Monday, April 27, 2015

Family Love!!!

To start out my email this week, I will tell you about my failure of the week. I know that I am thousands of miles away from you all, but this failure will definitely confirm that I am still the same person I was when I left. So.... I definitely dropped my retainer in the toilet this week. Luckily it was only my bottom one. As soon as it started falling I yelled "NO!" and tried to catch it... but it was too late. It plopped right into the toilet. I quickly fished it out (so gross... I mean the toilet water was clean but still...) and rinsed it off with water. I wanted to clean it really good before I wore it again, so I figured boiling it was a good idea. I boiled it in some water for about 3 minutes, but then I realized it was expanding. So I pulled it out of the boiling water and rinsed it in cold water, which resulted in it shrinking too small. I scrubbed it down with some dish soap and plopped it back into the boiling water to expand it again... and then after it started expanding I quickly put it in my mouth for it to retain its shape. It was a little tighter than before I dropped it in the toilet, but my teeth are not going to move at all now. 

So this last week was a good one, but it flew by so fast I don't remember much from it. I swear that being a missionary ruins your memory. Life just goes by so fast that you forget to absorb it. I don't know how it happened, but I have been out for almost 6 months! As of next week, I will have reached my 6 month mark. 1 year left! 

We had a ward family night this last Saturday, and we played minute to win it games with the members. They had never played minute to win it games before, and they totally loved it. We played one game where you put a dab of Vaseline on your nose and try to move cotton balls from one bowl to another using your nose, and the members were laughing so hard. It was super fun! Sister Jeong and I were in charge of the spiritual message. We decided to show a Mormon Message about families and talk about the importance of showing your family love.  I shared about how even though my family is in America and I cannot see them or talk to them often, I still know that they love me. And I still love them. I bore my testimony on eternal families. Being away from family for so long has definitely increased my love for my family, and my testimony of eternal families. I have to admit that I did have to choke back a few tears when talking about my family. I love you guys! :)

This last week we also met with our miracle less active member that I talked about last week. She is beginning to have a testimony again! She read some of the Book of Mormon and truly wants to believe. She has a lot of questions, but she is progressing. She truly is a miracle, and I am so thankful that we found her.

To end, I want to express my love to my family because that is what we talked about for family night. I love you all so much and I know that even though we are so far away, we are still getting closer through this process. I am thousands of miles away, but I still love you all more than you can imagine. I miss you so much and I love you all! I pray for you every night, and I hope you are all doing well. :)

Also, shout out to the Tayson and Brielle Allred, who sent me the CUTEST pictures in the mail this week. Love you two! :)

Love, Sister Maughan

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Diamond In the Rough.

So this week, we visited a less active that turned out to be a diamond in the rough.  :) We have been visiting less actives all over the place lately, and many of them have either ignored us,  haven't been home, or have been to busy to talk to us. We were getting kind of discouraged because we weren't having any success. But last Wednesday, we knocked on a door that turned out to be a little miracle. The lady we were looking for answered, and immediately put her shoes on to come outside and talk to us.

As we began talking to her, we quickly found out that she joined the church in 1990, but fell away because, like most of the less actives here, she heard that we were a cult. She wanted to know the truth but didn't feel like it was going to be in a "cult" church. She actually went through a time in her life where she was sad and confused, and she tried to commit suicide, but something stopped her just as she was about to jump off the side of the apartment building. She wasn't sure why she had changed her mind. She hasn't been to church since 1990, but she was baptized in two other churches. She is still looking for the truth. We knocked on her door on Wednesday, but on Tuesday night she had prayed to God to know the truth. She wanted a way to find it. Well, Wednesday morning she had an appointment, but she accidentally slept in. About an hour after she woke up, we showed up at her door. God truly, truly prepares people to receive the truth. :) We ended up teaching the entire first lesson to her. She asked why a restoration was needed, so we explained about the Great Apostasy and taught about Joseph Smith. During the lesson, my companion turned to me and asked me to recite the First Vision in Korean. I of course said yes, and began the First Vision. Before, I had tried to explain things to this lady as best I could, but she refused to listen to me because she said I was a foreigner and couldn't speak Korean. But as soon as I started the First Vision, she tuned in and looked me straight in the eyes, listening intently. This was the first opportunity I have had to recite the First Vision in Korean, memorized, since I have been in Korea. I was pretty nervous, but I said a quick prayer in my heart before I begun, and the words flowed smoothly and accurately. The Spirit took its place, and my heart pounded so strongly. I have never felt the Spirit quite like that, except in the temple.  I didn't expect it to be so strong, and I actually had to fight tears a little bit as I spoke. But our Less Active listened intently, and I know without a doubt that she could feel the spirit. I had heard from other missionaries that when you recite the First Vision, the spirit is unbelievable. I can totally agree with them. There is no doubt in my heart that Joseph Smith truly did restore the gospel to the earth. After feeling the spirit so strongly, there is no way I could deny it. Unfortunately, she wouldn't set up another date for us to visit, but we will be knocking on her door here and there for a while. We gave her a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and committed her to read them. This was the highlight of this last week.

Being a missionary is not easy, but sometimes we witness miracles like this that help us remember why we came here in the first place. God is preparing hearts to receive the gospel all over the world, we just have to trust in Him and find them. Some of them are preparing to hear the gospel for the second time on the earth (less active members and former investigators), while some are preparing to hear it for the first time. But they are being prepared.

God has helped me so much this last week. Since this transfer began three weeks ago, I have experienced daily ups and downs for various reasons. The language is a constant struggle, but I am progressing. My companion is pushing me so so hard, but I am learning to pick my head up after the hard moments and move on. I have had some times of true homesickness, but then I am reminded by the spirit that I have an important purpose here, and I have all of eternity to be with my family when I come home in a year. I am learning to truly be happy. While my companion showered on Tuesday, I even started singing to music out loud for the first time since I touched down in Korea. :) It was kind of silly, but I sung out loud as I washed the dishes and I realized that God is truly helping me stay positive every single day. I slip and fall each day but He takes my hand and lifts me up. I will never stop owing Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ. Yes, I am experiencing more stress right now than I have my entire mission, but God is helping me, and I cannot deny that. I am so thankful for a loving, caring Heavenly Father who cares so much about me that he helps me be happy. :)

Love, Sister Maughan

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


First off, let me just say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite 17 year old, BRAXTON! :) I love you and miss you so much and I just want to let you know that you are amazing. :)

General Conference is better than Christmas for missionaries. We get four hours to just watch and listen to the prophets and apostles of the church. It is seriously so nice. :)

So we watched General Conference with our ward... which was really interesting actually. We were watching it in three languages at once. The sound was in English for us missionaries, the subtitles were in Korean, and we also turned on the Korean sign language person. The elders have a deaf investigator who attended, so on the screen a man would do Korean sign language. It was so crazy! Three languages at once. But it was so cool that we could all get Conference in our native languages somehow.

During one of the songs, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" we all stood up to sing it. Usually we sing hymns in Korean because we are in Korea. But we had no hymn books, and the lyrics on screen were in English. So the Koreans sang in Korean, and the missionaries sang in English. Then the sign language person on the screen sang in sign language. So between all of us, we sang that song in three languages. I haven't sung a hymn in English in so long... I forgot what it was like to understand what I was singing. But as we sung that song in three languages, the spirit hit me so strong. I knew what I was singing for the first time in almost 6 months. And immediately I truly knew that my Redeemer really does live. He suffered for each of us and because of it, we can repent. We can be forgiven. We can live with God again. My love for the Savior has increased so much since being on a mission. I have learned to rely on Him like never before. And the trials that come with being on a mission have led me to my favorite scripture over and over again. 2 Nephi 1:15. "...I am eternally encircled about in the arms of His love." (I may not have quoted that exactly but you get the point haha.) I have envisioned the Savior's arms around me so many times... it gives me more comfort than almost anything else. Sometimes I can almost feel Him hugging me telling me that it will be okay. I will never be able to express my appreciation for our Savior, Jesus Christ.

So my favorite talk from conference was definitely Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk from Sunday morning. I love Elder Holland and I was so excited to hear from him. As soon as his talk began, I knew it was one that would touch me. All the ward members around me were sobbing through the whole thing. Elder Holland really knows how to bring the spirit. Sometimes, we do jump onto the cliff, unable to grab a hold of anything. We just slide down the side of the sandy rock, anticipating a fall to our death. But our brother, Jesus Christ, is there for us, even if we can't always see him. Just when we think there is no hope left, He will grab our hands and pull us up to safety. The Atonement is a bigger gift than we can even comprehend. I do not have the words to express the love I have for my Savior.  My heart swells as I think about the pain he felt for each of us. And it makes me want to try harder to be better, because the less I sin, the less pain He has to feel. The more I sin, the more pain He feels. The more pain He felt.

If you haven't gotten to watch Conference yet, please try to watch it. Hearing the words from the prophets can bring more peace than you can imagine. :)

I know this gospel is true, and I know that the prophets are truly called of God, and they do receive revelation for us.

I love you all and miss you always!

Love, Sister Maughan :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Refiner's Fire

As a missionary, you have hard weeks. Of course we are all aware of this. This last week was one of the hardest of my mission. On Wednesday, I said goodbye to my trainer, Sister Carter. It was harder than I thought it would be. We became such good friends in the time we served together, and I learned so much from her. :) She taught me that while missionary work is work, we are allowed to laugh and smile and have fun along the way. God didn't send us on missions with the intention of us having no fun for 18 months or 2 years.

So now I have my new companion, Sister Jeong Hye Min. She is Korean of course, and she definitely knows how to work hard. She just came from an area with a very strong large ward. So when she got here and saw our small ward of about 30 active members in 안산, she was very surprised. She definitely misses her old area. But I am sure she will come to love Ansan as I do.

We had a less active come to church this week! That was so exciting. And there was an investigator family that attended church as well. Work is blossoming here in Ansan. :)

Now why was my week hard? Well, since I now have a Korean companion, she is pushing me to learn Korean. When we teach lessons, she provides no padding for when I say something wrong or cannot think of a word. Sister Carter would expound on my Korean if I didn't make sense or wasn't completely clear with what I said. She would help me if I couldn't think of a word. But Sister Jeong doesn't help me if I can't think of a word or any of that. So I am left there, feeling alone and helpless. I love sister Jeong, she is a great missionary. And I know that she is just trying to push me to learn Korean as quickly as possible. But it is definitely hard. I know that I will appreciate her pushing me in the long run, but for now and until I get used to this new teaching method, I will struggle. But what do we gain if we don't struggle?

God has placed me in the refiner's fire. He wants to make me into the tool he needs me to be. This means that I am being placed into the fire, pounded and sculpted, bent, melted and solidified into the person that God wants me to be. There are people out there that I am meant to teach, and this may just be part of God's plan to prepare me to teach them. There is a Mormon Message about a refiner's fire, and while my trials are not the same as the woman's trials, I can relate. Right now, I am being forced to learn Korean more than ever before. No it is not easy, I want to cry because it is so hard sometimes. My heart breaks when members try to talk to me and I cannot understand. But this may just be God's way of putting me into the refiner's fire. Sister Jeong is pushing me, telling me to use Korean at every possible moment. She is teaching me faster than I have learned before, and I feel as if I can hardly keep up. This last Sunday was Fast Sunday. I fasted for the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation. I need it more than ever before right now. I just have to keep remembering, I am in the refiner's fire. God is sculpting me into who I am meant to be. I have to trust that I am in the Master's hands, and He will make me who He needs me to be.

We are given trials to give us strength. It is like running long distance. During the run, you feel tired, exhausted. Your legs ache, your lungs hurt. You breathe hard and you just want to reach the finish line. But after you reach the finish line, you look back and appreciate that you ran all that way. You see how far you came from where you started. I am running right now. I am running and running. My legs ache, my lungs hurt, I am breathing hard. I want nothing more than to stop running sometimes. But I know that if I stop running, I will regret it. I will have not grown at all. I have to keep the end in mind.

I trust in God to help me through this. I know that He will. God doesn't put us in situations we cannot handle. And while I feel very overwhelmed right now, I know He will lift this burden (of learning Korean) when the time is right. I just have to trust Him and work hard to do my part. I am in the refiner's fire. I am running the distance. God will help me. :)

Love you all, miss you all! I hope your Easter was great! And I cannot wait to watch general conference next week since we didn't get it here in Korea this week. :)

Love, Sister Maughan