Monday, March 23, 2015
Everyday, we need to leave the house hungry. In Korea, this is because no matter where we go as missionaries we will be fed. And the food is always delicious. But we also need to be hungry to experience new things and meet new people and give and receive love.
As I've been out here, I realize that there were so many days when I was going to school or work that I would go through the day really passively. And It's good to be accepting of whatever may come our way, but it's also super important to recognize what is happening and see all the good in it and let that good feed us. And the only way we can be full on good is if we are hungry for good. I hope this makes sense! Let me tell a story that will hopefully help...
So it's my third week here, and when I leave my apartment each day I'm surrounded by 100% Korean everything. Sometimes people are hard to understand and signs are hard to understand and, honestly, sometimes I have almost zero idea what is going on. It would be easy to let this discourage me. And sometimes, it's really tempting to get down on myself. But each day I pray for God to be with me, and there was one day in particular where I was hungry to see it- and I did.
After a couple teaching appointments where I didn't feel I understood or contributed much, we were waiting at the bus stop and I just bowed my head and prayed, "Heavenly Father, please be with me today." And I think I just repeated that about four or five times and then we got on the bus to go to the church. When we get off the bus, it's about a five minute walk to the church building and on our way we ran into a girl we knew that spoke english! She was so happy to see us and I was able to speak with her and ask her how she was doing. And then, we saw all these little kids with slushees. For those of you who know me well, slushees are the one thing that never fail to make me happy. We found the source of the slushees in this random bounce house, and the only flavor that was still working was grape- which is my favorite. In that moment I knew that God was looking after me and telling me that he loved me. But it wasn't until later that night on the bus ride home that I realized He had also directly answered my prayer. He was with me, and He did everything to show me He was with me. Sometimes, I just forget to look around and see how much He does give me. Sometimes I think I'm full. But when we are hungry for experiences, for blessing, for goodness, we can find it. Because God is always willing to give those things to us.
Korea continues to amaze me every day. Everyone I meet has something new to teach me and I so thankful for everything I'm experiencing here and for all the amazing things I see all of you doing at home. I love you all so much and sincerely pray for you each day.
Have an amazing week and remember that you're never too full!
This a quote that has been hanging near my bed since week 1 in the MTC, and it just keeps reappearing. Something is telling me it must be true.
I leave for Korea in about 3 days! We fly out early, early monday morning and land tuesday afternoon. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am! But before I get too ahead of myself, I need to tell you about all the crazy amazing things that have happened this past week at the MTC.
So every friday, we have been teaching this really REALLY awesome Korean woman named Iris. She's 28 and just started to believe in God when she started meeting with the missonaries. While in the MTC, we only teach real people once a week for something called TRC (Teaching Resource Center) and this is where we met Iris. Valentines day was the last time we taught her. With tears in her eyes, she told us she was getting baptized, gave us truffles and a hug, and invited us to come! Well we had to get permission from the higher ups of the MTC to be able to leave campus but we got it! so on saturday we were able to go to Iris' baptism. And all she talked about in her testimony was how much the missionaries at the MTC meant to her,a nd how much they changed her life. Needless to say we were all crying a bit. It was seriously powerful to me to know that all the work we put in really does make a difference, even now! Before we get to Korea!
While at the baptism, I met this little girl name Chiyu (pronounced like chee-you). She was sooo cute I just had to talk to her. So I asked her what her name was, she told me, and I told her mine. And then I realized that my korean vocabulary does not expand to elemntary school interests so I pulled out my Haiti skills and started playing a hand clapping game with her! she knew the game (it was a korean one the natives taught me) and she loved it! Her dad then came over to talk to me. He told me that he's not a member of the church but is a Korean professor in the area and knows Iris.He was so kind! And now both of them are my very best Korea friends and will continue to meet with the missionaries in Provo after we leave. We also got another referral for the Provo missionaries while we were there. It was just amazing.
Because this was such a special experience, someone from the MTC presidency decided that they want to interview us and show the interview at next sunday's devotional! So yesterday, we all got dressed up and they put us in this studio with super professional lighting and cameras and microphones and asked us about our experience. Then, the interviewer turned to me and asked me about my conversion. This little exclusive will be shown to every missionary in the MTC next sunday. Sadly, we will be gone. But hopefully the experience we had and the things we learned can live on, and I pray that other missionaries can take something away from it as we have.
The MTC is also trying out this new pilot program for teaching on sundays. Usually every sister missionaries goes into the gym and we have a speaker that comes and talks to us. But now, they want the missionaries to be the ones teaching eachother. Turns our our zone was one of three zones total to test it out. The goal is to help missionaries teach as the savior taught, and be as the savior was in His ministry. And since I was called as the sister training leader for the zone, I got to be the first teacher! Hahaha, it was super nuts and I was so nervous but I think everyone really enjoyed it!
So, urraboon (everybody), that was pretty much the important stuff that happened this week! And If I learned anything that I can share with you, it's that love is always the answer. And we should never put ourselves, or God, in a box. He is infinitely capable, and makes us much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
Be happy this week! Get excited for some crazy Korea stories! I should have my preparation day on Monday so I look forward to talking to you all again then!
Love love love love love!
Monday, March 2, 2015
Wow, it amazes me how many adventures all of you have in just one week! Snow days in Alabama, crazy surgeries on the Michigan front, new job interviews on the Chicago front. Sometimes it really makes me miss experiencing all of these things with you. But know that I am always thinking about you and praying for the wonderful things you're doing! I love you and miss you all so very much!
This week at the MTC has gone by crazy fast. I only have about 10 days and then I'm legitimately in Korea! The days can sometimes be pretty routine here with studies and classes, but I have a feeling Korea is going to be absolutely nuts. And I can see it on the horizon! Get ready for more fun stories such as this....
A new group of native Korean missionaries came in this Wednesday. These are the missionaries that will be going to Daejeon with me when I leave March 9th. They are all so cool I can't even handle it. One sister has taken it upon herself to give us all Korean names. So last night, while we were at our residence sharing korean and american food with each other (Korean's don't love Taki's by the way. Or rootbeer) she starts naming us all. Some of the names included "Beautiful Pinecone" "Fun Spirit" and "Kind Galaxy." The way Korean names work, is by taking one symbol that represents something and then putting it with another symbol that also means something. Based on the example names I listed above, I've concluded that American's got the naming process all wrong. I wish my name meant beautiful pine cone or kind galaxy or something like that, haha. But alas, my english name actually sounds a lot like a real korean name pronounced yeh-ri-nah. So That's what I've kept it as :) I'm not sure what it means symbolically yet though... I'll ask tonight!
As we go through our days, even days in the MTC, we each have ups and downs, successes and trials. I've come to find out this week that the trials really do make successes so much sweeter. But sometimes, it's hard to equate whether or not the trials are worth it. I know we've all been there at one point. Let me just share an insight with you about that...
"If only you could see the end from the beginning, you would see an army of angels always beside you."
How often do we look back on our lives, especially the hard times, with nothing but a great sense of gratitude and accomplishment for what we went through and learned and succeeded in. I know that some of the most challenging time periods of my life: show weeks for orchesis, joining a sorority in Alabama, etc. have been the times that I've seen the most growth and I sincerely look back on them always with the most love in my heart for how I was stretched and changed and grown. I think God continually does this for all of us. He puts us in water that just a little bit deeper than we are tall, and gives us angels to help us learn to swim.
I'm so excited to keep learning Korean for the next week and a half, and then get out to the land of kimchi and spicy noodles.
I love each and every one of you more than my heart can bear. Please continue to keep me update on your adventures, they amaze me! Talk to you again next week!