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!