Sunday, June 30, 2013

July 5, 2013 - The Best Things

July 5, 2013

Hullo again! I don't have time/want to spend the effort to think of an introduction. All the brain power goes to Korean/lesson planning/teaching.
Worldwide Broadcasts are the best!
But really, SO COOL! I was like "I hope everyone in my home ward is seeing this! I hope everyone in Korea is seeing this!" There were multiple occasions where I felt like I was going to explode into sunshine and rainbows and butterflies. Something along those lines. A marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men! It has been, but it will even more so now! There are 70,000 missionaries - but there are 14 MILLION members. What amazing things would happen if all those members catch the spirit of the work? One thing that I had been thinking about actually a lot before I come on my mission was the essential role of members in missionary work - just as much as the hope of the gospel of Christ, people need to be welcomed to the organization of the church with a friend. And that's what the broad cast was ALL about! Like it's awesome and all that we can use technology, but the focus is that ALL us, our purpose is, in one way or another, "to invite others to come unto Christ, by receiving the restored gospel through Fatih in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (make sure I got that entirely right :)) also note - baptism is one element of that. Members don't have to baptize people. missionaries don't have to baptize people. We need to love people! That's all. Missionaries have responsi9bilities to be teachers, and members have the responsibility to be friends. I don't know that I expressed everything about that that I'd like to . Just watch it again. The words of the prophets and of the spirit are better than mine anytime. I just hope y'all catch the spirit, with the Spirit! :)
Also, isn't Sister Marriott awesome? She came and spoke to us about their conversion story. Ekke, running out of time. Maybe I'll talk about it more later.
And Korea was in the Called to Serve video a few times. YEAH! :)
And being in the member/missionary choir was amazing, too. That's what it's all about! Member work and missionary work is the same thing! I don't mind that I wasn't on camera (though I saw the bottom of my shirt :))
Understanding Korean is the best!
And yes, that means I'm starting to understand what they're saying to me all the time! Not just picking up a word her and there - that's been going for a while - but ideas are starting to come. We've learned TONS of grammar and words - I have a 'self-esteem ring' that I put all my flashcards on when I've mastered them, and it's getting full! Hehe :) I almost have the first vision down in Korean (thanks for the jump rope, i just recited it a bunch of times during personal gym time) and I'm working on the Missionary Purpose right now. It's amazing to see how fast you can learn with the Spirit - and it teaches you patience like none other. Except maybe being thrown in the country where people only speak Korean to you all day :)
Koreans are the best!
WE had 3 Korean sisters and 1 Elder (a solo Elder?! crazy talk) come this week. And I was companions with Sister Kim for a little while! Ah, the sisters are just always so happy and excited and friendly! I can't even explain. I"M SO EXCITED! And I realized - I have no conversational Korean skills. Thank goodness to of them speak English really well (went to BYU (she's going to my mission!), lived in Canada), but I want to talk to Sister Kim too! Anyway. Oh! Also, I forgot to tell you last week that I have a new companion - Sister Florence! She's my fellow sister training leader and a solo sister (only sister in her district, hence the companionship change)  and she's so great. We have lots of great talks about life and the Gospel and truth and science and how it's all connected. Amazing :)
And not only are Koreans the best, but Korean-speaking missionaries are the best. I LOVE our district, I LOVE our zone. Everyone is just - great. I could try lots of words, but that's what it comes down to. The BEST people are here! :D
That is all for now. I'm just about out of time for this big-long email and have a couple people to write ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013 - Here are some pictures!

 My Companions

Elder Eggwards (There is a real Elder Edwards, by the way.)

Impromptu Food Party

June 23, 2013 - Oh Hey!

June 23, 2013

I'm not really sure what to talk about because the MTC is kind of wake up-breakfast-gym-study-more study-lunch-class-study-class. Plus a devotional or two here or there (Which are GREAT! :)) But I forgot my list of exciting things that have happened, so we'll see what I end up writing about.
Things are great again! Like I said, unfortunately I was writing to you during the hour that I wasn't feeling particularly great and enthusiastic. I got a whole lot sicker (good English, huh. It's okay, I won't have to speak it for a while.) after I wrote last time - I was being stubborn and not wanting to miss class/make my companions miss class, but they were made me go back to the room.  Which was great. (honestly, it feels like so long ago that I don't think I'm doing the story justice.) Anyway, I got a blessing and had a good long talk with Heavenly Father, and everything is good again :)
So on Monday, the older 동이 (group) left for Korea - Crazy! People actually get to leave this place! (not that I don't love the MTC - I really do! I'm just more excited for Korea :) 고리아 넘바 완! ha :)) I miss the sisters though - they're so fantastic. And we have a new group of missionaries - 5 Elders, 5 Sisters! SUPER EXCITING! I remember thinking that the people who had been here for 3 weeks and 6 weeks knew so much - and now we're the 3 week-ers. Crazy talk. (for some reason, that's become my phrase of the month. Hm.) And even though I didn't really/couldn't really talk to the Koreans when they were here (they left with the older 동이), I miss them too! I'm so excited for Koreaaaaa! :D hehe :)
Um. Yep :) Language is coming. I can pretty much say the majority of what I want to say - sloooowly. BUT! It's a place to start. Next step - learn to understand people. We've actually learned most of the grammar forms in our little book that supposed to take 9 weeks, as well as a few other things. So it's coming :)
Also, TRC is AWSAH! (see, I don't ever say "awesome" in English, but it's fun in 한국말 :)) Volunteers come in and we teach them in Korean. Just, teach them. The topic differs every week, but it's just cool to teach real live people real live things, for THEM. Again - SO EXCITED FOR KOREA! :D and It's nice because it's easier to not read off a script. I don't know,my companions still like mapping out word for word what we're going to say - I don't really, I'd rather just talk about what we're talking about, but I guess it's helpful to follow where we are...sort of :) but in TRC, we finished the lesson pretty quickly, so we could just talk. I loved it! And one of the sisters we talked to is from Korea, and her mother is still in Seoul - so she took down our names so that she could maybe feed us or something if we're in her area :) So NICE! :) (I can't get tooooooooooooo exited yet, or I'll explode over the course of 5 is more weeks. BUT! SO EXCITING! :) )
Pretty much, I love my district. Pretty much, I love the sisters. Pretty much, I love Korean-speaking missionaries. Everyone one here is fantastic :) SUPER EXCITING! (haha, new tag line?)
Also, EPIC MISSIONARY BROADCAST ON SUNDAY! (Caps are just fun right now. You can't really do that in Korean (as far as I know...)) BE EXCITED!
So, I don't feel like I really said much in this email. I have too many stories and no stories and too long-ago (a week) stories. Feel free to ask specific questions :)
Um, yep! Maybe pictures later?
Love you all!
Sister Thomas

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16, 2013 - Hey all!

June 16, 2013

Hey all! Time for the weekly update at the MTC.
Big news #1: I had been kind of down on Saturday - I mean, we're learning all this cool stuff to help others and such, but I don't know, I feel awful dragging my companions around and such to go an meet other people, we sort of have an investigator, role-play an all, but it's not the same. All I was going to be able to concentrate on for 9 weeks was myself (to a point, anyway.)? Bleh. That's not why I came out here. And like I mentioned about the character of Christ talk last week, I had been praying for opportunities to turn outward. So we have Sister Training Leaders here now, who are sort of Zone-Leader-esque for the Sisters, who mostly check up and interview etc. And guess what! Answered prayers! I'll be a Sister Training leader til we leave here. I'm still trying to figure out the ropes - I'm not exactly sure I know what to do other than interview (check in on how their doing, try to help) and say good night and show around the new ones when they come (I'm sure there's a lot more than that) so there's still a big learning curve, but I'm quite excited! I'll be working with Sister Florence, who is also 20 and went to the U, and she may actually be moving into our room when the older group leaves the MTC (They go to Korea on Monday! People actually leave this place! It's hard to fathom - I've chosen to just ignore time for a little while.) Also, I gave the closing prayer in sacrament meeting last Sunday. Not too scary! And the crazy amazing thing is how much better prayers have gotten since then. They've gone from sunbeam to older primary child, in that I can say some stuff without thinking too hard :)
Also, I'm sickly. *cough cough*. And have been for a while. Between that, exhaustion (we work hard!) and some stress, it's been pretty taxing on my energy stores, but we're pushing through. Hmm.
Korean is still exciting! It makes so much sense; it's just very different. Words are staying in my head better. I keep explaining this process like building a building: I understand the blueprints and how things are supposed to go together, and I'm getting some building materials and blocks, but I can't do it very quickly yet. It still takes a while to put everything together and make sure it's right, but at this point, repetition and usage should help. Sometimes I feel like I'm not learning fast enough, but then I remember that we only learned the alphabet 2 weeks ago, and we're teaching people in Korean now. Thank you, gift of tongues.
We have two teachers here, and one is abandoning us. Sad day. I guess they're both among the ranks of the most senior and the boss decided that it wasn't too fair. So! New teacher. It's too bad; I really like both of our teachers in different ways, but I'm sure the new one will be great, too!
The district is fantastic. Asah! (Like "awesome", but what they say in Korea :) )They're so fun, which is super nice - I don't know that I could spend the hours a day for 9 weeks with dead weights. We, uh, they, like to play volleyball during gym time, so I'm playing volleyball. Shocker, huh. But the amount I like my district outweighs how much I dislike volleyball - that and I have to follow around my companions, and I don't like working out much anyway, so I don't care what we do.
Hmm. That is all I can think of for now. I'm sorry I'm totally out of it. If I'm going to be honest, a lot of things are wearing on me. They're not really awful or anything, and I can roll with it, but I'm sick, tired, stressed, and trying to find a place here. I know this is the place to be and I wouldn't rather be anywhere else, but it is a totally new environment and I haven't totally figures it out yet. I don't ever like getting in people's ways, so I kind of just follow around my companions, which I'm not a particular fan of. I could just speak up, but I don't really have an opinion, and don't want to get in the way of their settling in. Huff. I don't know how to lose myself in the work, but still take care of myself. Sorry you have to hear about me being dumb, but this is really the only time I have during the week to think. I promise that a lot of great things are happening - Korean is a blessing everyday, and I'm quite excited about the potential of the Sister Training leader thing, and if we would take time to email after we go to the temple today, this email would probably be totally different. I am SO thankful for the temple and the blessings and comfort that it brings. An you know, having some time to think it out is great. It helps me see where I need strengthening and what to pray for. So thanks for listening. :)
Another thing: Devotionals/Sunday movies! I LOVE all of those here. We heard from Sister and Elder Arnold this past Tuesday in the Marriot Center - They're another couple on my "I want to be like them when I grow up". I;m trying to figure out what factors make them the kind of people that are on that list, and I think that what I'm starting to see is that they have a clear view of the character and power of God, and a clear view of the divine nature of God's children and love and view and treat them as such. That On'e major thing I got from his talk. Powerful testimony. Also, Elder Bednar again (Sunday movie) about recognizing the spirit. He told the story about the 20 pound note, President Packer, and East Germany. Don't worry about if it's a prompting or not. Be a good boy, a good girl; keep the commandments, honor covenants, and the Spirit will guide you, often without you knowing it. HUGE testimony of that, especially in mission prep and the 2 weeks here.
Fun things! So you know how I was talking about how I was going to draw my friend a unicorn but didn't know when or how? Yup. Even though he works on West campus, I saw him and drew him one real quick. Even miracles for dumb stuff that doesn't matter :) Also, in Korea, I guess there was this rumor on the news one time about the "fan death", how if you closed the door an turned the fan on, you'd suffocate. It's the source of many of our jokes nowadays. Hehe :)
I'm running low on time and need to check your other emails to make sure I haven't missed anything, so I bid farewell to you all!
Sister Thomas

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7, 2013 - Annyoung Smashing Pizza... Week 2

June 7, 2013

So, this is kind of to you, and kind of to all. I'm assuming everyone will share all emails anyway - and the plan is to also write a letter. We'll see how time happens :)
COOL! So this week---I  can't remember what I told you last week. I'ts all been one looooong adventure. Only on Tuesday did time kick back in; before that I couldn't remember what we did when and the days took FOR.EV.ER. It was time to go to bed - it was only 11:00am! Time is known only unto man - and we are missionaries. :) Hehe, missionary humor is running strong. Yesterday, another missionary passed us and out of nowhere: "Can missionaries do the hokey pokey?" And I yelled "YES!" and laughed about it. For a really long time :) I told dad another story. Also all the things we can say in Korean! Ask and ye shall receive. ( I assume :)) Oh yes, our investigator! We taught 4 lessons to Brother Hwang in Korean - We relied heavily on our notes, which is acceptable, but I was realizing yesterday that it's okay to HAVE notes, but I should have been relying on the spirit more. Something to work on the next week. But it went fairly well! I really did like it the best when we tried to just talk to him/when he had questions, rather than reading our script. I've been learning lessons about diligence and patience with the language. Maybe more to come in a letter (? I don't know how much to promise yet. we'll leave it at hopefully :))
Also, Koreans are here! there are 6 cha-mae-nim (sisters (its easier to sound out with dashes :))) and 3 chang-ro-nim (elders). I haven't talked to them much yet (tyring to get over the fear of not being able to say anything other than prayers) but they seem great. I love Koreans! :D they were talking to another district trying to say "Jessica Alba" for the longest time. "Alrba. Allrlrba." Hehehe :) Also, it's fun on Wednesdays to gawk at new missionaries. We aren't the new ones anymore! And hopefully in a couple weeks, I'll be able to host the new ones - it would be so fun! I love missionaries, I'm so excited for real live missionary work out in the field (but we can do some here too! Just not as hard core.)
Also, there's a word for "y'all". I'm super excited :) Ilr-ah-boon. Something like that (Korean looks dumb when I turn it in the English letters.
On Sundays, we get to watch a film at night. I'd heard from Celina ("it is ESSENTIAL that you see this the first week") and Jen ("It changes peoples lives. I haven't seen it, but it changes people's lives.") and a few others that that was one to watch. It was wonderful. If you can find it online (it's by Elder Bednar, a Christmas Devotional at the MTC, though it's probably not floating around too much, I think they like to keep them at the MTC), watch it. Today. If not, here is the synopsis. He talked about how Christ, at the hardest times when the natural man (who he equated to the cookie moster: Me want cookie. NOW.) would turn inward (I'm so sorry for myself. You should feel bad for me. I'm not having success. I'm going to go wallow for a while. etc.), he turns outward. He shared stories (Christ and the temptations (bread, cast yourself form the pillar/mountain/thing; during this he sent angels to John in prison. How after the atonement, with the weight of the world through out all times and dispensations on his shoulders, betrayed and let down by apostles, he healed the guards ear... Etc. I'll hopefully include more in a letter. I just have a few minutes.) Testimony and conversion. Repentance as turning outward, to God and to your neighbor. I feel like this talk was a clear statement of a lot of things I've been grasping at for a while, and it's been a blessing. How following Christ requires a correct knowledge of the character and attributes of Christ.
AH! I have to go soon. But I love you all! Thank you for everything! Have a lovely week!
Sister Thomas