I cannot believe that in about 3 weeks... I will be flying to Korea. I am totally in shock. The time here at the MTC has flown like crazy. I know it has probably gone a little slower for you all, but here it has literally flown. I swear I just got here and yet my two months are almost up. 2 months will be down so soon, and then I will only have 16 months left. It just seems so weird. But I am so incredibly excited! I have learned so much more about Korean culture and the Korean language. I already love it all and especially the people. Our three native Koreans left on Monday to go back to Korea to serve their missions, and saying goodbye to them was so hard. They were all so cute! But we already decided that we'll meet back up in 2018 when we all fly to Korea for the Olympics. So its all good. ;) We also got another new native yesterday. Her name is Sister Choi. (Yes, there was a Sister Choi last week as well. They are different people.) And... she is taller than me! She is staying in our room, but the language barrier is hard. She doesn't know much English, and we don't know much Korean. We still are able to talk to her and help her though. Our broken Korean and her broken English work together to form real caveman-like conversations, but at least we can hold conversations. She is really sweet, and super easy to love. I am almost convinced all Koreans are super easy to love. Over my time being here I have met about ten to fifteen Koreans in all, and I have seriously adored all of them. Some of them have been my language teachers, some have been other missionaries... but they're all super kind and sweet.
Where in the world is the snow?! Please pray for snow! My Australian and Sri Lankan friends have never had a white Christmas. They want one so bad, as do I. The only snow they've seen is the few sprinkles of it that we have got here. I just wish it would snow!
So I'm the branch music coordinator now. It's actually kind of fun! I get to go to all the branch council meetings and leadership meetings. Only three sisters get callings so that is super exciting that I am one of them. I just make sure that there's someone to play the hymns in sacrament, a musical number, and I'm also in charge of getting music ready for priesthood meetings. Not a huge responsibility but an important one. :) I love music though, so this is perfect for me! :)
So this last week, I have experienced the gift of tongues like never before. I feel like the Lord has quickened my learning. Before, it would take me days to memorize a few Korean words, phrases, or sentence structures. But this week I have understood and remembered them so much quicker. And I have had a much easier time understanding my teachers and the native Korean sister. I don't know why it happened so suddenly. I'm not even a little bit fluent, but this week has been a much better learning week for me. Things are sticking and I am remembering them so well! I honestly believe that the Lord has quickened my learning and understanding. I leave for Korea in 3 weeks... so this is such a good thing! I can't even tell you how appreciative I am to the Lord for this tender mercy. I know there is a reason my learning and understanding has skyrocketed, I just don't know what that reason is yet. Maybe in 3 weeks, there will be someone fully ready to receive my message, which means that the Lord must also prepare me to teach it, and quickly. Maybe its for a reason that I don't fully understand. But not matter what, I totally trust the Lord and cannot be grateful enough for this past week. Even my lessons have been so much better. I am not reading off my notes as much, more just speaking from the heart and in full Korean using what I know how to say already, which may not be much, but still carries across the message I am trying to convey The gift of tongues is very real, and when we work our hardest to learn, the Lord will help us. We are never alone.
So every night, us Korean-speaking sisters get together before bed time and sing a hymn in Korean, and then someone talks about a spiritual thought or experience. We had a new intake of Korean-speaking sisters come in on Wednesday, and they were having a hard first day, as does almost everyone. One is from Germany, and it is her first time away from home, speaking very little English. She was having the hardest day of all of them. It was my turn for the spiritual thought, so I shared one of my favorite scriptures. 2 Nephi 1:15 says "But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." Isn't that such a beautiful thought? We are encircled about eternally in the arms of the Lords love. Whenever we are struggling or going through a trial, we just need to remember that the Lord understands completely what we are going through. He loves us so much and only wants the best for us. Our trials are always meant to teach of something, whether they are small or large. I know that for a fact. Trials come and go, but just remember "And it came to pass..." It didn't "come to stay." Before my mission I remember laying in bed one night thinking about the future and freaking out a little. Korea is so foreign to me and scary. But then I had this image come into my head of me hugging the Savior. I could almost feel his arms around me, implying that everything was going to be okay. Ever since then, whenever I am struggling I just think of that image in my head. We are encircled about eternally in the arms of his love. I just love that picture so much. And now it is Christmas time, and the Savior should be our main focus during this season. Christmas has gotten to be so busy, but the Savior doesn't want us to feel stressed or overwhelmed because we need to do everything for everyone, getting gifts, putting up decorations, shopping etc. The Savior just wants us to feel peace and happiness, and that is what we should focus on this Christmas season. Think of Him giving you a great big hug, and think of what peace you would feel. That is what the Christmas season should feel like. :)
Well, my time is up yet again, but I CANNOT WAIT to talk to you all next Thursday. Also, I get to email on Wednesday next week, so I'll give you exact details on when I'll call then. My pday will be Wednesday, but I get to call home on Thursday. Love, love, love you all!