Sunday, January 25, 2015

A So-So Week Still Has It's Blessings

Well this week was rather unmotivating. However, we did just pick up a new investigator. So, there's potential there, but all our others dropped us this past week. It's not really an official goodbye but they canceled and just don't seem like meeting with us is their first priority. We also visited our potential investigator and finally someone answered the door. We learned she doesn't live at that address and that was that. I really regret that I didn't tell the girl who answered who we are though. Maybe there was a reason we felt like we should go to that apartment turned out not to be for the potential we thought, but if I had just introduced who we are maybe that girl would have interest. She answered the door and I asked if 김미선 lives there but she said no. Then we were all disappointed and just said never mind and she closed the door we turned to go on the elevator. It wasn't until  after she closed the door that I realized that we should have just talked to her even though she wasn't who we were looking for. It was too late and just way awkward to knock on the door again so I just gave up, but I really regret that and don't want to let another opportunity like that pass ever again.
Our investigators like I said canceled on us for every appointment this week that we had planned so we did some calls and asked some members if we could meet with them and thankfully some said yes. We met with Sister Lee (이선희) who is an older sister of Sister Lee (이금희) from Ansan ward. So that was really cool when I learned that. I love 이금희 so it was really easy to love her sister as well. When we planned for our lesson with her I felt like teaching her the personal conversion lesson that I once emailed you about would be a good idea. I shared that idea with Sister chestnut and it was a go. Ended up being a really really great lesson with her. I learned about her because it was the first time I had to actually get to know her one on one and she ended up sharing her experience of when she became a member of the church when she was younger. She at first didn't want to but when her family was praying with the missionaries she saw a good light or figure around one of the elders and she just knew that a humble person couldn't lie and that what they were teaching was true. She was brought to tears, almost even making me cry as she shared her story and it lead perfectly into the lesson that we planned. She is such an amazing person and has such strong faith and I think that she really needed to have the lesson with us that day. We closed our lesson by singing Lead kindly light and she commented on how she felt the spirit and such a peaceful warm feeling in her heart. She seemed really grateful meeting with us that day. She even offered to meet weekly with us! So awesome!
I didn't really notice how the strong the spirit was in the room until she left it. I guess as missionaries we are blessed with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and are living in such a way that we can feel it all the time, so unless it's really strong we don't really notice it anymore, but after she left Sister Chestnut and I felt it overwhelm us and it was just a great amazing feel. I was smiling the rest of the day for sure! :D
The other plans that we had with members got canceled last minute but we were also able to visit former investigators (a mother and daughter) and they finally answered the door and we got to chat with them. I really get annoyed when less active members say that they will go to church when we visit them because we don't care much about that. I mean yeah that's part of why we are visiting them, but we really just want to talk to them and help them in other ways than just reminding them to come back to church. So when we visited her we gave her some brownies that we made and she said she knows she needs to go to the church.. and we tried to not make it be that way and show that's not all we care about, so when she invited us in we just chatted about completely random things. It was relaxed and we didn't even share a message, but we did leave them by praying with them so we at least built a better relationship with them and brought some of the spirit into their lives that day. Hopefully when we contact them again they'll be more likely to answer.
I feel like Korea is kind of in the middle of the pride cycle and my job is just preparing the people for later when they will be ready to receive the gospel.Which is totally ok, but I just hope there's more than just that. And I really don't want my mission to be for me. That's selfish and I already have a testimony..I just really want to help other people not myself and because it's hard to find people, the ward wants us to work a ton with finding less actives so my companion and I are trying our best to start doing that, but it's just so tiring. I work out and stuff but I just feel exhausted and sore every single day by the end of the night. So, right now I'm just trying to make it day by day, working hard and hopefully see some success. Even though this week had it's really bad stats for lessons we were still able to have some miracles happen which I'm really grateful for. Hopefully as we start working with more less actives that we will be able to witness more miracles!
Sister Kelly

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hey There!

So for starters, I just want to say sorry for emailing late today. You're all fast asleep as I write this, well for those in America at least haha. Today we had a conference for the sister missionaries so we didn't email until after it was over. So, sorry about not being able to chat. Just another sacrifice I have to make :D
Anyways, this week we met with our investigator Esther and taught her about the purpose of the Book of Mormon. She's still struggling with accepting anything we teach her using the Book of Mormon so we felt it important to stop teaching about the Plan of Salvation and help her better understand the Book of Mormon and why it even exists. We read a  couple different scriptures from the Bible that testify and reference to the Book of Mormon. My favorite is 2 Corinthians 13:1  "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
I love that verse because one of the most important reasons that we have the Book of Mormon is because it is a SECOND WITNESS, or another testament, of Jesus Christ. It's a Biblical law that every word shall be established by more than one witness. If you were told by a friend that you won a prize you may or may not believe them, but if you receive another witness it becomes a truth and you have to believe what they say. Just like that, the Book of Mormon testifies to all the world that Jesus IS the Christ, and that He indeed lives.
As Sister Chestnut and I shared our personal experiences and our testimonies with Esther I could just feel the spirit fill the room. I remember asking Sister Chestnut how she felt just after Esther left, and we were both just calm and felt at peace. I couldn't help but smile and remind myself how much I love feeling that way. Seriously, having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion is the greatest gift ever! She wasn't jumping at the chance to read it, but her body language did change a little and I just REALLY REALLY hope that she felt the spirit like Sister Chestnut and I did. Maybe not as strong but just enough to help her heart open more and having more of a desire to feel more. She's still somewhat closed off .. I mean she's a catholic those are hard to teach, but we are trying to follow the spirit as best as we can while we teach her.

Speaking of Catholics, this morning on the subway train was sitting down right next to where my companion was standing. When I turned to talk to Sister Chestnut I noticed the woman take out her rosary beads and do the traditional Catholic cross hand thing.(I mean no disrespect to them but I just don't know what to call that) I just kind of smiled because it's really common for other people to do that around us. She was holding those beads so tightly the rest of our time on the train. I just that it was funny but also interesting because we weren't even doing anything, Never said a word to her and didn't plan to but because like this woman everyone seems to think we are a cult or have a demon in us. And we all know that's not true. I mean I can be cranky sometimes, but I'm so not a demon haha. So, yeah. I thought about saying hello to her, but I decided I wanted her prayer to be answered and just leave her alone.

On Wednesday we go English flyering with the Elder usually around Gyesan station. It's a really busy area so lots of people are around that we can tell them about our free english class. It's really really cold though. In Korean culture if you hand something to someone you can't have a glove on or it's rude. So, we all have freezing cold hands by the end of the night, but it's all worth it,.. at least I'm still hoping it will be. While flyering, I've seen so many different types of people. There's this one American man I always see and he of coarse knows who I am and just it's really awkward haha, then there's the really kind people. One time a man saw me and then walked into the market and came back with a warm tea (one we are allowed to drink of coarse) and gave it to me and my companion. He was so sweet. Koreans like that just make me so happy and I love seeing the light of Christ in them compared to the rest who just are rude and ignore you and don't care to take your flyer as they walk by you. One time I had a woman almost take one from me, but then she asked, "Jesus?" in Korean and I just naturally said yes without thinking and she complete rejected me and turned and walked away. I was like wow! but then I yelled to her as she walked by that it's only English class and we don't teach the gospel during it but she didn't care. And this past week I was gained up on by 3 older women Mean Girls style. They kindly took a flyer and then one of the them, I guess their leader "Regina George", just started asking me if I believe in Jesus Christ and telling me all this stuff in Korean that I could kind of understand but not really. So I played the dumb card because I thought they wanted to bible bash, but that didn't help she just started talking in really broken English telling me weird things about how Christ didn't come yet and it says that in the Bible and that He's coming to Korea soon. I was really confused and I obviously didn't believe anything she tried telling me, so I politely just shared my testimony about Christ and how He did come and will come again. But yeah I had to keep playing the dumb card, because they weren't giving up. Not speaking Korean fluently has it's pro's haha.

Sister Chestnut and I are trying hard to find new investigators. There's one potential investigator we visit but no one is ever home so we'll have to keep trying. We did just receive a referral from other missionaries so that's great! And we're also working with this cute part member family. The mom is from Canada and married a Korean which means they have mix babies! I love half races! They are beautiful!! They have a 7yr old son named Thomas who is so cute with freckles. His mom is less active and just really wants us to teach him about God so that's what we do when we visit. So we play games and teach really really simply because he's young. Then there's Graham! Aw I love Graham! He speaks in half Korean and English when he talks. It's sooo cute! Then there's the youngest Willa. She's adorable. Seriously, all of them will be so good looking when they grow up. Made me kind of hope to marry a Korean only because I want my children to be just as gorgeous as they are, but we'll see what happens with that in the future. I'll stick with being a missionary for now haha
 I met them for the first time this week and they took a little time to warm up to us. Sarah left us a lone pretty much babysitting as she picked up Graham from preschool and Willa woke up from her nap and was crying but it was rough because we aren't allowed to hold babies as missionaries so we didn't know what to do and we just tried our best but thankfully Sarah came home 10 min later. Thomas is hard to teach because he is a little boy which means he gets distracted easily and just wants to play. But we taught him about the creation and how God created the Earth with His son Jesus Christ's help. We repeated that a lot it seems like as we showed him pictures of nature and stuff. Then we sang popcorn popping and once there was a snowman because he wasn't having fun. Which was nice, because Sarah then joined in and seemed to remember them from her childhood.
Right now Sarah's husband Tom has a really good job opportunity so they are nervous of how it will go and if he'll get it or not. It sadly is all relying on this dumb fortune to see if he is lucky or not though, So annoying what some people do. But anyways, if he gets the job they will move to Australia. So she was telling us about how stressful that is and how she is praying and asked for us to pray for her too. We've been trying to get her to go back to church. There's an English branch in another area and she has the desire to go with her whole family, but she struggles with prioritizing and never has time to go to church on Sunday. Really sad, but we're doing our best to just help her and give her the reminders that she needs.

Other news is that in Ansan my old investigators both have baptismal dates! Of course everything starts happening as soon as I leave. That seems to happen to most missionaries :/ But that's really great. One is the niece of  유인순 (a recent convert that got baptized with her 11 year old daughter) and the other is her coworker. So that's really exciting for them. Sister Carter was more than happy to brag that news to me. It's sad that I wasn't there and won't be there for their baptism, but I know I was apart of what helped them make that decision. And not all missionaries are able to see the effects of all the hard efforts they put into their mission, so I'm grateful I've been able to hear about my old investigators and the great things going on with them. Right now Korea seems to be on a pride cycle so it's really rough finding people to teach and it's rough getting a baptism, but when we do, it truly is a miracle. And if you are a missionary who gets to be apart of it then you're lucky. So, I'm just grateful for all the experiences I've had so far. I have about 200 days left till I come home so I hope I can make the end of my mission be a happy ending :D
LOVE YOU ALL SOO MUCH! Thanks for the support!!
Sister Kelly

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hey There From Gyesan!

Hey everyone!! I was super excited to email you all today :)
On Monday I was able to see my favorite person 김솔휘. She is the Less-active that Sister Jeong and I visited and she came back to church and it was this complete miracle. She had applied for an internship that she got thankfully, but ever since she learned she got it she got really busy preparing for it so we hadn't seen her since. We occasionally talked to her through texting but nothing big.
Because I found out I was leaving Ansan though, I called her and told her I wanted to see her, and it turned out that she was going to leave to America for her internship that following week so she was more than willing to meet with us.
She's still amazing as ever. Sister Carter and I met her at a cafe and just chatted. We are all officially facebook and instagram friends haha. What's even more amazing though is that where 김솔휘will be living is about 15 minutes away from where Sister Carter's home in Washington, D.C. So awesome! So introducing her to Sister Carter was crucial! We told her how Sister Carter's sister is the same age and how they can go to dance class together and possibly church too! AND Sister Carter goes home in April and 김솔휘's internship isn't over until August so Sister Carter plans on getting her to go to church in America.
I am just so grateful for how things are working out with her. I'm sad I won't see her ever again, but I hope that through Sister Carter and her family that 김솔휘 will stay active and at least have some friends in America for the time that she is there. She really is amazing!

So that was Monday... On Wednesday we had transfers at 10am so that was fun and exciting to finally leave Ansan. I think I was getting a little area trunky. Gyesan is great though! We don't live in our area which is the only thing that's rough. We are hardly ever home because it takes an hour or so by foot and it will get expensive if we  come home and back to our area a lot by bus.

So, we do LOTS and LOTS of walking and we also never eat at home. We try to but it's just hard with our schedule and living far away so we will spend our money eating out quite a bit. Thankfully Korean food isn't too expensive if you go to the right places. Sister Chestnut and I get along great, no surprise there. It's kind of hard not calling her Sarah though and it's weird cause we already know each other. So, we've talked about people we both know back home a lot. It's just funny. I think we will work well together though so that's great.

We have 2 investigators and a couple potential investigators. I've met with the two investigators already and both will require a lot of work helping them progress. One is catholic of about 3 years. Her English name is Esther and she is in her 40's I believe. I think she is open to listening to our gospel part of the lessons and could potentially receive baptism but she is really concerned about other people's opinions. At first she was just English interest but she told us know she is more open to learning more about the gospel from us. She even invited us over to her house(which she never wanted to do before) and she introduced us to her English class friends and we did pottery together which was way fun. I never knew pottery was so cool. I made a coffee mug! :D I'm not sure who is paying for it though... we'll see about that.. maybe she will for us?? or it was free?? Not sure yet. haha but it was a cool experience. She's definitely progressing. REALLY slowly but it's progression so we're happy. Catholics are really hard to convert I've heard though.

As for the other investigator, she is a 20 year old super cute short girl. LOVE HER! She is going to an all girls college in our area so we meet her at a cafe. She has absolutely NO religion background so she's the opposite of our other investigator. She doesn't know anything about God or Jesus Christ..So it's been difficult to teach her to her needs. Sister Chestnut and I met with her last Thursday and tried to teach her really simply about the Plan of Salvation, but turns out it wasn't simple enough. She just hasn't ever thought about religion or God before. I asked her about what she thinks the purpose of this life is and she just never even thought about it and just doesn't know. So it'll be a challenge to teach her. I'm really excited to teach her though. She's super sweet and willing to learn about God, but she has no knowledge so we have to help her learn because I'm sure right now it all seems weird to her. haha.

Friday was our English class and it is so great here in Gyesan! They have regulars that come and enough people to actually have all the separate levels so it was great. Sister Chestnut and I teach the advanced class and those students are funny. We ended up talking about terrorists and gay people. Don't remember how, but it's what they wanted to talk about. I'm excited to see what next weeks class will be like.

Gyesan ward is a nice building. There's about 50-60 members who came on Sunday so it was bigger than Ansan and maybe a little more than Anyang. The ward members were super nice to me. They all really seemed to like my name too, "Kelly" from CALI-fornia. The Koreans seem to like that about for some reason haha. I guess it's kind of cute. The elders are great and we seem like we'll be able to work well together and get along so I'm happy about that. Tomorrow is our Zone Conference so I'm excited about that. I love whenever we have training :)
That's about all for now. Sorry my thoughts are all over the place. Love you all!
Sister Kelly

Sunday, January 4, 2015

새해복 많이 받으세요!

Happy New Year everyone! In Korea on New Year's Day everyone goes on a hike to watch the sunrise. So, Thursday morning we woke up even earlier and met at the church at 6:30am to go on our hike. We invited our potential investigator 차해라 (the girl that referred herself and she's my age.) to come with us, but when the day came she didn't she rather sleep in. I don't blame her. I love sleep! There's a college right next to the Ansan church building so we walked through the campus and started our hike up the mountain there. And I'll tell ya! I am sooo out of shape! It wasn't really that cold , but the higher we hiked up the mountain the more chilly wind seemed to blow. It took us about a half hour and we finally got to the top. There was so many people so it was really crowded, but so worth it! I never realized I hadn't ever seen a sun rise from the beginning before. It was really pretty. I'll never forget the feeling of my fingers and toes going numb and my face feeling like knives are cutting it. At first, I was complaining and focusing on how cold and comfortable I was. But then I realized that I was missing the magic of God's beautiful creations. After I stopped focusing on the negatives I was able to focus on how beautiful the sunrise was. It really gave me some perspective and I began to think back on how many blessings I've received this past year.
(Michelle wrote me a letter last week and that's probably what lead my thoughts to think about this) God has been so merciful in blessing me with so many things despite my imperfections. I've wondered how it is I can ask for more blessings when He has already blessed me with so much. I am in so great a debt to Him and nothing I can do will ever repay that debt. I will strive to be the best missionary I can be but even then I am an "unprofitable servant" like it says in Mosiah 2 in the Book of Mormon. I can't even imagine how many blessings I'll receive this coming year, but I am already grateful for them.

Coming down the mountain always is the easy part. It was still a struggle because it was all down a steep mountain. I had to hold on to the ropes that they put up, but it was painful because my hands were cold from the chilly wind blowing and I had no gloves. Thankfully, one of the ward members Brother Lee (이상진) offered to give me his warm snow gloves. I declined them at first, but he wasn't going to take no for answer. I accepted them, but couldn't help but laugh because they were definitely men gloves about 2x my hands size. But I really am grateful he let me borrow them. Witnessing Koreans act Christlike is one of my favorite things ever. They seriously are the kindest people! This experience of coming down the mountain makes me think of my mission. Coming on a mission used to be so scary but now I'm here in KOREA of all places! It was super hard to come, I've had to do lots of studying and "holding on to the rod" but remember "life's a climb, but the the view is great." I experienced that for sure. And now that I've past my half way mark and will soon be on my mission for a whole year, I am finding that things have gotten easier, and a lot less scary. I have learned so much and I am so happy sharing the gospel with and serving everyone here in Korea. I know there might still be some bumps down the mountain of my mission, but it's a whole lot easier coming down than up. I have experience now as a missionary and so I'm super excited to see how the Lord will use me during the rest of my mission.
After we got back we all ate breakfast together. In Korea there's a tradition of eating a soup called Duk gook which is like a rice cake soup and sometimes people add dumplings in it to make it more delicious. Also, in Korea everyone ages 1 year when the new year begins, but it's not until AFTER you eat some Duk gook haha. So, now I've aged 2 years since I've come to Korea. Time sure flies doesn't it? If I stay any longer soon I'll have wrinkles!

I've also got some pretty big news for you this week! We got transfer calls on Sunday morning and I will be leaving Anyang zone finally! Super sad to say goodbye to the Ansan ward members, but I'm also happy to move to a new area 계산 (Gyesan). What a better time to have change than the beginning of the new year. My new companion is going to be Sister Sarah Chestnut. Yes, that's right! My BYU college roommate and I will be companions. Isn't that crazy? When I lived with her at BYU I never thought in a million years we would be serving in Korea as companions! REALLY CRAZY! I'm super excited though, she's amazing! I'm just worried because she's my first all white companion so two white girls in Korea is going to be interesting. I already have guys hitting on me, I don't know what it's like with two of us! haha I'm also going to be living in a 4 man house so that'll be pretty sweet. The other sisters who will be there are pretty great too so I'm just super excited!
Anyways, Happy New Year!

Oh, and while on the hike we met the mayor of Ansan and he shook all of our hands and got pictures with us because we are foreigners. Pretty sweet!
Oh and Sister Carter and I have made some friends... with about 7 cats. Our house has an empty lot next to it the one I always take pictures of and so one time we saw some cats and fed them some left over turkey from Christmas conference and word seems to have gotten around because more are coming. We also named them... can you tell we get a little bored as missionaries? We even joked about how it was like watching Animal Planet except it was interactive TV because we could do stuff to them haha.
Anyways, love you all!!<3
Sister Kelly