"Dear Mum and Dad,
Well, holy heck guess what.
The ups are getting upper and the lows are getting lower and I know that didn't make any sense gramatically but I don't really care. Yesterday was one of the nuttiest days of my whole life.
So Monday we had combined zone conference, which means trip to Taegu! and meetings all day with the Zone Leaders and the Bagleys and Prez and Sis. Mom and all. Plus Sis. Tollett showed up -- the ZLs had recruited her to pick up Costco pizzas for our lunch--Costco pizza being the easiest, cheapest, and best-loved meal of mission meetings 'round here. Bless Sis. Tollett. That woman's a superstar.
And when the meetings were over I took the wrong companion home, going on splits with Sis. Ahn Da Yeon for Tuesday. That was lovely. Sis. Ahn is a very low-key and restful person, and she's probably lonely and bored as heck. She and her trainer are not 100% best friends, which isn't a big problem for one or two transfers, but this is #4 for them. Sis. Ahn's never served in any other area or with any other companion. She had me and Sis. Pak Sung Hee as roommates for two and that was it. I don't think she's even met most of the other sisters still. So she was glad to get out and stretch her legs a bit, and eat meat (her comp can't, so they never do; we ordered in delivery chicken, which is still the best food in the entire world) and she and I in general had a very nice time.
When we un-split yesterday morning, all the stress came back. Back with Sis. Yoon, who is much more strong-willed than I, which would not be a problem if she were senior and I junior, but unfortunately that's not how it works. Back with all our apointments getting canceled with no warning whatsoever, leaving me with a list of things to do but no way to get them done. I don't think I've been so paralyzed with stress since freshman year of college.*
But thankfully our first appointment of the day pulled through. We're teaching a woman named Song Yeong Ok, whose daughter, Yoon Mi Hyeah, was baptized when she was a teenager but went inactive for ten years. But she just up'n re-activated herself--worked up the courage to come back to church, and of course lovely Shinjeong branch were all so excited to see her, with none of the "And where have YOU been for the last ten years, young lady?" that she was expecting. And so she asked us to share the lessons with her mother.
Her mom has been a wonderful investigator and a joy to teach, and has been trying to come to church for about three weeks now, but at the last minute (really the last: dressed, ready to walk out the door) she changed her mind and didn't come. So this last Sunday we were just praying our blinkin' brains out. And our ward mission leader (bless him!) had arranged with a member family who live in the area to pick her up and give her a ride to church, which worked out like clockwork. She came to church and had a wonderful experience.
So yesterday we met her and taught lesson 3, and asked her The Question . . . if she would prepare to be baptized.
She started to cry.
Apparently when Yoon Mi Hyeah joined the church, Sis. Song was strongly opposed and did everything she could to keep her daughter from attending church after her baptism. And she's been feeling desperately guilty about that ever since . . . more than ten years. She was afraid that God wouldn't forgive her for her opposition. And that fear was what kept stopping her at the doorway. But on Sunday, when she came, she told us that she felt suddenly light, and joyful, and that she knew it was because of our prayers. She told us about how desperately she wanted God's forgiveness. And her daughter, her wonderful daughter, shared such a beautiful testimony, insisting that she herself hardly remembered this conflict that was still eating at her mom and that she'd felt the same way when she'd started coming back to church, but was so glad that she'd come and that she could see her mother come, too.
And Sis. Song said she wanted to be baptized. And we all got out our calendar books and set a goal for the 17th of next month.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I came on my mission to be able to see. I still almost can't believe I really saw it.
Also, in the middle of this lesson, a young woman poked her head into the chapel. I excused myself to go talk with her . . . turns out she just got back from 4 months in England, where she found the church and was baptized. The Elders had gotten news of her through the inter-mission grapevine, but hadn't been able to get ahold of her. But she just wandered into the church, on a Wednesday afternoon, when against all odds we just happened to be there teaching a lesson so we could tell her what time church was and get her phone number. Her name is Ii Mi Ji.
And in explorations that afternoon, we discovered a new building right behind our apartment complex: a newly-opened public library. With public computers. No more walking all the way down to Digital Plaza, to e-mail while being glared at by the employees . . . we couldn't have gotten a more convenient e-mailing place if we'd planned it ourselves. We and the Shinjeong elders are there now, e-mailing and rejoicing and giving thanks unto God.
We also followed up on a woman we met on the street, who'd told us enthusiastically, "Come and teach my daughter about your church!" So we did . . . and when we met her very nice, very sweet thirteen-year-old daughter, we learned that her mom had told her we were coming to help her with her English homework. And, once again, I am prostituted for my language. Sigh. You'd think people would be getting tired of doing this by now.
There have been other miracles, and other frustrations, and other insanity, but we're on our way to the Whale museum to see some whales. I'm exited. I'll take lots of pictures and videos and stuff for Bethe.
So yeah. Bounced back! Thanks so much to everybody for all their prayers and support and everything . . . I never needed it more than I did last week. And with the way things have been going, who the heck knows what's just around the corner?
Love you so much
*Freshman year in college: the month before, RoseE had a horse fall on her, fracturing her hip socket. She had surgery to repair it, but was on crutches her first weeks at college. Not only did she not have a car, she could not ride the bike she did have and her apartment was on the third floor of a building with no elevator. Daily life was excruciatingly difficult.