Sunday, June 29, 2014

침례식! Baptism Day!

This week has been so impossibly amazing! I don't even know where to begin! (Quick sidenote, however-- since when is it June? I don't even know how that happened??)
So, Elder Quentin L. Cook made an appearance in Korea this week and Sister Giles and I had three different opportunities to hear him speak. It was absolutely phenomenal. The first meeting was for all the missionaries in the Seoul missions (we got to see our friends from the North mission!); which meant that we had a chapel packed with about 400 missionaries who were anxious to hear the words of an apostle. The second meeting was for anyone and everyone-- it was crazy. We got to take an investigator with us and I had been praying all week that she would be able to come and to hear things that were specific for her needs and desires in life right now. We haven't been able to meet with her for about three weeks because she got a new job that's been keeping her SO busy, and so we were worried that she wouldn't be able to make it. BUT SHE CAME! And the most incredible thing happened: so the last time we met with her it was actually one of the coolest moments of my mission. I got to bear my testimony on the sacredness of temples and temple work and about how the work we do in the temple allows us to live with our loved ones forever. As I bore my testimony to her I pulled out a picture of our family and I pointed to it and said, "These people are my whole entire world. I miss them every single day. But I said goodbye to them for 18 months so that I could come here to Korea and tell you that you will never have to say goodbye to your loved ones forever. Goodbyes are temporary, love is eternal." And the spirit was so strong, all of us felt it. Sister Giles backed me up with her testimony and our investigators eyes leaked so much that she didn't even bother trying to wipe the tears away. So-- after THAT... guess what Elder Cook talked about during the meeting.... temples and families. It was so perfect! She was taking notes like crazy and her eyes were leaking all over again. 

After the meeting I asked her how about the meeting. She said, "During the last song, when everyone was singing, I just closed my eyes and listened to all the music and I felt like I was in heaven." I was so shocked by her response because I had done the exact same thing! The final hymn was being sung in English and Korean and everyone was singing out as loud and joyfully as they could and it was such a cool experience. The spirit was so strong. I closed my eyes too and just felt the power of that exact moment-- I can't even put it into words. The whole meeting was powerful, right from the start. As Elder Cook was sitting on the stage they had the camera on him and he was beaming- a smile was spread from cheek bone to cheek bone. And I thought to myself, "I wonder why He's smiling like that?" and as soon as that question crossed my mind the answer came as well, "Because I am with you." The Lord was with us in that meeting, it was so cool.

The final meeting was a stake conference for the stake I'm serving in. Elder Cook presided. We invited that same investigator to come with us and she loved it! And at the end, she even got to shake his hand. She was crying the whole time... and smiling the whole time as well. As we were traveling back to Gangnam after the meeting she told us that she usually drinks coffee every single morning but that she didn't that morning so that she could be more spiritually prepared. She said, "I feel like it clouds my mind and it can't be good for me because it's so addictive." Golden. She then said, "I'm going to start having Family Night on Monday nights all by myself. I usually don't get home until ten or eleven, but I want to start doing it." This woman is 45 years old and single. And she wants to have Family Night by herself so that she can be obedient. Golden. She's seriously so prepared for the message that we were sent here to share. 

As for the baptism... 

현지 자매님 got baptized! Sister Giles and I were able to return to my greenie area (aka my Korean hometown) for the service and it was probably the best day of my mission so far. I consider the people in that ward my Korean family because that's where I was "born." And so getting so be with everyone and celebrate with everyone in honor of the baptism was such a incredible experience. I'll cherish it forever. Seriously, I'm going to wrap up all the feelings and happiness and love in my heart and keep it there where I can remember it often for the rest of forever. I love being a missionary!! 

It was good to see Sister (Mamma) Sloan and meet Sister (but like, literal mission sister) Mineer. We got to stay the night with them in my old house in 만수 and it was like a walk down memory lane. So much fun!

Like I said, this week has been a week of happiness that I can't even begin to explain. There were so many miracles and amazing little experiences that happened that reminded me how amazing this opportunity is-- I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! What a sacred, wonderful, incredible privilege. 

I'm happy. Soooo happy. 

"YOU are the message; who you are. When you're living righteously and doing what you ought to do, you testify of the Savior. Because of WHO you are, YOU are the message." -Elder Cook

Remember how much you can influence the lives around you. We are all the message-- we testify of the Savior by our words, our actions, and our lives. Do all that you can to align your life with the kind of life the Savior lived.

I love you, I pray for you always. 
All the way from Korea,

Sister CaLea Bagley

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