Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fresh Starts and Open Hearts

Going home is starting to make me nervous and have a little bit of anxiety. But this past week was the most spiritual and emotional week I think I've ever had. I grew a lot in just a couple days it seems. On Tuesday we had zone conference where a guest speaker ( a returned missionary who served in Korea) named PJ Rogers. The focus of zone conference was on working with members and Brother Rogers taught us quite a bit about Korean culture. He was really cool and funny. For me personally though, I got something different out of the trainings at conference. Here's a few things I wrote down in my notes:
Bro. PJ Rogers' training- What I do now will determine the rest of my life. Through diligent thorough missionary work it can be a sanctification for our life. It's a FRESH START!
One thing I'm worried is that I'm going to go home and go back to how I was before I left. I've learned so much and grown so close to the Lord that's the last thing I want to do.
President Morrise's training- The Lord gives us the traction we need to press forward with faith in Christ and to improve. We all carry different loads. Some loads we can't help but have sometimes like stress. But one load we put on ourselves is guilt.
Going home is a fresh start. I want to go home from my mission and know that I am coming home as a new person. My soul refreshed and at rest, completely renewed.
The rest of the week I had other confirmations that that was possible for me. District meeting we talked about patience and how we need to be patient with ourselves and also recognize that others are changing too. We talked about the wise man and the foolish man story and I realized I had a pretty sandy foundation before my mission. I'm so grateful for the experiences I've had on my mission that have helped me learn and to gain the strong rock foundation in Christ. I'm going to go home a way better person than when I left. Don't worry I'll still be "Amanda' but I'm bringing home Sister Kelly with me. I am a lot more dedicated to the gospel than I ever was before.

There's probably some disappoints you will have in me. I'm far from perfect. I hope you all know that. But my mission has changed my heart and helped me to really focus on what's important and lining my will with God's will. I gained an even deeper understanding of the power of the Atonement and how God truly can change our hearts if we allow Him. I have a lot of things going on in my head, but one thing I know for sure is that going home is going to be a fresh start. I have nothing holding me back anymore. I am happy to say that I've truly given myself-my all- to the Lord. It only took a year and a half but I am never ever going to regret it serving and becoming closer to my Heavenly Father.<3
I reread Al Fox Carraway's blogposts that Michelle sent me and I loved it so much I want to quote part of it. She said, "Yeah, sure our future can be uncertain at times, but how exciting that is! How exciting it is to know it's guided by God!" God knows us better than we know ourselves. We must TRUST Him. Allow Him to to show you how great He is and what He blessings He has in store for us. I plan to FOCUS on Him and have PATIENCE that everything will work out how it should. "We are always worth of our God's love. Prioritize. Turn to Him. Experiment  Act. Focus. Commit. Try. Hold on. Embrace and receive."
I can honestly say that I've found my life by losing it and giving it all to the Lord. (Matthew 16:25)
Thanks for all the support you've given me!
Sister Kelly

Sunday, July 19, 2015

기적 (Miracle)

This week I've learned quite a bit about humility. When we're humble, that's when the spirit can help us understand why things are happening the way they are. Last week I believe I mentioned the mission goal of member present lessons. Our zone's goal was for every companionship to have at least 1. As leaders, Sister Holt and I decided that we wanted to set an example and planned for 3 lessons. Also, thinking we should plan for extra in case an appointment cancels. Well, all 5 we planned canceled. When one canceled we immediately tried to reschedule. We also had contacted a few potential investigators so we had those appointments too. However, one after other canceled on us. I feel like we broke the mission record for how many member present lessons we put a lot of effort into making happen, and then having each investigator cancel on us. This was a good reminder of how members here are so great! They are so willing to help us, and fellowship the investigators, but it's just the investigators that aren't interested or progressing. Even when the investigator canceled the member was willing to still meet and practice a lesson with us. Aren't they so nice! I know things will pick up when it's time. The Lord definitely can count on the members of 청라 ward.

Sister Holt's friend in Ecuador wrote about how they weren't able to have a baptism for a whole family but there was a city power outage so they couldn't hold the service. But there was no way those missionaries wanted to delay the baptism. It's so special and important for those investigators. So everyone gathered together and offered a pray to God pleading to Him for help. Immediately after the prayer was finished the lights of the city turned back on. GET THIS! STARTING WITH THE CHURCH BUILDING'S LIGHTS! Now that's a miracle! I know of plenty of other missionaries serving in different parts of the world who probably have seen more success or bigger miracles than I have. But everything I've learned here in Korea has strengthened my faith and the miracles were BIG miracles to me.
This past Saturday Sister Holt and I were stressing out about getting a member present lesson. We had only one appointment left. An appointment with a potential investigator who had rescheduled for Sunday. Which meant we only had the night and church to ask a member to come. We had been talking about her friends' mission miracles, which we totally believed and wished we could experience the same. So we decided to exercise some faith and fasted Sunday morning. We were really trying to show the Lord how badly we wanted to meet this goal. Well, long story short. A member was willing to go with us. So our prayers were answered again.Only that lesson turned out to be outside of our area. Which we could've gotten permission to go to, but decided that wasn't really the best. HOWEVER! The real miracle was that our investigator 배혜미 and her older brother came to church! I remember just before church was to start, I turned and saw them walk in. It was the best feeling! Completely surprised us! They stayed for all of church. ALL 3 HOURS! haha The talks were great during sacrament meeting, only the last speaker went on and on about stuff NONE of us could understand and church went over 10 minutes. When church ended they looked exhausted! :( We of coarse wanted to sneak in a member present lesson with them there at the church but then we felt like we were starting to focus more on numbers and not on their needs. We can't count the great sunday school lesson we had with them as a member present lesson in our stats for the week, but Sister Holt and I feel good about our efforts and know that it all counts in God's eyes.
I know the Lord knows us each individually and gives answers to our prayers, usually in ways we weren't expecting Him to. But He ALWAYS answers. <3
켈리 자매

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bittersweet Week

Monsoon season has officially begun and we are getting soaked. It brings back a lot of memories with my trainer Sister Chao. The wet days were always the worst but yet the most fun? I don't know how that works. I'm so grateful that I'm getting soaked with a fun companion again.
Every day walking out the door was like walking into a sauna but it's cool, we were so sweaty we hardly noticed anymore. Monday night we slept over at the mission home because we had our mission training council the next day. It was fun chatting with President and Sister Morrise. The best part was getting to sleep in actual beds!! With huge comfy pillows! :D It was our best sleep yet. When we had to come home and sleep in our yo's again we were disappointed. We had gotten so used to sleeping on those we forgot what real comfort felt like.
At MLC we received training on how we can better work with member and emphasize on having more member present lessons when we teach investigators. While there I also gave what's called a 마지막 말씀(Ma-gee-mak mar-sim) Which is translated to last words. I have no clue if other missions do this or if it's just a Korean tradition, but all missionaries who are returning home give their 마지막 말씀 at the last MLC (if they attend) and the last zone training. I remember being a greenie and thinking that the day I finally gave my 마지막 말씀 would never come. Well, it came. I gave my 마지막 말씀 at MLC. I only had Monday night to prepare so it wasn't nearly as good as the one I gave at zone training. I talked about my mission motto of "life's a climb, but the view is great." I of coarse cried a bit but the second time is always a charm and I didn't cry then. Giving my 마지막 말씀 meant that I really am going home and wasn't just me dreaming. IT'S REALLY HAPPENING! I don't want to leave Korea yet, but at the same time I feel like it's time. My mission is coming to an end. It's really a bittersweet feeling.

As for area news, we met with our investigator 한재희 again. She planned to commit her to a baptismal date, but that quickly changed when we sat down at her kitchen table and we learned her heart isn't quite ready yet. She is very energetic and kind so she seems open on the outside, but her heart is still very closed to the message of the restoration. Last weekend we invited her to church, but she declined. She told us this week she was sorry for giving us the impression that she was investigating our church. She was a lot more vocal about how she was interested in English. As in talking about God in English. She still wants to meet us and we had a good lesson, but the spirit wasn't really strong. It wasn't time to give her a baptismal date yet. We weren't able to visit with our other investigator because she was sick. We are trying to stay in touch with her though, as well as Crystal. I told Crystal in a text that I'd rather have her attend church with us again than going out to eat somewhere together. I'm trying to show her that her coming to church would mean more to me than her just buying us dinner.
We only have a day and a morning to prepare our training for zone training. Sister Holt and I really wanted to make it fun and not a typical boring training. Our topic of training was on teaching investigators the importance of church attendance and the Zone leaders taught on working with members. After thinking of a ton of lame cheesy ideas, we came up with a fun game. We had 6 different Elders in our zone. 2 being investigators blindfolded, and the other 4 as companions had to guide their investigator through different obstacles that they may have on their way to church. The zone seemed to love it and we got a lot of compliments on it. Guess that's a good way to tell you don't suck right? Sister Holt and I were worried they wouldn't like it and so we also gave them treats every time they participated. Bribing always works ;) haha

We had a good visit with Sarah Cha and her kids on Friday. Still haven't attended the English group at the University of Utah Asia Campus, but the kids really liked the lesson we taught them on how the Holy Ghost protects and warns us. All we used was a Q-tip, hand sanitizer, and a lighter. They loved it. In fact, the boys were fighting over who got to do it. Kids? There's only so much you can do haha. Then on Saturday we had a fun ward sports activity where some of the elders were able to bring their investigators. It was so fun. I even finally got to play some volleyball. They had a bunch of fun games to play with food as prizes. So Sister Holt and I combined got a ton of food. Which was much needed because we still haven't gone grocery shopping since we moved in to our new apartment. Seriously, the Lord always provides <3

This coming week we have a lot more planned including 3 member present lessons. At MLC we made a goal as a mission to get at least 98 member present lessons for this coming week. Our zone is 14, which is 1 per companionship. That sounds so small when you compare to other missions, but it's hard. It's possible, but definitely requires praying for a miracle and lots of faith. Thankfully the ward members in this ward are so awesome and willing to help, so Sister Holt and I asked 3 different members and we're trying our best to have a member present whenever we teach. Our stats were really low this past week, mostly because of all the different meetings we had to attend. However, we still feel terrible for not setting a good example for the sister missionaries in our zone. So, Sister Holt and I plan to be better about that. If our area isn't an example for the other areas then we aren't doing our job as leaders.
There's always room for improvement right?
Some last news, which is rather good news, is that we have a new potential investigator. This woman randomly came to church at the stake center so the Sister missionaries got her information and sent it to us, because she actually lives in our area. We contacted her and made an appointment for this Thursday. EEK! There's a chance she might just be a less active member but either way it's a miracle! :D Like always, I'll let you know how it goes.
I love you all so much!
Sister Kelly<3

Oh and P.S. Sister Holt and I think everyone is going to be glowing with light and glory so much in Heaven that we're all going to be albino. haha We saw an albino Korean girl and somehow this deep doctrine came up?? I don't know haha

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy 4th of July From Korea!

We celebrated by moving! Our district leader Elder Dewey and his greenie Elder Corona came over at 9:30am along with the office elders to help us move all our stuff. Sister Holt and I tried to help, but the elders did pretty much all the work taking everything down the elevator to the mission van. We finished moving around 1pm. As the office elders drove our stuff to the new apartment, we had some fun with some pop-its we found as we packed up the apartment. So, we went out on our patio and had fun throwing them on the ground as we waited for the office elders to return. During the process of taking everything down, Elder Dewey left the vacuum outside the elevator in the hallway because we couldn't fit anymore in the elevator with us. We live in Korea where no one steals anything (so we thought!) Well we came back like 10 minutes later after loading the van and it was stolen. So, someone has a nice blue vacuum now haha

After moving, Sister Holt and I realized we hadn't eaten and were starving, so we went and got some lunch before heading over to a wedding of a sister in the ward named 이지선. She and her husband were sealed in the temple maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago, and they were finally doing a reception on Saturday. Let me just tell you, Korean wedding receptions are so fun! They were a lot more showy than ones we do in America. They had a long runway with lots of singing and dancing and it was over in just a half hour. I was impressed.  At the end everyone went to a buffet to all eat together. I made sure to take lots of videos and pictures so I'll send those next week. I forgot my card reader :(

As for area news, things are still going well. However, this past week we didn't real do much of missionary work because we had to pack up our apartment before Saturday. Our investigator 한재희 had us over for dinner with her husband last Monday night. We read out of the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2 with her and discussed about the Fall of Adam and Eve. She really understands that the Fall was part of God's plan. She also mentioned how the Book of Mormon gave a deeper understanding and she liked the way the verses were written. We commit her to continue reading the Book of Mormon Alma Chapters 40-42 but most importantly we told her she needs to pray about the Book of Mormon. She said she knows it's God's word, but we want her to receive that confirmation through the Holy Ghost and to have that experience of praying to know for herself. She said she just reads the scriptures whenever she has downtime. When she prays she says a quick sentence over her food like "I'll eat well God. Amen!" So we've found out she really needs help with praying sincerely to God. I know prayer is crucial for finding answers and having a close relationship with God, so I hope we can help her see how important it is.

We didn't meet with our newest investigator 배혜미 this week because we moved and had the wedding, so we were hoping to just see her and her brother at church. However, they were both no shows :(  So, we'll have to see what's going on there. 
Also, because I'm returning home soon, I've been in contact with a couple of my former investigators like Crystal, 차해라 from Ansan area (21yr old), and an investigator 손순옥 that I found with Sister Chao back in my greenie days. The sister missionaries serving in Anyang right now mentioned to me that 손순옥 still remembers me and wants to see me before I go home. So, I'm excited that the people I worked with actually liked me and appreciated when I served them. I plan to visit with them and a couple members all one last time before I go home. 
Today there's a big get together of everyone I was in the MTC with from when I entered and the ones who came with me to Korea. It's my group and our "older" group haha. It's going to be a fun reunion! Only about 30 days! EEK!
켈리 자매