Monday, August 25, 2014

the next chapter

Dearest Family-
I am stealing daddy's title of his email because I liked it so much! it's not over, just writing a new chapter.
I can hardly believe I am typing out my last email home in my smokey little PC room in Korea. I will miss this country so much!
This morning I was reading in Romans chapters 5 and 6 (still trying to finish the New Testament. and loving it!). I was overcome with gratitude for the Savior's grace...that enabling and strengthening power of the Atonement that makes up for all I lack. In chapter 5 verse 20, it says that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" and talks about how Christ Atonement saves us the ability to walk in newness of life. Just read the chapter. Despite my weaknesses, shortcomings, pride (and stubborness), and a thousand other inadequecies, Jesus Christ is my Savior. and yours. God loved us so much, we are so precious to Him, that He sent His Son, the Only Begotten, to earth to suffer and die for each of us. As I read the New Testament and memorize "The Living Christ" I am reminded of that everyday.
what can I say? the last 18 months have been the best (so clique...but true!) It has been a learning experience. I cannot sum it words. A blessing of growth and joy and trials and finding out about myself (discovering steel) and drawing nearer to God. I count my every blessing and look back with gratitude. Korea will always be in my heart. These people and this place...the paverstone sidewalks, hot humid summer, subways and buses and walking for miles, hearing the conversion stories of my beloved members, sharing testimonies with other missionaries, feeling like family, learning how much I can love, reading the scriptures, looking back on the past days and months and realizing that I am changing, teaching and testifying of Jesus Christ and His gospel, the power of music, coming to know my Savior and God's plan for my life.
I love Jesus Christ. I am grateful beyond words that He is my Redeemer and my Friend. I am so blessed to have the priviledge to serve as His representative these past 18 months. And that isn't about to stop anytime soon! I mean, I can't wear my tag anymore (sad) but each of us represent the Savior in the way we live. I am so happy to see all of you again! the time has flown by. I am so grateful for your support and love...I can feel the power of your prayers. I know this Church is true. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the sacred grove, they spoke to him. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It brings new power into our lives and conversion to our hearts as we read and live its words. I know that God loves us, He is our Father, and He has prepared a way for us to return to live with Him again. And I know that we can all be together there, our family is eternal. We are led by a living prophet, and Christ is leading this whole work. I know He lives.
see you soon!
xoxo, Sister Bassett

Sunday, August 17, 2014

fall is here!

Dearest Family---
this summer has been so mild...fall weather is already here!
I got to ride a bike on p-day! It was great. The park was absolutely beautiful, I wish I could have taken pictures! And, so fun, Sister Pratt and I rode a tandem bike...not sure how to spell that. (the Koreans wonder why we made that word...tandem...why not just say a bike for two?) Almost all the sisters in our zone came.
ZONE CONFERENCE. I was awesome. and I gave my "last words" testimony. and cried. I am not ready to come home... anyway! the conference was great. We had three 'workshop' training with the couple missionaries in our mission: Elder and Sister Lee taught about using family history in our proselyting, Elder and Sister Grosebeck introduced a new program to make our english classes more effective, and Elder and Sister Rock talked about planning more effectively. I love those couples and look up to them so much. I am so grateful for the experience they bring to our mission. Serve missions! it is awesome!
I helped with 고추 (red peppers) on Wednesday! well...kinda I begged the grandparents to please let us work with them for just a minute. They put the peppers on black mesh/tarp things to dry, take the seeds out, and make them into red pepper flour--which they then put in basically everything. I put a picture of it in dropbox. They had to move them into the gym because it was starting to rain a little bit. It was so fun! we moved them all from the parking lot to upstairs, then sat and pulled the green tops of. It feels a little like shelling peas or snapping green beans or something...except that they made us wear gloves because the peppers are spicy.
we had good lesson with Sister Choi. She is reading the Book of Mormon, and the index (kind of like the Bible Dictionary.) and loving it. This week we drew a picture, kind of like a timeline, of the book of 1 Nephi...trying to help her be able to focus on the doctrine rather then the who and where. The Book of Mormon is difficult to understand in Korean anyway, so although she has met with missionaries for years, the basics still weren't clicking. When you go back to foundation, then you can build. She is such a great lady with so much faith in God.
Friday was fabulous day! First we had a great lesson with Sister Lee. After last time, we thought about her all week trying to plan a lesson. We planned to teach on Tuesday, she canceled. Planned again for Wednesday, she forgot and wasn't home. Finally, Friday we were able to meet with her. Sister Pratt and I decided it was because we didn't figure out her lesson right until the third try. And it went so well! Not according to plan, but that is how most of them go anyway. She asked if we pray for our ancestors, or do anything like that to help with their salvation. We talked about temple work. It was a really neat experience where I felt the Spirit working through me and working in her. I felt to guided as I explained baptisms for the dead, seeking out our dead to help them progressin the the spirit world. THEN! Sister Pratt came in with Family History, just like we learned at zone conference, and sealed the deal. It was great. We also talked about infant baptism and other doctrines. We had planned to talk about prayer and, towards the end, guess what she brought up? prayer! we asked a few questions, she prays writen and from the heart. good to know. Then she taught us for about 10 minutes about how important it is that we pray. At the end of it all, she said she had learned a lot that she is, a devout Catholic, humble enough to be meeting with and "learning from" US! two young girls with nothing to share but a gung-ho testimony.
AND we met with Sister Kim and Sister Kim. LOVE THEM. after English time, we tried to teach "funnly" like they had asked for. We felt like the Plan of Salvation was what they needed to hear, and I know the Spirit guided us on that one too! it really clicked for both of them. I don't have time to write about the awesome lesson we had...but it was awesome! they had so many questions and and growing in their gospel interest. it is so amazing to see.
We got some pretty bad cabin fever on Saturday and Sunday being in the church for soooo looong both days. But! we are preparing for a huge Family Night this Saturday, which should be really good. We have invited so many people and are hoping that if we prepare well, the Lord will bring people there and it will all pay off. I am excited to just work hard this week and end the week will with family night.
I am loving this area. I finally have really great, loving relationships with my ward. our investigators are progressing. I have more and more days where I feel like I can speak Korean. I am not done changing or becoming the missionary I thought I would be/could be. I just am not ready to come home! The paverstone streets of Korea are so comfortable for me. I feel so good here. And I just don't wanna give it up. Being a missionary has been the most incredible experience. I love this work. I love the Lord, whose work this is. I love Korea and kimchi and the rain the sticks in the air and the grandmas that tell me I am beautiful.
I love all of you!
xoxo, Sister Bassett

Sunday, August 10, 2014

just happy

Dear Family--
I think that monsoon season decided to come about a month late because we got SOAKED yesterdy!
Monday, for p-day, we went down to the harbor to see this huge ship, Logos Hope. It is the neatest thing...young adults from around the world, all Christian, doing service. Basically it is a gigantic book fair that goes all over. They sign up for either 3 months, one year, or two years. I want to do that. we talked to one girl, from Russia actually, about how her experience has been. She talked about how sometimes it is hard (just like missions), but it is the best feeling knowing that she is where God would have her be (like missions). Cool to see how a belief in Chirst really does help all people, us purpose and hope. Another woman, from Brazil, recognized our tags. GO missionaries! And the harbor! it was so beautiful.
We taught Sister Lee again on Tuesday. Today she had watermelon for us and the other people on the street ^^ Her friend was there also...and wants me to marry her nephew. nothing new there. Our lesson went well, discussing 1 Nephi 3, and finished teaching the Restoration. Remember how last week I said we are really focusing on helping her gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon? Well, this week we asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon each time she reads it. Ask God "is this book true? is this Thy word?" I thought that would go over pretty easy because she prays everyday...but "No." was the response. She says that she doesn't need to pray, firstly because that isn't an option as one of her prayers (only recited ones) and secondly because if it is about God and people following God, then obviously it is from Him. She doesn't have to ask. well. not quite how it works. We are thinking and praying this week about a way to invite her again. I liked what it says in the Bible Dictionary, that once we understand our relationship with God, prayer becomes natural and instictive. I am grateful for what the Restoration has taught me about my relationship with God. I am grateful to know that He is my Father, that He loves me, that He had prepared a road for me to return to His presence. it is really comforting doctrine...the God of all things has asked us to pray to Him, personally, with all the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.
We also had a lesson with Sister Choi on this week! she is so fun. I love her!!! So we had that big discussion time with her last week...who is who and the Book of Nephi. This week was basically the same thing only outlining the storyline of Nephi and talking about prophets. at the end, she got super excited about being able to understand. "Girls are smarter than boys! that's why I needed sister missionaries! you can explain and draw and I understand!" it was awesome. The elders (who did a great job) gave her reading assignments that were just scattered throughout the Book of Mormon, awesome chapters i'm sure, but it was difficult for her to put together the doctrine because she was so caught up in not knowing the story.
A less-active we have been visiting/leaving notes on her door all the time decided to start coming back to church! she said that because she doesn't go to church, God won't bless her. I said that He still loves her. She said she knows that, but because she doesn't come, He can't give her the blessings. I said what blessings? she said Like tithing...when you pay it, you have money for everything else. But if you don't, the Lord doesn't promise anything. I said, that's true..... SO happy to see where she goes!
I love you all! I love being a missionary. I love going to church every week and learning about the Savior and sharing testimony with othe saints. Yesterday I gave a TALK in Sacrament meeting! so scary. about covenants and the heritage of hope President Eyring talks about. I am SO grateful to parents and grandparents who passed that heritage down on to me. I know it is true. And it is so hopeful.
xoxo, Sister Bassett

Sunday, August 3, 2014

member mission

Dearest Family--
this week was so fun. the weeks are going by faster than ever!
Monday we went with Ka-jeong sisters to the 목욕탕...the public bath house. The Koreans love it, and it is supposed to be super good for your skin. It was...yeah. good. anyway.
then we had a dinner appointment with a sister in our ward, Sister Choi. Sorry that it probably gets really confusing talking about members/investigators because they have the same names most of the time. This Sister Choi I have never talked about before ^^  She is the sweetest lady. Her husband is not a member, her older son is inactive, and her younger boy is really shy (due, in part, to a speach impediment and other things). and we loved being in her home. We looked at all the pictures and trophies and she showed them off like a proud momma. And made us delicious 삼계탕 sam-kyeah-tang...basically it is chicken broth and onions and stuff with a whole chicken in it for each person. but the chickens are little. it is SO yummy! we eat it with rice and kimchi. We talked a little about the armor of God from D&C 27. She promised to pray for us to find prepared investigators that we can share that armor with. And then, on Sunday, she told all the Relief Society sister that they need to pray for us to find prepared people too. I are still a few steps away from getting referrals, but I am excited to see what happens as the sisters in our ward unite their faith with ours.
TUESDAY! We found another couch! and a piano! win for the sister missionaries! it was so great. so now the sisters in our house are playing on the piano just about everyday. it is really nice to prepare for musical numbers too! score. plus, us resourceful girls that we are, pulled the sticker off the newly found couch and put it on the last couch. so we don't have to pay anything. yessssss.
This week has been a little more than hot and humid and Wednesday we got hit hard. We had lunch with Sister Lee and her son (except he mostly hid out in his bedroom) and then walked for about an hour or so. By the time we got the the church I was wiped! so we made some calls and things in the church, braced ourselves, and headed back out. In case you missed it last week, Sister Pratt is awesome. Always smiling and bright and talking. I love it. we contacted lots of people and walked around our area to get her more used to it. I mean, she only has a few weeks to learn all the things before she is on her own!
Thursday was super fun day. We had Zone Meeting in 부평 Boo-pyeong. I love mission meetings. I am always inspired by our leaders and the feeling of missionary spirit all concentrated into one room. We did a role play about asking questions, as this month we are focusing on teaching people, not lessons+teaching people better lessons. Whenever I am testifying and teaching about principles of the gospel that mean so much to me, I can feel the Spirit. and even better when I am discovering needs that can be met through the teachings of Christ. I know that the gospel it true.
Ah! Friday was also a great day. We taught two lessons, one to Sister Choi and one to Sister Lee. I will tell you about both, because they were awesome.
So, Sister Choi. She told us last week that she is starting the Book of Mormon again from the beginning and will pray about it this time. She then read from the Introduction page through the testimonies of the witnesses and Joseph Smith and about the Book of Mormon 10 times. yeah, ten! she has a difficult time understanding/seeing past all the new names and places, so we took almost the whole time to explain who Lehi is (decendant of Jacob and Joseph...not the same name as Leah ^^) and things like that. She really loves the scriptures and wants her daughter to have a knowledge of God, but her daughter doesn't really see why. Her husband came home during the lesson, remember? he really hates the church and yelled STOP last time we saw him. So. He came home! in the middle of our lesson! Sister Choi stopped reading and we all just stared at him for a minute...I asked how his break is going, and he quickly left to the back room. Jenny, the daughter, followed. And we cautiously started the lesson again. He didn't come back out. At the end, Jenny came to say goodbye....and that she had translated the whole thing for her dad (we teach in English). maybe that will be good?! prayers!
and Sister Lee. She is a very devout Catholic, but is loving the Book of Mormon. She reads, and so do we, ahead of time and then we discuss the chapter together and use the principles in it to teach the restoration. It works really well! and her insights are awesome. She has such a big heart and is truly a Christian. So far she has been pretty accepting about all that we have taught, except that the priesthood was never lost. Jesus Christ gave it to Peter, Peter gave it to the first Pope, and so on. Sister Pratt and I had a long discussion about how to teach her next time and concluded that we don't have to teach or explain much more about it because, at the end of the day, her testimony won't come from us tearing down her beliefs. As she continues to read the Book of Mormon and pray, to learn the principles of the gospel, and gain even more faith, I know that she will feel that the message of the restoration is true. And when then happens, a testimony of everything else comes with it. Because if the Book of Mormon is true, than Joseph was a prohpet. and if Joseph was a prophet, the gospel needed to be restored, which means it was lost. I know that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph, that he was indeed a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God. It is just the best feeling ever when I get to share those things with others.
We got to sing again, Sister Pratt and I and the Elders, at the baptismal service yesterday. There was such a sweet spirit there...the convert is a junior in high school with faith that filled the whole room. He is amazing and prepared and an example to all the young men in our ward.
I have been feeling lately like I had the chance, I had been given everything I needed, to really learn Korean and become a great missionary. And I didn't take it. Instead, I speak average Korean and am only now figuring out how to be a missionary. and it was discouraging.  BUT! then I read a little bit in "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" and my greenie fire was re-lit all over again. When I came on a mission, I signed up to be a builder in the Kingdom of God for the rest of my life. God needed me here, and He will need me at home. He needs every member to be a missionary. WE are the MESSAGE! whether we are wearing a badge or not. We are meant to be lighting the world and salting the earth. And I felt, rather than discouraged, like the mission is an MTC for the rest of my lift. And I can continue applying the things I learn and grow into the person that Heavenly Father has in mind. I am just forever grateful for the blessing of serving.
I love you all! share the gospel this week. and start reading that book ^^
xoxo, Sister Bassett