Saturday, April 11, 2015

New Transfer - New Companion

Just to put time into perspective for you... Sister Jihei Lee (my former companion) spoke her first sunday in the ward 5 weeks ago, spoke last week (new missionaries give a 10 minute talk about a month in) and then spoke again this week for her last words in the ward. In case the subject line didn't give it away.. I have a new companion and Sister Lee is no longer serving with me in Uijeongbu. WHAT?! I couldn't help but ask President if I had done something wrong.. only one transfer with a companion is more on the odd side.. But we were really in the groove.. seriously being drowned in miracles and blessings.. so to quote President, "We're just sharing your attributes with everyone and helping you increase the number of eternal sisters in your family.".. comforting.. but not too comforting saying goodbye to a miracle transfer... Having already served here 3 transfers, I was open to the idea of being transferred to another area, but leaning more on the side of sticking with Sister Lee and serving together another transfer.. So when we received the transfer call Saturday night.. If you could only have seen our faces. Let's just say I am so so grateful for the amplified trust Heavenly Father has helped me develop in President Christensen. I know that we are called to serve where He needs us.. where the people have been prepared for us to teach.. as well as where the people have been prepared to teach us. 

I am so so grateful for the chance to continue to serve here in Uijeongbu.. To continue to serve the incredible ward members here, work with our recent converts and less-actives, and continue to meet with our investigators. I am so excited to serve here with Sister.... JeYoon Ahn.. That's right.. yet another Korean companion!!! I really have hit the jackpot.. three companion exchanges in a row! She is from down south.. the oldest sibling in her family. so FUN and happy.. She studied at BYU-Hawaii for a year.. and I am so excited for this new transfer! 

It was a huge wake up call to see that Sister Lee would be leaving our area.. Woke me up to the fact that I won't be living here in Korea forever.. that I could be leaving this area at any given time... But through that knowledge.. I have come to realize the importance of making sure that every second counts.. to make sure that I live each day with as few regrets as possible.. that I accomplish all that the Lord needs of me, in the time that He has allotted me to accomplish them in. I know that 


Peace and Joy

Well.. Sister E Youngjean told me you accepted her on facebook.. and that you congratulated her on her baptism. Kudos family.. she loves you almost as much as she loves me! Yesterday was incredible and went by way too fast! who are we kidding.. time in general is going by way too fast! Except sometimes.. I think it's a good thing.. the final hour of church couldn't come fast enough and then I about cried when Sister E Youngjean poked me in the side and said only 40 more minutes.. the greatest countdown of my life. 

I tried explaining this to President and Sister Jihei Lee (my companion).. but it has been a blessing watching the timeline of Sister E Youngjean and the Church. From our very first initial meeting with her.. which would not have continued the way it had without Sister Choi and their similar music tastes.. to the teaching that would not have gone on as well as it did without Sister Lee.. They were both so needed.. at the moment that they were here! Each day gives me more and more confidence in this new transfer. I couldn't see all the blessings or need of the changes that this new transfer brought, somewhat hesitant to accept them at first.. but little by little.. I can tell that Heavenly Father is accomplishing His will how it needs to be done... and you know what.. I'm learning it goes a lot smoother when I just accept that and follow it as closely as I can! Even when we cannot see the outcome, each and every little act, thought, everything.. hangs into this balance that we are a little too blind as natural men to see. but when we take a hold of Heavenly Father's hand.. I know that we can see where that path takes us.. and it is to places we cannot go alone. 

I still don't understand how I was so blessed to be able to take part in Sister E Youngjean's conversion.. still not sure why or how Heavenly Father could trust me with the teaching of such an incredible, amazing, beautiful daughter of God.. but I will forever be grateful. I could talk your ears off about how inadequate I felt in trying to teach her all the lessons in Korean.. (once again, so blessed to have 2 Korean companions) But I just love her so much.. and wished she could have been taught with someone with better Korean skills and just more experience.. but it all worked out, and I cannot imagine my life without her. She initially wanted to play a piano piece at her baptismal service.. but we had to keep it as sacred as possible.. so she wasn't allowed to play a song that wasn't church music.. so last minute.. they offered her the chance to bear her testimony instead. I will be honest.. I was quite nervous.. there isn't a certain way to bear a testimony.. but it's definitely not something you learn without practice.. but wow. Once again.. she put my thoughts and feelings into words.. and this time not through a piano piece! She started off by talking about the day that we met.. how we stubbornly kept talking to her.. and how she stubbornly kept ignoring us or giving us one word answers.. but how there was something different about these two missionaries.. so she decided to keep walking with us. We ended up walking with her for almost 30 minutes.. and the rest is history. I think we all know that I am not her.. so I don't know all the things that go one in her mind.. but I was privileged to see the changes that took place in her life from the first day that we met and family.. I just want to add testimony to what she said.. I know that the atonement can change us.. that it does change us. That even when we don't think there is a way/possibility that we could change, it proves us wrong. And even though she was taught it through broken Korean.. there's that atonement.. making up the rest. I am so grateful for my opportunity to learn about the atonement and to learn what it means to me personally.. but I know that it's not just because I'm on a mission.. so family.. I would encourage you to find out what the atonement means to you personally.. and then to apply it, rely on it and be grateful for it every second of everyday. 

Missionary life is great family.. the longer I am out.. the more I am realizing it's not because of the name tag on my chest or the fact that i'm in Korea.. but I know it's because it's the closet I've ever been to fully living the Gospel. Wherever you are.. you can have this joy.. the joy that comes from trying your very absolute hardest- not necessarily being perfect, and then having the atonement make up the rest. I had a few thoughts I wanted to quickly share with you from my personal study this morning. I restarted the Book of Mormon again this last week and read chapter 3-4 today from 1 Nephi.. two things that really stood out to me was first chapter 3 verse 39.. where it says that 'Laman and Lemuel were chosen to be under Nephi because of their iniquity'.. WHAT because of their iniquity?? Well what could have happened if they had been righteous? What would have happened if they had reached their divine potential??! Family.. I don't know about you.. but I don't want my Book of Jamie to have a sentence like this in it. Live up to what you were created to be.. not the consequences of what you didn't do. The second thing came from the whole chapter 4 in general. now.. don't take my word for this.. I will have to read the rest of the Book again to check myself.. but I don't think there is another chapter quite like 4... it says the word I about 2836032986535264 times. Really. I ended up circling each one.. and the whole page is full of I's. I applied this to my current mission life.. but I am sure you can apply it to your life. We have covenants and commandments to live under.. and then we have missionary rules to live by.. and then we have Seoul Mission rules to live by.. so it's become quite easy for me to just wait for someone to tell me to do something.. and then just do it. But as I read this chapter..I realized that God expects us to act.. A principle I am quickly learning is what truly brings the miracles. I know that God gives us the chance and opportunity to accomplish the tasks that are ahead of us.. that He gives us all the tools and ways to accomplish them, even when they seem hard.. however.. He has also given us our agency.. and we must first put forth the effort. I know that if we follow Nephi.. take initiative and do.. instead of waiting for the Lord to say turn left, go right, and Laban will be head on the left... but just go out and do, trusting on the spirit.. that we will be lead to where He needs and wants us to go. Don't get me wrong.. there will still be Labans to be slain in our path.. but that's when the Lord will deliver our trials "drunk" and with a sword to use to conquer them. Family.. Go out and act in faith.. in doctrine.. and with the Lord. I know that as you do so you will see miracles in your lives. That you will be able to do what the Lord needs you to do!

I love you and you're always in my prayers. Make me proud and work harder. 
All my love, 
Sister Willcox
 

an investigator asked me to clay make her...it looks like a mulan character man...hahaha

Seeing my trainer!! SO SO HAPPY!!

One happy happy day!!
 

Miracles

I cannot believe you.. sending me the superbowl score... trying to make me an apostate missionary??!? I also cannot believe the superbowl is today... I should have realized with the marathon last week.. but wow, time is flying. For Tina's sake, I hope the Seahawks win! I can't believe how completely out of the loop I am of America.. Hopefully nothing crazy is happening over there!!! 

I would like to write a dialogue between me and my companion.. this is word for word:
"I seriously cannot believe this week, do you see all these miracles??" - Sister Lee
"Yeah we were really busy this week." - Me
"NO, look at your planner." 
(holding up my planner) "I am." 
"What's wrong with you?! This is a miracle." 
"Look... I'm still a new missionary.. I don't know what these numbers are supposed to be, what they usually are, anything. I'm tired.. so I think we're doing something right." hahahah she was so mad at me and lectured me on being grateful. 
Even though I played it off like nothing to my companion... this week was A MIRACLE FAMILY. It took me a while to understand that.. but really, like I shared last week.. we are finally tasting the fruits of our labors and it's glorious. It's baffling to me how much has changed within just 2 weeks! Coming from one of the lowest points of my missionary service to this.. Heavenly Father is so eager to bless us. 

Everything started at the Temple.. another inspiring, uplifting and peaceful day. 4 Missionaries from our zone are returning home at the end of this transfer.. which means they shared "final testimonies" in the chapel before we entered the Temple. It was bittersweet.. I've worked with all 4 four of them for at least 2 transfers.. 2 of them I've known since I first got here.. 2 of them are our housemates.. We're losing a large chunk of missionaries starting with this transfer and each following one until Aug.. our mission is dropping by half the size in Aug... super sad!! We need more "Seouldiers" hahahaha, but really. Anyways.. hearing their testimonies reminded me of an "activity" in Preach My Gospel.. where you think about the last day of your mission and ask yourself certain questions.. I redid these questions after the temple and have been so pumped up since. It was so motivating to see what can happen to hardworking missionaries in 18 to 24 months.. now to follow in their footsteps! Even though you're not currently walking around with a name tag.. I would encourage each of you to set goals with an end in sight.. goals of where you would like to see yourself, attributes you want to have others see in you, etc.. Your time is just as important as mine, it just depends on how you're using it! I know you can reach all your goals fam.. especially with the Lord's help! 

I refuse to acknowledge time as far as missionary service goes..  and even though this time is but a blimp of a lifetime of millions on millions of memories, not even considering eternity..... they all pale in comparison to this chance and time to be Heavenly Father's full time missionary. I still have so far to go.. things that won't even happen while I'm in Korea.. but from what has happened.. I am so grateful. Not only have I come to a firmer knowledge and understanding of His love for me.. all of His children.. He has helped me to develop that love for these incredible people. In just a few short months.. in this tiny fraction of His vineyard here on earth, my heart has grown larger than it ever has. Sometimes that growth brings tears as commitments aren't kept, investigators drop us, rude comments are said.. even piercing -20 degree weather whips at my face.. but the blessings have outweighed all the negativity.. and it's changing me. I don't think there's been a day since I started serving.. that I didn't cry.( just being real, no need to worry.. most of them are good tears;)) However, instead of those tears only coming during personal prayers.. I've come to just accept those tears as they come at any given moment throughout the day. There is no wonder in my mind anymore why the first commandment.. and it's closely followed second, were given in the order that they were. I know that when we keep these two great commandments.. that everything else falls into their place. Despite people pushing or spiting! I am so grateful for my chance to learn what the love of God is.. to feel it, experience it, and have it for His beloved children.. One in particular.. the investigator who's picture I sent last week. her baptism is this upcoming week.. I couldn't be more thrilled.

Through the 8 am appointments before school.. deep doctrinal questions, questioning family, trial in keeping all commitments.. Sister E Young Jean is making her first covenant with our Heavenly Father!! Ahh fam, I can't express my happiness and pure joy through watching her progression and testimony. Don't get me wrong.. I have loved all of our investigators, recent converts.. reactivated Less-actives.. but this girl has really changed my life. It sounds weird.. but having been privileged to attend every appointment with her.. I was the first one to talk to her on the street when we met! (Sister Lee and Sister Choi both taught her with me) I have seen the incredible mountain she has climbed.. and it hasn't been easy.. but she's put her trust in the Savior and has made it to the top.. There are others after this one, but she's conquered this one!! Having been privileged to attend every appointment, she reminded me a lot of mine own conversion to this gospel.. witnessing her progression of self, testimony and love.. She has already changed so much.. and although she doesn't see it, I do.. and It's reminding me what the atonement does for us. It's amazing to me that someone would trust us... give their life over to 2 sister missionaries just a few years older than her and tell us her personal life, trials, worries, mistakes... and it's teaching me so much about trust.. and showing me how much more trust I need to have in my Savior.

As I said to my companion.. I'm still new.. and I will probably call myself that for the rest of my life.. so I'm not sure what's normal.. but these last few weeks with Sister Lee haven't felt normal and I can't stop smiling! It's been hard.. less sleep and a lot of adjusting.. but one huge miracle and blessing after another. The fact that I haven't had time to really write in my journal was the first sign! It really is incredible how large of a debt I am accruing to the Lord with all these blessings... I know He never expects me to pay it off.. not that I could.. but I just don't understand how He does it!

family.. live worthy of these blessings.. they're suffocating. but in a good kind of way! I love you and am constantly praying for you! But my prayers are useless unless you're getting down on your knees as well.

All my love, 
Sister Willcox
 
Seoul Temple with President and Sister Christensen!

Housemates at the Temple!

the unstoppable duo

the best companionship!!

Bishops wife.

Our cute 13 yr old investigator

my last piece of gluten. weep.

the biggest fish I have ever seen

Don't ya'll miss me?

Bean Burritos!! yum yum!