Sunday, June 29, 2014

she put her hands above her head and made a heart

A few funnies:

One day this week my companion and I had a lunch and dinner appointment (always really hard because they give tons of food!) Because at lunch our investigator served us tons of meat and then our member took us to get mexican food my companion had some digestion problems...haha. We made frequent literal runs to the bathroom...and a miracle happened!! In the bathroom I met a girl who said she wanted to come to church and to meet with us! God puts people in our paths all the time--even in the bathroom!! :)

I realized something different about korea is how much garlic we eat! People buy cloves of garlic by the dozen--then just put them in a pan with some oil and eat them plain. Big chunks of garlic--it's actually delicious! 

We started teaching one of our grandpa member's wife this week and she is so cute! She was really excited about skin treatment she had made by herself--pickle juice with other unidentified things. She brought it out for us and had us pat it onto our faces--it was really sticky haha. 

As always, tons of miracles happened! 
I realize over and over again the importance of opening my mouth wherever I go. On the street my companion and I saw a girl a good distance ahead of us, so it would have been easy just to let her walk away, but we picked up our pace and talked to her. Turns out she was baptized into our church years ago! We got her number and are trying to set an appointment with her soon!

our investigator, 강소영 (kang-so-young), is doing great! She's very seriously considering being baptized. We found out this week that her husband doesn't want her to meet with us or have anything to do with the church, so that will be an obstacle, but she's progressing more and more and looks happier and happier each time we meet. keep her in your prayers! 

my awesome companion and eyes are closed, but I don't have a better picture :)One day we had no appointments, so we were trying to track down some inactive members in the area...none of them were home, but we went to one apartment complex and saw a lady sitting alone with her dog on a bench and felt like we should talk to her. We did and she told us she lives alone--she looked so sad! We sang her a hymn and she looked peaceful afterward. She gave us her address and wants us to come back to visit her! 

That same day we saw a really old grandma (maybe in her late 80s) sitting on a bench and she looked so sad, so we talked to her. We asked if we could sing a hymn for her and she said no because she just felt too much pain and was too sick. We sat down on either side of her and quietly started singing "I am a child of God" and then talked with her about her family, life, and about God. When we left there was such a huge difference in her--she hugged us when we left and even put her hands above her head and made a heart when we walked away. 

I love being a missionary! I get to have so many little precious moments like that and get to share and feel God's love for so many people and for me. 

I know this is God's work and that He is looking after all of His children. If we let Him, He will use us to bless others. We can be instruments in His hands. I know this gospel is true and that it changes people and lives.

have a great week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

“what everyone in America does”

Hello! It was another great week full of miracles! 

Funny thing that happened yesterday:

Sister Park and I attended sunday school with the youth last Sunday and the teacher to start the class had everyone do “what everyone in America does” :)
She had everyone stand up, balance on one foot with their other knee in the air, put one hand on their knee and the other in the air over their head. She kept looking at me as if I knew exactly what she was talking about. It made my day haha

This week was another kind of difficult one for proselyting-- a lot of people have been getting upset at us recently for some reason, but God keeps giving us so many miracles!

Sun :)
One of our investigators, Sun, who belongs to SDA church met with us again this week. We watched the Restoration video together, talked about how Christ’s gospel has been restored and answered some of her questions. We talked for two hours about the gospel and she loved it! At the end she told us that our church was pure and true and that her church wasn’t...and then said she didn’t want to meet anymore...sometimes I don’t understand. She knew it was true, but didn’t want to accept it. If only she knew how it could bless her life and bring her peace!
We were confused, but as she walked away, we felt peace that she would find the church again. God loves her so much. So do I.

This week when we were having an especially hard day, God once again gave us a miracle. It was 8:15pm and we were going to stop by and visit our member before we went home for the night when we saw an old grandma pushing a really heavy cart full of newspaper and empty boxes down the road (a lot of grandmas here get paid to do recycling in Korea). We offered to help her and she gratefully accepted our help. I pushed while my companion and I talked to her. She was in her 70s! She invited us to come to her house. We sang a hymn for her and then listened as she tearfully expressed how lonely she is and how she is losing faith in God. We got to testify of God’s love for her and how God sent us to her! I was so grateful to have had that experience. God cares about every individual, especially His lonely and needy children. He loves that grandma so much and I felt it so strongly. 

We got two new investigators this week, a high school student and a man’s wife who is in our ward! We’re really excited to teach them--they’re great!

This week I really remembered again how blessed I am in so many aspects of my life. A scripture that really stood out to me is Mosiah 2:34 

“You are eternally indebted to your Heavenly Father, to render to Him all that you have and are.”

A REALLY big watermelon that we ate with a recent convert in our ward, 서향주 (so-hyeong-ju).I’m coming to know this more and more. Even when I feel like I’m “sacrificing” for the Lord, I learn, grow, and am blessed so much that I am even more indebted. When someone is mean to me on the street, I feel again how important my beliefs are to me and grow closer to God. I came on my mission and sacrificed 18 months for God, but I will come back even more indebted to Him for the wonderful experiences I have had and the knowledge I have gained, the people I have come to love, and the changes in my own heart. 

When we turn to God, He takes every experience we have in our lives, even the hard ones, and gives us an increase of blessings. We are His children and He loves us :)

I love you all! This gospel is true! I feel it everyday!

Sister Naatjes

Monday, June 16, 2014

God sent us rain

It was another great week :) again so many amazing miracles! 

I forgot to write about how last week I ate 순대 (purple pig intestines) and loved them! I was actually excited to eat it. :) I'm becoming more and more Korean everyday. 

We had a zone activity where we played soccer today and Sister Simonsen was there :) It was super fun!
Last week I mentioned an investigator that ignored my calls for a month, but randomly called back--she is doing so well!!! Her name is 임희진 (eem-hee-jean). She's 25 and working. Both of her parents are 목사님들 (priests), but she has some problems with what they teach and has a lot of questions. She loves our church and that we can answer all of her questions about God and His plan. When I first met with her she really thought that God was scary and seemed unfair, but through learning about the plan of Salvation--especially that there isn't only Heaven and Hell, but 3 kingdoms of glory, she understands Him and is growing to trust Him. 

We met with her on Monday and answered many questions she had, then had a miracle on Tuesday. Sister Park, on Tuesday morning, studied something she really wanted to share with 임희진, but we didn't have another appointment until Saturday. We were riding the subway to go to a dinner appointment at a member's house and missed our stop...(the usual hehe). We were going to just walk to her house from there, but it randomly started pouring really hard. So we took the subway back to the correct stop. Hail started coming down, so tons of people were gathered underground in the station to escape the rain and hail, so we decided to talk to people there...and we saw 임희진 run down the stairs calling to us. She had had a hard day and was happy to see us. We invited her to our dinner appointment to eat with us and she came because our member's house was close and she wanted to get out of the rain! The streets were flooded, so we ran through the big puddles to get there. We had an amazing lesson and she loved the member we ate with. She said it was just what she needed. We were so grateful that God sent us rain :) 

Then we met with her again on Saturday! one of the other missionaries' investigators in Daejeon got baptized and she got to see it. She told us that she wants to get baptized! So many miracles! 

강소영 (kang-so-young) is doing great and seems happier and happier each time we meet her. She has a  lot of stress and was depressed, but she genuinely seems happy now. :) The gospel is so cool!

We got a new investigator this week who is SDA and knows the Bible super well and another who has been meeting us with her friend who is a leader of another church, so it's pretty crazy. I'm getting to study the Bible a lot more in depth, along with the Book of Mormon to answer their questions. I'm so amazed at how well they support each other each time. I love the scriptures--Bible and Book of Mormon. I'm so grateful for both. :)

Lately we've been running into so many people who want nothing to do with us--they even run away sometimes! I wish they could know how precious what I'm trying to share with them is and how much it could bless their lives. 

I know it's true and it blesses my life everyday.

God prepares miracles for us everyday. We are so young and weak and inadequate, but He truly works through His simple servants to do miracles! I love teaching of Christ all day everyday. I'm so grateful to be His missionary. I love Him with all my heart!

Have a great week! 

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Korean Minnie-Mouse

This week was a little hard, but really good! I love my companion, our area, and our investigators! I’m so blessed!

My companion, Sister Park, is hilarious. Someone described her as a Korean Minnie-Mouse. She’s always happy! It’s fun to serve with her!

We got fed 순대 last week (pig intestines with some rice filling inside) and it was delicious! Ha! I love Korea. I’m also liking kimchi more and more. We got some from our member the other day and were really excited!

This week a lot of my favorite people couldn’t meet and seem to be dropping us, so I was a little sad, but our investigator, 강소영 (kang-so-young) is doing so great! She is in her 40s and has a daughter and a son in Junior High. She lived in New Zealand for 4 years and moved back to Korea about 2 years ago and is looking for a church.
spaghetti lunch (notice the kimchi)We had a really cool lesson with her this week. We decided to switch things up and start with a hymn. We sang her “Where can I Turn for Peace?,” prayed, and then she asked us, “Where can I find peace?” and talked to us about how she isn’t very happy and feels depressed sometimes. We had a powerful discussion about finding peace through the gospel. The spirit was strong. Each time we meet with her she seems to be happier and happier.

On Wednesday, we went over to her house and I made lunch for her American style--spaghetti! (And then, of course, she added kimchi :) ) We got to talk about how the gospel blesses our lives more and it was so good!

She came to our ward camping activity on Friday, to English class on Saturday, and to church on Sunday!! Woo! After English class a lady was asking questions about our church and 강소영 answered all of them haha! 

The grandma who lives right outside our church. She was sewing a glove back together with toothpicks! So cool! :)
This weekend we had no appointments with investigators and our members were all busy, so it was a little bit hard, but God gave us miracles! 2 of my old investigators contacted us again! One of them hasn’t been answering my calls for about a month! We’re meeting her today and I’m so excited!

I’m so grateful to be a missionary and I love seeing people being changed through the gospel. I know that God lives and loves His children so much. 

Have a wonderful week! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

An Apostle of the Lord came to Daejeon!

What an incredible, spirit-filled week. 

First of all, I want to share an email I got from my old companion, Sister King today. Her mom read it off of an Elder's email named Elder Allan. He is now serving in my old area.

Also we saw so many miracles this past week, SO many miracles. One that I would like the mention was after we met with a less active member and jumped on a bus to head to another appointment.  I started talking to the guy on the bus and told him where I was going, when he informed me that I was on the wrong bus!  We jumped off and then my companion said he needed to charge his bus card.  We walk into this store called a C for U and I start talking to the lady who was surprised how we could speak Korean and such.  She then pulls out a picture of Sister King (mom the sister from our stake!) and starts telling me how she used to meet with the missionaries.  We get talking and end up spending an hour and a half there, each bearing each others testimonies, and crying together.  Such a tender spirit filled the little store. She spoke of the hardships in her life and how far she had come. We looked over and the bible was laying on the counter, flipped open.  She had been reading it right before we came. We read the book of Mormon together and I testified how God had led us to her, told her about our bus incident and how she needed our message.

He's talking about my old investigator, 박양순 (pahk-yahng-soon) who I love like crazy! This is triuly God's work. He loves His daughter 박양순 and sent those missionaries to her again. I can't express how grateful I am. I can't stop crying! 

This week was a little bit hard to start. I just keep feeling so inadequate. I want so badly to do all that God needs me to do here and to help these people I have the privilege to teach. Our investigators are having a hard time and my companion and I have been trying to figure our how to really help them. We prayed and fasted for them and so that we could know how to help them through Elder Christofferson's visit to Korea. I can't describe how amazing it was.

Elder Christofferson, Elder Maines, Elder Whiting, and their wives came to Korea and the missionaries got to have a special meeting with them.

my investigator and I :) She's great!All the missionaries got to the church building at about 9 in the morning for the meeting to start at 9:30. We all sang hymns and primary songs together and the spirit was strong. I got the opportunity to sing in a choir for him, so I got to sit in the front row of the chapel. When he came into the room, I rfelt the spirit even more strongly. He spoke to us and then left time for us to ask him questions. I want to share a few highlights.

One missionary asked "how can I prepare to overcome trials in my life?"

He answered that it's only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can overcome. We don't have the personal abilities and neither do others to overcome alone. Only through Christ. Also, it's only through trials that we really learn really sincerely pray and to really sincerely rely on Christ and come to know Him. Always turn to CHrist. He shared Alma 62:41 about how through trials you can choose to be humbled or to be hardened. 

"How can I love all men, even my enemies?" 

"we come to love what we serve" We need to serve everyone! We need to gain the spiritual gift of charity. Moroni 7:47-48. We can develop the gift of charity only through Christ, now through our own power. 

"How can I comfort the people whose family died in the boat accident?"

Sometimes the only comfort we can give at the moment is to weep together. "mourn with those that mourn" Then can share the plan of salvation. 
He talked about how death is an important part of God's plan. "without physical death, we would be stranded in mortality." We wouldn't be able to return to Heavenly Father. 
Real peace comes through the Holy Ghost...

When He left, he gave his Apostalic Blessing on our mission. 

First he blessed us that we "will receive light and knowledge when we study the scriptures"

Then we would have convincing, persuasive power when we teach.

Then something really cool happened! He paused. Then said he could tell that some people in the room were wondering if God approves of them/their missionary work. Then he said, "your offering is worthy." "God is pleased with you. If He feels you're doing well, you can do anything." 
He blessed that we will be able to feel His approval of our work. He said Be happy! This is His work. The Lord is guiding us. 

I couldn't stop my tears. He read my heart. I will never forget that experience. There are apostles on the Earth today and I am so blessed to have been able to have that experience. I know that this church is true. I cannot deny it. You can come to know for yourself too by reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. I love my Savior and I know He loves me. He gives me miracles everyday. I know He lives!

Love you all!

Sister Naatjes