Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Letter #30


Wow another fast week! I feel like time is starting to go faster than I have time for. Haha! This week, I feel like I have grown so much, both emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I have been trying so hard to learn how to be a more effective missionary, and I still feel like I don't know what I am doing. I guess I will always feel this way. There is just so much to learn and such a short amount of time. Haha!

Every week, my companion and I teach a Bible class at the church. It is an English Bible class, so we read the Book of Mormon Stories book in English and discuss what we learned from the certain story. A week ago, we were discussing the story of Alma the Younger and his conversion to the church. One of the woman rose her hand and asked us why so many people in the Bible and the Book of Mormon were visited by angels, but how in our days no one sees angels or God. This week, we answered her question. We read about the prophet Joseph Smith and his experience of seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ. I had the opportunity to lead the class and explain the story after we read it. I had to speak in English that was simple and easy for them to understand. From that experience, I am forever changed. I was explaining the story of the First Vision simply, as I would be explaining it to a Primary class. The spirit filled the room like I have never before felt it in my life. All was silent and all eyes on me as I knelt down and explained what Joseph had done on that spring morning. I knew at that moment that God and Jesus Christ did appear to an innocent young boy of just 14 years old. I knew that he became that prophet of Jesus Christ's full gospel and that we have that full gospel on the earth today. I could feel my spirit sing as I expressed my testimony of what happened in that experience and that we do in our day still receive revelations from Heavenly Father.

I have also been very moved this week by the power of music. One of the Elders that I serve with plays the violin. On Thursday for English class, the topic was communication, so I choose to give my spiritual thought on communication with God through prayer. Before I started with the thought, this Elder played his violin to the song "Israel, Israel God is Calling." The spirit filled the room again, just as it had during our Bible class, and as I looked into the faces of our class members, I could see a change in their eyes. When I got up in front of the class, they were ready and eager to be taught. I taught the importance of prayer and communication with our Father in Heaven. One woman in the audience was crying and everyone was changed by the power of music and the spirit.

I learned three simple truths this week. 1) This gospel is simple. It is simple to understand and it is simple to apply into our lives. When we teach with simplicity to our investigators, friends, or family, they will be able to understand because the simple feelings of the spirit will enter into their hearts. 2) Music brings conversion. Music brings a spirit that is sacred and indescribable. My testimony has been strengthened and gained through music. I see how powerful music is in touching others' hearts. And 3) Heavenly Father loves us. We are His children and He wants to hear from us. And more important, He wants us to listen so that He can respond to us. It is through purity of heart, just like a young 14 year old boy, that was innocent and pure enough to simply ask a direct question to His Heavenly Father, having unwavering faith that he would receive an answer, that we are able to have the truth on the earth today. What if we all had such pure hearts and such unwavering faith? Our prayers would not only be heard, but would be answered.

I know that this gospel is true. I know that it is simple to understand and live. I know that we can all have a personal, intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, who loves us and knows us more than we know ourselves. I have a firm testimony that as we purify our hearts, we will be able to come to know Him and also come to know who we really are. I love this gospel. I love all of you. I am thankful for an eternal family that I know will be together forever.


커시 자매
Sister Kersey

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Letter #29


What a fast week! I feel like I was just emailing yesterday, and it has already been a whole week! I feel like time is just going so fast and I can't keep up! 

I had such a fun week this week. Most of our investigators couldn't meet with us this week because of school breaks that are going on, so my companion and I had more time on our hands than we are used to and we decided to do some searching for more people to teach. My companion kept talking about going through the old area book in our house, so one night after dinner we started going through old records and calling people. We found records from back in 2004, 2006 and even some before. I thought for sure these people wouldn't remember the missionaries, or that they would have moved or changed their number by then, but we tried to call them anyway. I was shocked that within one hour, we had set up three appointments with people that hadn't met with missionaries in the last 6-8 years. It seemed like an absolute miracle! 

On Saturday afternoon, we met with one of these woman. She had met with sister missionaries back in 2006 and when I told her the missionaries' names, she was so excited to meet with us again. She went off about these two sisters that had taught her and how much she loved them and how much she missed them. I was shocked that these two sisters had made such an impression on her and it made me realize that some of these people that we are teaching and building relationships right now will always remember us and what we taught them. WOW so cool! We were able to re-teach her about the restoration of the gospel and Joseph Smith. The spirit was so strong in the room, probably the strongest I have felt it while teaching here on my mission. I know that she needed to hear that message again. She explained to us that she believed in Joseph Smith and his experience, but that she was serving in the kitchen at her church which makes it hard for her to be able to switch religions. That is a really hard concept here in Korean...switching religions or having a different religion than others in the home where you live. I hope that we will be able to meet with her again and teach her more. I am just so thankful for such diligent missionaries that kept up on detailed records and loved this woman enough to lift her and be her friend even after their missions. What good examples!

We met with 정 자매님 (Sister Jeong) on Wednesday and Friday this week and she is doing very well. I have grown to love her so much and view her as one of my most reliable friends. She explained to us that she feels different around us than other missionaries that come to her door. She watched the Restoration video and asked us if Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really appeared to Joseph Smith. I love how open she is to learning and how intrigued she is to find answers from her Heavenly Father. She is so pure and I love to see the way her countenance changes when we teach her something new.

On Wednesday, we met a woman from Bethlehem in a shopping mall in the subway station. She knows very little Korean, but agreed to meet with us. When went to her home yesterday and she showed us pictures of her home in Bethlehem and we asked her why she wanted to meet with us. She said that when we handed her a pamphlet of Jesus Christ holding the lamb, that she knew she wanted to learn about this man. She said that she tries to pray to God but doesn't know how. We taught her from the Bible about how we are all of God's children and that we can pray to Him. We taught her how to pray and prayed with her. What a sweet moment. Her enthusiasm about learning and her willingness to try and understand inspires me. I am so grateful for such wonderful people that we are meeting and have the opportunity to teach.

We heard from 박 자매님 (Sister Park) this week. We had asked her to quit drinking coffee and alcohol for a week to live the Word of Wisdom. She texted us every time she was struggling and  we would send her a scripture from the Book of Mormon and encouraging words to help her keep going. We were shocked when she texted us on Friday to tell us that she had given it all up completely and because of our prayers she was given strength to be over her addiction. She was able to go from drinking 3 cups of coffee a day to nothing overnight. And it is all because of her testimony of this gospel that gave her the strength to put her trust in God to overcome and quit. I am grateful for her example and I am blown away with how much our Heavenly Father loves His children to answer prayers and help us with any need.

I know this gospel is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves us, His children, each individually. I know that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to perform the Atonement so that we could all have peace and joy in this life, and return to live with Him again! I am so grateful for this knowledge and that I have the opportunity everyday to share that with others around me. I am always in awe that He knows exactly where we need to be in order to find His children that are searching for His gospel. Twice this week we were approached by people who were sitting or standing around us that wanted to know what feeling they felt around us. This is the Lord's work. He loves His children. I am grateful for His plan for me individually and for His love for all of us.

I love you all! I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember that you are loved!

커시 자매

Sister Kersey

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Letter #28


WHAT A BIZARRE WEEK! Our week consisted of a man from a merchant ship coming to our church to tell us America was in danger, a wealthy old man trying to stock my companion and I to ask us to marry him, and of course having a 90 year old man open the door completely nude while we were proselyting door to door. But don't worry, President and Sister Gilbert have had a very close eye on us this past week. The joys of being American girls in a foreign country. It is always entertaining.

But we had a very productive week too during all of our strange encounters. We had the opportunity to go to President and Sister Gilbert's home to have dinner and Family Home Evening last Monday night with our investigator Sister Soe and our bishop's wife, who is practically my mom here in 연산, Sister Lee. We had the most delicious meal of salmon and chicken and homemade rolls. I felt like I was back at home. We sat around at a table and in chairs and each had our own plates to dish our food onto, like we would back at home. It was the weirdest thing for me and I felt in culture shock...not even joking. I had forgotten how to eat at my one plate and realized that since being here in Korea, I have developed the worst table manners. But it was definitely a treat and we were able to sit together and share a message about the scriptures. The spirit was so strong and Sister Soe even explained her favorite scripture story with us. She was moved by the sweet spirit in the Gilbert's home and I could see a change come upon her. Her heart was opened.

We also met with our Chinese investigator, Sister Jeong. She has been practicing praying and said that she feels that she is coming to know God through doing so. She asked us if we think God really is listening to us, or if He is just sleeping. I know for sure that God hears everyone of our prayers and cares about each one individually. I know that He not only hears our prayers, but answers them. She is so moved by our messages and is so open to hearing about the gospel. It is such a miracle to see someone that did not even know there was a God or Jesus Christ to now be coming to know them personally and create a relationship with them.

On Saturday, we met with Sister Park. She is so excited to be baptized and is preparing herself to tell her family. We discussed with her the chapter in the Book of Mormon that we asked her to study. She loves the Book of Mormon so much and always comes to us with comments and questions and insights on what she had read the previous week. We taught her about the ten commandments and the Word of Wisdom. She knew this lesson was coming for a while now...she drinks three cups of coffee a day. When we asked her to quit drinking coffee and alcohol, we decided to make a pact with her. She would just have to try it for one week and we would give up something too for this week. We decided to give up chocolate (which everyone knows how addicted I am to my chocolate!!!) and every time she craved coffee, or we craved chocolate, we would text each other to motivate each other to keep going. We decided to start that Sunday morning, but when she came to church the next day, we were shocked when she told us that she decided not to go to the Pub one last time on Saturday night, but stayed at home and drank water. We were so surprised. She is doing so well and it is because she knows the truthfulness of this gospel and the truthfulness of the Word of Wisdom. I am so impressed with her example and my testimony has strengthened because of it.

This work is so great and the spirit that comes from doing it is so powerful! I am so grateful for this opportunity and for the people that have strengthened me and my testimony here. Everyday is full of a challenge and adventure and I am grateful to be part of such a wonderful work!

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

커시 자매

Sister Kersey

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Letter #27

Wow what a week. I thought I would never survive this week, but I am still alive and happy. Sister Brady finally left this area after serving here for five transfers (seven months) and turned it over to me to teach my new companion. I was so nervous to find my way around this huge city and to be the one to know the ward members and investigators. It was definitely a huge change. From that first day getting my new companion, I had to answer the phone and talk to everyone. I was actually shocked at how much I knew. I was able to suddenly understand better and clearer than ever before, and have conversations with people, and not just conversations about the gospel (which is all the vocabulary I know haha). I definitely felt some help from people on the other side supporting and uplifting me and especially giving me the confidence I needed. There is no way that I could have been able to do anything without some divine help...it is just nearly impossible after just four months in the country.
The work is really hard right now to be honest. I am in the depths of humility. I don't know how else to describe it. We are one of the busiest areas in the mission with the largest English class and the most investigators. It is really overwhelming, especially trying to teach all these people about the gospel and not having the language to do it. It is truly amazing to be sitting in a home with a mom and her son and teaching, but not knowing how it is being done. It is like someone is speaking words, but they are coming out of my own mouth. I have never had to rely so much on the Lord in my entire life. I just pray and make a pact with Heavenly Father everyday that I will be completely obedient and work my hardest, if He will just use me for whatever He wants me to be and whatever He wants me to do. So far it is working, and I truly feel like Heavenly Father is literally walking by my side. I don't know how else to describe how this work is still going forward with two Americans that know such little Korean. It is amazing and I can't believe that Heavenly Father puts this much trust in such young people to be His mouth-pieces to the world.
Our investigators are all doing very well. They are all progressing and are very open to our message. They are so patient with us and for this I am so greatful! I love these people so much. I never thought I could love anyone with this much love. I truly love them with my entire heart, that when they are struggling it hurts me too. I think this is just a small taste of how Heavenly Father feels for them. And wow, I can't even comprehend that love! It must be incredible!
We had a baptismal date set with our thirteen year old investigator, 조 자매님 Sister Cho. She wants to be baptized so badly and has been ready for about three weeks now. Her parents just separated a week or so ago and she is now living with her alcholic father. Her mom, we found out, is not her real mom and that it was her father's third marriage. This has been so hard on her and coming to our church for lessons and English class is her only escape from her falling apart world. It just completely breaks my heart to see her going through this and there are so many times that I just want to hold her and cry with her. She has not told us anything about what is going on at home but I can tell when it is hard. She is so strong, and she always leaves the church with a smile on her face! We received permission from her father to have her get baptized, but she is waiting for home life to be a little better so that her dad can come to the baptism.
Sometimes I feel like it is absolutley impossible for this work to go forward. I am trying my hardest and yet so many people just don't completely understand the importance of this gospel in their lives. It is so hard to have something so precious and so dear to me and want to share that with others, but they just don't want to believe and they choose not to listen.
But I have a firm testimony of this gospel and know that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and cares for us each individually. I know that He knows us personally and cares about everything we are going through. I know that this is His work and that through faith and obedience we are able to do what He wants us to do and ultimitely live with Him again! And what a sweet blessing. I am so greatful each day to be here. I am greatful to be among these beautiful people and experience their culture and teach them about the most precious thing in my life. What a unique and special opportunity to give my full self to my Heavenly Father in His work.
I love each and every one of you! I appreciate your words of encouragement and love you send to me! You are always in my heart and I pray for you always!
커시 자매
Sister Kersey

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Letter #26


WOW! It is a start of a new transfer and many changes are going to be happening! I am staying in 연산, and Sister Brady is being transferred. I am not going to lie...I am absolutely TERRIFIED!!! Sister Brady has almost served half of her mission in this area, for five transfers (seven months) and the she is practically one of the ward members. Which means that yesterday, all after church, the ward was crying and saying good-bye to their favorite missionary. Those are going to be some hard shoes to fill. The pressure is on...and wow, I can feel it. I just picked up my new companion today. Her name is Sister Barber and she is in her seventh transfer. We are so excited to be working together and she is already shocked at our area and the things we have lined up for this transfer. Right now we have twelve investigators that we are meeting with regularly and I already had to plan for all of this week even before my new companion came, because I kept setting up more and more appointments. We are definitely one of the busiest, if not the busiest area in the mission right now. It is so fun having days filled with back-to-back appointments!

Today, all of the transferring missionaries met with President and Sister Gilbert. The Elders from our area, Sister Brady, and I had to give a presentation on English class, as a introduction to our training that we will be doing this transfer at zone conferences. We put a skit together and made it really fun for the missionaries. Something funny, but  full of facts and of course lots of pictures of our English class to demonstrate what their English classes can look like. 

This week, we met with our Chinese investigator and her son. We had asked her last week to watch "Finding Faith in Christ". She had watched it, and her husband decided to watch it with her. Her husband had heard many bad rumors about our church, but after watching the video, he said that he knows this church is a good church and he liked the message in the movie. She kept saying that she didn't know why, but she wanted to watch the movie over and over again. We were thrilled and gave her a copy for her and her family.

We are still faithfully meeting with all of our investigators. 서 자매님 (Sister Soe) and 조 자매님 (Sister Cho) came to church on Sunday to see Sister Brady and Elder Innis's farewell talks. Sister Cho had such a wonderful time in primary with the children, and young women's with the teenage girls learning to make food. She was just glowing by the end of church and did not want to go home. We found out this week that the woman that she was living with, with her dad, was not really her mother. This woman was opposed to her getting baptized, but now the parents are separated and getting a divorce. Since the separation, she has been so much happier and is always allowed to meet with us and come to church. Her father sees us as good mentors for his daughter and she says that she loves and believes what we are teaching her to be true. We called her father last night and finally asked him for permission for her to be baptized. He gave the permission and we are going to do the paperwork this week, with her interview and hopefully plan for a baptism this Sunday. This gospel makes her so happy and it is so wonderful to see how freeing it makes her feel. Heavenly Father always finds a way for His children to be safe and receive His blessings. It is always based on His timing.

On Thursday, we had our big musical fireside after English class on the Plan of Salvation. President and Sister Gilbert came for English class and stayed for the musical performance. They video taped us "in-action" and want to send what we are doing to the area presidency. Sister Gilbert joined my class and the subject was on families. It was fun to see her interacting with the class about the strength in her family and what she enjoys doing with them. It is so interesting to see how even in English class, we can talk about our lives and the blessings we have received through the gospel on a day-to-day basis. They recognize the happiness and comfort it brings to us in how we raise our families and what we view as important. When the musical fireside was about to begin, I was shocked to see people coming in that were not in English class. More and more people kept filing in and the chairs were almost filled by the time we began. We had two of our investigators sing songs and the children sing "I'm trying to be like Jesus" at the end of the presentation. It turned out great!

I have learned so much this week. I have learned that I can do and am absolutely nothing without my Heavenly Father. I had a really hard time this week because I felt so inadequate and realized that I know absolutely nothing, both as a missionary and of course Korean. I felt so intimidated to be left here in my area, in charge of all our investigators and our members. I just felt like I couldn't do it...not because I did not want to do it, but because I felt like I did not have the knowledge to do it. But, the Lord humbled me fast by getting me sick with a high fever for a few days, and I realized that it is never about me. Not only are success from the Lord, but opportunities are from Him as well. It is by love that this work is able to go forth. That is the key to missionary work. Through love we are able to teach people about Jesus Christ. Through love we are able to lift people that are down or depressed. Through love we are able to understand people the way that Heavenly Father sees them. And through love we can do anything and everything that the Lord asks us to do. I have full trust in my Heavenly Father and that trust comes because I can feel of His love for me. I know He loves me and I know that He loves all of His children. I know this because I can feel of His love for those I teach and people I talk to everyday. This work is a special work. It is a special opportunity to feel even the smallest percent of love Heavenly Father has for His children. I love it and cherish every opportunity.

I love you all with all my heart!
Have a fantastic week!

커시 자매

Sister Kersey

Letter #25

July 22, 2012

I am so happy to hear that you all are doing so well and having a great summer! Sounds like a ton of fun! :) Now with monsoon season over, I feel like I am back in the California heat! It feels so nice but makes me think of home and those fun summers!

This week was a little rough. At the beginning of the week, we had three baptisms that we were planning for, 서 자매님 (Sister Soe), 박 자매님 (Sister Park), and 조 자매님 (Sister Cho). They were all on board and excited for their baptisms on this upcoming Sunday, but now are having family issues. Sister Soe's husband is Buddhist and being in Korea, woman must take their husband's religion or get the husband's permission to join and attend a different church. He allows her to come to the church for all the activities and to take lessons from us, but will not allow her to be baptized into our church. We met with Sister Park last Monday at the Gilbert's home to have rootbeer floats (an total treat!) and have Sister Gilbert teach us from the scriptures. Sister Park had a wonderful time and learned so much from Sister Gilbert. When we arrived home, she texted us and said that she felt something very special that night in the Gilbert's home and that she knows what we are teaching is true. More than knowing what we are teaching is true, she knows the Book of Mormon is true and loves learning from it. She is so excited to be baptized, but her mother is a die-hard Catholic who goes to church EVERYDAY to pray. She still has to get her permission and is scared to ask. We are praying for her. Sister Cho is a thirteen year old girl that we have been teaching in English class. She absolutely loves spending time with us. She came to Primary last week and loves the gospel. We got her parent's permission and started teaching her the lessons. In just four days, we had taught her all about the gospel and had asked her to be baptized! She was thrilled and we were shocked when she asked if that meant she could be a REAL member now. She absolutely cannot wait to be baptized, but when she asked her parents, they will not give her permission. It is so hard to see all these wonderful people change because of the gospel and excited to become members, but not being able to because of family circumstances. It just breaks my heart. I know that if they never get permission from their families, however, that they will accept the gospel and grow from it for the rest of their lives. I feel priviledged to have been an instument in Heavenly Father's hands to bring them a knowledge of the true gospel of Jesus Christ and help answer the questions of their souls. It is amazing to see how the truth can bring such peace and joy in people's lives and how their lives have been changed for the better by accepting the truth in their lives.

This week, we met with 정 자매님 (Sister Jeong), the lady from China. She is absolutely wonderful! We had so much fun meeting with her this week because she taught us how to make homemade 만두 (potstickers...I think that is what they are called?). They were so fun to make! I have been trying to learn how to make a bunch of Korean food from members and our investigators. They love teaching us and they get a kick out of it that we have no idea what we are doing! She is so sweet and still has absolutely no concept about God, Jesus Christ, or religion, but she is eager to learn. It is difficult trying to teach her because of the language barrier. She is fluent in Korean, but the religious vocabulary is difficult for her to understand and to remember. She is so patient and loves meeting with us. We have been trying to slowly teach her and try to give her a foundation of God and who she is and why she is here. It is a very humbling experience and I hope that we are blessing her life.

On Thursday, we had our district meeting and President and Sister Gilbert came to teach us and to do interviews. I always look forward to this every other transfer! They were so impressed to hear about our English class and the success that we have been having. That night at English class, President and Sister Gilbert showed up to check it out. They were blown away and kept taking pictures. They asked the four of us (Elder Innnis, Elder Boyack, Sister Brady, and I) to train the other missionaries in the mission on how to do English class next transfer. So that means we will be traveling all over the mission for zone conferences to teach. That should be a blast! This Thursday, President and Sister Gilbert will come to video tape the class, and after English class, we are doing our second musical fireside. This fireside will be on the second lesson: The Plan of Salvation. We are having many members of our English class and our investigators do musical numbers for it and provide food. It should turn out great and I am so excited to see how everyone reacts.

Yesterday after church, we did a run-through/preview of the fireside for Thursday with our members, with help from the other missionaries from our district. It turned out beautiful and the Spirit was so strong. It had a different feeling and affect than the Restoration fireside. There was a sweetness and very strong feeling of love during the whole performance. Heavenly Father's plan for us is so individual and so sacred, and that feeling really shown through in the music and the testimonies shared. Once again, after the program, everyone just stayed and lingered. There is such a strong spirit that these firesides bring and makes everyone "feel like family" (that is what they say). After we had dinner and cleaned up, Sister Brady was playing hymns on the piano. One-by-one the members started singing the hymns and before I knew it, we were all standing around in a circle with hymn books singing hymns together. It was a sweet moment in my mission that I will cherish forever. The spirit was so strong and there was such love. I felt like I was in the temple and could feel angels all around us! What a sweet experience. These firesides are so amazing and I feel so blessed to be putting them together and having the support from all the other missionaries. We are even getting calls from others in the mission trying to put together these firesides in their areas. What a blessing!

Transfer calls are on Thursday. I can't believe this transfer is already over...I feel like I just arrived yesterday. I hope to stay in 연산 for at least one more transfer, but I will let you know next week where I am and who I am with! I am excited to find out!

Well the work is great. I feel so blessed and I am so grateful for everyday! I know this gospel is true and I am grateful for the happiness that it brings each day into my own, personal life! I hope you all have a fantastic week!

I love you all!

커시 자매
Sister Kersey