Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 58

Dearest friends and fam!

I feel like I always start out my emails the exact same way, by saying something like, "wow its already monday again?" or "oh my goodness times is so fast!" And basically that is just the thought that comes to my mind every single week! Time is flying. My first transfer with Sister Stancliffe is already over! I can't believe how fast it was. I was talking about how fast it was with Sister Stancliffe and she said "well I guess that means we're working hard and having fun right?" She couldn't have said it better. I have learned a lot this past transfer training, and despite all the hard times, we really did have a lot of fun and work really hard. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Taebaek with Sister Stancliffe for another transfer! I've been asked to be the new sister training leader out here... So I'm pretty humbled and excited for the opportunity to work with other missionaries more! I'll be conducting exchanges with other sisters, giving trainings at zone meetings and what not, and going into Seoul for missionary leadership council meetings. I'm stoked! When I got the transfer call, afterwards Sister Stancliffe said to me "Well I guess you gotta start being inspirational now or something" Well shoot. 

We had a crazy week last week, being in Seoul for 12 week follow-up was great. Its a meeting that all the new missionaries and trainers attend half way through their training. It was such a wonderful meeting. We watched a video that was made by return missionaries called "my mission was a success because.." It was basically just a slide show of pictures with RMs holding up signs that said why their mission was a success, I loved it. Some of them were as simple as "I smiled all the time". It was a reminder to me of the small miracles in my everyday life as a missionary that are making the biggest difference. I can't explain my love for the Savior and his gospel. That love is something that has grown naturally every day as I study about Him and testify of Him to others. Something that simple has made all the difference in becoming the missionary and the person that the Lord wants me to become. 

We had a cool miracle yesterday afternoon! We were knocking doors and a man opened the door and immediately said "no interest". We kept a smile on and went on to explain a little bit more about how our message strengthens families, and how we also teach free english. Then in very good english he said "Oh, that's interesting. Maybe I will call you about that sometime!" We were happy that his attitude changed! Anyways, about 15 minutes later we get a call from a random number and we answered it, it was that man we had just met! He wanted us to come back to his house to meet his wife and kids, and introduce ourselves a little bit more. So we went back and were able to have a great discussion with him. His family wasn't participating in our conversation but they were there. We talked a little more about our purpose as missionaries, and focused on the happiness that can come to families because of it. He said normally he wouldn't have invited 선교사 in, but he was impressed by our ability to speak korean, and wanted to know why we were so happy! It was awesome. He and his family don't have a religion, but he seemed very open to learning about our message. We are going to visit them again this week and hopefully be able to start teaching this family regularly!

Also I ate a fish eyeball last night at my branch presidents house. His wife made us fish head soup (a delicacy here in Korea). I couldn't bring myself to eat the head but I compromised and ate they eyeball. It kinda just tasted like a bean. So there you have it.

Sorry the email was kinda short this week! I love this work! I am so thankful for this time I have serving as a missionary here in Korea. Happy thanksgiving everyone!! Eat lots for me. I'll be eating fish eyeballs or something.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 57

Dearest fam, friends and loved ones..

I have an announcement to make.. I have overcome a fear that I have had my whole mission here in Korea... I experienced a mokyoktang for the first time today. Yes, that does infact mean public bathhouse. And my life is changed! Literally it was awesome. I feel like I can conquer the world now haha!! I LOVE KOREA!!!!

Anyways, hat a great week it as been! We saw a lot of awesome miracles and worked really hard!  We went on exchanges with the Donghae Sisters, and this time I was with Sister Ju Hyeyon in Taebaek. We had so much fun together.. we came to the conclusion that there was only one way to describe our exchange, and that is "extreme adventure" haha. It was the coldest day that day (thursday). Literally I have never been so cold in my life! We did a lot of jundo because all of our appointments canceled.. and it was deathly cold! So that was quite an adventure. It was so much fun. Working with a korean was so great.. it reminded me of my happy  times with Sister Lee Hyewon (I miss her so much.. she goes home this transfer, I can't believe it!). It is quite a different experience serving with another foreigner than it is serving with a korean. At times I felt like a greenie again, not going to lie, but it has helped me see how far I've come in the korean language and missionary work, but also how much I still need to improve and learn. It was so much fun.I love our zone out here so much! Today we are in Donghae spending p-day with Sister Jackson for the last  time. She has been such a great stl and I am so grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve with her!

Miracles this week: One big one. Sister Ju and I decided to go visit and old investigator on wed. night, and we ended up having such a wonderful lesson with her. She's been really hard to contact and meet but she wants us to start doing family english with her son! We did yesterday for the first time and it was great. We had an awesome lesson and I think expectations were established really well. I really feel like this family has a lot of potential. They say that they are technically Buddhist, but I don't think they are very strong in their beliefs, and they are very open to learning. 

Teaching english to her son Hyon-u was the funnest thing ever. He is really smart and knows a lot, but he doesn't really understand what we're saying a lot of the time. We were teaching him the expression "social butterfly" and this is how he responded. "Well, I'm not a butterfly.. or a bee.. I'm a freedom alien." .... I have no idea, but it gave us the best laugh ever!

We also had a lot of really cool experiences talking to people on the street this week. Sister Stancliffe is starting to get more bold. Just some cool experiences that we wouldn't have had if we didn't follow the spirit. I'm learning a lot about listening to the voice of the spirit as I've been applying my zone commitments. It is really cool to see the spirit work through you. I truly can testify that if you have the spirit, you don't need to worry about anything else! Isn't that so great or what?

I love the book of mormon more and more the more I read it. This week we were meeting with Rose, one of our investigators that we've been having a bit of a hard time understanding, and we were talking about the book of mormon with her. I was talking to her about how much I love it. I told her it was my favorite thing in the world.. and she said "Really? Like more than icecream??".. and I felt confident as I said "Yes. I love the book of mormon more than icecream!" It was such a great feeling. I love icecream a whole lot. But I love the book of mormon 20 times more. The change I hoped my mission would bring has happened! I love the book of mormon more than icecream.. miracle. (that and I went to a bathhouse ahhhh)

This week I read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from conference that he gave at the womens conference, and this quote brought me loads of happiness. So I want to share it:

"Yes, God loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of you r struggles... He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And He still loves you. And God knows of your successes; though they may seems small to you, He acknowledges them and cherishes each on of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens- even when you are struggling with your own. He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly- He knows you as you really are. And He loves you- today and always!" 

This quote really helped to pick me up from the lows I felt last week. It was a reminder to me of how involved Heavenly Father is in this work. He is so aware of me, my investigators, my efforts, and He is proud of me. As long as I'm doing my best and trusting in Him, I have nothing to fear. "All things have been done in the widsom of Him who knoweth all things." 2 Ne. 2:24. When we feel we lack understanding about why things are (or aren't) happening, remember this. God may know a thing or two that we don't. We can trust in Him. He loves us today and always.

I hope you all have a wonderful week of conquering trials, struggles and fears, just like I conquered my bathhouse fear. (sorry, but it is such a big deal you have no idea!)

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매
Happy pepero day! It's a delicious snack here in Korea. 11/11 is pepero day. We ate a lot.

Exchanges with Sister Ju!!

Outside the bathhouse...before

and after. #newwomen

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 56

Dearest loved ones...

Wow. Winter is basically here in Taebaek!! No snow yet.. but we've got the winter coats out for the most part! I'M GONNA FREEZE TO DEATH. At least I'll die in the service of the Lord right? Just kidding. Kind of!

This past week a doozy. Recently we've lost a lot of our investigators. And this past week we weren't able to meet with the few that we do have. It was kind of a rough week. But it was a good week. I'm learning so much. Whenever I have these kind of weeks, even though they are hard in the moment, I can always look back and feel grateful that I had the opportunity to go through it, and become stronger because of it. I had a day last week where I was feeling pretty defeated. I just felt like everything we have worked so hard for the past 3 transfers I've been in Taebaek had come crashing down, that we were having to restart from the bottom. Sister Stancliffe could definitely tell I was having a hard day.. During our comp prayer after planning I kind of broke down into tears. Later that night when I went to bed I heard her sniffling and I asked her why she was crying... She said she didn't know why! I knew that I was the reason why she was crying haha. It was my fault. I was sad.. so naturally she was sad. I realized I need to be a better example to her.. I need to have hope and enthusiasm despite defeats, so she will do the same! Training is so fun, but also really hard. But I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. Its so much fun and I learn so much everyday about myself, my companion and how the Lord is helping us here in Taebaek. My prayers have become so much more meaningful lately as I pray for the spirit to guide us to those prepared people, and I have seen miracles come because of it. This week we started doing a miracle jar. At the end of each day we write down a miracle we saw that day and put it in our miracle jar. It has helped me recognize how much the spirit is guiding us, despite the success I may feel is lacking sometimes. 

Zone training was this week, and man it was so amazing. The focus goes right along with what I've been personally trying to focus on lately, the role of the spirit in conversion. Something that has made this week so great has been the commitments they gave us. They committed us to write down one way the spirit prompted us that day (and what we did), which kind of goes along with the miracle jar we started. Also they asked us to have 'family' scripture reading and prayer each night starting at 10:20. It has been so amazing to end each day on that same spiritual note that we start it with studies. I have loved it so much. 

We love service!!!! This week we had the opportunity to go do some farm work for an old woman who needed to clear her soy bean fields. It feels so good to be able to serve people like that! Even when they don't accept our message, if they see that our sincere desire is to just help them in anyway we can, I think that they will be more open to accepting the gospel! Afterwards I felt like an old woman too though.. shoot my back! I've turned into a grandma here! Missionary work has put some years on me haha! 

Miracle this week! We went to visit one of our less actives. She actually wasn't home but on our way to her house we met one of her friends who invited us to come to her hair shop and eat some fruit after we visited our less active. Well she wasn't home, so we just dropped cookies off at her door, and then we visited her friend! We ended up having a lesson with her! It was super awesome! She says she kind of isn't sure about wanting to meet us again, but we told her that we'd visit her and bring her cookies, and she said "well if you bring me cookies then for sure I'll meet with you!" haha.. We'll see what happens there! Another small miracle.. I was making some calls last night, going through our call records and I saw the name of a referal the elders had given us several months ago that had never answered our calls, so I guess we just kind of forgot about her. I felt like I needed to try to call her one more time. She answered the phone, was so nice and happy, has interest AND time. 2 things that don't usually go hand in hand here with these koreans! We set an appointment to meet this wednesday! I am so excited. Such a tender mercy!

I can't think of much else to say.. so I guess that's about it for my week. I love this gospel, I love the Lord.
And I love you all!

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Me and Sister Stancliffe after church! I'm playing the piano for our branch's primary program in about a month so that's me practicing the piano in the background there :) haha

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 55

Dearest everyone!

It was a great week! I love training Sister Stancliffe. We are having so much fun learning and growing together, despite how hard it is sometimes. She has such a great attitude about everything, which I am so grateful for. She's been an example to me on days when it feels to hard to move on. She finished her first pass off lesson this week!! She's progressing so awesomely. Being a trainer is great.. you get to accept the credit for how awesome your trainee is.. even when you didn't do anything at all. Sweet :)
We went on exchanges with the DongHae sisters this past week! Sister Jackson came to Taebaek and worked with me this time! It was so wonderful. She always is so good at making, setting and accomplishing exchange goals. Something I asked her to help me with before the exchange was how to know how to better follow the spirit, how to know that I'm working effectively and efficiently... especially since I became a trainer, I am worried about this all the time. She helped me see that as long as I'm praying to follow the spirit, trying my best to listen, and going about doing good things, I don't need to worry. During our exchange, we prayed a lot. Everytime we had some jundo time, we stopped and prayed first to ask the Lord to guide us where we needed to go. We didn't see any 'crazy awesome' miracles.. but a huge miracle happened inside of me! Every person we passed I recognized more clearly as a child of God. I prayed with all of my heart while talking to every person that they would accept our message and be a prepared to receive the gospel. Even though I didn't see those results, the work became so real to me. I realized that sometimes I focus too much on the stats. I need to focus more on the person.. I need to focus on finding that prepared person, and the only ways I'm going to be able to do that is if I assume that everyone will be. Sometimes I find myself assuming that we'll be rejected before it even happens! The exchange helped me remember that it doesn't matter.. because we're just looking for the people who will accept it. I need to exercise my faith by assuming that everyone will, instead of everyone won't!

Well like I said last week.. we're still on the look out for new investigators. We dropped Leann and 김귀영 this week. It was hard, but it was what needed to be done. We'd been teaching them for a really long time and neither of them have had that desire to change that they need to.. so we're putting them back in God's hands and praying that someday they will be ready to accept the gospel because of the experience they had with us, with the spirit when we met them. Juliet is progressing! She reads the book of mormon and really likes it. She doesn't want to come to our church yet (or her own for that matter) but she has been reading the scriptures and praying with her children! It has been so cool to see her coming closer to her Savior. She tells us often that since she started meeting with us she's had a greater desire to pray, to turn to God. Next week is our last week of family english with her, we're praying that she will have the desire to keep meeting to strengthen that relationship with God and Jesus Christ!

I told you about Rose, our investigator that comes to english class, she lived in America for a while so she's basically fluent. Anyways, we gave her a baptismal date a few weeks ago, but she's not progressing towards it at all. She doesn't want to meet us often and she doesn't want to really understand or answer any of our questions.. so that's been a little hard. We feel very strongly that she really just like the missionaries and needs to be needed. Which is wonderful because we sure need her here in our church!! But she doesn't have the desire to really accept and apply what we're teaching her for herself. She's very hard to understand.. I'm kind of really at a loss with her! Hopefully she'll get over it and as we meet her we'll be able to understand her more and teach more to her needs!

Halloween! My second one as a missionary.. how crazy is that?? It was a good day! We got baskin robbins as a district to celebrate and you know that I wore black and orange. That's about as festive as it got.. also it was weekly planning day so we made sure to eat lots of candy as we planned haha. That's about it! Hope you all had a fantastic halloween and ate lots of american candy for me.

This morning I came across a scripture that I love so much in 1 Nephi 10. Verses 18-19. "For He is the same yesterday, today and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.. for he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well as in these times as in times of old... wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." This scripture brought me extra happiness and comfort today, I'm not sure why. We can trust our loving father in Heaven because He is unchangeable. He has power unto the fulfilling of all His words. He will never withhold blessing from us when we do our part. He will never leave us comfortless. Because he is truly our father and He loves us. I love knowing this. Simple but the truth. I love this gospel.


Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Halloween :)


Our church!