So, in Korea, people always seem to like comparing the way I look to various celebrities. And it's actually really hysterical because the people they always feel the need to compare me to are the people I'd never actually get compared to in America. I have started to keep track of it just because I find it so humorous... this week I was told I look like Emma Watson and Kristen Stewart. At the ward Christmas party I was told by a small group of people that I should seriously consider becoming a movie star when I go back to America... So there's that.
It's interesting to me to be in a set of circumstances where I am nine months into my mission and yet just a week and a half ago I was sitting at home in Utah with my family. I feel like all the personal experiences I share during lessons begin with, "When I had to go home..." and end with, "God wants to help us achieve the things we want." Every time I share little bits and pieces of that experience, I end up thinking about just how incredible this has all been. Yes, going home was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Yes, my heart ached and hurt and I really disliked having to deal with that. But you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world.
God created a plan of happiness for all of us-- but more specifically, He created a plan of happiness for each of us. I'm constantly baffled and confused by the unexpected twists and turns that show up in my own path of life, but eventually I come to understand how it influenced my life for the better and why it needed to happen. Yes, of course, there are things that happen that I don't understand... but when that happens, I am just reminded that we don't have to have a complete understanding of all that is occurring, we merely need to have faith and trust that God is aligning the pieces of our lives and preparing the way to our best chance at happiness.
This week was full of little miracles. We woke up one morning and realized that one of our ward members signed up to allow us to go to her home and teach her a twenty minute practice lesson. But the problem was, when we checked the list to figure out where we needed to go, we couldn't seem to locate her member record. We were frantic! The only thing we knew was that she lived in a specific part of our area that would require us to travel by bus for over an hour. We had no means of contacting her because all we had was a name-- and no one seemed to know who she was. We had no idea what to do. So, in the end, we just decided to travel out to that area and hope that we'd somehow manage to find our way there. After a long series of events, a couple of phone calls, and a whole bunch of buses/running, we found ourselves sitting on the living room floor of the sweetest old woman who had prepared the sweetest little (okay, it was actually really big) lunch for us. She and I are best friends now, FYI. (She tells everyone that I'm "so skinny" because I'm a soccer player and really good at staying active. haha.) I'm not entirely sure if I can even accurately relay the order of events that happened before we were sitting in her living room, but I can honestly say that it was an absolute miracle that we found our way there. And spending time with that darling woman was a real pleasure.
Another fun fact: I'm also best friends with the six-year-old daughter of a professional basketball player here in Korea. Their family is a miracle in and of itself! So... they went on a two-week trip to Hawaii and ended up getting baptized there before returning to Korea and becoming the newest members of our ward! (Both of the parents as well as the twelve-year old daughter got baptized. The daughter and the mother got confirmed on Sunday!) So we are now putting a lot of focus on teaching them all of the new-member lessons and working with their family to ensure that their transition into the ward goes as smoothly as possible. This ward is really, really, exceptionally awesome though. It is an honor to be serving here.
Well, with Christmas this week, I just wanted to take a moment to share my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. And I know that His greatest desire is for us to be happy. He knows what it takes to obtain the purest form of happiness and so He has prepared a way for us, has directed us, and continues to direct us through revelation and through modern-day prophets. I know that He suffered not just for mankind, but for you and I, each of us, personally. He knows my burdens and He carries them with me while offering a hope for better things to come. Everything that I am and everything I hope to become I owe to Him and all that He has done for me. So, this beautiful, wonderful Christmas season, the gift I want to give back to Him is a willing heart and a promise to always strive to become better through loving and supporting others.
I know that this gospel is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and I'll sing it from the rooftops of Korea if I have to! WE are the message. As we come to know our Savior, His light and love will shine through our eyes and touch the hearts of others who are looking for the truth.
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:" Ephesians 5:8
I'm grateful for my own little Christmas miracle. I'm grateful to spend a Christmas in Korea doing exactly what the Savior spent His life doing. Missionary work the the greatest thing ever.
I wish all of you lovelies a very Merry Christmas! Don't forget how loved you are by a little sister missionary all the way over in Korea!
Love, love, love,
(The happiest) Sister CaLea Bagley