Monday, October 28, 2013

First Week in KOREA!

Wahhhh!! I'm in Korea! I can still hardly believe it. It is soooo different, but I love it. I'm serving in Gwang-ju in the choong-jang ward.

To answer your questions:

My companion's name is Sister King. She is from L.A. and has been in Korea for 7 months. She is really nice and good at teaching. I'll send a pic of her in a bit.

Korea does smell like kimchi in some places, but it's not bad. I actually don't mind kimchi.

We are opening a new area along with a couple other sisters, so we just moved into a new apartment. We sleep on yohs (floor mats like the ones at Shelley and Keith's). We only had two between the 4 of us this week, so we were a little bit squished, but it wasn't bad. We're getting new ones tomorrow. We have a little kitchen (and finally went grocery shopping today, so we will actually eat this week haha).

We haven't gone to a bath house (yet!) My companion wants to go sometime--yikes! It will be quite an experience!

I have eaten some weird stuff...I ate crab meat right off the crab, lots of kimchi, and octupus ball things...don't know what they're called. I'm definitely geting less picky--I'll eat any food I can get haha. We haven't gotten fed by members, but I hear sometimes you get fed strange food.

I have seen a couple blondes, but they were foreigners. It's so strange to be a foreigner. I've never been a minority before. ha.

Church was good! ...I didn't understand anything...but the primary program was this week--Korean kids are the cutest ever! The members are really nice. I talked to a bunch of them (meaning I introduced myself, then nodded, smiled and pretended to understand what they were saying back to me). Elder Strohl is serving in the same ward as I am. There are 4 elders and 4 sisters serving in the choung jang ward (don't know how to spell). There was already a baptism this week--woo! I'm giving a talk next week--scary!!

Send letters to the mission home and they forward the letters to me. I have heard it takes about a week for letters to get here.

We do a lot of walking and use public transportation. I love talking to people on the bus and the subway. They mostly just get entertained by the the fact that a blonde, American girl is trying to speak Korean, but it's fun! I can only really talk about gospel topics, so I just jump right into showing them the Book of Mormon and talk about Jesus. It's great. Usually people are really nice, but sometimes they just turn away and refuse to talk to me. It's pretty funny.

I love the Korean people! There are so many differences and I am still getting used to everything.Things are very colorful and people are very busy. The grandmas and students are my favorites. I sometimes get stopped by grandmas who tell my I'm "yepp-a-yoh" (pretty). One lady stroked my face...a little strange, but hilarious. The boy students speak broken english to me and the girls giggle when I talk to them. It's fun.

I frequently get frustrated because of the language barrier, but I'm trying to be patient. This is hard! But each and every time I feel lonely or discouraged, the Lord helps me. I know that he is always with me. He loves me. I'm His daughter. He also loves His children in Korea, so I need to open my mouth and speak the limited Korean I know. I want these wonderful people to know that they have a Savior and Heavenly Father who love them so much! I wish they knew that the silly blonde, American girl has a message that will change their lives forever and bring so much joy.

I love you all! This week read the Book of Mormon every day and think of which friends you could refer to the missionaries! Referrals help sooo much! The gospel is true!

Sister Naatjes

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Almost to Korea! (Week 8)

This week was great! I can't believe I am leaving to Korea on MONDAY! whaaat?? We got our flight plans last Friday. I leave the MTC at 3:30 AM on Monday morning, have a lay-over in Detroit, then fly straight to Seoul. I won't get there until 6:30 Tuesday evening. Crazy!

On Friday night we skyped with a lady living in Daejeon! She spoke simply for us so that we could understand most of what she said. It actually went really well!

For sacrament meeting this week, our two speakers were Sister Sung and Elder Kim. Sister Sung is from Cambodia and is learning Korean through English and she knows very little English. She gave her talk in Korean and it was awesome! Elder Kim is a Korean Elder who gave His talk in English and it was so cool. I am surrounded by so many incredible people. I am the luckiest girl ever.  

We had some amazing devotionals this week! On Tuesday night Dallin H. Oaks came--wooo! He talked about three different challenges of missionary work: the challenge to change, the challenge to achieve, and the challenge to become. When we truly become, we have a change of heart, we love the Lord and the people we are teaching with all of our hearts. 

It's hard to believe that in just a few days I'll be in the streets of Korea preaching...IN KOREAN. I am so excited and so nervous. This week I have been scared out of my mind to go to Korea. This is crazy! I'm going to a completely foreign place to talk to people I have never met and will hardly understand. BUT I know why I'm doing this. I'm going to Korea because I love my God. I love my Savior. I know God lives and I will go tell it to the world, wherever the Lord needs me. He loves His children, He speaks to us today, there is a prophet on the earth today, Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is true.
My district with my teacher, Brother Decker

I know that I cannot do this alone. But through Him, I can do all things. I am His servant. I have His strength. He is helping me every day. The Lord knows I can speak Korean--he called me to Korea! 

New missionaries going to Korea came this week and there weren't enough Korean teachers, so we lost ours this week. It's been pretty crazy.

Read the Book of Mormon! It has blessed me so much. God speaks through the scriptures. This week it has given me comfort, strength, and guidance. I feel peace when I read it. I promise if you read it, you can feel the same peace I do. I want everyone to be able to have the blessings I have from reading the Book of Mormon. If you've never read it, try it! I promise your life will be better and you will come closer to God. :)

Thanks for all the letters! I am so grateful for the love and support! Kris--thanks for the cookies! :) 


Sister Naatjes

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hello!! (Week 7)

Yesterday we got our real Korean name tags and today we get our travel plans--crazy! I will be in Korea in a week and a half. I am extremely nervous, but really excited! Naatjes doesn't quite work in Korean, so on my name tag it says, "nah-chae-suh chah-mae" (except in Korean characters) :) 

Some funny stories from the week:
There are a lot of words in Korean that sound similar and I get mixed up a lot...I said some interesting things. The words for candy and Satan are very similar. Candy=sah-tahng. Satan=Sah-tahn. I almost told my companion not to eat Satan. Ha! 
In a lesson with chwae-song-geen we talked about prophets and apostles. On the wall there was and old picture of the prophets and apostles when President Hinckley was still alive. I tried to tell chwae-song-geen that president Hinckley died, but I instead told him that I killed President Hinckley--Yikes! He said, "Naatjes Chah-mae-nim??" and kind of started freaking out haha.

General Conference was AMAZING. I learned from each and every talk. I received answers and guidance from Heavenly Father. I know that we have a prophet on the earth today and I know that God still speaks to His children. He speaks to His prophet, Thomas S. Monson. He speaks to us personally. How amazing! 

A couple things that stood out to me:

Wherever we are and in whatever we are doing, lift others. Make others happy. In every moment, even in the hard ones we can strengthen others around us.

So many great talks!!

On Wednesday, my companions and I got selected to demonstrate "How to begin teaching" in front of a big group of brand new missionaries. We taught two investigators while the new missionaries all watched. I was super nervous, but it ended up being a really cool experience. The investigators are people who use their real stories and volunteer to come have missionaries teach them each Wednesday. We taught a man named George who is in amputee. He was very rough and stern, so I was super nervous, but I learned so much through listening to him. I tried to bear a short testimony with him and he quickly cut me off and said, "Aren't you here to help me? Aren't you going to ask me.....?" I am being humbled each day as I learn more and more that it is not me doing the real teaching--it is Heavenly Father teaching His children through the spirit. If I want to truly help the people I teach I need to listen and let the spirit speak through me.
We got our Korean name tags!!! Woooo!

I love the gospel. I know that God loves me. I know that he is strengthening me. It is a miracle that I am able to teach in Korean. In lessons, I convey what I need to say to the people I teach--in Korean! Without God, I could not do this. I know where I came from. I know my purpose. I know where I'm going. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to be happy. We have a Savior with His arms outstretched waiting for us to turn to him. I'm going to go share this with the world! I'm so lucky!

I am growing to love the Book of Mormon more and more. Through it I receive answers, peace, and guidance. Read the Book of Mormon everyday and your life will be so blessed. If you've never read it, start! It will bring you closer to Christ! 

Love you all,

Sister Naatjes

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hey!! (Week 6)

This week was a great one! It flew by so quickly. I can't believe I'm already writing another email home. I'm going to be in Korea in 2 1/2 weeks! Whaaaatt? Exciting, but really scary!

On Saturday I got to sing at the General Relief Society Broadcast--it was incredible. I'm so lucky to have gotten to have that once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was so close to the prophet!

girls from my zone singing at the broadcastWe took eight buses up to Salt Lake on Saturday morning, practiced in the conference center, the General Relief Society Presidency spoke to us, we ate a meal, then we got to perform and watch the broadcast. It was so awesome! I got to sing my testimony to the world! [we saw her on TV]

Before we went up to Salt Lake we had hair and makeup checks. It was really funny. Everyone came out with TONS of blush on. I looked a little bit ridiculous, but it was funny. A lady came up to me before the makeup check and said, "wow, you're pale. They're going to put a lot on you!" Haha. It was funny.

On the way home each girl on our bus had the opportunity to bear her testimony. It was incredible. I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior. I love the gospel. I know that God loves all of His children. I know that Christ atoned for each of our sins. I know that through the Atonement, Christ knows what each and every one of us are experiencing. He understands us personally and perfectly. I feel humbled and completely unqualified to be His missionary, but I want to share my simple testimony with everyone I know. God is real. The Book of Mormon is true--it brings us closer to God each time we read it. I know that God speaks to us today. We have a prophet. We can receive personal revelation. I know that through Him, I can do all things. (Even learn Korean!)

conference center!!General RS broadcast :) Sister Lyon, Sister Scott, and I.

During testimony meeting on Sunday, I stood up in front of my whole ward and said my testimony in Korean. I said very simple things, but I did it! Korean is SO hard, but it's coming. There are so many different grammar forms and different ways to structure sentences. For example, for the sentence, "I know that when we pray, God hears us," in Korean it would be arranged as, "I we pray when, God us hears I know." (plus random subject and object markers and other things). It's hard, but Heavenly Father is helping me! I find words to say during our lessons!

my district at the temple
I tried to ask one of the native Korean sisters if she would play piano in sacrament meeting. She ended up saying "speak English sister." Dang. Hopefully when I get to Korea I'll be good enough at speaking that they won't ask me to speak English haha. 

This week both of our investigators (who our teachers role-play) committed to be baptized! Woooo! Our teachers role play actual investigators they taught on their missions in Korea, so it's pretty cool! 

companions and I :)We got to host for the new missionaries this week and it was so much fun! I ran into Sister (Danielle) Miller! It's always fun to see Minnesota people here :)

That's fun that Landon was in MN! 
Landon and MaLese--you should totally move to MN! It's the best state ever! :)

Megan--loved your letter. Hilarious!
Kendall--Ouch! Sorry about your ankle! Hope it heals quickly! [warning: link is a picture of the injured ankle]
Bells--Way to go! I hear your doing awesome in soccer and scoring lots of goals!
General RS broadcast :) Sister Lyon and I :)Doodle-doo--Heard you gave a great talk! Awesome job! 

Thanks for the Dear Elders and letters this week! I have the best family and friends ever!

Love you all,

Sister Naatjes