Sunday, March 30, 2014

We found one of my favorite people in the whole world

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! 

I don't even know where to start. This week was probably the craziest, most challenging week of my mission so far, but maybe my favorite.

Something funny:
We started talking to a man on the street on the way to the church one day (of course, in Korean) about the church and what we're doing in Korea as missionaries...etc...and he suddenly, randomly stopped in the middle of our conversation, looked at me and said excitedly, 
"I am a boy."  ...paused until I confirmed that he was indeed a boy haha... then "you are a girl." 
"come" "sit down"
Then after exhausting his english vocabulary, returned to our conversation in Korean. It was hilarious. 

Oh! And this week was my turn to teach English class, so we had to be on time, but of course, we were running late! So when we got off the bus we were running...the streets in Korea aren't the flattest ever, so while we were sprinting down the busy sidewalk, I hit a bump in the sidewalk and completely ate it. I totally wiped-out. haha. My pamphlets flew everywhere and everyone was staring at me. It was hilarious. I only bled a little bit, but people were very concerned haha. I now have the bruises on my knees to prove it. I wish I got it on video.

This week Sister An and I found a grandma we had never heard of before in our records, so we tried visiting. We found one of my favorite people in the whole world. 봉임순 (bong-eem-soon) is 92-years old and still living on her own. We met her on the street and she took us to her house. She lives in a tiny, two-room house with taped-up walls and no bathroom. Her whole house is probably half the size of a bedroom in America. To get to her house, she has to climb up stairs and a hill. To enter she has to climb a step that is as tall as her waist. To climb up the hill and the stairs, she scoots on her bottom and has to take many breaks. Watching her made me want to cry. All four of her children have passed away, so she gets government care, but she her house is dirty and she hasn't been showered since last year. She is living in really hard circumstances, but she's one of the happiest people I have ever met. When we came over she showed us her 운동 (exercises). She balances on her bottom and waves her arms and legs around in the air. Everything she does is with a huge smile. We taught her about Jesus and she remembers what she learned at church years ago still. She exercises so that she will be able to come back to church when there is an elevator. When we sang "I am a child of God" to her, she clapped her hands for joy and started dancing. Before we left I gave her a big hug and she told me "I love you!" We are going to work on cleaning her house and taking care of her hygiene needs. I'm learning so much from her. She has the gospel, so she is happy even though her life is hard.

There are many grandmas in our ward, so we visit them a lot. Most of them still have to work to earn money, so their bodies are always sore, so we visit and give them massages. I love these grandmas and I'm so grateful to be able to serve them. 

I am doing things everyday---cleaning grandma's ears, massaging sore legs, taking a lady to a bath house to teach her how to take a shower and wash her hair--that I never thought I would do in my life. But I am full of joy. I'm really learning that the way to really find joy is losing myself and just loving other people. I love these people I am teaching and serving. 

my investigator!I think I'm feeling a little bit of Christ's joy--it definitely didn't come from going to movies, playing video came from serving His beloved children. In Doctrine and Covenants 122:8 it talks about how "Christ descended below them all" (can't remember exact wording). He lost himself in the service of others and ultimately sacrificed everything He had for us. This is true joy. We are His joy. 

I know the gospel is true! I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to be serving these wonderful people!

                           Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Plan of Salvation is for everyone

This week was packed full of miracles!

I had really special experiences this week where I got to testify of this gospel with my whole heart and I learned and grew so much through it.

This week we went on splits on Wednesday and I was a little bit nervous. I was in 충장 (my area) with a sister who knows less korean than I do. We had a couple lessons scheduled for that day, but Tuesday night right before our split one of my old investigators decided she wanted to meet and then we got another referral from the Elders so I had 4 investigator appointments and one recent convert appointment. I was so nervous to lead the lessons and afraid that my Korean wouldn't be good enough. But after lots of prayers and stressing out (haha), we definitely saw miracles. I was able to say a lot more than I thought I would be able to and we had some very spiritual lessons. It's amazing what Heavenly Father can do through His very weak, very inexperienced servants. Though I made mistakes and my Korean was far from where I want it to be, He made me good enough and I really felt His strength.

Hiking the mountain! Our investigator is the lady in the glasses :)
A cool experience I had on the split was with the sister missionary I was on splits with. She has been having a really hard time with the language and the mission in general. She asked me how I teach the Plan of Salvation and asked me if I would demonstrate. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had on my mission so far. I got to testify to her that God has a plan for her, that she is supposed to be in Korea, and that through the Savior and His Atonement, she is good enough. We both cried. The Plan of Salvation is for everyone--not just our investigators.

For English class this week, Sister An and I taught the gospel message and decided to teach about the Book of Mormon. We showed a Mormon message about a Jamaican man's experience with the Book of Mormon and then testified and then opened up time for questions. A lot of great questions were asked and people really seemed to gain interest. At the end I felt inspired to bear my testimony. In my still very simple Korean, I poured my heart out to those people and testified of Christ, of the Plan of Salvation, and of my joy from the gospel. This joy has come from the Book of Mormon. I promised them that if they sincerely read the Book of Mormon and Prayed, they could feel that joy and God would truly answer their prayers. The spirit was so strong and it is an experience I don't think I will ever forget. I was strengthened a lot through it.

Hiking the mountain!
This weekend we hiked a big mountain for a ward activity and our investigators, 이영님 (ee-young-neem) came. She is 60+ years old and struggled, but I was so impressed with her! On the way down the mountain she made me laugh harder than I have laughed in a long time. She would literally jump with two feet off of big rocks and run down the mountain. When we got to the concrete part, she started running backwards and side-skipping. It was awesome.

This weekend, 이영님s, 임지용b and his dad, and 2 of our new investigators came to a ward activity. And then they all came to church the next day! It was a miracle!

Korea is the coolest!We have two new investigators this week--a man I met on the street and his handicapped wife. His wife came to church yesterday and sat by me. She is so pure and sweet. She held my hand and stayed close to me the whole meeting. I am so blessed to get to know these incredible, humble people and to testify of Jesus Christ to them. I am so blessed. The gospel is true!

Have an amazing week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

rain is "비," but I wrote "피"

Wow, so much happened this week!


I am still stared out everywhere I go. As I was crossing the street this week I heard a little voice say, "이상한 사람!" ("weird person"). I turned to see a little boy pointing at me and his mom laughing haha. 
Today a grandma on the street told me I must be "miss korea," and then corrected herself and said, "miss universe" in her cute, korean accent haha.

This week we went to visit an elderly couple who lives in the country and they weren't home, so I wrote them a note. I meant to say, "even though it rained, I hope you had a great day!" rain is "비," but I wrote "피".... which means something totally different, but they're pronounced really similar. "피" means blood. I told the grandma that even though blood came, I hope her day was good...oops! haha. 

Yesterday we visited a different grandma (there are a lot of grandmas in our ward) and did service for her. There was a box of little dried fish and shrimp. She had us pull the heads off of the fish and then pull the blackish-brownish guts out of the middle of them and pull the legs and tails off of the shrimp haha. Then she fed us raw radish she had just picked from her little garden. 

This week was full of miracles and disappointments. 

One of my favorite people in the whole world told us she doesn't want to meet anymore and it crushed me, but God blessed us with lots of miracles!

This week when we went to teach 임지용b (our 11-year-old investigator), and out of a miracle, his inactive dad was there. We sang "I am a Child of God" together before we started teaching his son and he cried. He came back to church this week for the first time in years and has a goal to come back with his son. This man who had fallen so far away is deciding to change. It's a miracle! 

The Stake President here challenged all the missionaries to make a list of members in the ward then pray as a companionship about who is ready to share the gospel with their friends/give a referral to us. Sister 안 and I applied the stake president's counsel and prayed. Two names came to my mind. We set up a lunch appointment with one of the people, Bishop's daughter and it was a success. 최은영s had already been talking to a friend about the gospel and was hoping to work together with the missionaries. It was revelation. God really does answer prayers--how cool! I learned the importance of listening to our leaders and having faith in their counsel. We are excited to teach her friend. 

We got a new investigator who was a 소개 (referral) from a member. She is great and seems to have a very open heart and mind. We're so excited to teach her more. 

This week we ran into several people on the bus and on the street who were excited to see me because I had talked to them before already. It showed me the importance of talking to everyone. Even if people aren't initially interested in the gospel, you never know when they will be later. It's important to plant seeds. 

This week I really studied a lot about how to improve myself and become more like Christ. Something that really stood out to me was Elder Holland's talk, "The First Great Commandment." Elder Holland's interpretation of Christ's conversation with Peter in John 21:

"...What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

Christ wants us, like Peter, to "leave all this" and truly love Him. 

Christ promises in Matthew 10:39

"He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it"

As we all lose ourselves in the service of others, we find our true selves. Our divine natures. I sure have a long way to go, but I'm excited to keep trying my best to lose myself and become more like Him. I love the Lord and I'm grateful to be a missionary in Korea, even when it's hard. 

Have an incredible week! 

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"All good things come from God and from Grandma"

A few little fun things from this week:

We are teaching an 11-year-old boy whose father is a member. His dad is in the hospital and he lives alone with his grandma. He is such a sweet boy and says the cutest things!

"All good things come from God and from Grandma" I was touched by his pure, simple faith.

Cutest little girl! She's in our ward :)
While we were eating ramen together, Sister An asked him if he liked ramen or missionaries better he thought for a minute then said, "Missionaries, of course because they are people and ramen is food." It was cute.

One night I woke up at about 1 o'clock in the morning and was in kneeling position on my cot. I thought I might have fallen asleep praying, but I remembered having ended and gotten in my covers. I was sleep praying haha! 

Unfortunately, a lot of our investigators couldn't meet this week, but we saw a lot of miracles and taught some amazing people on the street. I learn everyday that God puts people in our paths that we're supposed to help. I try to talk to everyone so that I don't miss a person that I'm supposed to talk to. People are always so surprised when I start talking to them in Korean. It's fun. 

On our way to email today we met a homeless man on the street and sat down, taught him, and gave him a Book of Mormon. You never know who is ready to hear the gospel. 

We met with the inactive lady in our ward who smokes again this week. We talked about how our homes can be our own temples and how we can feel God's spirit in our homes. At the end of our lesson, we sang, "Love at Home" with her. She was in tears and Sister An and could hardly sing because we could feel God's love for this lady so strongly and couldn't stop our own tears. God truly loves His children so much!

I got to see sister scott this week at combined district meeting!This week I saw a lot of sad things. One night in particular my heart was so heavy. I felt so sad for people I loved who are suffering such difficult, unfair things in their lives. As I thought about these people and studied the scriptures, I learned more about the Atonement and the Savior. The Lord truly suffered all of their pains and understands them perfectly. "with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5). Life isn't always happy and hard things happen, but through Christ's Atonement, we can be freed from our pains and heartaches. The Lord was scourged, spit upon, smitten, abused, and abandoned by those He loved. He has felt our deepest pains so that He can comfort us in our times of need. I know He is real and I have truly felt His grace. The Lord knows how we feel and will ease our pains as we turn to Him.

"with His stripes we are healed"' Isaiah 53:5

Through hard things we are refined and strengthened through His grace.

"I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." (1 Ne 20:10)  The Lord refines us through our trials and helps us to grow. He knows our pains and will heal us as we let Him.

I love the gospel. I love being a missionary. I know that God is real and I'm so grateful to be able to serve Him.

Have a wonderful week!

낫제스 자매 :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

my new companion is 안규진

What a great week! It was busy because it was transfer week. Sister King left to go to a new area and my new companion is a Korean, 안규진 (Sister An Kyujin). She is amazing! She is really hard-working and I'm excited to see miracles with her this transfer. I'm already learning so much!

Random side note: I ate fish with the scales still on it three times this week--and I actually liked it! My favorite thing to eat at our apartment is rice with eggs and tuna in it with seaweed! Ha! I love Korea!

When I think back on this week, a few things stick out to me.
investigator 박양순 love her!!

We met with 박양순 (pahk yahng-soon) before Sister King left. It was hard again. She really loves us. She cried as she talked about how we're her angels and have helped her, but said she doesn't want to keep learning about our church like before. I love her so much! Luckily she told me that I can come by sometimes to talk with her and said we can even read the Book of Mormon together. I think she just needs time. I haven't given up on her. I know that this gospel will make her so happy. I think she's just afraid to change.

Sister An and I visited an inactive grandma in our ward this week. This grandma smokes and is having a hard time stopping. As a result, she doesn't come to church and has a lot of health problems. I will never forget our visit. She looked sad and very lonely when we walked into her little two-room apartment. She told us tearfully of her struggle and how she feels. We taught her for a long time about Christ. I got to share my favorite scripture--2 Cor 12:9-10--and testified of the Savior. Through Him she can give up smoking, she can be completely clean. I got to tell her that God loves her and that I love her. We sang a hymn to her and closed with a prayer. She offered the prayer and it was very special. When we left she said, with light in her eyes, "I feel like I can do this!" And she can! I know that through Christ we can overcome any and every one of our struggles. He knows how we feel and will give us the strength we need to overcome.
fun family! and my new companion!

Sister An had to go to a leadership meeting this week, so I went on splits with another sister. She is a newer missionary than I am and doesn't know much Korean, so I was really nervous--especially because we had to teach an investigator. I was afraid that I wouln't know what to say and especially that I wouldn't know how to say it. But the lesson went well, and God helped me say what I needed to say in Korean! The investigator even prayed at the end (she didn't last week because she was too scared). It was very sweet.

This week we met a grandma who takes care of her grandson because his mom left him. She makes money by sorting out trash. We had the chance to help her sort trash. I was so amazed by her diligence and her love for her grandson. She told us we could come back and teach her and her grandson about the gospel :)

I'm so grateful for this gospel--it's true! I love my Savior and I'm so grateful I get to testify of Him everyday.

Sister Naatjes :)