Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2013
Dear everyone!
This week's email is short! I'm almost out of time!
Brother Choi and Jiwon are getting baptized this Saturday!!!! They are keeping the Word of Wisdom, and what a miracle that is. It's such a precious opportunity to teach them and prepare them for baptism.
A highlight from this week was our exchange with our sister training leaders. The American sister from their companionship came with me and Sister Park went to the other area with the other Korean sister. The American sister and I were supposed to teach Brother Choi and Jiwon together. Two Americans. Teaching in Korean. About Tithing, Sabbath Day Holy, and ... Law of Chastity. I thought I was going to die. But I didn't. Surprise!!! We taught the lesson, Brother Choi and Jiwon didn't drop us, and we were able to explain everything well. They're still getting baptized!
From that one experience, I realized how much Heavenly Father has blessed me with Korean. The sister I taught with had been in Korea twice as long as me, but we matched each other as we taught. Heavenly Father has blessed me SO much with the language. I've only served with Korean companions and I think that sometimes because I can rely on them and their wonderful Korean fluency, I doubt my ability to do what Heavenly Father has called me here to do. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to see Heavenly Father work miracles on behalf of His children in Gumi. I know He is because I've seen them!
I love you all so much!
Sister Bonney

Merry Christmas from the Korea Busan Mission 2013

메리메리 크리스머스!!!

December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve and then Wednesday is the big day! I honestly am kind of surprised and very grateful that I actually survived to this point. ;) There were a few times during my first couple months in Korea I didn't think I would. haha

Alright! Brother Choi! And Jiwon, his adorable daughter. They are keeping the Word of Wisdom! And Brother Choi likes tobacco and alcohol and black tea AND green tea. Jiwon only likes green tea. (Thank goodness.) But we taught them this week and asked how they felt about the gospel. Brother Choi told us he knows it is true and he's so happy and grateful for the opportunity to repent and have the chance to make a new start through baptism. The word he used actually translates into "rejoicing". We taught him about the priesthood and how through the priesthood, he would have the power to bless and serve his family. We asked him what he understood about the priesthood, and he said, "I don't understand very much, but I know that it's the power of God, so you should have a clean heart to use it." Wow. We talked to him about the Word of Wisdom, and asked him if he would keep it in order to be baptized and later recieve the priesthood so he could bless his family. He said yes. Jiwon was a little harder, but we promised her if she didn't drink green tea, we'd buy her hot chocolate.^-^ Yesterday when they came to church, I asked her if she was keeping the Word of Wisdom and she said, "Yes. I don't drink green tea. It's hard because my mom drinks green tea, but I don't." Oh my goodness. She's so pure-hearted, and I'm so SO grateful to have the opportunity to prepare her and her father for baptism. Heavenly Father loves them so very much and He has truly been preparing them to receive the blessings of the gospel. 

With Christmas and my 7th month mark coming this week, I've really been starting to realize how much my mission has, is, and will bless my life. If I wasn't on my mission, I would be home with my family, taking a break before going back to another semester at school, but I also would not have the testimony I have now. I would not have the deeper understanding of the Atonement that Heavenly Father has taught me in only the last few weeks. I would not be able to witness the Spirit work in such precious children of God as Brother Choi and Jiwon. I also would not have the precious opportunity to testify everyday of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for that I have this time to serve Heavenly Father and consecrate myself to Him as a missionary. I'm so grateful. I know Heavenly Father lives, and I know that He loves each and every one of us more than we can ever imagine.

I love you all!

Sister Bonney

With wondering awe the sisters saw... a miracle!

December 16, 2013
Dear everyone!!!

I hope you're doing well and getting SUPER excited for Christmas!!! We've had snow in Gumi, and it makes the cold weather so much more worth it. :)

Also, we have two investigators with baptismal dates!!!! It's such a miracle. A little bit about Brother Choi and his daughter:

Brother Choi came to church three weeks ago because he wanted to learn about the church. Well, he came to the right place. :) We called him later that week to see if he wanted to meet for a lesson, and he said, "Yes! Can we meet tonight?" Uh, sure! He accepted the lesson well, took a Book of Mormon, and started reading it. His 10 year old daughter came to our children's English class and the lesson, and she's the adorable little girl who asked us how to be baptized. This past week, we taught them about the Plan of Salvation, and invited them to be baptized on January 4th. They both accepted and they're progressing! Even Jiwon (his daughter) is reading the Book of Mormon, and when we asked her if it was hard, she said, "No, it's fun! Like a story!" She fits right into primary, and she answers questions like she's known the gospel her whole life. In our gospel principles class on Sunday, Brother Choi expressed how the Plan of Salvation makes sense and that he's looking forward to his baptism.

Here's ANOTHER miracle: It's still about Brother Choi. (He's kind of my favorite person right now.^-^) So Brother Choi has a tobacco and a drinking problem. He knows about the Word of Wisdom, and he also knows that in order to keep the Word of Wisdom, he needs to stop drinking and smoking. We planned to sit down with him this week to make a plan to quit both. In the meantime, he came to church on Sunday, and there was just something different about him. His skin was lighter, his eyes were brighter, and there was just a new kind of radiance to his countenance. Turns out, he's already starting to cut back on his own. President Packer said, "A study of the gospel will change behavior faster than a study of behavior will change behavior." And I know that's true. The gospel is so powerful because it is true.

Being able to teach Brother Choi and Jiwon has been such a testimony builder to me. Missionaries didn't find them. They found the Church. They sought out the gospel. Heavenly Father knew them and guided them before we even knew who they were. As missionaries, we do a lot of what we call "finding". We talk to others and proselyte and work with members in an effort to find those who are willing to listen to the special message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a HUGE part of missionary work, but even though we need to find those who are willing to accept this message, they are not lost. Heavenly Father knows EXACTLY where they are. Every single man, woman, and child on this earth is a child of God. He knows each of them, each of US so perfectly, and He loves us so perfectly. There is nothing we can do to change that love. It is simply there. He loves us and He knows us, and if we seek to follow Him, He will bless us more than we could ever imagine.

I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows each of us and loves each of us infinitely and individually. We can come to know and love Him too, in our own imperfect way. We can do that through prayer. As missionaries, we pray a lot. Several times a day. With others and alone. But the true relationship with Heavenly Father through prayer comes when we seek Him sincerely, with full purpose of heart. I know that when we do pray with faith and with love for our Heavenly Father, we can feel more of His love in our lives and see more the numberless blessings He's already placed in our lives.

I love you all so much! But Heavenly Father loves you most.

Sister Bonney

"How can I get baptized?"

December 9, 2013
Dear everyone!
So I'm now serving in Gumi! (goo-mee) Sister Park and I get along so well, and it's awesome. She's hilarious and so kind hearted. We talk a lot and easily in a mixture of Korean and English. She's only learned English on her mission, but she speaks it really well. She sounds like an American! She uses "like" all the time and everything. It's pretty cool. My Korean continues to improve, but I am very grateful to have another native speaker for a companion.
Also, Sister Park LOVES food. She has a very slim figure, and eats about three times as much as I do. (I really want to know how she manages that..) We eat lots of "delicious things", and I'm honestly afraid of gaining some serious weight this transfer with her. We eat a LOT of "delicious things"..fried chicken, cake (2 for her birthday this week), street vendor pastries, donuts... But hey! As long as they're delicious, I'm not going to complain too much. ^^
Gumi is great. It's defintely NOT Busan. My last area was in northern Busan, and Gumi is kind of a super country outlying part of Daegu, one of the top three largest cities in Korea. The people here move SUPER fast, but once you can catch up to one of them and get them to slow down, they're really open and kind. We've already seen a LOT of miracles in this area. We started off the week with no investigators, and I was afraid that it was going to be a repeat of my last transfer where we had 4-5 weeks straight with no investigators. But this week, we found three. Two of them are the most golden investigators I've ever heard of in my life. It's a father and his 10-year-old daughter. The daughter asked us the other day how she can be baptized. Yes. Miracles still happen. We plan to invite them to be baptized during our lesson this week. Exciting!!!
Okay. Some random things you probably didn't know!
- I can count the number of times I've used a fork in the last 4 months on one hand. Chopsticks!!!
- I've slept in a bed ONCE in the past 4 months. Mats are where it's at.
- Yes, Koreans do bow. All the time. It's just part of how you greet people. I might have a problem breaking that habit when I get off my mission. NOT kidding.
- Koreans eat a TON of rice. And so do I. They also eat a ton of ramen.
- If you wear your shoes in the house, you WILL lose serious points with Koreans. DISRESPECT. Haven't worn my shoes in a house in...the past four months.
Also, Christmas is NOT a big deal in Korea. They play the Christmas music and stuff, but it's just in the stores. In Korea, Christmas is a couples day. Kind of irrelevant for missionaries.... But that's okay! It snows in Gumi. It doesn't snow in Busan, so I'm SUPER happy to be getting snow around here soon. I've heard we get blizzards, and I'm not going to lie. I'm SUPER excited.
Well, the Work of Salvation is going forward, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it!
I love you all so much!!!
Sister Bonney
PS Even though I got transfered, my address is the same! Korea Busan Mission, Dongnae Post Office Box 73, Busan, South Korea 607-600


December 2, 2013
Dear everyone!
So I'm now serving in Gumi! Literally translated, it means "turtle's tail". How cute is that?! And it's in the far FAR north area of our mission. We will be getting blizzards. SO excited. My new companion is Sister Park! Another Korean companion and I'm so excited. :) Her English is pretty good, and my Korean is good enough now that it's not too much of a trick to communicate with people here. haha
Thanksgiving this week was great! We got to eat dinner with some missionaries in our district and with the mission president and his wife since they actually live in my old district. It was SO much fun and the food was SO good. And we used FORKS!!!! Before last Thursday, I can't remember the last time I'd used a fork... Chopsticks!!! :)
Well, I only have a VERY short time to email today (15min...) cause we missed our train back to Gumi... Long story. :)
Sister Bonney

안녕하세요 사랑하는여러분!

November 11, 2013
Dear everyone!!!
This week has been pretty exciting and FULL of miracles!
So the last few weeks, Sister Oh and I have had no investigators. Which kind of stinks because basically your job as a missionary is to teach, and if you have nobody to teach... well...You can look and look and look, but unless you find, there's very little you can do. But we started off this week with some goals as a companionship. We decided we were going to teach two lessons to investigators this week. This was a HUGE step of faith because we had no investigators.
Well, this week, we taught THREE lessons, and we have a progressing investigator (someone we've taught twice and they're keeping their commitments - in this case, reading the Book of Mormon). Last night, when we reviewed our week, it was powerful to see how the Lord has been doing mighty works through small miracles.
A work about our progressing investigator: This woman's name is Sister Oh. (Yes, she has the same name as my companion.) She came to church last week totally out of the blue, and said she wanted to see if she liked our religion and if her children could have a good experience here. (She has two young sons.) We taught her about the Restoration of the gospel and the Book of Mormon. When we taught her about the Book of Mormon, she had this look on her face that pretty much broadcasted, "You people are crazy, and I don't like you." We asked her to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon when she went home last night.
All week, she wouldn't answer our calls or return our texts. We thought she had dropped us, and that she had no interest. We were disappointed, but after almost 3 weeks of no investigators, it wasn't anything too unfamiliar.
Yesterday, we, along with the four elders in our ward, were greeting the people coming to church, and guess who walked up. Sister Oh and her two adorable little boys. She was so happy! She had come back! Her boys were excited to be there too! During the second hour, we taught her with a member friend she had made the previous week. We asked her if she'd read the introduction to the Book of Mormon,and not only had she read it, she'd read the witness accounts and Moroni's introduction as well! Her countenance was entirely different than it had been the previous week. We read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon together and invited her to read the next two this coming week. She happily accepted, and said she couldn't wait to come back.
The whole experience was such a powerful reminder that this is the Lord's work. It is HIS gospel, HIS church, HIS work, and He will do it in HIS timing and in HIS way. We are merely the instruments He chooses to work through. It's such a blessing to be able to witness the Lord's hand working among His children. I couldn't be more grateful to be on a mission serving the living God. I know He lives, and I know He still works miracles today.
Sister Sarah Bonney