Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear fam and friends,

     As you all know I got transferred!  I am now in a city called Seongnam.  It was very hard to say goodbye to the friends I had made, but I knew it was time to move on.  I am now happy that I left because I get to meet new people and have different experiences.  We all met at a church and my new companion picked me up.  The ride there was long and difficult because it was new and change is always hard.  It was bitter sweet if you know what I mean.

     My new companion is from Maryland and her name is Kealin Holdaway.  She is the most easy going person I've ever met, and she makes me laugh constantly.  She describes herself as a clutz, so that makes two of them in one house. haha  She goes home in October, and she is the sister training leader right now.  We have so much fun together and we are already great friends.  She is 3 transfers ahead of me and it's her first time being senior companion.  She is amazing at everything and especially the language.  She is so great!  Sister Holdaway is all about eating healthy so we started running every morning and drinking some of our meals.  We are going strong and already have both lost 4 pounds!!  My comp is musical too and wants to be a choir teacher.

     I am in the coolest city ever! Everything is uphill, and there are hills everywhere.  It's a pretty run down city but very humble, but that's how I like it.  My home is in the basement and it's not as nice as my home before, but I like it better.  We have a wood floor and it's pretty descent.  I will send some pics next week because it's messy right now and I'm still unpacking.  Our kitchen……….is interesting haha.  We have no view of the city because we are in the basement.  I live with just my companion and we have a blast!!!

     This week has been very eventful because it was Korea's biggest holiday called Seollal.  It's like Christmas for us. No one was on the streets because everything was closed.  Our whole zone got together and had a big conference all that day because it would have been pointless to try to do missionary work.  So we all went to this huge LDS church building that was 4 stories high.  Yeah……insane…..haha.  We played sports, ping pong, told stories, played games, and just talked which we all loved to do. We all watched "Meet The Mormons," which our mission president finally decided to let us watch.  We were sooooo excited!!  Elder Matt Lant was there and I had so much fun talking to him about life in Arizona, and Justin.  I cried when I watched the missionary mom story because I'm a missionary and know how it feels to leave home.  I loved the movie so much and was really impressed.  Then we had a dinner there and just hung out!!!  The cool part was that we got to wear our p day casual clothes ALL DAY!!!!  We all needed that!!

     I want to tell you about the experience I had the other night.  The Korean Bishop of my new ward wanted to have dinner all together with all the missionaries in my district.  We all showed up and his wife made a delicious Korean meal.  We all sat down on the ground together (with our chopsticks) and had a really fun time talking and telling stories. Honestly I have never felt so accepted in a new situation like this in my life.  These people hugged me right away and made me feel so loved and special.  I can not believe how kind these Korean people are.  They commented the whole time on how good my Korean language was, and I knew they were just saying it to make me feel good, because I am not good at all! haha!!  We ate dinner and then had a testimony meeting, each taking time to share our own testimonies.  For the first time I wasn't scared of failing, and I just spoke from my heart.  I stopped thinking about HOW to say what I wanted to say, and for the first time my heart wasn't racing.  I made mistakes, but it was a very spiritual moment.  After we ended, the Bishop's wife stood up and pulled me into another room with my  companion.  She said that I wasn't using a handbook that I needed to use, and she gave one to me.  She then handed me a special dress that she wanted me to have, that is a very famous type of dress that Koreans wear.  I had always wanted to buy one.  She had me try it on and it didn't fit so she is altering it for me.  I just wanted to cry!  She was so selfless and so loving, and I never asked for anything, but she just willingly gave.  I couldn't thank her enough.  I LOVE KOREA!!!! 

      That Sunday was my first Sunday there and I had to give a talk to introduce myself.  I decided to share my testimony through song  and so I sang accapella to the song, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."  Everyone started singing a long and the Bishop's wife started to cry.  I knew that was the right thing for me to do, and I do feel that I am supposed to share my testimony often through music, and especially with that song.  I messed up on my Korean, but it didn't matter because the spirit was there and that's all that matters.

     The other day when we were all invited to the Bishop's house they had a guitar there. They asked me to sing and the song was really low, which fits my voice.  When I finished, one of the Korean members sitting next to me freaked out!  He said, "Everyone sings so high and you sing so low……it's so……different."  It was really funny if you saw his face.  haha  I am singing for stake conference in 2 weeks and I am excited for that.

     I actually don't like to think that I have less than a year now before I come home, because I don't want to leave my mission.  It scares me to think about how I have little time left.  I just started and I'm almost going home.  It's crazy right?

     This new area is the perfect area for me and I can't wait to bring you all back here.  I love my mission so much and I wish I could stay here 2 years, like the guys do, rather than 18 months.  I love everything about Koreans and Korea.  The gospel is true. I know it is!!  The Book of Mormon is true, and I can not and will not ever deny it!!  It brings me so much happiness!  This is the true church with a living prophet today!!  I love you all and I pray for you every day.  Have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you again!!

                           Love, Michelle

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