May 5, 2014Dear everyone!
Today is Children's Day in Korea, and it's a big deal. When I found out that Koreans don't celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter, I wondered what they did celebrate. Well, among other things, they celebrate Children's Day. So we climbed a mountain today with our district and some of our members. (In Korean, there is no word for 'hiking'. You literally say you 'climb a mountain'.) We climbed Geumosan and it was beautiful. Amazingly beautiful and exactly the dream landscape I thought Korea would be. There were old pagodas from ancient Buddhist monks and silk worms EVERYWHERE. There was a small Buddhist temple with colorful paper lanterns hanging for Buddha's birthday (which they also celebrate - this Tuesday). We climbed higher and found a beautiful waterfall. The mountain got steeper and there were ropes to pull yourself up the ledges, but we kept going and found a natural cave with a Buddhist shrine. It was by far the coolest thing I've seen in Korea.
Since Sister Yum and I are the sister training leaders, we've been going on exchanges with the other sister missionaries in our zone. This past week, on exchange, I and another American sister worked in Gumi, and I realized how blessed I've been with the language. On exchanges, I'm always a little worried if I'm with an American because my whole mission, I've been able to rely on my Korean companions if I couldn't understand something or teach something well. Also, the sister I was with could not speak or understand well, so I knew the Korean part was mostly going to fall on me. BUT this past exchange, we visited a less active couple and met with an investigator. The less active couple were in their 70s, and older people are SO hard to understand in Korean, BUT when we went, I could understand almost everything and we were able to share our message and have a fun, sincere conversation with them. When we met with our investigator, I had no trouble expressing anything or understanding any of her questions. We were able to teach simply and clearly, and the Spirit was strong. To me, it was a huge miracle. When Sister Yum and I got back together after the exchange, I realized that speaking in Korean all the time really isn't difficult anymore. As I thought about how that had changed SIGNIFICANTLY from the first week of the transfer, Heavenly Father taught me something:
For various reasons, the first half of the transfer was really difficult for me. But instead of taking me out of the difficult situations, Heavenly Father helped me grow stronger in those situations instead. In that way, Heavenly Father used trials to increase my ability, but the trick was, I had to work with Him. I recently came across a quote that said, "Two men can do anything, as long as one of them is the Lord." It's true. I testify that that is true. We can do anything with the Lord's help, especially if it's His work. If you are in a hard place, it's because Heavenly Father knows your potential and you can't reach it unless you're given an opportunity to stretch. So because He loves us, He gives us those opportunities to stretch even if they are hard or uncomfortable or sometimes a little painful. Trials are a great blessing, and I'm so grateful I to have been reminded of that this transfer. I know this is the work of the Lord, and I know that He loves us. I know that He works miracles for us everyday, and that if we truly desire to see them, we will. I know He lives. And I'm so grateful to be able to be a missionary.
I love you all so much!