Friday, March 7, 2014

새해복많이받으세요!!! Happy Lunar New Year!

February 2, 2014
Dear everyone!

Remember Brother Kim from last week? The studly little kid? Well, he's not just a studly little kid. He's a studly little MISSIONARY! This week, he came to church again, and he brought his 9-year-old sister. The primary children were the best fellowshippers I've ever seen. They immediately accepted Brother Kim and his little sister as they're new friends, and they even sat together in sacrament meeting. I'm so grateful for their example of what it truly means to love unconditionally.

Interesting experience-- I tried bondegghi recently. What is bondegghi? It's silkworm. Actually, it's the silkworm chrysalis boiled in its own bodily fluids. YUM. Actually, it was the nastiest thing I've yet tried EVER, and I will NOT be doing that again.

There are more drunk people in Gumi than anywhere else I've seen in my life. In Korea, public intoxication is not illegal or questioned or anything. People just wander around absolutely wasted and everyone around them tolerates them extremely kindly. The Korean people serve without a second thought; it's a powerful example to watch. But it also has led to a few interesting experiences.. I can also know recognize when someone has recently drunk alcohol! I couldn't do that before my mission... The things you learn when in the service of God.

This week, we met with a man named .... Brother Kim. (a different one...) The elders originally had an appointment with him for English, but one of the elders was really sick and the other is fairly new in the field, so Sister Park and I said we'd go with them to help them out.

Now Koreans for some reason think that foreigners are really attractive. Usually it's just the old grandmas talking to American sisters saying things like, "You're so pretty! Why aren't you married yet?" But occasionally, you just meet a creeper. I've run into several with my companions. The man we met was a creeper. I've never felt so uncomfortable in my life as I did during that appointment.

When we first met him, he wanted to take us out to eat (fairly normal in Korean culture). He took us to Lotteria, a Korean knock-off of McDonalds. The elders were trying to good-naturedly start a conversation with him, but he had issues. I'm still not quite sure what they are... Sister Park has worked in a bar, so she seriously knows how to handle people. I'm SUPER grateful for that. And so are the elders... After we ate together, Brother Kim wanted to spend another two hours learning English, but all four of us missionaries had decided that we just needed to part ways. But Brother Kim still wanted to go to the church and learn English. So Sister Park took over. We took him to a cafe and she bought him a drink, which in Korean culture made him obligated to us. He recognized what she had done, and he told us to share our 말씀, our talk, what we usually shared with people. Sister Park brought out the Book of Mormon and shared Jacob 6:12, "O be wise, what can I say more?" As soon as Brother Kim read that verse, his entire countenance changed. There was a new light in his eyes, and I believe it was the first time in his life he's ever felt the Spirit. Together, all four of us testified of the Book of Mormon and shared that this was the center of our message. His entire attitude had changed 180 degrees by the time he left that cafe to catch his train. It was one of the most powerful moments on my mission.

President Boyd K. Packer said, "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior." On my mission, I have witnessed that that is true. But why? Because of the power of the Atonement. As we feel the Spirit and as we become worthy to have its influence in our lives, we become partakers of the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement has a healing power, a transforming power that transcends what we are capable of as human beings. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can one day become like our Father in Heaven and experience all the joy and blessings that He desires for us. I know that Heavenly Father lives, and that we will one day be able to not only live with Him, but be like Him. It's a powerful destiny, and it's all possibly because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney