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.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Cancellations because of MERS were up the wall this week. Luckily we were still able to meet with some people! We've had questions like, "how many people have you met with in this past week?" "Have you ever met anyone with MERS?" Well if I did meet someone with MERS, I definitely would not be calling anyone to make appointments! I would be quarantined! Haha some people are really freaked out because of it!
We contacted this former investigator and asked her if she wanted to meet. Instead, she told us she was being stalked big time and that she needed us to help her. Why do we always meet people with the strangest problems? I mean that's awesome that she was asking for our help, but how are we supposed to help a girl that is getting stalked..? She's hiding out in a hotel and everything.. Any ideas?
We ran into an American family that are members on Gang nam Dae ro and they were on their way to dinner! We hadn't eaten dinner that night for some reason and they invited us to join them! We gladly accepted and ate the best burgers in the world! Okay maybe just Korea, but I don't remember the last time I ate that. It was magical. The best part though is that we were able to share a wonderful message and really bond with this family! I think it's awesome how members around the world, no matter who you are, are all a giant family. If you're a member, you're automatically bonded in that way. The church is awesome!
We met with an investigator this week and for some reason, every time we go over to her house, her other church friend shows up. EVERY TIME. So it's hard to start up gospel discussions. Her church friend is the one that takes her to church every week. That church friend is not the nicest person I met. She always finds some kind of way to criticize me in her nice but slightly evil way. If I wasn't a missionary she'd be sooo nice! But she scares me. Haha we're hoping to meet with our investigator and do gospel FIRST before her church friend shows up. Or maybe our investigator invites her church friend on purpose?! As I'm typing about the story I realize it doesn't really sound like a big deal. But if you were there, you'd definitely feel the hate vibes in the air! It's sad..
I also realize I don't really have good stories to share this week so I'm kind of just rambling on. But it was a WONDERFUL week nonetheless! I went on exchanges and slept in our STL's fort they made with their yo's (sleeping pad), I watched the District with my companion for part of her training and I really LOVE this work!
Being on a mission in Korea may be completely different from serving in California, but we're all working towards the same goal and I love that! I know I'm here to help people find Christ and I truly am doing that! MISSIONARY LIFE IS COOL.
Have a great week!
Pray for me and my comp so we don't get MERS!
Sister April Johnson
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Masks for MERS. Can't get it as a missionary! Which sucks cause we talk to so many people and go out and about...
I don't know if people have heard, but recently there is this virus called MERS that is currently in Korea. It started from a camel in the middle east? Not quite sure if that's true, but apparently it's a big deal. Schools are canceling for days, people no longer want to meet us, and our ward party that we planned so hard for got cancelled. So yes, MERS sucks. There's a hospital in my area where one of the doctors didn't know she had MERS and she had treated 10,000 people that day! The disease is gonna spread like wildfire. So pray for all the missionaries in Korea!
BUT Sister Northridge and I had the great idea of a new baptizing tactic! She's had a cough lately and so we decided she has MERS. Our tactic is great! We're going to go to a big business building and have Sister Northridge cough on everyone we see. Then they'll quarantine the whole building and they'll have nothing else to do but listen to our message! Genius, right? We thought so too.
We met with a girl named Sunny this week. We found her old record in our area book and decided to give her a call. It turns out that she studied in Utah for 10 months and her homestay family was Mormon! The dad was even the ward bishop(: We then found out that she's going to BYU in the fall! Just a few days after I get home! SO we basically became best friends and have plans to meet up in Utah. Until then, she's just killing time and having fun at home. So it's my job to meet her often and get her interested in the gospel! She already knows so much and she's going to BYU! Is this not perfect or what? Even if I can't help her now as a missionary, I can still work my best and help her back in good ole Utah! I have a good feeling about this!
We had interviews with our mission president this week and we had to discuss one of the Christ-like attributes we were working on. I chose patience. Throughout my mission I've had really hard times, as everyone does, but without patience I don't know what I would have done! I probably would have been long gone by now! But whenever I remember why I came on a mission and focus my thoughts on what my Savior would do, I was able to overcome and conquer! Of course I'm not nearly perfect with patience, but I know it's one attribute that I will always strive to have.
There's a quote that I love. I don't think I can quote it right but I'll give it a try.
"We all have our own little Gethsemanes in life, but only then will we understand what the Savior has truly done for us." Ahh yeah I definitely butchered that. But you get the point! Through my little trials in life, I truly have become to really understand what He did for me.
Anyway, running out of time! I love you all! Please pray for me so I won't get MERS!
p.s. only TWO more months?!?!?! I'm freaking out!
Have a MERS-free week!
Sister April Johnson
Eating southern Korean food with my parents mission friend!
Masks for MERS. Can't get it as a missionary! Which sucks cause we talk to so many people and go out and about...
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
We had a combined mission conference with Seoul South and the Seoul Mission. The Seoul BEST missions!
So one of the Elder's dad in my district was companions with my dad back in the day! Just wanted to share that!
Buddha's actual birthday was this past week. We went to go check it out. So many people with beautiful lanterns! That's my kind of birthday(: haha
We had an appointment with our one investigator this week and we were running late for the appointment because we still had to print off the English lessons. We got to the church and the printer was jammed! I tried for so long trying to get it to work, but gave up because we weren't going to make it for the appointment. So we go to the appointment without the English lessons.
I was praying that somehow it'd be okay that we didn't have papers to teach with. When we got to the lesson, our investigator tells us that she won't be able to study English today because two of her baby grandsons were there so it was chaotic! BLESSED! Satan didn't want us to have a good lesson, but Heavenly Father helped us out and sent the grandsons over. Haha kind of a weird miracle. But I was stressed a lot. So it was HUGE for me!
I started teaching Sister Northridge the piano. We'll see how long that lasts! All I know is that I'm never teaching someone piano again! It's wayyyy to hard! Especially when you're not all that great at piano yourself!
Has anyone seen the" David Archuleta: Called to Serve" DVD?? Well if not, go find it right now! I'm totally in the video from when he came to the MTC. I'm like smack-dab in the middle. I look like I'm bored out of my mind. I don't know why they chose to put me on the DVD. But maybe this just means we're meant to be and I'm gonna go home and marry him, right? That was fun news this week!
We had a combined mission conference with Seoul South and the Seoul Mission. The Seoul BEST missions! It was great seeing everyone for the last time! Elder Ringwood and Maynes from the 70 came to speak. I learned a lot and actually found one of the things really interesting. Elder Maynes compared Joseph Smith to an investigator. Someone who was seeking the truth. He then said that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ were the first missionaries in this last dispensation and we as missionaries now are just following in Their footsteps! I had never thought of it that way, but we truly are doing Their work as missionaries(:
The Bongchun sisters put together a musical night type thing at their ward and invited us to participate! We put together a great dance. Wearing wigs, cat shirts, grandma pants and sockssss. The crowd loved it! We put it together really fast. And knowing me, I can't dance. But it was a good time and that's all that matters!
We also had ward conference this week! Out of the blue, my trainer Kim Yoon Ha was there! It surprised me so much! She was at our church with her whole family. One of her brothers is dating one of our members so they came to church to meet each other's families! Anyway that's not the point. The point is, that my trainer's parents served with my dad back in the day as well! And so Kim Yoon Ha's dad literally called my dad while I was standing right there wanting him to talk with me!!! NOOOOOO. Haha luckily everyone kept saying that was a bad idea and I didged that one!
It was a crazy week. It was so busy and full of things that we didn't have a lot of appointments and we also dropped our investigators... So hopefully next week I'll have more spiritually uplifting stories!
Have a great one!
Sister April Johnson
Me being bored on David Archuleta's video.
Our dance.. someone stole my red afro :(My trainer!!! The grandma, mom and granddaughter photo(:
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
I became really close with her and helped her through the mission paper process! Guess where she's going on her mission?!
So many things to share this week! I'll start with the biggest news!
In September, when I was in Gok ban jeong the BYU students came to our ward. They stayed for a semester attending a university in Korea. One of the first few nights of meeting them, Angel came up to me and said she decided that night to serve a mission because of our influence on her! I became really close with her and helped her through the mission paper process! She finally got her papers in and guess where she's going on her mission?! KOREA SEOUL SOUTH MISSION!
Haha seriously though what are the chances?! I hope she goes back to Gok ban jeong ward as a missionary. The members would go crazy to see her as a missionary! She enters the MTC in October, so I'll already be home by then, but I'll get to see her a lot before she leaves on her mission and sit front row at her farewell! She was in Korea when she decided to go on a mission, and she's coming to that same mission she was at! Ughh words. English never sounds right to me anymore.
I have a fan girl! At English class this past week, there was a member from the Seoul mission just visiting. She saw me and told me that she knew my name! Haha turns out she's a fan of mine! She said she watched the video of me opening my mission call on youtube! She pulled it up on her phone and showed it to me. Yup, it was definitely me. As I talked to her more, she told me that she had seen the video over a year ago!
She would constantly show that video to ask other missionaries if they knew me from the MTC. Haha she had been waiting over a year to meet me! She saw me at the BYU wind symphony concert and was so shocked to see that it was actually me! I think she found out I was serving in Gang nam and so she came to actually meet me. She's super cool and some people would think that story was kind of creepy, but it's sweet! My one fan probably got me a lot of views on my youtube page(;
So last week actually wasn't Buddha's birthday. People kept telling us the wrong dates for some reason! TODAY is actually his birthday. The area is going to be so crowded and awesome for proselyting! And casually looking at the lanterns while doing it.. haha last pday we went to Gok ban jeong and I was really sad! reminiscing about the good times and I realized that if I was this sad about an area and I was still in Korea, how much more sad (English..) would I be when I leave Korea?!
We tried a service project this week! We stole the Elder's trash tongs and went to work! I had Sister Northridge pick a street on our map and we headed out! We started picking up trash for about an hour and we had a TON of success. It was mostly all because of Sister Northridge. People were shocked to see a white person picking up trash in THEIR country! They kept coming up to her and asking her what she was doing! Of course no one gave me a second glance cause I'm Korean. Cool. But we gave out our number a lot and we might have some investigator potential!
Anyway, we picked up so much trash during that hour. It's sad how there's so much liter in Korea! It's because there are no garbage cans to put trash in! Our trash bags were full by the end. Most of it was cigarettes too! Sometimes when there were other people around, I'd emphasize that I was picking up their cigarette buds and now maybe they'll feel bad about littering their smokies!
We met with our investigator this week and I asked her, "Have you ever thought about why there are so many churches on the earth today?" and she said "Yes! Because God is busy!" Hahaha I think that was the best answer I've ever heard.
Also, one of the Gang nam members is dating my trainer's brother. So this week we asked our member if we could do a practice lesson with her and we set a time to meet. We go to the appointment and her boyfriend shows up. We were totally crashing a date! We ate yummy food and even got dessert at the end. I've never been on a date as a missionary, so that was a first! haha missionary life..
Anyway, random stuff this week. Like always.
Have a great one!
Sister April Johnson
Picking up trash
Sticker boarding on Gang nam Dae ro!
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
We ate "fire ramen" this week! And seriously. The name perfectly explains the taste! IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER. It wasn't a hot taste. It was a spicy taste. If that makes any sense. We would eat it and then feel like our mouth was on fire. Drinking anything did not help. The only thing that helped was to keep eating the stuff! Haha adventures. Plus we had the bright idea that 7up would be a good drink to go with it. WRONG. The carbonation would just come back up and bring all the heat with it. Haha we're smart.
We got to go to the BYU Wind Symphony this past week! They had a couple concerts in Korea and so we were allowed to go to the Seoul Mission with our investigators. We had an investigator and a less active come with! It was probably one of the most craziest, but fun nights ever. We were running around trying to find tickets and seating and finding our investigator and things like that.
On top of that, we got to see a ton of the Seoul missionaries so I got to see all of my old MTC friends(: ALSO I ran into An seong members and Gok ban jeong members! YAY! My favorite family of all time was there too! They were in An seong but recently moved to the Seoul mission so I knew I was never going to see them again. But low and behold they were at the symphony too! It was a great day(: I saw one of the daughters and ran and hugged her when she wasn't looking! We both cried.. I'm such a cry baby!
Then we had a crazy Friday. We actually picked up an investigator! We're going to do the family English program with her and so that will be good! She met missionaries 10 years ago, but recently referred herself so we could start that program again! I hope there is lots of potential with her(: Right after that lesson, we got a phone call from a former investigator. We met right away and she started asking us about the Book of Mormon. (She thinks we're all Indians because the Lamanites were cursed with dark skin) But it was a good 갑자기(all of a sudden) lesson! She wanted to meet again around dinner time so we had some time to kill.
We decided to go to the Buddhist temple nearby to look around and "proselyte" (I put that in quotations cause we're not supposed to proselyte at other church's areas... bad missionary) ANYWAY. It's Buddha's birthday soon so there were lots of decorations and lanterns. Super pretty.
We ran into some members visiting from Utah and started talking to them when an older guy comes up and asks if we were Mormons. He then continues by coming really close to my face reciting scriptures in English. I swear I was having flashbacks from the last time this happened with that lady!
I was definitely getting creepy vibes. That's when a worker called us over. I thought we were gonna get in trouble cause we're missionaries of a different faith at a Buddhist temple. Turns out that she just saw the whole situation and wanted to save us from the creepy man! She told us that we shouldn't talk to strangers... Uhh.. Little does she know that that's what we do as missionaries though... haha there were more crazy things that happened that day, but I'm running out of time.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a great week and I hope you all have another one!
Sister April Johnson
Monday, May 11, 2015
Okay last email I said it was my brother's 21 birthday. I lied. He's only 20... HAHA TYPO! But on the plus side! His Bells Palsy is almost perfectly healed!!!! YAY!
So to explain the title of my email.. WE ATE DOG THIS WEEK! And it was actually pretty good! The only part that really freaked me out was the fat. Just cause I knew it was dog fat, it was really hard for me to get down. Haha I'm on a mission in Korea. I had to eat dog at least once! Probably won't have it again though.. Those poor doggies..
Last week I ended my email pretty abruptly. We had a member bring his grandchildren to the church for a brief discussion. First of all, the grandchildren thought they were gonna have a fun day with the gramps! Until they got out of the car and realized they were at our church. He opened up 1 Nephi 14 with them (about abominable churches and stuff) and they just sat quietly while he scolded them for going to the wrong church. It was pretty... awkward. But he is such a good member!
He has such a strong testimony and he just wants to share it with his loved ones. Maybe not the right way to approach it though.. Haha it's okay though. We cleared all the awkwardness up and gave them pamphlets about our church in case they ever wanted to learn more!
We also went to the temple this week! We haven't been since the beginning of last transfer and the end of this transfer so the last time we went was in February! TOO LONG. But it was amazing as always. The spirit you feel there is comparable to none other. I'm so privileged to be able to attend the temple as a missionary!
We have an investigator that never actually wants to meet with us. So we just do our lessons with her over the phone. Last time we committed her to read the Book of Mormon and we asked her if she had read it, but she hadn't because she had been on "prayer mountain" for 10 days. She's had a really hard past and has big trauma from her ex-husband who was a pastor. She has a hard time trusting organized religions because of the pastors. She can't trust their "angelic" image. Luckily for her, our church doesn't have pastors! Haha I told her that and she was pretty shocked! Just more the reason to start coming to our church, right?
Anyway, she's been focusing on trying to get the bad spirits our of her on that prayer mountain. The priests there have been trying to cast out the devil inside of her... So as we were on the phone, I told her to maybe focus more on God. That as she focuses on Him, Satan won't be able to haunt her as easily. He becomes blocked as that belief and faith in God takes over! I told her that if she focused on the bad spirits and trying to cast them out, it just makes her concentrate on the bad. But if she focuses on God, then they'll just be automatically blocked out! You know...? Smart, right? haha I tried really hard to get her to come to church, but maybe next time I'll get her!
In zone training this month, we learned about diligence and obedience. What's the difference? Diligence is doing something because you DESIRE to do it. Obedience is doing something because you HAVE to do it. As missionaries, we have a saying "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles." But our mission president has changed it to "Obedience brings blessings, diligence brings miracles.”
I need to work on being a more diligent missionary and working my hardest! Not just do thing just because I have to. It was actually a great training for me because I have been in a slump lately. I feel like missionary work is just numb. But now I know how to change! How to become a better missionary. I just need to be diligent and do it cause I want to(:
Sister April Johnson
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
I knew that even though I felt like a bad missionary for not having much success in this area, I knew that I was still doing an okay job
First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BROTHER! He's turning 20! Also, he just got Bell’s Palsy and so his face is half paralyzed. Pray for him!
On Monday it was still my birthday in America and so we went hiking with some members and the district! We also had a picnic and had a feast! Then we went to the Han River and went bike riding with some awesome sisters! I also got to see the 63 three tower. I don't have pics of it cause my camera is broken but it's cool for three reasons. One: it used to be the tallest building in Korea. Two: apparently it's on the new Avengers movie! Three: it's where my dad proposed to my mom! Super sweet, right?!
Ran into a Gok ban jeong (my last area) member on the subway the other day. She was heading to the temple! I almost cried when I saw her! It's crazy how much these members have truly impacted my life!
Anyway, lately I have been feeling like a bad trainer! Gang nam isn't the easiest place to do missionary work.. No investigators, not many member appointments, and no one actually lives in Gang nam. They all just come to shop and sight see. So I've been feeling pretty lame lately- a bad missionary, not having a lot of teaching practice for Sister Northridge. I've been pretty hard on myself, but at 12 week followup (a meeting for trainers and their trainees) they have the greenies bare their testimonies about something they learned in Korea that past month. One sister's testimony really hit me. She said that all missionaries were amazing. Why? Cause they are all here to serve Him. As simple as that. But as she said it, I knew that even though I felt like a bad missionary for not having much success in this area, I knew that I was still doing an okay job because at least I'm out here trying to serve Him. I made that sacrifice in my life to truly share the gospel.
Anyway, lots of crazy things just happened so my mind is all over the place. We just had a member bring his high school grandkids to the church and tell them that their church isn't true and that they needed to repent and join the true church. So... gotta go and help figure out that one... BYE! Have a great week!
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Thank you for the birthday wishes! Yesterday was by far the best birthday ever! Guess how I spent it?? By going to church!!! Haha I guess technically it's still my birthday in America right now, sooooo keep the birthday wishes coming! Sorry I'm so selfish.. My comp is the greatest! She decorated my room like crazy for my birthday! We went to church, got some great phone calls and texts for my birthday, received TWO cakes <-- 돼지...(pig), got presents, AND I got to call my trainer Kim Yoon Ha! Her brother randomly came to Gang nam ward and gave his phone to me so we could talk! I definitely bawled my eyes out. It really was the best birthday ever! Sister Northridge would not stop singing "22" by Taylor Swift. I am not feeling 22. But thank you for the birthday wishes!!!
This week was CRAZY. Let me share a few of our days.
Ran into a LA ( Less active ) at the grocery store. He saw us and came up and said he moved in the area four months ago and he's been meaning to come to church, but he has to work at that store all the time. At least we know where he is so we can send the Elders to hunt him down!
Went to dinner with a pretty wealthy lady. She comes to our English class and we helped her with some of her English homework so she took us out! She picked us up in her fancy Mercedes and took us to a tradition Korean restaurant. While we were eating, she would not stop talking about her real diamonds/pearls that she wore just for us, she kept talking about every single country she's ever been to, etc.. It was sooo funny spending that meal with her! She's a sweetheart, but I think money got to her head.. It just makes me more aware of how I present myself. But it was way nice to be treated to something special.. #GANG NAM
Then at English class, we taught the Elder's recent converts and I asked them what their favorite food was. He said, "My favorite food is rice." "Why?" "Because I like rice." HAHA. I died.
We tried to find an inactive member to see if she still lived there. Her address was in the mountain... So we went hiking! Hike 전도! (proselyting) We actually found great success doing it. Everyone that hikes is always soooo nice! We gave out our number to two people. One of them was kind of strange. She came really close to us and whispered creepily in our ears the bible scriptures she was memorizing in English. When I gave her our card, I knew it could be really great, or kind of interesting.. Turned out to be the latter.
That creepy lady called. The very first thing she told me was that I was going to go to 지옥 (hell) if I don't stop going to this church.. She then continued to recite scriptures in the bible and bashing on our church. How she went on the church website and just said it wasn't right. That our prophet wasn't true, that because we didn't have a preacher it wasn't right. She kept saying over and over that I was going to go to 지옥! She then starting bashing on the Book of Mormon and I was pretty upset by then. So I just asked her a question. I said, "Sister, have you ever read the Book of Mormon?" She said no, so then I said, "Then how do you know it's not true??" She had no reply. She avoided the question and just kept saying that her church was true. Haha she considers herself a Christian, but would the Savior bash on other people's beliefs? I don't think so! I was upset so I just said thank you and have a nice day! And hung up.
We then went down to another area, because a sister missionary was able to contact on our LA!
She literally had disappeared for a year. We heard that she had gone to Germany, but finally someone had found her! So we met with her and it was a miracle!
While we were at that appointment, I got a phone call from someone. She said she met us yesterday and so I thought it was one of the grandmas we had talked to. She said she had a favor for us so we scheduled an appointment at 3. We were a little late because we were traveling far, but when we got there, I called and she said she was at exit 1. We get there and I couldn't see the grandma anywhere! She then calls us back and said she left. She left! WHAT? She couldn't have waited two seconds?
So I felt bad and I kept calling and keeping in contact with her telling her that we wanted to help her. She calls again later that day and asked if she could live with us? That's when I was really confused.
A grandma wanting to live with us? So then I looked in the call log and realized that this lady had been the SAME lady that bashed on our church! First she bashes on our church and then she asks to live with us? Sister Northridge an I were freaking out! I then stopped answering her phone calls and texts because she doesn't even know us and she wants to live with us? I feel like she just wants to so she can try and convert us to her church. Haha it was a pretty eventful day.
We also saw a white guy taking pictures of us. It was so obvious too! He was three feet away from us and we see his phone pointed at us with the camera noises going off! So either he was a member, or he was really excited to see other foreigners? IDK. Strange.
Then we were in the church and heard someone walk in. Which was strange cause it was early in the afternoon and no one ever comes into our church. We got freaked out, ran outside and locked that person in the building! I'm not really sure what happened to him/her.
We are doing something called the 40 day mission fast. Everyone in our mission fasts at different times during this 40 day period. Ours was Saturday and we were able to get a meal appointment at the end of the day with our Relief Society President! No one has been able to get an appointment with her because she always says no.. But she randomly invited us! That's a miracle that came because we fasted(;
Then an investigator called and has been having a lot of depression issues. She said that whenever she sees Mormons they're always so happy! That's when I testified about the Book of Mormon and that through this gospel she can start to feel that happiness! We're always so happy because we know our plan in life and because we know the truthfulness! We committed her to read the Book of Mormon and she was really excited to start reading it and she's really wanting to see that change of happiness. So please pray for her! Her name is 이주연
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
HAPPY BLACK DAY! (a few days late, but oh well) Korea has a few holidays that are pretty entertaining here! They have a Valentines Day where the girls buy the guys presents, White Day where the guys buy the girls presents, and Black Day.. SINGLES DAY! This week we celebrated Black Day by eating black noodles 짜장면 and reminiscing on our happy single missionary life! It was fun, we went out with some of our English class members and district! I like Korean holidays(:
I've been having a lot of fun with the fact that my companion is a greenie. I can tell her anything about Korea and she'll believe every word! So we were eating this spicy soup/noodle thing 부대찌개 and there were some rice cake flakes in it. I told her they were pig ears, she was freaked out yet she still ate them! haha also there are these trucks with loud speakers that go around Korea asking for unwanted furniture and appliances. She asked me what it was saying and I told her that sometimes Korea does these practice drills for when North Korea comes to attack. She started freaking out and I couldn't hold it in anymore. It's really fun(: I remember when I was a greenie and my trainer was Korean. So I REALLY believed her. Haha
We met with our Chinese less active again this week and she was having some problems about being alone all the time and we told her that she can always pray to Heavenly Father and we actually had a really good lesson, but she didn't really want to accept it. She kept saying that she'll never have anyone to love or anyone that loves her. So Sister Northridge finally steps in and said a powerful sentence. "Sister, we love you and we know that God loves you. Through the Book of Mormon you feel God's love!" The spirit was so strong! I was so proud of her! Greenie power! It truly shows that no matter how good you are at the language, all that matters is that you testify with love.
Koreans are so good at English. Every time I talk with them it surprises me how much they know! They know more than I do! They are sooo smart! Either that or they're just really good at English because they've been studying it since they were born! haha It's so crazy how important it is for Koreans to learn English. It makes me really grateful that I was born speaking the language! English is harrrrrd.
We also had zone conference this week and it was a blast! The thing I learned the most was "missionaries are great because they're not perfect. And yet they still do what they do!" Missionaries aren't perfect and no one expects us to be! Sometimes I can be too hard on myself for not being perfect all the time, but I really learned this week that it doesn't matter how perfect we are. The fact that we're still here and TRYING is what makes us great(: We also did this 7 minute workout contest with our Mission President.. And it kicks my bumb! It's really hard and I think I'll be sore for the rest of my life.
The Elders in my district also had a baptism this week! Yay for baptisms! It always makes me so happy to see a baptism! All of us missionaries are working towards the same goal and to see others come unto Christ is the best feeling ever! We sang at their service and it was beautiful! Baptisms are the besttttt.
Have a great week!
BTW guess who's birthday it is this weekend?? You better be sending that certain someone happy birthday emails!!!!^^
Friday, April 17, 2015
I kept wondering who could have sent us these mysterious angel groceries? I was pondering it for over an hour.
Last week when Sister Northridge was deathly ill of food poisoning, we got a surprise delivery of groceries! (I forgot to write about this last week) In Korea, home delivery here is stellar. They have
We went to the zoo this week! What was my favorite part? The lions of course! It was really cool cause there were about ten lions that started roaring like crazy. Amazing. After the zoo, we went to eat some delicious chicken 닭갈비 and it little did we know that it was superrrrr spicy. It was sooo good, but we were all basically crying while eating it. I swear I also blacked out a little bit. Either that or my eyes were going crazy from all that spice!
The other day Sister Northridge thought she got out area down and decided that she was going to lead us back home. We were actually really close to our house so I let her do it! She was so pumped and totally thought she knew where she was going. She's great. We laugh. A lot.
Sister Northridge: "The spirit tells me to turn left!!!"
We also went to the Cherry Blossom Festival. It's a big thing in Korea. All the trees are beautifully filled with cherry blossoms! It was really fun, but it was way too crowded and I can see lots of trees with flowers everywhere..
Okay CONFERENCE though. Did anyone else feel like most of the talks were centered on marriage and families? Super great, but kind of awkward as a missionary. Especially when watching conference in a small room with the elders in our district. Anyway, I still really loved conference! Just taking notes for the future(;
Things that I loved!
"Families go back before this earth was, and will go forward into the eternities." -Elder L. Tom Perry
"I can teach you to dance, but you need to hear the music. We learn the dance steps with our minds, but hear the music in our hearts. Dance steps require discipline, but joy only comes as we hear the music. As teachers (missionaries), we must expand our curriculum by teaching more than just the dance steps." -Elder Wilford W. Andersen
We have to teach investigators more than just the lessons! Teach people, not lessons.
"Saint- a sinner who keeps on trying. God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming, not who we used to be. No failure need be final. If we don't try, we're just Latter Day Sinners. If we don't endure, we're just Latter Day Quitters. If we don't allow others to do the same, then we're Latter Day Hypocrites." -Elder Dale G. Renlund
"Heavenly Father knows you're a successful missionary. What else matters? The service that counts the most is recognized by God." -Elder Michael T. Ringwood
"The artist knows what he wants to accomplish. Even though we cannot see the ending product, the artist knows. God knows! We cannot see our finished product, but with faith, we know that we can be made beautiful." -Elder Rafael E. Pino
Sorry these are probably not the exact quotes, they're my notes, but I love them! There isn't a whole lot to share this week, but conference was amazing. Cherry Blossom Festival was fun. My companion is great. Korea is warm. Life is good. God is good.
Have a great week!
Sister April Johnson
PICS: THE ZOO! And three out of six of my companions!