Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 23

Dearest Loved ones

Another week has flown by here in good ol' Sinchon! And what a great week it was. This transfer is off to a really great start. I think I'm starting to find happiness in the little things more and it is making such a difference in every day life as a missionary. :)

Shin Song Hee is still doing really well!! She is praying every day. We had a lesson this week with her at a member's house. We talked about recognizing the feelings of the spirit. I really hope she got something out of it.. Member present lessons are always a difficult thing.. the members in our ward really like to take over the lessons haha. Its kind of a problem.. I know they're just trying to be helpful but it just really confuses our investigators and then the lesson always goes WAY longer than planned. Anyways though, she is doing well. Another happy little tender mercy, we were finally able to meet with Kim Teh Hee this past week.. first time since here baptism! And she came to church yesterday! It was stake conference. She has been so busy.. we're trying to help her see that church will help her life be better, not be another stress.. Oh man these koreans.. they are SO busy let me tell you!

We got a new investigator yesterday :) God answers prayers! Her name is Yoo-oo-wei. She is actually from taiwan. She speaks little korean and little english.. its the weirdest thing.. lately we've been meeting so many chinese people! And we also have a russian investigator! What in the world I thought I came here to speak korean. They didn't tell me that I'd need to learn russian and chinese on the side. no thank you haha. just kidding, thankfully there are a few ward members here in korea that can speak those languages.. so we are trying to get in contact with them for some member present lessons! Hopefully they don't talk to much like the members in our ward haha. Anyways, this lady is so sweet! She is in her 40's, she works here in an educational administrative program (whatever that means). She has mostly english interest, but she's actually really interested in learning about the book of mormon! We do this thing called the 'family english program' in our mission, I don't know if I've talked about it before! We meet with people and teach them english for 30 minutes, and then we share our gospel message for 30 minutes. It has been a really successful way of finding people for our mission. So yeah, we are going to read the book of mormon stories with her in english. She is really excited. Hopefully we can turn this mostly english interest into a gospel interest soon!! Pray for me to learn chinese! HA not. One thing at a time. So actually pray for me to learn Korean. I'm still lackin'. Getting there haha but lacking.

Like I said, I've been really trying to find more joy in the simple things.. This past week especially I have gained such a greater appreciation for the opportunity I have to study the scriptures and pray every day. These things are so simple, but SO IMPORTANT. For all of us. I think I took these things for granted my whole life.. I don't know what I would do without them now. This week I read the talk "We never walk alone" by Pres. Monson at the last relief society conf. I LOVE this quote from him.. "As we seek our Heavenly Father through sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, our testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted. We will know of God's love for us. We will understand we do not ever walk alone. I promise that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize He was always there beside you." Wow. This is a promise from a prophet of God. So when things get rough, just remember this. As long as you are praying and reading your scriptures, you WILL receive strength to get through the hard times. Even if we don't understand why we have to deal with some things in this life.. He will never leave us. But we have to do our part to feel His love. I just want EVERYONE in the world to know this. I am just recently figuring it out for myself.

제가 행복한 선교사 입니다! I am a happy missionary! (I could've just made something up and you all wouldn't have even known hehe )

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Last pday. Happiest day of my life...tandum biking it up. Seriously the funnest thing ever :)

 The Sinchon sistas :) (don't mind my hair lookilng like a horse tail, I just ran across Korea right before we took the picture. A little fun fact about missionaries. We're always running everywhere...I hate it haha)

 Last family pics before transfers! (our district)

Just for funsies.

Sister Lee told me to never make this face again if I want to get married.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 22


I'm in my 3rd transfer already. Wait what?? I can't believe that! Oh time, you never cease to freak me out.. Well I am staying here in Sinchon with Sister Lee for another transfer! I couldn't be happier. I love it here, I love my companion, I love our ward. I am starting to actually know how to get around, I am starting to build better relationships with people.. so I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here for at least another 6 weeks! This week started out so good with temple day. The temple always makes everything happier. How lucky am I to be serving in an area with a temple? I live 5 minutes away from it. Dang I am so blessed! After the temple, all the missionaries in our zone went to this super popular American buffet here called Ashley's. when they say american food, they really mean korean style american food. I have never had the weirdest combination of flavors in my stomach haha but it was a great time.

This week was awesome.. Lots of miracles, lots of blessings. Although a lot of our plans and appointments fell through, we still worked our hardest and had such a happy week! Shin Song Hee is finally really progressing :) This week we went and visited her at her work, she works at a university here, Ewha. (super prestigious all women's univesity.. btdubs.) We went to lunch with her and toured the campus. We have really been struggling on what we should teach her.. We have taught her a lot but at the same time she knows so little.. everything has just been kind of confusing. A few weeks ago we tried to commit her to baptism and since then things have been rough with her. But we are finally back on track with her. We decided we just needed to talk with her about prayer. And I am so glad we did. It is exactly what she needed. Just a simple reminder that she can feel happy and she can feel God's love if she prays. That was earlier in the week, Yesterday she came to church and afterwards we had a lesson. She says that since she's been praying more regularly like we committed her to, her life has been so much happier. She says that other people have been telling her that she seems so much more bright and happy. She said that she is deciding to trust in God and let go of the hard things. It was so amazing to hear this realization she came to. She even said that if things keep going this well, she will want to be baptized soon. She is understanding and accepting more than she ever has before. I can't believe it. I am so happy! This is why I had to stay in Sinchon :)

Funny story of the week.. I was on exchanges with Sister White, and while we were jundoing (street proselyting) I was talking to this lady with a dog, and I told her she had a cute dog! Right when I did, the dog looked up at me and then ATTACKED. it straight up bit my hand and I basically screamed and everyone on the street gasped and looked over at me. hahaha it was the most embarrasing thing but it was hilarious. I guess that's what I get for telling a lie. It was the ugliest thing ever. Not to mention it was wearing a tutu. So yeah. There's that haha.

I don't really have much else to say this week. It was great. I am so excited to start a new transfer here. Hopefully it brings us many miracles. Welllp I gotta peace now! The church is true. haha
BYE until next week :)

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매
Me & Sister Lee...livin' the dream

My new hobby: find inspirational signs and take pics with them

Utah license plate at Ashley's!! Whoot!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 21


This is the last week of the my second transfer! Holy cow. I'm not gonna be a greenie anymore.. Actually technically I am not a greenie anymore because 12 weeks is your training.. and since I had a 7 week transfer my first transfer.. now I'm not a greenie.. Now I've moved up to the title "young missionary". I'm getting so OLD! Transfer calls are this saturday, I can't believe it! I don't know what will happen, President Christensen really likes to surprise people. But if I were making a guess... I think I will probably stay here in Sinchon with Sister Lee for another transfer. Which I would be really happy about. I love it here. I have been so blessed to serve here.. This is where all the missionaries dream of serving, and I had the privilege to be here for my first 2 transfers.. so whatever happens I will be okay with.. even if I'm shipped up North where there are basically no people... and it is even more freezing than it is here in the city.... Shoot. Yup I just jinxed myself I'm going to Kang Won Do next I know it. The Lord knows what he's doing right? I can handle anything I've survived this long haha.. 

This week had a lot of happiness inside of it. First of all.. I FINISHED PASS-OFF!!! I realize now that I haven't explained what this is in any of my previous emails which is CRAZY because it has taken over my life.. In our mission we do this thing called the Language Progression Program.. its where you learn the vocabulary for each preach my gospel lesson in korean, teach the lesson and korean, memorize scriptures for the lesson. You pass off each lesson with your district leader, then you do a midway pass off and a final pass off with your zone leader, and then you pass of with the APs.. so yeah, its kind of a big deal. And now I'm kind of a big deal because I finished it. So yeah. ;) Biggest accomplishment of my life. Such a stress reliever! It was killin' me! If nothing else good happened in the week I can be so happy because I'm DONE WITH IT!! Hold the applause!

This last week I had the opportunity to go on splits with Sister Thomas!! I love her so much. (She and Sister White are the other sisters we live with). She got here only one transfer before me.. I don't even know how I would've survived these last 2 transfers without her! It is such a comfort to know that you're not the only one struggling. We have been able to help each other out a lot.. so when we went on splits this week, we both realized that we've actually learned a thing or two! We got around all by ourselves, got where we needed to be, to our meetings, appointments and everything.. It was such a confidence booster! I feel like I don't know anything still sometimes and it stresses me out to think that I could get another really young missionary as a companion really soon here! But I realized that if it came down to it, I could do it. It might kill me but I could. :) This week I really recognized what an honor and privilege it is to be a missionary. I am grateful for the hard times because they are shaping me into the person that I want to be. I just love this gospel :)

It was a slow one for lessons again.. but on the positive side, Shin Song Hee came to church!! Last night there was a fireside given by Elder Nash of the Seventy. He talked about likening the scriptures to our lives.. and I sure loved it! She came with us, along with Kim Dong Hee! It was such a good night. Even if they dozed off a little bit during the talk haha. I'm not gonna lie there were points where I nodded off.. Its kind of hard to listen to a talk given slowly, sentence by sentence, english, korean, english, korean.. especially when you have a row of naughty little boys in front of you that were fighting the whole time haha. But I am still grateful for the opportunity to hear a general authority! It was in Young don bo, which is in the Seoul South mission so its awesome that we even got to go. Anyways, it was great! Oh man though, I don't know what's going on with Shin Song Hee... it turns out she was really upset at us when we tried to push her to be baptized a couple weeks ago.. so we don't know what to do.. we're just trying to work on strengthening her faith without being pushy because she doesn't want to talk about baptism.. But she is so amazing. I love her so much and more importantly I know that God loves her so much. Even if I don't get to be here when she's baptized, I really think she will someday. Lets just pray that someday is soon :) Pray for that miracle!

We are still working our tails off to find new investigators.. jundoing lots, making a million phone calls, doing everything we can! So actually I forgot, there was a pretty awesome miracle this week! But it was while i was on splits with Sister Thomas. There was a russian lady that Sister Lee met while jundoing once and we got her number and told her that we would get her a book of mormon in russian! So we did and when we went to meet her to give it to her last week she didn't show up. But on saturday she Saw Sister Lee (and Sister White) on the street and so she went and asked them for her book! They were able to go to the church with her and actually teach her a lesson.. they taught the restoration and said it was awesome!! I am so sad I missed it! So actually we do have a new investigator! Hopefully! we are trying to meet with her again tonight so that will be so good! She doesn't speak much english or Korean.. so it will be an adventure to teach her haha :) I'm so excited. More exciting news, tomorrow is temple day!! And the NEW FILM IS HERE!!!!!! I am so excited. Just so much excitement!

I don't really know what else to say. So I guess I'll be done now. Sorry if this was lame again. I'm lame when I email, I can't capture my experience through words.. but just know that I love this work! I know with all my heart that it is God's work! 
5 months in! Holy moly! This week's gonna be a good one!!! Last week of the transfer, its miracle time. Talk to you next week!!! LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Holmes 자매

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 20

Dearest family and friends...

Well, this week was a better one. :) Things were still pretty slow.. everyone has been so so busy with work lately so its been a rough one for lessons. But it was still great. Attitude makes all the difference!

This week I had the craziest experience. On Thursday around noon we were headed up to the temple because we had a lunch with on of the temple missionary couples, the Cases. The temple missionaries live in a little house right by the temple. We were supposed to have lunch with them on Tuesday, but they weren't home. Remember that now.. Anyways, the temple is right behind our church building! In fact to get to the temple you can go through the church. There is a back door and a little gate that leads to the temple. SO, we are going through the church to get to their apartment. We go up the back stairs to go through the door and we go out and find that the gate is locked, so we're gonna have to back through the church and around. Oops except one problem. The door closed behind us and it locked. So we are trapped in this little area between the door to the church and the gate to the temple haha. We were like great what can we do?? we're already kinda late for this lunch thing. So there's this stair case that leads off the side but there is a gate that is locked on it too.. but since I'm super limber and what not I decided that we needed to climb over it and get down the stairs which leads to the church parking lot. So we get over this gate which takes forever haha we almost ripped our skirts. And we finally get down these stairs.. and it leads to nothing. There is a 15 foot drop into the parking lot because there is this weird high ledge all around the church. I don't know if this story is making any sense but bear with me the good part is coming! So we walk around the whole church on this ledge and I get to the front of it, where the ledge is smaller, but still about 6 feet, and we jump off of it and finally we are no longer trapped haha. Such an adventure. So THEN, we look over, and there is a lady just standing there in front of the church doors, just staring. She didn't even notice that we just appeared out of no where. So we went over to her and asked her if we could help her! She said "I'm looking for a new church.. is this your church?" The doors are usually locked but we have the code to get in as missionaries, so we told her that and that she could tour the church! She was like "Wow! God guided me here!" Then we gave her a tour of the church, gave her a book of mormon and the restoration pamplet.. and we got her phone number.. MIRACLE. Haha we couldn't believe it. This is why lunch got canceled on tuesday right? We needed to be in front of the church at exactly that time on thursday right? I like to think so. We literally dropped from the heavens and appeared to this lady hahaha. It made my whole week.. We are trying to schedule and appointment with her this week.. I can't wait to tell this story at her baptism someday ;) I hope it made sense haha!

Yesterday was Jong Da Young's last week in our ward.. she moved back home, which is 3 hours away and in the Seoul South mission. I was so worried that she wouldn't come to church. She hadn't been for the past two weeks, and her phone is turned off now so we had now way to contact her. But I was determined to stay calm and not get stressed out.. Sundays are the most stressful days for me. It is the only day that both of our investigators have been able to meet lately, and a billion people are asking me a bunch of things in korean.. its just a hard day haha. But I woke up with the determination to have a good, happy day. So sacrament meeting comes around and Jong Da Young is there. Neither of our investigators came, or Kim Tae Hee..  But Jong Da Young is there so I could be happy. She shared her testimony in the fast and testimony meeting. She talked about how she wasn't doing things that were good in her life before her baptism.. It turns out that she had a lot more going on than we knew about. She told us this week that she used to be a heavy drinker and smoker. She was so addicted to these things that she got so ill and so in debt. Her life was in a really bad place. But she said that when she met us and learned about the word of wisdom, her life changed completely. She threw away all her alcohol and cigarettes and was determined to start fresh. She came to know that she was a daughter of God, and because of that she learned to love herself. It was the most perfect testimony. My heart was full. After church so many people came up to her, giving her their love and appreciation for sharing her testimony. It was so amazing.. my prayers were answered. I had been so worried about her, with her leaving and because she hasn't been very firm in her faith lately. I am not worried anymore. I know that as long as she is in this gospel, she will have family. She will have that love wherever she goes. God will take care of her. It was such a tender mercy. So although our investigators didn't come to church, and things fell through, I was so happy. :)

Well those are pretty much the highlights of my week. I am doing so much better. I am learning to take things one day at a time. I am learning to be grateful for the hard times, seeing them as an opportunity to grow so much. The days that are slow, the challenge of learning this crazy language, the heartbreaks, everything... all for my benefit. As I rely more fully on the Lord he always helps me to see that! I love being a missionary! Everything that is hard about being a missionary is so worth it! I TESTIFY OF THAT. :)

Love you all, thank you for the love and support like always! Until next week! 사랑해요

홈스 자매
Sister Holmes