Monday, January 27, 2014

Korea: Week 12

Hello Family,

This week has been crazy because Sis. Kim and I are preparing for one of us to leave next coming Wednesday. We will find out if one of us, both of us, or neither one of us is transferring from  분당 on Saturday. It actually is quite wonder missionaries feel a lot of stress around transfer times. Essentially our lives could change in seconds. 

Our investigators are doing well for the most part, but they are not really progressing at the moment. 구덕레 자매님 has decided that she does not want to come to our church right now. It is not because she does not like our religion, but her pastor has forbidden her from coming. When she said that, Sis. Kim and I realized that she came to our church because she loved us and did not want to offend us. When you think about it, it is really sweet...but it also means that we have not helped her develop a strong testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. As a result, Sis. Kim and I have had to reevaluate the way we teach her. We are trying to use the Book of Mormon as much as possible. She does not understand a lot when we read with her, but she loves the feeling when we read. I guess this just means that Sis. Kim and I have to practice being patient. 

Another investigator that we met with this week is 박안나 (Pak Ana). 박안나 is about 40-50 years old and has really interesting beliefs about Christ and Heavenly Father. When we talked to her about her beliefs, she told us that she believes that we are all God's children and that Heavenly Father is our father. Great, right? Well, I thought so...until we asked her to read one of the gospel pamphlets. She took the pamphlet and said, " I will take the pamphlet, but I don't know if I will read it because I have to ask the Father first." Okay, that is reasonable because God could confirm through the spirit that this pamphlet is talking about true gospel principles. She then said, "I don't think I will have time to read though because I go to sleep really late and then wake up at 11 pm to play with God." Hmm...I don't really know what that means, but that could either be really sweet or super super creepy. I will have to ask her more about what she meant when we meet with her tomorrow.

A miracle Sis. Kim and I saw this past week is that 남경연's daughter and son-in law were baptized this past Sunday. 남경연 was so happy and the spirit was so strong that she cried a lot at their baptism yesterday. I am not even sure if she saw the baptism through all of the tears. It was very sweet. 

Oh, today Sis. Kim and I are going to a public bath house. Yay! I don't know about you, but I am not super comfortable bathing with a bunch of Korean women. Haha, I may have an anxiety attack...I'll let you know how the experience is next week. :) I miss you a lot!


Sis. Chao

Monday, January 20, 2014

2nd Transfer is almost over!

Say What?

I cannot believe how much time has passed since I arrived in Korea. I probably should have learned a lot about things about being a good missionary and the language, but my learning curve is a lot lower than I anticipated. I kid, I am learning a lot about missionary work and perhaps the language. Sis. Kim says that I have improved a lot since arriving in Korea. 

This past week, Sis. Kim and I have had some pretty amazing and sketchy experiences. First, the most notable thing that happened this week was not the celebration of my birth, but 구덕레 finally coming to church. We have invited  구덕레 to church every Sunday since November, but she has never accepted our invitation because she did not want to offend the pastor of her current church. When she tried to tell the pastor that she was switching churches, the pastor said "If you want a happy in the end, if you stay in our church." It is safe to say that she was a bit terrified of leaving her church. Well to make a long story short...she came this past Sunday and loved it! She cannot wait to attend next week! Now we just have to work on finding a baptismal date.

Another one of our investigators 김숙 (Kim Sook) is progressing slowly, but surely. At first, she told us that she was only interested in learning about the gospel because her daughter was recently baptized in Hawaii. However, her interest has grown significantly as we have talked to her. The questions she asks are very deep and you can tell that she genuinely wants to know for herself. She has even defended our church during conversations with members from her church. We are hoping that she will continue to meet with us, but she is incredibly busy lately. 

Also, thank you for the birthday wishes! It really feels like I was born in and raised in Korea...minus the ability to talk. My birthday celebration started really early in the morning like 7:20 am when I got out of the shower. I was coming out of the bathroom when Sis. Kim, Sis. Carter, and Sis. Saunders started singing Happy Birthday while holding a cheesecake. Sis. Kim and I then went and street boarded for 6 hours that day. It was incredibly tiring, but we met a lot of people. One of the people that we met told Sis. Kim that she was going to Hell. Seriously, people are gems out here. :) After streetboarding, Sis. Kim and I went to Shabu Shabu with our favorite grandma. She loved the food and kept saying "Thank you to your family for this meal." I may try to smuggle her home with me. I don't think I will be able to leave her in Korea. 

Thank you for everything!


Sis. Melanie Chao

Monday, January 13, 2014



I don't remember how I describe other weeks, but this one was actually quite noteworthy. Have I actually ever had a really bad week? Hmm, I know there are rough patches throughout the week, but I tend to forget those. Well, I will just talk to you about the many miracles that I have seen this past week.

Yesterday, Sis. Kim and I taught 남경연 자매님 about tithing. We were incredibly nervous about teaching her because her 남경연 자매님's daughter made 남경연 자매님 quit her last church because of it. As we taught the principle of tithing, Sis. Kim and I tried our best to emphasize that tithing was a choice, but that the blessings she would receive would outweigh the about of money she spends. 남경연 자매님 started crying because she felt bad that she had not been paying tithing earlier. She then asked how she could repent and start paying tithing again. Augh, 남경연 자매님 has a heart of gold. If she does not make it to the celestial kingdom, no one can.

Temple trip on January 2, 2014
구덕레 자매님 is not progressing right now. She knows that our church is true, but she does not want to leave her current church because her pastor has forbidden her. We try our best to tell her that it is up to her, but she is so sweet and doesn't want to offend anyone. We will continue to visit her and try to express how much we love her even if she doesn't attend our church. 

Sis. Kim and I are really chubby kids on the inside. We love tasting all of the street food. This past Saturday, Sis. Kim and I decided to stop by this random noodle shop in 야탑. As we are sitting at the counter, one of the workers starts talking to me. She asks where I am from and whether not we are the Mormons. We tell her that we are missionaries for the church. She then asked if we would teach her and her friend 30 Minutes of English and 30 minutes of the gospel. Miracle! That never happens. 


This past P-Day, the 분당 Elders and Sisters had a little adventure in our area. There is a huge park close to our houses, so we decided to go an explore them. Here are some pictures.
Sister Kim & Sister Chao

Also, I got my first haircut in Korea. Huge Fail! I look like a founding father....I have hair similar to Mrs. Brady when she had a bob/mullet. Bad news. Bad news. Haha

I love you!

Sis. Chao

Grandmother loves me

Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome 2014!

Hello Family!

I cannot believe that another week has come and gone. I am halfway through my second transfer...weird! I know I should talk about life, etc...but let us be honest, we just want to get to the good stuff. 

This past week, there was an explosion of old people and cuteness. Our recent convert 남경연 (Nam Kyong Yon) accompanied us to teach an investigator who also happens to be a little bit older. As we sat down together, Nam Kyong Yon decided to take the reins and started singing an old hymn. Our investigator, Ko Dokney was so excited and started singing along. They then proceeded to talk about how awesome it was to live in government housing, how poor their children are, and their love for ramen noodles. It was adorable! Towards the end of the lesson, Nam Kyong Yon shared a powerful testimony of baptism and how the church has blessed her life since joining. She may not be able to read the Book of Mormon, but Nam Kyong Yon has a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. Every time Sis. Kim and I meet with her, I learn more about what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ. 

구덕레 (Ko Dongrey) is an 86 year old women who was referred to us by her daughter in law. We first met with her in November, but she did not really start progressing until a few weeks ago. She is so sincere whenever we teach her. Every time she prays, she asks Heavenly Father to bless her so that she can remember who He is. In order to help her remember the things we teach, we often pick one principle for her to remember. This week it has been "Ko Dongrey, who are you?" She will then respond with "God's daughter." It is adorable! She has the biggest smile when she replies back. Sis. Kim and I are hoping that she will accept our invitation to come to church this weekend. She has a desire, but she doesn't want to go out in the cold. Another thing I love about Ko Dongrey is that she walks with us out to the apartment entrance. It is terribly cold, but she loves seeing us walk away. Last night, I decided to hold her hand as we exited the building. In the cutest voice she says "You two are better than my grandaughters. You can take me home with you." Ah! I seriously want to take her home. 

I just realized that the majority of our investigators are grandmothers. Ha. No wonder people keep calling us the grandma whisperers. 

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned this week is the importance of following promptings and opening my mouth. While waiting at a crosswalk, I noticed that there was an older women who had a lot of things to carry. In my mind, I thought that I should offer her help. I did not want to because most people reject my offer to help them. After a few seconds of contemplation, I just decided to ask her. Oddly enough, she accepted! Sis. Kim and I helped carry her things to her apartment. Once we arrived, she offered us some oranges and started talking to us about her life. She then began to cry and stated that her daughter was about to go through a divorce, her other daughter is disabled, and how she did not think she could go on. She told us that God had answered her prayers through us. We taught a little bit about God being our loving Heavenly Father and then left with a word of prayer. She was moved because her tears were everywhere...yes, I opened my eyes. 

I am doing very well. The temperature here in Korea has been fairly warm and there is not a lot of snow. I did buy a coat with my credit card the other if you could check that, that would be great! Also, I did buy boots with that credit card...prepare yourself. Haha.

Enclosed is a picture of the two grandmothers together. Prepare yourself for cuteness.

Sis. Chao