Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's Getting Warmer in Korea!

Hey Family, Friends, loved ones, whoever you are,

What's up!? I hope everything in the real world is going well. I pray for you each and every day (missionaries pray a lot, fyi) so I hope you can feel my prayers for you wherever you may be. I'm in Korea. That thought is still way, way, way, way, WAY strange to me. Can you believe it? I'm all the way across the world eating all sorts of crazy food and trying really hard to speak this crazy (but awesome) language. It blows my mind. (p.s. I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's Day!)

I'm so happy. I can't even really find the words to explain it; it just is. Yes, this is the hardest thing I have EVER done and yes, I miss all of you so much every single day, BUT I am so unbelievably happy. I don't even really understand what I'm feeling but I am grateful for it. 

Um. I'm just going to go ahead and share little snippets of things I write every week... here's the one for this week:

It warms my heart. With each beat of life it spreads throughout my veins until it reaches every last inch of my being. It's everywhere; infusing itself into who I am. I feel it shining out of my eyes and sparkling every time I show my teeth. I feel it tingling in my fingers and in my toes. The words coming from my mouth (which really aren't even my words at all) travel through the bitter darkness and collide with ears that are longing to hear truth. And just like that, the light sparks something in their hearts and starts to shine through their eyes as well. That's what makes us different; the light. It's so vibrant in a world that is so dark.

I am a messenger of light! He has called me forth at this time to this place to share His light, His love, and His words with all who are wandering blindly in the darkness. What a wonderful calling I have been given. I feel the light. I can feel it every single day.

So. I read Mosiah 21 this week and definitely fell in love with it. (I'll explain more later on, just keep reading.) Anyways, it talks about Limhi's people are suffering through all sorts of afflictions and how they eventually begin to just murmur because of the burdens that have been placed on their shoulders. Now, when I thought of this I thought of myself and of how I felt sorry for myself because I can't speak Korean as well as I'd like to even though I'm living in Korea-- murmuring comes when we start to think about ourselves. Anyways, because they were so focused on themselves, they decide that they wanted to take matters into their own hands and try to deliver themselves out of bondage (even though they knew very well that they were not capable of doing so on their own.) So, relying too much upon themselves, they attempt to make life better for themselves. And alas, they got whooped by the Lamanites. I can't even imagine what they must have been feeling at this point! They were afflicted and their attempt to make life better for themselves only made life worse. So, in their utter despair... they attempt again to go to battle. And again, they get demolished. Again, I can't even imagine how much their poor hearts must have been hurting at this point. And as if they hadn't tasted sorrow enough, they try AGAIN, a third time, to go to battle. Again, they were not successful. 

It isn't until this point, where they are lower than they have ever been before, that they realize how incapable they are. In verses 13 and 14 it talks about how much they had to humble themselves to realize that they NEED the Lord-- they could not ease their burdens on their own. And so they cry out in desperation and the Lord heard their prayers. He didn't take away all their problems immediately (because we have to face the consequences of our decisions in order to truly learn and grow), but He eased their burdens little by little and strengthened them that they would be strong enough to bear them. 

Now, let's relate this to my experiences this week...

We met with SO MANY members this week. Since we're opening a new area we don't exactly have a plethora of investigators to be teaching. That being said, we still wanted to have opportunities to teach in Korean. So we passed around a sign-up sheet in Relief Society for people to sign up to have us come and practice teaching lessons. This resulted in us teaching a total of 13 member lessons this week. (The elders each taught 2-- if that gives you any idea of how insanely busy we were.) In our very first lesson, we sat down to teach and despite how much I'd practiced my Korean, it felt like a total failure. The member kept correcting us to the point where we felt like we couldn't even speak. It was a really tough and humbling experience. Anyways, we walked out of there feeling super beaten down and super upset. But as we walked down the road I realized that the only reason I felt upset was because I was being a prideful little human. Immediately, I felt terrible. I was focusing way too much on my own lack of Korean-speaking-ability that I wasn't even recognizing the role that the Lord had been playing in my life. I've learned SO MUCH Korean in such a short amount of time! It's quite miraculous, really. And I could have, in no way, accomplished that on my own. So I decided right then and there that I definitely needed to remember that the Lord has called me here and has asked me to learn this language so that I can be more qualified to teach these people the gospel in their own language.

And, like the people of Limhi, once I humbled myself before the Lord and changed my "I can't do this" attitude to a "Lord, I'm going to try really really hard and I know that you'll help me to do what you need me to do" attitude, I saw miracles. 

Immediately, I was happier, more confident in speaking to complete strangers on the bus, and somehow, I was able to speak Korean. (Simply, but I was speaking! And people could understand me!) Later this week we met with another member and midway through the lesson she interrupted me as I was speaking and asked, "Wait, did you learn Korean before you were at the MTC?" and I replied, "No, I started studying Korean in the MTC." And as I continued to speak and bear my testimony on the atonement, I said, "I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can do all things." And she started crying. I was using my own experiences of learning Korean in order to talk about the power of the atonement and when I looked up, she had tears streaming down her face. I know, without a doubt in my heart, that the atonement of Jesus Christ gives us strength beyond what we can comprehend. It's not just for sins; the atonement gives us hope in times of despair, strength in times of weakness, and a goal to work towards. It changes us for the better. And I've felt it's power in my life every single day since I started looking for it. 

I love being a missionary. This work is the work of the Lord and I know that we wouldn't be able to do it were it not for His help every step of the way. I'm not capable of many things, but in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things. He's reaching out towards us always-- it's our job to take His hand in ours and hold on as tight as we can. 

Look for the miracles in your life this week!
I love you!


Sister Bagley

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