Wednesday, August 26, 2015

(I Don't Have A Creative Title Today)

It's Wednesday afternoon. We are at the church in the middle of district meeting. We are discussing how to better use the Book of Mormon in the conversion process. Suddenly an alarm starts wailing from Incheon city office. It sounds like World War III is beginning. The elders try and freak us out telling us that it is North Korea and the alarm is an air raid alarm. They tell us we need to run over to the underground subway station and run down the stairs as fast as we can. We laugh because lets be real, we always blame anything weird that happens in Korea on North Korea. North Korea is like South Korea's younger and every so annoying brother. We quickly find out that the alarm is an air raid alarm, but only a drill. City office was running lots of drills on Wednesday. We just brushed it off and continued our district meeting.

It's Saturday afternoon. We had a crazy morning traveling almost 2 hours to visit a less active, 2 hours back, and then trying to find a member's house. We are slightly late to English class. We find out it is our turn to teach advanced so we head into the advanced classroom. The advanced students are really good at English, almost fluent and can hold conversation really well. They begin to tell us about what is going on at the DMZ. It is about 3:30 in the afternoon. They tell us that in approximately an hour and a half, war could be declared. 5:00 was the deciding time. We have almost no idea what is going on, but we continue our day as normal. We run into some members at the church. They ask us what our emergency procedure is in case war begins. They beg us to text our mission president. So we do. We are told that if we need to move, they will let us know.

Well, we wanted to go visit the DMZ for pday sometime this transfer since the DMZ is only an hour and 20 minutes away... but looks like that isn't happening. ;) Korea's younger brother is poking us again, trying to drive us nuts until we budge. But so far, nothing too awful has happened as far as we know. So we are just continuing missionary life as normal.

This week we had 2 investigators at church! So exciting! :) And our most golden investigator ever who has been to church 15 times fellowships our new investigators every time they come. She is the cutest. The only reason she hasn't been baptized is because of the Korean word 부담. The best translation this word has, is the English word "pressure." The members kept asking her when she was going to get baptized, and because they were pressuring her she shied away from it. But I have no doubt that she will get baptized eventually. She just needs time. Every time I talk to her I love her more though. I can't wait for the day when she says a confident "yes" to the baptismal commitment. She is strong and solid and I know that she will make a great member one day. I mean, she already acts like a member, she just hasn't been baptized. :)

I have learned so much about faith this week. Our goal this week was to get 9 lessons. On Saturday, we were at 7 lessons. We had no appointments Sunday, so we were worried that we wouldn't reach the goal. But after church we were determined to get two more lessons in to fulfill our goal. We thought about who we could teach, and decided to focus on pulling in some of the youth. We ended up doing a lesson with some young women, and then with a group of primary kids.  It started with faith though. We needed faith to make a goal. Then we needed faith to fulfill it. God sees us as we make our goals, and I know that he helps us fulfill them. If we write down our plan, God sees it, and He will prepare a way for us to fulfill it. God has such a huge hand in this work. In fact, I am no the one doing the work here. It is Him. It is always Him. :)

Well today we are off to a Korean bathhouse. It is exactly what it sounds. It should be fun. :)

Love you all and miss you always!

Love, Sister Maughan

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Whole Chicken

I ate a whole chicken. I can't believe I did it and I hope that I never have to do it again. But I ate an entire chicken stuffed with rice and ginseng. It tasted good, don't get me wrong. It was delicious. But the entire chicken ended up inside me. I have a testimony that God stretches missionaries' stomachs during times of desperation, because there is no way that I ate that thing alone.

Haha anyway, yes, we had lunch with our bishop's family the other day, and they gave us this Korean traditional meal that they only eat on the hottest days of the year.  When they brought out the first chicken, I thought, "hey that will be a nice side dish." But then they placed it in front of one of the elders. Then they continued to bring out full chickens until we each had our own. We definitely didn't eat anything else that day. But it was a very appreciated meal. ;)

So this week we get to go to the temple! I am so excited. I know that I am so blessed to be serving in one of the few missions that allow us to go to the temple once a transfer. I don't think I ever mentioned this in any of my past emails, but I want to tell you about so interesting facts about the Seoul temple. Well, one in particular. When the Seoul temple was dedicated, in the dedication blessing Korea was given a promise. If the members of Korea will faithfully go to the temple as frequently as possible, North Korea will never be able to invade or attack. So far, North Korea has not been able to attack, so God is protecting Korea because the LDS members are faithfully attending the temple. How cool is that? I just wanted to share that with you. :)

This week we had 2 investigators at church. One of these investigators has been to church 14 times, and it totally going to get baptized. She just felt pressure from the members to get baptized and backed away, but still comes to church every week. I know that she will get baptized soon, we just have to be patient and give her a little space. She is basically a member, she just hasn't been baptized yet. ;) The other investigator that came to church is the first investigators' best friend. How cool is that? If one gets baptized, I am sure the other will. They are both these cute little 50 year old Korean women who come to English class twice a week and church every week. I seriously adore them.

Also, lately the sisters leaving in our house have been talking about the Book of Mormon, and how much evidence there is that it is true. Apparently just recently they were able to trace the DNA of the Native Americans back to the Middle East. If the Native Americans really are the relatives of the Lamanites (which is stated in the Book of Mormon), and they just traced the Native Americans DNA back to the Middle East (Jerusalem? ;) ), then that is just more evidence of the Book of Mormon's truth. There really was a group of people who came from Jerusalem to the Americas because God commanded them to. We knew that the Native Americans came from the Middle East before the rest of the world did. It is in the Book of Mormon. I just thought that was kind of cool, so I wanted to share that. :)

Anyway I love being a missionary  and I love serving in Korea! I also love you all and miss you always. :)

Love, Sister Maughan

 Cool stairs that looks like a Piano!
Sister Maughan and Sister Sweetnam.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Officially Half-Way!

Well I am on the down hill slope now! I am past my half way mark! I promise I am not trunky (missionary slang for more excited to go home than do missionary work). Sometimes you just need a reason to celebrate. :)

Anyway last Wednesday marked my first day as senior companion. And what an adventure that was. The plan was to pick up Sister Sweetnam, come back to the apartment and eat lunch, then let her unpack for a few hours before we headed out again. Half-way during the unpacking session the zone leaders called us. They told us that there was someone at the church who may be an inactive member. They couldn't meet with her because she was a sister. So they called us and told us to book it to the church as fast as we could. So that is what we did.

We met the sister and took her to a classroom to talk to her. And it turned interesting pretty quickly. The woman began telling us that she wanted our help finding her an American man to marry. She didn't really have gospel interest. She didn't really have English interest. She just wants to marry and American man. But she doesn't speak English. Anyway she talked our ear off for like on hour about how Korean men are just not right for her and stuff. She is about 50 years old and speaks no English at all. What an adventure.  She has been texting us asking us to help her find one ever since. We are pretty sure she was baptized years ago, but she doesn't know anything about the church (as with most Korean less actives). We want to help her feel loved but just not quite from an American man haha.... We can help her feel God's love but that is about it. ;) The things you run into on the mission sometimes....

Sunday something really sweet happened to Sister Sweetnam and I. And I have to start the story by apologizing. Dear Mom, I know that when I left it was hard for you, but I was on the other side of it. I got to see just a taste of what you went through when I left, and I now see how hard it was.

We were standing up in the relief society room waiting for one of our investigators when one of the sisters looked at us and began to tear up. She then got up and quickly left the room. We were confused and asked the other sisters around her what was going on. They reminded me that her daughter had left to go to the MTC last week, about to head on a mission to Hong Kong. Our name tags reminded her of her daughter, and she began to cry. We ran out after her and found her in a room where the lights were off. We asked her if she was okay and she reached out to hug each one of us. She started stroking Sister Sweetnam's hair as she hugged her. Koreans don't hug, but this was like a straight up squeeze-you-tight hug. She told us about her daughter leaving and how worried she was about her. We told her that everything would be okay and started telling her about miracles we had seen in the MTC and on the mission. It was the sweetest thing. Sister Sweetnam and I started tearing up too. We can't be her daughter for her, but I think we are the closest thing she has to fill the hole that her daughter left. We are definitely going to keep an eye on her and comfort her.

Love you all so much! Miss you always! :)

Love, Sister Maughan

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Transfer calls!

So yes, we just got transfer calls yesterday... and I am going senior companion! I am so nervous but so excited. I don't exactly feel adequate to do the job, but I guess if the Lord says that I can do it and is calling me to do it, that means I can do it right? One thing that I am excited for is finding my way to do missionary work, the way that the Lord is going to use me. As a junior companion, you just kind of follow your senior companion a lot of the time. But now, I will be the leader and I will get to choose what kinds of missionary activities we do. I just want to do what the Lord asks me to do, which means that my next goal will be working to always be in tune with the spirit so that I can be a tool in the Lord's hands. My new companion will be Sister Sweetnam. She will be in her 3rd transfer when we become companions, which means that she just got finished training. I will be in my 6th transfer. I am excited and nervous, but it should be a good experience. :)

Also, Wednesday is my HALF-WAY MARK!!! I don't know how it happened. I think my mid-mission crisis will be hitting soon.

So I think I am learning the meaning of courage and faith and how they go together. You have to have faith to have courage, and you have to have courage to have faith. Becoming a senior companion in a country where I feel like my language skills are so inadequate is scary, but I accepted the call with courage and faith. I feel like I am stepping into the darkness, but I think that every missionary feels that way when they are given the new responsibility of being senior. The thing is, I know that as soon as I step into the dark, there will be a light there waiting for me. And that light is Jesus Christ. The Lord never leaves us alone in this work, so we just have to be the ones to let Him in, to let Him turn the light on. Sometimes it takes a leap of courage and faith to be a tool in the Lord's hands, but He will always be there to either catch as we fall, or give us wings to fly. Either way, He is with us, and He will help us. We just have to have the courage to step forward, and the faith that He will be there to catch us.

So I am sorry that this email was so short this week. I will try and make up for it next week. This weekend it is supposed to be in the 90s and humid so hopefully I survive to see next pday... wish me luck!

I love you all so much and miss you always!

Love, Sister Maughan