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 lds.org. 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!!!!