Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Took a Bath in Kimchi


I feel like every week is a crazy week so saying "this was the craziest week ever!!!" just doesn't do it anymore :)

Well – this week we kept pretty busy – a lot to prepare for.

On Friday it was Zone Conference so I helped the Zone Leaders prepare a small activity-based training. We had an hour, President had an hour, the AP's had an hour and President invited PJ Rogers for the rest of the training. All-in-all, it was a full day!

The best part of it all was definitely PJ Rogers. He served his mission here a while ago but came back and lived in Korea for a long time. He's fluent in Korean and has Korean citizenship now. He came to talk to us about how to learn the language and a little bit about Korean culture. I've been here for over a year now and I'm still learning a lot!

For instance, Korean culture is very vertical. If someone is older than you, even by a few months, you respect them and they can basically boss you around. It's a principle that a lot of the American missionaries have a hard time with because we live in such a horizontal society where everyone is equal.

I'm still trying to get used to it and learning the different styles of speech for the different levels. It's so fun! I think I could live here forever and always be learning.

The next day, on Saturday, we had a ward barbecue. It was so much fun and really successful! We actually had six of our investigators there! A little stressful but they all had a really good experience.

That night, the bishop's wife gave us I HUGE bag full of Kimchi. We accepted it graciously and took it home. As we were walking home it started to rain so I started running home with the bag of kimchi in my arms. Unfortunately, the bag opened and I realized, too late, that I was covered in kimchi.

​It's a good thing I LOVE KIMCHI!!!
Disclaimer: I still smell like kimchi. Also, all of the food in our fridge smells like kimchi now. ^^yay

But the week was not over . . . on Sunday we were asked by President to host a recent convert activity night. We decided to make a real American breakfast and to watch Meet the Mormons. So we got to work after church on Sunday to make our assigned batch of scrambled eggs and hash browns. Our kitchen:

​For Me and Sister Sweetnam not knowing how to cook they actually turned out pretty tasty!

The activity was really successful. It was my second time watching Meet the Mormons and it was fun watching it all in Korean. I got all the jokes and understood the whole thing ~ success!

And now for a quick miracle:
This week we went to visit a family in our ward. On the way out it was raining so they let us use their really nice umbrella. We promised to give it back by Sunday. Knowing we would probably forget, we left the umbrella at the church on Saturday. The next day, she showed up and asked us for her umbrella. We went to get it and to our horror found that it wasn't there, someone must have took it.

My heart sank and immediately I said a fervent prayer in my heart. I prayed all during church. I was so stressed about finding that umbrella! Church was over and still no umbrella. I went home – still stressed about the situation. I knelt and prayed again. I knew that God would answer my prayers. I knew that I could find that umbrella. And so I didn't give up. I just kept praying.

After I prayed I picked up the phone to call our Elders about the party that night. I decided to ask them if they happened to pick up an umbrella. To my relief, they had. They brought it back to church that night and we will give that umbrella back to the member next week! Gratitude filled my heart. Finding the umbrella was such a little thing but it meant a lot to me. God cares about the little things – the little heart breaks, the little stresses. And He answers, in His own way and in His own time.

I'm grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven looking after me. And I'm grateful to know that He's looking after every one of you as well.

I love you! Have a wonderful week!

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Sour and the Sweet


What a week! I feel like I say that every week but . . . every week is basically an adventure in Korea.

This week we were overbooked with appointment after appointment. We have had hardly any time to do weekly planning. But we are so blessed! It's nice not having to think "What are we going to for 6 hours tomorrow?" We also have a lot of investigators right now and a lot of people progressing and building their faith.

But it did mean that we were literally RUNNING from appointment to appointment. And when you mix that with how hot it is outside – we have been showing to our appointments out of breath and gross. 0_0 Today we are going to a Korean bathhouse which should be really relaxing and nice. It will be Sister Sweetnam’s first time! Exciting!

On Thursday we went on exchanges with other sisters in our zone. I stayed in Seongnam and Sister Sweetnam went to Bundang. I got to be with Sister Northridge! It was so much fun ~~

We barely got back home after exchanging when I decided to call a potential investigator. As I was talking with her on the phone Sister Northridge sayed "hi" to a lady walking past us. This lady was also on the phone and we realized that we were on the phone with each other! I don't know what she was doing in our neighborhood but we were thinking "what a miracle!" She said she wanted to learn English from the bible so we went with her to her apartment. As we stepped in there something felt a little off. I turned to Sister Northridge with a confused look. The lady seemed nice and so we sat down and she pulled out her Bible.

The next 20 minutes was her telling us about her church - pulling information from random Bible verses and repeating again and again broken English phrases. I asked her over and over again what church she was from but she would never say the name.  Finally I said "Thank you for your time but we are here for two purposes: to share our unique message of the restoration and to help you learn English. If you are not interested in these then we will have to leave." We smiled and left after she said "Next time I'll bring someone who knows English better." She thought we didn't understand but we understood perfectly well.

Hopefully we will not be having that experience again!

We are not interested in Bible-bashing or proving that are church is right and others aren't. We are just here to share the gospel with those who will hear us. If they won't hear us we just smile, nod and move on.

That night, we moved on alright. We met with an investigator who we had given a Book of Mormon to last week. We were pleased to find that she had marked, annotated and cross-referenced her heart out. She was so excited to share about everything she learned. She wanted to meet us the next day too because she was so excited to share what she is learning with us.

It is so wonderful to see someone falling in love with the Book of Mormon just like I fall in love with it every day.

Our mission, right now, is focusing on getting member present lessons because that has been a struggle in our mission. I know that firsthand because I have had a lot of . . . less than pleasant experiences teaching with members. But I decided to forget everything I had experienced and start afresh. So we made goals to get members at our lessons. They were both really good. One of them, we had the American lady in our ward come and practice her testimony in Korean. After we taught about the restoration with our investigator the member came in with tears in her eyes and was able to give a simple, heart-felt testimony that this church is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was such a wonderful experience for her and for us. It reminded me that we can go on and on about doctrines and principles but all that matters is the sincere, heart-felt testimony.

And for the cherry-on-top of the week: The elders had a baptism again on Sunday! But this time, it was the other set of elders in our district, Elder Hansen and Elder Cook. This is Elder Hansen's first baptism in the year and a half he's been on his mission. We are so proud of him and I've never seen a happier elder in my life. Now the members are asking us when we're going to get a baptism. I just smile and say we are working hard and fasting.

But I don't let it phase me because:
Miracles are happening in SeongNam!!

Sorry this is kinda long this week:
I love you all! Have an awesome week!

- Sister Holdaway


Not a lot of pictures this week but my "hole-y" socks. No worries – these made it in the garbage last night.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Things I Do to Share the Gospel . . .


This week was busy, full of miracles and hot, hot, HOT.

It's raining today so it cools things off a bit, but it's been in the 90's here all week.

This was also Missionary Leadership Council and Zone Training. This is the 7th MLC and Zone Training I've done . . . and I still don't think I've gotten any better at training . . . But that's life. I'm considered an "old" missionary now and I feel like I'm still being trained myself! I'm always learning and always growing but that doesn't mean I haven't come a long ways.

After Zone Training - we came home, did a practice lesson with a member and then prepared for ANOTHER baptism this coming Sunday (the Elders are on fire!).

After we were done we went home and started planning but we realized we lost our phone. We ran back to the church but couldn't find it anywhere! We said a prayer, asking God to help us be safe and find the phone quickly. We asked the Elders where our phone was and they said to look back at the church. We went back to the church and found that it was somewhere we thought we had already looked. BLESSINGS. We breathed a sigh of relief and rushed back home because we knew it was pretty late by that point.

On the way home, however, we were stopped by a lady in our neighborhood who we had said 'hi' to lots of times. She was so happy to see us and wanted to show us "real quick" where her home was so we could come by and visit her. We let her show us to her home but we said that we didn't have a lot of time.

Long story short ~ We ended up eating fruit and kimchi with her, she introduced us to her son and we were able to share a little bit about who we are and what we do. She sent us home with some kimchi and told us to come by a lot because she is our "mom in Korea."

Thank goodness we lost our phone! God works in mysterious ways.

I like to call this technique "Oops-we-lost-our-phone-but-we-found-a-miracle-proselyting"

The other day we were walking and we saw a puppy on the side of the street. I wouldn't say we were "prompted" to go and pet the puppy . . . we just really like puppies. So, we stop and pet the puppy and a man comes up to us, gives us his number, and wants us to teach his family on the weekends.

I like to call this technique "Puppy Proselyting"

On Friday, I was making calls to some potential investigators to see if any of them would be interested in meeting with us. We called one family who had stopped coming to English class but who I knew had a lot of potential. As I was talking with them I remembered that they said their uncle cuts

hair so I asked them about that and they said "Why, do you want a haircut?" and I blurted out "yes!"
"How about tonight?"
"Sure! That sounds great!"
"Ok, we'll meet you in half an hour."
So a long story CUT short....(get it?)

​I cut my hair ^^

While I was cutting my hair Sister Jacobson (I was on exchanges at the time) was able to talk about our church and bear her testimony to this cute family!

So now I have short hair - but it's actually perfect for the hot, hot summer!

I like to call this technique "Sacrificing for a greater cause"

On Sunday we had another baptism! And we're having a baptism next week too!
Here's the picture from the baptism a few weeks ago:

Also - this is the Seongnam ward family and I love all of them! <3

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love this gospel and I love this work!

Sister Holdaway

There's a mosquito which lives in our room that we haven't been able to kill so I wake up with 2 new bug bites a night.

And we found this guy the other night:

​We ended up just staring at it for about half an hour wondering what we were going to do about it. Some prayers were involved. We eventually just took a broom and swept it out of our apartment. SO we're all good now.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Americans in Korea


This week has been so amazing! Including Temple Day and the 4th of July! And if you think we didn't celebrate 4th of July here in Korea . . . you're wrong :) More details on that to come.

But first!

Temple Day is always the best. After the Temple we went home to have a relaxing day but we get a call from a potential investigator who wants to meet right away! We run to the church and meet her. She's 18 years old and LOVES the Book of Mormon. She wanted to study the Book of Mormon together and wants to meet us twice a week to study the Book of Mormon more. She has been meeting missionaries for over a year but she's finally ready to "feast upon" the Book of Mormon and we're excited to do it with her!

We also met a lot of amazing people, taught new investigators and watched our current investigators progress.

On Saturday, Sister Sweetnam and I dressed in red, white and blue and sang patriotic songs to start our study time in the morning. We also attempted to do the Pledge of Allegiance but we couldn't find an American flag anywhere. Luckily, I had a flag shirt from the MTC and we located the American flag on it ㅋㅋㅋ

For lunch we went to an American food buffet with our Elders and ate till we were stuffed.

Then we went to English class and taught everyone "America the Beautiful"

It helps that everyone in our district is from America. :)
Our Elders got a little full.

Me sporting my stars and stripes!
We were street-boarding yesterday (standing with a sign about our church and talking to people about it) and there was a cotton-candy stand next to us. I think the owner noticed Sister Sweetnam staring longingly at the cotton-candy because he gave here one for free! It's shaped like a flower :) 

This week was really busy but the busier we are the happier we feel :)

I love this work and I love what I'm doing and I want to make every minute count.
I love you all!

Have a wonderful week ^^

- Sister Holdaway