Well my adventure came to an end.
My last transfer I was dreading coming home so much. Especially on the airplane. How was I supposed to leave this home? This place where I learned, grew and loved so much? I didn't want to see my family. I just wanted to be in Korea longer serving these amazing people.
But I couldn't control anything and had to face the fact that I was indeed going home. The plane ride was terrible. I slept for about an hour. Trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. It was a restless trip.
I landed in the Salt Lake airport and went to the bathroom to freshen up and also kill time. I was about to see my family. I headed towards the escalators and I saw people at the bottom. I turned around hoping I wouldn't have to go down and just stood in the terminal for a few seconds, but decided I needed to just get it over with. I went down the escalators and saw my family and friends. I immediately started crying and I couldn't handle it! This was actually happening! I dragged my heavy carry-on and ran towards my mom. It all went by so fast, but in a hot second I had hugged all of my family and friends. I WAS HOME. HOME. What?? The day I was picturing for so long on the mission and it was already here.
Now it was great to see my family, but being home kind of really sucks. Now I have to worry about real life. On the mission I only had one purpose. I only had to worry about other people. But now I have to worry about myself. School, work, money, dating, marriage, kids, family, etc.. And let me tell you. It sucks! There's not a day that goes by when I don't think about Korea. I miss the people. The food. Everything about it. I can't eat. Every time I take a bite of something I used to love, I felt nauseous. Life at home sucks. I guess it's slowly getting better, but my mission felt like it was a dream. Like it never happened and that makes me scared. What did I learn? Who did I become? How am I supposed to be the new me when I can't even remember what I did to reinvent myself? Do I continue on, being the person I was before? Or do I desperately try to recollect? To find the person I was on my mission?
Life is hard now. But I guess that's what Satan does to us. He tries to tear us apart when we are the weakest. Being a RM has it's perks, but it's also a time I really need to find myself. To discover who I want to be now after serving the Lord. I'm trying to be the best I can be. But sometimes it's hard not to go back to the bad habits I did before.
I guess right now I just have to endure to the end.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
I would tell anyone and everyone to serve a mission. It was by far the greatest thing I have ever done in my life and I don't know where I would be or who I would be without this experience.
Wow I cannot believe I go home this week. It doesn't feel like it and I think I'm in denial! Everyone keeps reminding me that I go home so soon. Like at district meeting they kept singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." and my Korean companion kept telling me I needed to cry.. (in English! and she's not good at English one bit) haha They think it's funny, but I definitely don't! haha after giving my goodbye testimony at church on Sunday, all the members told me to go home and get married.
I went on exchanges this last week too and met a LA that told me to go find a guy, catch him, hold on to him, don't let go and marry him. Haha the advice I get from members... One of the young women threw me a little goodbye party and started crying! I really hate that I have to leave these people! The members in Korea are amazing and so strong!
The other day we were on the bus and I started talking with this woman. Our stop was getting close so I tried to hurry and grab her number! I got one of the digits wrong so the lady was trying to fix it and I ended up missing the bus stop.. my companions were already off the bus.. Haha so I was riding solo. I got off the bus the next stop and RAN back to my companions. hahaha but at least I got the right number(:
Sunday night we had dinner together as a ward and watched "Meet the Mormons" together! They finally got the movie in Korean so it was really cool to watch it with them for the first time. While watching the movie I just looked around. Everyone was enjoying the movie. Laughing and having fun. I really do love that this church is like a giant family. No mater where you go, members will always be there to welcome you with open arms. These past few weeks have been really hard for me. My emotions have honestly been everywhere! But I actually haven't cried yet. Surprised? Me too. I really am in denial! haha anyway the feeling I have is like having a boyfriend/girlfriend breaking up with you. That feeling when your heart is just so hurt. I'm breaking up with Korea ㅠㅠ and it's the worst feeling ever.
My mission has been the best. I have learned so much and changed for the better! Before my mission I believed that the church was true. But now I KNOW that the church is true. I'm grateful for the amazing experiences that I've had on my mission.
It wasn't easy, but because I endured and kept having faith in Christ I was able to see the greater reward. I would tell anyone and everyone to serve a mission. It was by far the greatest thing I have ever done in my life and I don't know where I would be or who I would be without this experience.
This experience was available all because of our Savior. Without Him, there would be no reason to serve a mission. Only though Him can we be able to return to our Father in Heaven. Only through Him can we learn from our trials and tribulations. I love Him and I'm very grateful I was able to serve Him.
See you at my homecoming!
Sister April Johnson
Little bye bye party
Last district meeting
Monday, July 20, 2015
Wow it's so weird to think my brother is home now! And soon that will be me. I'm slightly freaking out. Okay actually freaking out a lot. My breathing problem actually started up again because of all the stress... haha but it's okay because our bishop is an oriental doctor and did some acupuncture stuff and made my body all leveled out again! It's actually super relaxing.
This week was a crazy one. One of my companions was sleep walking, but she had a dream she was drowning and couldn't scream out for help. My other companion and I woke up and thought she was either having a heart attack or was being possessed haha it was super freaky. But the next day she got a priesthood blessing and everything was so much better. We had to do the blessing outside of our apartment door because the elders can't come in our house.
Right next to our apartment there is a subway/train station and so it's always super loud and there's construction going on around the apartment too, but when the elder started the blessing, all the noise seemed to drown out and the spirit was so powerful.
My companion felt comfort and so did I. It's such a testimony builder to experience that. How could I ever marry someone that doesn't have that power and authority?!
Anyway, this week a bunch of random things went on. Emotions were flying all over the place, but I learned a lot. This past transfer I have been feeling really weird. Probably because I knew that this amazing experience is coming to a close. But this week I was able to go to the temple and really reflect on my mission.
I got guidance on how I needed to end my mission these last few weeks. I really just want to do my best and really see miracles work through me. I know that if I do my part, the Lord will do the rest. I'm very lucky to get to go to the temple one last time right before I leave Korea.
Get some more inspiration and guidance before I get back into real life.
Above. I'm from UTHA.
I just really like this picture of my brother.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
So I don't know if any of you remember, or if any of you actually read my emails... But when I was in Gok ban jeong, we had this one investigator that was progressing super well! We met her because her sister referred her to us! Anyway, she was a miracle investigator and she gave herself commitments and came to church every week, but now she's been busy with her kid's school, family and other stuff so she hasn't progressed a lot. BUT in the area I'm at now, is where her sister lives! She's a member and somewhat less active, but I went to visit her the other day and they are like identical twins! It made me really miss that investigator, but I'm just really excited to work with this member as well! It's a cool little circle!
We have a recent convert in our ward that we've been working with too! She met the missionaries at temple square! She went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for the first time this week and we're helping her prepare to get her patriarchal blessing! It's super awesome to be here helping her strengthen her faith and see this huge progression(:
Then at zone conference we have this thing where the missionaries who are dying (ending their mission) have to bear their last testimony in front of the zone. My entire mission I have been dreading this day. I remember when I first got to country, I watched an older missionary give their "last talk" and I remember thinking to myself, "I'm really glad I don't have to do this for a loooooong time." One, because I hate speaking with a passion. And two, because I would have NO idea what to share with these other missionaries.
So when I was told I was gonna have to do my last talk, I had no idea what to say. So many things had happened on my mission, but nothing was coming to mind. I narrowed it down to how much I have learned and changed on my mission. For the better of course! But I truly have grown in so many ways. Ways I didn't even know I could grow! So because I had moved to a new zone for my last transfer, I basically had to introduce myself and then give my last talk. It was literally like, "hi, but bye!" Anyway, it just makes me so excited to give my homecoming talk... not.
This Sunday we had the Korean Seventy come to our ward. 최윤환 장로님. He's like a celebrity in the church all throughout Korea. Anyway, the ward I'm serving in used to be his homeward so he came and spoke and gave lots of amazing wisdom. The ward clerk made me coordinate a musical number for this special visit so the Elders of Geum chun 1 and 2 ward sang with Sister Matamata and I. 8 guys and 2 girls. They totally drowned out our voices, but the musical number was beautiful!
I found a Korean version of "brightly beams" and had my other comp, Sister Bae play the violin. Korea doesn't have a lot of the hymns we have in English, so it was quite the treat!
Anyway, I'm currently sweating up a storm here. It's been ridiculously hot. There's no point in even showering anymore because I just get soaked by the end of the day with sweat. YUM. And it's also typhoon season so it's been raining nonstop. But that makes it worse because then I can't tell if I'm wet from sweat or the rain.. Korea problems.. haha
Have a great week!
Sister April Johnson
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
In her prayer she said something like, I'm meeting with the missionaries and they say they are teaching the truth. I feel like they are right."
Nothing too special happened this week! My Korean comp, Sister Bae hurt her knee a few months ago and it was settled that she rest for two weeks at our apartment. So when we have appointments with investigators, ward members will come to our house and stay with Sister Bae as her companion while Sister Matamata and I go and teach! It's a lucky thing we're in a threesome or else I don't know how teaching investigators would have worked out!
It's definitely a little stressful trying to plan around our companion with the hurt leg, but we're working through it! Being in a threesome is still super fun though and I don't think I've laughed so much in my life! Having three countries combined together was the best idea ever!
So one of the appointments that we did have this week was our cute high school girl! Our mission has been really focusing to work with the younger generation: students. We found her on the street and she is absolutely GOLDEN. Sister Matamata and I really connected with her and taught her the Restoration and also invited her to be baptized as she comes to know these things to be true.
She didn't know what baptism was (she doesn't have a Christian background) so we quickly taught her about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost! She said she would think about baptism, but that's okay because we just barely taught her what it was! But with all the questions we asked her, she answered so correctly!
She said the Restoration seems to sound like it's all in order and that it makes sense. She understood everything so clearly even with our very insufficient Korean! haha She also said the closing prayer to the lesson and in her prayer she said something like, "I'm meeting with the missionaries and they say they are teaching the truth. I feel like they are right." The spirit was so strong and Sister Matamata and I ran home to tell Sister Bae everything that happened! We have a prepared young women here(:
This week I was told I looked like I was in middle school. I also discovered that German isn't that hard. And I think I've probably sweated the amount of a swimming pool. The humidity here is insane!!! I don't think my hair has been normal once.
Hope everyone's 4th of July was great!
Sister April Johnson
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
We're a three nation companionship and we might be having too much fun.. They are really hard workers and amazing missionaries!
Saying goodbye to Gang nam was really sad, but it happens! We handed off our investigators really well to the Elders and I pray that they'll take good care of them. I know they will(: Coming to my new area has been great! The area is still Seoul, but an older city. Definitely different from Gangnam that's for sure! The area is great and we have quite a few investigators! I came into a hopping area. My companions are awesome. Sister Matamata and 배준심 (Baejunshim)!
They are hoots from New Zealand and Korea! We're a three nation companionship and we might be having too much fun.. They are really hard workers and amazing missionaries! I'm glad I can end my mission with them. We call ourselves the Powerpuff Girls. I don't really know why though..
In my new ward, we have English, Chinese and German classes that are offered for free! One of the Elders in my district is German. And let me tell you. Those languages are so hard! I thought Korean was hard, but when I tried learning Chinese and German, I realized that Korean isn't so bad.. I should be happy I'm learning Korean! hahaha my Korean comp even said that English is so easy now compared to those other languages.
I guess I'll let you in on a little secret.. I've never gone door to door proselyting on my mission! So this week I went with my companions for the first time! I like it! None of my other companions liked it so we always did different types of proselyting. We did a few floors of a big apartment when the guard came and kicked us out.. Sad.. All of those souls that could have been saved, but now cannot because of that guard..
We also met with this investigator that is a secret 전도사 (proselyter) we ended up dropping her because she would not stop talking about her church! Anyway, I was saying the closing prayer and she kept saying "amen" to every single sentence I said! At the end of the prayer, I couldn't help it but laugh so hard!
I couldn't hurt the investigators feelings so I tried to sublty turn my laughing into a coughing. Sly, right? After our investigator left, my companions and I laughed for a good half hour. I don't think I've ever laughed this hard in my life! My companions are great!
Lots of other things happened, but we're going to a bathhouse today so I gotta go!
I like this area. I like this ward. I like my companions!
Have a great week!
Sister April Johnson
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
We called him back and he told us that he's shutting our area down. WHAT?!? Sister Northridge and I started bawling.
Get ready for this email! It's worth the read!
So this past transfer I have been really praying to have at least one baptism before I go home. I had never done this before because I thought praying to have baptisms was a bit selfish. Missionary work isn't all about how many baptisms you get. But then I really thought about it and realized that I was being selfish not to be asking for baptisms! I realized that our goal is to find those prepared to accept the restored gospel and asking for baptisms isn't a selfish thing. I reopened this area with pretty much nothing and it stayed that way for three transfers. We have been working really hard here in Gang nam! Then this last week, all our hard work paid off! We were finally seeing these incredible results! This week we picked up THREE investigators and were actually able to have really good stats! These investigators have a lot of potential and I had such a good feeling about them. We felt sooo blessed this week and we knew that it was finally time to really harvest the field.
One of our investigators is a Jehovah's Witness we met on the street. He originally wanted to meet with one of our members to try and convert her to his church. She invited us to their meeting and we went prepared with everything -- our quads in English, PMG, every pamphlet we had, Korean bibles, BOM, etc. We were ready to do some bible bashing with this guy! We went to the appointment and he was actually really nice. He gave us his little introduction and told us how JW's don't go to the army.
Now in Korea, every male has to spend two years in the army. If they don't, they go to jail. So he told us that in their church they don't believe in killing people so they'd rather go to jail than serve time in the army! (It's how they hook people to join the church) Anyway, after two hours of talking with each other we decided to meet once a week so we can learn more about each other's churches. We're planning on converting him for sure. Haha the thing is, we had to stay after the appointment and talk with the member that came, because she was totally buying what the JW guy had to say! She said that if his church was better, she was going to join his! Uhh NO. So we had to talk her out of it and remind her why she joined our church in the first place. Haha anyway, so he's not really a golden investigator, but he's willing to find out for himself!
Our next two investigators are in their mid 20's. One we found from a referral and the other found us through our English website. They are both AWESOME. They are willing to learn about the gospel and I have such a good feeling about them! We are so excited about them and I'm really glad I started praying for baptisms! haha why didn't I do this earlier?!?!
We even met with a former investigator and he's in his 70's. He reads the BOM a lot and he really likes it! He thinks it's just like the bible so he loves reading it! The thing is, he's very content with his church and he's a little old so he might not be all there.. But we'll continue to visit him and help him feel the Spirit when we visit. Letting him know that this really is the true church! We also tried to visit a less active that owns a laundromat. So Sister Northridge and I purposely went to her laundromat and dry-cleaned a dress. That made us have a reason to come back to pick it up and see her again! We were able to talk with her a bit and give her a conference talk(: ALSO I got to see Angel! She's the girl that got her mission call to my mission!!! She came to Korea with her mom to visit for a month and of course we had to meet! It was so good seeing her and when I go home, I'll continue to be able to help her as she prepares for the mission!
We got a new ward mission leader. I can already tell he's gonna be a great one! We gave him our progress record and saw all the work that we had going on! It hasn't looked like that in a long time.. Haha but he's very excited for us! I know he'll work hard to actually get members to participate in missionary work!
So all these amazing things are happening and we get home on Saturday night with two missed calls from President Morrise. It's usually never a good thing when he calls you. So we knew something was up. We called him back and he told us that he's shutting our area down. WHAT?!? Sister Northridge and I started bawling.
We finally see some great investigators and now he's closing our area?! We couldn't understand. Especially when I only have one transfer left! There just aren't enough sister missionaries coming in to keep our area open. We are devastated. I thought I was going to die in this area, but that all changed! We've been busy with appointments saying goodbye to investigators and ward members. Our poor investigators we picked up. Hopefully the Elders will take good care of them. Our new ward mission leader is also really sad we're leaving haha.
My new area is 금천 Geum cheun. I don't know how to romanize it haha I will be in a threesome with two relatively new missionaries! I will have to greenie break one of them (transfer right after being trained--like second training) and the other one just got greenie broken! They're in their 3 and 4 transfer in country. Should be fun! One is Korean and the other one is from Australia! I don't know them very well since they're new, but I will get to know them! I'm just sad I'll have to say hello to this new ward and basically say goodbye soon after! Only 6 weeks in this last area.
I'm just worried I won't get to know the members or investigators well enough before I go home.. But I'm okay! Missionary work is all about curve balls and doing whatever the Lord wants you to do. I'm ready! This was supposed to happen for a reason and I guess I'll soon find out! I'm also sad because I'm closing 2 out of the 3 areas that I've had :( Closing sucks. Saying goodbye forever to sister missionaries... At least they're not gonna close my new area for sure! I would cry if they did!
Have a great week! Ours was surely hectic, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
Sister April Johnson
Pics: We spent the day with our investigator at Olympic park! She's the one that's going to BYU soon (:
The Elders are taking all our food.