Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Letter #24

July 16, 2012

I don't even know where to begin!!!!! This week flew by and was absolutely amazing!
First of all, it is officially monsoon season, so that means the moment we leave our apartment to the moment we get back to our apartment we are soaked to the bone! I am talking rain like you have never seen it before! It is crazy! At night, we wake up to things falling outside and loud winds! And then in the morning when we go running in the park, the river is a few feet higher than the day before and the plants are all ruined. I never expected rainy season to be like this! So fun!
Sister Brady and I have been so busy! We have so many people that we are teaching right now...it makes the work so fun! On Saturday we had back-to-back appointments all day. We would walk one to the door and say "good-bye" just to be met by another appointment walking in the door. Our last appointment for the day was at a family's flower shop and we only had a half hour to get there. We went to leave the church, and realized that we only had one little umbrella and it was down-pouring outside! So we rapped all our books in plastic and put them in our purses and RAN out the door both holding onto one little, tiny, flimsy umbrella. We still hadn't eaten at this point, so we ran into a small mart and grabbed some 김법 (tuna wrapped in rice and seaweed) and started for the bus stop. That is when we saw our bus! We knew that if we didn't make that bus, we would be late for our appointment. So we started boocking it to the bus as fast as we could. At this point, our umbrella was non-existant because all we cared about was getting on that bus. We made it and the bus driver was nice enough to open the door again! We got on the bus and of course the bus was packed full of people so we were standing on the side. So picture this: two young American girls dripping from head to foot in dress clothes, standing on a bus(or should I say trying to stand on the bus - in Korea the bus drivers are crazy drivers and you can literally fly everywhere), eating 김법 (which is culturally rude to be eating and standing), and laughing histarically about what we are doing! But we made it to our appointment on time and everything!!! SO FUN! We just laugh and laugh at all the funny things we do everyday in this rain!
So we met with all of our investigators this week. They are all doing very well and are progressing rapidly! 서 자매님Sister Soe came to us the other day and told us that she couldn't sleep during the night, so she got up and started reading the Book of Mormon. She said that she still wants to get baptized, but she talked with her husband and he is really against that idea. We had to cancel her baptism. It was really sad to see because she had finally come to the point where she wanted to be baptized. I still have faith that her husband's heart will be softened and she will someday have the chance to be baptized. She explained to us that since meeting with us, her life has been blessed like never before and she has never been happier. It breaks my heart to see how much she has changed in just these past few weeks and how much this gospel has blessed her, but that she has to wait to receive all the blessings.
We also met with 박 자매님 Sister Park this week. We had asked her to read 2 Nephi 2 and Alma 40 before we met and she came to us with a bunch of questions and comments. She absolutely loved what she had read and we explained to her the reading using the Plan of Salvation. It was beautiful to see how her face changed as we taught her the plan. It looked like a light bulb went on and she understood something that she had spent her whole life searching for. She was so excited about it and kept saying that she finally received answers to her questions. She explained to us that she knows that all we have taught is true and especially that she KNOWS the Book of Mormon is true! We asked her how she knows all of this, especially the Book of Mormon is true, and she said because when she reads it, it seems familiar to her, like she has known this before. We are still planning on her getting baptized, hopefully on the 29th, but she has to discuss it with her parents first. We are praying for her, but have faith that all will work out well!
When we met with Jennifer and her family on Saturday to do our 30x30 program, we also taught them the Plan of Salvation. They had read the Book of Mormon passages that we gave them to read and the dad read even more than we had asked him to. He was expressing to us how much he loved the book and how he knows it will be something great for his daughter. Jennifer came to church on Sunday and when her parents came to pick her up, she kept begging them to let her stay because she was having such a good time. She finally left with her parents, and then about ten minutes later, she was back in the church with another little girl that we are teaching. We had invited her to church also, and she was on the way to the church when she ran into Jennifer and her family. Because they are friends from English class, her parents let her come back for a little bit of Primary. It was so fun to have them and once Jennifer left, 조 자매님 Sister Cho stayed and we were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation and how to pray. She stayed after church to eat lunch with the ward and to play ping-pong. She had a blast and it was great to see her interacting with the ward members.
Also during church on Sunday, a grandpa that we had met while running in the park at 6:30 in the morning walked in. He saw that we were two Americans and he was trying to learn English, so he started running next to us trying to speak English to us. We invited him to church, but were shocked when he actually showed up and walked in the doors. Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much and just sending us people to teach! We see miracles everyday!
Another walk-in that we had this week was a woman and her son that the Elders had met the week before and invited to Thursday's English class. They casually invited her and drew her a picture of a map to get to the church, but did not get any of her information. On Thursday, she showed up for the class and absolutely loved it. (Our English class by the way is getting HUGE! Everyone is inviting their friends and we are getting more and more people to teach every week!) We asked her if we could meet and teach her the required 30 minute introduction of our church so that she could attend the rest of our English classes. She agreed and we met with her the next day in her home. She is from China and has only been in Korea for 3 years. She is fluent in Korean though and is so kind. We taught her a brief overview of the Restoration as her 30 minute introduction. Before we started, I asked her if she knew who Jesus Christ or God were. She did not know either. Because she was born and raized in China, she had never had the opportunity to learn of God of Jesus Christ. I had the opportunity to teach about them before talking about the Restoration. It was a sweet experience for me and the spirit was so strong. She was so focused on everything that we were teaching and before we left,she told us that we were invited to come to her home any day that we wanted. She said that she would love to hear and learn more about our church. We are planning on going on Wednesday to do Family Home Evening with her and her son. We want to teach her about Jesus Christ and are planning to watch the movie, Finding Faith In Christ. I am so excited and looking forward to it!
So that is what is going on here with the people we are teaching! It is so busy! And like I said, our English class is getting bigger and bigger and we are getting more and more people to teach each week from our English class. It is so cool to see how that works! People bring their friends, we do a required 30 minute introduction about us and why we are in Korea, and then they want to learn more about our church! It is so fun to see! Because of our English class, we also are meeting with two other families this week and another woman! I will be excited to see where these go!
Another fun thing that happened was just today! Sister Brady and I were walking in the outside market looking at the fruits and veggies to buy for the week, and we came to a new little restaurant. We were both starving and trying to decide what we wanted to have for lunch. A woman opened the window and motioned for us to come inside, so we decided to try it out. The woman came to take our order and started talking to us in broken English, not knowing that we spoke Korean. After talking for a few minutes, we got her information and are planning on meeting with her and her son for a 30x30 program to teach her about the gospel and some English later this week. It is so fun how Heavenly Father puts people in our way that are willing and ready to learn. This work is so fun and everyday we see how the Lord's missionaries are just instruments for the Lord here on the earth to do His work! It is so great and humbling to be that instrument and I am trying my best to keep my Heavenly Father's trust so that I can teach those of His children that are ready for the true gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives!
I love this work and I love being here! I am so grateful for all of your love and support at this time! I feel so blessed to have such angels in my life!
I love you all!
커시 자매
Sister Kersey


Letter #23

From July 1st...


This week we were able to see many miracles. The first happened with our investigator. This woman is in her sixties and has a Buddhist background. Last week was the first time she prayed and I talked about the miracle that that was to witness and how it strengthened my testimony of my Heavenly Father and how He knows us personally. This week, we taught her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel. It was the first lesson where I was able to teach exactly half of the lesson with my companion and not need her help or for her to explain again what I was "trying" to teach! It was a wonderful feeling! I shared with her Joseph's experience in the grove when he prayed to God the Father and was visited by Him and His son Jesus Christ. I recited Joseph Smith's First Vision and the spirit filled the room so strong. Over the weeks, I can see a huge change in this woman and it has humbled me to see how the Lord works with His children.

Later during the week. we met with her again to play ping-pong (yes, I am learning how to play ping-pong! Haha! I still am horrible at it! I thought the kimchi would help with that, but I guess not...not yet anyway! HAHA) That morning right after I woke up, I said to my companion, "We need to ask 서 자매님 (Sister Soe) to get baptized today." My companion just said, "ok" and we dropped the subject. Later during companionship study, my companion said, "So are we still planning on asking Sister Soe to get baptized today." It just then hit me that I had said that that morning and didn't even know where that thought came from, because it came out of my mouth before I even thought about it. I said, "Well I guess so." Before playing ping-pong, we decided to watch the Restoration video with her to give her a visual of Joseph Smith's life and story. My companion and I bore strong testimony at the end of the video and you could cut the spirit in the room with a knife it was so strong. Sister Soe told us that she felt something in her heart. We asked her then to be baptized. My heart was racing right before I asked her and I used better Korean than I have ever used before. The words seemed to not be my own. I did so well that even Sister Soe and the bishop's wife who was with us both started freaking out about my Korean before she could answer my question. She finally answered and agreed to be baptized! We are planning to have her baptismal service on the 22nd, and promised her that we know that she will know our message is true by that date if she continues to pray, read the Book of Mormon, and come to church! 

Later this week, we met with a little girl and her parents from our English class. We are starting to do a 30x30 program with her to learn English outside of class. A 30x30 program is where we teach about our church for 30 minutes and then about English for the next 30 minutes. We met the family in the parent's flower shop and sat around on benches with flowers all around us! We asked them about their religious background, in which we found out that they believe in Jesus Christ and have been going to a Christian church for the past seven years. We taught them about families and how our families have been blessed with the gospel. We introduced them to the "For the Strength of Youth" Pamphlet and how we were raised with these standards and explained how Jennifer, their daughter would also benefit from them. The parents gave us beautiful bouquets of flowers when we left and said that they plan to come to church as a family this next Sunday! We are so excited, because they are such a beautiful family and we can see how the gospel will bless their lives abundantly!

This next week we are starting our new semester of English classes and to start off the program, we are doing our Music and the Spoken Word fireside right after the class for our spiritual thought. We have asked the ward to come and for EVERYONE to bring friends! Everyone is so excited about it and have been telling us the friends that they are planning to bring. We can see this being a great opportunity for missionary work to teach people about the Restoration and also for our ward members to strengthen their testimonies of the prophet Joseph Smith. I am so excited to see how it turns out!

This week has been so much fun! The weather is starting to get hotter and very humid! My hair is always wavy and curly! It is fun! We just got our air conditioning working today which is a relief! Haha! But I am loving the work and the adventure of it all! I feel very blessed at this time to be the Lord's missionary! There is no place I would rather be! 

I love you all and am thankful for all of your kind letters and words of encouragement and love!
I hope you all have a fabulous week!

커시 자매

Sister Kersey

From July 9th...

Happy Fourth of July! My favorite holiday and of course it is only celebrated in America! Haha! It sounded like you all had a ton of fun at the party! I wish I could have been there for all the excitement!
This week was CRAZY and went by SO fast! I feel like it was just P-day! We met with 서 자매님 (Sister Soe) again this week and she is doing great! We are still planning on her baptism on the 22nd and we are all so excited about it. She came to church yesterday and our ward absolutely loves her. She fits in perfectly! We taught her about having faith this week and what she can do to develope stronger faith. She is still struggling with the concept that there is a God and it is hard for her to pray because she feels that it is awkward. It is so hard to see her struggling because it is something that is so dear to me...being able to pray to my Heavenly Father whenever and where-ever I want to and knowing that He is listening to me.
We also met with a new investigator this week to teach her the lessons. Her name is 박 자매님 (Sister Park) and she is absolutely wonderful! She has been attending our English classes on Thursday and asked us if we could start a Book of Mormon class because she thinks that the Book of Mormon is an answer book....which it is!!! She has so many questions right now about if she should be getting married and if she could be a good mother. We started meeting with her and taught her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. She has a Catholic background and goes to mass every week with her mother, but as we taught, she said that she could feel that what we were saying and teaching was true. We asked her to read a few chapters from the Book of Mormon and we met with her again later in the week. We had a big discussion about faith and the steps of faith that you must take to return to God again. We asked her to be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority on the 22nd with Sister Soe. She said that she would prepare for that date and that she believes what we had taught was true.
One of the highlights of my week (other than having a PB & J sandwich for the first time in 3 months!!! HUGE HIGHLIGHT) was going to one of our grandma's houses for lunch. I love visiting the widows and grandmas of my wards! We talked with her about her health and about how her family is doing. She fed us so much and then gave us all the extras for dinner...I love Korea because they always send food home with you after stuffing you full! She is doing well, but is sick. She needed to make kimchi, so as she sat on the floor with her piles and piles of cabbages, we sang her favorite hymns to her! It made her whole day and mine too! I was smiling from ear to ear when we left because we were able to lift someone that we love so much!
Yesterday I also had another fun experience! Sister Brady had been in 연산 for five transfers now and had never been to the end of our area. So we hopped onto a metro and headed to the end of the terminal! As we were riding, we saw that it kept getting more and more country! It was so beautiful and green and we could see small farms all along the mountains. When we finally got to the end, we were in a tiny town with almost no homes or people around. We felt good about this area though and started walking toward homes, talking to the couple people that we found on the way. As we were walking, we saw this beautiful home. In the front of the home was a small grandma hunched over pulling weeds around her garden. I said hello to her and we asked if we could help her. She looked surprized and to our complete astonishment, she said YES!!! (NO one in Korea says yes when you ask them if you can help them!!!) We were so excited! We got on our knees in our skirts and started pulling weeds in her yard and talking with her about her life and her beliefs. Her back had been hurting her so badly and she was so happy to have us helping her as a service. She started singing old Korean loves songs as we worked and I was probably the happiest missionary alive at that moment! I loved every second of it!!!! When we finally finished, she invited us into her home and made us tomatoe smoothies and we sang "I Am A Child of God" to her. When we finally left, she kept watching us as we walked down the road and I don't think I have ever seen a bigger smile on someone's face before. She looked at us like we were angels! That was one of the sweetest, most precious moments of my mission. It hit me that Heavenly Father knows each of His children. He knew that this grandma had a long life and her back was hurting her and all she wanted was for someone to keep her company. So, of all the places and people we could have talked to that night, He wanted us to be there for her. I love that Heavenly Father cares and knows each one of us, no matter where we are or what we have done with our lives. He love us and KNOWS us!
On Thursday, we started a new semester of English class! It was a HUGE hit! We had about 19 people come and the four of us missionaries each had to teach a class because it was so busy! After the class, we put on our special musical fireside. Everyone stayed and more people showed up! We had a total of 20 non-members there and 6-7 members and less-actives! It was AMAZING!!! We even had one of our investigators play her guitar and sing "I Am A Child of God". We were able to teach the whole first lesson about the Restoration of the gospel to all of these people and everyone in the audience was all ears! After the presentation, we set up the back of the chapel with refreshments and street boards of our church with pamphlets and Book of Mormons for people to take. Everyone stayed and mingled with eachother! It was a beautiful sight to see members interacting with people not of our faith and being missionaries by teaching them. Everyone had a GREAT time and were so excited for this new semester of English. They all said that they wanted to start bringing their friends and attending our Bible classes, etc. It was a great missionary opportunity and a huge miracle!
Well everything is going great and I am loving the work more and more everyday! I feel so blessed for the miracles that I have been able to see and witness everyday while doing this work! I hope you all have a fantastic week!
I love you all so much and I am grateful for your kind words of encouragement and love! I feel so blessed to have all of you praying and supporting me! Thank you!
커시 자매
Sister Kersey

Letter #22


WOW! What a crazy week! I am in a new area called 연산 (Younsan) and am serving with a new companion, Sister Brady! It is so fun to work with her because we are so similar and LOVE missionary work so much! At the beginning of the week, we were in a three-some with 이예정 자매님 (Sister Lee Ye Jeoung) because she was waiting for a member missionary that she is going to be companions with this transfer. It made the work so crazy because we were having to go to appointments in both areas! I didn't get to unpacking my bags until about Thursday or Friday! SO FUN!

Here in 연산, the work is much different. We have multiple appointments with investigators everyday and our English classes here are a HUGE hit in the community and in our ward. We have been finding most of our investigators from our English classes...and I am not surprised, because they are so much fun! I was so shocked to see the difference in the people here in the city, they are so with-it and fast-paced! I love it because it makes our job so much easier. These are definitely my kind of people! The ward here is also so wonderful and welcoming. They are very involved with our missionary work, but it is harder to get them motivated and excited about the work compared to my last area.

On Tuesday, we had a service project at a rest home. We help clean the kitchen and dishes after everyone eats. We wear these huge pink plastic aprons over our dresses and hair nets, because you just get soaked from head-to-foot. I love working with the Korean people because they are so fast paced and know how to get things done! I got to take all the chopsticks and spoons and clean and sort through them. You have to work as fast as possible or else the workers will come over and yell at you to go faster in Busan 사트디 (dialect) which is extremely hard to understand! We can't help but just laugh and laugh as we are working! I love every second of it!

We also had another service project on Friday in 이예정 자매님 (Sister Lee Ye Jeong)'s area. We went to a rest home and talked with all the grandmas and help clean their rooms and feed them. It was way fun but I could not understand a word they were saying. Haha that is the case with most people still, but especially grandmas.

I have finally been able to see an improvement on my Korean. It feels like you are never progressing because you can't see your progression and it is such a difficult language anyway that even missionaries who have been here over a year still feel like they don't know the language. It is so difficult, but everyday is an adventure and it is just too fun and exciting to get upset about it. I had to give a talk yesterday at church because I am the new missionary in the ward. I spoke on the atonement and missionary work. I was so shocked to have the ward members come up to me after and tell me that I had such good Korean. Haha! I couldn't believe my ears. Later in Sunday school, we sat in the lesson with a recent convert and an investigator. We were discussing what priesthood was and blessings we had received from our fathers that held the priesthood. It was then that I had seen how far I have progressed since the MTC. It was the first time that I completely understood the lesson and when asked a question or asked to share an experience, I was able to do it! I was so happy and felt so grateful that Heavenly Father has been blessing me so quickly!

One of the biggest moments for me this week was my first experience eating raw fish........yes, you heard right, Sister Kersey ate raw fish! I can't even believe that! HAHA! It was really not bad at all...you can't even taste fish...I actually thouroughly enjoyed myself. We were meeting with a potential investigator at a Japanese restaurant to talk and she ordered for us! So fun! Here in Korea, nothing fazes you! Everyday is an adventure in one form or another.

Because the musical fireside was such a hit in my last ward in 통영, we decided to do it for our ward yesterday as a practice for our investigators and less-actives. Elder Innis, one of the elders that serve with Sister Brady and I in our area, is an amazing jazz pianist so we had a fun time putting it together and making our ward excited about it. Again it was a complete success. We did a similar program about the Restoration and the spirit was so strong. Dad, like you always say, music is so powerful and can always bring the spirit! I truly believe this! I hope to be able to sing some jazz music sometime while Elder Innis plays the piano to bring back my jazz singing! I love it!

Yesterday after church, the bishop and his wife helped us missionaries go out and street contact. It was raining and the wind was crazy, but we went under a bridge in a park and tried taking advatage of the opportunity to have help from our ward. I am always so impressed with how out-going and confident these ward members are. They are not afraid to talk to anyone and I am so blown away with their testimonies of the Restored gospel. The bishop's wife kept telling me that I was fearless. Haha! I love my companion because she is fearless and it brings me confidence to get out and talk to everyone I can! I feel so priviledged to be serving with her and admire how she does the work and how focused she is. She makes missionary work fun and stress-free by just doing the work, staying on schedule, getting things done with no distractions, and having full faith and confidence in her message to the world. I admire her so much and hope to be just like her!

On Saturday, we had an English class for children. It was a blast and all the little girls loved it! We made American-style cookies (Snickerdoodles) and taught them what all the ingredients and tools were called and how to use them. We then had all the little girls go around and make the cookies using only English words. They all had huge smiles on their faces and thought the cookies were so yummy. We then explained that just as a cookie has ingredients, we can have ingredients in our lives that make us happy. We have blessings that Heavenly Father has given us that make us happy. We went around the table and talked about the blessings that we have been given. Each of the girls wrote them down on the back of their recipe cards.

I absolutely love it here in my new area and with my new companion. I love being so busy and feeling that every moment of everyday is important. I love missionary work with my whole heart. It is so fun to me...more fun than it is work. I love it! I have a very strong testimony about this work and the gospel that I am priviledged to share everyday. I know that this gospel is Jesus Christ's gospel. I know that it has the fullness of truth and I know that it is for everyone, no matter what their situation, no matter what their past, no matter what their needs are. I know that it has blessed me and that it can bless each individual in this world. I feel so priviledged and humbled to be here, in Korea, sharing this message and sharing about a God to a people that have never heard of Him before. With one investigator this week, I had the opportunity to share with her something that touched me so dearly that Ashley told me. Ashley said that she knows that God exists because of the wind, the sun, and just by being able to do things everyday. Because of her thankful heart, she knows that God is there. When I shared that with this particular woman, the spirit filled the room and I had no doubt that there was and is a God and that He knows me and this woman that I was teaching at that very moment. It was so sweet to hear this woman for the first time bow her head and pray to a God that she had never heard of. To see how she changed from that experience and to feel her faith increase was something that I will never forget.

I know that there is a God and I know that He knows each one of us individually. I know that He loves us and recognizes us. I am grateful for the love and support from each of you, my dear family and my friends. I love each of you so much and cannot express my gratitude for the prayers that I feel from you each and every day!

I love you all!

커시 자매

Sister Kersey