December 11, 2014
So yeah, I got a new companion! Or to be more accurate, I got another companion. A sister in our district that we dearly love, was sent home yesterday. She has been SOO sick since she got here. She was diagnosed with Celiac's a few weeks ago (yes, while she was in the MTC) and has had a hard time keeping food down for a while now. So after the doctor begged her multiple times to go home, the MTC presidency got involved and basically forced her to go home and heal. Her parents picked her up yesterday morning. Such a sad thing. But everything is in the Lord's timing, and while she fought her heart out to stay here, the Lord needed her to go home. She still fully plans out on coming back in a couple months. But I can't even imagine how hard it is for her. I was with her at her last doctors appointment and she kept insisting that she would be okay, and that she wouldn't go home. I feel so bad for her, but as I said, for whatever reason she was meant to go home. We will definitely miss her. But now her companion, Sister Holbrook, joined Sister Russell and I. It will be interesting, but it should be good. Adjusting to teaching with three people will be a little different, but I am not too worried about it. I love Sister Holbrook and I look forward to spending more time with her. Sister Holbrook is part Hawaiian. She is super funny and will definitely keep things entertaining. :)
So we have had some native Korean sisters staying like 3 rooms down from us for a couple weeks now, and oh my gosh I LOVE THEM!!!! They might not speak a ton of English but we speak Konglish to them and we can hold conversations. They are all so gorgeous and their style is amazing. Like if I come back from Korea wearing the same type of clothes they wear... life will be good. I will be wearing adorable clothes. Because Korean style is sooo cute! There's three of them, Sister Gim, Sister Lee, and Sister Choi. They decided that I am an "Autumn Woman" which to Koreans appartently means beautiful in a way that you don't see often. Maybe mysteriously beautiful is the better definition. But they told me I am one of the most beautiful women they've ever seen. They keep telling me that in Korea, people will come up to me all the time and tell how beautiful I am. They are amazed by my curly hair and eye color. I think its super funny, but so sweet that they think that too. One of the first days they were here, I was talking to them in broken Korean and all three of them came close to me and stared at my eyes. I have gotten a ton of compliments on my weird eye color since being here. But anyway, they kept asking what color they were and telling me that they haven't seen it before. Like I said, every day they tell me I am beautiful, and I think its so sweet. All three of them are seriously so pretty. Koreans are legitamately beautiful people. I just adore our Korean sisters! But they leave on Monday, so that will stink to say goodbye to them. They are hilarious too. We sing Kpop songs with them all the time. SO FUNNY. :) Last Sunday we were at the temple, and Sister Fuataga decided I look like a vampire. Yeah, I am as pale as a vampire. I'll own up to it. But like I said earilier, people have been obssessed with my eyes lately. Weird right? I guess in the sun they fleck gold. So yeah, I guess I'm a vampire. Thank you Mom, for giving me an eye color that is apparently so unique. International missionaries love them. They haven't seen anything like them before. ;) The Korean sisters agreed that I'm a vampire haha. Oh and another thing about Koreans... so it is totally normal for a Korean, no matter how young or old, to grab your hand or hold your hand. So the natives are constantly reaching for our hands and holding them. It always throws me off. Obviously that is not American culture at all. But I respect their culture and I try not to act too freaked out when they try to hold my hand. Its totally normal in Korean to see a boy holding hands with another boy, or a girl holding hands with another girl. It doesn't mean what it would mean in America. Its just normal for them, a sign of friendship and love.
Oh, and here's my warning to you way ahead of time. Well, like 16 and a half months ahead of time. We bow to everyone so much. The MTC encourages you to speak the language you are learning and get used to some culture changes if possible. So whenever I say thank you or hello to people I often find myself bowing. Whenever I shake hands with people I shake with my right hand, but put my left hand somewhere on my right arm. You never shake hands in Korea with your left hand just dangling. It either has to be shaking too, or must be holding on to your right arm so you are shaking hands with both hands. It is a sign of major disrespect if you shake with one hand. But anyway, back to the bowing. It is a habit that may never be broken. Though most of my thank you's are in Korean (whether I think about it or not... Korean is now the habit), even when I say thank you in English I bow. If I don't bow, it feels super weird. But 99% of the time I bow. I even bowed to the sisters I hosted last week without thinking, and they looked at me funny. Then I realized what I had done, started laughing, and apologized. Though I won't get home for a long time, this bowing habit is already stronger than me. So expect some bowing when I come home. ;)
Okay now for the spiritual part of my letter. I have finally figured out an effective way to bear my testimony in Korean, and it has made such a huge difference in my lessons. It is broken Korean, but the spirit rushes in when I attempt to bear my testimony. See, while my Korean is limited, the spirit is never limited, and the spirit speaks all languages. When I try my hardest to convey my message and the feelings of my heart, the Holy Ghost fills in the investigator on what I cannot say. I pray for the gift of tongues for me, but I also pray for the gift of interpretation for my investigator. And the Holy Ghost covers it all. As long as my heart is in the right place, even if my Korean is totally slaughtered, the Holy Ghost will help. The investigator may not understand what I am saying, but they can understand what they are feeling. And that is the most important thing. Korean is just a tool the Lord has given us to convey the message of his gospel. But the Holy Ghost is the real teacher. We are just vessels for the Holy Ghost to work through. I know without a doubt, that no matter how hard it may be to speak Korean or teach in Korean, as long as I have the spirit with me and teach from the heart, the investigator will feel something, and they will understand my message. My testimony of the Holy Ghost has skyrocketed since being here. I could not teach without the Holy Ghost's help. Korean is one of the hardest languages to learn, and some argue that it is even harder than Japanese or Chinese because the sounds are so different from English (and yes, they are... I have to retrain my speaking in some ways), but I know that the Holy Ghost will always help me. I never get discouraged because I have faith in the Holy Ghost, and it has made all the difference. While other sisters may break down because of the pressure, I am one of the few that has remained optimistic the entire time, and I am so grateful for that. I don't know how I got blessed with some much faith and optimism, but I am ever so thankful for it. Remember that the Holy Ghost does the converting. We can read the scriptures, pray, or go to church all we want. But if we are not worthy of the Holy Ghost's companionship, we will never truly feel the blessings of the truths of the gospel, or know without doubt that the gospel is true. Well, my time is now up. But I love you all. Sorry this week wasn't that entertaining, I can't even remember half of what happened. Days here are all the same. But I love it. Love you all so much! Miss you!
Love, Sister Maughan :)