Monday, December 8, 2014

Mission: (Almost) Accomplished

December 7, 2014
Dear everyone!

T-minus one week. Crazy, isn't it? Time flies when you're in the service of the Living God.

So, in our mission, we have a crisis. This crisis is......... there are not enough sister missionaries!!!! Girls, pack your bags and put in your papers cause the Lord needs you! But actually, it's just cause all of us who came out right after the age-drop are going home now so numbers are going down. But this is kind of a little problem because that means some areas with sisters are getting closed. This means that both sisters serving in that area leave and then the elders are left to work in the area. In our zone, we're pretty sure that President is going to close an area, and we were scared that Bangeojin was one of the top candidates for getting closed. Although we'd been working hard, we hadn't been able to find a ton of investigators or teach a lot of lessons, and we really wanted to do everything we could to change that so Bangeojin's chances of getting closed are lowered. And because the work is real and God lives, we saw miracles. After struggling for a while in our area, over the past few weeks we found quite a few and we have several people we will be inviting to be baptized this week. We have appointments and lessons, and on Saturday, we were so busy, we didn't even have time for meals. It was amazing! We went from struggling to think of things to do to fill our day to struggling to find time to grab a sandwich because we had so many lessons! The Lord lives and He does this work with us. And I sure hope He doesn't close Bangeojin...

And this is the end. Today starts my last week as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Korea Busan Mission. When I started my mission in May 2013, I was convinced that I was going to die of old age before Christmas. 18 months seemed like such a long time! But now I have one week to go. I refuse to talk about the end because I know if I do, I will cry. My heart is here with the people I love and the country I've grown to cherish. I know it will be hard to leave, but it's okay because the greatest thing I've gained on my mission, the one I've grown to love the most, I will never have to leave.

As missionaries, we wear a nametag with our name and the name of the Savior. When we walk the streets, others can see our tag and know who we serve and what we stand for. We are here to serve the Savior by serving His children and inviting them to come unto Him. We teach of Him, we testify of Him, and we rejoice in Him. We seek to follow in His footsteps in serving the children of All Mighty God. When a mission ends, and a missionary is released, you take your tag off; you no longer wear the name of the Savior. As my mission has come to an end, I have grown to know how much I love the Savior and how much I cherish the privilege of bearing His name. I know He lives. He is my closest friend. Although I leave these people, I never have to leave the Savior. Although I leave the streets, I can always walk with the Savior. Although I take off my tag, His name will be forever engraved on my heart.

I love you all so very much. And see you soon!

Sister Bonney

Monday, December 1, 2014

P-day, P-day! Gotta get down on P-day! Cause all the missionaries just survived the weekend....

November 30, 2014

Dear everyone!

And it's P-day again! P-day in missionary weekend. Sort of. We have things we have to do and places we have to go but it's about as close as it gets to a weekend. The real weekend is actually one of the busiest times for missionaries cause that's when everyone else is free - off work or school - so they're on the street or free to meet us. Sunday is crazy with church and meetings and everything, so when Monday comes, we P-day hard. Sometimes. Sometimes we just email and eat food. That's cool too.

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving in America and ... just another day in Korea. Lucky me was in another area on exchanges with a kind elder somehow had gotten his hands on creamed corn, instant mashed potatoes, gravy, and some just-add-water stuffing. Excited? Heck yes! We cooked it all together and ate it with canned chicken instead of turkey. It was Thanksgiving Korean style, and we were counting our blessings.

Creeper moment of the week: So Sister Nielsen and I headed down to the northern part of our area to visit a member. This member owns a Chinese restaurant so we were planning to eat dinner there, but as soon as we got there, what did we see through the window? Our beloved elders eating delicious Chinese food chatting with the members. Awkwarddddd......... We were kind of disappointed, but we decided that God must just have a plan other than ours so we started making our way back. As we were waiting at a bus stop, a man came out of a restaurant and started talking to us. He was American, and so in our area that means you're kind of automatically friends cause there aren't that many Americans around here... We talked for a while and he seemed really nice, not weird or creepy. Then he invited out to dinner with him, which we politely turned down.... But we decided we should meet again later to talk and we got his number. Not too creepy. Until later that night in planning. He texted us and asked Sister Nielsen on a date. hahahaha I thought I was going to die laughing. But then he called us twice. We didn't pick up. The next morning, he called again, and texted two more times inviting her and then us out. We decided he didn't really have gospel interest and moved on.

This week though, we did have a neat experience on Saturday night. It was late and we only had about 30min left before we needed to head home. It was pretty cold and Sister Nielsen and I were walking when we passed a bus stop. There were three teenagers there who were laughing and joking together. We weren't quite sure how to break into their conversation so we just kept walking. But then, Sister Nielsen looked at me and asked, "Should we go back? I don't know we could talk to them though.." Then I remembered something that one of my companions had said to me before, "You never regret talking to someone." I told that to Sister Nielsen and we went back to the bus stop. We were able to just join in their conversation and it was so much fun talking to them. We got their numbers and decided to meet again. I'm so grateful that we didn't pass them by.

More and more recently, I've been thinking about conversion. A familiar quote to hear as a missionary is, "Be your own best convert". What does it truly mean to be converted? It's a hard question because it could easily just mean to change religions or to commit to follow a certain set of beliefs, but part of conversion is sacrificing what you want or desire or would choose to do what Christ would have you do. But that is just a beginning. True conversion is when the sacrifice is no longer a sacrifice - conversion is when you WANT to do what the Savior wants you to do. You would rather follow Him then do anything else. That is conversion. As I've been a witness to the miracles that the gospel of Jesus Christ works in the lives of those who choose to follow Him, I can't imagine why we would ever NOT want to follow Him. But because we're human, we do have those moments. We have those moments when we would rather say that sharp word than not, or let that person know exactly what we think than not, or think for once about yourself than take one more request for help. We have those moments when we would rather sleep than pray or instead of daily scripture study doing something that seems more enjoyable. We see doing those things that are the steps to following Christ as a plate of vegetables that we HAVE to eat in order to be healthy. Heavenly Father understands that, and so He has promised that as we choose to sacrifice those things we want in order to choose to follow the Savior, that we will strengthen our faith in Christ beyond measure and truly DESIRE to follow Him. And I testify that there is nothing that will make you happier than following Him.

As Christmas is coming closer and closer, we have a precious opportunity to ponder more on the Savior and how He was the first gift ever given. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "Christmas is a time of reflection on what we can become because of God's sacred gift. As we discover the gift, we learn of the immeasurable love of God and our absolute need for a Savior. As we embrace the gift, we strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, and desire to become more like Him." If there is anything that I know with certainty, it is that Christ lives. He came to earth, lived, died, and lived again so that we too can live again. Death has no sting. Sin has no lasting stain. There is no mistake, no weakness that we cannot overcome through the gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives, and because He lives, we will too.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

NEWSFLASH!!! I finally ate dog soup!!!

November 23, 2014

Hello everyone!

I hope you're having fun getting ready for Thanksgiving!!!! Not gonna lie. I'm a little jealous. But just a little. We're living it up over here, and we're doing it well. As you may have guessed, Sister Nielsen and I ate dog soup this week. A member took us out and I'll admit I was little disappointed. I wanted something super crazy, but it was basically just meat in a soup. BUT IT WAS REAL DOG MEAT. So yeah. Living it up.

Remember the woman who ran up to us on the street last week and gave us her number? Well, her name is Sooky and she is our miracle girl. We had an appointment with her this past week, and she started asking us all these questions about missions that showed that she knew quite a bit about our church's missionaries. Turns out she has two cousins who are members and they both served missions. THEN these two cousins met and married two foreigners who were members who'd served missions in Korea. CRAZY, RIGHT? That's what we thought. She said she had English interest and she wanted to learn about what we believe. Well, we can definitely help with that. We set another appointment and Sister Nielsen and I left feeling pretty in awe. The Lord truly prepares people for the gospel.

This past week, we've been able to have more success finding new people than we've had for a long time. Investigators have been introducing their friends to us, and we've seen so many miracles with meeting people on the street and being able to set followup appointments with them. We have a lot of appointments this week and it just shows how involved the Lord is in this work.

I'm about out of time so that's it for this week! I love you all and I'm so excited to see you soon!

Sister Bonney

Faith, hope, and street contacts

November 16, 2014

Dear everyone!

I hope you're all having a great week and that you're getting excited for Thanksgiving!!!! In Korea, Thanksgiving was back in September, so we're still just trucking along. Sister Nielsen is fantastic and our elders are cool and the Lord is good, so I'm happy. We were blessed to see several miracles this week so.......

Alright! At the beginning of last week, we realized that we don't really have any investigators... Not really an uncommon occurrence though. So we started to think of what we could do to find some new potential investigators. We really had no appointments and we had no one to visit, so we were feeling a little helpless. Sister Nielsen had the idea that we fast, and so we planned to fast over the next couple days. We started our fast right after a member appointment, so we basically prayed on the street to start it.

Back track to the previous night: Sister Nielsen and I had been looking through all our records to see if there was anyone we could visit, and we found a less active man whose wife was a nonmember and either Filipino or Vietnamese, according to the record. We really felt like this was a great opportunity, so we went there with a lot of faith that she could become our new investigator.

So we start our fast and go to visit the less active/nonmember's house. And they weren't home. Surprise! Anyways, we figured that it wasn't the will of the Lord and started to put up posters for our English class and Kids English Class in that neighbor. Not even 10 minutes later, a woman came running up to us. For a moment I was afraid she was going to get after us for putting up posters (which may or may not be 100% legal... we're not quite sure...) but.... she introduced herself and asked how our English programs worked and said she had a lot of interest in that but also that she had seen us missionaries around a lot and was really wondering what we do. She said she wanted to meet us, gave us her number, and ran back to her running car, which she had stopped to chase us down. Miracle? Oh yeah. We said a grateful prayer at the next corner and oh my goodness, you guys! God is real. He is so real.

Next miracle: So we proselyted on the street as much as we could before we finished our fast and got one other contact, a high school senior boy who came to English class on Saturday. Sister Nielsen and I were trying to evaluate what we could do better and how we could be more diligent as often as we could, but we were still having a hard time finding people. The next day, (THIS is the miracle) we were out proselyting and it was late, so we were heading home. There hadn't been many people out on the street and since it's getting colder, people aren't as willing to talk to us, so we were a little down, but we were trying our best to find people to talk to. We stopped at a stoplight, and there was an older couple. We said hello and started talking to them, "Where you heading? Have you ever seen missionaries with a black nametag before?" "Yeah! We had two of your man missionaries over to our house for dinner a few times." They named two of the elders in our mission who had served here about a year ago. "We really liked them, but we got really busy so we couldn't meet. We should meet sometime!" She gave us her number and then we went our separate ways. Miracle? Oh yeah. I'm so grateful God lives. He's loves His children and He's preparing them to hear the gospel.

I know this is His work and I'm so incredibly grateful to be a part of it. I love Him so much, and I know He lives.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

There are children singing all around the world....

November 9, 2014

Dear everyone!

I hope you all had a great week and are enjoying the beautiful fall colors. :) It's been beautiful in Bangeojin with the leaves changing color and the breeze off the ocean. Aaaaand enough about the weather.

Alright! This past week, we had fun. We are living it up missionary style and having the best time sharing the gospel and learning as we go. Sister Nielsen is so awesome, and I love her so much. We get along great, and she's so loving and kind. So grateful she's my companion.

This week we had our stake musical night! Our branch sang Let It Be and I got to sing a solo for our stake. It was pretty fun.^^ I mean, how many people really get to say that they sang the Beatles for 300 Koreans? Yeah. That went in the journal. We also got to sing as a zone (all of the missionaries) at the activity. We had planned to sing Come Lord Jesus from Savior Redeemer of the World and we were all pretty nervous that it wasn't going to go over too well... I had been asked to organize it all, and I was also accompanying. We all weren't too sure how it was going to turn out, but, oh my goodness, it turned out well. The sisters sang on pitch, the elders came in on time, and the Spirit was strong. It was amazing.

We also have two new investigators! They're both men and they're both foreigners (not Korean).  One of the is Rolito. He's from the Philippines and such a sincere guy. His wife and family are still in the Philippines and he's working here to support them. He's reading from the Book of Mormon and we'll see what happens! We've invited him to church a couple times, but the language barrier makes him nervous. I get that.

Our other investigator is Chula. He's from Sri Lanka and is originally the elders' investigator but since the elders don't speak English, we're teaching him now. He has such strong faith in Christ and he believes the Book of Mormon is the word of God! He has a smoking problem, but we're going to do our best to help him.

The highlight of the week was definitely the primary program on Sunday. The church is truly universal. It was the most adorable sacrament meeting ever. The kids were hilarious too. The little girls sat quietly on one side while the little boys half undressed themselves and beat on each other on the other. Even Juwon and Jubin, Sister Kim's children participated! Jubin may have started to cry when it was his part in the program, but it was adorable.

The gospel is true! So stay true to the gospel. I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

And thus it begins!......For the last time...

November 3rd, 2014
Dear everyone,

Today marks the first day of my last transfer. Crazy. I kept thinking and saying, "Time goes so fast! yadda yadda yadda" But it didn't really hit home til I woke up this morning and actually felt it. We had our transfer meeting as a mission today, and I realized that at the next transfer meeting, I will be going home. I will be one of the missionaries giving their last testimony and saying goodbye. The only word to describe it is bittersweet. It's so happy and exciting and at the same time sad and heart-breaking, but missions just are that way. They come to an end. But it's not the end yet! We've still got 6 weeks to go. We're going to live it up the missionary way.^^

Sister Hurley headed off to a new area today and I came back to Bangeojin with my new companion, Sister Nielsen. She's such a sweetheart, and I'm so glad we're companions. I love her so much already, and I'm so grateful that we're companions. It's going to be a great transfer. Both our elders are Korean, and it's going to be an adventure. They're both so great, and I love serving with Koreans. They're so kind and considerate. Between the four of us, we're going to have a great time lighting up the area and getting the message of Christ out to everyone we can.

I feel recently like there's less and less to say, but I've felt more and more of the Lord's hand in my life personally these past few weeks. I've felt so much peace and a sure knowledge that this is His work and that we are merely helping Him. He chooses to work through us, and being able to feel used by the Lord is a feeling beyond description. I've gained such a testimony that the Lord knows each person individually. I know He loves each of us, and I know without a doubt that He lives. He is our Father, we are His children, and together we do His work.

I love you all so much.

Sister Bonney

Happy Halloween! Trick or .... miracle?

October 27th, 2014
Dear everyone!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Don't have a ton of time cause we have a mission 5k today! It was actually a lot of fun, but it took a lot of time so here we are at the end of P-Day typing at high speed. Missionary problems. But it was worth it! :)

Alright! So this week was probably the most crazy week we Bangeojin missionaries have seen in a long time. Why, you may ask? Because 1) we had a Halloween party on Saturday, 2) the Relief Society president decided that 150 people were going to show up, and 3) it was our (us missionaries) responsibility to get those 150 people there. 

You know how in America, wards have activity committees that put together and plan the activities? Well, in Korea, they have the missionaries. The Halloween party included a haunted house that we had to make in the basement, and games that we had to put together, and a ton of other things that we needed to make work on a budget of missionary funds. (That's not much, by the way.) We worked like crazy all week to get the church decorated and ready and everything planned. It was hard because it meant we couldn't do normal missionary work, like proselyting and teaching, but we had faith that it would be worth it.

Oh goodness, was it.

Miracles happened at the Halloween party.

We have an investigator, Sister Kang. We invited her and she said she wanted to come with her kids and her husband. We were really excited to be meeting her family all together for the first time. They came and were having a great time. And then religion came up.

"So have you heard about our church before?" The husband had. 20 years ago, he met missionaries on a bus. They gave him a Book of Mormon. He read it in a day! But he never saw the missionaries again. Until he met us! We were able to have a lesson about knowing the truth about the Book of Mormon right then and there in the middle of the Halloween party. It was amazing and the Spirit was so strong. It was amazing.

Then we went upstairs. One of our other investigators, Sister Kim (the one who met the missionaries 10 and 25 years ago...miracle woman basically) was talking with one of our members, Sister Choi. They talked for about 40 minutes together. I had been worried about Sister Kim earlier because she's a little different. Very inverted and she has a hard time in new situations. We had tried to teach her before but she couldn't understand our lessons and she said she wasn't interested in joining our church, but it turned out that she and Sister Choi had been friends and played at the church 25 years ago together! Miracle.

I got to go! I love you all!

Sister Bonney

Well, that's what happens when you xerox your face...

October 19th, 2014
Dear everyone!

So this week, Sister Hurley and I began to discover the mysteries of the universe. We talked deep. We talked about things that matter.

But before we get into that, we did have some funny moments this week. And the best of those is... wait for it...... did you know that you can copy your face? Like on a copy machine? We're preparing for a huge Halloween party and we were thinking of anymore scary decorations we could make. One of the elders figured out that you can copy your hand. It looks pretty creepy, but then Sister Hurley and I took it to a whole new level. What's even creepier than a xeroxed hand? A xeroxed face. We may or may not have used up what paper was in the copy machine.... right before we needed to make copies for English class. So we spent the next little while running around like crazy trying to find more paper so we could have our English class... The next day (Sunday), we were in the computer/copy room again doing things and one of the primary kids was hanging out with us. I asked him, "Did you know you can copy your face? Like on the copy machine?" He didn't! So I showed him how. And then he tried to do it. And then of course that the exact moment when the elders quorum president walks in... Well, copying your face is really fun. I recommend trying it out sometime. Did I mention that missionaries are easily etertained?^^

Anyways, back to the important stuff - things that matter most.

It all started on Tuesday (we're both not quite sure how) and led into questions like "If God knows everything, then He knows what we're going to do before we do it. So do I really have a choice? Do I really have agency?" (We found the answer by the way.) and more. When you have a companion, you're together 24/7 and it's so easy to either run out of meaningful things to talk about or to get stuck in the rut of not focusing on what matters most. This week was amazing because we spent almost everyday continuously talking about the nature of God, how personality affects our agency, why we need to experience life on earth if God already knows what's going to happen, is personality really important in the context of Christlike attributes, judging another person is ultimately forgetting to trust that God has a perfect plan for everyone, and so much more. It helped us come to so much understanding that is hard to put into words, and we've grown closer and stronger together than we've ever been before. These talks characterized our week, and they're continuing too! We're both so excited about what we're coming to understand together. And we're seeing miracles...

On those days that we chose to have conversations of a higher level and focus on those things that matter most, we were so blessed. Two investigators called us to make appointments! One of our investigators just showed up at the church at the exact moment that we were there and we were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation lesson right then and there. We met potential investigators and were able to teach more lessons on the street and in buses than we've ever been able to before as a companionship. We felt so much love and concern from the Lord, and it strengthened our faith and our trust in Him so much.

Last night, as we were finishing our weekly planning session, we were about to make our personal goals for the week and we looked back at our goals for last week. What did both of us have written down? "Focus on the things that matter." It was really cool actually.^^ Neither of us had even remembered that goal. It was such a testimony building moment for me that the Lord is there and He is always aware of us. In the Gospel of John, there's a scripture that says, "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15:15) In Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord said, "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." I know that that is true. The Lord will sometimes allow us to continue without knowledge of the future or certainty of His plan so we will learn to trust Him, but I know that as we seek Him, we will find Him. Sometimes that seeking involves continuing in the darkness as we trust that He is guiding our steps. But He will always give us the knowlege we need exactly when we need it. I know He lives! I know that He is omnipotent and all-knowing and that His love is infinite. He is always near.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

Proselyting and pregnant women...

October 12th, 2014
Dear everyone!

Alright! Not too much time, so here's the lightning version of this week...

We didn't have a ton of teaching appointments this week so we got to spend a lot of time proselyting with our elders. It's a great way to talk to a lot of people in the time that we have. Team work! And for some reason, it's been pretty hilarious recently. There are a lot of couples out at night. Some of them are newly married, some of them are still dating, and then there are the couples expecting a baby. We try to proselyte to their interests (from what we can see), so we try to give the students English pamphlets, the families family pamphlets, and so on and so forth. We try to help out the Spirit by using our agency well. It's a work in progress. At one point, one of our elders goes, "Dang! I think she's pregnant! And I just gave her an English flier.." At that moment, I noticed an obviously pregnant lady, "Well, she's DEFINITELY pregnant. Get the family pamphlets out." It wasn't that funny, but as I go to give her a family pamphlet, I just lost it laughing. I couldn't walk up to her like that, so I retreated. Sister Hurley: "Sister Bonney! haha Are you serious?" She goes up to give her a pamphlet, but she busted up too. Finally, one of the Korean elders, who hadn't understood or got our joke, gave her the family pamphlet. We thought it was SUPER funny. But maybe that's just missionary humor.

HUGE miracle from this week: Remember Stacy? The Australian lady we met last week? Well, we texted her to invite her to watch conference with us. We weren't sure what would come of it, but we gave it a shot. And she actually came! On Saturday AND Sunday. She sat through the morning sessions both days in our English room with six missionaries. She had a great experience and we're hoping we'll be able to teach her this week!

Did you get to watch conference???? Super good. I especially loved Elder Jorg Klebingat's talk about gaining spiritual confidence. How would you feel if you had an interview with the Savior one minute from now? I was so grateful for his bold, straight-forward counsel about how we can live and act so that our "confidence may wax strong in the presence of God." (D&C121:45)

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Sister Bonney

Dream team and the drunk guys...

October 5th, 2014
Dear everyone!

It's been another exciting week in Bangeojin. And this week was awesome. Why? Because it was full of miracles and also hilarious.

First, the memorable moments.

- We got two huge boxes of corn flakes from a drunk guy who lives on our street.  

- We gave one box to the elders' investigator. ;)

- Sister Hurley on the phone with the sister training leaders:
    STL: "So do you have any problems with your elders?"
    Me: "It's the biggest temptation."
    Sister Hurley: "What?!"
Explanation: I was looking at the General Conference links on I didn't hear the conversation. But it did turn out really funny... At least we think so.

- A different drunk guy followed us into a convenience store and bought our snacks for us. He said, "I'm a bad person, so I'm grateful for your good work." When Sister Hurley tried to pay him back, he said, "Use it to buy something for somebody else." Profound.

- In Relief Society, we read an article from the Liahona called the Jaredite Cabbage. (It's amazing. I recommend you read it. It will make your day.^^) Then the Relief Society president went around and asked everyone what their weaknesses are. (Read the article. It makes sense.) Everyone was saying things like, "I don't want to forgive people when they're unkind." "I'm unhealthy and weak." and things like that. Then they get to ...the sister missionaries. They asked me. Without thinking too much I blurted out "Saying things without thinking. So it's a good thing I got called Korean speaking!" They all thought it was hilarious. Then I realized what I had said. Case and point... haha Yup. Sunday's are exciting.

Now, the part you've all been waiting for...the MIRACLES!

- The elders were on the street talking to people when they got a strong impression to stay where they were. They did. For about 10 minutes trying to talk to the people there, but none of them where willing to talk to the elders. All of a sudden, this woman approaches the elders and asks if we still teach free English. Her name is ...wait for it.... Sister Kim! Surprise. (Welcome to Korea.) And she used to attend English class here 10 years ago! Also, when she was 12, 25 years ago, she used to hang out at the church with the missionaries and her friends. She came to our English class once, and we invited everyone in our English class to the baptism last week. She actually came! That's a really big deal. Since then, we've been able to teach her twice already and she's amazing. :)

- Sister Kim. A different one. (I'm sorry that all our investigators are named Sister Kim. That's got to be really confusing. It's not even funny anymore...) ANYWAYS, this Sister Kim we met a few weeks ago and when we met, she busted out in fluent English better than just about any Korean's I've ever heard. We were able to share about what we do as missionaries, and everything went really well, but we realized she doesn't see us as missionaries at all.  She knows we're missionaries, but she sees us as her friends. That was making it kind of hard to plan to teach her because she had said she didn't want lessons, but she actually likes the gospel a lot. We had an appointment with her this week, and we were praying that we would be able to find a way to teach her. Then we met, and as we were talking, she said, (1) "What makes your church different?" (2) "Why are there so many churches?". Thank you, Heavenly Father!!! We were able to teach the Restoration right then and there. SO grateful to Heavenly Father that He knows our investigators and that He also goes with us.

- Last but not least, Stacy. Stacy is from Australia! She's teaching English in Korea at an after-school academy. We met her 6 weeks ago while we were on the street. She came up to us and friendily asked us why were in Korea. Reasonable question. We explained what we do and we actually were able to talk to her about religion. She was pretty open, but we weren't able to get her number. Now fast forward 6 weeks later to Saturday night. We were leaving the church to go street contacting with the elders, and it was dark. All of a sudden, Stacy walked up to us and said hi! We were able to show her our church right then and invite her. Miracle? She actually came! I translated sacrament meeting for her, but being a foreigner in a Korean church is just awkward. I know. I get that. Been doing that for a while. I was praying so hard in my heart for SOMETHING to help her have a good experience, and then one of the little kids in the branch waved at her. Stacy got so happy and it turned out that that little kid was her student! She talked for about 5 minutes about him, and then later, when sacrament meeting ended, he came up and talked to her. Just then, another wonderful woman in our branch turned around, saw Stacy, and just stared with the most surprised (but happy) look on her face. She and Stacy taught at the same academy! I was SO grateful for that. It was an amazing experience and such a reminder to me that Heavenly Father is always watching over not only us, but our investigators too. He loves them so much more than we ever could, and He knows them. He's always doing what He can to prepare the way for them.

The work is real! The Lord lives, and He's serving with us! I love Him so much, and I'm so grateful for His constant help.

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Sister Bonney

PS My birthday's this Friday. :D  21 years old. Geezer.
PPS If you have any ideas for a Halloween party, let me know! Please! We're planning a huge one right now.

Sister Hurley, Sister Kim (who was baptized last week), me, and her two adorable little boys, Joowon and Joobin. Love this family so much!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Baptism by fire...

September 28th, 2014
Dear everyone!

Once again, in the land of paradise, Sister Hurley and I have spent a glorious week converting everyone as the beautiful sister missionaries of Bangeojin. The men flock to us and refer their friends, and we've run out of Books of Mormon for the third time this week.

Um..... Excuse me? That's not real. In case you were wondering. Sister missionaries have beautiful spirits, but.... um..... hiking up hills everyday doesn't do much for your image. Neither does the humidity. Just cause it's almost October doesn't mean it's fall. Jeez. This is Korea! The weather has a mind of it's own. So, we're still sweating.

But we did have a baptism this week. Sister Kim was baptized on Friday night, and it was wonderful. It was mildly adventerous though. No matter how many baptisms we have in Bangeojin, we can never seem to figure out how to turn on the boiler so we can have hot water in the font. Well, after an hour of running around the church with the elders trying to figure it out, we finally got it on. We'd filled the font half way up with cold water, so we figured that if we turned on only hot water for the rest that would be a good idea. It's incredible God trusts people our age with things like this. I wouldn't. We left the hot water on and ran out to grab dinner. 20 minutes later we get a call from a member who'd showed up super early. "Um... The font is full....And the hot water is definitely working...." Yeah. The room with the font felt like a sauna. We could've cooked ramen in that water. We did our best to put in more cold water and balance it out, but sometimes your best just isn't enough, you know? Well, "I think I just burned her face off" are not words you expect to hear from the elder who just baptized your investigator. But it all turned okay and she didn't mention the temperature of the font later, which I'm going to take as a good thing. Some things don't need to be remembered...

But despite all that, it was a beautiful baptismal service and Sister Kim felt the Spirit. It was really wonderful to see all the members who had helped her as well. She and we couldn't have done it without them. Later that night after we'd all gone home, Sister Kim texted us: "Thank you for leading me onto the right path. Today was wonderful." It's moments like these that words can't describe the feelings in your heart.

We've had so many other miracles this week, but since I'm out of time for today, stayed tuned for next week! Remember, (literally) heaven only knows can happen when you put two white girls together in Korea.

The Lord lives and He's at the head of this work. Gah! I love missionary work!

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

PS The awkward moment when you run into a Croatian man only to have him ask how many wives you can have in our church. "Just one!" "Aw..You disappoint me! I was thinking about changing religions.." It's moments like this that you know the Lord has a sense of humor.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Life-changing texts..^^

                                                                                                                                      September 15, 2014
Dear everyone!

I only have 5 minutes left in P-Day. Bum bum BUM... Well, it's a long story... So I will get to the most important part of the week.

Most of this week was incredibly difficult for various reasons I have no time to explain. BUT we had an AMAZING mission conference on Friday and we got to hear from Elder Aoiyaggi and his adorable wife as well as our mission president and his wife. It was an amazing experience. We've been working so hard to try to find people to teach and ways to help Bangeojin progress and our one progressing investigator, Sister Kim, had actually said "not yet" to our baptismal invite the week before, so we were feeling pretty down about life. Mission tour gave us a lot of answers we were seeking and a lot of counsel that we needed.

After mission tour (same day): 

A man called us. We had met him on a bus and he wanted to meet and talk with us again. We have an appointment with him on Tuesday.

We met a girl on the street who we now have an appointment with for Friday to talk about the gospel. New investigator? I say miracle.

At 11pm, Sister Hurley and I got a text on our phone. Who was it from? Sister Kim. What did it say? She wants to be baptized by the end of September. I've never been so happy at 11pm before in my life. It was incredible.

Gotta go! The Lord lives! Love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Love in the Mission Field?

Dear everyone!                                                                                                               September 9, 2014

Heaven only knew what crazy things could happen when you put two white girls together in Korea. Well, here are the most memorable moments from this week:

- An older guy texted us asking about our English class! And then proceeded to text "I'm afraid I can't attend this week. But I am excited to meet my future spouse. One of both Bonney or Hurley will be mine." And later "I am wondering about Bonney and also Hurley. Will you send your pictures?" The elders wisely informed us that texting him back would be a bad idea.

 - Ran into a group of drunk American guys. Yup. SO grateful to be serving in Korea where even the drunk men are kind.

 - And on the subject of drunk men, we have a friend. His name is Dr. Yang. He has three dogs and he hangs out on the corner by the church on his laptop. We usually say hi to him. The other day, he was especially excited to see us and he wouldn't let us leave. I offered him an English flier inviting him to our class as a way out, but he grabbed my hand and kissed it. Wow. He wouldn't let go until we gave him our shoe sizes.... We saw him later that night just chilling outside with a samuri sword. God bless his heart.

 - We were also given free beer by our landlord. When we explained that we don't drink it because we're missionaries, he says, "That's okay! I don't drink it either cause I drive." He still gave us the beer. We didn't drink it... 

And now on to the important things:

Before my mission, I'd never really thought too much about the Atonement. I also knew that it was for forgiveness and we needed it to return to Heavenly Father, but I never really understood how to apply it to myself. Throughout my mission, Heavenly Father has taught me more and more about this precious gift. And this week, I learned a little more.

This week, I was beginning to feel so burdened down with so much that I felt I couldn't do. I felt so weak and that there was so much I was doing wrong or had not done as well as I should have. There were so many things that I felt were my fault because of my weakness, and it all culminated in tears on Saturday night. Right in the middle of our meeting with our branch mission leader. Solid. Well, there's a first for everything. ANYWAYS, our branch mission leader is amazing. Remember Sister Park, my eternal companion in Gumi? Well, it's her older brother. And he said something that I will never forget. He said, "When you've done the amount you are able to do, you don't need to worry. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will bless and help you. That is the Atonement." In that moment, I learned something new. I had heard and read about that portion of the Atonement many times, but until that moment, I had not yet really understood it on the level of my missionary work. Even though my efforts are imperfect, even though my Korean is imperfect, even though I can't talk to every single person in Bangeojin or be as bold as I want to sometimes, it's okay. That is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As each of us strive to live our lives and give our all according to the Spirit, even if it doesn't seem like enough, know that it is. Heavenly Father never wanted us to be perfect because then we wouldn't need Jesus Christ. The fact that we are imperfect and that we do need Jesus Christ is one of the greatest blessing in this life because through His Atonement, we can be perfected in Him. Now, we are learning and learning requires inadequacies and mistakes, but later, after we've given our all and sought His help, we will be perfected in Him. I know that Christ lives. I know His Atonement is real. And I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love you all so very much!

Sister Bonney

My momma told me not to talk to strangers... But PMG says talk to everybody!

Dear everyone!                                                                                                            August 31, 2014

I hope you had a great week! We did. ;)

Alright. Where do I start...

Let's start with the most important part of missionary work. As we all know, that's definitely finding less actives' houses. Someone's gotta to find em, and so we missionaries do it. It was Sister Hurley's first experience with LA finding. And in Korea it's especially exciting because we end up checking the mail of everyone on the block where they live trying to find their name. We also have the fabulous Korean address system which means that the official address doesn't mean anything and that instead we have to look for numbers written on the wall in permanent marker. Don't ask. Cause I don't know. But it works. We also ended up tracting to find out which of the houses in the area was hers. But what really matters is that eventually we found the house.

Oh yeah. She had moved. That's really important information!

It was at that point that Sister Hurley and I realized something. Did you know that the FBI does most of their recruiting at BYU? It's a fact. Why? The stats say that it's because most BYU students have served missions so they usually speak a foreign language and have spent time in foreign countries.

You want to know the real reason the FBI does most of their recruiting at BYU? It's cause most of the people there just spend 18 months to 2 years FINDING PEOPLE.

So, as many of you know, I am training right now. That means that my companion, the fabulous Sister Hurley, just barely got to Korea and I'm supposed to show her the ropes of how to be a foreigner and sister missionary in Korea. It's actually a pretty good life. But that also means that as two white, not-fluent-in-Korean missionaries that we can't do everything as smoothly as sometimes we'd like to. That also means that teaching is a test of faith. We have an investigator named Sister Kim (who I've probably mentioned before- she's the only serious investigator we've had in Bangeojin).  She's progressing like wildfire, but for some reason, teaching her's been a struggle. She's kind of a skeptical personality and although she's open, she questions a lot. We were able to meet her with a member last week and work out a lot of her concerns about baptism, but she still had so much more that she was struggling to believe.

On Saturday, we had children's English class, which she attends with her two young sons. She came and we shared a spiritual message at the end. We did a short activity where we wrote letters to Heavenly Father to think more clearly about what we want/need to pray about. Sister Kim shared her letter and it was so heartfelt and sincere, and as the Spirit led the message, we were able to recognize how much the Lord has been preparing her over the 5 months she's been meeting with missionaries at English class, at church, and privately. The elders had a baptismal service later that day, and she attended. We were surprised but grateful to see how emotionally invested she was with everything that she experienced there and she had sincere interest in baptism. On Sunday, she had said she would come to church, but when sacrament meeting was starting, she still wasn't there. We gave her a call and she didn't answer. What can you do? Put on a smile anyway and do your best to fellowship the people who ARE there. We did that. BUT part way through sacrament meeting, she called. "Church's already over, isn't it? I'm so sorry. My mother surprise visited us this morning so I couldn't come... There's still gospel principles class, right? Can I come to that?" Even just 2 months ago, she had no interest in the gospel. After that phone call, I was so incredibly grateful to Heavenly Father. She did come to gospel principles class and at that class, the Spirit took charge. One of our recent converts attended the same church Sister Kim attends now. She along with another recent convert of 6 months and our branch mission leader basically wiped out all of her concerns for baptism during those 40 minutes. I've never been so grateful for members in my life. The Lord worked miracles through them yesterday. Church ended and Sister Kim sent us a text asking if we could meet this week to study the Book of Mormon together. We're planning on setting a baptismal date with her on Tuesday. 

As we've seen these miracles, I've grown ever so mindful that the Lord is serving with us. He never tells His missionaries, "Go and serve!" Instead He says "Come with me." He doesn't ask us to do it alone because He knows that we can't. We need His help. It is up to us to recognize that and seek Him. And so the Lord calls the weak and the simple -us- because He knows that we will trust Him. I'm so inexpressively grateful for His love and mindfulness. He lives! And I can never deny it. What a privilege and a blessing to be a missionary for the Living God.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney

Members, miracles, and potential flooding...

Dear everyone!                                                                                                                August 24, 2014

It's still raining like crazy. I'm really beginning to wonder why Korea doesn't have any serious flood problems. I gave up on having dry shoes, and I now use a Korean typhoon quality umbrella instead of my tiny American one. Jeez. You'd think the sky would run out of water at some point, but it doesn't. The wonders of nature.

To improve my email quality, I took some steps and brought by journal. You might be surprised that it took me this long to think of something so genius, and so am I. Anyway, here are this week's highlights:

This week, we ran into members EVERYWHERE. It was amazing! I was really wondering how we could strengthen our relationship with our branch members and how we could develop more trust between them and us, and the Lord provided a way. On Tuesday, we met two members for lunch, and then on our way back home, we met two more on the street, and then while we were trying to find another member's house, a DIFFERENT member drove past us, stopped, and offered us a ride because she was dropping off the son of the member we were going to visit from school. Phew! If you can follow all that, props to you. We met a member family that night too. And that was just Tuesday. And oh my holy goodness, it's helped our relationship with the members SO much! I'm SO grateful that Heavenly Father has been helping us here.

We proselyte SO much recently. It's really good! Sister Hurley loves proselyting so we've been hitting the streets a lot. It's been good for us to get out and talk to more people than usual, and we've had really cool experiences although we haven't been able to find any potential investigators yet. But I know that as we just continue to strive to do our best and share the gospel with full purpose of heart that those investigators will be found. It's only a matter of waiting on the Lord's timing and learning what the Lord would have us learn in the process.

Last one: In Korea, working with members is SUPER important because we missionaries do a lot of the strengthening and fellowshipping and teaching the gospel to help them continue to progress. A lot of our members need help with their personal conversion and we were praying about how to help them in addition to planning and praying for our investigators. We weren't sure what we needed to do, but the Lord took care of everything. Oh my gosh, I love Heavenly Father so much! We have one investigator, Sister Kim. We've been working with her for a while, but the key to reaching her and REALLY helping her progress was member help. We had planned to work with some of the stronger sisters in our branch, but through a series of miracles, her new friends are two of the sisters in our branch who we were most worried about concerning personal conversion. But they are progressing SO much and they're testimonies are growing SO much. Why? Because they're doing missionary work. It's incredible! The reason missionaries can gain such a strong testimony on their missions is because sharing the gospel with others is what strengthens it and deepens conversion. Heavenly Father knew that that also applied to our members, even though we didn't, and He arranged everything. Sister Kim is progressing miraculously and she even came to district (stake) conference yesterday! I've never been so happy to see someone show up to a meeting. It was a miracle.

I love you all so much! The Lord lives, and He loves you. 

Sister Bonney

Flooding in Bangeojin...

Dear everyone!!!                                                                                                                  August 18, 2014

Oh my goodness! If anyone decides to send a care package in the next few days, make sure you send some floaties and a pair of flippers cause the "rainy season" is in full swing. Oh my gosh. The streets are FULL of water and I gave up on trying to stay dry. haha

And... the news I'm sure you all were waiting for.... my new companion is here! Her name is Sister Hurley and she got to Korea on Wednesday. She's fantastic and we're getting along great. She really driven to learn the language and she's obedient and loves working hard, which I appreciate a lot. We SYL a lot, and she's already FANTASTIC at Korean for only having been in the country a few days.

We're seeing so many miracles, and one thing I been so blessed to realize the last few days has been how much Heavenly Father is helping us do this work. When I heard I was going to be training, I was really excited. But at the same time I was terrified because I honestly didn't think I could handle the work in the area. If you train, that basically means you cover the area until your companion learns how to help you. It was stressing me out really badly. I was really doubting if we'd be able to still help all the people who need help here, but Heavenly Father is helping us so much. Especially on Sunday, I saw so many instances where Heavenly Father made up for our shortcomings. He helped me remember those people we needed to talk to, socialize well with the members, coordinate with the branch leaders effectively, plan with the Spirit, speak and understand everything I needed to, while all at the same time helping Sister Hurley in all the ways she needed help on her first Sunday in Korea. I know that the Lord helped us so much and IS helping us. It's a really humbling thing, and I'm so grateful to be able to experience that. The Lord truly loves the people here, and I'm so deeply grateful that He's serving here with us. It's truly a blessing to be a missionary.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney