Friday, August 30, 2013

Wierd hats, heat, service and good food in Seoul!

Elder Chizzy is having a great summer in Seoul. He is ready for the heat and humidity to be gone and is enjoying being with 4 elders in his apartment. His companion is from Guam and he speaks fluent Japanese as well as English and they're working on his Korean! Josh is still a zone leader and loves his calling to lead 24 missionaries. We feel like a big part of his mission is to help lead and train the other missionaries as he trained so early in his mission and has been a zone leader now for a good portion of it too. He has had some hard times with many investigators that he's loved not be able to be baptized for one reason or another and he's learned that even though he wasn't able to "finish" the conversion process for them, he is still so glad he was able to teach them and plant that seed. We are so proud of our boy and love hearing all his experiences! I can't say that I miss him any less, but I can say that his growth and maturity is nothing I could have taught him. He has learned so much and his testimony has grown in so many ways. I love being a missionary mom, the blessings to him and to our family are too numerous to mention and I wouldn't trade it for the world!
 A hot, humid day in Seoul. I think maybe a little TOO hot.......... (he said this was at 10:30 at night and he and his companion were a little delirious, I'm wishing they had a popsicle!)
 Top right is Josh. Here he is with his zone on a service project day.
 His view from the top of the mountain. Seoul really is huge!
 The sisters had a baptism last week! He and his "4-some" got to go as the priesthood presiders. Happy happy day for this cute 14 year old girl!
 Josh was over the top THRILLED with this meal, you can see the member outside grilling on his patio. He had them over for HAMBURGERS! And see that thing in the corner? It's an AIR CONDITIONER!!! Something that is very very luxurious in people's homes. He loved going here for a dinner appointment.

Josh loves these boys!

I went to this meeting and it was exactly what I needed. We talked about how we have to have the spirit with us always and how it will be the deciding factor in our missionary work. So I thought a lot about that. President Christensen talked a lot about removing distractions and just focusing on the important things and working our hardest. And then he said something that I really really liked. He said, " Believe. Trust. Know. Don't doubt. Don't fear." I loved that so much. Belief is belief in the Spirit. Belief that if we are called to go into a hospital room with an old lady in it that is dying that we can give her a blessing and that the Lord's will will be implented. Belief that we will, if we have the spirit, work those miracles as we do his work. I thought about that a lot. And then trust. Trust in the Spirit that even though at times, it may tell us things that are uncomfortable or hard, but that is will be the right thing. And then Know. Something I have learned a lot on my mission is the importance of knowledge. The importance of understanding. President Christensen talks about it constantly, how we must understand. Whether it is a principle or doctrine, or in this case, the spirit. We have to understand how it works in our life. And then the last two. Don't doubt. Don't fear. It made me think of Isaiah 41:10 and how much that scripture means to you, but also how much it means to me. It is an amazing scripture and it helps me remember and understand how much Heavenly Father wants to help us and push us forward. So that was a great lesson I learned. Then on Wednesday, I was able to give a training to my zone.  A very big zone!! 24 people now with 10 of them being sisters!! It's crazy stuff and I felt very blessed to be able to be giving a training in front of all of those great missionaries. Being a zone leader and training at the same time is hard, but I love being a zone leader. I love working with the missionaries in my zone and seeing their hard work and dedication. It pushes me to be better and I just love all of my missionaries tons!! Anyways, thursday was really the first day that I was able to do missionary work and I really implemented some of the things I learned from the training, and also, I did things the way I wanted to do them. We worked sooo, dang, hard. Haha for 4 days we were talking to every person we saw, asking for numbers, getting numbers, setting up appointments. We have no investigators so we have to start from scratch and I love it. I love the fact that I am with a young missionary that will work hard!

We had a really big zone service activity on Tuesday and it was super sweet! Haha way fun:) I told Dad about it a little bit, but we just went and hiked up a mountain and cleaned up trash as we did that... It was super fun. My zone is super awesome with a lot of way cool people. It has been fun to get to know each one of them and to just serve around them. I am glad I have them to watch over and stuff cuz the investigators have been a little bit slow the past little while.... Haha except for one guy... So get this, I went on exchanges out to an area in my zone that is super far away. About a 2 hour total trip and while I was there, my companion had a guy walk up to him and the missionary he was with and he said he wanted to learn english... Anyways, they taught him and they said he almost accepted a baptismal date and stuff.... Well, the next day when I got back, we had an appointment with him.... Turns out, this guy is on parole!! Haha lanta.... Not only that, (and just so you know, I was not planning on telling you all this cuz I think it might make you worry, but I trust you to trust me and to not worry!! It is a crazy story though so I wanted to tell you:)) but he was in jail for 8 years cuz he hit a policeman in the head with a hatchet... I still am not totally sure if the policeman died or not... I didn't want to ask, but it really surprised me cuz this guy is really so dang nice!! Haha he wants to follow Christ and stuff... He came to church on Sunday an brought us apples and is just way nice... Haha totally crazy... I leave for a day, and I come back and to put it simply, "So I am teaching an ax murder..." Hahahaha:) I don't know if that is true but I think it is hilarious...l Elder C' companion absolutely loves that... I think it is funny too..

I feel like my Korean has progressed a lot since I got Elder A... Having to talk all the time really helps and just being pushed to be better has helped a lot... So that is a good thing. Another good thing... I have done p90x for the last week! Getting up 30 minutes earlier and working out hard... It has felt really good quite honestly!! I feel like I am getting in better shape and that it will really help a lot:) Another good thing/ spiritual experience is that I feel my prayers getting a lot better/ way more specific and it has made a big difference in my day to day things. I feel like I am being a lot more sensitive to the spirit because of it and it has been super good. Like I have really recieved answers for investigators which is really cool. I've found that when I am more specific, I get very specific answers. I have also listened a lot more during lessons... The ones that we have had anways, to what questions I should ask and stuff and that has helped a lot... Just searching for questions that would help them think and to feel the spirit... That takes a lot of effort and I am always tired after those lessons, but they are always so good. We had some good lessons this week that didn't have good results, but I learned a lot from them and so they were good in that sense... I feel bad, cuz a lot of times, I feel like my mission has been so much for my own personal growth and that I haven't influenced that many people here in korea... But because I am trying my best and going out and doing everything I can, I know that even though I don't have the stats to show it, I have been successful... I guess that realization was a great thing and a spiritual experience as well:) Another cool thing that we are going to do is that we are going to have a musical fireside for all of our stake/zone!! It is going to be really cool and it is going to follow the order of the first lesson in pmg... It will be really cool and I am really looking forward to that... It will be in September on the 29th hopefully!! Oh and about the temple, we get to go next week to the temple so I am really looking forward to that:) I love the temple.. I had never thought of that symbolism that you had told me either and that is really cool... Christ is the living water and if we come unto him, we will never spiritually thirst again... That is a great lesson and I love the symbolism that goes into the temples... I love the temple so much:)

Korean fall is actually pretty short compared to summer and winter... Same with spring... But it is an exciting time that is for sure! This is the only time that I have to experience the crazy heat here though... Next year, I will be here for the rainy season and come home right around the time it gets ridiculously hot:) so that will be nice!! Haha and my meetings have been for various things. I went on exchanges on tuesday, we had district meeting on wednesday but we combined as a zone and talked about some of the activities coming up, and then I had to do pass off with two people... Do you remember the pass off thing? Haha I am on the other end now. I am the one testing the new missionaries with their korean and teaching skills. It is a good training opportunity and helps me see how far I've come. (Lets see how far we've come, lets see how far we've come. hahah I love that song! Matchbox20:) Listen to it for me!!) Anyways, then the next day, we had a mission wide leadership training meeting for DLs and ZLs and it was alright! Haha it was a long day but it was good hearing from President. And then yesterday, I had a stake meeting that just the ZLs go to and we talked about what we need to do for missionary work in our zone.. (We just need you to come here... Your missionary efforts are sweet mom!! But for reals though:) Super awesome:)) Our zone is struggling all around with us working with members so they are really pushing for the members to do more and refer more and all that jazz... We will see what happens!! I hope it gets better. It turns out we aren't doing that music thing as missionaries cuz the stake is already doing one in november so we are just going to do a joint thing... still should be good though right!?! I think so:) I don't know if I have told you this, but I sing in the choir in our ward! Haha it is kind of a joke, but it is fun. There are like 10 or 15 people in it and me and Elder C are 2 of the 3 guys that can actually sing. It is a weird situation but it is kinda fun. The choir director is somewhat out of her mind... But that makes it pretty interesting:) I thought you would like that!! Also, we had our axe murderer friend come to church again yesterday and he scared everybody there I think. It was cool cuz the sisters in our ward had a baptism... (The cutest most innocent little 14 year old girl. Haha it was really cool:)) But he just kind of followed us around all day as we were preparing for the baptism and what not. He really is a super nice guy and really just needs friends,  Christ dealed with a lot of very interesting people during his ministery and it makes me think about how sometimes it is very easy to judge what a person has done in the past. We obviously have to be careful with this guy, but we do have to trust that he is sincerely looking for the truth and for comfort.  Anyways, for other things this week, it was kind of just one of those busy with a lot of other things kinda week! I am still trying to help my companion out and that takes a lot of time, and on top of that, dealing with some issues within the zone takes a ton of time too. But we finally found a good new investigator last night and I taught what I thought to be a really good lesson to this guy that just got back from the army 3 months ago. It was the first time I had taught a lesson like that since I had studied a lot about the spirit and it was a lot different than ones in the past. My korean felt better, my questions were way better, and he ended up teaching himself a good majority of the lesson. He is a super money investigator that I am really excited about cuz he already has that christian background cuz he attends the presbyterian church.. But he has very similar questions that Joseph Smith had so in a cool way, we were able to relate Joseph Smith's story to him and he really accepted it well. The spirit was super strong and I felt very satisfied with how it went. I love when those things happen and we are able to feel the joy and satisfaction that comes from following the spirit and knowing that we were teaching exactly what that person needed to hear:) Good stuff!! I have also been working out hard in the morning and I feel super good:) 

Haha bring on winter for heavens sakes!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy 20 Birthday Elder Chizzy and we've reached the Half Way mark!!!

 Birthday Dinner at Outback!!!
 We sent him a "party in a box" with cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, candles, balloons, candy ice cream , noise makers and gifts! He said he had a fun birthday!
 Elder Chizzy, Januario from East Timoor and Elder Coats
 Super happy day to get KRISPY KREME donuts in Seoul!!!!
 Another investigator!
On July 31 they got 1/2 priced ice cream for Baskin Robbins, looks like the boys (Elder Chizzy, Coats, Arrington and Whitlock) are enjoying it immensely in the heat and humidity of Seoul!

Over the past few weeks Elder Chizzy has had two new companions. One from Idaho and now he is training again a new missionary from Guam. He is a zone leader over 22 missionaries and has had a few great weeks and a few very difficult weeks. He is halfway through his mission and I have really seen his growth in so many ways. He is totally fluent in Korean, he relies on his Savior completely, he loves the scriptures and the people and he loves his mission. He remains positive when he has trials, and he has a great attitude even when it's so hot and humid and he has a lot of responsibility! I am so proud of my 20 year old boy and am amazed at his growth in this past year. I miss him terribly but I am so happy with how he is doing and wouldn't trade it for the world. Here are some excerpts from his letters this past month.

"Haha it's still humid beyond belief though... I have never sweated more in my life!!! Haha it was an amazing week:) 19 Lessons, 2 New baptismal dates, 5 new investigators.... OH man I don't know what exactly is going down in this area but it is exploding!! It is awesome!! Haha funny sidenote.... Those stats don't look like much compared to a lot of missions in the world, but those are the best stats I've had in my mission so its cool:) Haha but really, it has been a great, super tiring, week!!! Just throw in on top the fact that it was my birthday and I am a bit worn out to say the least:) Man.... I don't really know where to start with all of it!!! I guess we will start with the fourth of July... So I went to the dentist in the morning who lives in the other mission actually, (I got permission so it's cool:)) and it went well.. I explained to him what I wanted and he checked it out. It didn't have much decay so I just filled it up and all was well... Well, then we were going back home (a hour and a half long subway trip) and got maybe twenty minutes into it when my companion told me he forgot his bag and the dentist.... So we got off at the next station and walked to the other side... Well, we walked onto the train, and my companion started talking to this guy, and it turns out the my companion had met this guy the night before in our area and this guy bought my comanion apple juice... (this is a solid hour or so away from our house and area...) haha it was honestly the craziest "coincidence" ever... Just the fact that we had to get off the train we were on and got on the same car of the same train of that guy... Blew our minds.... He told us he was thinking about coming to church and meeting with us, but now he will have to because of that... haha super crazy!! We will meet him next Saturday... then we went and ate at a buffet cuz it was the fourth of July and made our way home. That night, we met with a guy that I met on the street and he was amazing. He totally accepted everything we were teaching him and said that he wants to become a member of our church. It was super easy to understand him and he was just super awesome. Totally prepared. Maybe the most prepared person I have taught yet on my mission. We are going to meet with him again next Monday hopefully:) Then, we met with this kid on my birthday, (I'll explain a little about that in a minute:)) and he is going to the army on July 31st so we thought maybe we could get him baptized before then... well, we taught Jesus Christ's Gospel and he accepted a baptismal date for the 28th!! haha totally crazy and now we just have to get him to church. His name in Jeon Joon Woo and he is a nice kid. He has no faith so we have a lot of work to do, but I have a lot of faith that he can get to where he needs to be!!! So that is our one baptismal date... Then the other one is with a guy named Januario from East Timoor... Ever heard of it??  Me neither!! Haha we met him on the street my first week here and he came to church yesterday and was bomb.... He speaks Tetum (east timoor lanuage) Indonesian, Portugese, Some English, Some Korean, and a little Malasyian... Yeah sounds tough right?? Well, we taught him which was a cool experience cuz it was awesome to see how we can use technology in spreading the gospel. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and then watched the Restoration movie (in indonesian:)) and the spirit was crazy strong so we invited him to be baptized on the 28th as well and he accepted!! Haha it was insane.... Just a crazy way to finish out the week... It was a crazy week with a ton of blessings involved that is for sure:) Then for my birthday, Me and my companion were sitting there during study and decided we had to go do something for it... so we decided to go to outback!!! (most expensive decision of my mission so far:)) haha and it was sooo dang good to eat some american style steak and bread and stuff!! Granted it was 70 dollars... BUT, it was sooo good and sooo worth it:) Haha it was way fun and it made my day a little bit better. I also made the funfetti cake (lanta..... Soooo dang good!!! Haha) and I opened those presents and stuff!! It was super fun and by the way, those nerf guns are stinkin beastly for little guns!! Haha super fun:) Thank you for your package!! I loved it for sure. I hung up all the b-day posters on my wall and of course I love the Independance Day stuff!! Especially the sick quote from the president:) Haha so sweet. So thank you for that!!! That was a short version of an insane week!!!"

"I am doing pretty good:) I am tired.... haha this week has been a long one... I wish I had some really cool things to tell you about this week.... But everything, every single thing we had planned fell through!! Ugh.... it was rough... so I am just happy it is a new week and I get a new start... Cuz it was definitely one of the harder weeks of my mission!! I didn't want to have bad news.... But yeah... Januario just had work so he couldn't come on sunday... He still should be baptized though next week so that is still good:) Our other one, the kid going to the army tomorrow, came in on Friday and told us he didn't think he was ready.... He passed the interview technically by answering all the questions right, but he failed himself... It was ridiculous and soooo sad to see him reject that chance cuz we did everything in our power to help him... he grew a ton in his faith and there was nothing else we could have done... but he couldn't take that stuff and it was soooo hard. I was pretty crushed. That same night, our other investigator with a baptismal date took a baptismal record home to get it signed by his mom and she opposes him getting baptized and ripped up the baptismal record and threw it away... Some background story on that, he told us on Thursday that he was moving next week.... Freak.. Haha so we thought about trying to baptize him this Sunday and had a pretty good plan to do everything and teach everything, but his mom wouldn't let him... super sad.. We are really going to try hard this week to work with her and try and convince her otherwise cuz he wants to be baptized. He has that desire but because he is only 14, he can't without parental permission... rough stuff. So, this week kind of all fell down the drain and it was insanely mentally, and physically draining in every sense.... I am exhausted and really needed this p-day more than any other p-day!!"

"It has just been one of those situations that absolutely nothing has went right in the last week and a half. It is really kind of insane how nothing has went right at all.... I have searched a lot for things that I need to improve and I think I have found some things so I am working on those... I did have a good experience during sacrament meeting where I was just praying and thinking about how everything has been so bad, and Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost definitely comforted me in saying that it will all be for my good and that I will become a better person through these experiences. I think that is true. I know that is true. Things are hard, and things aren't always perfect, but up to this point everything has helped me grow and so I know that I need to learn from this and just keep moving forward with faith. At the end of Sacrament meeting, we sang Press Forward saints and that was kind of cool as well... I felt like that was a message  directly to me... And I love the part of How firm a Foundation that you included... It is true... Heavenly Father won't always take those trials away, but he will bless them so that they will sanctify us and make us better. He did the same to Joseph Smith in D&C 121 and 122. He tell him that all these things will be for his good and I know that is true in this situation as well. It's cool. I am learning and it has helped me see my progression. I don't know how I would have dealt with something like this before my mission or even at the beginning of my mission. So that progression is good!!"

"It is my time. I learned what I needed to. Had the experiences that were necessary. Now it is my turn to go out and just do missionary work all out and work the hardest I can. I have a standard and I need to raise it even higher cuz that is what the Lord needs me to do now. Haha it blows my mind that it has been a year.... Really cool though:)"