Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 15


What a week. First of all, I think I've finally got this Korean thing down.. because I actually love kimchi now. I crave it! It doesn't even taste spicy anymore! Its a miracle haha!! When I first came here the elders in my district told me that if I eat 3 bites of kimchi every time it is available I would start to like it. And lo and behold, it has actually happened I can't believe it! Its sooo good! Be ready ready to meet the new and improved Sister Garlic-breath in 15 months! Whoot whoot!

Really though this week was a great one. I guess I'll start with the highlight... Jong Da Young's baptism on saturday. One of the best days of my life! This girl has changed my life. The night before the baptism we got together with her and watched "finding faith in christ" with her. After we watched it, we asked her how she felt. She said that she loves Jesus Christ and is so so grateful for the atonement. She shared with us that her dad is an alcoholic and is very abusive, and that how through the atonement everything can be made right. It was one of the most tender experiences I've ever had. Here is this young girl who has found the truth and is seeking to do God's will, despite her hard circumstances in life. She is so deserving of this gospel. Ahhh I am just so grateful to have met her. Saturday was the perfect day. We have such a wonderful and supportive ward from whom Jong Da Yong felt so much love an acceptance from. I'm pretty sure she has a dinner with different members every night of the week this week haha! Our ward is seriously amazing. Everyone did their part to make it a perfect day for her. After the service, we had a little party with food, Sis. Lawrence and I made a cake and sang "happy baptism to you" haha. It was so great. Afterwards I asked her what her favorite part of the day was. She told me it was the moment she came out of the water. She felt so pure and happy. I pretty much started crying on the spot (my mission has turned me into the biggest baby its so bad). She kept saying "blessed day" in english. It was indeed a very blessed day. I hope she remembers it forever, because I sure will!

Everything is going super well with all of our investigators... In fact we're kinda baptizing them all. Haha which is great, but Sis. Lawrence is gonna leave next week and then they'll all be baptized.. so I gotta go find some new investies haha! Anyways, Kim Tae Hee is doing awesome. We told her that in order to be ready for baptism on feb. 8th we needed to meet with her lots, so we have been meeting a lot! She has been accepting everything so great. We thought we would have some issues when it came to word of wisdom and law of chastity, but she commited to living them! She has so much faith! She is incredible. 
We also had an amazing lesson with Shin Song Hee yesterday. She has been in Singapore for the past few weeks... We haven't been able to teach her very much, but she has been to church several times and has told us how much she loves the spirit she feels here. She has such a desire to learn. She speaks English very well! So when we teach her we teach in both english and korean which is great haha. Anways, yesterday we taught her the plan of salvation, in the temple waiting room. She has had such a hard life.. she's divorced and lost her only child one day after it was born. Through her trials she feels like God has abandoned her, and she doesn't understand why God lets bad things happen to people. She thinks that it would've almost been better if we didn't have agency! I didn't know how to explain all of what I wanted to say.. so I just told her that sometimes we don't understand the things we have to go through in this life.. so we just have to trust God. He is all knowing. He loves each of us personally and is aware of each of us. Through the atonement of his son Jesus Christ, everything that is unfair about life will be made right. We told her that through God's plan, she would be with her baby again! She cried and cried... Along with me ans Sister Lawrence haha. The spirit was so so strong in that lesson.. I know I say this about every lesson with every investigator haha.. but this was something special. Her heart was really touched. I know that she will get baptized soon :) She is so amazing.

With all of these amazing experiences I've been having I have realized how truly blessed I am to have grown up with the knowledge of the gospel in my life. I have taken it for granted. Being a missionary, I am learning more each day how truly dependent upon the savior I am. I am so blessed to be going through all of these amazing experiences. I never knew that the mission would change my life like it has. 

Well, transfer calls are this saturday! I get a new trainer on the 6th of February... Not gonna lie I am freaking out haha. My trainer will most likely be a very young missionary who doesn't know much more than I do and that freaks me out a bit... So I'm going to be expected to know a lot more.. I guess that is good.. but I hate being pushed out of my comfort zone dangit. Right when I finally get it down.. God says nope! Time to work harder. That's just this whole mission thing though I guess.. :) 

Gotta jet!! Ahhh theres always so much to say and so little time to say it. Oh well. I love you all so much! Talk to you next week!

Holmes 자매  ^^ (how koreans do smiley faces haha)

ice skating last p-day!!!

Sister Haynie and I aren't we cute

this is what happens when you're a missionary and you don't get out much

me eating one of my favorite meals, kimchi bokumbop! :)

jong da young's baptism!!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 14

Herrrrro from Korea!!!

Man it was a killer week. It started off AWESOME with the temple. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to come to the temple once every transfer! I receive sooo much strength every time.. hopefully it fills me up until the next time I get to go haha :) After the temple, we all went iceskating for P-day. Best day ever. It was so much fun to take a break from the rigors of missionary work and feel like a normal person doing normal activities! I skated like a pro, obviously and only fell down once and may I say it was a graceful fall thank you very much. Anyways, so so so much fun. The missionaries in this mission are just a riot, I love being with everyone here haha.

정다영 (jong da young) gets baptized this Saturday, the 25th. Everything is set to go, she is so excited, we are so excited. Everything is perfect. I could not have been more blessed my first transfer. Words can't describe how grateful I am that I met her. She has changed my life probably more than the gospel is changing hers! Through her I am learning to see others the way Heavenly Father sees them. Some days are very hard, especially when you've been standing in the cold for hours and everyone you try to talk to gives you the cold shoulder. But then I think of her, and it helps me to remember that there are people waiting to hear the gospel. It isn't my job to decide who those people are, I have to find them. And in order to do that, I have to invite everyone! Even if they don't accept it. When I remember that, I LOVE jundoing. I love talking to people. Whenever I feel like I can't talk to one more person I think of jong da young (sorry if I keep spelling her name different haha). Who would've thought that a person I talked to on the street 3 weeks ago would be getting baptized this Saturday? I never would've believed it if you told me. That's missionary work for you. Miracles are real. Holy cow.

Here's another miracle.. Yesterday we set Kim Tae Hee's baptism date. She's getting baptized on Feb. 8th!!!! Sis. Lawrence technically leaves to go home the 6th, but her mom is coming to pic her up so they are going to come to the baptism. We are so excited. Hopefully everything falls into place with her, like it has with Jong da young. I can't describe how blessed I feel to be serving in Shinchon right now! I seriously love love LOVE being a missionary. I really do. Its killer. But its worth it.

Well, I don't have much else to say.. Things are really great. This past week was great, and we have another great one planned! We are meeting with a new potential investigator tonight, so wish us luck! My language skills.. hmmm.. slowly slowly improving haha. My listening skills are improving a lot. I can actually understand what is being said in lessons for the most part, so I know when to come in and say the bit that I've prepared haha. Its great.. I just want to be fluent dang it. I always thought of the gift of tongues being something that just hits you. Like one day all of the sudden I will wake up and be able to speak Korean fluently. But I've realized that it isn't gonna be like that haha. It comes slowly. This week I was looking through my journal and I found a sticky note that we all wrote on when I got my setting apart blessing, and something that was written on it is that I have to recieve the gift of tongues. As I've been out this short time, I'm realizing that that receiving comes slowly. I won't get it all at once. As much as I wish that would happen.. Well I guess you never know! I've seen some pretty amazing miracles already! Just you wait. next week you'll here the big news that I'm fluent!! Yes I can feel it.

Well, I'm about out of time now! I love this work! I love being here in Korea! I love the Lord. I am so so blessed.
Love you all, have a 훌량한 주(an amazing week)!

Holmes 자매

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 13

My dearest loved ones,

Holy cow. I know I say this in every stinking letter home.. but I seriously can't fathom time. It makes zero sense. Sometimes I feel like I've been in korea my whole life and its barely been a month, and other times I feel like I just barely left on my mission like a week ago.. and its been 3 months. Its just nuts. We do so much every day.. the weeks just fly by! I feel like it was just p-day yesterday! Oh goly. I will never understand time. ANYWAYS, technically its not even p-day today, but we still email. tomorrow is TEMPLE DAY!!! I'm so excited. We only get to go the temple one time in each transfer (even though I live 2 seconds away from it dang it). So I'm super stoked. It will be an experience to go through a Korean session haha.. Hopefully the last time I go to the temple for my last transfer, I will be able to understand it :)

Well, I'd be lying if I didn't say this week was a hard one. And I'd also be lying if I said it wasn't amazing! Holy cow. Long but GREAT week! So many wonderful things happened. Tuesday was such a fun day, Sis. Lawrence had a leadership training meeting, so I got to go on splits with Sis. Haynie!! One of my mtc besties (pics to come). It was great. I was so nervous because she came to Shinchon.. so I had to be the smart one who got us around places. and guess what we actually survived! I'm starting to actually know my way around this crazy place! I'm still trying to figure out the subway system.. I don't know if that will ever happen haha. But yeah it was way fun! That night (when sis. lawrence came back) we had our plan of salvation lesson with Jong Tai Young at the temple. We taught her in the little waiting room area. It could not have gone any better. She is honestly an angel. She hasn't had the gospel in her life simple because she "knew not where to find it". One of those people. She is so ready for baptism. We even taught her the word of wisdom, and committed her to live it! She drinks tea and coffee, and sometimes alcohol socially with friends, but she willingly wanted to give it all up. She is amazing. Yesterday she came to church, right before sacrament started but she made it thank goodness! After church we had a ward lunch thing, and she was off on her own, making a bunch of new friends in the ward already.. things could not be any better with her! I am so blessed to have an investigator like her.. in my first transfer! She's setting the bar pretty high haha.. they better all be like this.. ;) We have another lesson with her tonight about more commandments at a member's house! I can't wait!

Wednesday was zone conference, which was dang awesome. I seriously love all the missionaries here in Korea! And the craziest thing, like 90 percent of them go to byu haha. Crazy right? so we're gonna all be hanging out speaking korean together when we're home. Its great. Most of all I love President and Sister Christensen. They are so amazing. So caring, pure and hard working. They love each of us here and you can see that in all they do. I'm so grateful for them. As a zone, we have a goal to hand out 1,500 copies of the Book of Mormon this month.. We did the math and that's about 100 per companionship. a minimum of 4-5 books a day. How nuts is that haha? But we're all trying our best to accomplish that goal! At first I was like oh man there is NO way.. but since then I've been trying to have the mindset of trying to give a book of mormon to every person I talk to. It is so much better than just a pass along card because you are giving them solid truth and evidence to know for themselves! Even though most people don't accept it, when you find someone who will, it is the most amazing feeling. I love the book of mormon, and I'm growing to love it more and more.. each time I give away a book of mormon, my testimony grows. I love being a missionary :) I love having this one purpose.

Kim dong hee was confirmed yesterday :) It was so wonderful and the spirit was so strong. We started meeting with her sister, Kim Tae Hee, this week as well.. She is amazing and has a desire to be baptized, but she just isn't really sure yet. we haven't set a date, but she wants to be baptized before Sis. Lawrence leaves on feb. 6th!! So lets pray that a miracle happens and she gets baptized soon!! I think she will as she learns more about the gospel. Yesterday we had a lesson with her after church. It was actually a huge lesson.. Kim dong hee came, 3 members were present and our other investigator Shin song hee was there haha. It was like a whole class of people but it was such an amazing experience. At the end I bore my testimony, and I talked about how much I love my family and how hard it is to be away from them, but God has given me strength! I was crying.. and then everyone started crying haha. and Kim tae hee was like "Okay okay I'll be baptized! stop crying!" hahahaha it was hilarious. But so spiritual. I love these people so much. When times get hard I just think about my amazing investigators and how sad I would be if I never came here and met them. There are some days when you would rather be deathly ill than get out of bed haha (like literally..) but when I think of these people I have the strength to get going. I feel that same strength thinking of all the love and support I have from home. :) I am truly so so blessed.

I love you with all my heart. Hope this week brings happiness for all of you! Peace out! 

Holmes 자매
This is a pic from the plane ride over, right before we landed in Korea! (sis. Jacobson and Haynie) I love them so much. 

Not a very good pic haha but whateva. We went to dinner with one of our less active/recent converts, Ca Jin Young. She is hilarious, I love her so much. She's going to BYU in the fall to study english! Anyways, this food, I don't remember what it is called...this chicken noodle stir fry stuff...HOTTEST THING I'VE EVER EATEN. I literally though there were fireworks going off inside of me. I thought I was gonna die. After I was talking to Sis. Lawrence about it and she's like, "umm that is not even hot...you're gonna die." Well shoot.

Just me in the middle of the road haha. That red building behind me is the church building! My comp took this pic I don't know why. Enjoy.

 the huge hill we walk up each day (can you tell?)

a Buddhist church that looks like a car wash 

Just a little pic of the city that's all

Yup this is an ice-cream cone. How cool is that? haha

This is the reason why I'm not gonna lose weight in Korea. 

Splits with Sister Haynie! love her

Splits with Sister Haynie! love her

Just some pics from Sister Lawrence! Baptism, and our apartment :) we're too much fun

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 12

Best week yet.

Holy cow. It was a crazy busy week. Between a few companion exchanges, getting sick, and planning a baptism I almost lost my mind! But I managed to survive somehow! Because here I am writing another email home, another week gone by! So crazy..

Okay. So I'll start from the beginning. So I had to go on a couple exchanges with other missionaries this week (and I have to a LOT more, because Sis. Lawrence is the sister training leader). It was actually way fun! It was fun to be with other sisters and see their teaching/speaking styles! So that was great fun. Now to the good stuff. I told you in my email last week about the girl we met who texted us wanting to learn more about mormons right? Well we had our first lesson with her on wednesday, Jan 1. Her name is 정 다 영 (jong dai young). She's 21, she's a student. She's studying art history and she's the most amazing person. Well we taught the first lesson, we watched the restoration video with her. As watched it I was literally praying the whole time that she would feel the spirit and know the truth of this message. After watching, we asked her how she felt. It can't be described very well in english but she said that she felt special, she felt her heart throbbing! (I kind of got emotional when she said that haha) The whole lesson she was so engaged, and agreeing and nodding to everything that was being said. We committed her to baptism. She accepted. Willingly and excitedly. She's getting baptized on the 25th of this month. I can't believe it. Like am I on The District or something?? Haha this never happens. Especially in Korea. But it did. Miracles are really real. Best new years day of my life! She is incredible. She came to church yesterday and loved it. We have another lesson with her tonight! We're teaching her the plan of salvation.. at the temple. It will be amazing. Meeting her has given me a new excitement in being here. I know I was supposed to come to Korea, even if it was just to find this girl :)

김 동 희's (kim dong hee) baptism yesterday was beautiful. We were so scared that it wouldn't actually happen.. While planning the baptism this week, we found out that there was a possibility that she wouldn't be able to get baptized without the permission of her husband.. who she hasn't talked to in several months and refuses to talk to him. When we told her this she said that she would not get his permission. If she had to get his permission she wouldn't be baptized. I was actually on exchanges with another sister when all of this happened but Sister Lawrence said that it was so crazy.... After talking with Sister Lawrence for a while she finally softened her heart and said that she would consider asking him if she needed to. Then we soon found out that she didn't need his permission. It was definitely a test of her faith! But everything worked out and she was baptized yesterday.. There is nothing like seeing one of God's children enter the waters of baptism! It is truly so amazing :) 

More miracles.. Kim dong hee brought her sister to the baptism, 김 태 희 Kim Tay hee! (I'm struggling with these dang korean names haha oh man). Kim dong hee has tried to talk with her about the gospel before and she never really showed any care or interest. Well yesterday that changed! After the baptism we all went out to dinner and we talked with her after (she speaks great english so I could understand everything, score). She told us she was wanting to come to church every week and be baptized, and feel the happiness that her sister feels. What. stop. okay sista we can hook you up. We gave her a book of mormon and we're meeting with her this week!!!! Also our other investigator 신 성 희 (shin song hee) who hasn't been progressing much, came to the baptism and now she's really interested in baptism.. and yeah.. so that's cool I guess. That's way cool.. I'm just at a loss for words. I'm so grateful to be here in Korea. I love these people so much.
Oh yeah, I sang at the baptism... Not alone thankfully haha. All the missionaries sang "when I am baptised" together in Korean.. I sang a solo in the middle (the first verse in english). It was pretty dang bad haha because I have a cold.. and also I may have started crying. But its fine and no one judged me because I was crying right? It doesn't matter that I sounded like a 12 year old boy going through puberty with my voice cracking.

This week, fasting had a new meaning for me! We started our fast saturday afternoon (so we could eat with kim dong hee Sunday afternoon after the baptism). It was actuallly the hardest fast I've ever done.. I went to bed starving and woke up feeling so sick! I wanted to give up! But I pushed through. I read a talk yesterday morning from a general authority whose name is currently escaping my mind... called "purification". He talked about using the power of fasting as a missionary.. and not just physical fasting, spiritual fasting. It is important to show God our commitment by striving to give up those things that distract us from missionary work, whether it be sleeping in 5 minutes late or thinking about things that distract you and detract from your purpose. So yesterday I started a 40 day spiritual fast. I'm fasting from negative thoughts! I have struggled with negative self destructive thinking ever since I've come out on my mission.. and I have finally realized that these thoughts get you no where. It is toxic. I don't have time to think about not being good enough. I have to just push forward and trust that the Lord will qualify me for the work as a exercise my faith, by being an obedient missionary, talking to as many people as I can every day, and having courage. I have already seen blessings in my life come from this decision, example.. yesterday being a day of miracles out the wazoo.. Ah man its crazy.
That's all I can ever say..

I am so grateful to be here. I love it more and more every day.
I love you all!! 사랑해요!!! Until next week!

홈스 자매 
Sista Hormes :)
my first pic on my new camera yaaaay (even though they found my old one...)

Me and Sister Lawrence! :)

Jong Tai Young, our new miracle investigator :) she's the best

Kim Dong Hee's Baptism!