Thursday, February 19, 2015
Wow, how fast have these seven weeks gone by? So fast! And I'm sure I'll be saying the same thing at the end of 18 months, but let's not talk about that right now, haha.
This blog is going to be a little bit shorter because I want to take some more time to write you all individually. Your support and love have been unreal. I am so thankful to each one of you and the example you all are to me. I love you each so much. So much.
There is one lesson I learned this week that I want to take a little bit of time on, though. It's something that our Korean Branch President said to us that as really stuck with me.
"You think you have only rifles, when you have a TANK!" -President Lee
Now, President Lee is a very wise and honest man, who likes to wear Pooh Bear neckties. So you know you can trust him. In these past seven weeks, I've learned more Korean that I can bear to think about right now. I can teach people, express thoughts and feelings, and even though I probably sound pretty broken when I talk I can understand some a lot of what people say back to me. This may change when I go to Korea. But this is when this lesson comes in....
We are all exponentially more capable and powerful than we give ourselves credit for. It is sometimes easy to get discouraged. For some it with learning Korean, for others it's school or work or friends or family or numerous other things. But we all have a Heavenly Father constantly looking over us. He made us. He loves us. We are all so endlessly capable to succeed in this life. Especially with Him by our side. So if I may ask any of you to do anything this week, it's stop doubting yourself and just go for it. Stop thinking that you're only shooting with a rifle, when really you're comin' at 'em with a tank.
I love you all so much. We got new missionaries this week who are just amazing and will be heading to Daejeon with me, which I'm so excited about! I cannot wait to finish up these last couple weeks of training and get out there!
I'm praying for each one of you always! Talk to you again next week!
Sister Elayna Weston
Friday, February 13, 2015
"You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do a lot about the width and the depth."
This is a concept I've been thinking a lot about this week, and the President of the MTC brought it up in one of our devotional. For me, right now, it pertains more to the length of my mission (17 months now). I can't do a lot about how long or short my mission is, but I can control a lot about how widely and deeply use this time to learn, grow, and serve others.
Sometimes, Korean is really hard haha. I'll be the first one to admit it. But when I take a step back from something difficult, and remember how very capable I am to do the thing that is in front of me, I find I become very grateful for the opportunity to do something that is so challenging. Because I have been given an able body and able mind to do it. And God trusts me to do it, in the same way He trusts all of us to do whatever it is He calls us and gives us purpose to do.
I think the biggest thing that stops us from doing something good, that may also be hard, is fear. It's easy to become afraid of failing, of making mistakes, or of just plain not knowing what you're doing. But fear is not of God, faith is of God. And I know with faith anything can be accomplished. Even if all that is accomplished is learning something new, something you may not have even expected to learn. You sure accomplish a lot more by trying that by giving into fear.
If you can't tell, I've learned a lot this week haha. I love Korean- it's pretty much the coolest thing ever. And since we got about nine native Koreans added to our Zone this week, I've been learning and an even faster rate. Which leads me to a very funny story.
As a Sister Training Leader, it's our responsibility with the Zone leaders to welcome the natives when they arrive, and take them to dinner. I was sitting by a couple of Korean elders who spoke some English and they asked me to say some things in Korean that I knew how to say. So not wanting to be afraid I said, sure! But still being a little afraid, I chose the safest sentence in my repertoire to recite to them "God loves us." and after I sputtered that out, I looked to the elder for approval and he just says "nice try." Needless to say, I was laughing for about three minutes straight with all the other zones leaders. It was soo funny. And I definitely learned I need to work on my Korean some more hahaha.
I love you all so much! Thank you for reading this, supporting me, and being great people :)
I'll talk to you again next week! Dao may baeo!
So I realize I've been sending home a lot of insights these past couple of weeks, which has been really fun for me- but sometimes I run out of time to tell the little fun stories that happen at the MTC and I'd like to take the time to do that this week... here we go!
Each morning, Sister Jones and I run to the temple. Our gym time is at 6:40 (super early but honestly the best, it starts off the day so well and you don't fall asleep during morning studies). When we start our sun it's always really dark and all the stars are out. By the time we get to the temple (all uphill running by the way) its already getting light. And we sit up on the hill above the temple, look down on the temple grounds and the MTC and the rest of provo and watch the sunrise. I can't believe it took us so long to start doing this.But now we do it every morning and it's just the best.
Our Korean Branch President's name is President Perriton. He is from New Zealand and is honestly.... the coolest person alive. To start, he can read 12,000 words a minute, he graduated from standford with and MBA in one year, he was the translator for the ambassadors of New Zealand and South Korea, he can beat every single elder at a pushup contest, he often does pushups with elders on his back (the man is 65 okay), and this week he brought a sickle into our sacrament meeting. He was taking about how a missonaries job is to harvest those who have been prepared to hear the teachings of Christ. He can honestly do anything he wants, and it is so cool. I hope to write a few more letters home about "The Legends of Perriton" as we have come to call them. They are pretty amazing.
Like I mentioned last week, we have some native Koreans with us in the MTC right now. The sisters are in the room right next to us. Our district likes to celebrate things with Pizza rolls. And last night we were celebrating preparation day eve with a nice serving of pizza rolls when we had the thuogh that the koreans may have neve had them before. and they hadn't! But wowwwwww do korean's love pizza rolls! If this doesn't confirm why I got called to Korea, I'm not sure what does. Korean's are the cutest. Another example of this was on wednesday morning, I was curling my hair in the bathroom. A korean sister came up to me and starting complimenting my hair, and I asked if she wanted me to curl hers as well. she got super excited and said yes so I did. I finished curling one piece in the front and showed it to her and she just FREAKED! she was so pumped about it! She ran out of the bathroom and showed everyone and just kept that one piece curled all day, haha. I loved it. I promised her I would curl all of her hair on sunday for church.
We teach lessons to people every friday. and I'm running out of time but I wanted to tell you that two korean's we've been teaching are now thinking about getting baptized! I will try to might more about this next week after we teach them again tomorrow.
So those are just a few of the fun things that happen around here. I honestly love every single person I've met here so far. And since being here, i've felt my capacity to love increase 100 fold. Especially for all of you at home. I can't explain how much I love and appreciate each of you. I pray for all of you continually throughout the day and you can guarantee any special prayer requests will be prayed for. I love you, I love you, I love you. and I'm so happy, and feel so blessed to call you my friends and my family.
Sister Langi, the other and senior sister training leader, is going home today to get a month of physical therapy before going to korea. It's nothing too huge but she's obviously bummed that she wont be leaving for Korea on monday, if any of you would like to pray for her I know she would appreciate it. This also means that I'm the sole sister training leader until Sunday when we can call someone else. Crazy stuff just keeps happening. And I just go with it!
I hope all of you have a wonderful week! I send all my love!
Sunday, February 1, 2015
This week in the MTC has been amazing :) Let me tell you just a few of the cool things that happened.
To start, we shipped off a bunch of missionaries to Korea! This left our Korean branch feeling a little small. But to end their time here, the MTC President and his 1st Counselor came to our sacrament meeting! It was so cool to be able to talk with him and gain his insights. The Korean speakers are very highly favored at the MTC- it's funny, they call us the "celestial branch."
With all the older missionaries leaving, a lot of the leadership positions were left empty and obviously needed to be filled. In the presence of the MTC presidency, I was called the be the Sister Training Leader for the entire Korean branch. I can't even tell you how humbling that was. I've learned a lot about leadership since being here, and the most important of everything is that the title of "leader" is actually just another name for servant. My job is to place myself below every sister in my zone, and do everything I can for them, with love, to build them up. I love all of these girls so much, they are incredible and inspire me everyday.
That being said, we just got 11 new sisters come in this week! One of them lived next to me at BYU and one is from alabama! It's so cool to not be the youngest anymore hahaha. And having them here has helped me put into perspective how much I really have learned, about Korean and about myself. It's pretty amazing.
The biggest thing I've learned this week is that life is all about the mindset you chose to be in. In most cases, you can chose to make any circumstance a chance to learn or be happy or serve others. Especially when things get hard, and you want to be mad or selfish or irritated, that is the absolute best time to stop thinking about yourself and thing about what you can do to learn or serve someone else. When we chose to focus on ourselves, we deny God the opportunity to work through us to make someone's day a little brighter, or even perform miracles. Our Branch presidents wife, Sister Gilbert, told us this week "If you live as though you are in a miracle, you will be the miracle." This world really is a miracle, everything in it. And when we chose to see things in that way, you are placing yourself in the position to be a catalyst for greatness.
I love you all so much, and am praying for you constantly!
Have a wonderful week :)
That's how you pronounce hello in Korean for all you lovely people back home. This week has been amazing. I'm trying to remember back to two weeks ago when hello was all I could say, and now we teach someone IN KOREAN every single day. And most of the time they understand us! Haha, sometimes they don't but that's okay. That's where my years and years of charades practice comes in (shoutout to the family for always playing charades on camping trips- who knew how useful it could be). But honestly, I'm amazing at how much we are all able to learn here. I'm not saying I'm ready for Korea yet, but I know that when the time comes I'll be more than prepared and so excited to be able to talk to people- even if it's mostly smiling and nodding while I get used to their accents.
One thing I've loved the most about this week is that as we've gotten more settled into the schedule and our residence hall, we get to meet and spend time with a lot more people: most of whom are from all corners of the world. For example, just in my hall we have an entire room of native Korean girls, an entire room of native Japanese girls, six different girls from New Z eland, one from Germany, 4 from the Philippines, and that's not even mentioning all the different states people come from. It's truly amazing. I love learning a little bit of all of their languages and cultures, and what food they eat, and how it's too cold here (they obviously haven't been to Chicago) and all the fun stuff that comes with being from a different part of the globe. I can't wait to see what the differences are in Korea. The native Korean girls are helping me a lot to know whats popular there before I leave so I'm not a total nerdy America when I arrive.
In contrast to that last paragraph, I've also had the chance to meet people who are a lot like me. About an hour ago, I was stopped and asked if I was from Michigan because I'm wearing a Mackinac Island shirt. I told them yes, and they brought over a woman who was also from Michigan. Her name is Michelle and she is just a little bit older than me (not a missionary but she works at the MTC). Turn out she's from Rochester and got baptized just a little bit over a year ago! Needless to say, we are really good friends now hahaha. She actually is the woman who is in charge for reporting news in the MTC- or something like that I'm not totally sure- and one of her duties is to pick a missionary each week to interview and make a news report on, and for this week she chose me! I can't even explain how much love I've felt since beginning my mission. Not only from people like Michelle, or missionaries, but from those of you who read this and send me letters or e-mails. you often don't know how much of an impact you have on someones life by taking the time to care for them, so if you have not been recognized for doing so lately, I would like to take the time to recognize you now.
My district, 28D, is just the best. Everyone works so hard and supports each other and are just so loving. I guess that's one huge benefit of being an all girl district, you don't have to hold back on any love for each other.
This week the message that has been repeatedly shared is about turning out. My mom mentioned that a similar message was shared this week at her church. Funny how God works that way. But we've found that if ever we are starting to worry about ourselves a little to much, or feel sad or stressed, the best way to combat those feelings is to just stop for a moment and love for some way, even if it's small, to do something for someone else. Because if you are in need of encouragement, chances are someone else is too. And if you can forget yourself, and make someone else happy, well, it's bound to make you happy too. I've seen myself getting exponentially more joyful as I try to practice this bit of advice.
In other news, the Elders still call me "War Eagle" and I hold strong with a "Roll Tide" in return. I heard Ohio State won the National championship- and all I can say is that I'll be praying for all you friends down at Alabama, and Dave too. We will get them next year. I love you all sooo much! Have a wonderful week!
We've made it to Provo safely and have official embarked on a truly wonderful journey. Thank you so much for any letters or messages you may have sent me, getting mail in the MTC is honestly the greatest thing that can ever happen to you.
Someone wrote me this Monday that your first week at the MTC is like "you just got your drivers license and now they're like 'Welcome to NASCAR!" And it's hard to explain, but that is exactly what it's like!
You learn so much in such a short period of time you can hardly believe it's possible. I will tell you all honestly, Korean is not easy hahaha. But it is, seriously, the coolest language. Once you learn how to read it everything starts to make a lot more sense. It's especially cool because since we can't speak very much Korean, we have to speak very simply and when we teach we have to teach very simply. You learn quickly what is important and how to get your message across without any extra fluff. I think it's a really big blessing to have the chance to learn that skill.
It's only been just over a week since I arrived here, but I already know that Sundays are the best. For one thing, you get ice cream at lunch and dinner. And for another, you are constantly having super awesome speakers come in and talk to you (usually around 3 or 4). This past sunday, they MTC presidency held a devotional- and I got to speak at it! It wasn't for long, only a couple minutes. But basically, they asked every person who had been baptized in the last 2 years to come forward and speak about conversion. There were about 10 of us and every person who spoke was so powerful. It made me so happy to have to opportunity both to speak and to her what others had to say. Everyone here is so awesome.
On Tuesday nights, we also have devotionals. This time we just had one person speak, but that one person was Russel M. Nelson (I highly encourage you to look him up if you do not know who he is :) ) For this devotional I got to sing in the choir! It was super cool because this weeks devotional was broeadcasted to every MTC in the entire world. And, apparently, my face was on the screen hahaha. I wouldn't know because we were told not to look there while we were singing but a ton of missionaries came up to me after to tell me that they saw my face. So, look out I could be famous by now. Just kidding. But not really.
When you're in the MTC, much like when you are out in the mission field, you have a companion that is basically your missionary partner. You get to be with them all the time and teach all your lessons with them. My companion's name is Sister Warren. She's from Roy, Utah and she really likes to sing (she's super good at it too). You are also a part of a district while you are on your mission. A district is just a group of missionaries that you go to class with while in the MTC and you do most of your activities with them too. My district is an all girl district which is super rare, but so awesome! There are six of us, Sister Jones (Bountiful, Utah) Sister Bejarano (Salt Lake City, Utah) Sister Warren (Roy, Utah) Sister Saranquin (Phillippines) sister DeLa Pena (Phillippines) and myself. I love all of this girls so much. They rock. I especially lvoe that we have two sister from the Phillippines that speak english that are going to Korean, that's just nuts! As an all girl district, we have another rare circumstance when it comes to District Leadership. Usually there will be one Elder from each district that is called the District Leader (they get the mail, make sure all the missonaries are okay health wise and spiritually, as well as lead meetings and report to the branch presidency). Well, since we don't have any Elders to do this, they called me to do it! So for the next little bit while we are at the MTC I get the chance to really get to know all the Sisters in my district as well as the other leaders and the branch presidency, which is just so cool. I love it.
I'm so excited for everything I still have yet to the learn, about the Korean language and people as well as about myself as we continue through the MTC and then to Korea. Again, thank you so much for all the love you send me. I love all of you more than I can explain! Talk to you next week!