Monday, April 25, 2016

Helaman 5:12

Okay so this week we got to go to the temple again!  And let me just say, I have never had to work so hard to go to the temple. Let me explain. To get out of Icheon, we have to take a terminal bus to Gangnam. It takes around 2 hours to get to the temple from Icheon. About an hour by bus, and an hour by train. So since the session we wanted to go to started at 9:30am, we bought tickets for the 7:10am bus. Usually we make it there easily if we leave at 7:10. So we didn't think much of it. But this time... we hit some stumbling blocks along the way. It had been raining and raining and raining for days (because I guess there was an earthquake in Japan...? I don't really know. Haha I can't watch the news), and for whatever reason, traffic was at a complete stop in Icheon. For an hour. At first everything was normal, and my cute companion knocked out dead asleep. I was looking out the window wondering if I would fall asleep on the ride too, when we slowed down and ended up completely stopping behind a line of vehicles that seemed to go on forever. I kept looking out the window, and looking at my watch. 10 minutes, still just the scene of endless rice fields and a few farm buildings covered in rain. 20 minutes, still the same scene. 30 minutes, we hadn't moved an inch. I turned around to see if the elders were asleep (they were sitting in the two seats behind us on the bus). They were both wide awake looking out the window. I asked them if we were going to make it. We all knew that there was a great chance we wouldn't make it to the temple on time. We decided that if we could get moving in 10 minutes, we could maybe make the 10:00 session, but as far we knew, we weren't going to be moving. Well, after an hour... literally 60 minutes of looking at those rice fields and farm buildings, we finally got moving. As soon as we got off the bus in Gangnam we called everyone we could to find out if there was a 10:30 session that missionaries could attend, because usually there are sessions specifically for missionaries and we have to attend those. President Morrise was driving so he couldn't answer the phone. Sister Morrise was on her phone and couldn't answer. The zone leaders didn't have an answer to our question. We didn't know if it was worth it to pay the money and go all the way to the temple without being able to go in. But we decided to try anyway.

We literally ran to the temple from the train station, and walked in huffing and puffing. The temple workers saw us and quickly ushered us into the temple. They assured us that there in fact was a 10:30 session that day, and that we didn't need to hurry. Anyway, so we made it to  the temple!

So here is the typical district Temple picture! :)

But there is an important lesson to be learned here. When we are trying to do something good, Satan will do everything he can to stop us. He knows where we are trying to go, and he knows that we are trying to follow the Lord. Therefore, he tries to stop us from doing good. He will send tons of vehicles packed bumper to bumper to try and stop us from getting to our destination. Just like in Helaman 5:12, he will send us storms and whirlwinds and everything he can to stop us. But we have to be strong and continue on with faith that the Lord will help us.  When we take a leap of faith, sometimes it feels like we can be leaping into darkness. Sometimes it feels like we are jumping off a cliff into an abyss and we are not sure what is going to happen. But I know that if we take the leap of faith, the Lord will either provide a net to catch us, or He will give us wings to fly.

 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

So this week is a very, very important week for us. We have 3 investigators that we will be inviting to be baptized. Our hope is that they will be baptized before I go home. And that means that they have to attend church 3 times by then. Which means that they have to attend church for the next 3 Sundays, or I will not be here to see them baptized. Two are 14 year old girls that were referred to us by a young woman. The other is a 24 year old Vietnamese woman who married a recent convert in our branch. They all have been very accepting of the gospel, and we know that with faith and hope and trust in the Lord, they can all be baptized. But it will also take a lot of work on our part. So we have made goals to be extra extra obedient and diligent this week. We want to talk to everyone we can while outside, and get to bed right at 10:30pm, leave the house right after lunch, and stay out working until exactly 9:00pm. We know that by polishing our schedule and doing all that we can to serve the Lord this week, we can invite our investigators to church and invite them to be baptized knowing without a doubt that we did everything we could, and the rest was up to our investigators and the Lord. Mostly, we are just trying to show our faith to Him by being extra obedient this week, tightening the loose bolts and polishing the scratches away. :) We are also praying even more often than we already were and more specifically. This week may in fact be the most important week of my entire mission.

We love the country! :)

Okay well that is it for today! Also, my dad just turned 40 again so wish him a happy Bearth Day (his birthday is on earth day ha ha). Love you dad! You're the coolest. And yeah, I know that every time you look in the mirror you get better looking. I am sure it hasn't changed. ;)

Love you all and miss you!

Love, Sister Maughan

Monday, April 18, 2016

12th (마지막) Transfer... 시작!

Okay so I thought I would start this email with a picture of our new district and our branch president's ADORABLE daughter. She took this selfie after church yesterday ha ha. She took it on our phone, so the quality isn't the greatest, but I thought it was worth sharing. :)

And as you can see in the picture above, my new companion is Korean! :) I am training a Korean! Her name is Sister 이수기 (or in English, Sister Lee SuGi... or even simpler, Sister Lee) . She is super cute! :)  She is learning English, but we speak mostly Korean to each other. Sometimes I accidentally speak English to her (like if she asks me a question right after we wake up in the morning and I am not all the way awake yet) without thinking. I can usually understand her Korean, but then for some reason sometimes English comes out of me. When that happens we laugh. :) And sometimes she asks me what a word in Korean is in English, and I can't think of the English word. Then she jokes that I am Korean, not American.

Anyway, I can promise you one thing. By the time I get home my brain will be mush. 6 weeks of speaking only Korean and my English is gonna fly out the door.  Sometimes I catch myself thinking in Korean and I can't switch back to English. The problem is, I am not fluent in Korean either. So basically I left on my mission speaking English expecting to master another language, but I will probably return fluent in neither language. Haha we will see. :) Anyway, my new compy is from the Daejon mission area. She was actually baptized just over a year ago, so she is a recent convert. She was baptized while I was on my mission! So that is crazy.

Another cute pic of our branch president's daughters, :)
Okay so this last week was kind of crazy. Transfers and picking up a new missionary... then new missionary training meetings and explaining mission rules in Korean (which is still a work in progress haha). It has been an adventure.

We farmed again today! We have tried so many times to get a good picture with both of us....and this is literally the best we got.

We were able to meet with almost all of our investigators this last week! We are meeting with one of the young woman's friends, and we taught them the Plan of Salvation from start to finish. They accepted it well and we think that they will get baptized soon! This work truly is the Lord's work. :) Also, since I have a Korean companion, people have started paying more attention to my Korean. Immediately after meeting me, my new compy told me that I spoke "cute Korean." I just laughed. But then on Saturday the young women started gushing over my "cute Korean" because apparently I speak Korean really... cutely....? Haha I don't know. But whenever I speak the young women always smile and say "oh so cute!" in Korean.  My companion says that when I speak Korean it is really cute and high pitched, kind of like a child. But she said that when I speak English I sound like a professional business woman. Haha who knows. Maybe you'll get to hear my "cute Korean voice" when I get home. I think it is just normal. Haha.

Anyway so this week was the beginning of my last transfer. It is so weird to think that I have been a missionary for 17 months already. I feel like I am still a brand new missionary. But then I look back and realize how much I have learned out here... and the blessings of being a missionary are priceless. I thought I knew what I wanted in life before my mission. I had pretty high dreams and desires. But going on a mission was like putting on glasses for the first time. Everything is so clear now. I know almost exactly what I want for almost everything in the future -- school, marriage, family, career, etc. My dreams and desires have both specified and broadened. My future has been refined by what I have done here. A mission was definitely the best decision I ever made.

I know that this gospel is the true gospel, and I know that Heavenly Father restored it back to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that God created a perfect plan for us through which we can return to live with him again, and with our families forever. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I just love life. :)

Love and miss you all!

With love always,
Sister Maughan

Monday, April 11, 2016

Transfer Calls!

So this week was packed with all sorts of everything! Miracles, changes, general conference... just wow. But I will start with transfer calls because I am sure you are wondering what is going on. This transfer call was quite a surprise. We had a feeling that Sister Zippro was leaving because she has been here for a while. So when President Morrise called and told her that she would be transferring, we weren't too surprised. But... the fact that President Morrise was giving us that transfer call was the surprise. Usually the APs (president's assistants) give us the transfer calls. If you hold a leadership position or will be called as a trainer, President Morrise calls. Well, neither of us currently hold leadership positions, and usually training takes 12 weeks so I thought that since I only have 6 weeks left, training was out the of the question. But I was wrong. I am going to be training a greenie for the next 6 weeks! Usually trainers are called to be trainers for 2 transfers (12 weeks), but President Morrise said this was just kind of a special situation. My greenie will be trained by me for 6 weeks, and someone else for 6 weeks. Kind of crazy! :) But I am excited. And nervous ha ha.

My MTC district! Reunited!

Okay so we finally got to watch general conference!!! And it was SO GOOD. Wow. I loved conference. Among my favorite talks were Elder Christofferson's talk about youth and Elder Holland's talk about striving and trying. I like Elder Christofferson's talk because we have especially been focusing on working with the youth, and it has been bring miracles upon miracles to this area. In fact, right after we finished watching Elder Christofferson's talk, we ended up meeting with two new investigators who a young woman referred to us. They are both 14 years old and curious to learn. We taught them the entire first lesson, and they took pictures of things we used as we taught (pictures, scriptures, etc) because they wanted to remember what they had learned. Elder Christofferson's talk pumped my comp and I up even more for that lesson. After he finished his talk, we both looked at each other and high fived each other. We knew that we truly had been following the spirit in working with the youth. :) And Elder Holland's talk.... I have a ton of notes from his talk,. that is for sure. He has always been one of my favorite speakers. But I loved how much he emphasized striving. We truly just have to do our best, and the Lord will help us do the rest. :)

Korean food! Just cuz I haven't sent any food pics.
And then there was Elder Kearson's talk about refugees. Let me just give you a run down of how that went. First, when he started talking, me and Sister Zippro looked at each other and I said, "I feel like we are watching Harry Potter" and she said "I feel like we are watching Narnia!" His accent was the best. Anyway, as he started talking about the refugees, I think all four of us missionaries went bug eyed. You see, as missionaries we literally have no clue what is going on in the world. We live in a world of innocence and peace, a  higher plane. It is kind of nice being away from the world. Well, none of us had been informed of what was going on, so when he talked about refugees and people running out of war-torn countries, we were quite confused. All the sudden the world seemed like a much scarier place than it was when we left....especially for me who has been away for 17 months now, and our district leader who has been away for 23 months. We both go home next month, and needless to say, I don't think either of us are ready to brace the world again. But we have to go where the Lord asks us to, and do what He asks us to. And if we trust in Him, everything will be okay. 

Okay, so we had so many miracles this week, I am just going to list them out:
Tuesday: We met with our Vietnamese investigator with a member. And she prayed for the first time! :) It was so cool and such a miracle, because she comes from a Buddhist background.
We also met with our Uzbekistan investigator and she agreed to keep meeting with us. She had stopped contacting us for a while because she was kind of scared (religion is kind of scary to her, as she grew up in an Islamic country), but decided that we were good people and allowed us to recontact her and meet again. We started teaching her daughter English and it went really well. :)
Wednesday: We met our English interest only investigator and he had a change of heart when we were teaching him. He said "If I start believing, then what? I think my belief is growing. Your church isn't a bad church. It is a good church." This was a huge leap for him, as he had only been meeting with us for English, and always got antsy during the gospel section of our meetings.
Saturday: We met with the referrals that our young woman gave us that I talked about earlier in the email. They are so cute and so accepting. They are getting ready to go to FSY, a version of EFY that is only in Korea and for members and nonmembers. They agreed to pray this week, and they want to keep learning with their member friend. :)

Korea is beautiful in the spring! :)

This week was packed full of so many good things, so many miracles and so many smiles. We are sad that Sister Zippro is leaving. We have watched this area go from an almost dead area to an area thriving and growing like crazy. I am nervous to train, but excited for the future. I am excited to help the work continue moving along in Icheon. :)

I love you all and miss you always! 6 more emails and I am home. I know that means a lot to my mom who has been waiting for probably what seems like an eternity. ;)

Love you! Love Sister Maughan

Monday, April 4, 2016


Hey everyone it is Braxton's birthday on Saturday... so remember to wish him a happy birthday! He is
going to be 18 YEARS OLD. Like what? Where did time even go? He was only 16 when I left. Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRAXTON!!!! 생일 축하합니다! (seng-ir chook-ha-hamnida!)

Okay so I don't have a lot of time today because we are going to Gangnam, but I will type my fastest and tell you what happened this week.

So first off, I want to teach you a Korean word. The word is 정 (jeong). It doesn't have a direct English translation, but it basically means the connection you feel with someone else. For instance, if you make eye contact with someone on the street and say hello, they may smile back at you. If you see them again later, they may say hi first. Then you see each other again, and you always say hi. You might not even know their name. But you know there is some connection between you. You know it is there. You probably wouldn't call it quite a friendship. But there is some connection. The Koreans have a word for it. How cool is that? Anyway, so when we did the youth activity last week (Frisbee... I think I talked about it in my last email), one of the nonmembers that came built some jeong with me. I kept talking to her during the game. She was super cute and super funny. I didn't learn her name until the end, but we had a connection. We had jeong. :) So anyway, this girl came to English class on Wednesday because she liked us so much, and I ended up being her teacher. :) Then she came to our next youth activity this last Saturday. She saw me and ran up and hugged me! :) Koreans don't hug. So this was a huge leap. Well, now she is my friend. :) And it all started with a little jeong. She isn't an investigator yet, but I feel like it is very important that I continue talking to her when she comes and stuff. Being a missionary is the best! I get to make so many friends! :) Missionary work doesn't always have to be teaching serious doctrine and lessons. Sometimes it starts with having a little fun with the youth and becoming their friend. Once you build jeong and become their friend, they trust you and will listen to you more. :) So fun! :)

Also Happy Easter! Thanks Mom for the bunny ears! :)
Okay so this last week we got to go to the temple. I LOVE THE TEMPLE. I didn't realize how much I needed it. I guess lately I have been feeling a little down, like I wasn't doing good enough. When I was in the Celestial Room, I prayed for a little help knowing what to do. I prayed for quite some time. All missionaries pray for what seems like an eternity in the temple, so it wasn't anything too out of the ordinary. Anyway, once I opened my eyes, two sister missionaries were sitting next to me. They were both sisters that I had been in the mtc with. I said hi to them, and we started talking. We are all going home soonish, and had all been feeling the same way. All three of us admitted to feeling "not good enough" recently, and thinking that nobody else felt the same way. Well after talking, we all realized that actually a lot of older missionaries end up feeling that way. You get to the end, look back and what you have done, and wonder if it was enough. But we realized that it was Satan's way of trying to slow us down at the end. After talking to them for a little bit, I felt so much better. God had answered my prayers so quickly, and sent me two angels to talk to in the celestial room. I was so thankful to talk to these two sisters. :)

And then when I was studying the next day, I was asking for more answers, wondering how to completely overcome the feeling of "not being good enough." While I was studying, I ran across the word "strive" multiple times. That is when I learned an important lesson. God only asks us to strive to do our best. He knows that we are not perfect. But if we are striving to do all we can, we are doing good enough. :)
Here is our district at the Temple! The flowers are coming out now! Spring is here! :)

We took a selfie after handing out a Book of Mormon on the bridge! :)

Okay, I have to go now but I love and miss you all so much!

Love, Sister Maughan