Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tips For Preparing Sister Missionaries (Round 2!)

//Okay, let's be honest, skirts are the hardest things to find these days. Like, since when does a mini-skirt even count as a piece of clothing?? That being said, in my opinion, the best place to go for mission skirts is thrift stores. Why? Because grandmas are ALWAYS throwin' out their old skirts. The skirts are longer, cheap, and unique. Yes, there are also really great places like downeast and mikarose that offer awesome mission clothing, but they are pretty pricey-- especially if you're buying in bulk. 

//As for shirts. I found that a lot of the shirts I took on my mission (the first time around) were sheer just because that's the "style" these days. No. You can take a few sheer shirts, but I promise you, as one sister missionary to another, life is so much easier when you don't HAVE to wear anything under the shirt. Obviously if it's going to be freezing where you're serving then it doesn't really matter because you'll be wearing a thousand different layers anyways. But I always preferred to wear the shirts that were cute and low maintenance. (And again, DI/thrift stores are the BEST!)

//Since I keep bringing up thrift stores, I'll explain once again why I like them: they're cheap, you find unique clothing, there are so many long skirts available, and most of all, you'll likely leave all your mission clothing in your last area when it's finally time to come home. So why spend all that money on something that will only last you eighteen months? Solution: thrift stores. (I really am just obsessed with them. If you want, I'll take you and be your personal thrift-store-trainer.)

//Keep a little book with you at ALL times that you can write in. I don't care what you put in there, feelings, frustrations, spiritual thoughts, amazing experiences-- whatever. It's a little journal full of an assortment of little things and it's such good therapy when you're out serving the Lord.

//My companions and I LOVED telling stories via video. We'd record ourselves telling a story (funny experiences, weird moments, you get the idea) and then when Monday rolled around, I'd store it on my little hard drive and forget it even existed. NOW those little silly videos are total gems. It is such a blast to go back and watch some of those old memories. 

//Print out and take your favorite conference talks with you. In fact, make a little binder full of them. It really does make all the difference when you're out in the field. 

//For language learners: when you hear a word you don't know, write it down and then ask others what it means. For some reason, this was the most effective way for me to learn new words. They always stuck.

//For the record, at the MTC no bags are allowed in the cafeteria. Leave all your books and stuff in your classroom and only carry your bag with you twice a day: when you go from your room to your classroom and from your classroom to your room. Your MTC classroom is literally your entire world for the time you're there. You're only in your room for an hour at the end of the day and a small amount of time in the mornings. So leave everything in your classroom! There's no use in lugging everything around for no reason!

//Do personal study ALWAYS in  your native language. The whole point of it is to strengthen your understanding and help you to receive inspiration for your investigators. The spirit speaks to you in your native language so save reading the scriptures in your mission language for language study. ;)

//Wear your watch on the inside (bottom) of your wrist rather than on the top. It's much easier to sneakily check the time that way when you're in a hurry or needing to end a lesson.

//It says pack hangers-- don't. There are always hangers available in the apartments from the sisters that leave. The houses kind of just accumulate left-over things from all the sisters that live there and move on.

//Tell your family all about dearelder.com and then teach them how to use it before you go. Because you get mail like twice a day at the MTC and getting dearelders are the BEST. Plus, they're the easiest ways to send letters to the MTC for your friends and family. 

//They always tell you your first few days there, "Just make it to Sunday!" They're not lying. Those first few days will likely be the longest days of your life... but enjoy it! And, just hang in there until sunday. :)

//Always go to the salad/soup bar. It's located near the back of the cafeteria (kind of?) But they have these "wraps" there that are awesome and I'm pretty sure I ate those as like 78% of my meals. Ask me if I got "sick" at the MTC. Nope!

//Go early to devotionals to get good seats! But bring your scriptures and a study journal so you can get some good study time in while you're there waiting for it to start.

//Relax-- just take moments to breathe it all in and appreciate the fact that you're a missionary! You've only got so long to be one, so enjoy it!

//Get REALLLLY familiar with PMG. Especially if you're learning a new language. Teaching is so much less stressful when you've got all the lessons down and you know them like the back of your hand.

//I never really got homesick on my mission. Of course, there were days... but I'd say the best way to avoid homesickness is to just stay busy! Study, study, study, and serve, serve, serve. When you don't leave time to think about home there's no time to be homesick!

//Keep a journal, dang it. If you don't like writing, draw cartoons. If you don't like writing or drawing cartoons... write a sentence a day. COME ON, it's not that hard. But it's so important to keep a record of the things you learn, see, and experience while you're on your mission. Figure out a way to make journaling fun for you and then just DO IT. 

//Pack all the liquidy stuff (lotions, hairspray, whatever else you need) in plastic bags just in case they spill. It protects your suitcase and all its contents and makes the clean-up process a lot easier. 

//Make it your personal goal to be the kind of companion that every missionary deserves. IT'S NOT EASY. But life is so much better when you have that mindset, I promise. Serve your companion and love your companion and missionary work is FUN.

//Have a nice water bottle and KEEP it with you. Water bottles are lifesavers, I'm tellin' ya. 

//Bring a hard drive or flashdrives to keep a back up of all your pictures and videos on. I saw too many missionaries lose their cameras and along with it alllllll their mission pictures! SO SAD.

//Be content but not satisfied. Don't beat yourself up because you're not as good at the language as you want to be or because of this, or that, or whatever-- be happy. Be content. But also be determined to keep working and keep improving no matter what. 

MISSIONARY LIFE IS THE BEST. I've never been happier than I was on my mission. So don't let the hard times get you down. Let the good times keep you going. It's hard, I'll be the first to tell you that. But in all honesty, it doesn't FEEL too hard. Not ever. Because you've got angels helping you on your left and your right and you've got the message of the restored gospel in your life. You're a part of GOD's grand army. So just remember to keep on fighting, soldier. Time passes much faster than you can imagine, and before you know it, it's all over. So make it count!


Sister Bagley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Officially Resubmitted.

Well, kids, I have officially resubmitted to once-again be a missionary! As of right now, I don't have a whole bunch of answers (for example, how long it will take for me to find out what's going on, if I'll get to return to my mission, when I'll get to go back if I get to return, etc.) but I feel really good about conquering this first little challenge and I'm keeping my fingers crossed and prayers being sent up to heaven in hopes that I'll get to return to my beloved Korea Seoul South Mission.

I don't know why things had to happen the way that they have. But I do know that God has a grand plan in store for ME and that no matter what, the most important thing is just remembering that He's the one in charge. 

So, whatever happens, happens. I've done my part, and now all I can do is just wait and see what the Lord has in store in my next chapter of life. Wish me luck!


Monday, October 13, 2014


Guess who got medically released today...


Now, onto getting back to Korea! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

thoughts from an early RM.

Being home (when you still feel as if you're supposed to be in another country) is such a surreal thing. You're surrounded by people and things that at one point in time were so normal-- and now all the normalcy almost makes it all feel abnormal. Have you ever had a dream where you were watching everything happen from a third-person perspective? For example, I once dreamed that I went to the wedding of my dear friend but instead of seeing it all from my own two eyes, I watched myself from above as if I were merely a fly on the wall. Kind of like in A Christmas Carol where Mr. Scrooge gets whisked about from past to present to future and he sees all that is happening but he's not actually a part of the occurrences. Well, that's what it feels like to be an early-returned missionary. 

I'm here, I'm home. I'm with family and loved ones. But given my current set of circumstances (i.e. desiring more than anything to return to Korea but remaining unaware of what the immediate future may uncover) my heart doesn't feel quite at home. I'm not sure any collection of words could ever fully capture the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that are so deeply intertwined with the experience of returning home before your assigned release date, but I do know that it's one of those rare life experiences in which a person can only truly comprehend once experiencing it themselves. 

And so I sit, day after day, rejoicing as my younger sister moves off to college and my younger brother receives the Preisthood, cheering as a dear friend exits the temple after being sealed to her sweetheart for time and all eternity, laughing when my nephew attempts his first few steps and falls so adorably upon his diaper-clad bottom-- and experiencing life while not actually mentally feeling as if I am progressing down any particular path of life. It's the missionary limbo-- I'm working to complete my service as a full-time missionary in the Korea Seoul South Mission but I am a released missionary residing in Utah. And with no definite verdict in the given situation, I feel as if I am standing at a stopping point in the journey; I'm at a fork in the road and at some point I'm going to have to keep walking. But with the limited information I now have, choosing a course upon which I must continue my journey is a terrifying concept. 

And so I just keep smiling when my infant niece presses a slobbery kiss to my cheek. I just keep falling to my knees at my bedside each night in gratitude for all the many ways in which I have been blessed. I just keep pleading in my heart for the opportunity to return to Korea and finish my time in total service of the Lord. And I just keep pressing forward; it's not easy to be home when your world revolves around your yearning desire to once again be a missionary... then again-- life was never meant to be easy. But it was meant to be enjoyed. 

All we can do amidst times of hardship and adversity is will ourselves to continually keep taking steps forward-- even if we do not know in which direction to walk. Our Savior is constantly reaching out to us and offering a hand to hold us up and support us when we feel as if we can no longer stand. I don't know many things, but I know He lives and I know that He loves me. And that knowledge alone makes everything I've gone through, everything I'm currently going through, and everything I have yet to go worth absolutely and entirely worth it. 

So to any of you who feel as if you're drowning in a sea of sorrows and discouragement, close your eyes and remember to just breathe. Because no matter what, when we do all that we can to be the best that we can be, we're promised our own happily every after. 

And it's worth every salty tear drop.


Sister Bagley