Thursday, June 26, 2014

Week 2 and I'm practically fluent in Korean!

I hope you all can sense the sarcasm in my letter title. Korean just keeps getting more challenging, but I truly do love learning it! It is actually coming along quite well little by little and I fully attribute that to the spirit that is helping me.

This past week was INCREDIBLE! Last P-Day our district got to play sand volleyball (which anyone who knows me knows volleyball is my absolute favorite) so that was a blast! apparently it's a Korean district tradition to play every P-day so that is always something to look forward to. We also got to do a session as a district in the provo temple which was amazing! Today we are going to do sealings which I have never done before so I am looking forward to that.

DAD I HOPE YOU HAD A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY ON SUNDAY AND I HOPE YOU RECEIVED MY LETTER. It sounded like momma and the kids spoiled you which is good:)

Sunday night devotional Janice Kapp Perry and her husband spoke to us so that was a neat experience! It was quite entertaining when she told a story of how her husband asked her out in music class by telling her that her lips looked like they were made for more than playing the clarinet! haha and then her husband got up and gave her a big smooch on the lips while she was speaking at the devotional! haha

This last week my investigator Pheko became my second korean teacher! His real name is Brother Scoville and I really enjoy the way he teaches! One thing that I really gained a testimony of this last week is that I am not here to learn Korean, I am here to learn the language of the spirit. This is for all you wondering how Korean is coming along! One day my teacher sent us into the computer lab and my teacher told us that we had one hour to learn 20 words and 2 phrases and then come back and tell him what we had learned. For some this may seem easy but if you could fully understand the extent of Korean phrases and how challenging it is to learn you would see why I somewhat doubted my ability to do it. Our teacher told us to seek the spirit and to have faith that we could do it. I said a prayer before and pleaded that the spirit could be with me while I learned the phrases and I was able to do it as I relied on the spirit! I learned all 20 words and both phrases. The Spirit is incredible. This is why I love being a missionary so much.

One thing that has been tough this past week is that my poor companion has been pretty sick with a cough and possibly bronchitis. On Monday we got to walk out of the MTC gates into the real world to go get her some medication. It was fun to feel like a real missionary walking the streets with people waving at us. She has been so good to continue to work hard despite how difficult it may be to be sick at this time. She seems to be improving so hopefully she will feel better soon!

Monday night I got to Meet my new mission president and his wife! It was really fun to finally meet them. They have a 16 year old son who will be moving to Korea with them. I could really feel their strong spirits as they bore testimony to us.

Tuesday Night Devotional was the most amazing experience I have had here at the MTC yet. We got to hear from D Todd Christofferson. Also Sitting on the stand was Elder Bednar, Oaks, Ballard, Anderson, and Nelson of the quorum of the 12! I had never been that close to so many apostles of the Lord before and the spirit truly testified to me that they are men called of God. I also sang in the choir for that devotional so it was really neat experience. 

I am so incredibly grateful for all the love and support I have felt while I have been in the MTC so far. Although its only been 2 weeks, being a missionary and learning Korean is the most challenging thing I have been faced with in my life. (probably mostly because of the pressure I put on myself to be perfect at it) It's hard being away from everyone I love so dearly and I know it is only going to get more challenging. Monday night was the first time I shed a tear because I missed you all so much but the next day I prayed so hard because I was feeling discouraged and during personal study my prayer was answered. I was reading in 1 nephi 17 when nephi was commanded to build a ship and no one believed he could do it. His brethren were murmuring and said in vs 21 "yeah and we might have been happy". Sadly, I kind of felt like that was my attitude on Monday night. I was thinking about home and dwelling on the past. During this personal study I was reminded that this mission I am on is not about me. It all about Christ and I know that more happiness than I have ever experienced before awaits me as I serve God and help bring souls unto Christ. I Know that if I have a good attitude, always remember my purpose and forget myself, I will have a great and successful mission. 

I love you all so much and I pray for you everyday! I love being a missionary! 

Love, Sister Hurley

My District playing volleyball on pday! yay

Gold Fish Snack Pack! Aunt Teresa sent these! We love them.

We are weird. Temple Pic

Elder Murdoch in my District

My companion is a goof. Lover her!

The girls going to the same mission that came the same day! I love them so much!

Me and Sister Eyring.
 A girl I met at BYU who I love so much! Little did I know she is actually President
 Eyering's granddaughter!
My friend Sister Gazdik from BYU!

Meeting my mission president and his wife!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

First Week!

Annyeounghaseyo Family and Friends!!

I only have an hour to write so I'll try to get as much in as I can but SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED.
I'm ALIVE, and loving every minute of the MTC!

Day 1- My friend from BYU Dani Hamblin who is going to Italy on her mission got to be my host the first day and how grateful I was for that! She helped me with the adjustment so much! I got my companion and her name is Sister Dayley. I actually had communicated with her on Facebook through the Korea Busan Mission page before coming here so it was fun to actually meet her in person. We are definitely different, but she is super great and I love her already! We have a room to ourselves that has six beds in it. haha. Also, I absolutely love my district SO MUCH! It is full of 10 elders and then Sister Dayley and me. The elders are good at keeping Sister Dayley and me sane while we attempt to learn Korean all day.

Funny story about Korean- The very first day here, I walked into classroom and my teacher started talking to me only in Korean. I literally didn't undersstand a single word that he said except for "hello"....haha and then he pointed to the board which had different Korean words on it and I assumed he wanted me to read it so I started reading it. (side note- because I was so stressed and overwhelmed about being able to learn Korean, I decided to learn the alphabet before I entered the MTC-- so at this point, I already knew how to read) While reading the board, everyone in the room just looked at me like "what?! how do you know that??" haha my companion leaned over to me and whispered "Everyone in here has been trying to learn the alphabet for the past hour and you just come in here and start reading!" haha. I thought that was pretty funny. I am SO GLAD that I learned the alphabet before I came because it made the first day a lot less overwhelming!

So.. My teacher is Gunnel hyeoung jae nim (brother Gunnell) and he only speaks to us in Korean. EVER. We keep trying to make him speak English but he won't do it. So about 90% of class everyday is us playing charades trying to guess what he is saying. But we are learning SO much everyday and it is incredible. We can already pray and bear our testimonies in Korean and say a few other phrases! At the end of class every day my teacher always says (saranghamnida) that he loves us and then goes around the room and gives all the elders hugs and me and my companion just awkwardly stand in the corner. Occasionally he will bow to us so that's a plus. :)

Day 2- We had a branch presidency meeting and one of the speakers got up and said " Don't worry about the language, you'll never learn it" haha so that was super comforting...:)

Day 3-We taught an "investigator"!!! ALL IN KOREAN. yeah what? it actually went pretty okay! haha as okay as it could go for being in the MTC 3 days.

Our investigators name is Pehko and we have taught him 5 times now. We have been mainly teaching him about the doctrine of Christ because he didn't know much about God or Christ before we taught him. We taught him how to pray and then he prayed for us! Also on our 5th lesson with him we asked him if he would be baptized and he said YES! haha if only it would be like this in Korea.. But yeah if you are wondering, We already have a baptismal date! ;)

Funny story though... the second time we taught him, Dayley Ja mae Nim (Sister Dayley) said the closing prayer and she accidentally said Brother instead of heavenly father to start the prayer and she just started laughing. like uncontrollably laughing in front of our investigator. (who is a korean teacher here) and then it made me start laughing. And then I looked up during the prayer and noticed that our investigator was smiling with his eyes still closed and his head down. For me, I think it was just a moment of "what is this life? what am I doing here learning this crazy hard language and teaching when we can't even speak the language! I ended up finishing  the prayer for her because it was hard for her to stop laughing haha.

Oh another story... sorry so much has happened! My teacher Brother Gunnel was interviewing me and he was asking me how I was liking the MTC and my companion (all in Korean of course) and I said "saranghabnida!" which means" I love you!" hahahaha.... so embarrassing I was trying to say that I love the mtc and that I love my companion... luckily he just acted like he didn't notice. but yeah.... I'm probably going to have a lot of experiences like this. So many words in Korean sound the same!

I had this moment when I was in the Bookstore with my companion and I saw two missionaries and said "look there are the missionaries!" And then I realized that I AM A MISSIONARY. So if you are wondering if i'm losing my mind.. the answer is yes. It's so amazing to be a missionary though! I love it so much.

I didn't receive any of your dear elders until Saturday for some reason so the first few days were pretty rough but THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR NOT FORGETTING ME. Letters are like Christmas. It's true. 

Gym time is fun because I get to play volleyball everyday and it's just the greatest. (4 square is also a really big deal here)  

Sunday was SO incredible. They have everyone in our branch prepare a 5 minute talk every Sunday in Korean and then randomly choose during sacrament who has to give (which is honestly pretty scary because nobody speaks korean all that great yet)  but I didn't get picked this week so that was good! I did write a killer 5 SENTENCE talk on repentance though. haha. It would have taken 5 minutes for me to read it so I had to keep it short.

Sheri Dew spoke to us Sunday night which was super awesome! Also I joined choir...and I love it. We sang in the Tuesday night devotional! Elder Ballard spoke at the devotional!! Talked about the importance of the doctrine of Christ and it was SO GOOD!

Also, I have seen SO many friends here from BYU and it is SO FUN. I love it so much.

Honestly, I can really feel the spirit helping me learn Korean, especially when I am teaching my investigator. There was a moment when I was teaching and I could read better than I ever could and I didn't feel like it was me speaking. words really were just coming out of my mouth and it was so cool and I credit that to the Spirit. We felt inspired to have our investigator read 3 Nephi 11 but I didn't know how we were ever going to find that in the Korean Book of Mormon (without taking like an hour) but I just opened it up and it was right there! THE EXACT PAGE. It was awesome! I know God is helping me learn Korean and that he will be with me every step of the way. 

Thank you all so much for all your love and support! I love you more than words can describe and I am so blessed to have you in my life. Even after this hard week of learning Korean, the Church is still true!:) and I feel so privileged to be able to share this beautiful restored gospel with the people of Korea!

Love Sister Hurley

(sorry this letter is kinda unorganized and all over the place... haha)

talk to you next week!!

p.s.s yes I have become one of THOSE missionaries who is happy all the time that it's almost weird but it's okay. it's a good thing. and YES I AM STILL FUNNY IN KOREAN. I think.

Courtney with Sister Dayley!
Courtney with her District
In front of the Provo Temple
Courtney with friends from BYU
Courtney with her BYU Roomie Elina

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Officially a Missionary!

Well, Courtney is now Sister Hurley for the next 18 months! 
She got set a part as a missionary on Tuesday night.  This was such a special night for our family as we all shared why we love Courtney and why we know she will be the best missionary out there!  Christopher (the musician in our family) wrote a song for Courtney and played it on the guitar after she was set a part.  I'll post that later after he gets it recorded. Alisa and I decided we would be her "companions" so we had a sleepover and helped her finish packing. The whole family met up for Courtney's last meal with us at Cafe Rio, took some pics, and off she went. Courtney is so thoughtful, she wrote everyone in the family their own personal letter and handed them to us as she was leaving.  We were all bawling while reading them after she left. One thing she said as we were all saying goodbye is how blessed she felt that she had a family that was so hard to say goodbye to.  We are sure blessed to have her in our lives and we will miss her so much but we know she will be the BEST missionary and we know she is where she needs to be!

 One of Courtney's friends from BYU actually ended up being her MTC host. 
Someone is definitely looking out for her :)
Lucky you! You don't have to listen to me anymore and you can now start to read Courtney's letters! We can't wait to get the first one and see how she is doing!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's Farewell Time!

Courtney gave such an incredible talk on Sunday so I wanted to
share it with you all. 

Enjoy :)

Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity of attending quite a few mission call openings. I love watching my friends open their calls and immediately know that that is exactly where they are supposed to go. I’m going to be honest in saying that when I opened my call back in January that is NOT how it was for me.

Before opening my call I had told myself I would go wherever the Lord called me for I knew this was his work and I was simply a tool to help bring souls to him. But when I first read the words Korea Busan Mission, I remember immediately feeling a sense of anxiety and inadequacy. I felt I needed to learn Korean overnight because I wouldn’t be able to share my testimony with the people of Korea until I could speak the language. I began to get discouraged when I would hear people say “good luck learning that language” or “It’s really hard to convert people there” I started reading blogs of missionaries in Korea, some who wrote about coming home with zero baptisms. I knew that what I was about to embark on was going to be the most challenging thing I was yet to experience in my life and I knew that I was going to have to fully rely on God and my Savior Jesus Christ to help me.

I remember getting ready for bed that night still in shock that I had been called to Korea when my best friend Emily Jorgensen called me into my bedroom. At the time she only had a couple weeks left before she would be leaving to serve a mission in Taiwan speaking Mandarin Chinese. She read this beautiful quote to me By Elder Holland that was about missionary work:

Don’t worry about being homesick, Don’t worry about being new, Don’t worry about the language, None of that matters. God loves you. This is the Truth. You can do it. Start fast, run hard, you can rest later.

I decided right then that I had two choices. I could either doubt everything I ever knew to be true and allow Satan to have power over me, or I could move forward with faith, trusting that the plan God has for me is way better than the plan I have for myself.

These past 4 months of waiting and preparing to leave on my mission have been challenging yet incredible. I have felt Satan more in my life than I ever have but I have also truly seen the hand of the Lord in my life more than I ever have and I have watched my testimony of this beautiful gospel grow immensely. I have learned a lot these past few months and I can honestly say that right now I am nothing but excited to serve the Lord. The thing I’ve learned the most while preparing to serve is that the Lord truly DOES qualifies those that he calls. I have also learned that God WILL strengthen us when we are weak and are going through trials IF we choose to turn to him.

The topic I have been assigned to speak on is communicating through the spirit. I was excited when I heard my topic because this is something very dear to my heart.

I know that we may all feel the spirit in different ways or in different places but for me personally I have found I feel the Spirit the most when I am in the Temple. My first semester at BYU, my roommate Emily got me in the habit of attending the temple weekly with her. It didn’t matter to her if one week was busier than another, or if it was finals week, we would ALWAYS find time to go.

Because of this habit that I continued through my freshman year, I have felt closer to Heavenly Father and I have received more personal revelation. One experience in particular that I had was when deciding whether or not I was supposed to serve a mission. Being in a freshman ward at BYU there were many girls around me receiving mission calls of their own and I wanted to know what God’s plan was for me personally. I had been praying for months asking if I was supposed to go on a mission. I remember receiving my answer while in the Jordan River temple on November 29, 2013. Before attending the temple that day, I poured out my heart in prayer to my Heavenly Father out loud in my bedroom and asked him whether or not I, Courtney Hurley, was or was not supposed to serve a mission. While in the temple that day, I received a clear answer that I was supposed to go and that I was supposed to move forward with faith and to fear not. The feelings I had that day CAN NOT be denied. I will forever remember the complete joy that I felt when I received that answer. I know without a doubt in my mind that it was the spirit that was communicating to my heart that I was to serve a mission.

3 days after receiving my answer in the temple and committing to serve a mission, on December 2 of last year, I had a dream that I opened my mission call and that it was to KOREA. To be honest, I remember waking up from that dream almost laughing a little thinking there was no way that that would happen. I even remember thinking to myself that God knew I didn’t have the ability to learn a language as challenging as Korean. Luckily I wrote down this dream that I had in my journal because when I had opened my call in January, I had forgotten that I had that dream. It wasn’t until a couple weeks after opening my call that I was flipping through my journal and read about the dream that I had.

There are over 400 missions in the church and I know that it was no coincidence that I had that dream. I know that for some reason that is beyond my knowledge at this time that I am supposed to go to Korea. God knew even back in December almost two months before I received my call that I am supposed to serve there! I know that he trusts in me and believes that I DO have the ability to learn Korean even when I doubted myself.

Proverbs 3:5-6 has helped me a lot these last few months while preparing to go to Korea.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
“In all they ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths”

To understand how we communicate through the spirit we first need to understand who the spirit is. When we came to earth, our memory of our heavenly home was taken from us. However, our father did not shut us away from his influence. He sent the Holy Ghost to comfort and help and guide all of us. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. Two important roles that he has that I am going to discuss today is he “witnesses of the Father and the Son” and he reveals and teaches “the truth of all things”.

I’d like to read a scripture in john 17 vs 3. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

I love this scripture because it focuses on the big picture. We know that this life is a time for us to prepare to meet God and in order to do this we must first come to know God and Jesus Christ. And In order to come to know God and Jesus Christ, we must first gain a testimony that they are real.

Moroni 10:5 “By the power of the holy ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

Just like this scripture says, we can know that God is real through the Holy Ghost. It’s not going to be me converting the people in Korea, it will be the spirit. I am simply a tool in the Lords hands. They will only be able to receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ if I communicate by the power of the Holy Ghost. My job as a missionary is to be worthy of the spirit so that when I teach the lessons in Korea, the spirit can testify the truthfulness of what I am saying.

I found this quote in a resource guide for gospel teaching that says:“No mortal teacher, no matter how expert or experienced, can bring the blessings of testimony and conversion to another person. That is the office of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit.”

I also know that if I am working diligently, being obedient, and doing all that I can, I will be given the gift of tongues to help me communicate with the people in Korea. There have been times I feel that I may not know enough about the gospel or that I’m not smart enough to learn Korean and when feel like that I like to resort to this quote:“You’re not being sent because you’re an expert. You’re being sent because you’re a witness. You are a witness of Jesus Christ. You are a witness of the Restoration. You are a witness of how the gospel has blessed your life. You’ve covenanted to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places. So while you should continue to learn the doctrine of the kingdom as best you can, remember, God doesn’t need experts as much as he needs witnesses.”I love this quote because it’s true. I’m not an expert, but I am a witness and I know enough. I have also seen how the gospel has blessed my life.

If there is one thing I want you to get out of this talk it is my testimony of this beautiful gospel.
I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith DID restore it.
I know that he was a true prophet and I know that we have a true prophet on the earth today President Thomas S Monson who leads and guides us.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true.
I wouldn’t be going to Korea for 18 months if I doubted the Book of Mormon to be true.
I know we CAN get nearer to God by reading it and abiding by its precepts.
I know that God lives and that the power of prayer is real and that we can turn to Him for anything and he will always be there for us.
I also know that He sent His son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and to set the perfect example for us to live by.
I know that as I am led by and respond to the spirit, I will become an important instrument in the hands of the lord.

I would like to end by thanking my family, leaders, and friends who have gotten me here today. The influence of many have led me to gain the knowledge and testimony that I need to get through these next 18 months. I have been so blessed to have all of your support while I embark on my journey as a missionary.

I’m excited to serve and teach the People of Korea this beautiful gospel!

Courtney with her nephew Jett on Farewell day

Friday, June 6, 2014


On April 12th Courtney and I got to go through the temple for the first time TOGETHER!  This was such a special day because it was the first time everyone in our family was able to be in there together. What a great experience for our family and a day we will always remember.  

The whole family!