Sunday, April 27, 2014

I was so nervous to teach without my companion

I don't even know where to start. This is truly God's work. Sister Simonsen and I saw countless miracles this week!

got my packages! Thanks!! :)We really saw miracles from talking to everyone--on the street this week we met two ladies on different days who took us right to their houses and let us teach them! We also met a man from Ethiopia on the street. We told him we were missionaries and before we could even ask, he told us he could meet on weekends and asked what time our church was at. He came on Sunday with his friend and they are coming again next sunday! Our little English group loved them and our Korean ward members used the extent of their english to fellowship them--it was so awesome! 

We randomly talked to a little girl on the street and it turns out she had been baptized with her mom and brother years ago and hasn't been coming to church. We met with her on Saturday and it was a really tender experience. She's really shy and cute and we got to testify to her that God loves her and hears her prayers. We're going to start visiting her family!

Yesterday we saw so many miracles! We were stressed because after church was a ward coordination meeting about missionary work and we also had an appointment with our investigators. We ended up going on a member split, so I taught our two 23-year-old investigators with a girl in our ward. I was so nervous to teach without my companion, but God helped me so much. We had one of the most spiritual lessons I have had on my whole mission. One of the girls we were teaching expressed concern about a tragedy that recently happened in Korea:
A big group of high school students went on a school field trip to an island and the boat sunk. over 100 students died and tons have not been found. It was a huge tragedy.

got my packages! Thanks!! :)
My investigator was concerned about the salvation of these students. I got to look her in the eyes and tell her that the students' spirits are still living and that they are not in Hell. Many religions think that if people do not get baptized in this life, they go to Hell, but that isn't true. Heavenly Father loves all of His children and gives each a fair chance to accept His gospel whether in this life or the next and doesn't send His children to Hell. We read Doctrine and Covenants 137 together and it was powerful. I also testified that my grandpa Naatjes died, but that his spirit is still living. I asked them if they would pray to know our message was true and be baptized if it is and they both said yes. I felt the spirit so strongly. It was amazing.

I know that God loves His children and I'm so grateful for my knowledge of His plan through the Book of Mormon. I love being a missionary and I know that this gospel is true!

Have an incredible week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hope you had a wonderful Easter! :)

Hello everyone! Hope you had a wonderful Easter! :)
Easter isn't really celebrated much here, but it was a beautiful, sunshiny day full of Easter miracles!

A few funnies:

There is a 85-year-old man in my new ward who is super funny and insists that I call him "Old Fogey" haha!!

We talked to a grandma outside of the church parking lot a couple days ago who was eating the craziest thing i've ever seen! They were black bugs in a bowl. She had a toothpick and would pull out the green guts with it and then loudly slurp the rest out afterward haha :) 

There's another grandma who lives really near the church and wanders in almost everyday. She came to our mission coordination meeting at the end and another missionary meeting. It's really funny. She talks loudly about her husband's name every time. She's the best!

On to the Easter miracles! When missionaries come to new wards in Korea, we always give a talk to introduce ourselves and I was pretty nervous, but I got up and was able to say what I wanted to. I'm finally getting to the point that I can express my thoughts in Korean. God is definitely helping me.

Also, two of our investigators came to church--A mom and her daughter--and they loved it! They are really amazing and so ready to receive the gospel!

So my new ward is combined with a little English branch which is pretty fun! a couple of people in the branch invited their Korean friend and we were able to get a referral from them! She was a really sweet lady with a cute little boy that I got to sit by in sacrament meeting. I kept the boy entertained during sacrament meeting and had some really tender experiences. I had a bunch of little Jesus pictures in my bag. The boy doesn't have any religious background and has never been to church so he was a little bit crazy, but as soon as we started looking at the pictures of Jesus, he became really reverent, leaned on my arm, and insisted that I explain each picture. I shed a few tears as I saw his innocent love for the Savior even though he had never been taught about Him before. 

I am so grateful to get to share the gospel each and every day--my testimony of the Savior grows each day. I know He loves His children. I know that He suffered and died for each of us, but that HE LIVES! He still lives! He strengthens me each and every day. [#BecauseofHim]

Love you all! 

Sister Naatjes

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I'm in my new area (둔산 와드) Daejeon

Some of my favorite people :)Hello!
What a week! So many changes! I'm in my new area (둔산 와드) I'm in Daejeon and I really love it. Sister Ensign (one of my favorite people ever) finished her mission this week. I was lucky to have gotten to live in the same house as her and serve with her for two transfers.

My new companion is great and is a hard worker! We're excited to see miracles together!

Some of my favorite people :)In my new area there are a lot of really strong members that I'm excited to start working with. There isn't much emphasis on missionary work, but my companion and I are excited to change that :)

Saying goodbye to my old investigators and members was really hard, but I had some really special moments and miracles.

I said goodbye to my 92-year-old Korean grandma the day before I left and it was hard! I told her that I had to leave and she said something along the lines of,
"I just was starting to love you and now you're leaving me?"
We sang a hymn to her and she just kept holding my hand and patting it. She asked when she would see me again and I told her I didn't know. I told her maybe in the Celestial Kingdom (heaven). I told her to find Heavenly Father and wait for me there. I got to testify to her that God loves her and that she would get to see Him again soon. I got to tell her I loved her.
She grabbed both of my shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said something like, "see your mommy and daddy, be healthy, get married, eat well..."
I got to say a prayer with her before I left. I held her hand and got close to her ear so she could hear clearly. I never want to forget that moment. I can't describe how I felt. I love that little grandma more than anything.
After the prayer she gave me a big hug with her frail, little arms and said, "사랑합니다" (that she loves me) and had tears in her eyes. I was so touched. I love my 봉임순 자매님.

Before I left I got to say goodbye to pak-yahng-soon too. We both cried. It was hard to leave, but I'm excited to be in this ward and love a new group of people!

A recent convert that I love! As I reflect on my time I served in Gwangju, the moments I remember most and that I think I will remember forever are the small, simple moments. I have gotten to serve a grandma, testify to a mother worried about her family that God loves her, hear a first prayer, hold a hand in sacrament meeting... God works through small and simple things. He cares about each and every one of His children. When we show love to them one by one, He lets us feel a taste of His love for His child and His love for us. I know that God loves me. I love Him too.

My 11-year-old investigator (he was cranky because he had to go to piano lessons haha)I know that this gospel is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that through this gospel we can be with our families forever. Through ordinances and through keeping commandments we can have purpose in our lives and feel God's love more and more. We can become the people we want to be and can reach our potential--to return to our Heavenly Father again and to become like Him.

Love you all!
Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I'm transferring. I will be serving in 둔상

I just got my transfer call and after 5 1/2 months in 충장 ward, I'm transferring. I will be serving in 둔상 (doon-sang?). I think it's near Daejeon :)
My new companion is Sister Simonson. I don't know anything about her other than that she is American.
group of missionaries and random ward members :)

my favorite 92-year-old! :)This week we found a lot of new investigators!! One of my favorite ones is 73-years-old--ha! She is 이영님 (ee-young-neem)'s mother. We went over to her house to visit and it was hilarious. In the middle of our lesson she kept randomly getting up to go to the bathroom, get food...etc... Then when we were trying to talk about Jesus, she got up and said she just wanted to sleep, so she went in her room to sleep. Once she got to her room she told me to come join her. She prepared a little spot for Sister An and I to lay down, put a blanket over us and then laid down next to me haha! Sister An and I sang a hymn to her while she fell asleep then left. It was a funny and really tender experience!

We visited my favorite 92-year-old again this week to bring back her laundry and teach her about the gospel again. We asked her to say the prayer and it was really cute. She just kept saying over and over, "감사합니다" "하나님 감사합니다!" (Thank you, God. Thank you, God!" enthusiastically and waving her arms around. She lives in really rough conditions, but has so much gratitude. I love this lady!

We had a lesson with 이영님 this week. We found out that she had lost a brother 10 years ago and that one of her brothers died as an infant. We taught her, through the Book of Mormon, about the Plan of Salvation and how even though her brothers didn't have the chance to accept Jesus Christ and be baptized in this life, that they will have a completely fair chance in the next. We taught her that babies don't need to be baptized because they are innocent and cannot sin. It was a powerful lesson. She gave the closing prayer and it was incredible. She was so sincere and the spirit was so strong.

We visited a lady who works in a shop near the church building here and before we left, we wanted to pray with her, so I asked her name and wrote it down so I could remember it...and I made a big mistake--I wrote it in a red pen. In Korean culture, you only write dead people's names in red and if you write a living person's name in red, it curses them. My companion looked horrified. Luckily the shop-owner forgave me! I am learning new things about Korean culture every day haha.

Church this week was bitter-sweet. I was pretty sure I was going to transfer, so I knew I would have to say goodbye to some of my favorite people in the world. Sacrament meeting was amazing and I was so happy when our little less-active, mentally handicapped girl came in late and sat by me. She held my hand the whole meeting and I just felt so much love for her. I don't want to leave these people! But I'm excited to get to go love a whole new group of people!

I love being a missionary and love seeing little miracles everyday. I know God lives. I know my Savior lives. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know God has an individual plan for each and every one of us. I am so grateful to be able to share this knowlesge with people everyday.

Love you all! Have a wonderful week :)

Sister Naatjes :)