Monday, April 30, 2012

Letter #16

First of all I just want to thank everyone for their wonderful emails this past week and the uplifting words of advice and love! I love you all and it really means so much to me to hear from all of you and know what is going on in your lives! Also, I want to thank all for the cards and letters I received in the mail! Oh my I was so happy! It was like a party pulling them out of the mailbox and reading them! It felt like home! Most wonderful feeling ever! I am so sad to hear about Grandma Suzie! That just about broke my heart. I will pray for her and for the whole family! I know that Heavenly Father loves her and all will be well and the way He has planned.
This week was absolutely amazing! Words cannot express the feelings of my heart right now! Heavenly Father has blessed my companion and I with miracles and blessings like never before. I feel so extremely humbled and blessed beyond discription. On Saturday, we had our big project that we have been working on - the Questions of the Soul. We got up Saturday morning and the weather was absolutely beautiful, which is a blessing in and of itself because here in Korea the weather is good one day and then down-pouring the next. We knew right away that we were going to have a great day! Our district showed up in 통영 and we all went to lunch and then to the church to pray and to get the stuff to set up. One set of Elders brought one of their English class members with them that is interested in the church. She is a high school aged girl and my companion and I immediately took her under our wing. We explained to her what we were doing and introduced her to the Book of Mormon and then we were off! We set out our stand outside of Lotte Mart, the busiest grocery store in 통영 and started talking to people! The outcome was incredible! Better than I could have ever imagined!!!! We being in a small city were not expecting the numbers that we recieved! We were out for three hours and we gave away 25 copies of the Book of Mormon, all with testimonies in them from our ward members and other missionaries, and received 41 contacts!!! We were blown away! Some of the other areas that have tried doing this project would be in busy cities and stay out all day and only hand out a few books and receive a few numbers! It was truly a miracle!
So our project was a complete success and on top of it all, four of our ward members showed up to help us! It was exactly my vision that I received that first week here in this area! They came dressed up in suits and ties and were right in with us talking with people and opening the Book of Mormon! It was incredible to interact with them and see them with the people of their community! What a blessing! My companion and I were smiling ear to ear and were so thankful!
On Sunday, President and Sister Gilbert came to our ward to speak and visit. We were absolutely shocked when we walked in and the room was completely full! Normally we have about 23 people come to church, but yesterday we had 43! Our mouths completely dropped! People in our ward had brought their family and friends that were interested in learning about our church! So our hands were immediately full - we had six non-members there and one less active! Our ward members then spoke all during church about how much they love my companion and I and started crying thanking us for the impact we have had on them! We were shocked to see this and my companion said that she has never had anything like this happen before.
After sacrament meeting we taught a class to three of the non-members that stayed. We had four members of our ward join us and taught about the Restoration, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so extremely strong and I knew at that moment once again that our church was true and that this gospel really is Jesus Christ's restored gospel here on the Earth! What a miracle!
President and Sister Gilbert are so blown away with what is happening here and they both commented on the special feeling here in this city and with these people. She told us and our ward that she thinks she will be coming back a lot because she can feel the miracles that are going to happen and she sees many baptisms that will be occuring! I hope she is right. Our schedule for this upcoming week is already very full and we are nervous for the space we will have with these new potential investigators and the 41 contacts that we still need to call! The work here is incredible and I feel so blessed to be a part of it!
This last week, Sister McComber told me about a man that she and her former companion met on the streets. They just happened to run into him and he was a former investigator with the Elders. We contacted him so that we could set up an appointment to see him, but he was always too busy. Finally, he asked us if we would come by the high school that he teaches at and speak to his English class. On Friday night we went to the school and I felt prompted before we left the house to bring three extra copies of the Book of Mormon. When we were teaching the class, he asked us to teach about our church. I was shocked! We taught about the Book of Mormon and how it answers all of the questions of our soul. We testified of why we are here and of Jesus Christ. We gave the Book of Mormons that I brought for each student and there was exactly enough! This man then said that he would be interested in meeting with us again! Yet again, another miracle!
I feel so blessed and could go on and on about the miracles that are here and that come by missionary work! It is amazing and so humbling! I am so happy to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to have the opportunity to bring the gospel to others. It blesses my life each day and brings me joy and happiness that is unexplainable! I know that this gospel is Jesus Christ's restored gospel. I know that He lives and that He loves us and is with us. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it does answer every question that we may have in this life! I know that we have God's power here on the Earth today and instruction from him from our prophet Thomas S. Monson. I am so humbled by the love and support I feel from each one of you everyday. I can feel the prayers you pray in my behalf and I am so extremely grateful! They make the biggest difference in the world!
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
I wanted to send more pictures of the project and of Korea but I forgot my camera at my apartment this morning. I promise more next week!
커시 자매
Sister Kersey

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Letter #15

I am so happy to hear that everyone is doing so well and is happy! I am also so happy to hear that the weather is so beautiful at home! So fun!

This week was pretty rough I'm not going to lie. I got extremely sick and couldn't get out of bed for a day and a half. We were booked up this week with appointments and were still getting ready for our questions of the soul project. I felt horrible because we had to cancel appointments and I felt like we were wasting precious time. But it gave my companion A LOT of time to research for our project and get ready for the talk we have to give tomorrow in Busan. Sister Gilbert has asked my companion and I to give a talk about it to the new missionaries and the trainers about what we have been doing in our area with this project and how the Book of Mormon has influenced our work! We are thrilled to share what we have learned and we know that so many want to hear about our experiences. President and Sister Gilbert have been telling missionaries that they have been visiting all about it and we can't wait to share what has helped us and how they can use it! Our vision, along with the Gilberts, is to get all the missionaries in our mission doing these questions of the soul with themselves, the people they meet on the streets, and their investigators! We can see how this is going to change our mission!
We have asked our district to help us prepare for this project and ask people they meet about their questions while on the streets. My companion and I have had little success in our attempts so far and it was getting hard to see this vision start. We got a call from two of the Elders in our district who asked a man on the street his question and opened the Book of Mormon right on the street and taught him. They said the experience was amazing and they were so blown away with how this man responded! They were so excited and their excitment was contageous! We were all smiling ear to ear and giggling on the phone together! It is so wonderful to learn from other missionaries and be uplifted by them! The Elders in my district have been such wonderful examples to me and I am so grateful for them. They absolutely love this work and stay so positive! They are also so willing to drop everything and serve others. I am grateful for their support on this idea of ours and their willingness to help and share with us what they have learned.

Our ward has also been such a huge help and support in this calling. They helped us fill out copies of the Book of Mormon with their testimonies to give away at the activity on Saturday! They are wonderful and I can feel of their love for me! I have learned so much from their examples and the way that they so easily help and give to me and others!

I am so happy and grateful to be here! I am humbled to be doing this work and I love every minute of it! I have learned so much and can't wait to continue learning! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your endless love and support towards me!

I also am sending a few pictures! I hope you enjoy!!
I love you all!

Sister Kersey

Monday, April 16, 2012

Letter #14

This week was really busy and fun. My companion and I gave a lesson to a woman that we met on the street from the Phillapeans. She has been here in Korea for the past five years and was Catholic before moving here. She does not know Korean well and she attends her husband's church but has a hard time understanding what they are saying. When we introduced her to the Book of Mormon she was immediately interested and asked tons of questions. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the spirit that filled her home was overwhelming. She misses talking about Jesus Christ and is happy to have that back in her life again. She promised to read and I am excited to meet with her again this week to see what she has learned.
Two of the other investigators that we are teaching read the Book of Mormon this week which was really exciting. They all say that it is so hard to understand and had a lot of questions. We are trying to focus on getting them to liken the scriptures and what they read to themselves. We tried reading with one investigator and it worked well. I know that the Book of Mormon is the converting tool and the way to understand our church and the reality of Joseph Smith.
My companion and I spend a lot of time on the streets talking to people and going door-to-door looking for people that want to hear our message. We have been trying to think of different ideas that we can do to talk to as many people as we can and get them to know about the gospel. Another part of the mission had put together an activity and we want to try it here in 통영. What they did was put a table covered in paper with pens on the street with a sign that says, "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" We talked to our mission president and his wife about doing this activity here with our district and they were thrilled. They put my companion and I in charge and asked us to get more ideas of what we could do on the streets. It has been amazing to see the impact that this call has been on my companion and I. We have had amazing experience on the streets and in our study of the Book of Mormon. We have thought of questions that people may ask God and we have been able to find ALL of them in the Book of Mormon! It is crazy! This book really is a book of answers to questions of the soul!
When people come to the table with their questions, we want to be prepared to teach them from the Book of Mormon - what better teacher?! We want to help them find their answer and help them see that they can find any answer to any question that they have. We have ordered boxes and boxes of Book of Mormons and before this activity started, the mission president felt inspired to order more boxes of Book of Mormons from Salt Lake - he didn't know why. It is wonderful to see how the spirit has influenced so many in this project.  
Many other activities and ideas have come from preparing to do this activity. We have been able to ask people on the street what question they would ask God and then teach them right there. My companion and I have tried looking at people and trying to quess what question they would have - it takes us just a moment and then we look at each other and say the same thing almost every time! I feel so humbled to be able to recognize what so many people need to learn and what they are struggling with. Last night after getting off the phone with Sister Gilbert, she asked us to prepare to teach this to the other missionaries for a conference that is coming up. She has been taught by what we are doing and the impact that it is having on this city. She was full of chills at the miracles that we told her that were coming from this project and our studies. I can see a vision of all the missionaries using this technique of knowing where to find answers for those on the streets and investigators in the Book of Mormon and letting it teach them! What if we did that for everyone? How powerful that would be!!! So my companion and I started thinking and realized that we should try to do this ourselves since we are asking others. So last night, we thought about our questions of our souls and then asked eachother what we thought the other person would want to know. It was incredible to see that we were both completely right about each other. Now we are just trying to find those answers! SO COOL!!! I love it! I also want to ask you the same question, "If you could ask God any question, what would it be?" Think about that question and pray about it to Heavenly Father and then find it in the Book of Mormon. I promise you that you will find it and God will give you that answer. Also, I would ask you to help me think of other questions, or share with me your questions, so that I can prepare more to help those that I come in contact with. I would love to hear from all of you! That would mean so much for me!
Anyway this is about what is going on here! We are busy and loving every day! I love being able to talk to people everyday and just putting a smile on their face makes the biggest difference in my world!
I know this gospel is true! I am so humbled to be Jesus Christ's representative here on the earth and to help others become happy through the truth and through His atonement. I am grateful to be here among the Korean people! They are wonderful and I love them so much! I love you all and am so thankful for you!
Have a wonderful week!
커시 자매 (Sister Kersey) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Letter #13

안 녕 하 세 요!
Wow! What a week! First of all I just want to thank all of you for your emails and uplifting words to me! That meant the absolute world to hear from all of you and they truly have inspired me. Thank you Aunt Cindy, Melinda, Grandma and Grandpa, and of course Mom and Dad! I love you all so much!
This week flew by! I feel like I was just sitting down to email and now a whole week has already flown by! This week started off a bit rough because my companion and I had absolutely no one to teach and had dropped two investigators the week I came in. So we were pretty much starting from scratch. We had a lot of proselyting and street contacting to do and just searching for people that want to hear about the gospel. It was amazing to me to see the miracles that happened throughout the week and the people that Heavenly Father placed in our path.
On Saturday night, my companion told me that on Saturdays we usually don't have much success in finding and talking to people because they are all busy and off to different places. To me, I took this as a challenge and as an advantage - even more people to talk to and practice my Korean on. We were going to bus stops and talking with people and having no success, when a man came up to us and started to talk to us about who we were. We had a great discussion with him and when I offered him the Book of Mormon, his eyes lite up! He accepted it gladly and practically gave me his contact information so that he could learn more. He was so touched by our message and the thoughtfulness of our gift that he told us to wait there and brought us back food (which is typical of Korean culture. No matter if you give them a small piece of candy, they feel that they have to give you something back in return. I love it! They are the kindest, most giving people in the whole world). After talking with this man, within the same hour, we met a young woman who accepted the book and gave her contact information to us freely as well. It was amazing and my companions face was full of shock. I just smiled and said "I told you so!" Haha!
I absolutely love it here in Korea! There is absolutely nothing that I don't love about the Korean people and their culture! Including the Food...Oh my gosh, it is absolutely DELICIOUS! (And I am not just saying that! It is!) I think Heavenly Father helped my taste buds to change very fast because everything that I have had so far at dinner appointments is delicious! (But then again I haven't had fish yet...).
During the week, there was a woman that invited us to dinner that has questions about our church. She is a young mom and loves having our company. She had invited her neighbor and her children to eat dinner with us. After the meal, the neighbor started asking us about our church and why we had traveled all the way from America to Korea to be missionaries. My companion and I then taught an overview of the first lesson on the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and introduced her to the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong and as we taught, all sitting on the floor surrounded by children, I could feel of Heavenly Father's love for each of these women. It was so strong and I knew that we were in the exact place that we needed to be at that moment. My companion, after leaving, told me that the spirit had never been there before while teaching this woman, but tonight it had. She felt that there was some reason that I needed to be there to teach this woman. I was shocked to hear that, but I knew that there was no place I would rather be then with that family at that time. It was a very special experience for me and I am excited and anxious to see where it is going to go.
There have been countless miracles that we have seen this past week! I am so humbled to see them and experience them everyday. Upon entering 통 영 , I felt that it needed the Book of Mormon, and that has been our focus. So far we have been priviledged to keep up that goal and give out at least a Book of Mormon a day! I just have a desire for every person here in this town to have a Book of Mormon in their home and learn from it the way I have and still have in my life! I know that it is God's words to his children on the earth and that it has answers to every person's individual questions all throughout their lives. It has given me guidence and direction, and answers in my life that I would not have been able to find anywhere else! I want everyone to recieve that peace that I have from it and experience the joy that it brings.
I am so extremely grateful to be here as the Lord's servant. I have learned this past week that this work can either be really depressing and difficult, or it can be fun and challenging! It all depends on two things: your attitude and your obedience. I have seen this happen this last week. As my companion and I are exactly obedient in all that we do, we stay positive and all the miracles happen. People start coming to us and we stop having to look for them. I love this work! I know it is true! I know that we can all be the Lord's instruments if we are obedient and trust in Him. He will direct all of our paths and bring us more joy than we can find anywhere else in this world!
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful Easter and a fun week!
사 랑 해 요!
커 시  자 매 (Sister Kersey)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Letter #12

an yong hah say yo!
WOW! I can't believe that I am here in Korea! Finally! It feels like a dream! The flight went by so fast...which was surprising. I thought it was funny that they sat me right in the middle of all the Elders. That made the trip really fun. When we were in the plane descending into Busan, I had chills come up and down my body and I knew at that moment that I was doing the right thing and that I was in the place that the Lord wants me to be. What a cool feeling that I will never forget!
My mission president and his wife are absolutely amazing! I couldn't have asked for better "parents" here in Korea. Sister Gilbert has an outgoing personallity and you can feel of her love for you the moment that you meet her. Her and President Gilbert both have such strong spirits and they love the work here. Since they have come, the mission has exploded with success and everyone is so blown away with the progress here in Busan. I love that they focus directly on us missionaries and helping us to recieve and recognize personal revelation. That is their focus and I absolutely love it! They are so inspired and I know that is why the mission is having such success.
My first area is in Tongyeong. It is in the very southern-most part of the mission. I love being able to see the ocean everyday and walking the streets of the city. I had the opportunity to meet my ward yesterday and fell in love with the people immediately. They are so kind and giving and I could feel of their love and support with the work that I am doing. There were 23 people at church, including my companion, me, and children. I am hoping to really help ward members come back to church. Also, Sister SeoNari's, from the MTC, family lives in the ward that I am attending! What a blessing! I am so excited to meet them and tell them that she is well!
My trainer and first companion is Sister McComber. She is American (most of the sisters in our mission are American). She is absolutely amazing and I felt comfortable around her right away. She has great Korean and is so patient with me and teaches me so much about the culture and helps me feel at home. I like that she is so open and it helps me to be open with my feelings too. She said that Tongyeong is one of the most special parts of the mission because there is a special spirit here and many missionaries go off of feelings that come to them while being here. She said it is based all on personal revelation. I was surprised when she told me that because the moment I entered the city, I felt a sweet spirit and immediately knew that our focus here should be the Book of Mormon! When I told her this, she just smiled and said "I know!" I am so happy to be working with her and I think we will have much success this transfer.
Korea is so different than what I was expecting. It is full of big cities and I am so shocked that these cities are so quiet. That was the first shock I had when arriving in Korea was how quiet the cities and people are. Everyone just stays to themselves. Everyone I have met so far is so nice and is so patient in listening (even to my very slow Korean). They are so pleased that we are here and that we are trying to embrase their culture. They are very proud of their culture and it means a lot to them when a foreigner knows things about the way that they live. Another fun thing about Korea is that almost everyone lives in apartment building. When we go proselyting, we ring the doorbell and a camera comes on so that they can talk to us without opening their door...haha! Only in Korea! They are so technologically equiped and I am so surprised at how Americanized their cities and homes are.
I have been sleeping on a tri-fold since being here...which is a lot easier than I expected. I think that also may be because I am so exhausted by the end of the day that it wouldn't matter where I slept, I would be out! It has been hard with the jet-lag this past week and having a cold on top of it, but I am finally feeling like I am getting used to the routine.
The food here is actually really good. So far everything I have had to eat is good! I even tried kimchi and loved it! I think that was a major blessing. We haven't had a meal with a member yet, but will be having one this week. I am really nervous for it!!! I will be praying that I will like the food and be able to eat it! The seaweed is still hard to like, but I am working on it a little at a time! I know that I will end up loving it like all the other missionaries, I just have to aquire the taste first. My companion told me that when she came to Korea that she was the pickiest eater ever and had the hardest time with the food, but now she absolutely loves it! This really gives me hope!
Today, we are going with our zone to The Cherry Blossom Festival! I am so excited to see a new part of the mission and to meet other missionaries!
I am so grateful to be here and for this amazing opportunity! It is hard work, but there is no place I would rather be at this time in my life! Everyday when I bare my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel, I feel of my Heavenly Father's love for me and I know that this gospel is true and that it can bless anyone in the world! It is for all of us and I am grateful for the guidence and the happiness it brings to my live everyday!
Thank you all for your support and prayers!
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Kersey

Letter #11

Here is a short note from Britanie.  She left for Korea on Monday and was able to make a short phone call home from the airport. It was so great to hear her voice again!  She flew from Salt Lake, to Seattle, to Japan, and finally to Korea. When she called, she said that she had a cold and was having trouble with pain and pressure in her ears, and that she couldn't equalize them, but she sounded excited and happy!  Here is her note home.

Mom it was so amazing to hear from you yesterday! I have made it to Busan and I cannot express to you how much I absolutely already LOVE it here! It is amazing and I already feel at home! The Gilberts are wonderful - Sister Gilbert and I are so much the same it is crazy! She is wonderful and so adventurous! I am so sorry I didnt call dad and ashley...I feel way bad because I didnt have time :( Tell them I love them so so much and am so sorry!
Mom that is crazy about Emma's doll weird! I guess it is meant to be. The name in Korean is Nari (pronounced Nardie)!
Well I only had a minute to email to just let you know that I made it and that I am feeling much better - thank goodness! Thank you for your prayers! I seriously cannot believe that I am here and how amazing this place is! You all would just love it so so much!
I love you and will email in a week...and you should be getting my letters in the mail this week though! I love you all so so much! I wish that you could be here with me in this AMAZING place! It is so wonderful and I CANT wait to get to work!
I love you all!

ps and ash thank you for the absolutely BEAUTIFUL scarf! It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! I could feel your love so much in it and just wrapped up in it! Thank you! and I wrote you back finally so it should be coming in the mail!
I love you all!!! Have a wonderful week!

(The part about the doll is that Emma got a Korean American Girl Doll for her birthday and she wanted Britanie to name her a Korean Name.  It ended up that Emma had been calling her doll, Lilly without realizing that the name that Britanie told her to name the Doll, Nari, in English means Lilly!)