Monday, March 30, 2015

bangeojin, baptism, birthday...

I don't really know how to properly express how incredible this past week has been....

First I want to thank everyone for the cute birthday shoutouts! Fun how the only birthday I have as a missionary fell on pday! Today has been a really great day! It consisted of riding bikes through a bamboo forest with some other missionaries and then going to a sushi buffet. and I'm in Korea. and I'm a missionary. so how much better could it get? It's been a really fun day!

Highlights of the Week:
Like I mentioned in an earlier letter I am serving in an area pretty close to my first area and we go there sometimes for district meeting. Well this last week I received special permission from president to be able to stay in Bangeojin (my first area) after district meeting to meet up with my recent convert sister Kim! So last wednesday I was able to see her for about an hour after our district meeting<3 I felt so happy to see she is doing so well. Sister Broyles and I were also able to teach her a short lesson. What an incredible experience it was to be able to see her again when I never though I would! (It has been about 5 months) A day I will never forget.

Another highlight of the week included being able to attend Sister Kwon's Baptism in Jinju! She had already been interviewed for baptism while I was serving there but because I was transferred to shinjeoung I was able to receive permission so go support her on her special day<3 And what a great day it was. I honestly have never seen the gospel change someone so greatly. She changed her whole life around and now she is happier than she has ever been. I'm incredibly blessed for the opportunity I had to teach her and witness her taking the steps back to Heavenly Father. What an incredible day it was.

Time for the funny moments of the week. Way too many to count.. but I'll make sure to include the good stuff.

One night we were coming home from a long day and it was about 8:55 as we were walking about the stairs to the 3rd floor where our apartment is. We are the only apartment on the 3rd floor and the 2nd floor is like the apartments office. But as we reached the 3rd floor we hear someone running up the stairs and pretty soon we saw a maybe 25 year old man standing outside our door as we were opening the door... and he proceeds to say in somewhat broken english "I'm sorry... (looking at me) but... are you... solo?" (trying to ask if i'm single "can I..have your number??" to be honestly I kinda just completely froze haha didn't really know what to say but my lovely companion started to tell him that we are missionaries so we can't date.. and he just stood there and then said "oh...well I think your pretty" and then sister Broyles said "have a good night!" and we walked in the door..haha. It probably took so much courage for that poor boy to run up the stairs after us to ask for our number...should have given him the elders contact information!:) But it was seriously a matter of about 15 seconds total so we didn't think that fast! 

oh hey also this week we got another elder added to our branch so we officially have the most missionaries in one branch in our mission with 7 missionaries! 5 elders and us two sisters!

It was a really great week! I love being a missionary! Time is flying way to fast!

Sister Hurley
 
hehehehe

Companions!!

Birthday Fun!

my cute companion.
Probably the best one...
Don't judge. It's my birthday! I'm 20!

Reuniting with old members :)

Baptism :)


Costco! pday...2 weeks ago?

Birthday Package!

Seeing Sister Kim again! (on back right)

Cool Art.

A less active we are teaching, Sister Kim.

Sister Kwon's Baptism!

yay pday fun!

Reuniting with Members!
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Korea

Another really great week of missionary work! 20 people got baptized! okay okay maybe that didn't happen.. well atleast in my area but it was still a really great week of missionary work! We walked a lot and taught lessons and was filled with the spirit.  Recently I have been feeling so comfortable living here in Korea and more comfortable speaking to the Korean people and just completely happy to be where I am at and see where I am going. I have come a long ways since I initially opened my call last January and went into complete shock. haha I know people still get a kick out of watching that video...:) If you ever need a good laugh...go watch it. I was full of so many fear about the language and living in a different country and being away from my family... but I've learned as a missionary as we turn ourselves completely over to the Lord. Give him everything. not just our might and energy. but our heart and minds too. As we do this, he lifts every worry, every doubt, every fear off of our shoulders and helps us overcome every trial. Faith is the only wise way to face our fears. I know that this work that I'm doing is true. I recenlty read the talk "The fourth Missionary" and it has helped give me a vision of the kind of missionary I can become as I give everything to the Lord. I know there are plenty of people who may see what I'm doing as "naive" or "brain washed" but I know that it's not. As I open up the Book of Mormon everyday I am reminded why I am here. I know that that book is true. I know that it is a gift God has given us because he loves us. I have learned there is absolutely no way I can repay my Heavenly Father for all he has given me. I will always be in debted to Him. But I know he is grateful for the work I am doing no matter how small or big of an impact it is. He knows I am doing my best every day. I'm grateful everyday I can be here as a missionary. Korea is my holy place.
 
I love you all so much!
 
oh also.. the theme for this transfer in my zone is "how can I be a happy and faithful misisonary" and we have to answer these questions everyday. I think they are good questions for everyone even if your not a missionary:)
1.Did I serve with a thankful heart today?
2. Did I make someone smile today?
3. Did I give a compliment to somebody today?
4. Did I focus on this day rather than regretting my past wrongdoings or worrying about my future?
5. Did I try to improve a Christlike attribute today?
6 Am I happy right now?
 
Sister Hurley
 
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

First week in Sinjeong!

I think the only phrase to really describe this past week was "what just happened?" So many crazy things happened and I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

First of all I will tell you a little about our branch! So our branch has about 80 active members which is bigger than anywhere I have served! Also there is an american family in our branch! They are called the Priedmans and are from Texas but have lived in Korea for 3 years for the fathers work! So weird seeing other Americans! (besides my companion).

I don't really know how to describe what happened this last week but I will do my best!

Last Tuesday we had plans to meet an investigator so before we met I decided to read her record and noticed that last year in September the sisters in Bangeojin had found her and introduced her to the family English Program! I was one of those Sisters! Sister Bonney and I found her but she was out of our area so we referred her to the shinjeoung sister and they have been teaching her since! When I met her on Tuesday, She had recognized my blonde hair and got excited that I was the first one who originally approached her on the street. I immediately felt that she was one of the reasons I was sent to serve in Shinjeoung at this time! We had a really great lesson and I felt we really connected. God has a really funny way of working sometimes:) She is our most progressing investigator right now because she is studying the book of mormon but she believes is God, Christ, and Buddah... so that makes things a little challenging But I know God has a plan for her!

This past week I just really felt at home here in shinjeoung. Also this past week I reached my half mission point. so crazy I can hardly believe it... kinda sad. Each day just goes quicker and quicker!

Some fun news about being so close to my first area is the Sister Kang (my companion from 3 transfer) is in my district! So I see her once a week at district meeting! When we go to bangeojin for district meeting i'm hoping to meet up with my recent convert from my first area! I called her this past week and she was excited to hear I was so close!

Sister Broyles and I titled last wednesday Hospital day! we visited 3 people in hospitals. a potential investigator, a member, and a less actives mother!

A tender mercy of the week that I already mentioned a little was being able to talk to my recent convert from my first area! I was able to talk all in Korean to her which was something I couldn't do during training when I taught her so it made me reflect on how much I have progressed!

Haven't sent awkward moments for a while and Whitney asked for them so here they are!!

That awkward moment when we are proselyting with the elders and one of them says to me, "Sister Hurley you must have been a riot at stake dances" so yeah that happened...don't worry I honestly informed him that I WAS! haha:)

Also that awkward moment when this lady this past week walks up to us and sees our badges and gives us her number and tells us that she WANTS to meet us (this never happens... we were a little concerned she was like a bible basher...) so we met the next day and she took us to her office and is trying to sell us a product that apparently cures everything from a pimple to Parkinson disease and cancer...yeah awkward. but atleast she wasn't a bible basher right? We taught her how to pray and then left...

oh and some people say you find out what you want to do in life or what to major in while you are on you mission and this last week was that time for me! So not to future me: become a synchronized swimmer. yeah. we had the annual relief society meeting where my synchronized swimming skills got put to the test. It was a great way for me to meet the relief society in our branch though! what a fun group of ladies! (I don't think they do routines like that for the annual relief society meeting in america right?)
but also at the meeting I was able to see some members from my first area which was really awesome!

Anyway... out of time! gotta go! Have the best week ever! I love this work and know I am where I need to be! Love you all!!

Sister Hurley

Today I went to Costco and was SO HAPPY! I felt like I was back in america. I saw some food that I had not seen in a really long time!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Transfer Call Week - Craziness!

First of all, Grandma it was so great to see your beautiful face this week on skype! I was so blessed to have that opportunity! I hope you know how much I love you and look up to you!

Also Whitney congrats on the BOY! soo fun. all boy grandchildren in the family haha.

Well...you may all be wondering what happened this week with transfers! Well When I didn't receive a call by 10:10pm I thought I was safe and would be able to stay one more transfer with Sister Park in Jinju/Sacheon. We started celebrating and making a bucket list of things we wanted to accomplish in the next transfer but we spoke too soon because at 10:14 I received a call from the APs. I didn't want to answer it. The AP on the phone soon told me that I would be getting transferred to Sinjeoung with Sister Broyles! So i'm going back to my first zone. Sister Broyles is one transfer a head of me and I met her in the MTC. I'm so happy to be serving with sister Broyles but so sad to be leaving Jinju and Sister Park! She has impacted my life so much for the better. I will forever be grateful for the one transfer we were able to spend together<3 The next day I felt a sense of peace feeling as though I had done what I needed to in Jinju. I really felt I was able to leave the area stronger than it was when I found it so I was happy for that. It was so sad saying goodbye to all the members and our investigators. Our investigator with a baptismal date was able to attend stake conference this past week and absolutely loved it. After stake conference we ate together as a ward and I was able to give my farewell testimony. As I sat there talking with individual members I couldn't help but be completely grateful I have been able to serve in these areas and meet these incredible people. The sacheon branch is the closest thing to a family. running two areas has been tough.. really challenging. but I don't know what I would do if i wasn't able to meet some of these amazing people. Some people I will never want to forget. I'm going to try and get permission to attend her baptism in 2 weeks.

This last week I was able to attend MLCM in Busan (the meeting for sister training leaders and zone leaders). I want to leave you with a few things I learned:

First of all read 3 Nephi 13:31-34
One AP talked about the importance of living in the present. That there is no need to stress for the future. He said everyday you need to serve for that day. to not worry about tomorrow. We must be careful with the phrase "Someday I will."

Also a quick quote I read this week that I loved : "for you members of the church who hold back because of feeling of inadequacy, I plead with you to step forward, put your shoulder to the wheel, and push. Even when you feel that your strength can add little. the church needs you. the Lord needs you. Remember that the Lord often chooses "the weak things of the world to accomplish His purposes"

Anyway I love you all and hope you are doing so well! next week I hit my half way mark and I'm a little freaked out. This mission thing is going way too fast! I love this work!

Love
Sister Hurley
Was invited to a members house for dinner and games my last day. Love them.

Cuties.. Love them... the sweetest little girls

Some ward members!

Some members and Sister Kwon, our investigator! (She is in the gray coat, red hair)

My last day with the Jinju Ward :(

Sister Hophman and I!

Bought some cute paper for notes!

Saying Goodbye :(

Our Bishop!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Don't put the missionaries in charge of the musical numbers...

This last week Sister Park and I celebrated because we finished going on all the exchanges that we needed to go on! Over the past 5 weeks we went on 4 exchanges which have made this transfer absolutely fly by! This coming thursday is transfer call day and I don't want it to come because I am so happy and so content with where I am! But I know that if I have to leave that it is for a reason and that I have so many things I have yet to learn! This transfer has been full of miracels for Sister Park and I. We are teaching more people than we ever have and Sister Kwon was able to get have her baptismal interview with the district leader this past week. Right now the only problem is she needs to come to church 2 more times. She has to take a bus at 7:20 in the morning which has been really challenging! But we hope and pray we can keep her baptismal date for March 22!

This last week I was able to go on the exchange of a lifetime with Sister Hoffman! She is from Utah and is in her first transfer here in Korea. Together we were able to receive 5 contacts and find 2 new investigators that sister park and I were able to meet yesterday! Exchanges are always such great opportunities for learning! At the beginning of my mission I didn't completely understand why they were necessary but I completely understand now! It is just a great opportunity to be able to learn from other sisters!

You may be wondering why the title of this letter is "don't put the missioanries in charge of the musical numbers..." and you may be a little concerned as to what may have happened. Well long story short... apparently the songs in the childrens song book are way to high for the missionaries in the sacheon branch to sing...But we learned our lesson and won't pick songs from there anymore. We tried singing "A childs prayer" in korean for the special musical number at a young womens meeting that our branch had but I can tell you that it wasn't all that special...I don't think we will get called on to sing for a while.

Okay okay okay. It's time to talk about Korean. When people would ask I could really only say.. well it's coming. slowly but surely it's coming. But for some reason this transfer a lot of things in korean have just really clicked for me and I feel I can understand and speak so much more! I don't get nervous anymore for being able to express what I want in lessons. At times I still have complete humbling experiences when I talk to old people and have absolutely no idea what they are saying. But I know I am improving each day and I get a little bit happier each day because I understand and can speak a little more.

I want to end this letter on a spiritual note.  Recently I have been thinking a lot about change. not like moving to a new area in the mission field or physical change but the kind of change that we experience spiritually over time in our lives, or in the mission field. A couple weeks ago I told you all to read the talk "His Grace is sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. I'm not sure how many actually read it but I studied it again this week and I'm amazed at how many new things I keep learning. Some Christian churches believe that if we are saved by grace that means our works in this world don't really matter but this talk explains why are works DO matter and helps us really understand what it means to rely solely on "the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah" (2 nephi 2:8). One thing I have always strived to overcome in my life is being a perfectionist. In some ways it is good because it pushes me to work harder but in a lot of ways, I feel my best is never good enough. I ran into this problem early in the mission field when I never felt like what I was doing was good enough despite my best efforts. But I have come to learn that there are never just 2 options: being perfect or giving up. We are expected to keep trying and be content with progress in the right direction. "If we feel we are just not good enough, than we don't understand grace" "when we understand grace we can continue in patience until we are perfected." "scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God but no unchanged thing will even want to" "If you don't want to dwell with God than you aren't changed." "The miracle of the atonement is not just that we can go home but that miraculously-we can feel at home there" Just a quotes that really stood out to me in the talk that I wanted to share with you all! I have definitely have seen how my mission has changed me spiritually and how I know I feel more comfortable in the presence of God because of the changes I have made. I'm so grateful for this missionary opportunity I have to learn and change and grow spiritually. I know I will never regret this decision.

I love you all so much! Have the best week of your life!

Sister Courtney Hurley
this week we spent 2 hours trying to call members, our investigators,
the elders, and even the mission president but NO ONE ANSWERED!
sometimes missionary work is hard... okay most the time.

Cute sister Hoffman on exchanges!!<3