Monday, October 21, 2013

Very quickly!

The beginning of the week...didn't happen. Lots of appointments cancelled, and somehow things just lined up so we didn't have the chance to talk to lots of people...It was strange. I'm looking through my planner right now, and we had so many plans that didn't work out for like, four days. So we did the work of the week in three! Whew! And there's lots of potential this week - we just need to call about 25 people and make appointments - in Korean. Yeah! :D It strange how numbers work as a missionary...we have one progressing investigator (who is AWESOME! hehe, I love her so much. I'm sure I've told you about her, but I can't remember what I she's one that I've talked about. She gave Sister Sieverts a bracelet and me earrings today - maybe I should get my ears pierced :P), and about four other investigators...and 25 people to make appointments with. We were counting yesterday, and we probably talked to 75 people yesterday for missionary work (random people on the street, members, phone calls), and talked to about three on Friday. It's really strange. Numbers sometimes reflect work, and sometimes don't. Anyway, in a way, that's a little bit more of a concrete picture of how it's going in Korea. So many miracles and crazy stuff that happen that aren't reflected in the numbers. Being a missionary is an adventure :)

Just a note - we've been talking about light a lot with our progressing investigator - she notices that the missionaries and members have a "different light, or energy" about them, and really wants to find that light and brightness for herself - It's interesting how much more often you notice that light as a missionary, as you walk down the street, there are so many people who really look...dead, or dull, or however else you want to explain it, and then there are people who look happy, but then there are people with that bright energy, not necessarily giddy or bubbly, but you can just tell as they stand on the street. We met a member as we were talking to people on the sidewalk, and we could tell :) Anyway, just appreciate that light. It's the Light of Christ. It's a special thing.  :)
Love you all!
Sister Thomas

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 13, 2013 - The Lives and Times.

This week has been AWESOME! and about three lifetimes long. 
Sister Sieverts and I have only been together for a week...we keep forgetting and remembering, and then I freak out a little. I've said it before, but time is so weird here. 
So...I may have been a little depressed at the beginning of the week. And last week. And about 6 or so weeks before that. I'm not very good at recognizing how miserable I am until I come out of it. But that was two lifetimes ago. During that lifetime, we had a lesson with an English interest investigator, who loves her previous relationships with missionaries, just that they were super nice, fun, and upstanding people. Anyway, we taught her and her daughter about families and the Book of Mormon, and her daughter cried a little while we were testifying about the blessings that come through the Book of Mormon, that I have found peace when things are rough (and that has never been more true than the past couple weeks - its still hard, but there is peace about it)  and that through the message of the gospel, our family has become strong. And we taught another investigator we've been meeting for a while about the blessings that come through fasting. She really likes meeting with us, and is progressing as she understands more about the gospel, but she is hesitant about making large changes in her life, like going to church every week and receiving baptism (I'll probably say it that way for the rest of my life, because that's how it translates :)) we're working on that :) And we had a lesson with our investigator in the picture - we're teaching her a little English, but she has religious interest too, and came to conference this week! :D miracle :)

On Wednesday, I had an interview with President Christensen - he is an inspired man. I don't think interviews are supposed to be therapy sessions, but this one was. Therapy with the Spirit works miracles though :) And now I am happy! That was one lifetime ago. During this one, we met some 전도사s - that's one thing I like about being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we talk with people rather than at people. They were trying to convert us by giving us a long ol' presentation. Anyway.
bahahha  too many things! I only have 2 hours to type!
So I'm not going to talk in schedule terms or anything anymore, because I still have parts of two lifetimes to talk about and stuff. SO! This may be confusing and have no timeline, but it's the more exciting stuff ;)
SO! CONFERENCE! It was AWESOME! I want to watch it again and again and again and again. BUT, we have work to do! Anyway, there's a lot I want to talk about and a lot I learned, but, for the sake of time, I'm going to ask you, as a missionary, to do like Elder Ballard said and have the courage and faith to pray for those missionary opportunities! Consistently and forever and ever :) I promise promise promise that as you pray for those and look and have the courage and faith to take advantage of them when they come up, you will see SO many miracles. Because guess what. That's the way it works out here in the field! In a lot more concentrated manner, that's all we do, but the principles are the same. Have faith for those opportunities, and Heavenly Father will give them to you :D Miracles are an amazing thing, huh? And I've got a few more that happened this week :)
You know how we fasted, and I said those miracles would come? Well, they are :) in a bunch of ways that I don't have time to write them all, but I'll just start talking ;)
After we got home from conference, we were talking to people on a street corner, and walking back and forth, and then a man walks up to me and says (in English, too!), "you're Mormon, right? I have some questions." Sweet! Go for it! So we talked to him on the street for a while (he's an English teacher here from Canada) and he had some deep questions that philosophy couldn't answer, but that the gospel could. I LOVE being a missionary for the true and restored gospel! :D Anyway, questions about how God could simultaneously be all knowing, but we have the ability to choose. And what really happens after we die - and we could answer him, not just "this is what we think", but "this is how it works, and this is why, and not just because we say so, but you can learn for yourself through your own study of the Book of Mormon that it's true." We're just 20 year-old girls running around trying to speak a different language, but we can, with this book, answer questions that philosophers have not been able to answer for centuries. And it's just a book - no magic or anything, you can read it like any other book, but it has TRUTH in it, something you don't just find laying on the street these days. He used to be a missionary for another church, but is no longer Christian because he couldn't figure out the answers, but this, my dear friends, is where you find them :) But anyway, he said he'd come to conference the next day! He asked if there was a spiritual leader he could meet, and there is, but they all speak Korean...and he doesn't. So we told him that, but then guess what? President Christensen came to our stake's general conference that day! So they talked for a long time, and so now he will read the Book of Mormon, and look on and everything. It's always nice when people ask Mormons what they believe. Like President Christensen said, you wouldn't ask a Ford dealer about the new Honda model, but for some reason, people ask everyone who isn't Mormon about what Mormons believe. Anyway! So that's big :) (except he doesn't live in our area at all...up near North Korea. but he comes here on the weekends, so we may have to let someone else teach him :()
Another quick miracle, not ours....but the elders in our ward met a kid on the street who wasn't really interested and gave him a Book of Mormon...and you know how hard it is for people to want to read sometimes? Well, the kid called back a few days later and said ,"Well, I haven't finished it yet; it's a pretty big book, but I'll like to learn a bit more about it..."  He read through Alma 23! Exclamation point! (I'm going to use that forever and ever. And when I use that, I will remember that talk about taking just a few easy steps (with faith :D) to member missionary work. I hope you do TOO! :D)

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013 - So said the spider . . .

I"M SO EXCITED TO LISTEN TO GENERAL CONFERENCE! Really, I need some spiritual food. Is it strange that I feel less spiritually nourished on my mission than I have at other points in my life? I don't know, maybe you can ask dad about it, too (All these emails are open info ,)) And I'm sure it'll get better and all, but it's just not sticking like it used to. And how on Sundays it used to be uplifting to go to church, it's just korean for 3 hours, and my mind short circuIts a little ;)

Things that happened! I think that I just skip over all the stuff that I assume everyone knows, that there is no reason that anyone would know. SO!
I'm serving with Sister Sieverts!
She's from Sandy, went to Alta, graduated in '11 too, and has been in Korea for 5 months. So we're having adventures trying to talk to everyone :) (Korean is hard! It's awesome, and I love learning it, but it's tooootally different than English. I don't only have to rewire the words I say, but the order I think in...but it's coming!) She's served with 2 Korean companions so far, so I'm her first American!
We're still in good ol' ____, and have a lot of work to do. {Some people} are impossible to find here - everyone changes numbers and addresses all the time, and the address system is {hard to understand}. . I've never been so thankful for the grid system of Utah, with Mount Olympus on the East... there is no rhyme or reason here {that I can identify}. And there are 2 systems of addresses, one that they have nice signs for on every house, but they don't use, so the real address is usually written on a brick :) Anyway. I just say that because we tried to find a couple {of former members} this week. There a a lot of them in Korea.
Two sisters in our apartment left this last transfer, Sister Gardiner went home and Sister Young went to to another area. But we have another greenie in our house - Sister K____! who is Korean and knows far better than I what's going on around here ;) She's super cute (as are all of the Korean sisters, seriously :)) and the sister of someone that I was in the MTC with! 
This week was sort of strange, with the transition and all; we had a lot of meals with members, which was super fun. They're all so awesome! It's always an adventure trying to talk to them, too; the language barrier is a real thing. But it makes things that aren't funny funny, and things that are funny funnier :) We ate at an American food buffet with a members (with the cutest little girl!) and then with our Relief Society president at a meat buffet... So. Full. Delicious, but I was going to die :) Also, there was a CRAZY spider that we looked at after. And you know, there are cooler things I could talk about, but I just feel like sharing this and our Relief Society {president}shared about it in testimony meeting, so it's legit, right? :) Anyway, we watched this spider for a while - it was crazy. We threw some stuff in it's web, and it would immediately cut out a toothpick and all kinds of other stuff, and then patch it back together (this was a MASSIVE web) within a couple minutes. Super diligent, which is what our Relief Society president talked bout (granted, it was in Korean, so I think she did, anyway...) And really, I'm learning all about diligence out here. I'm out here not to play around or have an adventure in Korea or learn a language or anything, I'm here to "invite others to come unto Christ", whether that be through service or just being nice or teaching or talking to random people on the street...and honestly, it's hard to keep it up all the time. But it's so much easier to give 100% than 90%. It's easier to not have to decide again every time if I'm going to talk to that person. If it's 100%, I just do it. Like that spider just kept working and working and working...anyway. I'm done :)
And we taught a lot of lessons in a couple days! Granted, one lady is too busy to meet with us anymore, but she thanked us a ton for helping her kids to learn English, and has learned through the gospel. And she said maybe in a month or two things will calm down and we can meet again. But there was a real difference between teaching in her house, which was chaotic, and the house of the next investigator, an old woman - Because we could feel the spirit in the woman's house, our minds were clearer, the lesson went significantly better, and I could speak and understand a lot more Korean, and just felt better. Really, if you don't have the Spirit, you shall not teach. It just doesn't work.
Anyway. More, but not more time.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 3013
I'm not really sure what I shall tell out about this week. I want to tell you about all of the exciting things, because there have been a lot of exciting things, but I'm actually a little miserable right now. So. This may or may not reflect that :)
Anyway! Transfer calls were this week! And guess what: I'm going to.....
Stay in ______!
Not a surprise at all :) But I'm excited! I've talked to my new companion, Sister Sieverts a couple times, and she's great. It should be a good transfer.
Also, we have been seeing lots of miracles this week since the fast!  Let me start:
We were walking to an appointment, and a lady turns around and says, "Are you Mormons?" ...Erm, yes? (The Church isn't very well known here, so it's a surprise when people have heard of it, and even more so to take initiative to talk to us :)) "Can I have you're number?" Hehe, of course! ^^ Never, ever, ever happens. But she learned English from the missionaries before and wants us to come help her daughter! (We do a program where we help with English for 30 minutes and share a message for 30 minutes. I can't remember if I've said that already or not.) So we're meeting with her tonight :)
And on the subway, a random old man waved at us and told us to come over...and he knew of the Church too! But unfortunately that was our stop, so we got off. But he wanted a card and stuff.
And another investigator that we've been trying to meet with ever since I got to Korea -- we had called her and called her and she never answered, and we decided to call one more time - and she answered!  And wanted to still meet! So we met with her on Saturday, and had a great lesson about faith in Christ and how He knows what we are feeling and will help us through anything.  She said she would be baptized! No date yet, but that's a miracle. We weren't even planning on talking about that. But as the Spirit directs :)
And another investigator who has really not wanted to come to church came this week! I hope she liked it.. It may have been a bit awkward. It's always hard to jump into a new society, where everyone knows each other and the hymns and how the meeting works...Please, please, please help people who don't feel like a part of what's going on. I say that as both part of her experience at church and my experience as a new missionary. 
And another lady just showed up to English class one day - and is actually pretty open to the gospel. She is Christian, and was very intrigued to hear about these things, and liked that we listened. We usually share a video at the end of class, and we shared one about the Book of Mormon that answered a lot of questions she had, and then we let her pick one, and it answered even more. It was a miracle how well they fit :)
Well, those as just a few of the ones we've seen this week. It's been good. And I'm pretty happy I'm staying in ____. :D
Have a lovely week!

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2014

Oh! Oh! Other things! So I'm on a website. Check out, as well as the "intermediate" video. Excitingly awkward :) (Yep, on the website under the second tab, I thnk?)

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

Sorry I'm emailing later today. You're sleeping now. We had another adventure for p-day today at the army base - it was like being in America again! With grass and trash cans and parking lots and houses and newspapers I could read and couches and Jamba Juice and Subway and mini golf and English! There aren't too many of those things in Korea. Though there are more Subways now - one of the ward mission leaders in our stake is starting up Subway here. He's part of the reason we could go to the base. Anyway, that was the adventure of the day - a little America bubble.
Before I forget to answer questions, because I always seem to forget to answer questions:
So you know how I was saying something needs to change? It's not just me thinking that - for 추석, (Chuseok, they say it's like Korean thanksgiving, but I think mostly because they get together with family. EVERYONE gets together with family. So much so that we pretty much have a week "off", as much as you get as missionaries, because there are no people to be talked to or visited. It's 3 days long, plus the weekend, so we're having a mission conference, zone activity, cleaning day, planning a foreigner 추석 party, and moving our p-day to Saturday. (I'm not sure what that means for email. I guess we'll see if it's Monday or Saturday) That's about the work we can do.) we're doing a mission-wide fast. There's something blocking the way we're doing missionary work, so President Christensen is asking us all to fast together before the conference. I'm super excited for this!!!!!!!!!! ^^ We're on the edge of something big. Just a little about the situation right now - There are lots of people like us in Korea. They're generally called a "전도사" (jundosa), who run around trying to get people to come to their church, and are kind of vicious about it. I can't remember if I told you about a lady we met, had and appointment with, and she took us to her 전도사 friend, who was kind of mean and forecful and Bible bash-y and wouldn't let me say anything and just laughed at us and our Korean. Sad day. Probably one of the least friendly people I've met here. But anyway, a lot of people see our nametags and see us as those sort of 전도사s, where as we're just inviting...anyway, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this. There's a lot of confusion about religion here, like I've mentioned. And because of that, I think there are a lot of people who hear "religion" and just turn the sound down, without taking a second to consider or hear.. I promise this is the best thing that has ever happened to me, that has given me the most fulfillment. Otherwise, I'd be totally lost. I'd have thrown myself into school and friendships, and it'd be great and I'd be happy, but there would be something missing. I would try to ignore it, because I wouldn't know how to fix that hole that I tried to say wasn't there. But I'd never feel complete, and without that, I don't think I'd have the assurance or courage to ever be quite as happy or quite as secure as I can be. It's such an assurance that there is not only something bigger than me, but that I know what that something is. And that it make so much sense. That that something is a Heavenly Father who loves me and wants me to be happy, and will support me in all that I do. That when I have an awful day, I can pray and feel whole and comforted again. That when I have no idea what to do, I can recieve guidance, and an assurance that everything will be alright in the end, whether the end is tonight or in eternity. It's so much more than "Jesus loves you. Come to church." Both are true and essential, but this is truth! And I love it. It's that "something" more :)

So yes. We're fasting this week. And something big will happen. Like I said, either the next day, or a a beginning of a step-by-step process that will result in Korea knowing God's truth and finding that something. Both in that general sense, and also for each individual person, to find that "something" that has changed me into something so much better and happier and more confident than I would be otherwise. I know it will happen :)
So! I'll keep you posted :)
A couple other awesome things: We had ward conference this week, and usually we have about 70 people at church. But this week we had 160! Miracles like doubling the size of our ward :) A lot of less active {members}came, and families of part-member families, and some people who just live around the church. There is a member in our ward who has such an admirable desire to share the gospel, who passed out invitations to everyone she saw and brought at least 20 people herself. Just invite, invite, invite! She's amazing. And I talked to lots of people! I'm actually pretty happy with how well I can speak and understand Korean. LIke I'm nowhere near fluent, but I usually know what's going on and have something to say. It's a real blessing to be able to pick up things from context. And in a lesson this week, I was able to say just about everything I wanted to. Which is another miracle. I've been in this country for a month, studying Korean, a totally foreign language, and for the most part, can have and follow conversations, about people and the gospel. It's awesome :)
Anyway, that's quite a shpeel (it's so much more fun to spell it that way :)) and not much information about what I'm doing. 그녕, teaching, learning, talking, seeing miracles, building testimony, etc. There are hard things, and there are awesome things. I've just got to keep see the good! :D
Have a lovely week!
Sister Thomas ^^
Oh yeah. Transfers! We have a weirdy 9 week transfer this time, so no transfers this week! Not until the 3rd :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013 - Hey, Y'all!

September 9, 2013

Hello :)
Thank you for all the advice and everything. It's helpful to get an outside perspective - a lot of times I think about things so much that I just start running in circles and don't have any new ideas and get stuck in a rut - so thanks a ton. It's just aggravating when I was all excited and had all these great things I wanted to try and new ideas and mindsets and I feel like I've gone backward a lot since coming here. Forward in some ways, backward in a lot. It's not so much that I can't think of the words for Korean or anything, just that it takes so much brainpower to always have to think about how I'm saying that I don't feel very natural. Anyway. I guess it's something that'll come with time. 
But it was a good week! Hehe, funny story - so there is a less active member that we've been trying to get in touch with for a while, we leave cards and cookie on her doorstep and everything, but she's never home, we called her "ghost lady".  everyone here is always so busy and doesn't always answer their phones. Anyway, she suddenly called us one night and invited us over the next day, which was exciting! So we go over there and ring the video/doorbell-esque thing, and she doesn't we call her and ask her if she's home, etc, and apparently, we had the wrong building number. We'd been leaving cookies and stuff for this random person this whole time :) But the meeting was great -she's super nice, has an adorable daughter, wants to come to church but can't, and said we should come back to visit! And I followed the whole conversation! It was awesome :) That's happened twice this week! ^^ As missionaries for the ward, we (us sisters and 4 other elders) are visiting the members of the ward to get to know them better and encourage them to do member missionary work. We visited a sister, her husband who isn't a member, and his mom who lives with them (I tried to talk with her once at church a couple weeks ago, and had no idea what she was saying or what was going on (grandmas here are especially hard to understand, they don't use the same sentence endings (culural/age sort of thing) so I especially have no idea what's going on.) but she really likes me now, even though we haven't had a proper conversation :)). Anyway, it was both kind of cool and kind of awkward with her husband there, she was very open about talking about how she'd like him to learn about the message of the gospel, and asked us to pray for him. I love missionary work :) And I understood most of that conversation too! Woot! :) Gifts of the Spirit are real. It just takes a little patience and diligence to aquire them :)
One of our investigators left for Thailand this last week :( She's the best, and we miss her! We had a good-bye party for her at the ward for Family Home Evening which was super fun (we play the funniest game there - it's probably just funny because everything is funny as a missionary, and the Bishop is hilarious (even in Korean :))) and she brought one of her friends, who also (thank goodness) speaks English really well - she's super cute and has the funniest laugh and giggles at everything :) And she said she'd start coming to our English class on Saturdays! She came this week and we talked to her lots and shared a little about the church, but mostly got to know her more. Ah, I wish you could meet these people! They're the best :) Anyway, I'll send a picture of some of them :)
And we did a whole lot more stuff too. I just don't have time to talk about 90% of it. Too bad. If you have any questions, ask! :D
Love you all!
토마스 자매

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

September 3, 2013

It's been the best week and the worst week. In that a lot of great things happened, but I'm getting down - the work is hard, especially in Korea where there is too much confusion about religion, and what we're doing (running around the streets talking to people) isn't effective. There has GOT to be change. There is so much potential. And then good ol' Korean is hard as ever. There's a pass off program we do and every time I explode into tears because I want to teach and follow the spirit and meet needs, etc., etc., etc., but in Korean too---it's rough. It'll come, I know, but it's back to the whole overwhelmed/feeling sort of isolated thing. Which I know is Satan...but it's still real, right now.

BUT I can tell we're on the edge of something HUGE ^^ I'm SUPER excited to see the work change here, because it has got to. There have been many promises made about Korea, and my zone specifically, and the push for member missionary work, and hearts are turning to the work, and we're going to have a huge conference, and I've been talking to other missionaries and they're feeling the same way, and there has been a ton of faith placed in Korea - 74 missionaries came with my group, and including us, our mission alone will have 90 new missionaries by the end of the year :) "The gospel in Korea - it's gonna be big" (name it!)

I feel super blessed to be right where I am, right now. And through rough times, I learn a lot. Those times are the times when I become stronger. It's a lesson in patience and trust, and the only way that I can make it through that is because I know the promises are sure. I am SO thankful for that.
I can't even remember what events happened this week. It's been long, with a lot of thoughts running through my head. Maybe I'll start to keep a bullet point list of the things that happened :)
Oh! We went to contact with a girl from our ward who is submitting her papers (for her mission) soon! That was an awesome experience, and probably more helpful for me than for her, I was reminded of the kind of contacter I wanted to be, because I was (finally) a teacher instead of just a follower. (I'm not really a fan of "the greenie days", but I know I am going to learn a lot from them. Like I love where I am and the work we're doing and my companion and everything, but just the whole following and feeling entirely useless.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Augusut 26, 2013 - HOoraH! NO time to think of a title!

August 26, 2013

So guess what.  P-day is actually tomorrow this time. Because we're goin’ to the TEMPLE! It's been so long since I've been  - a good 8 or so weeks. And the SEOUL temple! Same, but different :) super excited.
It's going to be short this week, which is too bad cuz it was a GREAT week! (but i was in Korea. as a missionary. Of course it would be great :))  And a copy of my letter to Pres. Christensen ‘cuz then you’ll hear more about what I did.

This was a wonderful week. Lots of work, lots of miracles. People and the area are progressing!
First of all - one of our investigators was baptized yesterday! It was super exciting and satisfying in the best sort of way - that I didn't really do anything, that it was all between her and the Lord. She's planning on receiving the Holy Ghost next Sunday. Her journey also really stressed the importance of members to me.  Her friend did more for her than I'm sure I ever could.

One of our investigators is leaving for Thailand in about a week and a half. She is ready to be baptized, and she said she would be, but her situation with her parents is rough. When she mentioned being baptized to her mom, she was told that she would betray the family if she was baptized. Our investigator said we could help by helping her parents understand. We will possibly meet them this week.

We had lunch with another investigator this week, and she said that she had talked to some of her students about us, and we're going to meet them tomorrow! She is progressing as well, and recognizing more fully the nourishment she gets from the gospel. She said she was hoping to find "something" by meeting with us; I think she is beginning to recognize that "something."

Our other investigators are progressing well, some faster than others. I love serving in 중랑! The best people are here - the investigators, the ward members and leaders, Sister Gardiner - I feel like I'm learning lots and am able to do a bit of good for others, which is something I was worried about when I came to Korea and couldn't really speak Korean. I learn every day how it's not the language that matters, but the Spirit. And I'm sure I still have a lot to learn in the field.

Miracles! Of course, the baptism! And once again, how much of it wasn't us as missionaries. So much of the hand of the Lord preparing her, and friends supporting. I was honestly surprised about how quickly it happened. And then yesterday, we were 전도ing, and I had a strange desire to pass out all of the pass-along cards we had - it was a different sort of prompting than those that I've recognized before. And Sister Gardiner helped me to recognize that, but on our last card, a 학생 came up to us and started talking, just a very nice, open conversation, and we're going to meet with him again next week on the sidewalk.  And that was our wonderful week!

Yes! So one of our investigators was baptized! And it really was all the Lord and her friend. Missionary work works best when the members take the lead – there’s a friendship and support that a random missionary can't offer. It was the BEST and reminded me why I am here. Eek. Scatterde thoughts. pretty much. It's really exciting in a "that was cool!" way, but also in an eternal sense, which is the best!
A couple of other random things:

We ate with members this week - and had American food! Hamburgers and tacos, a rarity in these parts. They got them from the army base over here, which is the only place you can really buy lots of kinds of American stuff. 

Also, the old ladies are so funny. I saw one looking at us through the bus, so I bowed to her, and she mouthed to me "You're pretty!" Hehehe. That's an awesome thing about being a foreigner; all the old ladies tell you you’re pretty and that your Korean is good :)
And I don't have much time. LOVE! BYE!
Sis Thomas

Monday, August 19, 2013

Augusut 29, 2013 - Miracles, hiking, camels, and such


August 19, 2013


Time for fun things, report of the week! Pictures first: I rode a camel last week right after I emailed y'all :) It's been on my bucket list, and it was actually a pretty lame ride, but I rode a camel! (I got permission and everything, don't worry :)) and then there’s a view from our house (one with the trees), and a view from the 35th floor of our ward mission leader's house (their family is the best. They're super fun and fed us delicious food ;)) but the picture doesn't do it justice. Seoul is fantastic. And then a picture of...something else. I forgot :) 

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And if we ever find a post office, a letter will be on its way! After three weeks, I had time to write like half a letter...It doesn't say anything exciting, because I say everything in the email anyway, but it's just always fun to get a letter. Like I said, even if it has the contents of the Declaration of Independence in it. Hopefully the letter is a little more exciting than that, but no guarantees :)

Woot! This week was GREAT! And looking back seems like it started forever ago, so much has happened. Yes, so last P-day we went to the zoo. The animals are the same ;);.  It was funny though.  The Korean sister in our house would teach us some of the animal names and we'd walk around saying "monkey! monkey!" and people would look at us funny. Oh, the adventures of a foreigner :).  (I got my foreigner card today! I'm official!) And then we delivered cookies to some less active sisters - they were kind of ugly cookies, but hopefully not too bad (separate but related note - there's a recent convert in our ward who we help with English often (English is a big deal here. I've started talking to some people just because they're excited to try out their English on a native speaker. It's fun!) and she was talking about how if/when she goes to America, she wants to eat "USA cookie" and "USA bread" because they're so delicious :) (But bread really is different here. No Great Harvest. It's not bad though! Also, there are little toast stands on the sides of the street :) (I don't know how many parentheses I’m into right now :)))))) And then we did a service project with the missionaries in our zone and cleaned up a  mountain - I was excited because I've wanted to go hiking... Service and Hiking? Can life get any better? I submit that it canNOT! And then we had family home evening with the ward (on Tuesday, so they can do FHE as a family, then another with the ward if they like) and played ping pong - I'm awful. AWFUL. Anyway, we had a lot of meetings and activities this week, so I promise I'm also going to talk about lessons and investigators and miracles soon :) We also had a Sister's Conference for the whole mission, which was super fun and uplifting - church isn't as spiritually refreshing as it usually is because I don't know what anyone is saying. Thank goodness the Spirit is the same throughout languages/countries/etc. But I realized just how young our mission is - as in I recognized more than half of the people there from the MTC; probably the majority of us have been out less than two months. This is going to be quite an adventure :)
So by Thursday night, we finally had time for lessons. Yay! Lessons are the best. So we have one investigator who is leaving for Thailand in a couple weeks. She's fantastic.  We're actually going to go play with her and a member later today for P-day. But lesson-wise; we're feeling stuck; sometimes, it's hard to know how to help. She believes, but her parents are strongly Catholic, and she is hesitant about breaking from that family tradition. And I respect that. We don't want to be "that pushy missionary", because my purpose for being here is not baptismal statistics. It's to help people be happier and come unto Christ. But through making covenants, we can receive that additional guidance and peace - anyway, a hard spot to be. (and hard to explain fully in the few minutes I have to email. Obviously more thoughts and feelings and gospel principles and stories than that.) So we continue! Another one of our investigators, the one who speaks pretty good English, is also great :). We talked about a lot of things this week (that's one thing I like about her, we just talk. It's not a lesson. That's ideal, because I like just talking to people about awesome things!!) A couple things I want to share, because I loved the whole discussion - she said that she likes meeting with us because she sees a different "energy" in the missionaries than everyone else, and she likes that; she wants people to be able to see that in her. At first she thought it was just in the missionaries, but as she met and talked with the members last week, she thinks that it's more of the people in our church that have that "energy". She then talked about how confusing religions and truth is (and really, especially in Korea, religion is confusing. There are churches on every corner, meeting every day of the week, with their "전도서s" (kind of like missionaries, but more like run around and yell at everyone to repent and come to their church. (I very much want to avoid being a "REPENT!" person, because that sort of force and overbarance is not a part of the Gospel. In that sense, it was very helpful for me to hear what she had to say about our "energy" - the Spirit :))) and that everyone has their own opinion, and there are parts that are right about everything it seems, so how do you know what truth really is?  And then she said she met the missionaries, who told her that she could know and could find that truth for herself. That truth that doesn't change as opinions change. What is real. And for me, that is one of the best things about this Gospel -- that I can gather opinions and listen to everyone, but when everything is crazy and changing, I have this secure base that I can always return to because it's so real -- in every circumstance. I love it! :D
Anyway, that's most for this week :)
Love you all!
Sister Thomas

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013 - So I'm not sure what happened this week. It was awesome.

August 12, 2013

 Yep! Korea is awesome! The people are awesome! I love the people we're meeting with - we have the best investigators, the best ward, and there are lots of really nice people on the street. Like, really nice and friendly. Koreans love foreigners - though I've probably been asked what my heritage is here more than anywhere else, and everyone keeps saying that I look like I'm from the East (Sister Gardiner keeps having to tell me that they say that, though, I never understand that sentence...) - especially when they try to learn Korean, and as a general rule, they're just really awesome, nice people, including the ones who don't want to listen to us, usually. Funny event of the week - a boy came over and asked for our number, and said he wanted to be our friend -- like in a college boy sort of way. Ha. I wasn't always sure what he was saying, and Sister Gardiner said she didn't know how to handle that... so we ended up telling him about the English class that we do with the Elders in our ward, and got his number for that. Anyway. It was funny :)

We're teaching quite a few investigators actually, which I really enjoy. One is a 할머니 (grandma) who lives alone, and is so funny. I never quite know how to read her (possibly because she's speaking Korean :)) we teach her some English before we teach her about the Gospel. Sometimes I think we're just there to teach her English, then other times she’s really interested in the Gospel, then other times I have no idea what's going on, and so on and so forth. We were teaching about service and the purpose that it gives - Like really, I love service. It makes me feel like I'm doing things and accomplishing more than just for myself, which is just one reason why missionary work is GREAT! :) - and then she started asking about the commandments out of the blue, because "I'm going to need to know them if I'm going to live them." So we told her about some of the commandments, then she just wanted to learn English words about them...And probably a whole lot more is going on that I'm not picking up on. It's an adventure everyday here :) 

We have another investigator who started as an English interest (I think) and she's pretty good at English, which is nice for me, because when I really can't figure out how to say something in Korean, I can say a bit in English. Side note - I'm learning (continuing to learn) a lot through learning Korean. More than just Korean. Patience, and patterns of progression, and that the Spirit is more important than Korean (which is hard to remember sometimes, when everyone is speaking Korean...) but I'm not in Korea to learn Korean, I'm here to bring people unto Christ at every point of my mission. Anyway - she's awesome, too. I really like the way she thinks, maybe because it's kind of similar to how I think. And we brought a member to meet her this last week, and they talked for quite a while, which was GReAT - members are really crucially crucial in missionary work. People need to not only learn about the Gospel, but also have friends in the church; and there is a potential to fill all those needs. I love friendly people :) Anyway, we talked a lot about Ether 12:6 and 12:27; about being made strong in Christ, about how sometimes you don't always know before you do.  An interaction of faith and action. Yep :)

Well, I'm going to send this email off. Maybe more stories if I remember them :)

Sister Thomas