Friday, May 8, 2015

An Epistle to Uijeongbu

Well.. The time has come for me to say goodbye to my greenie area and move... 3 subways stops down the road! There are a few numb feelings that remain, but the fact that it's the next area over.. we are in the same stake.. and I have worked in  DO-BONG before.. I am more than excited! This week was absolutely heart-filling. Every day was full of miracles, laughter, love and tears. Some of the tears were from transfer calls.. but most of them were from the spirit. Really, my heart is so full it could explode. 

Maybe it's a mission thing... but I have come to cherish the Liahona magazine... probably as much as it ought to be.. hahah. It's quite hysterical seeing how frantic all us Korean missionaries get as the new issue rolls out... It's better than Christmas. This new March issue is fantastic, i would recommend you check it out! Anyways, I'm about to give you a little sneak peak.. President Monson gives an article about courage in it. "Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to dies manfully, But also as a determination to live decently." I don't know why this quote stood out so firmly to me, but it quickly became the motto to my week. I talked with a few of you last week about my thoughts about transferring this next transfer.. I wouldn't call myself a psychic... but i did have a feeling that this last week would be my final days here in Uijeongbu.. However.. these psychic thoughts didn't prepare me as one of our AP's, Elder South.. told my companion that she would be staying this next transfer and training... My heart stopped beating as she passed the phone over to me.. when he asked me where I wanted to go.. I surprised myself with even responding with 생각업서요... Well... as I mentioned earlier.. I have been called to serve in ... 도봉 as the senior companion. Even greater than the feelings I felt when I first got here and didn't know ANY Korean.. Greater than my first finances exam at BYU.. greater than any previous feeling of inadequacy.. I was completely terrified and felt real... puny. 

I knew my lucky streak of Korean companions was bound to run out.. but I never expected it to run out so abruptly..  I had quite the mental breakdown. A real moment where my faith flew right out the window and wanted to call my President and tell Him to switch my assignment.. okay, maybe not that extreme.. but it was pretty bad. I've been so blessed to be able to rely on my companions in the Korean department.. Obviously there were other aspects where I could rely on them.. but Korean was definitely the largest. And I became so scared that I am going to say something wrong or not be able to understand what's going on.. or know the need of an investigator.. and you know what.. i think those feelings are quite accurate.. so I had quite the conversation with my Father in Heaven.. and you know what.

I know that He is there listening, intently.. to everything we could possible want or need to talk about. He is there.. and as sad and scared as I was.. it was in my moment of need.. that from this time forth, I can never deny the Love of God again. i cannot even comprehend how much He loves us... but I know that if we look for it.. we can feel it. He is our Father. I never thought about the fact that courage is something to be mastered.. but I know that it is a virtue of our Savior.. and that through our mastering of it.. we can become more worthy as His servants here on earth.. and in the moments when we can't find the courage.. We can always turn to our Father in Heaven to find it. So I am so grateful the opportunity i had this week to be able to remember that Heavenly Father called me here not to learn Korean (regardless of the huge blessing it is in my life).. but rather to stand as His representative and bring others unto Christ. I may be scared.. I'm so excited to give 도봉 my heart. 

We saw an incredible amount of miracles this week.. starting with randomly running into 2 old investigators that had a baptismal date.. I haven't seen them since November!! One of them lost her phone.. and the other one follows her friend.. but we were running home, sprinting as to not be late.. so all i could ask was for the new number and extended a commitment to come back to church for our church services.. they said yes.. and lo and behold.. both of them.. with 3 other investigators were there! granted.. 2 of them came after we told them about transfer calls and came saying they wanted to hear me 'speak' for my last Sunday here.. but WOW! 4 of them stayed for the rest of church! It was incredible.. despite my sobbing last testimony to this ward. I don't know about other wards here in Korea.. but I do know that of my 3 companions here.. all of them have said this ward is the best.. they truly have become more than a family to me.. it was hard saying goodbye... but i am so comforted by the fact that, being half Korean.. I will be back here to Korea. I never realized how important member missionary work was until I got here.. and wow, the difference it makes.. I learned last transfer that the stronger the relationship of the fellow shipper.. the easier it becomes to invite people to our church. Oh man.. i have to go.. have to pack..

Family.. Heavenly Father needs us where we are called.. listen to His call.. make me proud in Mesa and Utah.,, Be brave and have courage to change people's eternities! 

i love you!
Remember who you are,
Sister Willcox
 
Korea learned how to play HOLY GHOST this week!!

Soo fun!

The McDonalds Song

a last church supper

Evelyn

my other Korean mom

I love him!! our recent covert!!

A special day for this 10 year old!!
 

Experiences

Before I jump into the best week ever.. I have a question for you all! If you had to describe me as an animal.. what animal would you pick? please keep your answer confidential and send your response to me directly.. no discussing it until next week.. deal? Thanks in advance! This is a serious request. It sounds like you all had a lovely spring break! I had no idea that it was spring break.. so crazy.. California, karate, horses.. sounds like you're living lives full of blessings from the Lord. Don't forget to thank Him! :) 

We had permission to hike early this morning and it was so awesome! I've picked up a faster walking pace.. a perk of missionary work.. so hiking has become even more entertaining! We decided to do the same hike that I did back for the New Years sunrise hike.. i have no idea how we survived.. really! We went after studies. so the sun was already up and shining, the snow and ice has melted.. so I was able to see the path and all the rocks and ridges.. it is a miracle we all survived before! I really wanted to listen to music while we hiked.. so i carried our dvd player in my backpack and played church music up the whole mountain.. you better believe the mountain hiking harmonies and hadabogees were dancing along to the "stand in the Light" album!! hahah it was so fun! Much better than hiking in -20 degree weather! I wouldn't say it is officially spring yet.. but we are just around the corner! I am so excited.. and so done wearing a big black puffy coat. 

Okay.. really.. now for the best week ever- 

Even though I love learning Korean.. despite the difficulty.. It is such a relief to teach our investigator family (with the Jamaican father and Korean (but fluent in English) wife..) in English... and it led me to loving Korean even more! My life is full of experiences.. I never considered my life to be a boring life.. but it wasn't until I was with a companion all the time.. talking.. getting to really know and trust one another.. when I realized how many stories I have to tell.. and the best part.. all of these experiences relate to the Gospel. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had in my life to strengthen.. and even gain my testimony. We have specific lessons that we are required to memorize in order to pass of certified teacher.. so.. when I did that as a greenie.. I got realllllly good at saying those sentences.. and somewhere in the shuffle..I forgot that  I was personally called to serve in Korea.. with all those stories. So Although I was sharing these faith building testimonies with my companions.. I never shared them with investigators. and then.. we were teaching our investigators in English.. and I had the opportunity to share one of the greatest testimony building experiences of my life..and it hit me.. so instead of working on master teaching the nest day during language study.. i  wrote a personal experience in Korean.. and you'll never guess what happened?? later.. in an appointment.. the topic randomly led to what I had studied.. and there is nothing life looking an investigator in the eyes and being able to testify, with nothing doubting.. that I know that what I'm saying.. something that isn't memorized.. is true. Since that first moment last monday after our appointment with the English speaking family.. this situation has popped up countless times in our work here in Uijeoungbu.. They aren't moments that you can prepare for.. ones that I've been able to write down and prepare for.. ones that we can't role play in comp studies or in language studies.. but they have all come from those wonderful experiences of my life.. and the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I know that this is why we must always treasure up the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. Take advantage of every opportunity He blesses us with.. and especially take all the chances we get to share those experiences.. I know that as we do so.. our testimonies can be strengthened and grow.. I am so amazed by how much learning Korean has strengthened my testimony of this Gospel.. and not just because I now believe in the Gift of tongues. 

Family.. you have all been given the experiences in your life for a reason.. figure out why.. learn from them.. and most importantly, share them. Our investigators are teaching me so much more than I am teaching them.. and I know that you can do the same for all those around you!. 

I know He LIVES! We have the opportunity to have the new Church Easter video.. it's coming out.. and it's so amazing.. i can't wait for you all to help us spread it to the world! Make me proud this week! I love you all!

All my love and prayers, 
Sister Willcox
 
 
relief society quest!!

heart attacking less actives


random couch we found

Still my fav girl!

our english class is so popping!! SO MANY PEOPLE!!!

our cute investigator!


Cute ward mission leader's daughter, Seoyeonhg!

hahaha ugly boy...but best hike!

peak with Sister An!


top of the mountain!

The Korean Chef!

Building a Testimony 101

Hi fam, 

I commend you on your efforts on making me miss AZ with talks of orange blossoms and oranges. but it's warming up over here.. finally.. so I'm happy with our jeju island cuties instead. And besides.. this was the best week ever! hahah

Really though, I'm beginning to understand that this life isn't just about the pride cycle.. but everything is a cycle! Each transfer has brought a season of 'hardship'.. for those of you unfamiliar with missionary work in Korea.. We really don't have herds coming back to the fold just yet. and sometimes.. you find yourself, one week having 4 baptismal dates.. to 0 the following week..... Or times when everyone is busy, even too busy to talk to you. Or times when people push you. But hey, at least it's part of the cycle.. so you know it's not permanent.. and in order for it to keep rotating.. you keep working.. and eventually, you find yourself seeing a miraculous amount of miracles and you've successfully rotated to the next blessing phase of the cycle. This week was that next phase! 

Sister An and I have been really trying to find new people to teach.. we have done everything from street-boarding, sticker boarding, carrying 90 food trash bags for old ladies, no exaggeration.. they were the size of a backpack.. but I don't know any object that could produce that amount of weight mass in such a small size, so i'm still confused and have blisters on my hands. and even though we met at least 300 people.. WE FOUND 5 NEW INVESTIGATORS LAST WEEK! I hope you can feel my excitement through the screen! And guess what?! One of these.. is actually not a 'one', but a mom, dad and son! i am so beyond thrilled to meet with them! Initially, the mom expressed interest in meeting again.. so we made an appointment for Sunday afternoon.. and to our surprise, when she replied to our confirmation, she said she would be there with her son.. and then when a ward member got us and told us they were downstairs (they arrived early) He told us there was a family downstairs with a father!!!dad, Stu, Eric, and Spence, I am sure you can sympathize with our enthusiasm! Everyone wants to meet a family!!! The meeting was timid.. as the father just sat off to the side and wanted to watch at first... but you'll never guess what got him interested in joining us in our discussion.. I shared with them the story of our family road trip to Oregon and the tang incident! We all laughed for a few minutes..  it's even funnier in Korean! hahaha.. Anyways.. it was incredible to have a fervent prayer for the opportunity to meet a family come true.. I know He wants to bless us with anything that we ask.. even meeting a family!

And then.. the next HUGE miracle, and favorite new part of this new phase to date.. We were so pumped to teach the family of one of our recent converts... we've met with them all a few times.. but this one would be the most official lessons. We prepared all day.. and I even spent my dinner time making apple crisp for us all to enjoy together. We took it right out of the toaster oven (we don't have a real oven) and I carried it with mittens.. steaming and giving off the most amazing aroma of willcox baked goods ;) hahah and hustled over to their house (it's about 5 minutes away) we got to the door and wow.. We were pretty harshly sent way.. not even permitted to walk in.. We turned around heartbroken.. with the only back up plan to proselyte. However.. it's slightly difficult with both hands grasping a still steaming apple crisp.. and a Book of Mormon lodged between your arms. So I told Sister An we were going to find an investigator right then to eat it with a teach.. We said a prayer and then walked to the nearest harmony.. I should have realized it wouldn't be that easy as she harshly rejected us.. but then I saw a girl walking the opposite way on the street.. I automatically turned the opposite way and started walking straight towards her.. I stopped her in the middle of the sidewalk and asked her what she was doing and where she was going.. she said home.. and that she had no plans.. so i lifted the apple crisp up and asked if she wanted to eat with us.. FAMILY.. i would have looked at me like a crazy person and thought it was poisoned and ran away if I were here.. but she said yes and grabbed my arm and we walked to the church together.. When we finally sat down to eat and talk.. she told us she hates apples... but that she's been looking for a church. WHAT? 

Family.. this is not my work.. nor my mission presidents.. but this is the work of the Lord.. And I know that as we continue to push ourselves, following after His will.. that through His will.. we will receive blessings and be able to accomplish MIRACLES! My baking has never been that good... nor has my confidence.. but through the blessings and strength of the Lord.. through honest hard work.. we were able to find some of His sheep. I know that this phase applies to all of you as well. From what it sound like, you are all in different parts of the cycle.. so my commitment to you would be to keep holding on! As the scriptures always say, "And it came to pass..." will come true for you as well. Don't just hold on, but keep fighting, keeping pushing.. and that pass will come! I bear solemn testimony of that. 

I love you and and am so grateful and so blessed to be apart of your family. 
All my prayers and love, 
Sister Willcox
 
the fierce wind mask

rice cooker mexican food changed my life!!!

yeye

rice corn dog! woohoo!

he really looks like tina and eric..
 

3 pounds lighter

Imagine this.. 2 sister missionaries walking home after emailing their family.. elate, happy, no problems in the world.. one sister turning to the other, "I want to cut my hair."... "Good idea! you keep complaining about it!" "okay.. there's a barbershop.. if it's busy.. maybe next week.. if they have time later.. I'll do it." .. "promise?" .. "ya, why not." we walked down the ally and my heart stopped moving as we looked in the window.. THERE WASN'T A SINGLE SOUL INSIDE.

Each snip of her scissors brought a lightened feeling to my head and now I am 3 pounds lighter. heheh .. Just really getting into the missionary mode of things! Anyways.. fam, this week was incredible!! Really.. I'm still in awe. 

I don't know if I mentioned the fact that we are teaching a Jehovah's witness family from Jamaica.. the husband is white.. and the wife is Korean but both are fluent in English! It's been the first experience for both of us to teach in English, slightly stressful.. but such a great blessing! I've been so scared that my testimony wasn't growing.. what with the whole not being able to understand everyone who bears their testimony and being limited in mine own expression of testimony.. Anyways.. The first couple of times we met them we weren't even allowed to pray together.. (they were nervous that we might be praying to a false God) Well, we have moved on and started slowly progressing..  we were teaching about the Holy Ghost and personal and modern revelation this last week... If you know anything about JW.. they do not believe in such a thing! So if you can only imagine how terribly wrong the lesson was going! Now fam.. I know you know this, but let me make it clear.. I am NOT A BIBLE SCHOLAR! one year in seminary and even studying in Israel has not even gotten me a fraction closer to the word. So in the middle of a lesson.. with 4 adult bible scholars.. I want to share an experience I had of having the Holy Ghost speak through me. I had just turned the next principle over to my companion to teach (if only you had seen us role-playing throughout the day.. she was a little nervous to do it in English!) We were so set, I was so ready for her to "dumbfound" them with her English and testimony hehe.. and then.... they asked us where it says that personal revelation is available in these latter-days. The look son our faces were a dead give away.. and then a peaceful feeling came over me and let me to a scripture reference I swear I have never even heard before. Acts 2:17-18. The dumbfounded looks made their way to their faces.. and for the first time.. they acknowledged a truth of our church that is vacant in theirs. Oh man.. there really is nothing like knowing that the Holy Ghost is working through.. really.. 

AND THEN! just 10 minutes later.. Sister An, received her own personal revelation.. Even though she was so nervous to be teaching in English.. she went out of course and shared a thought that had come to her concerning PR.. and wow.. those same faces came back to their faces.. and not because she was speaking English. It was such an incredible appointment.. one that I am so excited for the follow up tomorrow! Pray for us!

Family.. I still have so much to learn about the Gospel.. but I think I can firmly state that the Enabling powers of the Atonement will forever be my favorite topic to learn about. They are just as real as the cleansing.. and they apply to every situation. I would encourage you to discover how the enabling aspects of the atonement change your life.. or decide what you want to be changed, and then apply those powers. With hard work and prayer.. the recipe is quite easy.. I know you will see miracles! I love you all so muuch.. I am so grateful for my upbringing in the Gospel.. So proud of your continued perseverance towards the tree of life.. the path has not been easy.. but I know that the fruit is worth it! Read your scriptures.. continue to pray. Go to the temple.. and serve EVERYONE around you!

All my love, 
Sister Willcox

Sorry, it got ruined last time

Taco Bell!!

before




notice anything different?? maybe 13 inches?!?!



The Epistle of February

Hi fam. 

What a wonderful FREEZING week here in Uijeonbu. The big black marshmallow made its second debut.. and I haven't taken it off since. Everyone's been telling me it's spring.. but spring has never felt like this before!!! I'm so excited for the upcoming cherry blossoms though! I can't believe it's been so hot in Arizona! That sounds almost miserable! But I am jealous of all the fun activities and camping excursions you were able to go on! I'm so happy to hear that you're all doing so well.. that you had a great fast a testimony meeting today.. I can definitely say the same. 

I may not have understood everything that was going on.. but I was able to witness my first baby blessing in church yesterday... Once again.. it was a humble reminder of the expansion and truthfulness of this Gospel.. of the Power of God wherever we are.. There is not a place in the world that His light and power cannot touch! Even though it's so hard.. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to learn and serve in Korean.. to strengthen my understanding of how the Gospel applies to everyone.. is for everyone.. including me. I don't know why.. but I find myself teaching simple principles of the Gospel.. looking our investigators in the eyes and testifying that what I'm saying is true.. and then not allowing these same principles to apply in mine own life. Silly me.. always thinking I'm an exception of redemption or blessings.. it really is a good thing that I get to teach these over and over again.. I think it's really just to teach and remind myself. 

I made it a goal to read all of PMG through every transfer, each time focusing on something different. This time, I am focusing on the word effective. Although I haven't counted each appearance of the word.. It is stated frequently throughout!! Naturally.. one begins to wonder how effectively they're working.. it's not that I think I am doing something wrong.. that I am doing nothing. It's quite the contrary actually.. With the Lord's help, I have been able to do so many things! Begin to learn Korean.. a language I have been around my entire life, but never before learned.. See the miracle of helping someone turn their life over to Christ and be made new.. whole and complete... watch my companions become people I am so so proud and blessed to associate with and serve alongside.. not to mention all of the blessings I continue to hear about from you.. However... I can't help but wonder if I could be doing this more effectively! Every ward has a baptismal goal.. each mission a standard of excellence.. and then there are the unsaid "amounts" that the missionaries share amongst themselves. The end result of being conversational in Korean.. but not fluent.. having a baptism every 4-5 months.. not receiving member referrals.. and I can't help but scream the word inefficiency!  As I study PMG everyday.. as I study what it tells us to do, what it promises us will happen.. If the scriptures contain the word of God, if they contain promises of the Lord, I feel that depending upon my efficiency.. asking for the miracles of Hebrews 11 to come to Seoul Korea is more than attainable! Family.. I decided to try something new this week.. to work at full efficiency.. It's a starting process... but i can't help but trust In God's promises.. I know that as you labor in all that you do.. that you work efficiently with all that you are assigned.. that you too can call down the miracles of our Father in Heaven.. Let's do it together! 

Okay.. you can all ask Angie why this is scattered. Love you all so much. I am ever praying for you. and SO proud to call you my family. 

All my love, 
Sister Willcox


Temple Day!! with my cute fun companion Sister An!

I found a taco bell!!!

Happy Lunar New Year!!

I guess I will admit this once.. still haven't said it aloud.. But you're right... I have already passed my 6 month mark. I honestly have no idea where the time went.. Really. It's baffling me and I still can't, not that I refuse to accept it, but CAN'T believe it's already gone by so fast. My companion tried to make it a happy celebration the other week.. poor poor Sister Lee.. I was so angry after that. But I am excited for Angie and Stu.. 3rd trimester!!! So excited to be closer to seeing my cutest new nephew! And then the other reason I bring this up.. I am so grateful for the new heightened awareness it has given me on how fast this time really goes. Every returned missionary I ever talked with told me to "soak it all up because it goes too fast!" I can firmly add testimony to that statement. Wish there were a solution.. but since there isn't.. have just taken it to push me to work harder. I wish there were a way that I could use all of this precious time wisely and perfectly.. That I didn't make mistakes and find myself stumbling over Korean or teaching Gospel principles.. that I could just offer myself up like Christ did and find myself walking after His perfect path and following God's will without error. The faster time flies by, the harder it gets to fall more in love with the gospel, with Korea and this specific area.. and then feeling like you need to give more, but not knowing how.. all with a ticking clock.. time bomb. And then comes my strengthened testimony of the Atonement. 

I haven't doubted my call to this beautiful country.. But this week was really hard for me.. starting out another transfer with a Korean companion.. and going back to not understanding all that is going on.. and not having a companion who lived almost half their live in Canada (like Sister Lee) makes the translation gone unsaid. It's been really hard for me to fall so in love with certain investigators and then not be able to understand what they're saying.. not understand how to help them.. and I had a moment of despair as I asked myself why I was sent to a Mission where my testimony is silenced.. where my testimony goes unsaid.. where I sit in confusion and don't know how to help these amazing people.. It was a rough week.. a humbling week. Family.. trials suck. They're hard and disappointing. They always seem to come at the worst times and go on for forever... They stink! But I am so so grateful for all that they do and add to my life. I was thinking a lot about all the hardships of my life.. the times where I really thought I couldn't go on.. where tomorrow wasn't going to come. Times that haven't just happened since I started my service, but throughout my life.. and I was really surprised with how vividly they stood out to me in my mind. I could remember every single detail of them.. the bad, ugly and then the rejoicing times afterwards. Why in the world did my mind have such a fond memory of such depressing times, I have no idea.. and then I was able to remember the lessons that I learned from them.. the strengthened testimony I gained.. and the new found power I found to face the next big trial of my life. Family.. trials suck.. But where would my life be without them? Where would we be if we couldn't remember them and reflect on what God needed to teach us?

I am so grateful for the trials that come into my life.. including the ones that make me question my abilities to learn Korean.. I am so grateful for the reliance they humble me to... the reliance they humble me to on my Savior Jesus Christ! I know that with Him and His atonement.. we can do all things and look back on our lives.. and understand what we needed to learn. I love how purifying our trials are.. and how we can visible see the change that they make in our lives.. I may not be the missionary I want to be quite yet.. but just like the water filter in our house.. all three of them.. it is a process well worth it. Family.. You've got this, you have the Savior on your side.. and I know He loves you!
 
Thank you so much for your love and strength and prayers.. Keep coming unto Christ. Keeping helping others come unto Chirst. 
All my love, 
Sister Willcox


 
            MY WONDERFUL MTC DISTRICT!!
 
Sister Lee

Sister Tehei!!!

I WON bowling. hehehe.

bowling!!

I love her!

new companion!

Fam!

family for the holidays!


traditional dresses!

Trying on dresses with RC!!
cleaning off the mold!

construction worker

Elder Grover!