Thursday, April 29, 2010

Short message of the week

Sorry for the short email, but I love you all and this week was really good. I got to go to a baby's first birthday which was... extravagant and we heard some really inspirational messages at zone conference. I really have no time, but here is a thought to think about this week:
D&C 128:22
Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward, and not backward. Courage, brethren, and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing!
Sister O'Bryan
Daejeon PO Box 38
Chungcheong bukdo 300-600
South Korea

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 2 in Jungju

Dear family,

Jungju is good and I love my two companions. Sister Copeland is from Georgia and used to be a college radio DJ as well as a social marketer, neat, huh? Sister Jung is from Incheon and has only been a member for a year, she doesn't know a lot about the church, but she knows it is true and has the kind of fire testimony that is contagious.

The church for one of our wards is absolutely humungous. 4 stories. You have to use an elevator to get from the chapel to your Sunday School class, we also get to hear from Elder Christopherson in a couple weeks as he is coming to our Stake Conference. I am not certain why he is coming, our Stake Presidency isn't changing, but I get to sing in the choir and he will speak in English, so I am pretty excited.
This past week I got to have acupuncture! Well, kind of. Sister Copeland had an aching back so while we were at a member's house she mentioned it. They quickly pulled out this needle, grabbed her hand and stabbed her pinky. It's supposed to get out all of the bad blood so they squeezed and out came the blood like a water gun. They were going to do it to all of her fingers, but she only let them do a few. Then the member took these band aids with small needles attached and stuck them in between her fingers. After watching her I should have known better than to reveal my health ailments, but I casually mentioned a cold sore on my lips and also got the needle band aids stuck in my palm. Before I thought accupuncture sounded kind of neat, but now I am more of the opinion that it is just painful. Plus I still have the cold sore....

This past week I have been reading Heleman 5. "Why has it taken me an entire week to read one chapter?" you may be wondering. Have you ever read that chapter? It is so craze! Not only is it packed with spiritual wisdom, Nephi advising his sons and admonishing them to trust in God, but also the most amazing thing happens in this chapter. Here they are, two missionaries just like me, except they are baptizing thousands, and then they get thrown in prison. Not just like taken to prison, but an entire army has to come to get them. Then while they are in prison there is this amazing heavenly visit with fire and angels and mists of darkness. Before my mission I probably just would have skimmed over this chapter, but now I read and I wonder... can that happen to me?

I'm not so certain I want to be thrown into jail, that's a little intense, but I do like the part where the less active Nephite informs all of the other Lamanites how to get out of the mist. A lot of the work in Jungju is to less actives. There are a LOT of less active members in Korea and so we spent a lot of time visiting them and loving them and encouraging them to re-activation. Sometimes we don't always see the fruits of our labors. You can't count baptisms or member lessons, and sometimes they still don't come out to church so it's not an immediate result effort. Instead you just have to hope that one day the messages and love that you share will sink into their hearts and while they are out there in the midsts of darkness that come with worldly pursuits that they will remember how they can get out. They will remember what they felt and they will return. And they will. I have faith.

Wishing you all well.

Challenge of the week-- do your visiting/home teaching. Set a goal. Do it so other people don't have to do it for you.

Sister O'Bryan
Daejeon PO Box 38
Chungcheong bukdo 300-600
South Korea

Thursday, April 15, 2010

News from 전주

Dear family,
With the begginning of a new transfer I am in a new city, Junju! I have two new companions and I have a feeling this will be another great transfer.
Miracle of the week: David. I told you a little about him last week, but we met with him again and he is the definition of golden. He came to General Conference and liked the morning session so much he decided to stay for the afternoon session as well. When President Monson spoke he looked at me and said that it was a prophet of God and that he was really powerful. It's true! And afterwards we were able to teach him the first lesson. Then last night, as the last chance I was able to meet with him, we taught him again. He is so pure and he knows what we teach is true because it is all centered around Christ and he loves Christ. We asked him to talk a little about what he feels about God and Christ and he bore one of the strongest testimonies I have ever heard in my life. When he was at General Conference one of the quorum of the seventies was also at our ward and when he shook his hand he said "this is good. You have such strong faith. One day you will be a very strong leader of the church in Kenya". People are out there, people are waiting for the truth, people want to hear it and we can help them.
He reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures:
2 Nephi25: 26
And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we bprophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for a dremission of their sins.
This week's challenge, talk a little bit more of Christ. There is power in your testimonies of Christ because it is truth. Christ lived for us. Christ died for us. He did this because he loves us and I know that is true.
I love you all. I included pictures, one of David, one of my old district, one of some sisters which has my new companions in it, but they aren't standing next to me so I will send a better picture next week.
Sister O'Bryan
Daejeon PO Box 38
Chungcheong bukdo 300-600
South Korea

"For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been bor of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God."
-Alma 36:26

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Mission Fun

Dear Family,
I can never remember what I have or haven't told you from my scripture study so if you get repeats, well, just think of it as a sign or something.
I have been reading a lot in Alma lately. This might be because it is a very large book. We have a recent convertthat we visit from time to time who is also reading in Alma. She runs a small restuarant which, coincidentally enough, is also her house (not that unusual) and so when we went in to eat we saw her Book of Mormon on her table. It was all marked up with post it notes sticking out of almost every page. I was so impressed. So I asked her what they all meant. She is so pure. Instead of having some really great filing system or complicated method she just honestly said that one color was for complicated scriptures and another was for ones she liked. We asked her what her favorite scriptures were that she had read this week and she all the war ones, because they were really exciting. Also every time that we visit she takes my hands in hers and warms them up. I keep expecting the weather to be warmer so I don't always wear gloves and my hands are really cold when we drop by so she scolds me and then spends a few minutes warming them up on her face and in her hands.
That's why I love the gospel, because it is so applicable to everyone, no matter where they are in their spiritual journey. We also met some Kenyans yesterday. They are these two just very hunble, open men who met missionaries in Busan and so wanted to meet us here in Chenon. Since there are no Elders in our area we get the privelage of teaching them. We brought them with us to our Korean class (we teach foreigners- aka. Americans as a service project). They just accepted everything that we taught, gospel, Korean, everything. It was the weirdest feeling to be teaching the gospel in my native tongue-- it felt a little awkward, but it was still really great. When I gave one of them a Book of Mormon he took it and said "It's so beautiful, thank you!" then I suggested that he read the Introduction before he comes to General Conference on Saturday and I think he misunderstood me because he said that he would try to finish the entire book by that time, but he wasn't sure if he had much time. I didn't correct him, because I figure if he is willing to do it then who am I to sop his spiritual progression?
Other exciting things from this week:
  • We made tofu with the Relief Society last Saturday. Now when I go home if I can find all the ingredients I can make it myself. It was a lot simpler than I thought, but since it was also in Korean I am not sure if I understood everything...
  • I found this neat Jesus mural while running the other morning
  • It's becoming spring and all the trees and bushes are full of flowers! It's gorgeous.
I love you all,
Sister O'Bryan

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Week.. next.. in 천안

Dear Beloved Family,
Thank you for all your responses to what the spirit is in your life, that was really uplifting and just what I needed. I know I am a missionary so I should be this ball of bliss, happiness, and endless spirituality, but it really does help when I can hear from you so thank you. Speaking of, if anyone can clue me in to what is happening with Heidi that would be great. Or Jon, I haven't heard from him in a while, I might just have the wrong email for them... Anyway, if they are still alive just let me know.
This week I have been thinking a lot about miracles and covenants.
I was thinking about the importance of making personal covenants in our lives. There are covenants that we all make and that are uniform, baptism, temple covenants, marriage (most people anyway). But I think that we shouldn't be limited to only these-- I think that the Lord is willing to make promises to us personally if we are willing to put the time into asking him and to keep our end of the bargain. While reading in Alma 53 I read about the stripling warriors and their parents. It is interesting that they both made covenants-- one to be peaceful and not touch weapons, the other to fight to the death. Completely different covenants, but the important thing is that they sought the Lord's will and then they promised to do their part if He would help. I think we can make these kind of promises with the Lod in our own lives.
Like I mentioned last week, a lot of times the only thing holding God back is us. I got the idea one time from a religion teacher who went over the gifts of the spirit with us in Moroni and then he said that he spent an entire month one time praying every day that he could have the gift of healing. Then one day someone called him and he was able to give a priesthood blessing at like 2 AM. I am not entirely certain how the whole blessing qualification system works, but I do know that God tells us that if we ask then we can receive. So maybe you have experience with this? If you would feel okay sharing them with me, I would love to hear about them.
I know that when we look for opportunities to take the Lord up on what he has promised us then we will find them. I know that the Lord will bless us and I know that we wont regret the time that it takes to do these things.
Love you lots,
Sister O'Bryan
Weekly highlights:
*After church I got to see someone give bee acupunture. One of our less active member's has a problem with his bones, I am not entirely certain what it is. Anyway, another member told him that her nephew (maybe cousin? I still have a hard time with the relations) had the same problem, but then they did this thing with bees and it fixed it. So she brought this plastic box filled with LIVE honey bees to church. I saw it, but didn't think too much about it until after sacrament meeting when she started to pull them out one by one, break off their little stingers and stick them in a circular pattern in his ankle. I'm not sure how good the pictures are (or if they have a virus on them because these public computers are always a little sketch) but I'm sure you can imagine even if you can't see the pictures. It made me think of something that Mama would try. I'm still not sure if it worked or not, but I don't think it is something I am up for trying.
*We got to visit with a potential investigator (past investigator) who had a baby so I included a picture, she is pretty cute. She doesn't technically have a name yet, something about waiting a few months or a mother-in-law- I'm not sure on the specifics, but we call her Michelle.
*The other picture is from a member's house when we went to eat dinner, she had these great glasses, if you can't tell what they are in the shape of, don't expect me to tell you, but I thought it was way funny.