miracles happen like 2 times in a year. So far, I haven't had that happen. We all shared our experiences of little  miracles we've seen. Miracles of having an investigator read the Book of Mormon without us evening asking them to or like my miracle where 길은희 prayed after she hadn't prayed in so long!  Yeah those all don't really sound like miracles when you asked about what happened to them now, but they were tender mercies to us in our eyes. There is no way those things happened without the Lord's hand being in our work.
I hope you all can try finding those little miracles or tender mercies in your life.
Love you and miss you all!
Sister Kelly 켈리 자매