Sunday, December 22, 2013

I'm Still Alive.

Hello, loved ones. There was a minor accident this week...

As Sister Glauser, Sister Anderson and I were hanging upside down from my bunk bed a few nights ago, (it's a nightly therapy ritual-- don't question us. We spend way too much time in our classrooms each day to even consider ourselves sane anymore) we somehow managed to all fall off of my bed. Don't worry, my head broke my fall. Glauser got a rug burn on her elbow and Anderson escaped unscathed. No missionaries were seriously injured-- but we did spend a solid half hour smashed between two beds with our arms and legs all tangled up and tears oozing from our eyeballs because it was just so dang funny. 
So, our little trio companionship got split up this week! I mean, that was kind of a sad moment. A new korean-speaking sister came into the MTC this week and Sister Hoffman was assigned to be her new companion. It's just Glauser and I now! (We think Hoffman was secretly relieved to be rid of us). BUT, all four of us share a room and Sister Hoffman is still in our district so we're with her all day anyways. Um. It's kind of a weird confusing thing to explain-- but whatever. 
Speaking of new missionaries, as a sisters training leader, I was expected to share my testimony in Korean with the new dongi (group) of Korean-speaking missionaries that came in this week. After we shared our testimonies, we had them try and guess how long we've been at the MTC. They thought I'd been here for six weeks already... Maybe my Korean is coming along better than I thought? Granted, I bore my testimony to a collection of individuals who don't speak Korean yet. I mean, for all they know, I was just muttering a bunch of random words in Korean, mashing them all together, and calling it my testimony. (For the record... that's not what happened.) 

Our teacher, Brother McArthur, is no longer our teacher. That was a devastating "fun fact of the day." He informed us that he was going on a nine day vacation back home for Christmas and the next thing we know he's no longer teacher our class. Glauser and I were pretty upset about that-- it's still a sensitive topic for us. 
Glauser and I decided that we are basically a married couple. We came to this conclusion one night when the two of us found ourselves in adjacent bathroom stalls in the middle of the night because we had both consumed too much water during the course of the day. We get anxiety if we are ever separated during gym time and we answer personal questions for each other whenever others inquire such things of us. Our sense of humor is identical. And we're both ridiculously weird. We're practically married.
So, I finally whipped out Kallin's shirt today. I kept it in the bag forever because it smelled so good and I didn't want to defile the man perfume with my girl-stench. But alas, I gave in. And I ran down the halls of the residence exclaiming, "Attention, Sisters! I'm willing to hug you and be your temporary pretend boyfriend today because I smell amazing." Kallin, you're blessing the lives of sister missionaries with this shirt. Just saying.
The language has been eating my soul this week. That's probably the best way I could phrase that... the days are a roller coaster of "I totally understand!" moments and "Can I bash my head against this brick wall now? K thanks." moments. But no matter what, after hanging upside down from the bunk beds each night, I feel like life is going to be okay. Like I've said a hundred times, life as a missionary is so good. It ain't no walk in the park though... (it's more like a run in a hailstorm; it's exhilarating and exciting but sometimes it's kind of painful. But it's totally worth it. Everyone should try it out sometime, ya know what I mean?) Just kidding. But really, missions are the greatest.
GOOD NEWS! I get an hour of emailing on Christmas day. So keep those cellular devices of yours close so we can have a lil' chat. 

Anyways, I love you all a whole bunch. I'm happy and I sing Disney songs and hymns wherever I go. Missionaries are really good at joining in and throwing down some sweet harmonies. I've been giving out so many pictures of baby Jesus and it's making me so happy. (Thanks Ma.) Elder Demille (one of the super awesome Elders in my district) is a professional robot-drawer-drawing man.
I made him sketch one just for me so I could put it in the front cover of the little binder that I'm super attached to. (I literally take it with me everywhere. It's basically got my whole heart in there. It's an MTC survival guide that I created just myself. Everyone should make one. Especially little missionaries who will be here for as long as we're going to be here.... seven weeks to go.) 
My district is the greatest. There's such a spirit about us. And there is so much love and support for each and every member of it. We are literally a little family away from our real families. I've been so grateful for that-- it's good to love the humans that you spend every waking moment of every waking day with. I love 'em. Yep.

This week we had Elder Rasband from the seventy come speak to us for our Tuesday nightdevotional! He talked about spiritual gifts to get us all in gear for Christmas here at the MTC. Anyways, I've been really thinking about spiritual gifts and I've come to the conclusion that God has given me the gift of peace. Yes, peace. And that peace comes from my knowledge of a Savior who loves me enough to have died for me. That atonement is central to God's plan of happiness. And that plan of happiness helps me to put my trials and short-comings into perspective.
In Ether 12:27 it talks about how God gives us weaknesses and that through His grace and His love, they can become strengths. This week (and really the whole time I've been at the MTC) I've become very, very, very aware of my personal weaknesses. But one thing that really hit me this week was this: as we begin to see our weaknesses very prominently in our lives (and on our missions), it is an evidence of us coming unto Christ. He shows us our weaknesses; He brings all of those weaknesses to the surface so that we recognize them and so that He can help us overcome them. Through Jesus Christ's atonement, we can overcome anything. His grace is sufficient enough for me, for you, for ALL of us. Besides, this isn't MY mission. It's the Lord's mission. I'm merely a tool in His hands. I know that as I work on coming unto Him that my struggles and my short-comings will be swallowed up in His love. Again, back to my mission scripture, Alma 26:12. I can't do much of anything. But in my GOD, I can do ALL things.

My love and prayers are with all of you this week.


Sister Bagley

p.s. Dear Elders and letters here at the MTC are like manna from heaven. Hint hint. Seriously though. I can't keep up with Glauser! She gets like... twelve letters per mail delivery. (Mail deliveries happen twice a day...FYI.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holla At You From Da MTC.

What's up friends and family? I'm just having the time of my life over here at the MTC. It's great, you know. I remember hearing all kinds of "terrible" things about this place before I arrived and it really did make me so nervous. But I've come to realize that nothing phases me. The food? I heard it was terrible. But I consider it an "all you can eat" buffet and I'm just rolling with it. I mean, who cares if I gain 400 pounds in my nine-week stay here at the good old MTC? I'm going to Korea. Better eat up now, right? Homesickness? My companion, Sister Glauser, and I are the only two sisters who haven't had a mental break down yet. It's completely normal to see sisters losing control of their emotions in the cafeteria. But we kind of just sit there eating our brownies and ice cream and wonder if we're just heartless human beings because we haven't cried about it yet. (Maybe we are heartless?)

So. My companion, Sister Glauser, is absolutely amazing. We're basically the exact same person and we are such dorks together. I love it. We hang upside down from our bunk beds and sing primary songs in opera voices at the top of our lungs as we walk to classes and dinner and what not. She actually accidentally bashed her head against the metal bed frame of the bunk bed one night as I was saying my prayers one night and I ended up having to finish my prayer after a half-hour long laugh attack that made my stomach hurt so bad. The next night she electrocuted herself with her blow dryer. Seriously, such a hoot. I love her. Our other companion has basically become our "weary mother" and has to tell us to shut up at night when we've been giggling for over half an hour. (It's become a nightly thing. It's practically a nightly ab work out... so maybe I won't get fat after all?) 
We're convinced there's this dead body hiding in the vent of our room. We can't ever see it during the day but at night, the vent is all lit up and it straight up looks like there's a old dead guy's head just staring at us. So creepy. But we named him Eugene Herbert (EH for short) and we make sure we blow him kisses every night before bed so he doesn't kill us or haunt us or something. It really legitimately kind of freaks us out but we just make a joke out of it.

On Sunday I was called into an interview with a member of our branch presidency and the words that came out of his mouth were definitely not the words I was expecting to hear in that given set of circumstances. "Sister Bagley, we've never done this in our branch before, but we have fasted and prayed about it and we feel very strongly about asking you to become the new sisters training leader for the Korean branch. We know you've only been here for three days but we have fasted and prayed about it and feel very strongly about extending this invitation to you." Gulp. So I simply replied, "If it's what the Lord wants me to do, then I will do it." I think God has a super great sense of humor... I mean, why else would he put a newbie over the sisters in our branch? 
Speaking of our branch, we've got one of the biggest branches here at the MTC! It consists of 81 missionaries of whom are all going to Korea. How cool is that? I love each and every one of them, too. We've got the greatest group of kids, Korea doesn't know what's coming. 

My Korean is coming along really well! I can now officially pray and bear my testimony in Korean. Like, what? That's crazy business. I've learned the Korean alphabet and I have the time of my life in our language study time just having my companions spit out Korean words for me to spell on the chalkboard. I like Korean. Even though it makes my head hurt sometimes. 

I get front row seats at ALL the firesides and devotionals! Thanks to Mamma Bagley. She has all these super awesome connections at the MTC and I'm the one getting the perks. Well, my companions are too. (Thanks, Ma.) 

I've taught discussions in Korean for nearly every day that I've been here. I still get nervous every single time we have to teach progressive investigators. I mean, I think everyone would be nervous to teach in a language they barely know. Am I right? (Yes, I'm right.) But it has been good and I've learned a lot. 

My companions are super great. Sister Glauser and I are like the naughty twins and Sister Hoffman has become our weary mother. We keep getting attacked by these fits of laughter right around our bedtime every single night and we can't even control ourselves. Our pillows get soaked with tears and we laugh until our tummies hurt. (Maybe I won't get fat... if these giggle fits keep occurring then I'll have a nightly ab work out that I actually enjoy doing.) Fun facts of the week: Sister Glauser accidentally head-butted the metal bed frame of her bunk bed in the middle of the night and I was convinced she'd given herself a concussion. And then the following night she electrocuted herself with her blow dryer. SO FUNNY. I've been laughing about it all week. We're losing our minds but it's completely fine. 
Anyways, time is running out. But I do love it here! And it's so neat being here during the Christmas season! There are Christmas lights up and Christmas trees in every room. And you hear missionaries singing Christmas songs everywhere you go. I think I'll like my Christmas here. I'll miss my family lots, of course, but it will be neat to really get to focus on our Savior and the true meaning of Christmas as I'm here at the MTC in the infant stages of my mission.

My prayers are with you and my love goes out to all of you!


Sister Bagley

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It Starts.

Well, hey everyone.

I'm alive! It's so funny because everyone seems to treat the whole mission thing as a form of "death." I know I did. It's hard to picture life on the mission when you're still in the real world. But I have learned that once you're on a mission, it's hard to picture the pre-mission life. It feels like a dream.

The MTC is the greatest place on the face of the planet. The spirit is SO strong and it is always present. It has been so neat to be a part of the atmosphere here for the last couple of days. There is nothing like the MTC. And there is nothing like life at the MTC.

It is hard. So hard. The first day we got here, our instructor did not speak one word of English. Needless to say, it's been a guessing game since day one. But it's been so awesome to see just how quickly our minds can progress with the help of the spirit. Within two hours of being here, we had the entire Korean alphabet memorized. I can now read in Korean, pretty cool, eh? I may have no idea what I'm saying, but I can read it, and that's a start. 

Dakota (one of the good friends I worked with before entering the MTC) and Daniel (otherwise known as "Meeks"-- he was in my homeward) are both in my district! It's been so nice having a couple of familiar faces sitting with me in a tiny little classroom for the past few days. (I totally made it sound worse than it is-- it's not bad at all. Time actually flies.)

I have two companions, both of whom, I love. We're in a cute little threesome companionship and we love it. I can't even imagine having just one companion. I don't know what I'm going to do when that actually happens... thankfully I'll have both of my lovely comps with me the whole time I'm here. (Which is until February 3rd...)

The first day I was here I got a shoutout from President Nally over the pulpit in front of a room of about 300+ missionaries. I guess that's what happens when you have a mother named Gina Bagley who knows EVERYONE. He asked, "Is there a Sister CaLea Bagley present?" And when I raised my hand, he asked me to stand before he said, "We offer you a sincere and warm welcome. We promised your mother we'd take care of you." Needless to say, it hasn't been hard to make new friends...

I see so many familiar faces in the halls here at the good ol' MTC. My companions (or dong-bahn-ja [that's how you pronounce "companions" in Korean]) joke that I know everyone. Which is funny because I obviously don't know everyone... but it does feel like it. I know more people than I thought I would know here. It's like a big, fun reunion. 

Anyways, I love it here. I've never been more tired or more challenged, and I have definitely never felt more incapable of doing anything-- but I have also never been happier. There's something about this place that makes it so wonderful. I think it's the constant presence of the spirit. And I suppose it's also the knowledge that we have a Heavenly Father who wants to help us and who is willing to help us. We have to learn to not rely upon our own strength, but upon HIS strength. 

I don't have much time and I haven't exactly figured out how to send pictures through the MTC computers (I swear, these aren't computers, they're calculators) but I do want you all to know that I love you and that I'm so grateful for your love and support. 

Hey, write me. Dear Elder me.
Anything-- I need something to do next p-day.

All my love,

Sister CaLea Bagley

p.s. expect a letter, family. I put one in the big blue mailbox today!  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Called To Serve Him.

Well, the time has finally come. The wait has been long (and at times, it felt almost too long) but the Lord has always been better at timing than me. I am ready to serve; I am ready to stand as a representative of our beloved Savior. I feel so blessed to have been given such a sacred opportunity. 

I know without a doubt that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that Christ lives and that He will come again. I know without a doubt that His plan leads to true and lasting happiness and I know without a doubt that I want nothing more than to experience such joy. I have a testimony of our loving Savior, brother, and friend, Jesus Christ. I know of His love because I have felt it time and time again. It's everywhere-- we just have to be willing to recognize it.

I could not possibly live my life having enjoyed the blessings of this sweet gospel without feeling a sincere desire to share it. I want everyone to know what it is like to have the Holy Spirit as their constant companion; I want everyone to know what it is like to have a knowledge of a Savior, a heavenly being, who loves each and everyone of us personally and unconditionally.

I have been called forth at this time to serve in the Seoul Korea South mission. I'm both terrified, excited, anxious, and elated all at once-- fear, however, is a silly thing. For I believe in a God who believes in me. He has offered to help me every step of the way as long as I remember to look to Him for help in and with all things. I am grateful for a Lord who cares enough to allow me to grow. And I am grateful that He loves me enough to pick me up each and every time I fall.

This is my time to dedicate my life completely to Him.
This is my time to learn of His love and to learn more of Him.

What an incredible time to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
I love you, each of you, and I'll see you in eighteen months!


Sister Bagley