Friday, December 26, 2014

Dear fam and friends,

     Well first……MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!  It doesn't feel like Christmas here but that's kind of helping me focus more on the true meaning of Christmas.  We are celebrating Christmas today, and on Tuesday at our Christmas Mission Conference.  I'm so excited!  Our mission president wants us out serving and giving to others on the real Christmas day.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!  It snowed all yesterday so it looks like a winter wonderland here.  It's beautiful!!!  I have obviously never lived in snow so this is super fun for me, and I am loving it!!  The snow helps it feel more like Christmas.   
     I am so glad to hear everything is going good.  Please tell Jason Barney hi.  I miss that guy.  If you can please send me a cd of all my spiritual songs that I have sung and recorded, including, I Know That My Redeemer Lives, and These Walls, that would be great!
     This week has been a very busy week.  I want to tell you of one experience that I had this past week.  We are teaching this family with the mother and her daughter, and the elders are teaching the father.  The mother and daughter had no religious background and didn't even believe in God when we started teaching them.  Long story short, they are now praying beautiful prayers and reading the Book of Mormon.  They believe in God and have accepted to be baptized.  I truly love them so much, and they have come so far.  They desire to know more and are progressing more than I thought they would.  They are a true miracle.  I hope I don't leave my area because I care so much about them.   I wish you all could experience the amazing experiences that I'm getting to witness.  I just love the Korean people!
     One thing I have finally figured out.  I am NOT a soccer player, even though I played it for years as a child. haha. I thought I was a good player until last week when we played soccer with a bunch of pastors AGAIN in the snow.  These guys are hilarious.  They have been playing together for 20 years, and they are super fit and good.  Most Koreans love soccer.  I always kicked the ball out of bounds, and instead of feeling like a complete idiot, I just started laughing at myself and how silly I must have looked  playing with these Korean pastors over here in the freezing cold. It's still a fun game but I just told myself,  "Right now I am not a soccer player. o.k.?  ummm… I will stick with my music until I get back to the states. Then I'll be at the gym every single day." haha 
     This last week we put on a Christmas music night and it was very special.  We showed a video on Christ's birth and sang some Christmas songs.  We all bore our testimonies afterwards and it was so great.  We had a good turn out.  There is this man who got in a car crash and is in a wheel chair and paralyzed.  He came and played the clarinet and did amazing.  He wanted to hear me sing the song called, "Landslide" from the Dixie Chicks.  So after the music night I sang Landslide for him on the guitar.  He acted like he loved it and then said, "How do you do that yodeling sound?" It sounds swiss.  I just laughed and said that is how country singers sing. haha  Anyways he's my biggest fan here.  After the program the bishop asked me to sing in church the next day.  He's another huge fan of mine by the way. I sang, " Savior Redeemer of My Soul," which is Rob Gardner's version but in Korean.
     I was asked to perform a musical number for the big annual Christmas Mission Conference where the entire mission will be there. YIKES!!  It's tomorrow.  I am singing the song, "Hallelujah" made famous by Jeff Buckley, with my guitar, but the words are changed to do with Christmas.  A musician wrote the words for it and sent it to one of the elders and I am using those words. I am singing it in English.  I recorded it and am sending you the video.  Very Exciting!!
     Well, we finally fixed the heat in our apartment so it was pretty dang cold in here for 3 to 4 weeks.  I actually don't mind the cold here.  It's not as bad as I thought. It's really windy so it makes it more cold.  I mean my cheeks are just bright red every day, can't really feel my purple lips, and my fingers feel like they are going to fall off, but other than that it's great:)   We went to the temple a couple of weeks ago and it was in English if I forgot to tell you. The temple was so beautiful, but smaller.
     I got your cd of David Archuletta with the song, "Glorious."  I LOVED IT!!!  It's our favorite song and we listen to it every day!!!  Thanks so much!!!  The AP and elders here are doing better and they are finally learning that the sister missionaries know how to work!! haha  We showed them!!!
     The Koreans don't use deodorant here!! Seriously!  You can't find ANY in stores.  I guess they must be eating healthier because if they started smelling like Americans do, some how they'd sell it. haha  HELP!!!  We still eat only Korean food every day.  We make rice, or noodles with vegetables. Hey! I'm an expert at chopsticks now and don't even like eating with a fork. The Korean members have us for dinner sometimes and it's a traditional Korean meal.  The food here is so good.
     We have a little Christmas tree up in our apartment.  Thanks so much for all that you gave me.  It was perfect, every thing that I needed!!!! I loved the jewelry and scarves. Everything!! There is Christmas music played around some places and a few Christmas lights around the city at night, but this holiday means more to us than anyone this year.  It's my very first Christmas away from home, and I'm half way across the world.  Thanks for sending me the cd of my song, "Silent Night," that I had recorded and that Clyde Bawden arranged.   I passed tons of them out to people and it was great being able to give to people this Christmas.  People just loved it!! One man said he can't stop listening to the song, even though it's in English.  I hope they can feel the spirit of the song.
     My Korean language is slowly coming along.  Hopefully I'll catch on to every day conversation more in a few months.  Transfer calls are on January 5th, so I could stay with my companion or leave the area and go to somewhere brand new.  Hopefully I will get to stay here.
     I will be calling on Christmas day for you which will be Christmas Eve night since we are a day ahead. I can only talk for 45 minutes.  I want to be obedient so unless I have permission to go over then I am going to have to stick to that time.  If you can call me that would be great.  I can't Skype unless a member offers to let us use theirs.  No one offered so I'm sorry maybe next year!!
     I just want you all to know I am doing very well.  I am happy to serve these amazing Korean people!!  I have learned so much from them about respect and kindness, and truly love them so much.  My testimony is growing each day.  I love the Lord and I want so badly to be more like Him.  God is personal and really cares for each of us.  It's nice to know we can be forgiven of our sins and move on.  He is the light of this world, and He carries me through each day here.  I am grateful for this knowledge.
     I hope you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  I love you all so much!!! 

            Love, Michelle

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