Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Serving The Lord With Heart and Seoul: The Song of the 매미s

Serving The Lord With Heart and Seoul: The Song of the 매미s

The Song of the 매미s

The 매미s out, and they are loud. They are singing their songs 24 hours a day, driving the rest of us nuts. They are huge, and they like to land on your window and freak you out. The wiggle their bottom halves as they sing their song. They are mysterious creatures. And the English word for them is... Cicada. The cicadas are out. Before I came here, I had never seen cicadas before. They are weird bugs. Super loud and fairly large.... But totally harmless. My companion told me that when she was a greenie, a Korean man chased her with a cicada in his hand. She had been looking at it in the tree when he ran over, picked it up and began to chase her. Her trainer fought the man off, but it is pretty funny to hear the whole story. But unfortunately more bugs are on the way... Korea has these huge colorful spiders that come out in the fall, and they can get bigger than the size of your hand. Like, they are so big that you can't squish them with your foot by any means. They are not aggressive but from what I hear they are everywhere. Should be fun. :)

"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." D&C 25:12.  Luckily the cicadas weren't the only ones making music this week. Basically our whole week was centered around the power of music, though I don't know how that happened. ;)

On Monday, we met with this adorable member who is basically our Korean mom. She is so loving and kind. She also has a shih-tzu so whenever we visit her I get super excited because well... Chewy is a shih-tzu, and I never get to play with dogs anymore. I love playing with her dog. :) Anyway, it was my turn to share the spiritual message, so I decided to share that scripture (D&C 25:12) and ask her if she would sing her favorite hymn with us. We ended up singing three hymns with her, and she absolutely loved it. Music never fails to bring the spirit, and she was glowing by the time we left.

Then on Wednesday, we met our recent convert. She is actually Chinese, but she met the missionaries in Australia, then moved to Korea and was baptized here. She is fluent in Korean. She goes to China a lot because she still has family there. She brings Chinese Books of Mormons with her every time she goes home, and she always returns back to Korea asking for more. She gives them out to her family in China. There may not be a mission in China, but the gospel is beginning to spread there. So many missionaries here in Korea baptize Chinese people who then go back and spread the gospel to their families. It is so amazing to watch it happen. :) Anyway, when we met with her we decided to go into the chapel and sing songs with her. My companion and I had been practicing a version of "If You Could Hie to Kolob" (Sister Reed singing, me on the piano) for a ward activity that happened on Saturday, and we wanted her opinion on how we sounded. That then turned into us singing hymns for like an hour. And our recent convert's new favorite hymn is now "If You Could Hie to Kolob" even though there is no Chinese translation, and it is not in the Korean hymn book either.  Again, music has so much power. It was so fun. :)

On Friday we had a little time to practice our song again by ourselves in the chapel. In the middle of a run through of the song, the zone leaders came in with their investigator. They were showing him the chapel. One of the elders just told us to keep playing, so we did. Later, the elders told us that because of our music, that investigator felt the spirit so strongly that he almost started crying. It was only their first meeting with this investigator, so they thanked us for the miracle.

Music can be so powerful. I know that my personal spirit responds to music more than anything. If there is one thing that can make me feel the Holy Ghost stronger than anything else, it is music. Whether I am the one making the music or the one listening to it, music is one thing that can almost always make me feel the spirit. I am so thankful that I got to use music as a missionary tool this week. :)

Love you all as always! Miss you! :)

Love, Sister Maughan

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The struggle is real!

I am pretty sure I say that phrase, "the struggle is real," like 10 times every day for different reasons. But if the struggle wasn't real, I wouldn't be growing right? Sometimes it is so hot and humid that you literally drag yourself down the street  to the next appointment, sometimes your Korean lacks a little and you don't understand your landlord (also a lawyer) entirely as he yells angrily about the house not being cleaned (though we still don't know if he was mad at us or the people who lived there before... because it is spotless now), sometimes the drunk man walking down the street tries to say hi and call you beautiful in English and you just have to ignore him and keep walking, sometimes a Korean gives you something to eat or drink that has a strange flavor and you just have to swallow it down with a smile, sometimes your ward mission council meeting lasts almost two hours and you wiggle in your chair because you have been at the church house sitting in meetings for 5 full hours on Sunday and your bum hurts a little from all the sitting, sometimes you find out that Koreans purposely trash houses when they move because they believe moving is bad luck and you learn why your house was so disgusting when you moved in, and sometimes your golden investigator drops you because she is too busy to meet....

But hey, I love that the struggle is real. If everything were easy, I wouldn't grow. If everything were easy, this mission would be a vacation, not a mission. If everything were easy, I wouldn't be able to "endure" and enduring is how we become stronger. Plus, if everything were easy, I would have no stories to tell after my mission. And I want to be able to tell crazy stories after my mission. ;)

This week our golden investigator dropped us. She got a new job and said that she was too busy to meet us. We were super disappointed at first, but then she came to church on Sunday even though she didn't have time to meet us during the week. She is still golden and I know that one day she is going to enter the waters of baptism. If we are meant to still meet with her, God will provide a way. We just have to have faith and trust His plan.

So there are a lot of people on the streets proselyting for their churches in Korea. Nobody particularly likes talking to these people because they know if they talk to them, they will be super pressured into joining their church. There is actually a Korean word for them, 전도사 (jundo-sa) which translates to something like "proselyting-person" in English. To Koreans, we get grouped with them all the time since we are sharing the streets with them, but I have realized what makes us different. Unlike them, we are not spreading the gospel to force other people into joining our church. We are not trying to convince other people that our church is better than others. We are not trying to increase our membership numbers or prove that more people go to our church than the church down the street. We are spreading our gospel because we truly desire to serve others, and help them come unto Christ. We just want to take them by the hand and guide them to the path to salvation. If they choose to decline, that is their choice. We can't control other people's actions or decisions, we can just give them the chance to decide for themselves if the gospel is true. We are not here to force anyone to do anything. We are just here to give them a chance, and lovingly guide them to the right path. We share the gospel with love and kindness. We are not force's of salvation, rather, we just take people by the hand and guide them if they are ready to follow.

I am so thankful to be serving here right now. Being a missionary is the best, and time is going faster than I can keep up with. :)

Love, Sister Maughan

Monday, July 13, 2015


So this week we got to move into our beautiful new apartment! It is a mansion. It is a four man house now so we are living with two other sisters and it has seriously been so fun. But... we got to learn a little bit about Korean culture in this move. Koreans don't clean their houses before they move. I can't judge them for it because it is their culture--it's just not expected of them. But let me say, it was pretty clear that they didn't clean before they left. And we also think this apartment hasn't been lived in for quite some time. So it was... disgusting. There was like an inch of straight dirt on pretty much everything (we live on the 16th floor so we are not sure how that happened), and mold covered some of the bathroom surfaces. The counters had all sorts of dirty things on them... I don't even have names for most of the stuff we found. The stove had old food sludge burnt into all the burners. Yeah it wasn't exactly fun... but we definitely turned the house around. We Cloroxed the heck out of everything. :) It is beautiful and totally liveable now. We are so thankful to be living in the beautiful apartment we are living in. Plus, I get to sleep on two floor mats instead of one in this house! :)

So it is now July and let me just say it is SO HOT. I have never experienced heat like this before. Utah heat is dry. But Korea heat is humid. With some days getting up to 100% humidity the heat is a killer. We walk outside and it feels like we are walking into an oven. There is no escaping the heat either. We don't have air conditioning in our apartment (most Korean apartments don't have air conditioning) and we only have 2 fans between the four of us. We open all the windows at night and sleep with no blankets on. We take cold showers and still walk out drenched in sweat. It is seriously insane. I drink like 4 or 5 big bottles of water every day, and by the end of the day I am so exhausted I plop right down onto the floor after planning and just lay there. Heat has taken on a new meaning to me.

Also, I got to see the ocean for the first time in my life this week! It was from a distance. But it was still the ocean. One of our members lives close enough to the ocean to see it and I could even see the birds dipping down into the water. That was exciting.

So this week the four sisters in my house have been talking a lot about how much the world has gotten worse since we have even been on our missions. We have been getting asked a lot about the church's stance on gay marriage since it was just legalized in the US. America doesn't realize the effect its decisions have on the rest of the world. The Koreans have been freaking out about the new law too. And they have been paying very close attention to the political stuff going on in the US right now. The Koreans know more than me, and I am the American haha. In Korea, it was just legalized for a man to be married to one woman but have live-in mistresses. Members definitely freaked out about that too. The world is becoming a scary place. I am so thankful that I am a missionary right now, but we are up against a lot.

The thing is, because the world is so bad, that means that the strongest people are here right now. God knew the world would go down hill, so He saved his toughest fighters for the last days. If you are living on the earth now, that means that God chose you to come here during some of the most challenging times. You were one of the most likely ones to stay strong through the fight. Some of the people here are going to give in to the challenges. But that was not God's plan. He sent you here to be strong. Please, always remember that. He sent you here, now, because He knew you could brave the storm and fight on His side. It won't be easy, but if you continue fighting on God's team, reading scriptures, praying, believing in Him and relying on Him, you will not fail. It is when you give into the world's temptations, Satan's temptations, that you will fail. But if you are fighting on the Lord's side, if you are fighting your battles on your knees, you cannot fail. :)

I love you all as always! Miss you!

Love, Sister Maughan

 This is Daysha's bed (YO) that she sleeps on. Doesn't look very comfy! :(

Monday, July 6, 2015

McDonald's Celebration

Happy late 4th of July to all my American friends! We woke up on Saturday and realized that it was America's birthday. We didn't know how to celebrate the holiday in Korea... but I feel like we did a pretty good job. We made American flags and stuck them to the walls of our apartment, did a mini photo shoot wearing red, white and blue, and to top it all off we ate the most American food we could find in Korea... McDonald's. I absolutely love Korea... but America will always be my home and will always have my heart. :)

So time is flying.... so fast. I am like in shock. Yesterday was my 8 month mark... say what? In a month I will be halfway through my mission... and I have heard that after that the mission goes faster and faster. I am loving being a missionary though! :)

Incheon is flourishing right now. We have six investigators, and we could possibly be getting another one soon. We have been so so busy! This week we will be moving into a new house and then we will have lesson after lesson for the rest of the week. It is going to be so crazy. We have one investigator who is praying about being baptized, and if she gets an answer she will be baptized on August 29th. It is so exciting! :)

 So my companion shared a thought with me during companion ship study that I really liked, and I want to share it with you. If we don't have faith in God, does that make His glory any less? Does it make him less powerful or dull His glory? No, of course not. God is the Almighty even if we don't believe He is. So why does He command us to be faithful? It is clearly not so that He can get gain from it. The amount of faith we have doesn't change Him in any way. But God doesn't command us to do things without having a reason for us to do them. So if it is not for His good, it must be for our good, right?

I know that my faith in Heavenly Father has changed my life. Because I have faith in Heavenly Father, I can always have something to hope for. When I have trials, I can trust Heavenly Father to pull me through them. When something doesn't go as planned, I can know that it was part of Heavenly Father's plan. When I feel lonely, I have someone to talk to. I have faith in Heavenly Father because that faith has given me happiness that cannot be explained. It has given me hope. It has given me light. If I didn't know that I could rely on Heavenly Father for just about everything, I don't think I could be as happy or positive as I am all the time. Without the knowledge of God that I have, I would be lost. My faith makes me happy. And that is why I am sharing it. :)

Well, I have to go now. I love you all and miss you always! :)

Love, Sister Maughan