Sunday, November 30, 2014

Don't worry, be happy!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

I feel so grateful for so many things! I know that God has blessed me so much and I'm so grateful to be here in Korea doing His work! 

On one evening when our appointments didn't work out we ran into a grandma on the street and greeted her. She immediately got excited and gave me a big hug! She said that some missionaries had knocked on her door in the past and she really liked them. She was the happiest person I think I have ever met. She was in her late 80s and talked to us for a long time about the importance of being happy no matter what happens and about being grateful. She had the biggest smile and said that there's never anything to be sad about because God is real and is always holding her hand! It was a great lesson to me and I felt blessed to meet her! I need to live more like her!
This week was full of miracles!

Our investigators 조은정 (jo-un-jeong) and 김연주 (kim-yun-ju) are getting baptized tonight! 

조은정.has been an investigator for over 2 years and has gone through tons of missionaries! She started meeting for English interest and gained a testimony of our church as she kept meeting with missionaries. She has had plans to be baptized for a loooong time, but has a really hard time making decisions. When I first came to this area we thought about stopping meeting with her because she wasn't making any progress and kept meeting us for only English and didn't want to listen to our message, but then her daughter came home from Busan and we started teaching her. 김연주 started meeting with us and told us she felt that it was really her time to find God and start a relationship with Him. After meeting for just a short time, she had a desire to be baptized and keep the commandments. Before we even taught her about the Word of Wisdom, she heard about it from members and her mom and stopped drinking with her friends and also stopped drinking coffee. I was amazed at her simple, pure faith. We set a date for 조은정 and her daughter to get baptized together, but we weren't sure if 조은정 (the mom) would be able to get baptized because she didn't want to give up coffee or keep some of the commandments, but miracles happened! 

We met with her on Friday and taught her and she was so sincere. Her heart had changed. She said she felt that it's finally time. She still had a few concerns until we taught her about the temple and then she said she felt at peace--so cool! She felt that this is true and finally showed a real, sincere desire to be baptized. She said the closing prayer and it was one of the most powerful moments I think I have ever had. She tearfully poured out her heart to God and asked for His help.She prayed about her family and thanked God for all that she has been given. 
We're so excited for tonight! It will be an amazing, spiritual experience! God sure loves them so much! I'm so blessed to have gotten to be a little part of their conversion. They're so great!

I just feel overwhelmingly grateful in my heart. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I am so grateful for Christ's Atonement and the role it plays in my life each and every day. I love being a missionary. I love Korea. I love my companion. I love this work. I'm so grateful for the gospel. I know it's true. I feel it everyday. 
I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Children are so pure

This week was full of miracles, as always! This is truly the Lord's work!

On Tuesday night we met with our investigator who has been an investigator for a long time, but can only meet very rarely and didn't seem to have too much interest. She has two cute little daughters who are 5 and 2. A couple weeks ago we gave the family a gospel art book with pics from the bible and book of mormon and the 5 year old daughter who is usually noisy during lessons sat and asked a million questions about Jesus. We were all amazed, especially her mom. Last week we got a call from the 5 year old. She asked us why we need to confess our sins to God--super deep question! Her mom had no idea, so she called us. Then she told us that her daughter had been talking about God tons and asking questions and praying every night! When we visited again we spent almost an hour answering questions about the pictures of Jesus. Children are so pure. They know and recognize God and are so close to Him. We think that her mom will start actually coming to church because of the example of her cute little daughter. Miracle!

This week was Stake Conference and our recent convert spoke! She did an amazing job! She talked about her conversion and how the gospel has blessed her life. She was super nervous about her talk, but she did great and inspired many. She shed tears as she bore her testimony. I feel blessed to have gotten to see it. 
Today we are going to meet her older sister and I'm so excited!

At Stake conference something that the Stake President kept mentioning was something that was also really prevalent in General Conference--nurturing our personal testimonies. Doing the little things--praying, reading our scriptures, and going to the temple end up being the most important things. Strengthening our personal faith and testimonies puts us in a position to be able to overcome trials in our lives and to be able to help others also. 

I know that this is God's work. I know that this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that God is a god of miracles and that He loves His children so much. I know that through Him we can do all things!

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Don’t give up when the pressure mounts

So first of all I need to tell you about my experience in Seoul! It takes 3 hours to get there by train, so we left at 5 in the morning, went to a member of our church's office so that my companion could get training for her visa interview, and then went to the interview. When we got to the door my companion showed her I.D...etc...and then I showed mine and they said I couldn't come in! I was time for her interview, so there was nothing we could do! I was told the interview would take about an hour. She went in and there I was, alone in Seoul! I freaked out! As missionaries it's a rule that we should never be without our companion...wahh! So I called my mission president and his wife and they didn't answer! So I called the AP and he had no idea what to do, so there I was! haha...a while later President and Sister Shin called back and laughed and said not to worry. I ended up going back to the member's office and studying until my companion finished her interview. It was quite the experience!!

This week lots of miracles happened! And a lot of funny things too!

This week several times as I tried to talk to people on the street--especially at stop lights, they run away from me~! The light turns green and they bolt away! haha...But there are also people who listen and have some interest!

This week we have met with a lot of people having a really hard time, especially our recent converts. Life is hard! 
A quote that stood out to me this week was one by Elder Holland

“Opposition turns up almost any place something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. …

“With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts.”

Especially our investigators, recent converts, and less-actives seem to experience many hard things as they begin to know about or start coming back to church. I know that through these things they will become stronger and be able to have stronger testimonies. I also know that the Lord is with them, especially now.

My heart felt super heavy because of all of the hard things I saw, but I felt again God's love and gentle assurance that everything is in His hands. He loves us so much and is always ready to help us anytime.

A miracle happened this week! A few weeks ago I met an inactive member from the U.S. who was visiting her family in Korea on the street and got her sister's number so we could contact her. She told us she was having a really hard time and I invited her to conference then. But we kept not being able to get ahold of her, so I figured she went back to the US. 

This week we ran into her randomly on the street again! She immediately came up to me with tears in her eyes and told me about how hard things are for her right now. I was able to give her a Book of Mormon and invite her to church. On Sunday morning we called and she came! She cried many times and said that she felt like she got needed strength from church and will come again next week. What a miracle! God loves her so much and is aware of her. 

This week we randomly got tons of new investigators, which is a huge blessing!

Our investigators, 조은정 and 김연주 set a baptismal date for 11.30! We're excited for them! 

 I know that this is God's work. I'm grateful to be His weak servant. I know that He loves His children. I know that this gospel is true. I love the Book of Mormon and the Bible and know they are true and from God. I receive guidance and light through them daily and see my investigators do the same. 

I love you all!

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Naatjes :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I love being a missionary!

Hey Everybody!

What a crazy week it's been! 

Right now I'm emailing from a cafe in Seoul and have very little time, so this will be short! My companion has to get a visa because her mom moved to America during her mission. The mission president said I needed to come too, so here I am! haha…

Last week we got transfer calls and I'm staying here with my same companion, Sister Lee--this will be out 3rd transfer together.

This Monday (p-day) we went ice-skating as a missionary activity with all of the sister missionaries in Gwangju which was fun! I got to see Sister Scott again!!

Our investigator, 김민선 received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday! 

기연주, kim yun ju is really progressing and wants to get baptized! We think she will get baptized on the 24 of this month! She's so pure and wants to do good! She's 22 years old and her mom has been an investigator for 3 years, so we met her through her mom and we think she may be baptized before her mom, but we hope they will be baptized together on the same day!

We had a lesson with her at a member's house this week and it was super powerful! My companion told her story about coming to know the Book of Mormon is true and that this church is true and we were both in tears. I was able to bear my testimony and the spirit was so strong. I love being a missionary!

our recent convert, shin deoung hyun was assigned to give a talk in Stake conference.

us with one of our investigators at a ward activity! It was super pretty!We met a man while we were exercising one morning and the next day he brought his whole family to our English class--wife, son, and daughter--and then came to a ward activity the next day! He wants us to come to his house this week! Yay! It's important to open our mouths everywhere we go! God prepares miracles always!

I love my Savior with all of my heart and am learning more and more about Him each day. I am so weak and make mistakes everyday, but He loves me and helps me to overcome my weaknesses and become good enough.

I love you all!

Have an amazing week!!

Sister Naatjes

Sunday, November 2, 2014

God's plan is so cool!

Wow! What a week! It was among the hardest weeks of my mission, but the best at the same time.

On Tuesday we had a few appointments lined up and thought we were going to have a pretty busy day, but in the morning during our district meeting all of the people cancelled...we were a little bummed, but went back home to finish our studies and eat lunch when our recent convert 신동현 shin deong hyun called us crying and told us she was at the church. We went to meet her and she was having a really hard time. She had just gotten back from her really close friend's funeral who had passed away the day before and didn't know where else to go, so she came to the church. We talked with her and cried with her. It was really hard, but I was so amazed by how great her faith was. She knew that her friend was not gone forever and that she could see her again. She knew the Plan of Salvation and bore testimony to us about it. One of the first things she said to us when we came to meet her was, "when can I go to the temple?" We had just talked about it the Sunday before and she wanted to go and be baptized for her friend. I was so amazed at her faith.

kim min sun at her baptism! She's so great!
I was so grateful that our appointments cancelled--God had another plan for us--to help shin deong hyun. He was aware of His hurting daughter and made a way for us to be able to meet her. God's plan is so perfect.

my companion and I with kim min sun and the friend that introduced her to the church lee yeah wonThis week our investigator 김민선 kim min sun got baptized! She's 18 and just about to start college--Kendall's age! She started coming to church with her friend about 3 months ago. At first she didn't want to meet with missionaries, but after we kept talking with her at church and she got to know us a little better--especially my companion--she decided to meet with us. She wanted to get baptized, so we set a date and it all went great!

and all the young women in our ward :)
She is really cute and pure and accepted and believed the gospel easily. After we set a baptismal date we found out that her mother is an inactive member and her aunt and uncle are really active members in another city--super cool! We think that through her conversion her family will be able to come back to church again! God's plan is so cool!

Her baptismal service was beautiful--shin deong hyun talked about baptism and bore her testimony of the gospel. She's a recent convert of just over a month, but her words were so strong and I felt so proud of her. She talked about the death of her friend and how she is constantly receiving strength through this gospel and how she's excited to learn and grow together with kim min sun. Then one of our new Elders sang "Consider the Lilies.."--in English because he just got to Korea this transfer and I'm not sure that they have that song in Korean, but it was so good--almost everyone in the room was in tears even though they couldn't understand the lyrics. the spirit was super strong. 
Halloween party--scary, huh?!

I feel so blessed to be a missionary. God is always with us and gives us needed strength, even when things are hard. 

A scripture that really stood out to me this week:

Isaiah 40:28-31:
we had a halloween party this week and the turnout was really good! About 200 people came!! :)28 ¶Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
we had a halloween party this week and the turnout was really good! About 200 people came!! :)31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

I know that as we rely on the Lord we are always given strength to do what we need to do--especially during the hard times. I know that this gospel is true with all of my heart and I'm grateful to be able to share it everyday with these wonderful Korean people who I love so much!

Love you all! Have an amazing week!

Sister Naatjes