Monday, September 22, 2014

1 Transfer Down

Yes. I made it through half of training and I'm still alive! I am looking forward to see what this next transfer holds! hopefully a baptism! Our investigator Sister Kim passed the baptismal interview this last week and she is planning to be baptized this coming friday (if everything goes well)! We were able to meet with her 5 times this last week (twice with her husband)! I have been truly so blessed to be able to teach her because I may not have mentioned this before... but she speaks English very well! talk about blessed. yes I am.

This week we had several incredible appointments! For those of you who may not know much about Korea... It is considered a HUGE blessing if you have appointments in general. The people are generally very nice but always too busy to think about religion.

A miracle this week was that 10 PEOPLE came to English class. Normally we have 5-6 at the most so this was a huge blessing for us. We had a super fun time and played apples to apples with our class!

On Saturday night we had a music night with an area close to ours. We invited a lot of people and we had a big turnout! The missionaries sang and danced to a popular Korean song but that was a disaster because we didn't have time to practice...but Atleast we made the audience laugh:) 

Anyway...A scripture I read recently that describes my life perfectly right now is Alma 29:1-4. <3 READ IT! (I'm adding it in so you don't have to go look it up :) -whitney)
 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.

 I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.
I Know that this work is true. I know Jesus Christ lives. Despite missionary work being so competely challenging,  I love it. I absolutely love serving these incredible people. We don't need to be perfect to be successful in this work. Although we all have weaknesses, I know that if I do this work with the Savior, I will be successful. I love you all so much!

Sister Hurley
Me and Sister Yokum! She is going home tomorrow :( She's in my district!
Korea is soo pretty <3
Riding Bikes in shinjeoung for PDAY!
These are the Elders serving in the same branch as Sister Bonney and me!
Elder Jackson and Elder Jang! We work with them almost daily and it is really fun!

Elders cleaning the church!
The gift we gave our investigator to help her with the Word of Wisdom!
Our Church!
Worlds cutest children!
Music Night!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The hardest and BEST week of my mission

If being completely honest, this week...was the absolute HARDEST and most challenging week of my mission yet. I think that the hardest part for me was realizing that I have now been in Korea for 5 weeks and have not taught a single lesson from Preach My Gospel. We have had spiritual thoughts at members houses, read the Book of Mormon with our investigators to help them understand it better, have testified on the street, but sitting down and teaching the restoration, or the plan of salvation. or any of the full lesson plans has not been something I have experienced yet. In the MTC i had the opportunity of teaching almost daily so I felt as though I was learning and progressing. With the lack of teaching, I have been feeling as though I have taken a step backwards in progressing. I have been worried that I have forgotten how to teach because i haven't done it in a while. This was so SO hard for me to accept. Friday of last week, everything seemed to hit me so hard, i felt so low. So incredibly low and discouraged. i wanted more than anything to have an opportunity to teach. i just felt like crying. I turned to the scriptures and read several verses about having patience. i felt i had been patient for so long already but Heavenly Father wanted me to wait a little bit longer. I knew in my heart that i was supposed to be on a mission and that I was needed in bongeojin (my area) right now so I continued to trust in the Lord and in his timing. I then turned to Heavenly Father in prayer. I prayed for help. Help to free me from the place that I was. Feeling so desperate for love and support. I prayed for help to understand what i needed to do to progress. I prayed for experiences to help me learn to teach and continue learning Korean After, feeling so ultimately low, (sorry this email sounds so depressing... just wait, it gets really good)...That night i saw HUGE MIRACLES. i can't share them all but a few include:

walking home from the bus stop Friday night, sister Bonney and i started talking to a sweet lady (probably in her 20s) on the street. She was so intrigued as to who we were and what we were doing in Korea. After explaining to her who we were and what we do we asked her if we could meet with her again to share a message and she said YES. she said that she is not very religious but that she really wanted to learn more. so we have an appointment with her for FRIDAY. YIPPEEEE.

Next miracle...another day we met another lady on the street. ( we can only talk to girls on the street and the Elders can only talk to boys) This lady was so interested in us (mainly because we are foreigners that speak korean) and wanted to take us out for food right there on the street! We were a little worried that she only liked us because we are American but We now have been communicating with her back and forth and we have an appointment with her tomorrow. She said she wants to attend our church this week! She sounded sincere so we hope it happens!

The BIGGEST Miracle of the week has to do with our progressing investigator 김현숙 자매님 (sister kimhyeonsuk) . We got a text from her this past week saying that she wanted to be baptized by the end of the month! #WHAT!!!!!!!!! The missionaries have been teaching her for a couple months now and she is now ready for baptism. Heavenly Father is working so hard on her right now. Yesterday at church I was able to teach my very first lesson to her! (She had already had the first 3 lessons before I met her.) I taught her the word of wisdom. Before now we had only studied the book of mormon with her because she was having a really hard time understanding it.  (I think it is even harder to understand in the Korean translation too) Anyway.. tonight... in like 30 minutes... we are going to have dinner with her family and meet her husband. Before now, he has wanted nothing to do with our church or the Book of Mormon but now he wants to meet us because he knows how much this message has meant to his wife. Please pray for this sweet family especially  Sister kimhyeonsuk. Thank you so much!

Other highlights of the week include:
Elder Aoyagi came to Korea and spoke to our mission! It was so neat! His talk was definitely inspired. He spoke in Japanese so there was three translations going on (japanese, english, and korean) it was super cool! Also my companion has the voice of an angel so she made me sing in this small choir with her for the event. there were 8 missionaries (4 sisters and 4 elders). we sang Savior redeemer of my soul and the spirit was so strong. It was actually a really neat experience for me so I'm happy that she made me do it.

This week was full of so many incredible miracles! With Recent converts, less actives, potential investigators, and investigators we are now working with 14 people. We are truly blessed here.

Fun fact: 

The man on the street that kissed my companions hand got a new puppy (he now has 4 dogs) also he gave sister Bonney and I both huge boxes of snacks. We see him about 3 times a day because he always hangs around our church:)

Awkward moment:

When we are teaching the kids in our English class how to play big bootie so they can practice their numbers and our ward mission leader walks in (who speaks English) and asks why it is called big bootie. haha

I love you all soo much and miss you like crazy but this work is true and I love it with all my heart <3

Sister Hurley

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Holiday here in Korea!

Yesterday was something called 추석 (chewsoak) This is kind like the Korean version of Thanksgivng and it is HUGE here. Most everyone goes home to there families so the streets are completely empty and no one wants the missionaries over to their houses so what do we do? A MISSION PDAY of course! So yesterday, instead of writing home and getter groceries, we took the 2 hour bus ride to Busan to party with all the other missionaries in the mission! What did we do at this party? We ran a 5K. What? haha yep! In the middle of the heat and the humidity all the missionaries got in their p-days clothes and went for a run:) It was actually quite fun! My mission president and his wife are super fit so they decided it would be a fun activity. and it was! Most of the day we just talked with other missionaries and ate some Korean Barbeque. Overall it made for a really fun day. On the way home, my companion and I were able to meet a couple of people on the buses and share a quick message about the plan of salvation. We literally watched a women read the entire plan of salvation pamphlet in front of our face. It was awesome.

Recently We have been getting a lot of contacts for our English class. English class has actually been a really great way for us to get investiagtors. It really gives them the opportunity to feel the spirit. I really enjoy English class becasue I feel like I can actually contribute because I speak English:) (well... sorta....I feel like I am losing it) (yall probably think i'm crazy cuz all my letter have a lot of spelling errors. It's only due to lack of time I promise! hehe)

Anyway this last week we had zone meeting. This is all in Korean of course and I got complimented at the end for making it through without crying which apparently is an accomplishment for everyones first zone meeting in Korean because we can't really understand much of anything. At the very end, my companion was a complete saint and translated the testimonies for me. One elder got up and talked about love. He read the scriptures in 1 john 4:16-21 (go read them!<3) He talked about how we always say that we love God, but if we don't love someone here on earth, then we really don't love God. This is pretty much what the scriptures are saying. We are hypocrites if we say we love God but we don't love his Children. Anyway, just something that made me think.

I invited our only progressing investigator to be baptized this week. She didn't say no but she said she just needs more time. The next day she called us telling us that she wants us to meet her husband and that she told the people at her catholic church that she wouldn't be attending their meetings anymore. This was HUGE. I love watching her continue to progress.

This last week I met a lot of foreigners which was SOOO FUN FOR ME. I got to talk to all of them:) I met people from California, Texas, Italy, and the U.K. They weren't just on vacation either, they actually lived in Korea! We have one English Branch in our mission too which is super exciting.

When a guy in your phone texts us asking about English class and after giving him the information he says he wants to see a picture of us because he knows one of us will be his future wife. Don't worry mom, we didn't text him back.

That awkward moment when a drunk korean man grabs onto my companions hand and kisses it and then won't let her go until she gives him her shoe size because he really likes us and wants to buy us shoes. (the difference between drunk koreans and drunk americans) Even drunk Koreans are super nice. haha.

Anyways, I love you all! The Church is true!

Sister Hurley

I thought I would add a couple paragraphs from a letter Courtney sent me :)

What I do on p-day?
nothing really exciting... haha buy food, email, chill with other missionaries, sometimes eat at cool restaurants, play ping pong. There are ALOT of cool things in Korea to do I just haven't really done any of them yet. but I'm sure I will eventually:)

What I do Everyday?
Lots. we always have something to do and if we don't, then we are finding people. always street contacting. a lot of times we have appointments. If not with investigators, with members, or less actives. We teach English class, have meal appointments, but mostly we street contact. plus I'm a new missionary so an hour each day I get trained. do things like watch the district or role play scenarios.

All day we look for people to teach. we talk to people on the street. make them aware of who we are. hand out pamphlets and Book of Mormons, bear testimony. SERVE, or hand out english fliers. that's what i'm the best at right now because most people are actually interested in english haha. But really I just love having the time to look for opportunities all day to just serve. Just last week we saw this really old lady rolling a suitcase going to the hospital and she could barely even walk and it was POURING RAIN. like sooo hardcore. so we just went and talked to her and we were able to help her and carry her suitcase for her and walk her to the hospital. Moments like these make me soo happy.

There is this really old man that comes to our english class each week who is soo sweet and soo dedicated to learning english. He gets so excited when he understands a word in English and He absolutely loves coming to our class. Moments of watching the look on the peoples faces that we are serving is the best feeling in the world. Awww. Whit. If only you could see how much I love these people.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Life as a Missionary

Life as a missionary (especially in Korea) is pretty much the biggest adventure. I am going to start with a few fun facts about this country I already am completely in love with!
  • Koreans LOVE blonde hair. it's probably because they never see it. I stand out everywhere I go. Just last week I had a man on the street come up to me and just stop right in front of me and just stared. He looked like he had never seen anyone with blonde hair in his entire life. He looked so curious. This isn't the only time though. My companion and I have people all the time come up to us and yell "PRETTY" (in korean of course) and occasionally I will get the people who have to touch my hair to know it's real. 
  • Koreans LOVE Karaoke. well so it appears. there are Karaoke rooms EVERYWHERE here. on every street.
  • The members here feed us SO MUCH. LIKE SO MUCH. I thought I ate a lot before my mission but all the missionaries say I don't eat much at all. So dad, don't ever worry about me not eating enough! The meal I had last night will probably last me until the end of my mission.
  • Church basketball isn't really a big thing here... but CHURCH PING PONG is a big deal. a very big deal. There are ping pong tables in almost all the church building here. I feel right at home. Finally I am surrounded by people who understand my obsession with ping pong:)
A couple interesting facts about just my area, beautiful Bongohjin:
  • Hyundai is really big where I live so almost all the men work there. It was weird to wrap my mind around the face that like 80% of my ward works at the same company! different positions and all but still! super crazy! 
  • Also More people have motorcycles here than cars. It is so crazy when everyone gets off work because there are huge crowds of motorcycles going down the street. speaking of driving. Everyone drives SO CRAZY here but I haven't witnessed a single crash. My companion says that everyone is used to everyone else driving bad too so they are just really good at reacting to the crazy driving.
  •  That awkward moment when one of our Elder's investigator puts his arm around you for a group picture at the branch presidents house and you just stand there frozen like a stick not knowing what to do and not wanting to say anything because that would make him feel embarrassed. 
  • That awkward moment when my momma told me not to talk to strangers but PMG says to talk to EVERYONE. this has become a prime joke between me and my companion. especially when we say hi to people and they act like they don't hear us and speed walk away from us. When this happens we like to pretend that their mother had told them not to talk to strangers. This is the REAL reason they act like we don't exist.  

Besides the crazy fun adventures of being a missionary in Korea, the spiritual life as missionary is even greater. Although I have only been in Korea for a couple of weeks now, I have already witnessed so many miracles. We have truly been so blessed. I have grown soo much. I have really come to understand that being a missionary is a true test of all the Christlike attributes especially in companionships. This past week the Lord has truly humbled me. These past couple of weeks have been really tough. Recently I have been struggling to reach the high expectations I set for myself. I am so imperfect as a missionary and there are so many things that are so far from my reach. My best never seems good enough. I still can't speak Korean for my life. Last week during companionship inventory, Sister Bonney and I had the most led by the spirit discussion. I learned a lot about myself and what my Heavenly Father expects of me. I learned that God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He called me to Korea for a reason despite my weaknesses and inadequacies. Right now he is teaching me how truly weak and inadequate I am and how I am truly nothing without him. I am recognizing that even though my best never seems good enough to me, he accepts me anyway. Missions are so special. I am having experiences that will forever change me as a person. I am so blessed to be a missionary here in beautiful Korea. I am blessed to have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to allow me to have experiences that will help me learn and grow and progress. I want to allow my mission to change me. To truly shape me into a better person.

I love you all so much! Thank you for you LOVE and SUPPORT. I have thee best family and friends.

Sister Hurley