Tuesday, March 31, 2015

YOU-ONG-NEOR'S BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!‏

Dear family,

Ok!!!! So much happened this week!! I have to start with the most exciting thing of all.

So, remember 유옥렬 you-ong-neor? We met for the first time in my first transfer and then I taught and met with her till I left Jung-nang. She's the one whose husband died and has a really hard life... Just to help you remember in case you forgot. :) So, I'm in contact with her and talk with her a bit :) Sooo... This past week after planning we were making cookies for our branch party when the Jung-nang sisters called (so I got to talk to my last companion and Sis. Gil!) As soon as I saw they were calling I just knew.... I then received the greatest news of my mission. "유옥렬 IS GETTING BAPTIZED FRIDAY!!!!" Wow. Just speechless. Not because I didn't think it would happen or anything, but just speechless because... of the happiness of it all, I guess! Not just because she's getting baptized, of course, but because of the change in her life. I talked to them a lot about her and how she's doing. When I first met her she was honestly just in the pits of life. So, so depressed and unhappy in life. She always told us there was no going up and no getting better and even though our church was nice and she liked it, she was too far. It couldn't help her. Now she is completely a changed person. So happy! Of course she still has challenges, but she has hope in life.

I called and talked to her. She was so kind. She said she was so happy. And she said, "I stopped drinking alcohol!!" Wow. A feat in its own. She used to depend on alcohol soo much. We had been working with her for so long to help her be able to stop drinking. It's been the greatest blessing of my mission being able to see the change in this woman's life and her transformation in coming to know Christ! So she was baptized Friday and got the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday! I wish so so badly I could have gone but of course her baptism has nothing to do with me so just a selfish thought of mine :)

Also, real quick! Other biggest news is that I'm getting a new companion!! Saturday night we had transfer calls and Sis. Ee is going to 일산 irl-son (it's in Seoul) and I'm getting a new companion! It was really hard for my companion.... She really doesn't want to leave :( So that's been really sad. But she's more ok with it now! Sometimes it's hard for missionaries to go back to Seoul after they've been in the country. And it's always hard to leave an area! My new companion is a Korean still and her name is 김온유 kim-on-you. It's her last transfer! She "dies" this transfer so for sure I'll get a new companion next transfer! Kind of crazy. I'm so excited to meet her, though!

Now on to last week! Don't have my planner so sorry I might miss a lot of details!
Monday night we met 김경애 Kim-geong-aye and it went so well! She's read so much of the Book of Mormon. We introduced about our church and she had a lot of questions about the priesthood. It was an awesome lesson!!

Tuesday morning we spent 3 hours on bus/subway getting to Seoul because my companion, along with a lot of other Korean missionaries, were taking an English test there. So we met there and while they went to take the test the rest of us missionaries just split into pairs and went out to talk to people! TODAY WAS AMAZING!!! I can't really explain why but I'm going to try to. So I went with a Korean (전부해 jeon-bu-hay) and she was just a superstar. I loved being able to work with her!! I learned so much! I don't want to sound prideful but honestly every time we talked with someone it just worked. We could share a scripture they needed to read or could share something they needed to hear. We just flowed so well together! We saw so many miracles!! It was awesome. and we were only together for 2 hours! Then met Sis Ee and went back to Sokcho!

Wednesday we had district meeting and then right after went to 강릉 cong-neng to exchange! Except it takes so long and so much money to switch companions that we just both went to Cong-neng. I went with Sis. Anderson who is the sister training leader for our zone. She's so awesome!! This next transfer is her last. Stayed the night and then Thursday just went out and talked with people! So awesome!

Friday... We met 이혜인 ee-hay-een! She's so awesome! Ok, a little distracted, but super awesome! We taught about the restoration and she really liked it! Said she understood it all :) So found out sad news... she's moving!! No!!! But! The most amazing part! (we actually found this out Sunday) She's moving to 일산 irl-son! Sis. Ee's new area!! What?! Miracles all around, people. Just totally amazing. So she will be able to keep meeting with her!

Saturday we watched "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" with hay-een and a few other of the elders investigators. So cool! Then English class and then after we had our Branch party! So fun! It was about 9 minute-to-win-it games and then making dinner together. It was awesome!!!! I love our branch!! Also, we were walking hey-een home and we ran into her little brother on the street! What?? We talked walking home and he said he'd come to church with her tomorrow!

And Sunday... he came! So cool!! We taught Young Women's with hay-een and my companion gave her "last words" in church. Sad :(

Well, always limited on time! Next week I'll tell you about my new companion! Love you so much!
Sis. Evans

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rainy Days ^^

25 People!!!!‏

Dear Family,

Hello!!! What a week. Sorry this might be a fast email.. Soo... Last Monday night we visited 이은실 (ee-en-shirl) and it was as great as ever! She's amazing.

Tuesday we visited 김경애 Kim-geong-aye!!! She... is so lonely :/ She doesn't have contact with her family and doesn't know where any of them are living. So sad. Soo when we got there she was making this huge meal for us (she had us bring some food for her to cook). We helped and then ate and talked about the gospel and stuff. She's in Mosiah and reads soo much everyday but doesn't really understand the text very well. That's ok! We're helping her understand it. Actually, she attended a Jehovah's Witness church for about a year! So that's interesting.
That night just door-to-door :)

Wednesday we had district meeting- super good!! Just talked about our 30 day challenge and how to better study/apply the Book of Mormon. Always learning! Then actually we visited 김경애 Kim-geong-aye again! She needed help getting something so we got it for her and took it to her house. When we got there she was literally just waiting for us standing outside her door. We walked up and she said, "Ok come in!" and she had a table set up waiting for us. Poor woman... she said we're like her daughters so she wants to feed us a lot. It's hard, because we love her and want to spend time with her! But we can't just always be with her.... there's just so much to do!

THURSDAY WAS SO COOL. So just four of us (us and Elder Wheeler and Elder Shin) went to the service project with the grandmas. (the other two elders were in Seoul) It was so fun but holy cow! There are rivalries going on between the grandmas! It was crazy! Some were like fake punching each other and stuff. But it was super fun! We just sing old Korean songs with them. A couple kept crying because the songs are sentimental and stuff... so sad :/

So that night we met a girl named 이혜인 ee-hyay-een. SHE IS AWESOME!!!! I was doing calls the night before and called her and she said she could meet with us! This doesn't happen often, and when it does they often don't show up... BUT SHE DID!!! We met her and went to a small cafe place and talked. She's 15 and lives with her Mom and younger brother. It went super well!!! And we invited her to church and she said yes :) ^^

Friday... Lesson cancelled so just street contacted! That night we visited 천수영 chon-su-young. She's a member's daughter. She's super cool! Talked about Joseph Smith. People always have questions about him, so it was interesting talking about him!
That night I got a bunch of mail from the elders that went to Seoul!! They've been holding out on me over there... So that was so exciting!! Included in the mail WAS A PACKAGE FROM CHANCY! (yes, I did finally get it) So kind of her to send it!!

Saturday we had a Relief Society Meeting in 강릉 cong-neong! All of the members in the countryside. We did our belly dance... I was so worried about it. But all of the branches did something and few did dances so it blended right in! Haha I have a video you'll get to possibly see next week!

Then Sunday! WORLD RECORD. 25 PEOPLE WERE AT CHURCH!!!! So awesome!! That's the most that's come in forever!!! 천수영 chon-su-young came, and so did 이혜인 ee-hyay-een!!! Also the District President and his wife came. So awesome there were so many people!! My companion and I taught the young women's class... the first time our branch has had one since about 2012!! So cool!!

So that was my week! Hope you all had great ones!!
Love you!!
Sis. Evans

P.S. HERE COMES THE SPRING du-nu-du-nu! It's slowly getting warmer and all of the bushes/trees have little flower buds!!! I'm so excited!!


Dear Family!
This week was amazing!! Just going to hit on the important parts.
So Wednesday we had zone training! It was in 강릉 cong-neng which is just like and hour and a half bus ride away. The two zone leaders and 1 sister training leader did the training and it was awesome!! Our months focus is on the Book of Mormon. Thus the "30 day challenge" part... So. They said that they had a kind of tough commitment for us but that they know we can do it. It's to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days.... what what!! Actually, I'm so stoked. I always read it so slowly, you taking forever to think and mark parts, but now I'm really going for the storyline. I'm so excited! We started it Thursday and we're already in 2nd Nephi. It's only been a couple days and it's been so cool! Honestly my testimony grows about it everyday. So that was their challenge!
After I actually didn't go back to sok-cho, I went to 원주! Won-ju. And real quick it was so cool!!!! We totally drove through this crazy blizzard!!! Everything around us was just pure white. We could only see like 30-40 feet in front of us. So ya, took forever for us to get to the area. Sis Anderson (our Sister training leader) went to Sok-cho with my companion to do an exchange and so I went with Sis. Udall! She's only in her 3rd transfer (I'm only in my 5th though...) so it was so interesting working with someone that's been in Korean less than me! Actually, right now our mission pretty much only has older sister missionaries. Not very many young ones because so few are coming in (just maybe 2 or 3 a transfer). She's awesome! She's from Eager, Az and actually was born in Holbrook! How cool is that, Mom?! She lived there until she was 11ish. She says it will always be her favorite city. Haha a little different from how you describe it ;) just kidding. Anyways, I was excited and slightly nervous because we are both super young so the whole language thing was a little daunting but we managed I guess!
We got back to her area at around 7 and went straight to a dinner at the house of someone in her branch. Just the three of us, super fun! The woman is amazing. Has a son in the 4th month of his mission in Canada. Says she didn't know days could go so slowly until her sons left on missions. Ah! So sad! We don't want to hear that! Lesson was really good though.
Thursday morning was awesome!!!! So being compaions with a Korean is such a blessing for so many reasons. The only itsy bitsy hard part is that they don't like to exercise. It's fine, there's always stuff we can do in our apartment... but that's the thing. It's an apartment so there's only so much we can do! Any jumping stuff and the people below us can hear. So because I was with Sis. Udall we got up early and went running! It was the best!!! And there are a ton of hills right around her. Ah, seriously so nice.
Anyways, that afternoon we ate lunch with her whole district and a recent convert in a tiny restaurant. Oh ya! So Elder Yetter (Justin Yetter) is in her district so that was cool. We got to talk a bit. (I see him a lot now since we're in the same zone)
After we just contacted people on the street and it was crazy!!! I felt like I was back in Seoul!!! So many people! Seriously, in Sokcho we can be outside for hours and only talk to like 10 people. And that's on a really, really good day. So that was fun! Then we got my stuff and got on the bus to go to Sokcho! That was a solid 2 1/2 hour bus ride. Whohoo!
Friday was kind of sad.. 김현정 Kim-heon-jeong (pretty much our only investigator at this point), texted us and said she is too busy now so she can't meet. ㅠㅠㅠㅠ (those are crying faces). But! She said she wants to meet when she has more time. She's so awesome! So that happened. And then remember that super cute girl we met one time? ya, she's never answered our calls/texts since. And then our other appointment with an investigator cancelled... (the one that's from Japan) So ya! Just working hard to find people.
We spent the whole afternoon looking for this house of an old woman we met on a bus. Finally found it! Then that night visited a less active.
So time is runnig out but Saturday was the same, English class, family night, oh! and also White Day! Happy White Day :) So here on Valentine's Day all of the girls buy stuff for the guys, then the next month (March 14th) all of the guys buy candy (specifically supposed to be candy, not chocolate or anything), and then the next month (April 14th) is "black day" haha. it's where everyone that doesn't have a bf/gf/husband/wife buys themselves a fish or something. Ya, how sad?
Sunday was amazing!!!!!!!!! So church (my companion talked in sacrament), and then had meetings. So, a couple weeks ago we were going door-to-door and went inside an old woman's apartment. (Remember, she's the one that had a lot of trash?) So we visited her. We walk in and I see the BofM sitting, opened up on her bed. SHE'S BEEN READING. Long story short, she's in Mosiah 12. Ok.... have you every heard of anything more amazing?!?!! She's read over 200 pages!! (in the Korean BofM there's more pages) She's amazing and has a lot of questions. Super sad, she has terrible eyesight so she has to hold the book like an inch from her face to see it. We also helped her memorize what buttons to push on her phone to text and stuff because she can't see the screen :/ Anyways!! That lesson was the biggest miracle I've seen in Sokcho!! maybe, not totally sure I've seen a lot. So we're meeting her again tomorrow!!! I'm so excited!!
I love you all and hope you have a good week!! Especially Mom & Dad. ENJOY PUERTO RICO AND YOUR CRUZ!!! I'd be jealous, but I'm in Korea. hahaha :)
Sis. Evans

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crazy week!!‏

Dear family!
So this past week was so packed! Unfortunately not because of meeting with people... Every appointment of ours was cancelled but one :/ But at least we had one!!!
Last Monday we went to a mountain with the rest of our district. SO BEAUTIFUL. I'll send some pics. There was a massive Buddhist temple complex on top so we went to that. Right after we walked in, this monk walked up to us and said, "Hello missionaries!" In English?! Then we got a private tour from him!! So cool we learned so much!!

That night our appointment fell threw... I got to call 유옥녈 you-ong-neor from my last area and it was soo good to talk to her! She answered and all I said was, "Hello!" and she said "Oh Sis Evans!..." How did she know it was me? Don't I sound like every other Korean? haha.
Tuesday we just walked around and tried to talk to people. Got stuck on the other side of this lake and had to walk all the way around it which took forever but was beautiful! Got to talk to a surprising amount of people that were walking around the lake. That night we taught FHE to that same woman. It was super good! She's awesome.
Wednesday we had district meeting... AND THEN THE CRAZIEST MEETING. So remember that one guy we met going door-to-door? So we met with him tonight with Elder Lanford and Elder 신 Shin. So, the man had made us a huge dinner. This porridge stuff. He's super... interesting. He knows sooo much and was asking so many question. When I say he knows so much I mean he has knowledge about everything. It would take too long to explain...... but it started getting weird when all of a sudden he grabbed my hand and then started telling me my future. Then he did that with everyone. Then he said, "But don't believe anything I'm saying! I'm just making it up. Although I studied this for a really long time." And then he kept telling me my digestion is bad and wanted to help so he grabbed my hand and took out a pen and I recognized it!!! It's this pen my companion uses some times!!! I just has this needle so it pricks your finger and makes you bleed a little. I was like what?! I don't need this! But he said I did and then took my hand. I thought he was going to prick it once but then he did it over 20 times!! In each hand!! haha ya. That was crazy. It doesn't really hurt at all but it was just weird! I think it was like acupuncture... So we thanked him and left... I think it was because he had been drinking the whole time we were there. So ya, the weirdest lesson I've ever had! He's a really nice man, though.
Thursday we had the serive project with the old women and it was great! So much fun helping them :) It was us and Catholic nuns helping. So cool!
We visited a woman whose husband is a member and talked with her for awhile. She was so nice!! Her family is super cute (2 daughters and a son). They own a key shop so that's where we visited her. Then stayed out on the street and tried to talk to people!
Friday!!! Combined zone conference!! It takes about and hour and half to get there by bus ("there" is 강릉 cong-neng which is where the biggest church building is in the country). So this was for Solar Conference which the rest of the mission had two weeks ago. YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHAT WE DID. We watched "Meet the Mormons"!!! How crazy?! It was soooooo good!!! Seriously so much better than I expected. Just... really motivating to be a better person. Have any of you been able to see it? Also, I'm totally determined after my mission I'm going to take up martial arts. So this seems like a funny thing that I'm just saying I'll do, but I'm not even kidding!!! After watching that woman in the movie I'm so motivated to do it! Then we watched a video about the Book of Mormon. It was just a scholarly kind of approach to it. So good! So interesting. The conference was so good! Seriously so pumped to do missionary work and to work so hard!!!
Then Saturday! Our appointments fell threw... so street contacted! But there were literally NO people outside. It was crazy. We found 1 person. Seriously. Then went back to 강릉 cong-neng because it was district conference!!! District conference is where all of the branches in the country get together for a meeting (like stake conference). And oh my gosh. THE CRAZIEST thing happend!! So, some missionaries came up to me and asked if my first name is Gentry and I said what?! They said that there's some foreigner at the conference that knows me and asked if my name is Gentry! So what?! I saw her and here's how I know her! She is Christie's older sister's (Anna) best friend! So I went to the lake a couple times with her and to some of Christie's singing competitions with her! HOW WEIRD IS THAT? It was so weird but cool seeing her! She got here right after I did and is teaching English. What an oddly small world we live in. Her name is Haley Jones. She might've graduated near the time Saxon did? Anyway! The conference Saturday was really good except no one from my branch came because it's too far... Then that night another crazy thing happened. We (8 sisters) stayed in a motel! Becaues it costs too much for us to go back and forth. 4 sisters in each room. Haha this part you might find intersting. So it was a wood floor. There was one bed for 2 people and then just four blankets for the other two. I CANNOT sleep on a bed though. About a week ago in our apartment I thought I'd make my bed a little more comfortable (not that it's not comfortable) and put a blanket under me so there would be a little more cushion between me and the ground. And I could not sleep all night!!! It was way to comfortable for me. So the other American and I took the ground and the Koreans took the bed. (Just adding, the bed isn't much better than the ground. Haha quite similar to the hardness of a rock). Isn't it odd how just sleeping with a blanket under and over you can be so comfortable? Don't know what I'm going to do when I go back home.
Sunday was part 2 of district conference. And some members from my branch came!!! One (this incredible 14 year old boy) was asked to give a little talk. it was so cool!! Also, a less active that we have been meeting with came!!! over and hour late.. but she came!! I saw Haley again. So crazy! Then travelled back home.
So that was my crazy week!!
Love you all so much!

Sis. Evans

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SOKCHO!! A week full of miracles^^‏

Dear family^^
What a week!! I would do a fun fact but they just take so long....
Ok one fast one. Since I have come to Korea I have never (not once!!!) seen a person with a nose ring or lip ring or anything on their face. Not one! Not a thing here.
Soo last Monday night we visited 이은실 ee-en-shir. she's a member and doesn't have a family so the missionaries do FHE with her each week. She is so awesome! So kind. She is... about 2 and a half feet tall I think, if she could stand, so she's in a wheelchair. It was a great lesson!
Tuesday we met an investigator 김현정 kim-heon-jeong. She is so intellectual!!! She knows SO much about different religions. Her son is actually a member of our church but less active. She was so patient with my Korean and talked to me so much so it was awesome, but super difficult. There is always so much vocab to learn! But it was a really cool lesson. We actually taught about family history and the importance of it and she loved it. She actually really likes our church the thing is... her husband is a lawyer so church is kind of a social aspect. So they attend a really big church.
That night we tried to visit less-active families but they were either not home or couldn't talk or sick. So kind of didn't work out! So we just went door-to-door :) And the coolest thing happened!! I think it was Tuesday... we were in an apartment complex and knocked on one woman's door. She couldn't really hear what we were saying so we kept yelling that we were missionaries and started introducing about our church. She cracked the door open and said, "Did you say your teaching a lesson about family happiness?" YES WE SAID THAT. YES WE DID. We asked if we could come in and explain more and she said yes!!! This is only the 2nd time in my mission that has happened!! We went in and got to know her and introduced about our message and stuff. She's an older woman that lives alone and has two sons that live in Seoul. She doesn't have much contact with them :/ It was so funny when we went to leave we noticed she had a lot of trash by her door so we asked if we could take it out for her. She said, "Really?" and we said of course! So then she proceeded to go to every room of her house and get trash from each room. She was saving up just for us! Haha it was funny :) We were happy to do it! She kind of has a hurt leg. So yes, that was the coolest night!!
Wednesday we had district meeting and then went door-to-door. That night Sis Lykins (I took her spot in this area) visited with her parents. She "died" last transfer so her parents came to pick her up! It was really cool seeing them. After a less-active had opened up a 7/11 so we went to say hello! She was super nice :)

Thursday was so awesome!!!! We did a service project with an organization from the community or something. We met at 10 and we were carrying.... I don't know, coal cylinders to houses so people that can't afford heating can burn them. It was such an awesome service project. We wore wooden backpack kind of things and then people would load a few and then we'd walk the little ways to the house and someone else would unload them. They were surprisingly heavy!! In Korean it's "연탄" and in English briquette or something. It was only supposed to be an hour or two... but we were there till 3 so it took a bit longer. We just went to 10 houses. Sometimes the people were home and would come out and thank us. They lived in such humble houses. Such a rewarding service project!

Then contacting people that night! Friday we had weekly planning... and then met a new investigator!!! Her name is 임은주 eem-en-ju. She's 16 (so 14 or 15 American age) and sooo cute. I had been doing calls Sunday night? I think... and had time to only call one more person so I picked a name quickly and randomly and called her. She was so sweet and said she would meet with us Friday!! When I called her Wednesday night to remind her she was so sweet! I said "I'm excited!" and she said "I'm excited, too!"^^ I probably shouldn't be so happy to have a 15 year old say that to me... but I was so happy!!! Made my day. Just normally when we confirm appointments they... don't act this happy? I don't know. It was just very kind :)

So we met her at the church at 5. She is darling^^ Quite shy and mature. She attends church on her own and studies the Bible!! What 15 year old does that? When we asked why she agreed to meet with us she said because when I met you you seemed like kind, good people. So I wanted to talk with you again.

Ok... how precious... so that went really well and we're meeting her again this week!^^

That night we met a less active (she's the daughter of 박민음 bak-meen-em who is a really active member). Her name is 천수영 chon-su-young. She is sooo cool! It was funny because when we talked she said she wants to be an EFY counselor... the only thing is she has to be active first... but ya! But it was a really good meeting!

Saturday we had missionary counsel meeting... then English class. Sis. Ee and I taught the lesson and I think everyone really liked it! They were all super involved which is always the best :) We taught about being able to reach our potential for happiness and stuff. Super awesome! Then we had "youth night." Guess what we played for the game after? Scum! Ya I was surprised they know that game! Fun times :)

Now fast Sunday! Church was really good. The man that was baptized bore his testimony. He had prepared something on his phone but right when he got up to the pulpit he dropped his phone and the battery popped out and he couldn't get it back in so... he was kind of forced to just speak from the heart. He was so honest and talked about not knowing Christ for so long and having given up hope in religion. But then... met the missionaries! Such a testimony builder for the importance of missionary work. Oh ya I gave my first prayer in a sacrament meeting! And played the piano. Jeez... I'm so bad! Oh, well. Haha. After church we had a meeting to plan the branch party.

Now that night is where THE COOLEST thing ever happened! We knocked on one door and a man answered and after we said who we were he said, "Mormons?" So he knew about us. We introduced a little and he said come in! I want to learn. how cool!? The only thing is... we can't go in with just a man (mission rules) so we could only stand in the doorway. He's like 40ish and lives alone but later we found out he has family that lives in Seoul. He showed us pictures, he has just a little 8 month old baby girl. Anyways! He doesn't believe in Christ, just that he was a doctor, and has given home in Christianity. But! He really wants to learn. So we set up an appointment to meet him Thursday with the elders!! We're so excited!

Then... just one floor later the same thing happened. Met a super cool man (30 ish) who immediately invited us in. He is Catholic but had sooo many questions about our religion. He is really busy so doesn't think he can meet again :/ but we talked with him for so long! Super awesome :) 

So yes!!! Those are the miracles of the week! Got into 3 houses when going door-to-door. Tripled the amount of times it's happened my whole mission!! (mostly because it had only happened once before...) Such a great week and I can't wait to see what happens with these new people!

Love you all!
Sis.Gentry Evans