Sunday, December 7, 2014

Eleven

I just wanted to inform you all that Eleven is no longer my favorite number... I will never be able to erase Jundoing (proselyting) for 2 hours and then looking at the thermometer and seeing -11 degree weather. Well Fam... one day.. when I actually figure out how to structure these emails......... (sorry they're always so scattered, apparently I don't work well under the pressure of a ticking clock..) 

I wish I could just record a single day of my life and ship it off to you.. but even that would be an inaccurate depiction of missionary life. Every single day alters from the last.. and although I have diligently written in my journal every single day.. time simply doesn't allow me the capability of capturing a days work in my journal.. It's quite the bummer.. knowing that I'll never be able to relieve one of these days while on earth.. But the courage and inspiration this knowledge gives me, knowing I can never get one of these precious days back is absolutely incredible!! Now since I can't record a day in the life... or have you here with me.. I'd like to share with you a few special experiences from this week.. 

The first came as we were walking home from jondoing in the -11 degree weather.. I couldn't feel my feet, hands, you know....I'm not quite sure I could feel any part of my body. But a bus pulled up besides us as we waited to cross the crosswalk.. and to my surprise, it was fully equipped with mirrors on all sides.. and in the instant it pulled up.. I couldn't help but notice two things.. the first, my name tag.. and second.. a huge smile across my face. Family.. you know me, you know where I was raised.. Sure, I've lived in Utah for 3 winters.. but in case you didn't know.. I can't remember a time I ever just 'hung out' outside in the snow for a couple of hours. Sure, I've gone skiing, but fully decked with gear to stay warm in such climates..  I have never been so cold in my entire life.. this negative weather with 60% humidity/wind is quite the new experience to me.. So as I stared back at my reflection I was confused why such a huge smile was on my face.. and it hit me all at once. I AM SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY FAMILY. I would have never in a million years expected to open up my mission call and see the words Korea typed up all nice. I thought for sure I was going state side.. (nothing wrong with the states.. I love USA) and at many points in my life, I didn't know if I would even go on a mission.. But here I am.. in multiple layers of tights, socks, and shirts.. jackets, scarves, mittens and still shivering to death.. and I can't help but smile.. even if it makes my lips chapped! I love the fact that Korea hasn't yet become surreal to me.. This was one of those moments where I couldn't help but that Heavenly Father for this sacred opportunity.. 

The next came as we were sprinting from Zone Training to meet with our investigator and her daughter (We're especially impartial to these two... especially the daughter.. she's prayed and read the Book of Mormon ever since we first met them) and all at once, a thought hit my mind that we needed to find out about the employment services offered through the church in Korea... right now.. My companion had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.. and it took a few attempts to explain it so that she could understand my broken Korean/English.. but the prompting was unmistakable.. so we patiently figured it out and called our ward mission leader before meeting our investigators... Now Fam, for those of you have learned a new language.. it's a million times easier to understand what people are seeing than actually speak what they're saying.. so for the first half of our appointment.. which wasn't going according to our original plan.. our investigator frantically told us about things going on in her life.. I thought I understand around a 5th of what was going on.. but as she got up to use the restroom.. my companion very "frazzledly" looked at me and asked me how I knew that.. I told her what i thought was going on.. and was completely dumbfounded and rebuked all at the same time (apparently completely wrong in my understanding of what was going on.. I thought she was talking about her boy friend and daughter...) ... I must have looked really confused cause all she did was look at me and say I'll explain later... the rest of the appointment went well.. we taught the lesson, felt the spirit and left with commitments and a follow up appointment for the next day. ... and within seconds of walking outside.. my companion looked at me and asked me how I knew about the employment services that our Ward mission Leader had explained to us before the lesson... our investigator's work shut down unexpectedly and she needed to find a new job by the end of the week... It's hard expressing into words.. the feeling of knowing for certain that the Holy Ghost is working through you.. I make a million mistakes each day.. and as I hold myself accountable for all that happens each day... I can't help but wonder if our 'work' had any sort of impact.. if I'm doing what I need to be doing, when I'm supposed to be doing it.. and it was in this instant, when my companion looked at me like I was a complete psychic... that I felt more peace on my mission than any date prior. I encourage you all to counsel with the Lord in all your doings.. always turn to Him for guidance.. Always live worthy to receive His guidance.. and however inconvenient it may come.. to ALWAYS follow that guidance. 

Now.. only because she deserves it.. and it wouldn't feel right not.. I want to talk about my companion.. Sister Choi. I am not sure to which of you I mentioned this.. but her grandfather is the one that sealed Dad and Oma in the Korea Seoul temple... and He still remembers them both.. being one of the first ones he performed.. President Christensen didn't know this.. I didn't know this... my companion didn't know this.. and finding the picture with her grandfather and Dad and Oma at one of our teaching appointments with hadobogee ( my grandpa).. was one of a thousand confirmations that she was meant to be my companion.. There's an unparalleled confidence that comes with having a companion.. someone you trust completely.. that you will run through icy streets with, jundo for hours in the frigid air with.. spend every single second of every single day with.. and never tire of.. Want to share everything.. correct any problem with... completely rely on the atonement with.. Since most of you are married... sorry littles.. I want you all to take a step back and recognize this blessing in your life.. think about your life prior to your companion.. or life right now without them... WHAT A BLESSING! No kidding Heavenly Father designed such a plan that allows us to be with that one person and our families for all eternity. I wasn't nervous for a lot of aspects of missionary work.. but of the few I had prior to coming out.. was the idea of having a companion.. And although I have only had one.. I've lived with multiple others.. and can tell you that any, ANY companionship can work if you are both willing to put in the effort.. Luckily for me, I finally have this amazing companion who is willing to do it all with me.. despite the cold, rejection, pushes and shouts.. and let me tell you... I love her to death. I could not being doing this without her.

Family.. this week was incredible.. You really shouldn't expect me to say anything less. We saw countless miracles.. froze our toes off.. miraculously- didn't get sick.. This is the "sacrifice" that just keeps on giving. I love you all.. and am sad to report to you.. that we will not be skyping for Christmas.. butttt, I will be able to call you! Sorry.. but I'll save a lot of tears because of this! SORRY SORRY. Keep working hard. Remember "The Gift" (watch the mormon message.. it's amazing! and they even made it in Korean :)) 

All my love, 
Sister Willcox

ps... Hadobogee is going to be attending church this week!! YAYAYAYYAYAYYAYA
 
Don't worry...SUMSION & WILLCOX WORKING TOGETHER

my companions year mark!! and zone training

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FAMILY!!!

Missionary work has opened up my eyes to a lot of new things.. food.. ( you all asked me what the worst thing I've eaten is..) Besides the random side dishes that don't even small half as bad as they taste.. I think the worst thing I've eaten is pig intestines.. and would you like to know the worst part?? My companion ordered it for us when I passed off for our Korean certified teacher recognition, AS A TREAT. Imagine chewing spicy rubber that has an off intestinal smell.. with weird chewy balls that I don't know how to describe and mayonnaise (which I hate). Besides that.. Korean food is heavenly. Really.. I'm having a hard time deciding if my favorite's Korean or Mexican..! Missionary work has opened my eyes and given me an expanded knowledge of the Gospel, the Atonement, Love.. but for this week in particular, has opened my eyes to all the blessings in my life. HAPPY THANKSGIVING FAMILY! 

I'm torn between writing that this was the very best Thanksgiving of my life... and hurting your feelings! Just know I love our Thanksgiving feasts, being with family, going to see a movie with the family, playing football and other dangerous sports, turkey trot, etc., etc.. but...... I will always remember this Thanksgiving. Even though I would have been content having a Korean meal.. we were invited to go to the army base, Camp Casey, for the feast.. and ahh- ward members, investigators and all the missionaries from our zone.. Just imagine all the fun, gratitude and love in one church building! and that's not even addressing the amount of food.. holy an entire army could have been fed. 

Well, I could take the time and send you an extensive list of all the blessings in my life, but why waste the time when I can very easily say that every blessing in my life has come as a direct result from this Gospel? Every hardship in my life has been overcome with the help and strength of this Gospel.. Everything in my life has and is in direct correlation to my membership in this Church.. How in the world does one express gratitude to the thing that not only made my life anything.. but everything?? Family.. I am so grateful for you.. for your support and sacrifice.. I am grateful for this sacred opportunity to be a Missionary.. For this chance I have to draw closer to my Savior and understand Him more.. For everything I am learning about my relationship with Heavenly Father.. For the chance I have to share this joyous news with the most humble and loving people in the world.. To be able to learn Korean... despite how hard it is... To serve with my amazing trainer/companion... and here I am doing what I said I wouldn't... oops. 

I could write an entire encyclopedia set with everything I'm learning and experiencing as a missionary.. it's great.. tiring.. frustrating.. rewarding.. and I'll cherish it for the rest of my life. One lesson I learned in particular this week - the difference between being happy in a given moment and happy for a lifetime. I couldn't count how many times I chased after a happy 'moment' in my life.. only to realize that what I needed to be chasing after couldn't be captured in a moments time.. Family.. I would encourage you to take a step back in your life... figure out what it is you're chasing after and decide whether it will make you happy for a moment of time.. or happy not only for this life, but throughout all eternity. 100 times out of 100... the latter will truly make you happy. Alma 32:4... plan your harvest and reap the rewards! 

As per usual, we saw miracle after miracle this week.. the biggest miracle being in myself. I really.. am embarrassed by all the things that needed correction in my life.. all the weakness I carried.. but.. It was quite the week of refining.. and we're coming out strong because of it. fam.. I love you all. I am constantly praying for you and working hard for you ;)

Don't forget to count your blessings! 

All my love, 
Sister Willcox

ps.. a little slice of mesa was with me for Thanksgiving!!! (he went to MVT with me)
 
 

Krispy Kreme opening!!
Thanksgiving!
the first pie I've ever made!!
 

Need I even say it...

This was the best week. I mentioned this in my email to Angie.. maybe dad.. can't remember.. sorry for repeating... although I absolutely love the Mesa Temple.. Will forever call it "my" Temple.. have spent countless hours in the Provo Temple.. and in all honesty, love every single Holy House of the Lord.. The Korea Seoul Temple changed my life on November 18th and I will always always always remember that day. family.. Only because you have templeSSS in very close distance to wherever you could possibly be in the USA. I want to remind you something - the Temples are easily one of the biggest blessings here on earth! Go, and go frequently! It wasn't until I wasn't able to go these past 6 weeks in Korea that I realized how important it is and how huge of a blessing it is! For the first time in my life, I'm beginning to understand why we must sacrifice everything we can to go. Even a Pday.. even emailing time ;) 

Well... I can't believe I'm about to say this.. It's gotten easier to bear my testimony in Korean than it has in English.. I blame it on the fact that there are less Korean words floating around my brain than english... haha. We had 12 week follow up this week, aka.. the most English I've spoken since getting here, had to bear testimony in English and I had no idea how to even speak haha.. but BOY was it a treat to see my MTC District! I couldn't possibly describe to you my love for my MTC family.. The amount of love you gain for people spending quite possible 1000 hours together in the same small room... growing spiritually and more mature.. I just love them! It was so fun to see where we all are.. To see how much they've all grown.. spiritually, language wise, emotionally.. If seeing you compares to Thursday.. What an enormously large treat i'm in store for! 

There were so so many miracles this week! It could easily be called miracle work instead of missionary work (cheesy's acceptable on a mission)! I really.. can't express the gratitude I have for this opportunity to stand as a representative of our Savior. I really have no clue what I'm doing... still have no idea how He trusted me with this sacred opportunity.. But I'm running with it and soaking up every single second.. even in the freezing cold air!! I caught the cold this week.. waking up at 4 am to travel to the temple.. and then to do it again 2 days later to travel to 12 week... although it made missionary work even harder than it is initially.. I made a new covenant with heavenly Father this week and refused to let it wear me down.. we worked through it all and I'm speechless at the blessings He literally down poured for our diligence in working through trials! I've decided there's nothing, literally nothing that can stop me from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Which leads to one of the biggest miracles we saw this week!!

After seeing some of our mission leaders and being told to take a rest a recuperate.. we were both prompted to push through and chose not to take a nap during a certain hour.. We ended up meeting a woman in that hour.. She promptly invited us in. Before you drop your jaws.. she invited us to do the 30/30 program (we teach them english for free for 30 minutes and then the gospel for 30 minutes).. we sat in a room smaller than our bathroom.. I couldn't even sit crisscross applesauce!! And there was the nastiest dog wandering around.. that wasn't potty trained.. and he peed on my companion and pooped under my leg.. (it ended up being a blessing i couldn't sit all the way down!!) and half way through the lesson.. (english) her 12 year old daughter came home! She joined us for the second half.. and literally broke my heart in an instant. This cute little girl, deprived of almost all worldy goods.. had never even heard of God.. ever in her life! just take a second to think about that. I felt so sick.. the mixture of illness and dogness was not good for me.. but we taught her the first few principles of the first lesson.. and she sat so quietly and reverently and asked the most heartbreaking questions.. and we taught her about prayer, she had never heard of prayer before.. and had to teach her every single aspect of how to pray... and family.. I can only imagine how Heavenly Father felt in that moment.. when His beloved lost daughter prayed to Him for the first time.. We've gone to their house every single day following as per the little girls request! Every single hardship of a mission is made up.. this making up any hardship that ever happens in my life. 

Family.. I really can't express my love and gratitude for you! For my gained knowledge of eternal families and who we are! What you've all come to mean to me as I've understood a little more of that! You are all Children of God and I know He loves all of us dearly! Pray to Him!! He is just as thrilled when you pray to Him!! 

You're always in my prayers! I love you!!
All my love, 
Sister Willcox

ps this picture is another reason why this week was the best! It was freezing and a freak windstorm... my companion looked at me and told me I looked like Mary and asked if she looked the same. I told her to freeze and I took a picture.. this is the result. 


just me at the SEOUL TEMPLE
The time I spilt an ENTIRE bag of rice that a member gave us all down our apartment stairs.. all three floors.

A church visitor!! Also, a member bought this jacket for me.. she said she saw it and said that's "soooo sister willcox!" hahahah.