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.