A handwritten letter home…

February 7, 2017

So, I decided I am just the worst at emailing everyone about my missionary experiences.  So, I wanted to start writing my experiences instead.  I get so pushed during email time between emailing the mission president, reading emails and responding–that I forget all the good missionary experiences.  This letter will be much better.  I’ll just start with the beginning of last week.  (PS–my journal is beside me, so this is the real deal)

Monday–January 30

P-day= Some of our ward members invited us over for lunch.  And something very special happened.  I was able to eat raw oysters for the first time on my mission. haha It has been one of my biggest food fears.  But these members invited us over, and fed us OYSTERS.   And they struggle financially, and oysters are kind of an expensive food item.  So, duty calls.  I said multiple prayers.  But I was able to swallow everyone with nobody noticing my gags.  haha  Just kidding.  It really wasn’t so bad.

But this is one of the only family recent converts I have seen on my mission.  Such a strong family too!  One of my favorite parts of visiting members is asking about their conversion story.  Most members in Korea are first generation converts, BTW.  Hearing their stories gives me so much motivation to go out and keep talking to everyone we pass on the street.

This particular family met the missionaries through English lessons.  They talked about their first impression of missionaries / the message.  Their story was interesting to me.  At first, they didn’t want to listen to the missionary’s church message.  But then they watched the restoration video and felt like they needed to join the church.  Even though they didn’t have the greatest desire at first.  Makes me think of all the other people we are teaching right now that may not have that much church interest.  We can never give up on them!  We never know when they will find interest and feel the Spirit working in their hearts.  I love this family!!!!!

Tuesday–January 31

On Tuesday we visited a less active sister.  She is from Mongolia and her and her husband moved to Korea about a year ago.  They are sealed in the temple!  But she can’t speak English and barely any Korean.  So, coming to church is hard because she doesn’t understand anything.  The husband comes every week, even though he doesn’t understand anything either.  We weren’t able to communicate much outside of simple Korean & English.  But it was one of my favorite experiences this week. They tried to share their experience of conversion and their journey to the temple.  The husband has such strong faith.  He understands barely anything, but he comes anyway to take the sacrament every week.  They know what they feel.

That morning, I had been reading Jesus the Christ and we had decided to share a message about Alma 5:27.  After we shared the message, in simple English, I was able to bear my testimony of the reality of Christ Christ and of the atonement.  The spirit was so strong. My eyes filled with tears as we went around and everyone shared their testimonies of the Savior, our constant need of Him and the endless love he shows to us.  I know He lives and I know He accomplished the impossible for me.  He is my Redeemer and my best friend.  That hasn’t been a time in my life where I have felt His love this much than while on my mission.

Today, I also started saying my prayers out loud.  I started doing that when my companion is in the shower. haha  This past transfer, a lot of my personal study has been focused on prayer.  How can we more deeply pray, making it more sincere.  Sometimes I struggle in morning and night prayers because I can get distracted in the thoughts of the day.  But I know that by diligently and faithfully praying, with real intent, we can receive so much strength.   So, I started saying them out loud and IT HAS MADE SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE.  I feel so much power in my prayers.  It becomes a real conversation.  So, glad I started doing it every day.  I would invite you to all try it, as well.

Wednesday–February 1

Today was full of lots of learning on my part.  haha  So, we had a really important appointment Wednesday.  She was a potential investigator.  We were planning on doing a “How to begin teaching” and introducing our gospel a little, and asking if we could meet again.  Basically, getting a new investigator.  She had asked us to meet because of English. But we felt she had a lot of church potential, too.  So, we were nervous (JK I was nervous).  Opportunities to meet new investigators are extremely rare and I have always been the junior companion.  Now I am the senior companion and so TBH, I was major stressed.  So, of course being the Emily control freak that I am, I prayed super hard, and studied super hard and in my mind, I planned what I thought be best.  By the time companion study came around, I had pretty much decided what we should do without even talking to my companion.  BAD MISSIONARY MOVE!!!!!  But also, you guys know me.  I am such a control freak.  But we started to plan for our meeting and I was probably being so annoying.  (PS: I have the best companion ever because of this)  But she just stopped and said, “you planned the whole lesson without me.”  Then it hit me–ugh!  I felt so bad!!!!  One of my biggest weaknesses.  I totally apologized and we started planning together.  Missions bring out the best and the worst of people.  But the good part is, as the bad stuff comes out, it turns into the good.  IF we recognize our weaknesses and try to overcome them with the Savior’s help, the can become our strengths.  Hope that through my mission, that can become a strength of mine.  Grateful my companion is able to help me improve and is honest with me.

But we did end up meeting the new investigator.  She’s a grandma and her daughter unexpectedly passed away a few years ago.  She’s attending a different church too.  Her grandson is living in California and she needed help from us to translate letters to him from his grandson’s school.

We met and after English explained our purpose as missionaries.  We then got into how we are sharing a message about Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.  Honestly, the lesson went nothing like we planned, BUT it went actually WAY better.  We explained the message of the restoration and bore testimony about how much it would bless her life.  We asked her if we could meet again and be able to share more about our gospel.  She said she wasn’t quite ready but to stay in contact.  Kind of a bummer, BUT she called us again on Sunday and invited us over to eat rice cake soup!  I think she has a lot of potential, but she just doesn’t think she is ready.  We will keep working and praying for her.

Thursday–February 2

There is this less active member in our ward from the Philippines!!!  Shout out to Jocelynn & Garrett!  She’s so cute!  But she is really old and she isn’t able to go to church by herself because she lives a long ways away.  (Like maybe 1.5 hours)  But her family are members and none of them are active and they don’t want to take her to church or meet us.  so, we take time every week to go and visit her.  She is the sweetest and sometimes gets teary eyed when we share the gospel.  We usually visit her, talk and share a message of the gospel.  On Thursday, while we were talking, she started sharing her testimony about how when she was trying to raise her family, she had no income or ability to send her kids to college.  But that because she paid her tithing and fast offerings, Heavenly Father provided a way for her to send her kids to college.  She got all emotional and really powerfully bore testimony about how she knows Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have helped her.  I am always so amazed at her faith and love for her Savior.  She doubts nothing and has a pure faith.  Usually, even though she is less active, we always leave learning more than we share.  I love those visits.

Friday–February 3

Friday was a hard day but in the end, it turned out to be one of the best days of the week.  So, we started the day with no appointments, which is not unusual.  But also, we were pretty discouraged.  But that morning,  (I decided this week’s Christlike attribute is virtue BTW) I was studying virtue.  This has always been a subject I didn’t really understand fully before my mission.  But as I have been studying it, throughout my mission, it has become one of the biggest goals and desires of mine.  To be virtuous.  It encompasses all the Christlike attributes into one.  It involves every deep desire of your heart and commands them to be clean and pleasing to God’s eye.  So, when I study virtue, I always dig deep and really evaluate where I am at.  So, I made a goal for myself.  Whenever a less than virtuous thought comes into my mind, which as a missionary includes any negative thoughts or feelings about the work or thoughts from home, I was going to recite D & C 4.  Which as a mission, we memorized.  So, I was trying super hard to be super focused all day.  Plus, when you have no appointments, that means Heavenly Father has some prepared people on the street you need to find.  So, we left the apartment and just walked, talking to everyone.   And even though we started the day with no appointments, we were busy ALL DAY!  We met so many people on the street and we did basically, the whole first lesson to 2 different people!  Both of which really had interest in our message.  It helped me gain a stronger testimony of talking to everyone and staying focused on missionary work.

Saturday–February 4

Saturday was super similar to Friday.  We started the day with no investigators but ended with a busy day.  I’ll share some proselyting stories.  So, I don’t know what it is like in other missions.  But really in my mission, we proselyte about at least a couple of days a week.  So, we don’t have appointments and we still need to work, so we just go and talk to people on the streets all day long.  Not a lot of people find a lot of interest in our message and there are already TONS of missionaries in Korea, and out and about and a billion churches, so missionaries of all kinds have sort of a bad rep.  So, street contacting can be semi-difficult.  But we were green and had many good opportunities on Saturday.  We ended up being busy.  I’ll share one of my favorites.

So, I sat down next to this woman on the bus.  We started talking and I explained how I was missionary.  I asked if she had seen missionaries before, and of course, she said, “yes.”  Lots.  Then she went on to take about now she doesn’t like when missionaries are pushy & persuasive and “in your face.” But how they should gently talk to people and I was just sitting there, listening, trying to think of how to respond because it was a little awkward.  haha She was telling me how she didn’t like missionaries haha.  But I decided instead of trying to introduce the gospel, I would ask her about her own conversion story.  She started talking (BTW she talked a lot, like nonstop) and she said an experience where she wanted to know if God existed and loved her.  So, she learned about prayer and decided to try praying.  She then went into this super sweet experience of how she came to know He existed and loved her.  She ended with bearing a super strong testimony of prayer and His love for her.  Honestly, we both were teary-eyed.  It was super precious.  I went on to explain about how I knew He exists and loves us too.  And then, she randomly had to get off the boys before I could get her number.  UGH–Hardest part of bus proselyting!!!!  But she left & wow–the spirit was there.  I actually think I learned more from her than anything.  I hope I can meet her again.

Sunday–February 5

Super fun day on the mish!  So, a few weeks ago, this Buddhist man came to our church with a member.  He actually really enjoyed it.  But since he is a man, the Elder’s got his number and we didn’t think again about him.   But he came back again!  Super cool!  And it was fast Sunday, and he got up and bore his testimony about how he felt something good, so he decided to come back.  (PS:  He’s a legit munk–like all bald and stuff)   Super cool, right?  But then suddenly, his member friend came up and said, “let’s do a member lesson after sacrament meeting.”  Which I was super stoked about, but then he asked me and my companion to teach and wanted all of the missionaries together. (In our area, there were 6 there that day)  So, I immediately felt a little stressed.  But we went in to the room before, talked a little bit about how to teach/talk with him and then we said a prayer. (Like with just me and my companion)  Then everyone came in and we started talking and getting to know each other, etc.  Then we started the first lesson & it actually went SUPER WELL!  The spirit was strong and he asked so many questions.  He was way into the lesson.  It ended with us bearing testimony about he He was feeling the spirit right now and God was leading him and trying to direct him.  If he heeded that feeling, read the Book of Mormon an prayed, then he would continue to receive answers and let lead to feeling real joy in his life.  I love those kind of lessons.  Then in the middle of church, our other investigator we met earlier this week (Grandma whose daughter died) call us randomly and asked us to come and eat some lunch with her!  We were happy and excited that she called.  So we dropped everything to go that afternoon.  We had no time to think or plan on what to share with her.  But we both previously felt during weekly planning that we should teach the Plan of Salvation with an emphasis on the atonement of Jesus Christ.  So, we rushed to her house and it turns out she had also invited her catholic friend.  So, we were eating and actually feeling a little awkward because they are super close friends and kept talking and wouldn’t really talk to us.  So, it was a bit uncomfortable.  She didn’t invite us to share a message, just eat lunch.  But we had really wanted to make our purpose clear.  Because sometimes,  in Korea, they love foreigners.  The love to invite the missionaries over to just “hang out” even though they have no interest in the gospel.  So, we have to be careful when we visit people so that they always know our purpose and we aren’t just there.  We are there to love, help and bring people to Christ.  But my companion and I agreed it was probably wasn’t the time to share the Plan of Salvation, but we didn’t know what to do.  Share a message or just go?  Or what should we share?  Our mission president asks us to always try to share something, so they know our purpose.  But we were a little ehhhh???  But I walked over to my bag and pulled out my scripture and said a quick prayer, asking what I should share/do.  Then I felt, “Just start sharing, I’ll lead you.”  Immediate answer to my prayer!  So, we went and at first we thought of Alma 5 (because we had committed her to read it before, but she hadn’t read it)  But it just didn’t feel right.  Then she opened up and told us about how she had first come to believe in God and she she questions her testimony now though, because of her daughter’s death.  Then I remembered a verse Jocelynn had sent me in her email last week–D & C 122 (for when you have a sad moment–haha) and I felt like we need to share it and we did.  The spirit was strong and yes!  Heavenly Father answered  our prayers!  He for sure led us when we didn’t know what to do!!!!

Well, now it is p-day and I have written a novel.  I hope this makes up for my lack of email info!  I love Korea and I love this experience.  I love the mission and I love this church!  I know it’s Christ’s restored church and I love HIM!  He is my Savior and Redeemer, Comforter and Friend!  I know he lives and I know He loves us all!

All of my love, Sister Clegg!

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