Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Growing Pains."

So let's start things off with Mormon 9:31: "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection... but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you [my] imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than [I] have been." 

So maybe this week has been a little tougher than others, but there's nothing to worry about, I promise. I was just experiencing a lot of different emotions (frustration, inadequacy, frustration by the fact that I was even frustrated... etc.) and I wasn't sure how to go about conquering them. None of the feelings were really overwhelming or overbearing-- just uncomfortable. But uncomfortable enough to keep me worrying about it. I wanted to get rid of those feelings but I didn't know how. So in the middle of personal study one lovely morning, two words popped into my head: "growing pains." I couldn't help but to laugh at myself for comparing circumstances to puberty-- "spiritual puberty." It's necessary for us to grow and mature-- but in order to do that, we've got to learn how to overcome the things that may be keeping us from progressing. (In my case, the big problem this week was pride. It's the worst.) And so I was frustrated at myself for being frustrated about silly things... which lead to me also feeling inadequate. And so it was just a cycle of feelings that were there to alert me that it was time to change. If we go through our lives feeling 100% comfortable 100% of the time then we must not be doing much at all. 

So yes, I was a wee bit frustrated this week, but I realized that I am a human being which means I can fall victim to normal human-being feelings. (sarcasm) And when we run into our own imperfections it's important to recognize them as weaknesses and then work to overcome them. So- if you find yourself feeling the pains of spiritual puberty, just remember that we've all got things to learn and God has very specific ways of teaching us. I'm grateful that He takes the time to teach each of us in a very personal way and that He hold our hands every step of the way. Sure, we may stumble, but as long as we're clinging to His hand, we'll never ever fall.

I really like the scripture Mark 9:23: "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." I guess too often I forget that I'm only limited by my faith. Time and time again, God promises that we can work great miracles as long as we simply believe. (Another example is Mormon 9:21... and another Mormon 9:25). And I guess that all it really comes down to is how much we trust the Lord. When we truly have faith in Him, undoubting, unshakable faith, then we will be capable of being and doing far more than we could have ever imagined. "And he knoweth their prayers, that they were in behalf of their bretheren. And he knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word." (Mormon 8:24) The only thing that will ever hold us back from being great is our own lack of faith-- it's our only real limitation. 

Anyways, we got to go to a baptism yesterday and that was so cool! We get to go back to my last area this next Saturday and see 현지's baptism too! I can't even wait for that! And maybe I miss Sister Sloan like crazy so I'm way excited to see her as well. 

We've got a total of fourteen appointments with investigators this next week... (we are only meeting with one person more than once.) I don't even know HOW that happened, but we've been meeting so many people and it's such an incredible blessing. Miracles are happening. Everywhere I go, I see them. No matter how big or how small they may be, miracles are still miracles. 

I'm working hard and doing my best!
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! 
I hope that if I grow up I'll be just like you. :) :)


Sister CaLea Bagley

p.s. I got to hike a mountain this week and it made me so happy. I miss nature sometimes.

Happy Mom Day and Stuff.

So this week was pretty cool and stuff because I got to talk to some of you people over skype and that was real exciting. Yikes. Sometimes I forget that people even exist-- and by people, I mean people other than the Koreans and missionaries that I am constantly surrounded by. But you DO exist and skyping was seriously SO good! I'm still really excited about it. 

Anyways, there are a couple fun things that happened this week that I just remembered that I wanted to talk about...

First of all the fact that the movie Napoleon Dynamite has done missionary work. This week in one of our appointments with our investigator we asked her about how she initially heard about our church and she replied that she really likes Napoleon Dynamite and so when she googled the movie she found out that the actress was Mormon... so she asked one of her friends (from America) about the Mormons and he (not a member) just told her that we are "insanely nice people" and... the rest goes from there. She's meeting with us regularly and she has so much faith! So we'll see what happens with her. But I just thought it was awesome that she found the church through Napoleon Dynamite.... 

Second of all: we made a goal to say hello to every single person we pass on the street. It's such a blast because we end up in a lot of really awkward situations but at the same time, we've had a lot of really awesome conversations out of it. 

Next: I met my mission grandmother! (aka Sister Sloan's trainer). She's in the stake that I am currently serving in and she was at the stake conference so I got to say hello to her and it made me so happy.

Our investigator from my last area is getting baptized not this next Saturday, but the following Saturday and I couldn't be more excited! Sister Sloan called me yesterday to tell me that her father even came with her to church! How amazing is that? There are so many miracles that we get to see every single day that I just don't even know where to start with most of them.

Anyways-- I love you all so much and I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve. In D&C 1:23 it talks about how God's gospel will be declared by the weak and I couldn't agree more. I've never felt more incapable in my entire life... yet I've never felt more capable. Our weaknesses help us to remember how much we need the Lord; I'm grateful to be made up of weaknesses. Being a missionary is the coolest. I really can't even begin to explain it. 

I love being here.
I love being a missionary. 

All my love from Korea,

Your little missionary,

Sister CaLea Bagley

p.s. my new FAVORITE chapter is 3 Nephi 22. It's the best. Read it this week.

May the Fourth Be With You.

I hope everyone enjoyed Star Wars day and said, "May the fourth be with you." Way more than necessary. And I just want to point out the fact that I celebrated by wearing my Star Wars sweatshirt and socks to the break-the-fast dinner with the Elders. Be proud. 

Speaking of fasting... this week was full of a lot of really cool experiences! Our mission is currently doing a "40 days of fasting" thing where on every single day of the 40 days someone in our mission will be fasting for the benefit of the entire mission. Cool, right? Anyways, we were assigned to fast on Saturday.... So from Friday night to Saturday night we fasted... then ate one meal... and then proceeded to fast until Sunday night as well. I've never done that before. It was such a cool experience! 

And honestly, we saw so many miracles this week. So I spent the first couple days of the week in Mansu saying goodbye to all the friends I made there over the past two transfers and that was really sad. But I was still so excited for new changes and adventures-- Wednesday came and I rode the bus out of Mansu with Sister Sloan for the final time. It all felt to surreal. We met up with all the other missionaries at a big subway station and then just like that, everything was different. 

The first night in Gangnam ended with a total of four new investigators... four! They practically fell out of the heavens and into our lives. I couldn't believe how that happened. Sister Giles, my new companion, was freaking out. And then as if things couldn't get any better-- later on in the week we found yet another new investigator. Five new investigators in a matter of three days. It's incredible to be able to witness how the Lord works in the lives of the people you teach. It's seriously so cool. One of the investigators we met with on Wednesday met with us again on Saturday and then came to all three hours of church with us on Sunday. She LOVED it. And the coolest part of her coming to church was the fact that not only did she come, but she fasted as well. This woman is seriously so amazing. She's been looking for the truth for so long. She loved the story of Joseph Smith and we gave her the Liahona magazine with all the conference talks in it and she's just soaking it all in. How awesome can she get??

This week I was told that I speak Korean like a North Korean. (Pardon me while I go and laugh about that-- I still think it's hysterical.) I wasn't sure how to respond to that comment so I just started giggling uncomfortably until the man said, "That's good! It sounds so.... pure." I don't even know. I can say probably four things in Korean... but I suppose what I CAN say, I say like a North Korean? So funny. 

I've gotten used to just giving Korean talks in church on the fly because it's been happening so often lately! Especially this past Sunday. I gave an introduction talk in both Relief Society and Sacrament meeting (even though it was fast Sunday...) Like, I don't even know. I just open my mouth and hope that Korean words come out. It's a real party. 

I've learned so much lately. But it's been really interesting to me because I think what I'm learning the most is just how to love-- truly love. I'm surprised time and time again by how much I care about the people around me. Like, it catches me off guard on a regular basis. I'm reading in 3rd Nephi right now and it's been so amazing. The Savior loved every single person that He came into contact with, no matter who they were or what they'd done in their lives. He gave every person love and made sure that they knew that He loved them.

As so I guess I just want to be able to love people like that. And I want the people I love to know that I love them. So, to all of you incredible people who have left little imprints on my heart for the rest of forever: I love you. I love you more than you'll ever really know and I promise I'll spend the rest of my forever making sure that you never forget it. I love you! 

I want the people that I love to always know that I love them.
So, I love you. :) All the way from Korea to wherever you are and back again.

I'm happy. 
Talk to you on Mother's day!! 


Sister CaLea Bagley

p.s. Sister Giles and I are conquering Gangnam as the youngest companionship in the entire mission!


Well, I'm officially not a greenie and I am officially transferring to the one and only area of Gangnam. (Yes, as in, the famous song.) It's one of the wealthiest areas in our mission, and I'm not going to lie, I'm excited to live in such a famous place. Also-- as you already guessed, my lovely trainer and I will no longer be serving together... it breaks my heart! But I know that the Lord calls us to where He needs us and I'm happy to be on the Lord's errand. (When we texted one of the less-active members we visit each week and told her that I'm moving she sent back a picture with the most hysterical looking person screaming, "NO!" I died, it was soooo funny.)

I'll be serving with Sister Giles who came to Korea just six weeks prior to when I came... needless to say, she's on her 4th transfer in country and I'm in my 3rd. President made sure to inform us that we will be the youngest companionship in the entire mission. Yikes! Wish us luck in our endeavors, it's going to be a big learning experience and I couldn't be more excited about it! (All these big changes will happen this Wednesday.)

This week, in honor of our final week as a district before everyone goes their separate ways, we decided to put a little twist on our district proselyting activity. We ended up on two corners at a giant intersection with signs that read, "Free Hugs, Free Pictures"... and I'm sure you can guess how that went. I was hugging old ladies like crazy! It was seriously so much fun. I think the best part was the fact that we had our district leader, Elder Barry, (who is from Utah) holding the sign and advertising us by saying, "Free hug from a foreigner!" in Korean repeatedly and passing Koreans. It was wayyy too funny. But way awesome. And we made a bunch of people really happy. 

We got to visit the temple again this week! Every time we go I am reminded of how much I love that place. Seriously-- it's my favorite. And even though I'm so far from home, being within the walls of that sacred place makes me FEEL so at home. I will forever love the temple. 

We had two big meetings this week-- one with our entire mission and another one with the Seoul mission and all the members here in Korea. Sister Linda K. Burton, the General Relief Society president came and spoke to us and it was so awesome. Plus I just loved getting to see all my dear friends all at once. (Sister Sloan refers to big mission conferences as "the second coming" because it's a huge gathering of loved ones.) 

I don't know if I mentioned this-- but Elder Thomas from our stake has been in my district for the last transfer! It's been way fun serving with someone I knew from elementary school. Also, Elder Meeks is coming to 만수! So he will be serving in my greenie area for the next transfer. I thought that was kind of fun. Also-- I met Jill's cousin, Elder Sanderson this week as well! But he goes home this next transfer, so I was lucky to see him. 

Don't worry! Even though I'm moving to a new area I will still get to come back for our sweet investigator's baptism! She's so sweet and was so sad when I told her I was moving. But I pinky promised I'd come back, just for her. So that will be fun! I'm really glad that President Morrise allows missionaries to do that. (Because her baptism date is so soon.) 

Anyways, I just want to tell you all how much I love you. And from a missionary to all you stalwart members of the church: you have no idea how much we, as missionaries, need your help. Seriously, were it not for the incredible members in our ward, we would not be seeing the miracles that we see each and every day. We need members! We rely so heavily upon their help and their support. Missionaries will come and go-- but the members of wards will stay. And that's where the real missionary work happens. We find people and we teach people and then we pass the baton to the ward members and trust that they will love and spiritually nourish the people that the Lord has lead us to find. So I guess my challenge to everyone this week is this: call up the missionaries of your ward and ask them how you can help. Do a member lesson, do member splits (it's so much fun and you get twice as much missionary work done), invite them into your home to do a practice lesson. Any help is a LOT of help. And we really appreciate it. 

We're all children of God, and as brothers and sisters it is our sacred responsibility to lift up and strengthen each other. And so, we're all missionaries. And we all share the same goal. 

So, as the Koreans say, 화이팅! (Go get 'em!) 

All my love, 

Sister CaLea Bagley

This week on the Chopstick Chronicles..

Hello friends, family, loved ones, human beings....

How are you all this week? I've been doing really awesome. I don't even know where to begin with all the things that have been happening over here in Korea. But I suppose I'll go ahead and share some pretty awesome news... we're officially teaching seven progressing (emphasis on progressing-- they're all doing so well!) investigators and as of yesterday, we've set a baptism date for one! I can't even begin to explain how happy I was when it happened. We were just sitting in sacrament (Easter Sunday) and our investigator leans over to me and says, "So... do I have to get baptized?" And I just looked at her for a moment before I registered what she was trying to say before I immidiately began to explain to her that baptism is a choice and that we invited her to do so because it has blessed our lives and our families lives and that because we love her we want it to bless her life as well. Long story short, after a long conversation about what baptism is and how everything works (all the way down to showing her the baptismal font, the baptismal dresses, and showing her how to stand and whatnot) she looked at us and said, "Okay. When can I get baptized?" Without hesitating we whipped out a calendar on our phone and she picked out a date. I haven't stopped smiling since! My heavens, missionary work is the best! I don't even feel like I'm doing anything-- miracles keep happening. God's the one doing the work, we're just at the right place at the right time, it seems. 

Transfer calls come this week. So yes, this is officially my last week as a "greenie" and I'm freaking out. I really really want to stay where I'm at. Just for one more transfer. Of course, I'll go where the Lord needs me to go and I'll go with a smile if He asks me to do so... but I realllllly want to stay here and stay with Sister Sloan. I figured I might as well throw that out there because I want the world to know how much I love 만수 and how much I love my companion. But hey, I suppose that one of the greatest things we can learn on our mission is how to adapt to changes and how to do so with a good attitude? 

Easter Sunday was... just like every other day. Maybe Koreans don't really celebrate holidays quite like Americans do? But it's whatever. We were sitting in our apartment at the end of the day and Sister Sloan randomly exclaimed, "Easter's gonna be so boring..." and so without delay I immidiately found my way to the fridge, grabbed all the eggs, and then plopped myself down on the floor of our apartment and without a word started drawing on them with sharpies. Sister Sloan just laughed when she saw me.. and then joined me on the floor with a sharpie of her own. Maybe we had a ghetto Easter but whatever, I still thought it was fun. :) :) And no... we didn't boil the eggs. We just drew on unboiled eggs because we're weird. 

I experienced a Korean funeral this week. That was really cool. But I don't have time to talk about it... so maybe just google "Korean Funerals." All I'm going to say is this: Koreans use everything as an excuse to eat.

But yeah. I dunno. The weeks all blur together and so I always feel like I don't have much to write anymore. But know that I'm happy and doing well and that I'm enjoying being a missionary a whole bunch. It's crazy to think that I'm almost at my 5 month mark. Like... huh? Where did the time go? I lost it. I really lost it. But that's alright, they say time flies when you're having fun, right? I must be having a BLAST!

I hope you remember to tell God how grateful you are for the blessing that the gospel is in your life! And I hope you remember to thank Him for the blessing I am in your life... (okay, maybe that was sarcastic, but whatever.)

I love you and pray for you always!

Sister CaLea Bagley

p.s. eat some ice cream this week. And brownies. I miss brownies.
Well, it's been another fantastic week in Asia. Sometimes I'll be sitting there just having a casual conversation with my companion and say something like, "Before I lived in Korea..." and then just stop dead in the middle of my sentence and just sit in utter bafflement at the reality of the fact that I'm actually living in Korea. Me, little CaLea from little American Fork, Utah. I'm living the dream in Korea, folks. 

So maybe I can't exactly talk about specific things that happened this week because missionary life doesn't feel like individual days or individual weeks or anything individual at all, actually. Mostly it just feels like one giant continuous experience hat warps time and leaves you entirely confused about how much time really has or has no passed. That being said, just go ahead and assume that it's been a good week and that the work of the Lord is progressing (as always) in the lovely land of Korea. 

I was grateful to have the opportunity to watch General Conference! It dawned on me that this was the very first conference I've spent away from my family... uhhh. Yikes. That was an interesting moment. But it was fine because I could basically picture everthing that happened at home during conference while I watched it. (Every time a woman spoke I thought, "I wonder how bad Corley is making fun of her right now." Love you, bro.) So maybe I've only watched two sessions in English so far... but as much as I understood in Korean sounded pretty great as well! (Don't worry, I'll have watched every session in English by the end of the week.) 

I think one of my favorite things about Korea in the spring is the WHITE cherry blossoms that are blooming everywhere. The snows all look like they're covered in snow. And my very very favorite is when the wind knocks off the petals and it looks like it's snowing. 

I miss you all and I love you all. You're in my prayers always. 
Smile lots this week.


Sister Bagley

p.s. read Alma 53-56. I totally sobbed like a baby when I read it this week. I've never been a crier... but MAN the story of the stripling warriors really got me this week. It's a good one. :)