Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Grateful In All Things :) June 16th

Hello my incredible family!
It sounds like you're all having a fun father's day:) I'm so glad! This week was really good for us:) I seriously LOVE being a missionary! So many blessings every single day:) I don't know what I"m going to do when I get home, but that's ok. Today's a big day though, because it's my 8 month mark, and I have officially been living in Korea for 6 months! How fun! I love it here, and am really feeling immersed in the work, which makes it easy to be happy! This is just the best:)
Anyway, this week I had some really cool experiences! The first one involves a referral that one of our less active members gave us. The member is really incredible, but she just works all day and night saturday, so she literally gets off work just in time to get to sacrament meeting, but she is usually too tired to come. Anyway. It's a hard situation, but we're working with her. Anyway,  we were so excited because she called us and said she had a man and woman who wanted to learn english from us through our family english program where we teach 30 mins of english and 30 mins of gospel. So we set up an appointment for her to introduce us, and that was on Saturday. When we came, we were a little surprised to find out that the man has cerebral palsy, but he's maybe the happiest and nicest person ever. Also, his english is quite good, which is fun!  His story is the saddest but also most inspiring I've ever heard though, so I want to share it with you.
This man's name is Park Dongsu and he's 39 years old. He was born with cerebral palsy, and has no use of his arms. He can only do things with his feet, including driving his wheel chair. When he was 9 years old, his parents decided that they didn't want him, so they abandoned him. Thinking about this experience alone is incredibly sobering. I remember a lot of things from when I was 9. He remembers his parents and the day they left him, and it's seriously the saddest thing ever. Because of this, he literally has no family. He has every reason in the world to be sad and depressed and just live a mundane and sad life. However, he doesn't. He is one of the most accomplished and talented people I have ever met. He loves writing  poetry, and has published several of his poems in a book, something that I think is pretty impressive for anyone. Also, his poems are incredible! Sister Sexton translated them for us, and they made us both cry. One was about his mom, and how sorry he was that he couldn't have been born differently so as to make her happy, and to serve her, but of course he wasn't. As I listened to those words about him wanting to be a good son, I just couldn't help but think about my family and mom, and how incredibly blessed I am to have the family I do. Wow. I am pretty confident that compared with his trials, I have never experienced any thing to justify me complaining. My family loves and supports me in all I do. They are wonderful examples to me, and they gave me the wonderful blessing of this gospel. I couldn't be more grateful. This experience really gave me such a better perspective on our trials and challenges and how blessed we truly are. Anyway. This man also is an INCREDIBLE artist. He paints on the computer with his feet, and he showed us one of his paintings, and it was maybe the best painting I've ever seen. SO GOOD. He also makes these incredible 3D models of things. He showed us these two that he made, and I wish I had taken a picture of them, because they are so good! They look like professional modelings of houses and such. One of them was a scene of a block of houses and there were street lamps and trees and grass and everything, and then he plugged it in, and all the houses and street lamps lit up! So cool! I wish I had a pic. I'll try to get one later. Anyway, it just really made me think about if I am reaching my full potential, because of all that he can do, and how much he has had to overcome. It was seriously such a blessing and humbling experience to meet him. And he is so happy and was making a  bunch of jokes and laughing. It was so awesome. Anyway, I just thought I'd share that, so we could all remember how blessed we are, and that things are never as bad as we think they are. Through the Savior and persistent hard work, we truly can overcome all the trials and hardships of this life. I'm so grateful for that. I truly know that my Savior lives and He loves us with an infinite love. I know this with all my heart. :) What a wonderful truth it is!
In other news, we met with Lee Johgwha last week, and she had her son over. He was really nice, and Lee Johnwha was able to explain the whole Joseph Smith story to him, and that was really cool to hear her tell. We love meeting with her, and things are going well with that. Also, the woman I wrote about last week, that Sister Lyman and I visited on exchanges, has apparently been reading the Book of Mormon in her spare time since we met with her, but she still hasn't made time to meet with us, because she has a lot of doctor appointments recently. But it's so exciting, because her son said she never would even touch it before! She's the nicest lady, so I really hope we can help her more.
On Sunday, our ward had ward conference, so on Saturday the Ward decided to go and visit less active members and invite them to come. It was so cool to see the ward members be involved in missionary work. Our ward is seriously SO good at helping less active members feel comfortable and loved. It warms my heart to think about it. It was funny though, because we all split up to go do the visits, and the bishop didn't give anyone specific assignments, but we all just went out and did it, and so at our first house, we knocked on the door to find out that the Bishop, stake president, and us, the full time missionaries, had all come to the same person's house. Thankfully, they were so happy and not intimidated, and they totally came to church yesterday! haha. So hopefully that was just inspiration for all of us to be there. But yeah. So many less actives were there, and I know that it was all because of the work of the members. There also were two non-members there, so that was really good to talk to them with their friends, and build a good relationship with them. Our ward is SOOO good! I serioulsy just love them:) They make our work much more manageable, and watching them love and help and lift each other warms my heart so much:)
Also, afterwards, we had lunch, and this one family brought JELLO. hahah. I was so happy! It's been a loooong time since I had Jello. And then the ward gave us TONS of leftovers, so we're probably set on food for a good while:) Also, the weather is getting really hot here. It's weird because it's not actually that hot, but mostly the humidity is really bad, but I don't mind. The weird thing too is that it'll be sunny and cloudless and super hot one minute, and then suddenly (and i mean suddenly) pouring! This last week we even had a sudden hail storm! So weird. But it's fun for sure:) Life here is so good, and I'm feeling like I"m understanding a lot more Korean, which is good too, although I still have a long way to go. But Heavenly Father is SO NICE to me. I seriously feel SO blessed everyday to be a missionary, and just to see everything I'm seeing and meet all the people I do. It's wonderful. I love this church and the Savior and everything about being a missionary:):):)
Love you all SOOOOOOO much! Hope you have a fantastic week:)
Sister Hunter:)

Some pics of my view from our appartment and me by the gangnam style sign in gangnam:)

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Best Kind of Transfer Call...June 8th

Dear Family,
I just have the absolute best family in the whole world! I'm so happy to hear from all of you, and I know the Lord is blessing you so much:) I'm so grateful:)
This week has been SO good! Particularly because on Saturday night we had transfer calls again, and we found out that not only are Sister Sexton and I staying together for her last transfer of her mission, but the other two sisters in our house (Sister Hales and Sister Lyman) are also staying! So we get 3 transfers together! The four of us were SOOO happy about this! There was much rejoicing in our house on Saturday night. SO FUN:) So yeah. We are pretty excited to have the best 6 weeks ever! Also in this next transfer we have a lot of big days for the four of us. It'll be my birthday and the halfway mark of my mission, Sister Hales year mark, sister Lyman's 6 month mark, and of course Sister Sexton will go home. So we are pretty excited to have a lot of fun together and do some great missionary work. I just really feel like it's such a blessing for us all to be together.
Also this week, I had my first experience being a Senior companion, which was stressful, but really great! I was on exchanges with Sister Lyman, who is still a greeny, and so that was fun. But, I didn't get lost! So it was perfect. However, members kept calling me, which was hard, because I usually only understand about 1/3 of what they say, but the Lord helped me to put the pieces together. That seriously was a huge blessing! One member called and said that because she had a cold, she couldn't speak in church on Sunday and asked if we could speak for her. Of course I said yes, but a 7 minute talk is pretty daunting in english with only a day's notice (especially when that day doesn't include any study time), so I called sister Sexton and we agreed to split the 7 minutes in half and both talk. So that was much better. And then Sunday morning, she called back and said she was actually feeling good enough to speak, so we didn't end up having to give our talks anyway. The the moral of that story is that Heavenly Father is truly helping me progress with Korean and understand people when I need to. So good. And now Sister Sexton has decided to just let me have the phone from now on. haha. So it should be good.
Anyway, back to my exchange with Sister Lyman. So we had planned on going to visit a potential investigator, because we found out her mom died a few weeks ago. Anyway, Sister Lyman and I wandered around and found a house that didn't look like their's, so I called the Elder's and found out we had the wrong address. Anyway, so we finally found the house, and I was trying not to be too nervous about talking to her, because I've never been the senior companion before, so I usually just rely on Sister Sexton to help me know what they are saying. And thinking of what to say in english to someone who's mom has died is really hard anyway, so translating that to Korean seemed impossible. But anyway, we just said a prayer and went in and she seemed like she was having kind of a hard day. But she was SO nice and patient with us in our Korean. But we were able to share with her a scripture about peace and the Lord's peace being different from the world's peace, and that we knew her family could be together forever. It was good and Heavenly Father really helped me to say what I needed to. And then her son came in and we started talking about how him, his mom and I all have the same animal year. I don't remember what that is called in english. Like the chinese year you were born in. We were all born in the year of the Rooster, and that is actually really important in Korea. There is this thing in Korea called jeong, which basically is just like a connection. So if you were born in the same year or have the same animal or something you have instant jeong and are friends. So that was really good. So yeah. It was a good meeting and I felt pretty good about it, and she said she wants to meet with us next Saturday too, which should be good. Anyway, I felt good about it, and I was just glad Heavenly Father helped us even though we aren't very experienced yet.
On Sunday though, her son and daughter in law came to church, and they told the bishop's wife that our visit really helped their mom. They said that she has just felt so much sadness and hurt after her mom died and that it has been making her physically sick, but they said that because of our visit she felt so much healing. The bishop's wife was really nice to tell me that, because those were all things that I didn't know, but I'm just so glad we could help her feel peace eventhough there is a significant language barrier between us. It really just was a testimony to me that this is the Lord's work. He is in charge and he uses us to accomplish His purposes. He knew that this woman was struggling and hurting, and because He loves her, he answered her prayers through us. I think it really is such a blessing to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and to see the miracles He is working each day in all of our lives. What an incredible opportunity that is. I truly have never been so happy in my whole life. It's just the best thing in the whole world! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY:):)
Also, we couldn't meet with Kimgeeay this week, but she came to church with her cute family, and that was so good to see. Also, we will teach her tonight too. Actually now that I think of it, we actually did meet with her last Monday too. ha. It was a great lesson. We just answered some more questions she has about the plan of salvation. And Lee Jongwha is doing well still. She just mostly wants to be our mom, and I think the gospel is just information to her right now, because she's happy with her religion, but hopefully we can help change that with our testimonies! Anyway, I'll let you know how that goes next monday! I love you all though! It's been a great week, and I feel like I never have enough time to tell you all the things on Mondays! There is much more that happened this week, but just know that I see the Lord's blessings every single day! It's incredible! Love you all!:):)
Sister Hunter:):)
PS. Right now, we are heading out to Gangnam, so that should be pretty fun! haha. I'll send pictures next week:)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gold Plates and Handshakes Jun.1st

Dear Best Family in the Whole World!!!
I just love you all SO much! Thanks to everyone who wrote me this week:) I loved hearing your words of encouragement and comfort! I have the best family and friends ever:):):):) It just makes me so happy!
This week was probably the busiest week we've had in Geumcheon:) We got 4 lessons and had some incredible experiences! Mostly involving Elder Quentin L. Cook coming to our mission:) What an incredible blessing it was to hear him speak.
On Saturday morning, we were blessed to hear him as he spoke to the Seoul and Seoul South missionaries (about 400 of us). We were all sitting in the chapel waiting for him to come in, and stood when he did. You really can feel the power of an Apostle of the Lord when they come into a room. Anyway, President Ringwood, the area authority announced that Elder Cook wanted to shake all 400 of our hands. It was the best:) He and his wife stood at the front of the chapel and we all walked by and he asked us each how we were doing. It was an incredible way to minister to us as a fellow group of the Lord's servants. I was so impressed by that. And it's pretty cool to say I got to shake his hand in Korea. haha. But anyway, he gave us an INCREDIBLE training, and  through that I received a lot of revelation for my missionary work and our investigators. SO GOOD:) He said that he feels that D&C 31:7 is the most important verse of scripture for the church right now, and talked a lot about how the Lord will establish His church by Our hand. I loved that, and felt especially impressed as he talked about how missionaries and members need to work together to build up the wards where they serve. Before he said that, I had always regarded my missionary work with investigators and my responsibility to help reactivate and strengthen members as two separate things, but really they are the same work. He also taught us a lot about our missionary mantle and how powerful our setting apart is. And he told us if we'd only have more faith and invite more people, we'd have more success. What a powerful thought. More faith=more success:) Anyway, at the end of his talk he did something wonderful. He gave the group of us an apostolic blessing, which was maybe the coolest thing ever. He blessed us that our hearts would be filled with joy and confidence that we were serving well, even though we may not have as much baptismal success as other parts of the world. He blessed us to be able to share that joy with the Korean people and that we would have the assurance that we were serving where the Lord wanted us to be. The best part of that blessing though was that he promised us very powerfully that EVERYBODY we love will be blessed by our missionary service. Everyone. Our family, friends, future spouses and children. Everyone. He really impressed upon us that there is nothing better we could be doing for our loved ones than to be here serving Him. That was such a comfort to me, and I know that the Lord truly is blessing and watching over all of you:) So just know that. Anyway, it was such a good meeting! I loved every minute.
That night, we were able to take Lee Johnwha to the fireside he gave that night. We got there really early to get a good seat, so we had a lot of time to talk to her about our church and apostles, and that was just so good. She also brought one of the kids she is taking care of, who is two years old. I was pretty worried about that, because generally kids don't like to sit down for long periods of time, or be very quiet haha, which is fine, but I just really wanted her to be able to pay attention to Elder Cook's message. Anyway, so I just prayed that he would be able to be calm so she could listen and that other people would help him do that so she could pay attention. Anyway, I was still a little nervous about it, because babies usually just like to be loud at least some of the time, but he was PERFECT for all 3 hours-- DEFINITELY A MIRACLE. I know that the Lord blessed him to be content and calm the whole meeting. Anyway, Elder Cook talked a LOT about the temple, further witnessing to Sister Sexton and I that we need to focus our teaching on the temple, seeing as we met her on the way to the temple and nearly every lesson we have with her she brings up the temple. I feel like the Lord keeps dropping us not so subtle hints;) It's perfect. Anyway, it was really good, and I was so glad she was able to come. I'm sure we'll need to answer a lot of questions on Tuesday though, because the temple isn't something most non-members know about. haha So that's perfect!
One last thing I wanted to mention was this story. On Monday we had lunch with a ward member (the stake president's wife) (also, I ate a quarter of a watermelon for dessert.... that was.... fun! haha people love feeding the missionaries a LOT of food here:)) and she was telling us about the boy that I wrote about in my last email that just left on his mission that we sang I'm trying to be like Jesus to. She was telling us about how she was his seminary teacher for a long time, and she was so worried about him all the time, because it always seemed that he didn't want to be at seminary. She said she had tried everything to help him become interested in the scriptures and help him feel welcomed, but by the end he only barely graduated. This made her really worried about him going on a mission, but he started his papers and prepared well and was able to go, and of course is now serving well. But she said that when he first started his papers, so was talking to her husband about this boy, and about those people that prepare all of their lives for missions and are very serious about their testimonies, and then about those people that seem to just make a mad dash at the end to be ready. She asked if it was better for someone to not go in the latter case, because they hadn't prepared as long. Her husband said something to her that she said she'll never forget, and now as a result I will also never forget. He said, "In the kingdom of God, there are plastic plates, silver plates and gold plates, and the Lord can use them all." What a touching concept. Honestly a plate is just a plate, although sometimes we associate a greater value with a gold plate than a plastic one. Really though it's important to remember that no matter how inadequate we feel or unprepared for the challenges and missions the Lord calls us to fulfill, He can use every single one of us to help and bless the lives of others. At times it's hard to recognize our own self worth, and realize that we are helping the Lord when we do our best, but he knows how to best use us and the places that we will be of most help. I'm so grateful to be able to be an instrument in the Lord's hand, even when I'm sure there are finer instruments He could use, because I know the Lord is truly holding me in His hand, and He's doing the same for you.
Anyway, as a quick close, I'll just say that this week, I was able to understand a LOT more Korean that I have before, and I'm so grateful that the Lord is helping me with that. I know that as long as I do my best, the Lord takes care of the rest. Anyway, hope you all have a wonderful week! I miss and love you all, but know that the Lord is watching over you!
Sister Hunter
PS. pics are of some Seoul Missionaries from my MTC district, the four Geumcheon sisters at the temple.Love you all!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus :) May 25th

Dear Family,
So this week was really good:) Except for a few hours yesterday. haha. But anyway, yesterday at church I was having a really hard time, because of something a member said to me about my Korean abilities. It was really hurtful, mostly because she's one of my favorite members in this ward, and I really trust and love her. But she just said something that made me really discouraged about Korean and everything and I was just really really sad. But there's really only so long you can focus on yourself here, so I just had to stop being sad and focus on other people.
Later that night though, we had a ward choir practice for ward conference in a couple weeks, and we were practicing the song "I'm trying to be like Jesus", which I love. Anyway, we were practicing and the Stake president was there because he's in our ward and he asked if we could do him a favor because there was someone coming to the church to get set apart because he was leaving on his mission the next day. He asked us if we could sing Called to serve for the missionary when he arrived before he got set apart, and of course the choir director said yes. Anyway, so we kept practicing our song and then when he came the stake president make him go stand in front of everyone and he looked a little embarassed. And then the stake president changed his mind and asked if we would sing him I'm trying to be like Jesus too. So we all stood up and sang "i'm trying to be like Jesus" (in Korean of course) to this about to be missionary. And basically as soon as we started singing he just started crying, which was really touching in itself, because of the fact that he's a 19 year old boy, and he's about to give up 2 years of his life for the Lord, but as we sang it just really hit me how cool that song is, and how applicable for missionary work it is. Every morning, we put on a badge with Jesus Christ's name on it and go out among Heavenly Father's children representing Him. We try our best to do the things the Lord would do, and as a result, we little by little become more like our Savior:)
 It really touched my heart, and I felt like the spirit just spoke to me about the earlier events and discouragements of the day. I just felt like Heavenly Father was right there and said to me, "It's ok. You are doing your best and working hard. Just keep trying to be like Jesus." So then of course it wasn't long before I was crying too. Heavenly Father is so good to us, and I"m so grateful for the chance I have to be here in Korea, and to try each day to be like Jesus Christ. I love Him. He's incredible, and every morning I love studying about him and then applying what I learn to my missionary work. This has been the best time of my life. Anyway, I"ll copy in the lyrics to "I'm trying to be like Jesus" at the bottom of my email, because they are the best. A little better in Korean honestly, but wonderful in English too:):)
Anyway, in other news, we had lessons with both of our investigators this week! Something we haven't had in a LONG time. It was the best! Life here is definitely much different from in Songpa, where I had more investigators than I even told you about because there was never enough time. But I"m so grateful to have two here:) Our lesson with Lee Jongwha was SO good:) For her job she takes care of kids before they get adopted. She's done it with 15 or so kids now, and the two she is sending to america this week she has been taking care of for their whole lives (2 years) and she loves them like they are hers, so it's been a really hard time for her. She really opened up to us about it though and told us that that's really hard for her. I can't imagine a harder job than that, especially since she's not even allowed to take pictures of these kids to remember them by. Anyway, it was so good, because we were able to relate that to Heavenly Father sending us to earth to get a family and learn and grow, just like she is sending our these children to america to recieve another family and learn and grow there. She really liked that, and I think it made her realize more how Heavenly Father feels about us, so that was perfect:) Anyway, I love the plan of salvation and I know that it blesses peoples lives in VERY real ways here on earth, and in the eternities. Right after emailing, we will be going to leave her a message and heart attack her door, because she is saying good bye to the kids right now and meeting their new families, so hopefully it will be a comfort to her when she comes back to an empty house.
Yesterday we were able to meet with Kim Geeae, and that was good too. We were getting nervous, because she stopped answering our phonecalls and we hadn't met with her in a while, but then she just came to church yesterday with her family (her little boy is ADORABLE!) and then we met with her later:) It was so good! We watched the restoration video with her and then explained about the Book of Mormon being a testimony of Jesus Christ, and how if the Book of Mormon is true then Joseph Smith was a prophet, and she said she wants to read and find out, and that she had already read the introduction, so it was perfect. She also said that the Joseph Smith story is just a story to her right now, but because she knows that everyone in our church serves without pay, and that we leave our families for so long to teach about this message, her heart has been touched, and she wants to know. It was great. And of course, the Book of Mormon is literally my favorite thing in the whole world, so teaching about it is MY VERY FAVORITE:) It's the best! I just know its true and it helps me EVERY day:) What a blessing it is to have it and to know of it's truthfulness:)
So I'll just end with a few random things. One is that Elder Cook is coming to our Mission on Saturday, and that is SO exciting! Can't even wait. He also spoke to us in the MTC, so I get him twice:) How fun. And the Seoul missionaries will be joining us for a joint conference, so that's really exciting! I will get to see everyone from my MTC district, and a few other MTC friends! So exciting! Also, This week it got to be very summerish. It's hot and SO humid. You know it's humid when even my hair is curly. hahaha. But yeah. I"m a little sad because it's only may, but oh well. Summer will be great:) Anyway, that's about it! I love you all and hope all is well:) Thanks for everything you do! You are all the best!
Sister Hunter
1. I'm trying to be like Jesus;
I'm following in his ways.
I'm trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,
"Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught."
2. I'm trying to love my neighbor;
I'm learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:
"Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pearl of Great Price May 18th

Dear Family,
It's been a wonderful week to serve the Lord. Things have been a little discouraging at times this week, but every time I reflect back on the miracles of the day and week everything brightens up. I think that's an important life skill I'm learning on my mission:) Just look at the good and know God is with you:)
So here are a few of the miracles of the week:) On Saturday night Sister Sexton and I decided to heart attack (putting a lot of hearts on people's doors and a message card) a few of our members, but everyone we planned on doing had the wrong address listed in our member book, so we couldn't find their houses.. so anyway, we were trying to find a member's house and we stopped to look at our map and realized we had wandered straight to another member's house that we had been thinking about lately. Heavenly Father really does have a sense of humor:) So we heart attacked their door. Also, we decided to heart attack a less active because it might make her remember to come to church. So we did (and we had to walk up 15 flights of stairs to do so haha- long story) but then she totally came to church the next day! It was SO good! It just made me realize that sometimes we have our plans, and we want to do what is right, but Heavenly Father just has a better plan for us, and if we listen and try our best He guides us to do what is best:)
Also, there is these two girls in our ward that have gone less active just since I came here, which is way sad, and we just have been trying to work with them a lot, because I'm determined to leave things stronger than I found it, not the other way around. Anyway, so we always visit them and call and text and they just always makes up excuses about how they're busy every Sunday. But finally yesterday the older one just came to church! I am not sure why, but we were so happy! And the ward all asked her in a friendly way where she had been, and I think it was really good for her to see that everyone missed her, and that the ward does care about her. Anyway. Heavenly Father is the best.:)
Also this week we had a ward picnic! It was so fun! We did a scavenger hunt and played a bunch of games and just had a really good time with everyone. I love this ward so much! I think it took me a little longer than in Songpa, but I love this ward just as much now. They have such wonderful and dedicated people here, and I"m so grateful to serve with them and help them. Also at the picnic, the Bishop's wife gave us a referral, which made us so happy, because we have been trying so hard to find investigators, but haven't had much luck yet. Anyway, hopefully that works out. We called her and she seems really nice and willing to meet with us, she's just busy this week, so we'll see.
On Wednesday, we did another English activity to try to find investigators to meet with us in the Family English Program we have, which is that we teach English for 30 minutes, and then we teach gospel for 30 minutes. It's definitely an inspired program and most of the investigators I had in Songpa had started out English interest and then realized that they only wanted to learn the gospel. It's great. Anyway, in the space of an hour and a half, we got 128 numbers of high school students that want to learn English. We have been calling them and many of them seem interested in coming to our English classes we hold each week, which is awesome because that's a really natural way to meet them again. Anyway. Things are good with that. Also, Sister Sexton and I have been doing this thing lately where she makes me make calls all by myself (without the phone on speaker phone haha) and that has been... interesting. Mostly I don't have any idea what people are saying to me, but I"m getting a lot better at understanding and replying, which is good. And she also makes me call ward members because for the most part they are really patient with me and just repeat things until I understand. So that's been really good! I was so happy the first time I made a call all by myself! I just know that Heavenly Father is really helping me grow and learn Korean! It makes me happy to realize that 7 months ago I didn't know any Korean, and now I can make phone calls entirely in Korean. Anyone that says the Gift of Tongues isn't real just needs to serve a mission. haha. It's definitely real. Heavenly Father really blesses us when we are on His errand.
Also this week, we had Zone Conference in Songpa!!! I was SO happy to be able to go back to my first area!!!! It was the best! And I was especially happy because I served there in the winter time, so going back now that it's spring was incredible!! It's SO pretty there! I just couldn't get over how green everything was and the flowers everywhere! I was so happy! Anyway, for the conference we all went and hiked up a mountain at the edge of Songpa, which is maybe the most beautiful place I have ever been. It was incredible. We hiked up to the top of the mountain to the fort where a Korean King was and they were able to defend from the Chinese attacks there. It was so cool to learn a little more Korean history and see some cool sites, but also get to learn about being a better missionary and stop at these sights and talk about some important truths such as faith, hope and charity. It was an incredible day and I learned a lot from the Holy Ghost about how I can be a better missionary:) After the conference we all went back to the church in Songpa, and there were some members there at a ward activity, and Sue (my favorite Songpa member) and Kristine (my old investigator who is really old and lonely) were there! It was SO fun to see them again and just talk to them for a few minutes! I think that Sue is just my favorite person in Korea! haha. She is always so happy to see me, and says what a difference my happiness made in the ward and in her life, which is really nice of her. Anyway. It was a little tender mercy from the Lord, and I'm so grateful I have so many of those:)
As a final note, I wanted to talk a little about the New Testament. I think it's in chapter 13 of Matthew that Jesus gives the parable of a man who finds a pearl of great price and then sells everything he has to buy it. When I read that, it really made a big impact on me. This week I hit my 7th month mark as a missionary, and it was a really good time for me to evaluate where I am and what I still want to accomplish. I made some goals about that, and likened it to "a pearl of great price" and decided I'm going to work as hard as I can to obtain that pearl. I just love the image of that and it has made me love pearls even more. I really am so happy to be here studying the scriptures and learning all I can about Jesus Christ and Our Heavenly Father. They love us so much, and I'm grateful to be helping their children, and that they are helping me as well!:) I love you all and hope you have  a wonderful week! You are the best!!!
Sister Hunter

When It Rains It Pours...Blessings :) May 11th

Dear Family,
It was SO fun to call and talk to everyone on the phone! It was my favorite! 45 minutes definitely isn't enough time for such a big family, but I wouldn't trade my wonderful family for anything!! I love you all!
So last night Sister Sexton and I had a great experience. We had to have a late dinner so we finished up eating at about 8pm and had an hour left to go talk to people. The only thing was that it was raining outside. And when I say it was raining, it was raining REALLY hard. Like. I've actually never experienced rain like that in my whole life. The parking lot outside our apartment was literally a giant pond comparable to the actually river to the west of our apartment. We considered staying in and making calls, but we both felt like we should go out and just do missionary work. Anyway, so we got ready to go and went out in the storm. haha. Our landlord told us we were crazy, but it was great. We had to talk to 5 more people too to reach our goal, which normally wouldn't have been too hard, but in a storm like this it was definitely a challenge. I'm not sure I've ever been so wet, including in a swimming pool, but it was so fun to just go out and try to talk with people in the POURING rain. There wasn't hardly anyone out, but we had some really great experience. We helped a mart owner clean up a bunch of stuff that had fallen over in the storm and then we met this lady without and umbrella and tried to give her one of ours, but she wouldn't take it. haha. So we just held one above her head  while we talked to her and walked a little ways with her. Anyway, we were just wading in water basically, but it was so great. I have never liked rain, but somehow it was just so fun to be out doing missionary work with Sister Sexton!  Anyway, at the end of the hour we had only had 4 conversations and needed one more, but it was 9 and had to go inside. So we dried off a little bit and decided that we needed to call people until we reached our goal. We've been doing this thing lately as a companionship called, "when you set goals, reach them." We can't always, but we've found that when we pray for help and go about doing all we can, the Lord blesses us to accomplish what we've promised to accomplish. Anyway, so we called someone off a potential investigator sheet who ended up being a boy, so we set up an appointment with the Elders for him. But it was just so awesome, because Heavenly Father helped us reach our goal in the midst of this crazy monsoon-like rainstorm. Heavenly Father truly is with us, and I love being about His errand.
Also, another incredible blessing is that this week at English class we had a whole family come and they brought a friend. They said they had a lot of fun and are going to bring another friend next week! I'm just so happy! The Lord is really helping us serve people and putting good people in our path. This week we had two appointments set up with new people, but they both canceled, unfortunately. One high school girl was so nice and wanted to meet, but when she told her parents they got REALLY upset and said no. So that was sad. And then the other lady just stopped answering our calls and texted us to never call her again.... so that was a little sad as well, but I'm just realizing that it's ok. We keep doing our best and things work out and Heavenly Father blesses us. Also, this week I saw the Mormon message about Hugh B Brown and the current bush, which is my favorite thing, but this time when I saw it, it really hit me that Heavenly Father knows what He wants me to do at this time. Apparently it's not teach investigators haha, although of course we keep trying our best to do that, but I felt really impressed that there is a lot a need to do to strengthen the ward here, so we are going to continue doing that, especially with these young women.
I am sure I have told you all before how much I love the young women in our ward, and how I've felt so impressed that I need to help them realize the potential they have. I seriously love them so much. They are so strong and just such amazing examples of living the gospel when it's hard to do. We got to go to mutual for a few minutes and see the girls as well, and that made me incredibly happy! I miss being with the young women. But yeah. I feel like we are really starting to get to know them and their testimonies and I love that!
Also, we met the cutest pair of grandmas yesterday (who took our picture and set it as the background on their phone hahaha) and we're going to try to meet them as well! I think Heavenly Father is just so good. I'll send a picture of them too:) haha.
The Grandmas
And last of all, this week our ward had a ping pong tournament, and man. There's nothing that makes me feel more like I'm in Asia than people playing ping pong haha. Our bishop and stake president are SO good. Also. I'm SOOO bad. But it was really fun... playing with the kids. haha playing with other people was more stressful. But I finally figured out the rules to ping pong after loosing a lot of times! So that's good! haha. Making mistakes really does help us learn.. sometimes we just have to make mistakes a lot, but eventually we improve and get better! How fun. We we also introduced our ward to mint brownies! Some of them had never had brownies before, and I think as a general rule Koreans don't like mint, but most everyone said they were really good. haha It was just a fun time with our ward. I love them so much, and I'm grateful to be here serving with them!
Anyway, happy mother's day and hope everyone has a great week! Love you all!:):)
Sister Hunter:)

Who's on the Lords Side? May 4th

Dear Family,
So this week has been really busy, but also not. We couldn't meet with either of our investigators this week, which was really sad. Kim Geeae has a cold, which she may or may not have passed on to me, and E Jongwha didn't have time to meet. But I have also had a very instructive week this week.
One experience we had this week several times (every day), but one time in particular I'd like to share with you. Sister Sexton and I were walking in a part of our area we haven't been very much yet, and it was about time to head back home. We were trying to find people to talk to, but for some reason there wasn't really anyone outside. But then we saw this older couple taking a walk by this park, so we went up to them and started talking to them, and they were super nice. I'm pretty sure they thought we were lost though, so they said they would help us find our way back to our house. Anyway, so as we were walking with them we asked them about their family, and had a great talk about families and how important they are, and then we invited them to hear our message about families and their whole demeanor changed and they just said no and got really awkward and said they had to go a different way. It was really depressing actually, because we are really just trying to find people to teach, and we genuinely want to help them. It's not that we are just trying to talk at them and tell them what they are doing wrong. We just genuinely love them and want them to find happiness. Anyway, I feel like that happens a lot in missionary work, but it happens a lot more frequently in this area.
As I've been pondering on this experience, something President Morrise told me a couple weeks ago has just kept coming back to my mind. He talked about how sometimes in the Book of Mormon, whole cities rejected the prophets and the gospel and weren't ready. He said that sometimes the people just aren't ready, which is also kind of hard, because if no one is ready for the gospel here, then why are missionaries here. But of course the Book of Mormon holds the answer to that as well. The answer is that God loves all of His children. Sometimes we just have to keep working hard so we can find that one- that Alma the Older, or whoever it is. We just have to keep working, and honestly even though I don't have the kind of baptismal and teaching success that I might have hoped in this area right now, but I don't know if I have ever felt so confident before the Lord. I know that He know I"m doing all I can, and that Sister Sexton and I are working hard. This week I was reading at the beginning of 3 Nephi and the people are so hard heated and there are many people preaching the gospel, but the people still aren't listening. And I asked myself, why aren't people listening? Why are the missionaries still there? And then the answer really came. It's because if we aren't fighting against Satan, than he wins. If we don't keep doing good and following the commandments, even when it's hard, and we can't see the results, then Satan wins. Really it's those hard, and stressful and depressing times when it is the MOST important to keep working and doing what's right, because if we don't, Satan is having power over us. The Book of Mormon teaches so many times how foolish it is to let Satan gain ANY advantage over us, even a small one. So, "when life gets dark and dreary, don't forget to pray":) I just always have to remember that however desperate it may look from my perspective, God is in control. These are the days to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Satan will NOT win again, and so we must be sure that we do all we can to be found on the Lord's side. The Lord really can do His own work, but it is by obedience to His commandments that we prove our love for Him, and grow closer to Him. I feel that Heavenly Father is with me, and I know He is with all of us.
This is a pic of me and some of my MTC district that went to the Seoul Mission! So fun to see them!
This email will be a little shorter since I was setting up a time to call you guys this week for mother's day:) But A few funny things about this week too, in case you need a little smile:) First of all, this week I told a lady that her scarf was delicious- haha that was embarrassing! Haha. the whole bus heard it too, and they thought that was pretty funny. Oh well. it's the difference between potato and patato basically. haha. And then last night I asked one of our members if she was a fish, instead of a teacher. Haha. Korean is still hard, but it's ok. Making mistakes help us learn! And I'm learning a lot! Also, soy sauce and testimony sound really similar...... good thing! haha. But yeah! It's been a great week, and we have some meetings with people next week, so we'll just keep pushing along and trying to find those people willing to hear our message! Super excited to talk to all of you this week:):) So happy! Have a great week though and remember how much Heavenly Father and I love you all! It's a LOT:):)
Sister Hunter

Why Do Ye Fear? April 27th

Dear Family,
So this week has been incredible. Sometimes, in my hurry to tell you all everything that happens in a week, I neglect to tell you all how incredibly happy I am to be on a mission! This has been the very happiest time of my whole life. Sure, it's been filled with some hard and challenging times, but I have never experienced such great joy as I am now. I think so frequently people talk about the responsibilities we have to do missionary work, but people don't talk NEARLY enough about the overwhelmingly wonderful blessings that we experience from it:) I'm just SO HAPPY! The past few days I've cried several times with joy-an experience I never really had before preparing to go on a mission. This work in the best:):) Also, transfer calls came and Sister Sexton and I are staying right here- Something we screamed for joy about:) haha. Hopefully our neighbors don't hate us too much;)
Last Monday, we had the wonderful opportunity to go see some traditional Korean sights. We saw a wall around this city, which we hiked up to the top of the mountain and saw how beautiful Korea is! I was just in awe! I don't know  if I have told you all before how beautiful Korea is! Much of Korea is skyscrapers and all of that, but I love it because in the midst of these great cities, there is so much greenery and mountains! It's the perfect mix of my two favorite things! It's green like Virginia and has awesome mountains like Utah. I just get so excited every time we leave our apartment because of how beautiful everything is! God has made such a wonderful place for us to live:) Also, I found a cool new feature of my camera, which takes a video at the same time as a picture, and then links all the little video clips together from a day which is way cool. Not sure I can send the video to you, but it's really cool to see, and made our hike a lot of fun:)
Lately, I've been reading in the New Testament, and Jesus has been repeating something a lot regarding fear versus faith. I feel like it's a lesson He's trying to teach me, but I"m not very good at following yet. But, this week I've been trying:) I was reading particularly about the instance where His disciples are on the boat and He's sleeping and they are really afraid that they will die, and he just says, why do you fear oh ye of little faith. And then of course He calms the storm. That really struck me this time around. Jesus was so calm, that he was able to sleep- He really trusted that His mission was not fulfilled, and because of that He was a peace and was able to calm others. This week I was able to remember this principle and apply it to two experiences. One was English class. We started a new English class in our ward, and so Tuesday night class is still a little empty, but usually we at least have a few people. Two weeks ago apparently no one came, so last week everyone was being really pessimistic about it, which kind of bothered me. So I just went on preparing our lesson as usual, and then set up the room for a bunch of people haha. My companion and I just waited at right at 7:30, which is when it starts, we had 2 people come, and by the end we had all the chairs filled. I think sometimes we let our fear get in the way. If we hadn't been prepared, maybe God wouldn't have wanted to send people for us to teach. Sometimes we just have to move forward as though a miracle is bound to happen, and through that we show God we are doing all we can and expecting His help. The other experience was incredible. All the missionaries in our area decided to do this big English activity on the street to get some contacts and find people to teach. We were mostly targeting our activity towards junior high and high school kids, and because of that did the activity near a school when school gets out. However, that particular day, apparently the kids had gotten out early from school because of a test. So as we started out, everyone was really scared that it wasn't going to be successful, but before we left we remembered to say a prayer, and I just knew that because we had begun by asking for God's help everything would be alright. So at first no one was really coming by, and we had to go somewhere else because some big trucks were parked on the sidewalk where we wanted to be. But soon, people came and we had many good conversations, and we blessed by the Lord to get 46 numbers in only 2 hours!! An incredible thing! We also have made an appointment with someone, who seems really interested, from the girls, and I think the Elders are having success with their list of people as well. I'm sure that as we continue to follow up with these people we will be able to meet with others as well:) I just know that when we have faith and do our best, that God makes up the difference:)
Also, this week, we had Sister Burton-the General RS President come to our mission, which used to be her mission when she and her husband were mission President, only it was called the Seoul West mission at that time. It was incredible to have her and her husband teach us and give us some training. She told us that a big reason for the age change of missionaries was not just to have more missionaries in the field, but because of the incredible strength and missionary spirit that would return to the church after missionary service. She really impressed upon me how important it is to not go back to my old self when I go home, and that there is so much to be done in the church, and missionaries alone cannot do that task. It makes me happy, because I really just want to be a good member missionary, mostly because I know how happy it will make me and those around me. I want my children to want to serve missions because they see me doing missionary work in my home. Also, afterwards, we got to talk to Sister Burton personally for a minute, and she said something that really touched me. She said, "whenever I try to explain faith to people, I tell them just to look at a sister missionary." It's not so much the words that she said, but the way she said them with tears in her eyes that made me think they were true. I truly hope that people can see our faith as we do missionary work. What a blessing it is to be an example of the believers:):)
Also, in Young Women's (my favorite part of the week:)) we were asked to share our testimonies of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. This was such a touching experience, and I"m not sure I've ever born such a powerful witness of Joseph Smith. The girls all shared their testimonies as well, and also some experiences they have had with sharing the Plan of Salvation with their friends at school after the horrible accident. I just have such respect for young women and especially those who grow up in situations where they do not have many Mormon friends. These girls are so incredible:) I love our ward.
As a grand finale to this week's letter, I just want to share this incredible thing that happened at a meeting with Sister Burton. One of the meetings was opened to the general public, and afterwards I got to see Sue- the incredible ward missionary from my last ward! I have never had a more joyful meeting with anyone at anytime:) I just cried tears of joy! I really thought that I wouldn't see her again, but I was so grateful to see her! I'm so grateful to have served here in Korea, because without that I never would have met the incredible people here. They have changed my life, and I think I'll always be a little (or hopefully a lot) Korean on the inside.
Have a wonderful week everyone! I hope everyone's finals week is going went well! You all are incredible and I pray for you every day, and I know Heavenly Father answers our prayers:) Love you!
Sister Hunter

Two Types of Pepole April 20th

Dear Family,
There are two types of people in this world. The people that run into the road and dodge traffic to avoid talking to you, and the people that meet you and pour half of their (messy) lunch into their coat pocket, so they can share the other half with you (a perfect stranger). haha. We encountered both of these types of people this week. Both are pretty hilarious, and keep missionary work interesting and fun, but seriously the people here are mostly really kind. Sometimes too kind and possibly a little creepy, but honestly I love the Korean people. They are amazing, and have taught me a lot about Christ-like love.
Something kind of crazy here that I guess must be pretty big news is the boat that sunk in Ansan this week. That is really close to were I'm serving and people here are all really sad about it. We've had several members start crying as they told us about the people in the boat and some of them know the effected families. It's so sad to hear about that kind of thing. In young women's yesterday, one of the YM was crying a lot about it, and it helped us have a really good discussion about the plan of salvation with her and the other young women. It's always a sad thing to loose people we love, but they will be reunited with their families. Thankfully no one in Ansan ward was on the boat, but it also makes me wonder how people could ever deal with this kind of tragedy without the knowledge of the gospel and the plan of salvation. I can't even imagine how sad and horrible that would be.
It's also been a wonderful thing to think about that kind of tragedy so close to Easter, and remember that because of the atonement, and Jesus Christ's sacrifice we will all be resurrected and reunited with our loved ones again some day. Jesus Christ truly has covered all of our pains and despair through the atonement so he can know how to help us better. It's a beautiful thought to remember all he did for us, and that He is always with us. He loves us and strengthens us in hard times. That's His mission. I truly know that our Savior lives and loves us!
Something else awesome about this week is that we have a new investigator!! It's so exciting! She's the wife of someone the Elder's are teaching, and she's the sweetest lady in the whole world:) She has a disability which makes talking hard for her, but her mind is perfectly fine, and she is really open with us and taught us the story of Adam and Eve. haha. She's really great, and we are so excited to teach her! Also, this week we will hopefully be meeting with 2 new people, so hopefully by the time I write next week we'll have 4 investigators! So exciting! Her name is Kim Geeay- I think maybe that's how it would be spelled in English. I don't know though. But she has the cutest little baby too! So cute:)
Easter here was not at all like Easter in America. haha. I actually forgot about it until after it started, and so we couldn't buy chocolate or anything. haha. But really it was a MUCH more meaningful Easter than I have ever had before. I loved teaching about the Plan of Salvation in Young Women's and then also with Kim Geeay. It is so wonderful to think of the atonement and Resurrection in that context, with someone who doesn't know about it. I love missionary work SO much!!
Also this week I went on an exchange with a Korean Sister, who doesn't speak English, so that was exciting! I got to speak only Korean for 25 hours! So fun! And by the end I was thinking in Korean and responding to English in Korean, which was so good! It was nice to know that I can kind of communicate when I need too:) haha. I learned a lot from it, and also had a lot of fun. I 'got' to eat Pig Intestine Soup as well, which was... interesting, but I'm grateful I ate that instead of Pig's feet, which is what Sister Sexton ate in Ansan haha. So yeah. I lucked out on that one:)
But I hope everyone has a wonderful week and that finals go well for everyone! I'll be praying for you all! :):) Make it a great week! Love you all!!!
Sister Hunter

Sunday, May 18, 2014

General Conference April 13th

My Dear Amazing Family,

This week was really good. Hard, but good because of conference:) We got to watch all 12 hours of conference and that made me SO happy. I loved all the talks, but there were a few that really were what I needed to hear. The women's conference was incredible, and I felt the greatest spirit when I watched that. There is just something to special about women, and I know that Heavenly Father truly has given us special nurturing and loving abilities. I also really appreciated all of the talks in the priesthood session, particularly Elder Oaks talk. I have been studying a lot about the priesthood and the differences between keys and authority and such and really had been praying that someone would speak about that in conference. It was such an answer to my prayers, and I learned a lot about the priesthood through that talk. I also thought it was a really good message for the world to hear about why women are not ordained to the priesthood and how motherhood is a complimentary power to the priesthood.  It was just really really good. President Monson's talks were so good as well. I really loved his talk about love and service and the powerful influence kindness can have for good, and in sharing the gospel. I loved Elder Holland and Elder Ballard's talk about missionary work and standing up for what you know is right. I haven't had mashed potatoes thrown at me (yet haha) but being on a mission definitely makes you stand up for what you believe in, and is a real catalyst for testimony because you have to truly believe what you are teaching and testifying of. It's been a great lesson to learn out here. Also, I really really appreciated Elder Bednar's talk about spiritual traction. It was just what I needed to hear. This past week I've been really frustrated with not knowing Korean, and I feel like my brain just reached it's limit of Korean knowledge and doesn't want to hold anymore. But I know that as I keep putting good, hard, diligent effort into learning Korean, I will eventually feel myself move forward more easily with the language. It's a little frustrating still to feel like I'm not going anywhere, but I know things will work out and this is just a time to rely on the Lord and do my best. Also, President Uchtdorf's talk was a wonderful reminder about gratitude, and I think it's something we all can try to do better, especially in our trials.
Overall, I felt like conference talked a lot about doing what is right in the midst of hard times, and I think that's so critical for the times that we live in. Satan is warring against all of us, and truly wants us to be miserable. I see his influence on people every single day here, more clearly than I did before, and it's heart breaking. But as we keep pushing forward and reading our scriptures and praying sincerely each day, we will have the inspiration of how to strengthen ourselves and our families testimonies and conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ. I truly know that He lives and he loves each of us perfectly. He died for each one of us. He went through every hard thing in this world, and has felt every disappointment, failure or guilt each one of us experience. He knows us in that personal way, and because of that He just wants to be there for us in our time of trial. I feel that that is true with all my heart. Sometimes we feel that He is not with us, but He is. The scriptures and our baptismal covenant teaches us that he mourns with us and comfort us when we need comfort. It's such a blessing to think the He is so near to us always. President Monson has quoted the scripture "He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" two conferences in a row now, so I feel that that is especially important to remember. He is with us, especially when we work each day to be His hands, to touch others' lives for good. After all, you can't go too far from your hands:) So let us always be about the Lord's errand.
This week we found some more potential investigators, but all of our appointments canceled. That was really sad, but I know that as we keep doing our best things will work out. Sister Sexton has been a great support to me as we have been opening this area and trying to find people to teach. She's so wonderful and so open and positive. She always tells me how much she loves me and and said more than once with tears that she doesn't know what she'd do without me as a companion and friend. For this I'm super grateful, because I need her too, and I know Heavenly Father is soo good to us. He blesses us so much and gives us what is best for us always.
Also, some fun things that happened this week-- haha our hot water broke. So I'm pretty good at taking fast ice cold showers:) haha but after 4 days of praying, and some tinkering from our landlord, we now enjoy hot showers in the morning:) What a blessing! haha the little things become so much more wonderful when you don't have them for a while. Also, our landlord is the cutest little grandpa ever! haha. We see him everyday and he always asks us if we have eaten. He asked sister Hales if she can cook, and she said no, so one morning he called us and said he was coming to bring us Kimchee! haha. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH KIMCHEE IN MY WHOLE LIFE. haha. The container he brought takes up half of our bottom shelf in the fridge. It weighs at least 5 pounds. Not even kidding. And oh man. It is the BEST kimchee ever! Just talking about it makes me really excited to go home and eat some more of it. I think the past two weeks I have turned the kimchee corner. I officially love it. I will be eating it when I get home, so be excited haha. I think it smells good too, which I know I didn't think 6 months ago, so I guess I'm going to be a little weird when I get home next April :) Sorry about that:)  Also,  I can't remember if I told you this already, but a couple weeks ago boy started talking to me to ask me for directions, but then he looked at me and realized I wasn't Korean. haha so basically people think I'm Korean... until they look at me. haha. I think this is pretty exciting news:) One last thing is that spring is happening here, which means bugs are also happening. So sad. But Sister Sexton is pretty amazing. There was a bee in our house and we all screamed and ran out of the room, but Sister Sexton just walked up to it and said, "It's just like a butterfly." and it crawled on her hand and she calmly walked it outside. It was maybe the craziest and most amazing thing I've ever seen. I'm glad we're companions haha. Except she says she'd never pick up a spider like that. Darn. haha.
But anyway, it's been a good week and I just am so grateful to be here serving a mission in Korea! I love you all so much and pray for you every day! Hope all is well and that you have a good Easter next week:) Love you!
Sister Hunter