Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Spirit is the Teacher Jan. 26th

Dear Family,
I feel like kind of a baby right now. I'm just sitting here crying haha. Don't worry. All good tears. But reading everyone's emails makes me feel so blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive family. Thanks for all you do for me. I wrote mom and dad both some of my thoughts about trials, so maybe if you want my thoughts on those they might share them with you if you ask really nicely;) Anyway. Just know that I miss you all, and am sorry to hear about Aunt Elna, but I know she is watching over all of us now. What a beautiful thought. Life is so beautiful.
Anyway. Enough of that. Here are a few things about this week. Mostly about meeting with Ho Sunhee. I LOVE HER. I'm fairly certain no one has ever been more prepared to receive the gospel than her and her family. It's INCREDIBLE. Nothing short of a miracle. We met with her twice last week, and they were the best lessons I've ever been privileged to attend. She is amazing. We taught her the plan of salvation, and before we taught each principle, she would say something about how she doesn't like normal religions for this reason, or she really believes this, or whatever, and Sister Knox and I would just look at each other in shock, because it would lead exactly into the atonement or the kingdoms of glory or whatever it was. She is seriously SOOOO prepared. Holy cow. I don't know how this is happening. But yeah. This is exactly what she already believes, so she isn't having any trouble accepting it.
But here is the coolest part for me. We were teaching her about the Godhead and the Holy Ghost, and she was a little confused about the Spirit and what His job is and all of that. So we explained to her that the spirit is the teacher. He is the one that teaches our hearts and spirits truth. It was so interesting to explain that, because I have always know that, but to state it so simply was powerful, and she REALLY got it! And making that clear from the beginning really has helped her understand how important the Spirit is. We were talking about how to recognize the spirit and she told us that before in her life she never really believed in the Holy Ghost, until she was pregnant with her boys. She said that when she was pregnant she could just feel the spirit. It was amazing to hear her testify to us that the spirit is real. It was incredible, and I know that the Lord blessed her with that realization to help in her conversion now. It's incredible. Anyway. In our next lesson with her, we ended and were just sitting there after the prayer and she says to us, "I feel something..... It's the spirit. Isn't it?" And then she kind of looked around and said, "I can feel it. It's in this whole room. I can feel it." IT WAS AWESOME!! I have never been so happy. She totally gets it. I'm sure that the way I explained this even didn't do it any justice, but it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life, because that's how I feel when I feel the spirit. It's just engulfing me. It's so powerful. She is so open to the spirit, so she is being taught so much, so quickly. It's crazy. I feel SO blessed to be able to witness it.
Anyway, so we extended a baptismal commitment to her and had her read 2 Nephi 31. She said she wants to be baptized, but she wants to continue learning first, so she can endure to the end like it says in that chapter, which is incredible, because that means she totally believes what she is reading in the Book of Mormon. Ah. Missionary work is incredible. I have NO idea why Heavenly Father even lets me participate in His work, but every single day my heart is overflowing with gratitude that he allows me to be here. It's incredible!
This week I have been studying about humility, because I realized I am incredibly prideful, and that just creates ALL kinds of problems haha. Anyway, here is something I am learning. Humility is when we gratefully recognize our dependence on Heavenly Father at ALL times. Not just when we're struggling. That is hard to do, but if we recognize our imperfections at all times and rely on the Lord, we will receive strength and power. I love John 5:30, because It's Jesus telling us that He can't do anything without God, and if HE can't, I certainly cant! It's also good to remember that just like with Alma the older and the saints he baptized at the waters of Mormon, sometimes the Lord gives us trials to test our patience and help us grow, and then when we endure it well and pray to him, we are given strength and miracles occur. We are able to submit cheerfully to all things the Lord asks of us. That's something I really need to work on. Anyway. That's my thoughts on humility.
A few quick interesting things about my time here. First of all. The winter has not been bad here. It snowed only 3 times since I've been here (6 weeks now), and 2 of those times it melted the same day. This last week it stuck for maybe 5 days, but it's all gone again. It feels like spring!!:) Also, I'm not that good at chopsticks still, BUT, we went to eat some spaghetti at an Italian restaurant, and they only had forks. I was DYING without chopsticks! They are WAY more useful than a fork. So that's cool. I guess I'm adjusting. I feel like the Lord is switching my stomach to like Korean food, because my tummy isn't happy pretty often, but it's ok. I also have gotten used to not having taste buds. haha the spicy food burns them off. Which is nice;) Another thing is I am getting really bad at speaking in English. So when I get home I"m going to be super weird. Sorry about that.... haha. But I think It's a good thing! Also, Sister Knox's and my companionship is finally good I feel like. Not perfect, but good. We are consistently on good terms! haha Woohoo:) And she hugged me this week. A big shock, but I'm glad she doesn't hate me anymore.
I love you all with all my heart! You have no idea how much I look up to you all and appreciate your wonderful support! I have literally too many blessings! Thanks everyone! Have a wonderful week:):):) Remember to smile, even if you don't feel happy! Especially then:)
Sister Hunter

Miracles Jan. 19th

Dear Family,
This week has probably been the most difficult week of my mission, but that's ok, because it has forced me to look for all the miracles that are happening around me. If you are also having a hard time, try doing that as well:) Anyway, here are some of the miracles of the week, large and small.
 We reached our weekly goals:) That really was a miracle, because this week was hard, but it just shows that by small and simple things, great things are accomplished. When we do our best, the Lord blesses us, and makes up the difference.
On Saturday, we went out to do some daywha. I think it's called proselyting in English, but I can't remember, which is weird...... Anyway, we have these posters that talk about family and our church, and they look super nice. They are awesome, because we just put them on a street corner and people read it, and talk to us about family, because family is SUPER important in Korea. Anyway, that's my favorite way to find people to talk to. But yeah, so we usually do that with the Elder's too, and we take turn standing at the poster and the rest of us go out and talk to people at the intersection. Anyway, so one of the elders was standing at the poster and it was super super cold, and for some reason he didn't have his coat. Right as I walked by the poster, he asked me if I would stand at the poster while he and his companion went to get his coat at the church. I said yes, and they left. About 30 seconds later, a woman crosses the street and walks right up to me and starts talking to me perfect English. It was awesome. She wanted to know all about the church and why Mormons are so weird (hahaha) and about polygamy and everything. Ha. It was pretty funny, but also, I was able to have a good 15 minute discussion with her about our church and the Book of Mormon. She was super super nice, and although she wasn't interested in keeping the BofM, she took a card. I have no idea if anything will ever happen with her, but it was super cool, because I needed a reminder that I can teach people, and my testimony is there, even if I can't always express it in Korean. As she was leaving, she told me that the only reason she talked to me is because I am a girl, and she always sees the Elders, but she wanted to hear from a Sister. What a miracle that she got to learn about the church at that particular moment. If the Elder's had left a minute later, she wouldn't have had that opportunity. Anyway, that may seem small, but to me it was huge this week.
Another miracle is that Ho sunhee's husband has accepted a baptismal date from the Elders!! So awesome! She has been busy this week because her sister was in the hospital and her kids are on their winter break, so we couldn't meet with her, but we get to meet with her this Tuesday. We are hoping and praying that they will want to take this step together and be baptized on Feb 22 as a family. They seriously are amazing people, and have taught me SO much. But yeah. That's super exciting.
Chae Urie, the less active we have been working with a lot is always at church now!:) We met with her twice last week, and gave her a book of Mormon again, since it's been 10 years since she was active. Through her I have really learned that without a testimony of the book of Mormon, people will not stay active in the church, so keep reading the book of Mormon everyone! She's seriously a miracle though.
Ester has really been progressing this past week, and we are hopefully going to help her come to church next week. She told us last week that she knows God will tell her if this church is true, but she was expecting Him to tell her in a really big, 'moses-like' experience. We read Alma 32 with her this week, and she really understands now the importance of faith and how great things are accomplished through the small and simple things. She also has been SO happy lately, which is so different from the first few weeks I met her. Seeing the change in her is wonderful. The gospel and book of Mormon have the power to CHANGE LIVES! It's wonderful!!!
Something sad, is one of our investigators, Kristine, I think is going to reject the gospel. She says she knows it's true, but doesn't want to change. She says that money is the thing she values most in this world. She is holding onto tons of grudges, and doesn't want to forgive and change, and we can't force her to do that. It's sooooo sad, because she is the sweetest old lady, and she loves meeting with us, because we make her happy, but she won't change her life and be baptized. I read this morning in Mosiah about Zeniff and then Kind Noah, and it breaks my heart to see how money and pride get in the way and really lead to our downfall. In one of the verses, I forget which one cuz I don't have my scriptures with me, it gave a really great definition of pride- which is not repenting. It just really clicked how when we don't repent everyday, we are letting pride enter our hearts, and that's how Satan gets us. Anyway, I'm a little sad about that, but I know that hope isn't lost yet. I'm just waiting and working for another miracle:)
Those are just a few of the miracles I noticed in my week. My journal is full of TONS more. I love you all though, and pray for you every day! Thanks for your wonderful example to me, and your love and support! I love you all!!!
Sister Hunter:):)

Family is Forever Jan. 12th

Dear Family,
I love you all so much! This week has really been a week about family for me out in the mission field. It's something that we have been focusing about a lot in our lessons, and it makes me so sad to see people's struggles with family.
Thanks mom for your update on Aunt Elna. Your email brought tears to my eyes, and I know that Mormor really is close to her right now. What a tender experience and testimony that families truly are forever. This week I had a dream about our family. I can't quite remember exactly where we were (America or Korea), but I remember very vividly that we were having family home evening. It was a wonderful experience, and there were more than just us. I remember that Mormor and Morfar were there too, and maybe others of our extended family. Anyway, I just remember being SO happy to be together with my family. At the end we all had a 'group hug' like we used to do after home evening. It was so cute. After I woke up I just realized how truly grateful I am to know that I have a family that I can be together with forever. The gospel is SO powerful. I am so grateful for the sacrifices the Mormor and Morfar made so long ago to have a temple marriage. What a huge blessing. I'm so grateful for our family, and the fact that I"m on a mission. Being away from home has really made me realize what a special relationship our family has. We support each other no matter what. I have been so impressed by the example of sacrifice of my grandparents and parents. Mom and Dad are so willing to do ANYTHING for us kids, and I KNOW that I can go to them in any time of trial and they will help me through it. Thanks for all of your love and support! It's been incredibly uplifting to feel that even from across the world! I love you all SOOOO much!
This week, we were able to teach Monica twice:) She has been reading some Isaiah chapters in 1 Nephi. With no christian background, that has been pretty difficult for her, but holy cow she knows how to study her scriptures. She always comes with them marked and underlined and annotated. She is a true seeker of truth. She's SUCH an example to me. Anyway, after we had kind of explained some of the chapters, she said, "You know. These are very difficult for me to understand. But. I love Isaiah! I love the way he writes and the way I feel when I read!" I was floored! Members of the church don't even say that!! haha. She's awesome. Anyway. After that we were talking a little and she said that her son saw her the night before reading the BOM, and he asked why she was reading it. She told him that she was reading it, because she wanted to be able to teach him the word of God someday. When she said that I just felt the power of a mother's love and how much she loves her children. She continued to tell us about this conversation with her son and how he said he wanted to be like her and go to church. (Back-story is that Monica's husband doesn't like religion. He told Monica that she could go to church if she wanted, but she couldn't force the kids to come with her, and he wouldn't watch them..... so basically he doesn't want her to go) But anyway. Now both of her children have expressed a sincere desire to go to church. I pray every day that this example from her and her children and having the power of the word of God in their home will soften the heart of her husband. It reminded me so much of the Army of Helaman and how powerful young people and children are, especially when they are taught by their mothers. Children are truly the best teachers and are so pure and in tune with the spirit. I want so badly for her family to feel the blessings of the temple and the gospel.
Another family experience is this- Monica referred her next door neighbor to us, and their whole family is interested in the church!!! We are so excited to be working with a family!:) The gospel blesses families so much, and that really is the best place to apply the gospel. Anyway, Ho Sunhee is her name, and she brought her family to a dinner with the bishop this week. They have been to church as a family once and the ward LOVES them. I hope they continue to progress:)
One more thing. So yesterday at church, the Temple President came and spoke in sacrament meeting. He said a LOT that I didn't understand, but he was REALLY stressing the importance of temple attendance and how important that is for our families. It's really hit me hard this week how important family history work and how anxious our ancestors are to have their work done! Please help them out. Bring family names to the temple. It will be an incredible experience for you. Something they really stressed in the MTC and now here in Korea is that as missionaries we are to pray to find people to teach, whose ancestors are ready to accept the gospel. I feel very strongly that our ancestors and people on the other side of the veil have a powerful influence on us and they truly bless and protect us. Think about your ancestors and how much they are yearning to be sealed to you, and receive those ordinances and covenants that will empower them to be with you forever. Anyway. That's my shameless plug for family history work. I can't tell how you all how important it is. Families truly are forever. After the temple president spoke, we as missionaries sang an arrangement of Families can be together Forever and I love to see the Temple. It was perfect and I loved singing it, because those messages are SO similar. I'm not sure I thought about it before.
Anyway, hope everyone is doing well, and I will be praying for our family and Aunt Elna. Thanks everyone for your love and support! Happy Birthday this week to Eric! I hope everyone is having a wonderful semester as well:):)
Sister Hunter

Jan. 5th The year of the Missionary.... and whole dead fish soup...

Wow! What a great week it's been:) It's been really warm this week:) Like above freezing most days! I was SO excited! It was like summer! hahaha But yeah. A really great first week of 2014.
For new years, we had a very exciting day. Koreans have a really fun tradition on new years. Rather than staying up really late Dec 31, they get up early on Jan 1 and go watch the sun rise! It's awesome. As the first rays of the new year come up, you make a wish for the year. We went with our ward, and President and Sister Morrise. I love them!! It was so great. We all walked to Olympic park (where they had the 88 Olympics) and went tot he top of this big hill. We sung 'the morning breaks', and a few other hymns in Korean, and then drank some weird Korean drink in lieu of hot chocolate. haha Sister Morisse was tempted to pour it out. haha I love her. Anyway, It was really glorious as we sat there watching the horizon for the sun to come up. It was AWESOME! When it finally came over the mountain, I was just so overwhelmed with happiness, and I just know it's going to be a great year! I get the pleasure of being a missionary all of 2014, which is super exciting! Anyway. I think that's a tradition I will continue when I get back to America. It was wonderful! The Korean people are so awesome!
Then, we went back to the church with the ward, where they served us a traditional Korean meal- the first meal of the year. It's called dok soup I think. They brought out a big bowl of it for everyone. Like a really big bowl. Like mom's biggest clear mixing bowl big. And everyone's was about half full of soup. But mine was full to the top. So yeah. I started eating that. And it wasn't bad necessarily. But dok is rice cake noodle, and it has a weird consistency, and is really filling. So really there was no way I was going to be able to eat it all. But I was giving it a really good try. I had eaten about a fourth of it, when a looked down at my spoon and realized there was more than just noodles and vegetables in my soup......... there was a whole dead fish on my spoon... Just hanging out.... looking at me.... So I asked my companion about it, and she said to eat it.  But there was no way I could do that. I just don't know how to eat an entire fish. So I just put it back in my soup. (I was really tempted to pull and 'Christmas Vacation' and flick it off of my spoon, but I was afraid it wouldn't work like it does in the movies haha) So I just kept eating my soup, feeling super sick to my stomach, and looking at my fish.... as it looked back at me. Anyway, I ate about 3/4 of the soup, and I have never been more full in my whole life. And then my companion and another missionary started discussing how to butcher an animal (they both lived on farms) and well.... I'll just say I didn't feel very good. Sister Morisse asked me if I was ok, and made them stop talking about it. Haha then she was really nice and ate my fish for me. And made an Elder finish my soup haha. She's my new best friend! I will forever be indebted to her for eating that fish. My hero. Anyway, then we had sweet potato cake, which wasn't too bad, besides the fact you have to eat with chopsticks, and that was just hilarious for everyone to watch. But yeah. So that was a fun food adventure. On a better note, I had some pretty good squid this week. And the bishop took us out for oyster something... which I did alright with.
As far as missionary work goes though, this week has been AWESOME! We started working with 2 less actives, and they are great! One of them joined the church 10 years ago when she was 14, and then stopped going, but last week called us up and asked if she could come to church again. We are meeting with her after church now, and the members have really helped fellowship her already, which is great.  I think that she is someone that I'm supposed to help here, because we are very similar. I love her tons. Her name is Chay Urie. The ward here is Songpa is so awesome! Everyone is so excited to help with missionary work! It's crazy. But really awesome! And makes me feel guilty for never doing member missionary work in Utah. But yeah. Super awesome ward! Ester is really progressing too. She said she will be baptized if she gains a testimony that it's true. Our lessons with her have been really really good this week, which makes me so happy. I love her so much. Also, Monica wasn't able to meet this week because of the holiday, so I missed that.
We also got to go to the temple this week. I'll try to get some pics for you of that. Anyway, I hope you are all having a wonderful week and that New Years was a wonderful one for everyone! Thanks for all of your love and support! You're all amazing!!
Sister Hunter