Well another week has come and passed (again) and I'm sitting here (just like every other Monday) feeling a wee-bit baffled by the fact that it is already time again to attempt to muster up a collection of words to share about the work we're doing here in Korea. I don't think words could ever actually be ENOUGH to fully express all that is occurring here in my beloved Korea, but you can't say "never" until you actually try, right? Now, where do I even start?
We got to go to the temple this week. I didn't realize how much I'd been stressing over everything until the moment I walked into the temple and felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I'm not sure how to even explain it other than that there was this instant "calm" that overcame me. Remember the story of Jesus calming the sea? That's what it felt like. I was worrying about lots of little things and He calmed the sea of worries and helped me to just BE. I don't know about you, but I think it always feels most peaceful after the storm. I realized as I was sitting inside the temple that the feeling of peace that I feel there is something that I can have ALL the time. Heavenly Father gives us the Gift of the Holy Ghost and invites us to live worthy of his constant companionship. As we consistently do the little things, the Spirit is able to abide with us always.
On our way to the temple this week, as Sister Brocious and I were sitting beside each other on the subway, this little old man (who was sitting a ways further down on the train) tried to start talking to us. He'd been mumbling a lot of indistinguishable words out loud throughout the duration on the train ride, so when he started to direct his words towards us, it took us a moment to recognize it. Now, in Korea, the subways are usually pretty quiet. It's strange to "make a ruckus" on the train when you're surrounded by so many other people. But this man didn't care. He just started shouting out, "HEY. Where do you come from?" At first we weren't sure if he was even talking to us, but when we examined the rest of the train and realized we were the only "foreigners" in the cab, and that at that point everyone else was staring at us too, we weren't entirely sure what to do. In order to respond to him, we'd have to shout back across the train. Because we didn't immediately respond to his first question (we were trying to feel out the situation and figure out what to do-- so we just smiled at him and nodded) he fired off another question, "Do you descend from the Vikings? Norway? Are you Vikings?" At that point, we just decided to give up our seats and go over to talk to him. He was probably one of the coolest people I've ever met. He had that entire conversation with us in English. At first, we kept responding back to him in Korean, but because he was persistent in trying to communicate via English, we eventually just switched over to the good ol' English language. This man only had one tooth and his eyes were turning gray because he was going blind, but as we talked with him he shared lots of thoughts about lots of different things going on in the world before proceeding to quote all of his favorite verses from the Bible in English. Little did he know, the beautiful verses he so perfectly recited were the words I needed to hear that day. We kind of just soaked in the moment. There was one particular instance where our discussion had kind of trailed off, and after a moment of silence between us, the old man just looked up at us and said, "You are good, good, good, good people. You are good women." I don't know why, but right at that moment his words meant so much to me. I think God uses moments like that in our every-day lives to remind us that He loves us. That little old man whose brown eyes were turning grey did a LOT for me on the subway ride. He doesn't even know it-- he probably never will. But I know, and I won't forget it.
Our ward here in Singal is on FIRE with missionary work. In the words of Elder Dadivas, our district leader, "Is it possible for a ward to be TOO on fire?" My answer? No! As the missionaries, we're just working hard to keep up with them and all the work they're doing. We count ourselves as the "finders" and the real missionary work is being done by the ward. For example, we hear news about our investigators and their lives through our ward members. I've never seen a ward that has been this good at fellow shipping less-active members, recent converts, and investigators. I am seriously so blown away by the the people here. If I ever grow up, I want to be just like them! They give so much and sacrifice so much to help the work in this area to keep pressing forward. It's such an honor to be serving with them.
Now, I have a funny experience to share from this past week! (Every time I think about it, I can't help but to start laughing.) So, we were sitting in sacrament meeting while the deacons were passing out the sacrament; the chapel was pretty quiet because everyone was using that time to review their week and to look for ways to be better for the next week-- when suddenly, one of our favorite grandpas in the ward (who was sitting on the opposite side of the chapel) shouted across the room, "Bay Que Ree! (my Korean name) Buh-row-show-suh! (what Sister Brocious' name sounds like in Korean) Good morning! Nice to meet you! Have a nice day!" (That was his absolute best attempt at greeting us in English...which was adorable, but not exactly at that moment) Now, the entire stake presidency attended our sacrament meeting this weekend... and as soon as grandpa man called out our names (and, like I said, the chapel was quiet because the sacrament was being administered so everyone there heard him shout out our names) I felt my cheeks start to burn red. We acknowledged him with a smile and a nod and then went back to trying to be reverent during the sacrament. (Obviously we just acknowledge grandpas screaming at us with smiles and nods...) At that point, we (and everyone else in the chapel) hear grandpa man start fiddling around with some sort of plastic wrapper in his bag before he chucked an open bag of candy across the ENTIRE chapel towards us. He had fantastic aim, it landed directly between us... but it was SO inappropriate for him to do that right in the middle of the sacrament meeting. (Which is why it was SO funny.) He ended up getting chewed out immediately afterwards by another grandpa who was sitting on the pew behind him. Needless to say, that was a very-- interesting sacrament meeting.
I don't think I've stopped laughing since I made it here to Shingal. It's a happy place. And it just keeps getting happier and happier as the weather keeps getting warmer. Oh, and guess what: I have officially been a missionary (collectively) for an entire year. I've never had a happier (or more difficult) year in my entire life. And it only gets better from here!
I hope everyone has had a wonderful week and I hope that you'll all make this next week even better.
Sister CaLea Bagley
p.s. companionship inventory this week went really.... bad.