Sunday, July 13, 2014

Last Week of the Transfer!

Answers for Mamma Bagley's list of Questions:
·         Tell me about those you are teaching.
So, we're teaching a bunch of people, actually. But first and foremost comes Ah-een. She's 45 years old and single and she's the one who we set the baptism date with a while ago. So.... we actually ended up post-poning the date on Saturday because she's just feeling a lot of pressure. She reads the Book of Mormon every single day. I know she'll end up getting baptized eventually... but probably not until she finishes the whole thing. That was hard for us because we've been making so many promises to her but we realized we were probably pushing her in ways that weren't best for her. So we're trying a new approach. Wish us luck and pray for her to be able to recognize her answer when it comes.

Another woman we're teaching we just set a baptism date with this week. She's really cool... but she's not super diligent about keeping her commitments because "the TV drama was too interesting!!" and other such various excuses... but she loves the scriptures! We can't seem to figure out how to get her to read on her own, though. We're meeting with her really frequently and she's excited to learn more about the gospel. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

We have an 85 year old man who lives down the street from us who has one of the coolest life-stories I have ever heard. He's a successfully retired businessman who came from a childhood of very little. He now speaks 3 languages (English, Japanese, and Korean) and spends a huge chunk of his time doing volunteer service that requires his language skills. We call him Nam and he's our BFF. Nam has met with a few sets of Elders over the course of the last 15 years of his life and so diligently studied all that they asked him to study... but eventually they stopped meeting. He got baptized into the Roman Catholic Church in December and that was that.

But, ever since I've been in Gangnam we've been working really hard at just being his friends. We'd talk with him, never fail to say "hello" when we'd see him, and even deliver cookies to his home for him and his wife to enjoy. Recently we've started joining him on Fridays in the service he does at the subway station. We LOVE Nam!! We never tried to directly talk about the gospel with him unless he'd ask us specific questions or bring it up himself. Anyways, on Tuesday we woke up to a text from Nam that asked us when we'd be able to study the gospel together! We're now meeting and teaching Nam!!! We love him so much. And I am so honored that he trusts us enough to answer his questions. He's my best friend. (I have a lot of Korea best friends... and they range in ages from 2-85 years old.)

·         Help me to know what the life of a missionary is like.
It's tough! But also so amazing. You don't live a single day without receiving the help of the Lord to help you make it through. You're always tired and you always want to take a nap... but you never do. You just keep smiling and pushing through and then you see miracles. Every single day. We do everything that we do for other people and it's seriously the greatest thing I've ever gotten to do. I've never felt more.... me. Not in my entire life. I don't think there are any words that could accurately depict what it's like to be a missionary.

·         How do the people receive you in Korea?
A lot of people just love us because we're Americans. And then they extra-love us because we are Americans who speak Korean. Every now and then there are people who call us a cult and what not... but for the most part, people are really nice! :) I love Koreans!

·         What did you do this week that made you know of His love?
Yesterday we were at this big park and we were just walking around looking for people to talk to and we found this whole clan of elderly women sitting on these benches just fanning themselves from the heat. We walked up and said hello and they loved us immediately! Especially because we were these two young little "babies" who were speaking to them in Korean. Anyways, they all just told us to sit down and enjoy the evening with them for a minute. So we sat down next to this precious OLD woman and just talked to her for about twenty minutes and I can't even explain how much love I felt for her in such a short amount of time. That happens to me a lot, to tell the truth. I feel immense amounts of love for the people I get to meet and talk with and spend time with and I know that the love I'm feeling is just a glimpse of the love that our Heavenly Father has for them. And being able to feel that for other people has really helped me to feel His love more deeply.

·         Do you ever get discouraged?  How do you fix yourself?
Always. But I have this kind of a mindset: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. If there's one thing I've learned on my mission, it's that God makes weak things strong. So maybe being weak isn't always the worst thing.... it's actually a big blessing.

·         When is the next transfer date and do you think you will be transferred?
This is the final week of the transfer. We'll find out this Saturday about what will happen with the upcoming transfer. I think I'll probably be staying here in Gangnam. I dunno for sure though... It's more likely that Sister Giles will be transferred out that me. But we'll just find out when it happens! The Lord is full of surprises! You'll hear from me again next week! :)
·         How many people are you teaching?

Right now we have about 15-20 people on our "list" of people to focus on every week. But it's tough to answer that questions accurately because sometimes plans and appointments fall through. But we've got a lot of people we've been consistently meeting with and working with. 

It's so cool to be a missionary. Basically the biggest thing I heard God telling me this week was, "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith." (2 Nephi 27:23)

I've mentioned a few of the miracles I saw this week, but I can't even begin to explain how amazing this week has been when it comes to miracles. Each day I wake up excited to see what kind of miracles the Lord will show forth that day. It's been a constant, non-stop flow of miracles in Gangnam for the past couple of weeks. I wanted to share one really cool, really specific one before I say goodbye for the week...

We live across the street from this little elementary school. So, twice a day there is a "crew" of elderly people who volunteer to be crosswalk guards while the children are both coming to school and leaving school. They always just hang out outside our little apartment building. There is this awesome tiny grandma who always eats our food and this man who wears the same hat that says "Texas" on it every single day. That's why we call him "Texas." Anyways, Texas hadn't been outside with the crosswalk-crew for about a week and we were beginning to wonder where he was. But on Thursday, as soon as we left our apartment, we ran into the crosswalk-crew and there he was, sitting in his usual chair amongst all of our friends. (They make us come talk to them every time we walk by.) We asked him why he'd been gone for so long... and when he began to speak we noticed that his face was pretty swollen and beat up. The entire left-side of his face was immobile. He informed us that he'd been at the hospital all week and then asked us if we'd pray for him. And when we said we would, he removed his cap and motioned to his head as if we were going to give him a blessing. At that point we had to explain that we weren't able to bless him like that but that the Elders could and we'd come back later that day with them so they could give him a blessing. But as we started to walk away we called the Elders, just to see where they were at... and miraculously, their appointment had cancelled on them and they were literally walking past our house at that exact moment. So we ran back to the cross-walk crew just in time to see the Elders coming around the corner. They were able to give him a blessing, right then and there, on the side of the street, right when he needed them to. Everyone that witnessed it was absolutely amazed and we were able to teach all of them about the Priesthood and the blessing that it is in our lives today. It was one of the coolest moments of my entire mission.

The Lord is with us in this work!
I hope you're seeing miracles, wherever you may be!
I love you and I love being a missionary!

Sister CaLea Bagley

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Goodbye June, Hello Miracles!

This week has been absolutely amazing. (I feel like I start out every email like this... but I promise that I mean it from the very bottom of my heart. Maybe missionary work is the best thing that has ever happened to me?) 

We've been having a hard time with investigators lately just because everyone in Gangnam is so busy all the time. It's hard to consistently keep meeting with people. So, we've just been slowly having to drop investigators because it eventually becomes too difficult to meet with them or they're not willing to progress anymore. It's been so hard! We have a couple of really fantastic investigators who are so solid, but we've been really feeling as if we need to work to pick up some new investigators as well. So Sister Giles and I just decided to kick it into gear and start working even harder in every aspect of missionary work. And guess what happened: miracles.

We picked up four new investigators this week! All of whom are gospel interest and who have so much potential. One is a woman that I met when I was on exchange in a different area. I said hello to her and we gave her the number of the Sisters who were serving in that area because we ended up having to get off pretty quickly. People don't usually call us off the pass-along cards we give out... but she did! She ended up calling the Sisters... and, long story short, she lives in Gangnam! So they called us and were so excited to refer her to us. We met with her and she loved us. We sang a bunch of primary songs together and we taught her all about the Book of Mormon. It was really neat. She now refers to herself as our Korean mother... (Yes, now I have two... but just wait.)

We met a woman on the street a few weeks ago who tried to feed us dinner right then and there.. but we were running a little late so we just got her phone number and then headed to our next appointment. BUT, the other day we felt very prompted to call her. She didn't answer..... but she called us the next morning at 6:00am and invited us over for dinner. Long story short: she introduced us to her sweet husband and fed us dinner. We got to teach them about the Book of Mormon as well! The man is the sweetest 72 year old man I've ever met and his wife is wonderful. She called herself our "mother" as well.. and referred to her husband as our "grandfather" because she thought it was funny. They both LOVED the Book of Mormon and basically told us to come and teach them anytime we have extra time. I've never loved two people so much in such a short amount of time in my entire life. I'm completely in love with them.

The last woman we met after our English class on Saturday. She showed up just as it was ending... and so we told her we could just meet with her personally. We ended talking all about religion and found out that she's a christian who doesn't attend church. She told us that she's been looking for the "right" church for a long time but just hasn't found what she's been looking for. We taught her about the Book of Mormon as well. 

The Book of Mormon is the coolest book in the whole world. Every day I find ways to apply the things I read from it to my own life and the lives of those we are teaching. It's magic. And we got to teach four new investigators all about it this week. It's been such an adventure. 

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, I want to share a couple of my favorite passages that I read this week:

1 Nephi 14:14

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.

So. I just think the phrase, "...armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." sounds pretty awesome. It's a fantastic blessing that God gives to us when we choose to live worthy of such a blessing. And I can definitely testify that I've felt that power backing me up as I've been out here in Korea doing missionary work. It's a battle against the adversary... but Satan's got nothing on us because we've got God on our side. Nothing will stand in the way of the work of the Lord. 

1 Nephi 7:17-18

But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.
 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.
This set of scriptures really touched my heart this week because I've been praying for so many things and I've been receiving so many answers... just not the answer I prayed to receive. It was also neat because not only was this an answer to MY prayers, but to one of our investigator's prayers as well. Sometimes we pray for the strength to "burst the bands with which [we] are bound." And God hears our prayers... but sometimes, the answer comes by "the bands [being] loosed from off [our] hands and feet..." We often pray for one thing and our prayers are answered in a very different way. I guess this week I learned to start praying for the ability to recognize the answers when they come. 

3 Nephi 19:24

And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.

And then... there's this scripture. I really like that it just talks about how they didn't "multiply" their words; they said what they needed to say and they were directed by the spirit to pray for the things that they needed to pray for in order to find success. I also just liked the idea that prayer is a way of aligning our desires and will with the desire and will of our Heavenly Father. My favorite part is the line, "...and they were filled with desire." They were able to conquer their own desires in order to be filled with a desire to do and be what the Lord wanted them to do and become. And if you ask me, God always has a better plan than I do. I learn that every single day on my mission. My days never go the way we plan them to go-- I write in my planner more in whiteout than I do in pen. But that being said, my days always seem to go better than planned. It's been such a blessing. 

We had interviews with President Morrise this past week. Fun fact: President conducted the interviews at our homes. It was so much fun! We were beyond nervous (and I think that was just our womanly instinct coming out because we knew people were coming to our house so we cleaned like crazy!) but it ended up being my favorite interview so far since I've been out on the mission. We bought them ice cream and they ended up showing up with ice cream. So we all ate ice cream around a fold-out table and I had to use my bed (aka my floor mat) as a chair. It was awesome. 

 President told us how proud he was of us this week. We could definitely feel the truth in his words through the smile on his face and in his eyes. 

I'm proud of us too, actually. We're doing good work and having the time of our lives doing it. I can't seem to wipe the smile off my face. I love everyone and everything-- it's a side-effect of missionary work, I think.

I'm doing really, really, really well. 
I like doing this stuff, it's fun.


Sister CaLea Bagley

p.s. This week one of our investigators gave Sister Giles and I matching rain boots. Hers are pink and mine are red. I've always secretly wanted red rain boots. That was another miracle. Miracles are happening everywhere.