Monday, December 16, 2013

Second Week in Ghetto City.‏

Hello All,
Remember when I told you I was getting transferred? And I told you that I was basically going from LA to Oklahoma?
Well if Oklahoma is ultra sketchy, full of weird creepy guys and strange alleywayways and you never want to go outside at night because you are afraid that you might become the next subject of a CSI episode, then YES. I have been transferred to somewhat of an Oklahoma.
(now dont get too upset mom, i promise that i am being watched over by angels for sure.)
But literally this week I thought I was going to die.
One night this week, my companion and I walked to a less active members house. It was dark and there literally was NO ONE on the street we were walking on. As we turned down the alleyway where she lived, there was a classic creepy whistling wind. Something moved in one of the shadows and my companion and I practically peed our pants.
Now I know that all of you who are reading this know me, and that I probably am the whimpiest person in the whole world, but I SWEAR THIS WAS THE SCARIEST THING OF MY LIFE. As we knocked on the gate to the members house, the angriest sounding dogs started howling and the member grumpily motioned for us to go inside the house as she took a quick trip to the outhouse that was in her 'courtyard.' (and yes, i just said OUTHOUSE.) Her house was a disaster. She fed us Chinese date tea and to end the meeting she gave us a few persimmons for the road. rewind, i meant rotting persimmons. they were literally leaking juice onto my hands.
so now that i basically provided you with this seemingly useless information, I would just like to say that I support all my fellow missionaries who are in the field right now. During this visit, I undoubtedly thought of my sweet friend Leann, who is in some village of Peru, teaching families with no money to spare, or mothers who are trying their best to provide for their children without a male figure to support them.
I thought of her and I thought of ALL of my dear friends who are out, doing the same things as I am right at this very moment. I feel connected to them.
And not only do I feel connected to them, but I feel connected to all of you as well. I know that in each of our lives, we are each enduring hardships. For the mothers, I know that they are enduring the trials of raising children, only to feel burdened with the responibility when they feel like they havent quite measured up. For fathers, they might be burdened with having to endure the long day, working for hours only to come home and work some more, all with keeping a smile on their face and trying to be an example to all those who he keeps under his wing. And for the missionaries, I know that we are all weighed down by dark nights and creepy alleyways and just trying so hard to do our best as we wear the name of the Savior on our nametags.
Our zone is doing an interesting project this transfer, we are reading the entire Book of Mormon. I came across the most wonderful verse as I was reading this week-
 20 My God hath been my asupport; he hath led me through mine bafflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
Even if my thoughts might be trivial, and my problems might seem small, I know that whatever role we play in this life is not only known to God, but it is supported by him. The world can at times be a wilderness, a stormy sea. But I bear my testimony to all of you that no matter where you are in this world right now, the Lord is supporting you and preserving you.
know this.
I pray for each of you every single, and hope that you are all happy in whatever place you may be.
xo sister pappa

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


The big Two Oh. (oh and thanks for the decorations mom, I LOVE THEM!!!)

Mokpo hike. I LOVE KOREA.

I LOVEEEEE the sisters I live with.

8 December 2013

Onyong. (Say in a semi depressed-im-so-exhausted-i-might-roll-off-this-chair-and-die kinda voice)
My first week in Naju! So much to say. Honestly, it was bad. not good. exhausting. frustrating. i might have cried a few times. 
Allow me to provide you with a few examples-
Transfers were a disaster. I bawled while I was packing my clothes (I did NOT want to leave Chumdeon) I had to drag my suitcases with me cause I didnt tekbay them. I lost my bus ticket, and on top of the natural frustration of transfers in general, I accidentally shipped the Chumdeon Investigator records to Naju. (how i did that, I have no idea)
The Boo Boys (Elders who work at the mission office) forgot to pay our gas bill and so our floor heat and our hot water were out for three days. And its winter. We walked around in the house with hats and blankets. Also, every morning we had to go to the bath house and bathe with a bunch of old Korean ladies. (actually that was so fun. hey look, some positivity!) I spilled olive oil on my favorite curduroy skirt. My rain boots rubbed and I got sick twice. My old lady joints were not taking the cold too well this week and I literally wanted to crawl into my bed and die. AHHH AUTO IMMUNE DISEASES WHHHHHHY. (i realize this is all a bit dramatic) To wrap this all up, our investigator told me that 'I remind her of "that girl from Twilight" and then the ward mission leaders son called me sister poop.
also, i cant speak korean. and there are no people in naju.

K! Well thats all for today.

Just kidding. I wouldnt be a missionary if i didnt end this horrible streak of negativity with something that would make it all better. 
Missions are hard. ahhhh. so hard. but I feel that Heavevnly Father saves the great moments for when you need them the most.

The Good Moments that were weaved into all the bad-
1// I love my companion. (and I cant wait for you to meet her when we skype on christmas. WHAT?! SO SOON!!) I lived with her in Chumdeon and she is honestly one of the best people I have ever met. Also, she speaks fluent English so that helps too.
2// We tried to make a list of all the States in the US last night. This is how the conversation went-
"There are 50 stars on the flag. There are fifty states." -Me
"I think there are 52" -Choi 
"Well one of them is Tennessee" -Me
"I thought Tennessee was in Switzerland" -Choi.
Conclusion- We dont know America.
3// The kid who called me Sister Poop? Ya, hes my favorite. hes five years old and is the funniest thing I have ever met. He is a ball of craziness. Yesterday after church we watched some of the members put up Christmas lights and there were like 20 kids just running around and playing. In between carrying him around in a box and picking dandleions for the 3 year old twin girls, I had a moment where it suddenly struck me how lucky I am to be doing what Im doing, and to be where I am. SO. LUCKY.
4// I gave my introduction talk in Sacrament meeting and butchered the entire thing. It was horrible. But what made the whole thing worth it was looking out into the congregation and seeing my companion look up at me, BEAMING. She makes me so happy.
5// I was FLOODED with mail this week. Most of it thanks to the GENIUS Christmas package from my family. I cant even describe to you how happy all those letters make me. And most of them were a complete surprise! Tell Abe that his Christmas ornament is hanging on my tree. Cody and Jess- I will try to make that recipe but modify it a little bit. Strohms- Oh my gosh that was the cutest note from you and all your kids. You will have to email me your address so I can reply to Bella. I honestly cant remember all of them but I loved them so much that I might possibly be like 5 days ahead. (Did you reaaaallly think I could stay on schedule?)
6// ChoiHyehung and I were making message cards for the youth in our branch who are having finals this week. I wrote out my best Korean message and handed it to my companion.
"Will they understand this?"
*as she reads*
".......They will understand it Chamenim...... with their hearts."
(insert ridiculously long laughter here.)

I had LOTS of laughs this week, and also experienced lots of heartache. I was homesick. An Elder in our mission went home and the story broke my heart. I was sad. I was confused.
But in all seriousness, I learned a very valuable lesson this week as I was reading a talk given to me in September my our mission president. It says- "Sometimes we must do more than tell the stories of the Book of Mormon, sometimes we must live them."
Although my list of overly dramatic complaints were silly and tedious, they were real. And in the moment they really meant something to me. Although the stories in the Book of Mormon are far more extreme, and the characters were full of much more diligence, purity, and courage than I, I imagine that people like Nephi must have felt the same sting of heartache when he fought with his brothers, and Alma must have felt much frustration as he was mocked by those who were once his friends. 
Their stories are more interesting, more brave, more heroic than mine, but I feel that it is important to remember that we are all in the very midst of our own stories, and that one day when this is all over, I will  be able to tell my story and be grateful that I lived it.

I love you all!
Thanks for all you do to support me.

x's and o's,
sister pappa


First off, TRANSFERS!!! and guess what, I GOT MY FIRST ONE!!! (drumroll please....) I am going to NAJU! which is pretty much going from the equivqlent of going from Los Angeles to like, Oklahoma. (thumbs. down.) buuuuuuut, i am becoming companions with CHIOHYEJUNG which is the very girl I lived with last transfer and whom I love and adore dearly. Shes pretty much fluent in English and is the weirdest Korean I have ever met. AH. I love her. So ya, that will be tooooooons of fun. So next time I will be emailing I will be in Naju!
Leaving Chumdeon is going to be so weird. I love it so much and part of me doesnt want to leave but the other part of me is like 'this is what you signed up for buck up and pack your suitcases woman'.......................happy..............sad......excited......nervous.
i dont even know.

moving on.

My favorite experience from this week (of which is one of my VERY favorite moments from my mission so far)::
My companion is Sister Training Leader, which basically means that I get moved around like a foster child between meetings and splits and house exchanges and the lot (sound familiar Sister Nitas? Can you see me rolling my eyes all the way from Yaysang?) 
This week was no different. 
I was scheduled to go on a split with a sister who is not exactly my cup of tea, to put it kindly. I mean, I can be nice to her and be around her but A SPLIT?? (insert groan here) I was dreaaaading it the whole day and almost told my companion I couldnt do it because I was afraid that it really would be THAT bad.
Fast Forward to that night.
The split was started. Even though there was a smile on my face, on the inside, I was filled to the brim with the poison of bitterness and annyance. As we were crossing a crosswalk I finally kicked myself and began to pray within my heart- HEAVENLY FATHER, I need your help right now. I know that this sister has a lot of good in her. Please help me to see that and to be able to be a friend for these short hours that we are together. Please soften my heart.
We got home that night and started making our Christmas message cards for members in the ward as I was watercoloring Christmas lights and trying my very hardest to brush away the annoyance, the sister walked into the living room and started to tell me a story, a story that i know she held very close to her heart. 
She told me about her dear mother, who passed away 2 years ago due to breast cancer. She told me how much she missed her and how lucky I was to have my mother here on this earth. She told me about her mothers last tender months of life, up until the last moments she had with her, as she peacefully passed away in their home.
She must have talked for an hour as I sat there, listening so intently.
My heart was not only softened, but totally and completely melted as she ended with her testimony of the plan of salvation and that she knows that no  power on earth or below the earth could ever seperate her from here mother.
We sat in the kitchen and bawled together. I truly truly have such a deep love for this sister now, and feel ashamed to have ever had bad feelings about her to begin with. I learned SUCH a valuable lesson that day.
What strikes me as amazing about missions is that the missioanaries have just as messy of lives as the people we are teaching. Too often in our church, many people seem to think that 'everything is perfect'. The families, the marriages, and even the missioanaries. I can firsthand tell you that I myself have my fair share of life problems and that this sweet sister was no different. I was ashamed to have held her to ignorant terms of perfection, when I myself was found with many beams in my eye.
Challenge of the Week- Forgive quickly. Overlook imperfections and offer kindness to all, regardless of what 'cup of tea' they appear to be.
God softens hearts. I have experienced it myself.

I love you all so much! Thank you again for all the love and support that you offer to me. Each of you mean more to me than you ever could know.
The big Two Oh. (oh and thanks for the decorations mom, I LOVE THEM!!!)

Mokpo hike. I LOVE KOREA.

I LOVEEEEE the sisters I live with.

xo sister pappa