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.