Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Letter 6/23/2014

We met with a woman who had previously met with the missionaries but dropped them because she was afraid of her pastor. Some different missionaries found her and she had renewed interest and so they referred her to us. We met her this week but for some reason she was only expecting English. She kept trying to tell us that she could only be taught English because of her pastor so that we would agree but we had to tell her that we couldn't teach English without the gospel. It was sad.
 Natasha on a hike with other Sister Missionaries.
In our district meeting this week our district leader said something I liked. He said that after praying we should think; "I asked for [this]. What can I do to make it happen? What do I need to do?" I really liked it.
We had an exchange this week with our 부천 (Bucheon (an area)) sisters. I went there with Sister Hurst. She's super cute. She just finished her training. She was trained by a Korean sister like me.

Natasha with other missionaries at the Seoul Temple
While we were visiting some people and walking around an apartment area we saw a 할머니 (halmeoni, which means grandma, but is also used to address any older woman in Korea) in our ward who was exercising so we went and talked to her for a long time. As we were talking to her a boy was hanging around for a while so Sister Kei asked if we could help him. We ended up talking to him about the English program and referred him to the elders. Our cute ward member was so excited to talk to him. She was telling him everything she knew and was repeating everything we said. She was so excited to help with missionary work - it was the cutest!

We had a baptism yesterday for an 8-year-old and one of our teenagers (지승) (Jiseung (her name), an investigator) was able to attend! We were so happy! She was watching it and asking questions to know how she needed to prepare for her own!!!!!!! We were so excited!!!!

Letter 6/16/2014

We spend a lot of time trying to find people that we have records for but aren't on our ward CMIS list. Almost everyone we were able to confirm had moved but two (out of about 35 names) but we're happy we were able to confirm those that had moved and also those who still lived there. The family that we found through knocking doors a month or so ago (who had been baptized and forgotten) was actually one of the records we had! So they're an example of a family who was just lost even though they never moved.

We've been able to have a lot more LA lessons the past few weeks so we're super happy!

We had a proselyting activity with our elders two Saturdays ago and a girl that the elders talked to called us from our number on a pamphlet. She texted us asking if we could meet the next day. We went in not knowing what to expect and only planned to teach the first principle of the first lesson (God is Our Loving Heavenly Father) but we ended up teaching the whole first lesson! We discovered the definition of 'golden.' Her mom was baptized 20 years ago but hadn't attended church after that. Oh, this girl's name is Alyssa Won. A lot of people only give us their English name (many Koreans choose an English or western name because their names are so difficult for westerners to pronounce and remember) and refuse to give us their Korean names so we didn't think anything when she gave us her name. But she moved to New York when she was in middle school and stayed there until a month ago (the attends NYU and is just home for the summer). Her English is better than her Korean so we taught her in English. It was so weird. Saying everything in English was kind of awkward but it was fun. She reminded me a lot of Elle Kyle so it was like spending an hour with Elle! Alyssa just absorbed everything. She accepted everything and agreed with everything, even things that she didn't previously believe, like the Godhead being three seperate Beings. And there were things we told her about the restored Gospel that she said she really liked and was glad to have learned it. She wasn't able to come to church yesterday because she was out of town but she wants to come next week! She even wanted a tour of the church! We couldn't believe our ears the whole lesson. Her mom recently lost contact with her missionaries and has been trying to find them. We told her we'd help them find her. She has all three names for them but their names are so generic that she can't find them on Facebook.

We had a leadership meeting on Saturday for the ZLs, DLs and STLs (Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders). Our focus was on 'strengthening wards and branches.' The STLs had a meeting about ministering, and we also talked about convert retention.

Our little teenagers (investigators) are planning on going to Girls' Camp if they get parental permission!

Letter 6/2/2014

Elder (Quentin L) Cook (an Apostle) came on Saturday! (We had Elder Christofferson here in Daejeon on Saturday - a lot of apostles and general authorities have been visiting Korea and Asia recently) We were surprised by how soft he was but we realized later, as we studied our notes, that he was subtly strong in calling us to repentance. President Ringwood wasn't so soft. He told us to "consider our ways" (Haggai 1:5~6). Elder Cook left us with multiple blessings as well. (I told her that Elder Christofferson left the saints in our stake with a multitude of apostolic blessings.) The blessings just kept coming and my pen couldn't keep up with them. I forgot to bring my notes so I'll talk more about what he said next time.

Sister Kei's mom sent us so much food! (during her visit to Korea last week, when she visited us) We've had to turn down all dinner invitations. We can't do them. (Because of Celiacs and the other food sensitivities that Sister Kei has) And we can't eat out anywhere. But sometimes we don't have time to go home between appointments and the only thing we can eat is ice cream. It's a sad life. Sister Kei's stomach has been getting worse.
We have two new investigators this week! The wife just has English interest and the husband only attended because she was nervous her first time but they will both be gospel interested investigators soon! We're excited to teach a family!

Our teenage investigators still come to English class and mutual! And we teach them after church!!

Our ward mission leader created a referral box for members to put their referrals in, hoping we will get people to teach.

A married couple walked in to church yesterday who had been taught by the sister missionaries 5 years ago! They just decided to come back yesterday!
I read a quote in PMG (Preach My Gospel) suggesting that missionaries plead everyday for God to loosen their mouths to the blessing of others and as they do this they will feel the Spirit work through them more and they will feel happier with their work. I had been wanting to feel the Spirit more so I started doing it. And I did notice a difference! The biggest miracle that I saw was on Friday when I went to visit a less active sister while on an exchange. We had never been able to meet this sister before! As we talked I was able to find the needs of both her and her husband, and I was amazingly able to answer all of her questions. The thoughts of what to tell her easily came to my mind and I could feel that it was what she needed to hear. The things I shared with her were things that I had recently struggled with and I was able to give her answers because I had already struggled through it and found the answers myself. I could pull out scriptures that had given me answers to those questions I had had. I could see how God was using me to bless others, both at the moment and in weeks leading up to it.

Letter 5/26/2014

Tell Susie that I said happy birthday! I'm sending off her package tomorrow! (If for some reason I'm not able to, I won't be able to get it out until next week, so be prepared)

We met a less-active yesterday that we've never been able to meet before, despite our numerous visits. We've met her daughters, seperately, at a couple of our visits. We're working really hard to help the less-actives. We've seen more miracles with less-actives than average. We're hoping they will all return because they really do change when they come back. Their problems aren't all solved but they appear to be different. 

Talking to other sisters as I go on exchanges has helped me to help myself in ways that I couldn't have done unless I was working to help others. (Working as a sister training leader)

We gave 7 referrals this week! We kept finding people who are interested but they usually happened to live in other areas (or other missions)!

We have Elder Cook coming to speak to us on Saturday!

Sister Kei and I have discovered the magic in laughing. It's the only way to deal with some things. We keep finding ourselves on the floor, laughing so hard.

Our two teenage investigators went to the YW activity on Friday and they really liked it! They want to go again this week!

We had a boom in our English class with 10 members in the adult section!

We got caught in a rain storm last night without umbrellas but it's always good weather in missionary work! We were able to meet the the less-active that we've never met before!

Thanks for sending me so much food! We've had to buy ramen to feed the sisters who come on exchanges with because they don't understand that we can't get our food here and it's so expensive and precious. (We've been ordering them gluten free and other specialty foods from the U.S., like peanut butter, chocolate chips, cereal, oats, beans, etc that are difficult/impossible to get in Korea, because Sister Kei has celiac and other food sensitivities, and Natasha does too)

Love you!

Letter 5/19/2014

We went on two exchanges this last week. And we have two every week until the end of the transfer.(Because they are sister training leaders now)
When I was with Sister Pratt, two men in business suits called us over to them. She, in all her innocence, went right over to them. It turns out they were Jehovah's Witnesses, which is better than I had originally thought. Only one of them talked to us but he didn't make me feel good inside. He was trying to tell us that Satan is the reason why we have so many churches in the world and so to know which church is true we need to study Satan and understand him. Sister Pratt told him that we don't want to study Satan because we want to learn about Jesus and I got us out of there.
We also talked to a woman who started crying when we asked her how her day was because she has cancer and the doctors couldn't help her so she had gone for a walk because she was in a lot of pain. It was so sad. Sister Pratt told her that God loved her but she said she couldn't feel that and believe it. It was so sad.
The girl who walked into English class last week and came to church brought a friend with her who came to church too and we taught all three of them after church. Yay!!!
While we were standing outside of the church waiting for them to come a woman passed by and when we said 'hello' to her she asked what time our 예배 (worship) is. We told her it was at 12 and she came to sacrament meeting! She took off after sacrament and she gave me her daughter's name and number who lives in Dallas so we sent the referral in. Her son had attended our church for a little bit.
There's a less active family in our ward that I met my first week but we haven't been able to meet them since. I had a sudden urge to visit them yesterday and one daughter who we had never met before answered the door and we were able to share a scripture with her. Super exciting.
We had zone conference this week. We met at the mission home in 송파 (Songba) and then went to hike a mountain. We hiked up to an old fortress that a king used to defend his army against the Chinese in the 1400s. But they ran out of food and had to surrender. It's a huge fortress. I could never see where it ended. As we hiked we took stops along the way for training. The focus was Faith, hope, charity, and love. And the APs trained on bearing testimony when we talk to people on the street.
Our trainings (as sister training leaders) are focused on using time effectively, setting specific goals, consecrating ourselves, updating our area books, applying the APs' training on testifying, and making sure that we don't do anything during proselyting time besides working outside talking to people or visiting them (using the story of the fisherman who was at a lake for 12 hours but spent so much fussing with his line, his lunch, and going back to his card that he only had 6 hours with his line in the water but another fisherman made sure he was focused and he had his line in the water for 20 hours - let your line drop as soon as you leave the apartment).
On one of my exchanges a random lady called me who had met the missionaries on the street and she wanted to meet. But she have no idea how long ago she met the missionaries because she said one was from Canada and we don't have any sisters form Canada in our mission right now. We had to refer her to different sisters that live closer to her but I thought it was a good example of missionaries not seeing the good that they sow.