Monday, January 26, 2015

Into the Great Outback

I would like to announce that last week I had a dream and in this dream every spoke Korean. That's right, I dreamt in Korean! I think I'm finally getting the language down :)

아무튼, 안녕하세요!!

This week had a ton of stuff happening so I'll try to get to touch on everything.

On Monday, after emailing, there was a Sisters Conference where we talked about budgeting, exercise, cleaning and cooking. It was really fun to see all the Sisters. I think there about 70 of us all together.

After the conference I came back home with Sister Giles from Suji on an exchange. We had so much fun. It was my first time leading the area after only being there for 2 weeks or so but I only got us lost about once :)

The next day we exchanged back. That night, we had an appointment with a bunch of little boys trying to teach them the restoration. Let's just say, that was a little crazy. The boys were jumping off the walls and couldn't focus. We are working on preparing them something fun and teach more like a game for next time. If anyone has tips on working with 6-9 year old boys, let me know^^

On Wednesday night we had our English Class. In the middle of class I was racking my brain trying to figure out something that would break the routine, something fun and would get them excited. So we ended early and put all our chairs in a circle, put a flashlight in the middle, and had a mock campfire! We taught them all how to sing Kumbaya and we had scary story time. It was really fun and out of the ordinary. Koreans love to camp so it was fun giving them an American camping experience. (Also - Korean scary stories are the funniest things. Especially when they tell them in English.)

On Thursday (sorry if this is so scattered) we went to the mission headquarters where we met with the Assistants to the President and I was able to (almost) finish the Teacher Improvement Program. In order to pass it off, I had to memorize certain scriptures in Korean, memorize the required vocabulary, memorize scripture references, and teach 2 principles from the first three lessons. However, right before I did it, they made a new change to the program and added lesson 4 and 5 (Commandments and Laws and Ordinances)  so I wasn't able to get a certificate yet :/ If only I had done it a little sooner . . .
So now I'm working on the last two lessons and hopefully I can get it done fast.

On Friday we had a member take us to . . .*drumroll* . . . OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE!

​It was delicious! And a nice break from kimchi and rice (don't get me wrong, I love Korean food).

Later that day we went to do some service at an English academy where we played games with kids and talked with them in English. It was really fun!

On Saturday we went to Suji for a huge stake youth activity. They asked all the missionaries to come and help for a big missionary activity. The youth were all split up into companionships and Sister Partridge and I went and helped them plan and prepare lessons plans just like a missionary would. Later, we got to act like investigators while they came and taught us. It was such a good experience.  One of the young men that came to teach us was a convert of a year and he taught us about the Atonement. Afterwards we asked him if he wanted to serve a mission and his face just lit up and he said "Of course!"
We got to see how the Atonement truly changed his life.

Acting as the investigator and being taught those lessons from the youth really made me think about how far I've come from when I started teaching. Not only is my Korean better but I've also been able to teach the gospel principles simply and clearly. I have SUCH a far way to go still but it's nice to take a step back and see how far you've come.

I love you all!
Have a good week!

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, January 19, 2015

Expecto Patronum!

On the way to email today I saw the head of a fish in the street. I should have taken a picture because that pretty much sums up Korea!

Also, last week, I saw this in the street . . .

​ . . . is that what I think it is? Hmmm . . .
It's always and adventure here in Korea!

Anyway....안녕하세요 여러분!

I am absolutely loving it here in Seongnam. It's really fun being with Sister Partridge and we've been seeing a lot of great things. Some weeks it seems like we're working had and still nothing seems to be happening but then . . . on Saturday night you have that one miracle that really makes it all worth it.

We were calling referrals we got this week and we were having absolutely no success. Then we got to the last one and this woman answered. We said (in Korean): "Hello, we are the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We heard you have interest in our English program?" When she answered her voice sounded like a mixture of tired and sad and just worn-out "Yes . . . BUT . . . even more than English I want to go to church." And that really took us by surprise. She went on to say "even more than church . . . I want to read that book." "What book? The Book of Mormon?" "Oh yes, that book." Well of course we could help her with that! We made plans to meet her later this week and we hung up and just looked at each other with our jaws dropped.

It might seem little and kind of silly but something like that has never happened to any one of us thus far. We are meeting her today and are really hoping that we can help her get the help she needs and yes, we can help her read "that book." ^^

Sister Partridge and I have started making it a tradition to call our District Leader and sing "THERE CAN BE MIRACLES! WHEN YOU BELIEVE" (from Prince of Egypt) whenever a miracle happens. I'm not sure if our District Leader 100% appreciates it but it keeps our spirits up :)

It's also really fun being able to be a Sister Training Leader. We are starting going on exchanges today and I'm so excited to get to know the other Sisters in this zone. I'm staying in this area . . . that I hardly know . . . so it should definitely be an adventure.

When we do exchanges with Sisters we prepare a little training for them. Sister Partridge and I wanted to focus on being positive and happy no matter what the circumstance. We were thinking about this and us being that Harry Potter nerds we are we came up with a little analogy (If you don't know about Harry Potter ~ this might seem a little weird and I apologize):

So you have Dementors which are basically evil and they go around sucking the happiness out of people. The only way to defend against their attacks is to 1. Eat chocolate and 2. Go up against it with a Patronum charm (“Expecto Patronum!”) and let the light and goodness of your Patronum chase away all darkness.

Everyone has their own, personalized Dementors that make us distracted and suck out the happiness from our lives. Sometimes it's hard but we have it within us to defend ourselves with light and virtue and goodness. 

So if you are having troubles with negativity in your life my advice would be: Eat chocolate and “Expectro Patronum!”  it right on out of there. If we fill our lives with positive things, good music, exercise, close friendships, and of course, Christ our Savior, we WILL have the power to combat those things that only want to drag us down.

I love you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week!

Keep smiling :)

 - Sister Holdaway

And for a picture:

Monday, January 12, 2015

In With the New!


Greetings from SeongNam (성남)! My 4th area! 

This last Friday I hit my halfway mark on my mission! It's crazy how fast it's going by. Almost scary. But, I still have a while left^^ right? right. 

This week was such a long week . . . 
On Monday and Tuesday I said goodbye to my members/investigators and was busy packing packing packing. I went to the post office on Tuesday and mailed my suitcases to my new house for only about $18. Good price! 

On Wednesday I met my new companion, Sister Partridge, and we traveled to my new area! After we got a little settled in in my new house, I got to see a little bit of the area and we had a lesson with some amazing investigators and we had English class that night. Busy day! 

My area is so cool though. It's really hilly so I can already feel my legs getting a major workout. It's also the first area I've lived that doesn't have major apartment buildings! Most of the houses are villas. It's really cool and it just shows how diverse Korea is. I'll get a lot more photos of it next week. 

Then next day, Thursday, we had a mission-wide leadership training for all the Zone Leaders and STL's. It was definitely nerve-wracking for my first time. I am the youngest (mission age) Sister Training Leader and I just remember looking around and thinking "What am I doing here?" I just felt  overwhelmed. But, as the day progressed I began to feel more and more comfortable. By the next training conference I think I'll get the hang of it :) Sister Partridge says it's always a little nerve-wracking the first time. 

The next Sunday was church which means meeting a new ward and giving my 인사 말씀 (introduction talk). The ward is so amazing, I don't think I've every hugged so much on my mission. Koreans don't usually hug but it sure made me feel welcome :) The ward is pretty small but it makes it really easy to get to know everyone and build good relationships with them. 

That night we had dinner at the bishop's house and a lot of the ward was there too. One of the men there asked me about my hobbies and I said I really like music. He then asked if I could play the guitar - I said I could only play a little bit but the next moment he brought out two guitars and we played and sung "I'm a Child of God" and other traditional Korean songs like "Arirang" (they were all really impressed that I knew Arirang). 

Afterwards, like usual, Sister Partridge and I shared a spiritual thought which turned into a mini-testimony meeting where everyone got the chance to share their testimony. I'm still a little shaky on understanding 100% of what they said but I definitely got the gist of it and when the Spirit is there it doesn't matter what language you're speaking.'s Monday. Our Preparation Day aka I'm going to take a nap and finally finish unpacking. 

And now, for a little segment I like to call "I took pictures of my new house so you all can see how I live": 

My desk!  And a very confusing map of our area!

This is our bathroom! Do you see a shower? No...but there is a shower head! 
I must say, it's nice to live in a 2-man house after living in two 4-man houses. 
More pictures to come next week :) 

I love you all!  
- Sister Holdaway 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Out With the Old ~~~

새해 복많이 바드세요!  

Happy New Years!~! 

Many of you have asked how I celebrated New Years Eve. 

Well, after searching far and wide for some sparkling cider we got glasses and everything ready for midnight. We set our alarm for 11:58 and then crashed in bed. Like the sleep deprived missionaries we are -- somehow we slept right through our alarm and woke up at 6:30 the next morning. 

Kind of disappointing but Sister Chestnut and I still made 3 cheers for the new year as we groggily drank are sparkling apple cider. 

In Korea, the New Years is a MUCH bigger deal than Christmas. Because of plans and things many of our investigators were not able to meet this week. But everyone seemed happy and joyful on the street so we did a lot of street contacting^^ 

I'm not sure if I've talked about this yet but Korean ages are different than american ages. When you are born you begin at 1 (not 0) and at the beginning of the year you change ages, not necessarily on your birthday. American age I am 19 but here in Korea, because of the new year, I tell everyone that I'm 21. It's definitely fun being 21! 

We have started a service project every Tuesday where we go and sing songs and do activities at home for Alzheimer patients. It's so much fun and it's the best feeling to light up these people's day. We sing for about an hour which can be kind of difficult because . . . we don't really know an hour's worth of music so we sometimes repeat songs and hope they don't notice. They are just so happy to be with foreigners and get a break from their routine lives. Last week, we sang a traditional Korean song, Arirang. And they all broke out singing with us. A lot of these people can't speak Korean hardly at all but they still remember their beloved music. It was such a special experience. 

It's been an apprehensive week this week because we were getting transfer calls on Saturday night. President Morrise postponed the call to Sunday morning which was very stressful! Sister Chestnut and I didn't know who was going or not so we both wrote a talk for church the next day. Usually if you're new to a ward or are leaving a ward you get to talk. So our talks were both written out and we woke up Sunday morning very nervous. I have never stayed in an area . . . I usually was always the one to leave. I really love Gyesan and I have become very close to the ward and the people we serve here. President Morrise called and said that Sister Chestnut is staying in Gyesan and I will be leaving to serve back in 영동 (Yeong Dong was my first zone). I will be serving with Sister Partridge as a Sister Training Leader. I will be sad to leave Gyesan but I'm excited to go to my new area: 성남 (Seong Nam)! 

When the members found out I was leaving a lot of them wanted to feed me dinner before I left so I have gotten a lot to eat in the past few days! The love I feel from the members here is so amazing and I will miss them. 

Elder Bodily, my district leader, is also leaving 계산 after being here for 5 transfers (like 6 months) So he and I tried to get pictures with everyone in the ward.

Our wonderful district!

This was taken this morning with our lovely investigator- Esther! 
Saying goodbye ~~~~ 

Next week I will let everyone know about my new area! It's always and adventure here in Korea! 

Lots of love and new years wishes, 

Holdaway 자매 

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  Sister Holdaway also sent us this cute video of her district performing at the ward Christmas party. Enjoy!]