Sunday, February 23, 2014

Joy and Heartbreak

Hello!! I just got my transfer call and I'm staying in 충장 again! This will be my 4th transfer here and I'm really excited about it. I love the people I'm serving and I still have work to do :) 

I've officially been on my mission for 6 months and I can hardly believe it. This week I really reflected on what I have learned so far as a missionary. I have learned so much about my Savior and am continuing to learn each and every day. A scripture that stood out to me this week is:

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

He gave His whole self so that we can be "rich." I am so rich in blessings. My heart is full. I am so grateful for Him and His sacrifices for me. He truly gave everything He had. 

This week was a crazy one! So much happened! It has been an emotional roller-coaster. 

I had the opportunity to bear testimony of the Savior and His gospel with my whole heart many this week. This week we met with 박양순 again and really focused on knowing for herself if our message is true. She loves the Book of Mormon and everything we teach. She said she would pray sincerely that night, so Sister King and I fasted for her to receive an answer. We met with her the next day with anticipation and brought a member with us. We asked her about how her prayer went and she said she doesn't want to change. She knows what we're saying is true, she is just afraid to change. I poured my whole heart out and bore my testimony to her with my whole heart. It wasn't enough though. My heart was broken. I don't think I have ever felt as sad as when I walked out of the little shop that we teach her in. I just know that she could be so happy with the gospel in her life. I'm still not going to give up on her.

I think the Lord let me have a taste of how He must feel when people choose to reject Him. He knows the happiness that can come if they accept Him and follow Him. He gave everything so that we could have His joy. When we reject Him, I can only imagine how it must feel. 

One of my favorite people :) 박웅비 I had a really sweet experience with a widowed grandma this week. We visited her one day and she was feeling really sick and discouraged. Her faith was really struggling. I got to testify of the Savior and His love for her. When we left she was smiling and happy. 
She came to church on Sunday--a thirty minute walk with a hurt leg (she won't let the members give her a ride). She came and sat right next to me and held my hand all meeting. It was very sweet. I'm so grateful for the little moments of joy God gives me!

We had an investigator come to church this week :)

One of our investigators is working toward her baptismal date :)

We are teaching two new little high school girls that are starting to pray for the first time :) So many blessings!

I just love these people in a way I've never loved anyone before. Sometimes things get hard and my heart gets broken, but I can't imagine my life without having met these wonderful people. I know that I am supposed to be here. I'm learning so much about my Savior and about love from these amazing Korean people!
english class :)
The Lord says,
"My strength is made perfect in weakness"
Paul then says
"when I am weak, then I am strong"

I'm learning that Christ takes us--a silly missionary that can hardly speak Korean, a grandma with struggling faith, an investigator with a sliver of faith...and makes us into something great. He takes whatever we can offer and makes it enough. Through Him we can be strong!

Love you all! 

Have an incredible week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

My heart is so full today!

 My heart is so full today! I don't even know where to start.

This week has been a roller-coaster! It started out pretty hard like last week--all of our appointments were canceling on us and people just seemed to keep rejecting us. I felt pretty discouraged.

One day during my studies in the morning I read a talk called "The Power of Patience" It said:

"We can grow in faith only if we are willing to wait patiently for God's purposes and patterns to unfold in our lives, on His timetable." 
I know that God has been teaching me. I tried to focus on what I could do to improve and have more success. I read Alma 22:18. King Lamoni learns of God and then says this:

"I will give away all of my sins to know thee"
ward valentines day party :)
I realized I need to give every single piece of me to the Lord. Sister King and I decided to fast along with praying. We tried to give our whole wills to God. And miracles followed! 

First of all, 박양순 (pahk-yahng-soon) met with us again this week! She cancelled all of our appointments last week, but I decided to write her a letter in my broken korean to express to her how much this gospel has blessed my life and how I know it can bless hers and bore my testimony. She met with us the next three days! I love her! 

We met with 이영님 (ee-young-neem). Before she had a conflict where she couldn't come to church at all because of work, but we fasted and prayed for her and now she can come every other week! We taught her about the Plan of Salvation (where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going). In her prayer at the end of the lesson she told God that she believes our words and thanked Him that He sent us to her. I was so happy. I can only imagine how happy God was.

A new lady came to English class this week and Sister King and I set up and appointment with her. She had never prayed before. We talked about God and how He is her Heavenly Father. At the end of the lesson, we taught her how to pray then asked her if she would. She said the simplest prayer, but I was overcome with joy. I think God let me feel a little bit of His love for her. I know that God is so happy when we pray to Him. He wants to hear from us and then to help us. 

이다슬's birthday! We have been trying to meet with an inactive family for months--we've heart-attacked their door (paper hearts on their door), left notes and our phone number...etc...This week they were home and let us in! They love missionaries and the church and said we can come over and visit, but not to get our hopes up because they won't ever come back. My hopes are as high as the sky! I know how much the gospel can bless them. Sister King and I are going to keep visiting and teaching. 

I'm so so grateful to be a missionary. I love the Lord with all of my heart. I'm learning so much about Him everyday. I know this gospel is true. I know that the Book of Mormon and Bible both are true and through them we can receive revelation everyday. I know that when we exercise faith, God gives us miracles. 

Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Naatjes :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Things can be hard... but we can still see miracles!

This week was kind of a tough one--almost all of our appointments fell through and people just didn't want to listen. But Heavenly Father is so good to me. Everytime we had a setback, we got to see little miracles.

Some funny things from the week:

We visited a grandma who lives out in the country and she was hilarious! She's in her 70s and hikes mountains and is very active. As I was asking her about it, she did a couple high-kicks for me..haha. It was awesome!

countryside We were stopped by a lady on the street this week. She first asked if we were going to Heaven, decided we should go together, then very excitedly sang a whole hymn for us on the busy street we were on.

This week 박양순 (bahk-yahng-soon) cancelled all of our appointments. We think she's losing interest. Sister King and I both cried. I just know the joy that she could have through this gospel! 노상미 (no-song-mee) couldn't meet either...things just weren't working out! We randomly ran into Ana (our former investigator from Nebraska) downtown and she doesn't want to meet again.

Despite the disappointments, happy things happened this week!

On Saturday night, particularly, Sister King and I were feeling discouraged. Everything fell through. We decided to just stop and pray. We asked God where to go and where He needed us. As soon as we closed our prayer, we got a phone call from a church member who wanted us to come to her house to meet her friend. When we completely submitted our wills to Heavenly Father, He gave us a miracle. Her friend wansn't actually able to come unfortunately, but we got to have a great visit with the family. We taught the first lesson and talked about how Christ's life and how people persecuted him during a part of it. After the lesson, the little son raised his hand and said he had a question. He said, "Why didn't the bad people follow Jesus?" It was really dear. I have thought about that kind of a lot since. Why don't people follow Jesus? He is the source of joy and light. He is what brings me happiness. I want to bring other people the joy that comes through following Jesus.
relief society activity :)We got to give away Book of Mormons to taxi men and lots of workers at little shops--you never know who is ready to hear the gospel :)

One night we met with a recent convert and she was really down. Her job interview had fallen through and she hadn't felt much comfort. After we had a lesson, she was in bright spirit. She said the closing prayer and thanked God that we could meet with her to make her happy again. It was such a blessing to be able to help her. I'm glad God let me help her.

A new girl came in to church late this week and I got to sit by her during sacrament meeting. I felt so happy. I was able to explain the sacrament to her. It felt really good. The other sister missionaries in our ward are going to teach her this week! It was a miracle!

I learned this week the importance of noticing the little miracles everyday. Things can be hard. But as we just look for happiness in the little things and rely on the Lord, we can still see miracles! I know the gospel is true. I feel it everyday. The Lord strengthens me everyday. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I love being a missionary and focusing on Jesus Christ all day everyday. This is His work!
Have an amazing week!
Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

설날! ...and food poisoning haha

This week was a special week in Korea--설날 (or the Chinese New Year).

In Korea, Chinese New Year is bigger than Christmas. We had our preparation day on Friday and meetings on the days surrounding it. On Saturday night our investigator, 이지영 (ee-jee-young), invited us over for dinner and fed us TONS of food! Sister King had a little stomach ache, so I took the grunt of it and ate like crazy haha...unfortunately it hit me that night--I got food poisoning. I was throwing up all night on Saturday--yuck! But God helped me get better quickly thankfully and I went to church the next day. 

이지영 came to church!! I was so excited! It was testimony meeting (where anybody who wants to can get up and share their testimony) and I really felt like I should share mine, so I did. I was SO nervous because my korean is still really rough, but I did it! I hope she felt how much I love this gospel and how happy it makes me!

On Sunday night we had a dinner appointment with the Bishop and a couple other families. When they found out I was sick they were so amazing! Bishop's wife made me a special rice soup (Korean equivalent of chicken-noodle). Then another couple showed up with special juice for me. Then another lady insisted on giving me a massage--haha. I learned some Chinese medicine. She massaged the top of my hand between my thumb and index finger. Apparently if you're really sore right there it means your stomach is sick, and by massaging it, it makes your stomach feel better. The members were so kind to me! I'm feeling a ton better today--maybe the massage worked! :)

funny hotel near my apartment. (notice the greek and new york touches haha) This week a big miracle happened. We have been having a hard time with 박양순 lately. She seemed to be losing interest and afraid to change churches because she has always been Catholic. She loves the Book of Mormon though and believes it's God's word. In my journal Wednesday morning I wrote, "It's been hard with her. We need a really special lesson." Then when we were about to head to her lesson, President and Sister Shin (our mission pres and his wife) showed up at our church building! Sister Shin came and taught with us! After two hours of teaching, 박양순 was glowing! She just wanted to learn more. It was a total miracle! 

With one of our investigators we have really been trying to help her strengthen her faith in Christ. I have really come to realize how much (along with the Bible) the Book of Mormon and the words of our prophets today have helped my testimony. I am so grateful for the gospel. I am so blessed to have it and so blessed to get to share it with others every single day! 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Naatjes