Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Guess I'm a Potato Farmer.

This week has been absolutely amazing. I really want to be able to speak Korean. I've always looked at it as a tool to do what I've been called here to do-- teach the gospel. We're called to teach the gospel, not speak Korean. BUT, Korean is an incredibly valuable tool in teaching the gospel in Korea (obviously). Many times in the MTC I'd get really discouraged by my lack of ability to remember grammar forms and vocabulary. I'd focus on the things I couldn't do rather than the things I could do. That mindset made Korean feel more like a barrier than a tool. This week as I've been studying Korean and really adding the finishing touches to my language study plan, I was reading over the "Learn the Language" section in PMG. I couldn't help but to feel a little bit of discouragement. I love the people of Korea. I want to be able to be their friend and their guide as they come to know the way that the gospel can bless their lives but I'm no where near where I'd like to be with the language. That being said, I flipped open my Book of Mormon to the chapter I'd left off reading and lo and behold the first thing I read was Alma 29:1-3. Hello, the Lord answers prayers! He directly responded to the emotions I'd been feeling and offered me peace through the scriptures. That's exactly why I love them so much. I continued on and read verse 6 and it really hit me again: I'm here to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord will help me and bless me as I work hard and put in the effort. The language will come-- it's already beginning to come, maybe slowly, but it's coming-- but even if I feel as though I cannot speak as well as I'd like, I can always love. I'm a missionary, I'm excited to be here and I'm honored to get to see the Lord's hand in my life so much each day. 

Miracles this week? Our incredible ward members! We've interacted SO MUCH with our ward members this week and it's been so incredible. We've started bringing ward members to all the lessons we teach to our investigators. The spirit they bring to the lessons is incredible. Yesterday we also went on splits with some of the women from relief society and ended up tripling the number of people we'd talk to on any other given day. The ward to is excited about missionary work and so willing to help in any and every way that they can. It was way funny because they'd run up to people and say, "Hi, this is a missionary, they're really cool. Hey, Sister Bagley, tell them about the gospel...." So awkward. But whatever. 

Now that the weather is getting warmer, every Saturday we become immigrant workers on one of the member's farms. We planted potatos. Hello. So yeah, I'm learning valuable skills and having the time of my life. The men in our ward love Sister Sloan and I because we're not your typical girl.... they say, "Oh, this is a job for the Elders..." and then we prove that we're just as tough. It's real fun. 

Flirting isn't allowed when you're a missionary. BUT... flirting with grandmas is okay. They love it. They just sit there and say, "Ohhh, pretty!" over and over and over again and then give us a bum-pat and candy and send us on our way. It's real entertaining. We get lots of candy.

This week I accidentally replaced the word "patience" with "body oder." I told one of the less-active members we met with that Sister Sloan's boyfriend has a lot of body odor. We laughed about that for quite a while...

We officially are teaching and working with two investigators! The ward members have been so on board with helping us teach them and welcome them into the "ward family." (For the record-- the term "ward family" meant nothing to me until I arrived in Korea. Like, even though nobody is related, every week at church feels like the equivalent of a family reunion.)

I must be really funny. Guess what happened... I made my companion laugh SO HARD that she literally peed her pants on a public sidewalk five minutes away from our house. You know what they say, 80% of accidents happen within a mile of your home. Also-- we learned a valuable lesson from this: as missionaries, we have no control over anything, including our bladders. You've just got to roll with it and wear a smile no matter what happens. (For the record, she's 22 years old and I almost peed my pants too because I was laughing soooo hard at the puddle of fluid she left on the sidewalk.) She was so embarassed that she just jumped up and ran away and I followed behind in hysterics. Welcome to missionary life, it's real awkward.

Hey, but we topped the "peeing the pants" story this week... even though I didn't think it was even possible to do. Last night as we were running home from our meeting with our ward mission leader (we didn't want to be late arriving home) we decided to say "hello" to one last person in the parking lot of our apartment complex. It was a man and his dog... anyways, long story short, a strange turn of events occured and before we knew it we were sitting in a bar across the table from a smoking man and his miniature pet dog and and the waitress threw down a couple of beers on the table. Hello. Sister Sloan then leaned over to me and said, "Um... are we in a bar?" to which I immidiately responded, "Yes, yes, I think we are." It was way strange... we explained that we don't drink or smoke... so he ordered us cokes. And chicken. (I dunno. I really dunno.) And they wouldn't let us leave until we ate it. So we DOWNED the soda (I haven't had soda in such a long time) and then they ordered another one. At this point the chicken was  put on the table and the guy got up to go to the bathroom and so Sister Sloan and I sizezed his absence as an opportunity to dump the plate full of chicken into Sister Sloan's purse. A man in the corner was watching us do this and Sister Sloan pointed him out but I assured her that it was fine because he was so drunk that he wouldn't remember it anyways. Hi, we're really good missionaries-- we conclude our sabbath days in bars with chicken and dogs on chairs and stuff. It's whatever.

Hey, I played soccer and ripped up my leg again this week. Except... it's the other leg this time. My legs look reallllll cute. The koreans kept telling me that I needed to go to the hospital for it... and I might have taken their advice into account had they not advised me to go to the hospital over a couple of pimples as well. Koreans are dramatic when it comes to medical-related things. It's fine. I just rubbed some dirt on it, it ain't no thing.

Okay. So maybe this week's email was full of a whole bunch of unexpected things. It's fine. We have fun. And we never quite know what to expect. I think I write in my planner more with whiteout than I do with actual pen... but the work is progressing and we're enjoying it every step of the way! (Okay... except for maybe when we end up in hole-in-the-wall-bars...)

I hope everyone is happy! I pray every day that you'll get to have missionary opportunities in your own lives. As we've been working with the members I've seen JUST HOW IMPORTANT members are in the work. So get involved with the missionary work in your wards. Seriously, it makes all the difference. You're full-time finders and as missionaries, we're full-time teachers. It's a team effort. So let's do some missionary work!

I love you all and I think about you every day! I'm happy and working hard and laughing a whole bunch. Sister Sloan and I are finally catching on to Korean humor-- we can keep the ward members laughing pretty hard these days. That's a step in the right direction, right? Right. 



Sister Bagley

p.s. we're about to go skinny dipping in public. Just kidding. But also not. Koreans believe in community bath houses. So..... to embrace the culture, Sister Sloan and I are about to go hang out with a bunch of naked grandmas. Here goes nothing... wish us luck!

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