Monday, May 23, 2016

마지막 (The Last) Email

So I don't know how it happened, but this is my last email as a missionary. My heart is full of all sorts of feelings that I can't explain. I have learned to love this country and the people here, the language and the culture. I love the Korean members, the missionaries I serve with, and just everything about being a missionary in Korea. No, it hasn't been easy. But I didn't expect it to be. It has been the most amazing 18 months of my life, and has changed my life and my expectations more than I could have ever imagined.  Going on a mission was the BEST decision I ever made.

 So here are some goodbye pictures:

This was our district's last proselyting activity together. Sticker boarding. :)

Young woman's! Including our two investigators. :)

Both me and Elder Tanner are going home, so we had to get a picture with all the youth of course! We love the youth so much! The two girls standing next to me on both sides are our investigators. :)
Our branch president's cute daughter! :) We are best friends. She cried when I had to say goodbye. It was so cute but so sad. :(

So no, we didn't get to have a baptism this week. Our investigator didn't feel like she was prepared enough. But that is okay, because I know that she will get baptized someday. And it was also a relief knowing that she wants to be baptized when she feels its right, not just because I was leaving. She is reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it, and applying it to her life just as she should be. She is still coming to church every week and progressing. She just needs a little more time. The good thing is, since I am coming home I can contact her as much as I want through Facebook and other Korean social media. We already plan on making a chat group for the two youth investigators, their member friends, and me. Missionary work doesn't end after the name tag comes off. :)

Okay so I really cannot express the amount of gratitude I have in my heart right now. I never ever thought that I would be called to serve in Korea, but here I am, and I have almost finished a full time mission here. This has literally been the BEST decision I could have ever made, and the Lord sent me to the most amazing place, with the most amazing people. Yeah, the language is a little tough, but I love Korean and my heart aches thinking that I might not have the opportunity to speak it every day after this week ends. The Korean saints are such strong incredible people. They face challenges much different than we do in America, but they do their best to stand strong and keep the Lord's work moving along here in this beautiful country. I think I will be leaving half of my heart here, and I know that it is going to be really hard getting on that plane on Friday. But I also look forward to seeing my family and friends for the first time in 18 months. I am so grateful that I have support behind me, people who love me and uplift me through this adventure in Korea, both those in America and those in Korea.

I really wish that I could put my feelings into words better, but for some reason I just can't. Serving a mission has been the biggest blessing, and the value it has had in my life is something that you can't put a price on, or express in the English or Korean language. ;)

 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
-Doctrine and Covenants 18:15

This was my mission scripture, and I don't know for sure if I brought even one soul unto repentance while I was here, but I can honestly say that the joy that I have felt serving has definitely been something that has to have had a heavenly source, and I have received endless help from above. I have lived without the things of the world for so long, yet I have been happier than ever before. The gospel is true and Heavenly Father is in heaven watching us and helping us, guiding us and teaching us. He is preparing His children all over the world to receive the truth, and I am so glad I got to be a part of His army for a short amount of time.

I know that the gospel is true, and I know that Joseph Smith truly saw God and Jesus Christ, leading up to the Restoration of the true gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that God created a plan for us. I know that through His plan we can return to Him and
live with Him and our families forever. I know that through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring the the end, we can receive eternal life and live in happiness forever. I know that if we keep the commandments and strive to live the law of heaven, we will be happy on the earth, and we will be even happier in the life to come.

I guess what I have truly learned is that the gospel is for our happiness. Heavenly Father truly wants us to be happy. That is why He created all of this for us. That is why I sacrificed my life for 18 months -- to help other people find the joy and happiness that I have found.

I am leaving part of my heart in Korea, but part of my heart lies in America waiting for me. I can't wait to see all of your bright eyes and smiling faces. And hugs.... Koreans don't really hug so being hugged will be so nice haha. :)

 Because of the time change this week will actually be 8 days long for me haha. But yeah...

SEE YOU ON FRIDAY!!!! Love and miss you all!

With love from Korea,
Sister Maughan

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Miracles Always Come

So this week was a good one! :) It doesn't quite compare with last week, but it has still been good. We got to farm again which was super fun as always! Being out in the sun and just working in the dirt was so nice! It made me feel at home ha ha. I mean, I have to admit that I didn't do much farming or gardening really when I was home... (sorry Mom and Dad ha ha)  but I certainly played in the dirt and sun a lot, I just did it wearing a slightly different uniform, and not a missionary badge.

 We also played Ultimate Frisbee again on Friday! The elders were on exchange so I was the only American there. Good thing I already know how to play because there is no way I would understand the rules in Korean ha ha. Even as old of a missionary as I am. ;) But it was super fun as always! :)

The two girls in the middle are both our investigators (the one in the striped jacket is the Buddhist one, and the one with the white shirt on is the one with a baptismal date) , and the rest of the people in the picture are members! :)

So we also had the opportunity to go to a dog cafe this week! In Korea, there are cafes you can go to where you can order ridiculously expensive smoothies and play with dogs, and it was my dying wish to go to one before I go home. So here are some pictures of me with dogs because... I love dogs ha ha! :)  Chewy is still number one though. That hasn't changed ha ha.

You know dog cafes probably aren't the most sanitary thing... but it was a fun experience. :) 

I don't know when the Elders got this pic...but they did! :) I was cold so I borrowed a members cardigan. :)

Okay so Saturday and Sunday were kind of stressful days. The investigator with a baptismal date was sick on Saturday and couldn't meet, and then couldn't come to church on Sunday because of her parents. But when she texted us on Sunday she sounded kind of upset, and we weren't exactly sure why. My heart sank as I read "don't call me today because I won't answer." She told us the reason was that if she came to church, she couldn't do homework. And her mom wouldn't let her come to church again if she couldn't finish her homework. But we weren't sure if she was more upset at her mom, or at us for asking her where she was. We know that she fights with her mom a lot, but of course we always worry that its something we did. Anyway, after hours and hours of no texts from her, a thought came to my mind. "Text her something simple. just say 'i love you!' and make sure she knows that its from you, because she has a stronger bond with you than your companion." (I was the first missionary she met, so we are tight.) So I did just that. I texted "자매님! 사랑해요! <3 love, 만  자매" and then hoped with all I had that she would reply. And about an hour later, she did! She replied, in Korean of course, "I love you too!" and then we just talked about her day lightly. I didn't pressure her or anything, just treated her like a friend. :) But the important thing was, she replied and she still likes us and isn't angry. So that was a miracle.

Also, while waiting anxiously in sacrament meeting for her reply, our other investigator texted us (the Buddhist one) saying that she was on her way.  I looked up at my companion shocked to see the text. Her parents did not give her permission to come to church, but she was coming! Part of me worried about her parents, but part of me was excited she was coming. When she showed up we asked her how she was able to come. "Well, I kind of lied to my parents. I said I was coming to the church to play ping pong with you."

So... I guess its a start. We wrote her parents a note, but she has been to scared to give it to them. She wanted to come to church so bad that she lied to them to come! I mean, of course I don't support lying to your parents ever. But that at least showed us her desire to come. And when she went to young women's she fit right in with the young women and really enjoyed the lesson (which, actually we taught haha). But it was so good to see her at church! :)

So even when we are worrying and stressed and running low on faith, if we just trust in the Lord, give Him even the tiniest bit of our trust, He will take it and make something beautiful out of it. I have to admit my faith was challenged this weekend, but seeing our investigator at church and receiving a text message from our other investigator reminded me that this is not my work after all, this is the Lord's work. And His plan is much larger and more beautiful than ours. :) We are not sure if our investigator will be able to be baptized on Sunday, but we are fasting today for it to be possible. Hopefully my last email as a missionary will be an email full of white clothing and the waters of baptism in our portable baptismal font. But if not, I will know that it was the Lord's plan. :) This is His work, not my work. And my remaining time to participate in it, while short, is a blessing. :)

Love and miss you all! See you soon ish!

Love, Sister Maughan

Monday, May 9, 2016


So first off, let me say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to my beautiful and perfect mother. :) I already said it over Skype, but might as well say it again right? :)

Okay, so this week was the most miracle filled week yet. But before I get to the miracles, I want to post some pictures. On Thursday, it was my final zone training. So I had to say goodbye to so many people because I won't see them again before I go home. So that was super sad. But I will post some pics because... pictures are better than words right? I served with all these missionaries at some point and we all became friends. So these are goodbye pictures. ㅠㅠ

Sister Capener (one of my previous companions), Sister Workman (we served in the same zone for her 7 transfers), Elder Steele (He was a zone leader when I was a sister training leader  in the same zone).

Sister Capener and Elder Ryoo (we served in the same district).
Sister Workman! :)
Elder Lee (we served in the same district).

Wow, the friendships I have made on my mission are seriously priceless. And goodbyes are not fun. But I feel like as a missionary, you have to say goodbye so much. We get transferred, go home, meet new members and missionaries etc. But I can never thank the Lord enough for the amazing people I have got to serve with in Korea.

Okay now that we got the pictures out of the way, I can move onto the miracles. Okay so really, this week was PACKED with miracles. I just have to go through it day by day, and even by doing that I probably won't be able to put it into words.

Monday: It was PDAY! Yeah. Not much to say.

Tuesday: We met with our Vietnamese investigator. Her husband is Korean and he was baptized in March. We are taking it slow with her because of the language difficulty, but we watched the Mormon Message, Earthy Father, Heavenly Father with her. This is probably my favorite Mormon Message of all time, and she really enjoyed it. :)
And then one of the less actives that I helped reactivate in Incheon (my last area) called me asking when I would visit her before I went home. She begged that I come visit her, so that was a sweet tender mercy from the Lord.

Wednesday: We met with our English interest investigator and then had English class that night. All the young women came to English class, so that was fun! :)

Thursday: This is where the miracles truly begin. We went to zone training where I bore my last testimony. And then we came back to Icheon and met with our two young women investigators. We were planning to meet them at the same time, but one was later than the other, so we just taught them separately. We taught them both about the Book of Mormon, and they both thought that it was so cool that a boy their same age was able to translate it. :) The Buddhist background young woman said she would try to read it this week, and she accepted everything well. Truly golden. :) And the other one just soaked everything in. When she showed up late, she had been sleeping because earlier that day she had been fighting with her mom. She wanted to forget it so she went to sleep. But when we called she knew she needed to meet with us. And when she met with us she told us about her family situation and how it was hard for her. She is only 14 years old, but she recognized that she also had some things that she needed to repent of, like fighting with her mom. So she said whenever she recognizes that she has made a mistake, she prays to God for forgiveness. She told us about an experience she had when she was younger, praying for her family who, at the time, was struggling financially. While praying, she was overcome with peace that she hasn't been able to explain since. She said that her heart was warm and fuzzy, and she felt a sense of comfort that left her knowing that God was there. She asked us what that feeling was and how she could feel it again. I think both me and my companion sat there, jaws dropped and eyes bugging out like a deer in the headlights in unbelief as our investigator told us about how she had already felt the Holy Ghost, and wanted to feel it again. To be honest, this has not happened on my mission up until this day, and it happened to be my 18 month mark. I don't think I could have asked for a bigger or better miracle to be a part of. So we went explained the Holy Ghost and its importance, and our investigator left feeling a lot happier than when she showed up. :)

Friday:  We met the young women investigators again and taught them about the Word of Wisdom. Because tea and coffee are so popular here, they both admitted it would be kind of hard, but they both promised to try their best to follow the word of wisdom.

Saturday: We met them both again and talked about the Law of Chastity. I was a little nervous to teach the Law of Chastity to two 14 year old girls, but they both accepted it well. We made it fun by asking them what kind of person they wanted to marry. They are both pretty mature for their age, and said things like "someone who is family centered" and "someone who just loves me." It was a super good lesson! We ended the lesson by playing badminton for a half hour with them. Super fun! :)

Sunday: We knew that our the one young women probably wouldn't be able to come to church, but we invited her anyway. And then we called the other one when we got to church. The one with permission said that she would come. We sat in the back of the chapel anxiously waiting for her to come. When the door opened, we turned around to see our other investigator, the Vietnamese one, walk in with her family. Again, our jaws dropped and eyes bulged at the miracle that was before our eyes. We had invited her to church, but she wasn't planning on coming, so we didn't think she would be there.  And then about 20 minutes later our young woman investigator showed up. We had two investigators at church! It was absolutely amazing to watch the branch members fellowship them so well. :)

Okay, well that was quite a lot for today I think. I stand in awe at the miracles I am seeing in my last few weeks as a missionary. The Lord is truly blessing me being imagination, and I feel like I haven't really done anything to deserve it. I am just well... I am here. And that is really all I can really say. I am here and willing and I will serve with all my heart the next 2 and a half weeks. I love being a missionary, and this opportunity has been the biggest blessing, bigger than I could have ever imagined!
Here's the last pic of me and my cute compie! :)
I love and miss you all! So glad I got to Skype with the fam today! :) See you in a few weeks, but talk to you next week! :)

Love, Sister Maughan

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And its May...

For 18 months when people ask me when I go home, I have been saying "I don't die until May 2016,"  ("die" is missionary slang for "going home"). Well, May has officially come. And with it has come a flood of emotions that I cant even explain. Some "dying" missionaries get to the end of their missions and deny that they are going home. Some get trunky and stop working because they know they will be going home soon. But for me, going home isn't something I am going to deny, nor is it something that I will allow to make me lazy. After talking to other old missionaries and President Morrise, I have figured that just straight up accepting that I am going home soon, but working hard up until the end is probably the least stressful way to go about it. Yes, I don't have much time left. But I still have time. :) I will not be satisfied until the day that I step off the plane in Salt Lake City.  Happy, but not satisfied.

Okay so this week was FULL OF MIRACLES. Like, wow. We have two investigators that a young woman referred to us. They are both 14 years old. One comes from a Buddhist family, the other comes from a Christian family. We teach them together.  Well, on Friday we taught them the third lesson, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So we taught them about baptism. Because they are young, we teach them through activities. So for this one, we made the church into a pirate adventure. We made a map for them, and told them to go to each of the points on the map.. The points were "Faith in Jesus Christ" "Repentance" "Baptism" "The Gift of the Holy Ghost" and  "Enduring to the End.." We then made the treasure at the end "Eternal Life." They really liked it and asked lots of questions as we went. We talked about each of the points as we went on our journey (each room was a different point on the map).  When we made it to eternal life, we asked them what they remembered about the Celestial Kingdom. They remembered everything we had taught them before! :) They also remembered that in order to go to the Celestial Kingdom, you have to be baptized. So we reviewed baptism one more time, and invited them to be baptized. They both accepted! We then looked at the calendar and asked how May 21st 2016 sounded. They both agreed! :) The only problem was, that meant that they had to attend church yesterday, this coming Sunday, and the next Sunday. They committed to that too! :)

This was our "Eternal Life" room. :)

So Sunday rolled around, and we saw one of them walk in with her member friend. The one that comes from a Christian background got permission to come to church from her parents, and permission to be baptized. I saw her walk in and ran up and hugged her so hard! She laughed and told us that waking up that morning had been really hard, but that she had prayed immediately to God for help getting up so that she could come to church.  So amazing!
But the other 14 year old that comes from a Buddhist background couldn't get permission from her parents. :( They wouldn't' allow her to come to church. So we texted her and told her that we would pray for her to be able to come next week. She said that she would be praying for them to give her permission too. She really wants to get baptized but can't get permission yet. We will keep praying for her though! :)

One of the sisters that served in our mission came back and visited! We all had dinner at our Branch Mission leader's house. :)
Faith is absolutely amazing. I wanted so badly to be able to see an investigator get baptized before I go home if it was the Lord's will, and I might get to see one get baptized the very weekend before I get on the plane. I prayed and prayed and fasted and acted in faith in every way that I could. I am not perfect, so I had to repent a lot too. I only did a small portion of what it took to lead these girls to the truth though. .Heavenly Father and the Lord did the rest. If they by chance cannot be baptized before I go home, I will know that it is the Lord's plan. And I only want to do the things He would have me do. But for now, one of the girls is planning on being baptized on the 21st. The other one is still praying for permission. I know that the Lord's plan is perfect, and that eventually, whether I am here or not, both of these girls will get baptized and change their lives for forever.

I love and miss you all so much! Talk to you next week! :)

Love always,
Sister Maughan