Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 28

사랑하는 사람들.. My beloved people.. haha

Here's the big news that I know you've all been waiting for.. transfers... ANNNDDDD... I am staying in SINCHON!! With Sister Lee as my companion again! I am totally shocked. I thought for sure I would leave! There wasn't much change this transfer.. in fact everyone in my zone stayed the same. Crazy! I am happy to stay here! I didn't know that I'd be in my greenie area for so long, but it really is such a blessing! I love our ward, I love my companion, I love being a Sinchon chamae. I am content. :) Even though I'm not transferring to a new place it will be a great fresh start! Summer is basically here (not today, its raining like CRAZY).. it is getting so hot every day. And this is NOTHING. Its barely may. I don't know how I'll survive.. everyone says you basically just melt to death and eat your weight in popsicles every day. I'm okay with that. Pray for me to survive, and not to get too fat from the popsicles.

Well.. there isn't much to update on our investigators as of late.. We've been having a hard time getting in contact with all of our Chinese investigators.. They've all been a bit flakey lately dang it. Choi Un Kyo is doing super well. We taught her the restoration on Thursday. I had the opportunity to recite the first vision, and it was such a spiritual experience for me. :) If I don't know how to say anything else perfectly in Korean, at least I can recite the first vision haha. We extended the soft baptismal commitment to her, and she accepted!! Woohoo!! I love progressing investigators. (I love all of our investigators.. but the progressing ones may be highly favored. just kidding)  Update on Shin Song Hee... Ahhhhhhhhhhhh we're stuck with her. Totally stuck. Every lesson we plan for her is stressful. We don't know what direction to go. We thought we were so close to baptism with her, I was thought for sure she would've been baptized in April.. but it seems we're stuck. We're not moving backwards, but we're stuck. She still has such a closed mind about so many things. We've talked to her so much about the importance of baptism.. we've basically talked about everything under the sun with her. Yesterday we had a lesson with her after church. We talked about exercising faith and why it is important (we've had so many lessons like this before..). Lately she has been having a really hard time sleeping at night, so we wanted to give her an opportunity to exercise her faith and receive a priesthood blessing. We told her that if she had faith that God could help her sleep, He could give her help. I shared with her the experience I had my senior year of high school when I got super sick and depressed and I couldn't sleep. I told her about how receiving a priesthood blessing from my dad at that time helped me so much. She told us she would think about it and maybe get one next week. So we'll see what happens, its up to her now... Bah

On Friday we had a mission conference with Elder Whiting of the seventy. He is an area seventy here. It was probably one of the most spiritual days on my mission so far. I can't even express how much I learned and how strongly I felt the spirit. Ahh I loved it I wish I could just send you my notes. Everything that was said I felt was tailored to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear. The overall message for me was ATTITUDE. It is all about attitude. As a missionary, it is literally the only thing that you have control over. I can't control other people's agency, as much as I want to. I can only control how I am going to react. It just goes back to gratitude. I know I keep talking about gratitude haha, but I really need to focus on it. "Gratitude leads to desire, desire leads to obedience, obedience leads to increased faith, and increased faith leads to MIRACLES." That is the formula for sucess. Not just as a missionary, but in life. Having an attitude of gratitude is what makes all the difference. Its that simple. I LOVE it. Also saturday night we had a fireside with Sister Linda K. Burton!! She and Sister Oscarson came to Korea! She and her husband served as mission presidents in the Seoul West mission several years ago. She loves the Korean people so much so I feel such a connection to her. :) The focus of her talk was families, and how important it is to teach children when they're young about the importance of the gospel. I am so grateful to have grown up in a home where the gospel was taught to me from the time I was young. I love you mom and dad! (sniff sniff) Sorry for the cheese, I just had to say it. Anyways haha, goal for this transfer, FIND A FAMILY TO TEACH! I can't imagine what that would be like :) I love Asian children probably more than any other kind of children. Sorry kids.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Shout out to Haley, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON TUESDAY!!!!! I hope being 17 is everything you dreamed and more. I love you.



홈스 자매 

ps. I found out this week that Sister Lee is deathly afraid of stuffed animals. Yes, you heard me right, stuffed animals. So mom you know what to send me in my next package. 

Bowling last p-day! So fun!

this is the girl I get to spend 24/7 with. She eats tacos with scissors.
Yeah fun fact about Koreans, they eat food with scissors all the time haha

My two favorite sisters, Sister Jacobson and Sister Schillemat (at Sister Burton's fireside)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 27

해피 부활절!!! Happy Easter!!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter day, remembering the Savior and His atonement and resurrection. In Korean, Easter is called Boo-hwar-jor, which means resurrection day. Although my Easter this year wasn't the same as I'm used to, I had such a spiritual day thinking of my Savior and what He did for me personally. I am forever grateful. :) Also I made deviled eggs (is that what they're called?) so it felt like Easter. :)

This week was good! But oh man so long! I can't even remember everything that happened.. hmmm.. well we had some good lessons with investigators! Shin Song Hee came to church yesterday! And we had an awesome lesson with her on the restoration. We bore our testimonies about Joseph Smith and it was so spiritual. She has been praying every day and continues to read the book of mormon.. but she still won't commit to a baptismal date. We're close but not quite there.. Still trying to figure out what direction to go to help her recognize the importance of baptism. Kim Dong Hee (our recent convert) has been such a help to us with her. After our lesson we went to her house and had a delicious lunch with her. It was so great. She really feels so much love from the ward. Everyone knows her and loves her! It makes me so happy. I love our ward. They truly have the spirit of missionary work. Last Saturday we had a "missionary exhibition" activity! Some of the young single adults in our ward went out jundoing with us, and we had an open house thing set up at the church. (I didn't get to go jundo with them, I was stuck teaching english class) It was awesome. It makes me so happy to see so many people so enthusiastic about this work! The church here neeeeds more people like this.

Ahh man I love Sinchon.. I don't want to leave.. but transfer calls are this Saturday! I don't know what will happen.. but I think that I'll probably go and Sister Lee will stay here in Sinchon and train.. She's convinced that I'm gonna stay and that she'll go haha! I have no idea what's gonna happen. But whatever happens, everything will be GREAT! I just need to remember that.. the night of transfer calls are the most stressful nights... People get so stressed about transfers sometimes they even throw up haha! When I heard that I was like man that's ridiculous. But then I experienced my first transfer call and I felt a little nauseous and I could relate haha. WE'LL SEE.. stay tuned next week for the big news I guess.. AHHH

Off that topic.. This week's miracle is called the miracle of the seaweed soup. So, sometimes I eat really weird things here in Korea if I haven't already told you that.. and most of the time I can handle it. But seaweed soup is something I have absolutely LOATHED. I dread having to eat it. I always make my companion eat mine. So this last week we went to visit our relief society president, and before hand we went to lunch at her husband's work place, which is like a community center. so we went to this cafeteria for lunch, and what were they serving? Yup, seaweed soup. I was so disappointing because I was so starving and just wanted something I could eat. But oh well what could I do. So we got our food and sat down, and when I blessed my food, I prayed that Heavenly Father would help this food taste delicious so me. I took the first sip, and what do you know, it was so delicious. Seriously. Sister Lee was in shock! She was like who are you?? Where is my companion? (she has been very aware of my hate for this soup). I was in shock myself! I ate the whole bowl, with not a lick of that slimy seaweed left. In that moment it tasted so delicious to me. It was a miracle. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. I become more and more aware of this every single day.

This week should be a good one! We have a mission conference on Friday with Elder Whiting of the Seventy, and a Fireside on Saturday with Sister Burton!! Yay! And then transfer calls! Boo. Oh well. It'll all be great! 

Hope you have a week as happy as mine will be :) 사랑해요

홈스 자매
Sister Holmes
Seaweed soup experience

Mexican food with Sister White (we went on exchanges)

We had a little flower photo shoot at the temple yesterday. :)

Ka Jin Yong, one of our recent converts!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 26


Another week has past...2 more weeks left in this transfer! What happened?? This week I hit my 6 month mark.. I have no words. I can't believe it. Ah man time.. I will never understand you. Anyways, this week was.. great. Started out real slow with a few disappointments.. We had a few days where all of our appointments fell through, and one of our new investigators dropped us.. and we got yelled at by a few crazy people while jundoing, as usual.. but ended strong with GENERAL CONFERENCE. Words can't describe how much I loved general conference. It was so relaxing, refreshing and reviving. I needed it so much. 

Welp it was another dead week with Shin Song Hee.. We weren't able to meet with her at all.. she was too busy to even answer our calls or texts. She was planning on coming to conference but got sick.. Oh well. we just keep on trying! As for our other investies... we have a new lady named Choi Un Kyo. She is mainly english interest (what else is new..) but we'll see what happens! We had an awesome lesson with Po and Pyojin on Saturday night after conference. We were struggling with deciding what direction to go with these people who have no religious background or belief in God whatsoever.. so we decided to simply talk about God and His nature and role as our father. When we started out they were both pretty closed minded about accepting what we were saying. Po said that because our cultural differences, he has a different system in his mind, and he doesn't have the 'ability' to really believe in God. I understood where he was coming from, because it totally makes sense! I can't even imagine how crazy it all sounds to someone who has never heard it before. But in that moment, I decided that is when I needed to testify the most, that I knew that God lives and loves him personally. I felt the spirit sooo strongly. I can't even explain it. After that we talked about prayer how we can ask God through prayer if He is really there. Then we invited Po to pray right then and he accepted the invitation! His prayer went something like this "Dear Heavenly Father.. umm yes, its me. I would be pleasured if you would help me to know you and to understand this. Thank you very much." Pyojin was laughing the whole time. But I can't tell you how special of an experience it was! I was in awe at the faith of this man who has no religious background whatsoever, and he prayed for the first time in his life right then and there. We commited them both to pray at least one more time before we meet again this week, and they said that they would! We had a similar lesson with one of our other chinese investigators, Yunna, last night. She gave such a sweet simple prayer. Such a great experience. It was such a faith builder to me that no matter who you are or what your cultural or social circumstances are, the gospel is FOR YOU. 

Oh general conference... the greatest blessing in the world. I found answers I needed in almost every single talk that was given! I didn't even fall asleep!! Man it was wonderful. Some reoccurring themes I saw were repentance and missionary work. What does that tell us.. we need to all repent and be missionaries... Signs of the times!! Anyways, I could talk about it all day but I don't have time aaand I also forgot my conference notes dang it. so I'll just share my thoughts on my very favorite talk. President Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude. That one was made for me. I am normally a pretty happy person right? Well I have this terrible habit of being not so happy when things don't work out the way they were supposed to, or the way that I want them to.. and guess what, that happens almost every day in missionary work. His talk was a good reminder to me about how important it is for us to have grateful hearts and to be happy, despite our circumstances. If we express our gratitude to Heavenly Father always, we will be happier in our every day lives. We will feel God's love more abundantly for ourselves and for others, and we will look at things "through the eyes of faith." I love the way President Uchtdorf speaks. I feel like it is directly to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear to gain more power in my faith and drive to do missionary work. I really am so blessed. I have the opportunity to be a missionary right now. I don't want to waste one second of my time wishing for something else. I want to be grateful and happy despite the hard days, seeing things through eyes of faith :) 

I just realized I haven't really talked about how the Korean is coming for a while.. I guess I should let you all know that I'm fluent and understand everything now! The gift of tongues hit me! 
APRIL FOOLS. Since I totally spaced april fools this year.... I wanted to get one joke in.

Love you all! Happy Easter!! 

홈스 자매
Sister Holmes
So like I said we had a really bad day where all of our appointments canceled...but what I didn't tell you is that everything became better when I got this waffle on a stick.

Happy Birthday Buddah! Am I okay to say that? (these are hanging everywhere because next week is Buddah's birthday)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 25

Dear loved ones..

안녕하세요 from an amazing week in good ol' 한국! (Han-gook.. the Korean word for Korea)
This week a week of miracles.. We worked so hard.. We talked to so many people, gave tons of book of mormons and got lots of phone numbers.. and as a result, saw the fruits of our labors!! We got 4 new investigators this week!! WOOHOO! MIRACLES!

The first one is a lady named Kwan Hyo Shim. We met her a few weeks on the street and gave her a Book of Mormon. We called her and she wanted to meet up. The meeting was different than we expected.. she gave us back the Book of Mormon because she says having it in her house right now is too much of a burden because she doesn't even read the Bible.. weird excuse I know.. we couldn't reason with her to keep it, but she wants us to keep meeting with her and teaching her! Hopefully she takes it back as soon as she realizes it is TRUE dangit.. Anways haha she is super nice and she has the cutest little daughter named Kate that never smiles.. but she's so cute! The next one is a lady named Yoon Cum Sook. She is a lady we met a couple weeks ago when we were handing out english flyers one day! She has come to our english class a few times and she called us this week wanting to do the 30/30 program with us! So right now she's mostly English interest, but she has a lot of potential.. she says she wants to develop faith in her life. Well sista, we got you covered. :) The last 2 came yesterday.. In the middle of church we get a call from an unknown number, I answer and the person on the other side says "Hi! Is this mormon?" haha I was like why yes, yes it is! Yes we are mormon! It was a chinese girl names Pyojin who was interested in learning about our english program. I told her about english class and also about the 30/30 program. She said "Oh okay! can we meet today at 1:30?" Why yes, yes we can! After church we met her and her brother Poe, and brought them to the church to teach them. they are both in their late 20s and they are the nicest people ever! Their english is really good, they mostly just want conversation practice. I was a little worried about how introducing the gospel would be, but it was actually so awesome. Poe had to leave early so he didn't hear it. Pyojin started by telling us that she had no religious background at all but she wanted to know how our message could benefit her life. The lesson went really well.. So there is a lot of potential :) It was a fasting miracle. I am so excited to see what happens with all these new people :) YAY

Update on Shin Song Hee... Still not committed to a baptism date :( And she didn't come to church this week because she was out of Seoul, visiting her sister. We were disappointed.. but aren't losing hope. She has progressed so much and the fact that she is finally really considering baptism is a miracle in and of itself. I just want to help her see that as soon as she exercises her faith and commits to a date.. everything will fall into place. I know it!! Pray for her!

This week I read a talk given a while ago by a newly called mission president (whose name has currently escaped me) called 'The 4th Missionary' this week. It talks about the 4 different kinds of missionaries there are. The first missionary is disobedient, does what he/she wants and essentially gets sent home or even goes home on his own free will. The second  missionary is disobedient, but stays his whole mission, wasting his time and the Lord's time for 2 years of his life. So obviously there are very few of these kinds of missionaries. But then there is the 3rd missionary.. This missionary is obedient and hard working. This missionary feels the spirit and does much good. But this missionary withholds his heart. He does things because it is what is expected of him as a missionary, not because it is what he wants to do. He does everything that is asked and expected of him, but he wants to do what he wants to do, always hoping and wishing for a better time... next transfer, next area, next companion, when he's home from his mission.. and because of this, he isn't changed by his mission, like he could've been. And then theres the 4th missionary. Obedient and hardworking, just like the third. The difference is that he does what he does because he knows that it is the only intelligent thing to do. Why would I be here if I wasn't going to give my all to the Lord? Why would I waste my time, and the Lord's time? Sometimes I am the 3rd missionary in ways without even realizing it. Sometimes I find myself measuring sucess the wrong way.. the 4th missionary measures success from within! From the peace that comes into the heart every once in a while that says, you are exactly where you need to be right now, doing what the Lord wants you to be doing. It was such an eye-opener for me and such a good reminder of why I'm here :) 

Scripture of the week.. Luke 22:32 "When thou art converted, strengthen thy bretheren." I am converted to this gospel, and becoming more and more every day. I love being a missionary :)

Hope you all have a week happier than the life of the homeless cat with a broken leg that I see everywhere (I named him skippy).

Until Next week! 사랑해요!

홈스 자매
Sister Holmes

Spring time pics at the temple!

Just a Korean selfie for your enjoyment.

I love my compie

A delicious salad made up solely of lettuce topped with canned pineapple! Made by Sister Lee!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Week 24


Well I think I have seasonal depression. I didn't realize how much happier I am when the weather is good haha! SPRING IS HERE!!! Cherry blossom trees are blossoming everywhere, it is seriously so beautiful, so asian, love it. I feel so blessed to be here! But everyone is telling me to brace myself for what's coming... Summer. Literally death here. like 99% humidity.. I don't know if I'll survive so if I don't, just remember me in this happy moment loving the spring weather..

This week was the best.. On top of the weather being beautiful, there were some wonderful things.. The biggest being that Shin Song Hee is sky rocketing in her progression. This week we went to lunch with her and a member from the english branch named Heather. She is an american lady who is a professor at Ehwa (the same university where Shin Song Hee works), so we thought it would be a good idea for them to meet eachother! And man, it was the best idea ever! They hit it off so well, they have really similar mindsets and majors. They were just chatting it up the whole lunch! Best friends already. After lunch we taught her a lesson about the plan of salvation, and why we have to go through trials in this life.. She has really been struggling understanding how God knows everything that is going to happen, but we still have hard times and trials. She doesn't understand the role of agency. Heather helped us explain it to her in a way that finally clicked.. It was a really deep weird way that I was kinda worried about at first.. but I realized it is actually what she needed! She is a very smart, very logical thinking kind of woman. She wanted a logical and scientific explanation. So she got one! Now it just takes exercising faith. We gave her the talk "I will not fail the nor forsake thee"  by Pres. Monson (my favorite conference talk of all time). Yesterday after church we had another lesson with her, and we asked her how she liked it. She loved it so much, she shared it with her parents! She says she's never been happier.. and she is seriously considering baptism (she said this all on her own without us even bringing up baptism...) and now she is... pretty much.. practically.. almost committed to baptism.. on April 20th!!!!!!! ALMOST. She hasn't solidified the 20th for sure, but she says around that time! She says she still has some questions about Joseph Smith.... But this is seriously a miracle. She has never been so willing before.. All of our prayers are finally kicking in! :) YAAAAY

We got 2 more investigators this week.. CHINESE investigators.. So right now we currently have 3 chinese speaking investigators. I can't believe it! Teaching them is such a crazy experience. We explain everything 2 or 3 times, very slowly, in English and in Korean. Its pretty mentally draining.. but it really makes me realize how simply we need to be teaching to people, especially those without any kind of religious back ground. Our two new investigators names are Yuna and Li-Chin-Zu. Yuna is 27 and Li-Chin-Zu is 19. They are students here learning Korean. They are mostly english interest right now.. which kinda stinks.. but they want to learn about our church and are open to things! So we'll see what happens! Some people have to go to far away lands to receive the gospel! I never would've though I'd be teaching chinese people in Korea haha! Our lesson with Yoo-ou-ee this week was so great. We read about the restoration from the simplified bom stories with her, and she loved it. She was so interested, and has such a sincere desire.. It was an awesome lesson!

Sometimes I struggle with feeling like I'm not a good missionary.. So this morning I decided to read preach my gospel chapter 1: my purpose as a missionary. I was reading the section, 'the sacredness of your calling' and I was thinking back about when I got set apart as a missionary, and what a special experience it was. I remembered some of the things that President Davis said, and now seeing some of those things being fulfilled! I never could've imagine this experience. I know that I am where I'm supposed to be right now. Despite the hard days when I feel like giving up because I'm homesick, tired, and can't understand anything that's being said to me... there really is no where else I'd rather be :) I am truly so grateful!
(remember to read this when I am dead from heat stroke in the summer)

Love you all and wish you a week happier than a smiling chubby asian baby's face!

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매