Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 11: Spam, Spam, Spam, and a Transfer

안녕하세요!  (apparently I've been spelling "hello" wrong in korean this entire time)

ANNOUNCEMENT: So, we had transfer calls this week and I was expecting to stay in Suji with Sister Berry but I'm getting transfered to a new area! By next Monday I'll be in a completely different area with a different companion and I can tell you all about it next week :)

Funny story: On Tuesday night we meet with the ward mission leader to make sure we're all on the same page. We found out from the ward roster that his birthday was coming up soon so our district decided to make a card and get him a huge cake for his birthday to bring to this meeting on Tuesday. Before the meeting we came up with an extravagant plan that involved me and Sister Berry pretending to get a call and going out of the room, grabbing the cake and the card and then coming in and singing to him when he would least expect it. 

So, at the end of the meeting we "received a call" and left to get the cake. The plan was going well until we started singing to him and gave him the cake. With a confused look he said "Um, it's not my birthday..." We stopped singing and set the cake down.

Apparently the birthday confusion had something to do with the Lunar Calender and how the birthday dates are accounted different sometimes. Needless to say we were all embarrased and it was really awkward having to pack the cake up in the box again. We gave him the card anyway and told him it was for his future birthday  :)

Ahhh, I'm still laughing about that.

Go to my Suji Ward photos page to see pictures of our Spam incident. A member gave us a HUGE thing of 
luncheon meat. None of us knew how to open that huge thing up and it took almost an hour. Once it was open it smelled....and looked....interesting. We're thinking of giving this mystery meat to the Elders who will be sure to eat it up :)

Also, this weekend was Stake Conference and we had an investigator come which was so wonderful! At the beginning I was struggling to understand what anyone was saying and I tried to stay focused. I soon realized that I didn't need to understand exactly what they were saying to still learn from it. When I made that switch in my head it made such a difference. I could only pick out a few words but with those few words coupled with the way they were saying it I still was able to feel the Spirit and I came away from the meeting edified and uplifted instead of bored or tired.

I think this can happen for anyone and anything. Even if you're in an English speaking meeting it's important to stay focused and try to listen and learn from the Spirit.

Other than this I've been working on packing my things up to go on to new adventures this Wednesday. I've loved serving in Suji and with Sister Berry. I've learned so much from her and no one can take the place of my trainer and first companion in the field. I love her and will miss her!

Until next time!
Sister Holdaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 10: On the way to the Temple!

In the bustle of doing missionary work and such, two major events happened this week.

The first major event was that on Thursday we got to go to the Temple! woot woot! Last time we went to the Temple I talked about how it was interesting to try to find it in the middle of the city. Well, this time, I have pictures to explain our Temple adventures.

Got out of the Subway. Hey! We're in the Seoul Mission! (Shout out to all my friends in this mission!) 

Still don't see a Temple:
We turn a corner. Wow, look at all these stores and the food looks so good! But I can't eat any of it because it's not in my mission. My mission is across the river.  

[Editor's Note: Sister Holdaway doesn't know this, but this location is famous in Holdaway missionary lore . . . Elder Holdaway, Elder Mecham, Elder Bates (and his companion I can't remember), Sister Tong, and Sister Mackie were attacked by two ne'er-do-wells from the Great and Spacious Building and were saved by two angels who were disguised as Korean bodybuilders.]
Still don't see a Temple. 

[Editor's Note: I know right where this is -- I spent a lot of time walking these streets as a missionary in the 1988-89 time frame and when teaching English in 1993.]

Wow look, we're hiking up this big hill! (I had to run up the hill to take this picture. It was worth it.) Say hi fellow missionaries! Still no Temple. 

[Editor's Note: Great and Spacious Building to your right! My 21st birthday gift was down around the corner until it was paved over.]

What? look at that! Do you see that poking through the houses? I think it's the top of a Temple! 

We made it to the Temple! 

(Sorry the pictures are so dark, it was pretty overcast that morning) 

The Temple was such a wonderful experience. I'm seriously so grateful to be able to go frequently because I know not every mission has this opportunity.

The OTHER crazy thing that happened this week was actually the same day. So, Thursday night, after the Temple, Sister Berry and I had an appointment with our investigator. We were running a little bit late and the bus ride took longer than we thought so when we got there we bustled to this lady's house. All of a sudden, as we're crossing the road, a little dog runs up to us, sniffs us and then decides we're not what he's looking for so he keeps going. This dog was ragged and dirty and Sister Berry said "that dog looks really lost." 

We looked around for his owners but couldn't find anybody anywhere. We had to do something. So I chased the dog down and started petting it while Sister Berry looked at the tags. Luckily there was a number on it but because neither of us are fluent Koreans it was hard to get our point across to the lady who answered.

We realized this wasn't working so I picked up the dog, paying no attention to how dirty he was, and we tried to find someone who spoke English to translate for us. Miraculously, the first person we saw - a young man in a suit with a briefcase - spoke English pretty much fluently! He was so nice and was more than willing to help us.
Eventually we found out that the dog's owner had just gotten into a huge accident and she was bed ridden so she couldn't come pick the dog up herself. However, she just so happened to have a close friend who was nearby shopping. We were able to drop the dog off with her and she thanked us profuesely.

Imagine the poor owner who knew her dog was missing but couldn't even look for him herself. I'm so glad that everyone was put there for a reason: we were running late, the man who spoke English just happened to be there, her friend was shopping, and even the dog who came up to us.

I know that things happen for a reason and that God knew who important this dog was to somebody enough to send people to help. There are opportunities to serve all around us if we just look for them. These opportunites help us bless other people's lives and in doing that our lives are blessed too. Being without a phone has really helped me be more observant and look for those ways I can serve.

I love being a missionary! Thanks for all of your support! Have a wonderful week :)

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 9: The Day the Sky was Yellow


Wow, what a great week! Because it's summer vacation time we don't have a lot of investigators right now (just one that's getting baptized in a few weeks!), so we have really been turning our attention to the ward and working with Less-Active members which has proven to be really successful!

This week we met and talked with 3 Less-Active families. One of them called us (after several attempts from our side to contact her) and she asked to meet with us. When we met with her the first thing she wanted to know was: What time our church meets, how her oldest son can get the Priesthood, and how her youngest son can be baptized. Sister Berry and I were shocked. "Yes..yes...absolutely we can help you do that." What a 축복(blessing)!

We also had ZONE CONFERENCE this week!! Zone activities are always so much fun because I get to see other missionaries and we can all come together and say "Hey, I know how you're feeling, we're in this together." Zone conferences are extra special because we got to hear from the mission president, President Morrise and his wife.

There are a few changes in missoinary work. For instance, we received two new pamphlets to try to use. One is "Who are the Missionaries?" which teaches about our purpose and what we do. The other one is "Who is God?" which is used mainly for those who don't have a background in Christianity. They are SO amazing. Especially since my Korean isn't that great, the pamphlets explain things so simply and clearly. Our mission is just testing them out before they give us more to use but I think they will be generally used in the future.

And the other change. For those of you who don't know, there are 5 lessons that missionaries teach which comprise the basic doctrine and principles of our church. However, we have only been teaching the first 4 before baptism and the 5th one after. But now, General Authorities have asked us to teach all 5 before and after baptism.

It's amazing how fast things are changing and getting better as technology is becoming more a part of missionary work. By the end of my mission I'll be able to say that things were so different when I first started my mission. Wow! Maybe we'll even get iPads!

So, you're probably wondering about the "Sky was yellow" day. Well, last night Sister Berry and I were just chilling and cooking dinner in our aparment when all of a sudden I look outside and say "Um, should we be concerned that it's yellow outside?" So we looked out and this is what we saw:

​No, there is no filter on these pictures. It was literally yellow outside! Then it turned orange, then red then purple. I don't know what's going on with the air here but there's definitely something crazy! Like a scene out of an Apocalypse movie or something.

I hope everyone is doing well! Until next week, 화이팅(fighting!)

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, August 4, 2014

Here Comes the Rain Again!


This week has been wonderful! Like always :) 

This last Monday some missionaries got together to do 'Sticker Pictures' which is like a regular photo booth but 100x more amazing. We can edit the pictures and add words to it and then they print out on sticker sheets so it's basically the coolest thing. 

It's been raining a lot this week too. Well....I think it's a lot but apparently it's not even close to how bad it normally gets. It makes for some pretty wet days: 

This was right before we had an appointment at the Bishop's house! Oh no! 

We dried ourselves off and made our way to the Bishop's house on Thursday night. It was so wonderful to sit down and get to know the Bishop and ask if there's anything we can do to help. In PMG is says something along the lines of the way to get closer to the ward starts with the bishop.

The heat is really...something. I sleep with a fan on my face, on high. The rain actually is a welcome relief sometimes. So, I've been eating a lot of BingSu 빙수. It's basically ice and fruit and juice and it's the best thing ever. 

We've also seen many miracles. I just came from a meeting with a lady who doesn't believe in God. She has known the missionaries for a while but she was telling us that she still had so much doubt that she can't seem to shake. She kept asking "How do you know? How do you know there's a God? Don't you have disappointments? Hasn't your life ever disappointed you?" And I replied, "In life, there are always going to be disappointments. But God has never disappointed me. I know there is a God because even through disappointments I find joy and happiness." 

She kept trying to give reasons why logic and reason can overcome faith and why it's hard for her to believe. Yet, every time me or Sister Berry bore our testimonies she couldn't say anything. She was stumped. 

I know that a simple testimony is the most powerful thing. I think because I don't know much Korean a simple testimony is all I can muster but through it people can feel my passion for the message I'm sharing. 

We had zone training this week and that's where a few Elders got to give their "last talk" before their missions came to an end. One elder said: "The most important thing is to share your testimony as much as you can." 

No one can question or debate what we know from the bottom of our hearts.  

Ah, I love being a missionary! The time is too short. I'm loving it in Korea :)

I love all of you! I hope everyone's doing well! 
사랑해요! (Sarangheyo) 

- Sister Holdaway