Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Be Thou Humble

I have never thought of myself as a prideful person. Thanks to my mom and dad and their parenting skills I have always had an ample amount of self-confidence, but prideful was never how I would have described myself. The day, really the minute, I entered the MTC I realized that I was nowhere near humble. I walked into class about a half and hour after arriving at the MTC and my teacher greeted me in Korean. Which was completly fine, I had learned that before coming, but she didn't stop there. She continued on in Korean and then stopped and looked at me like she was expecting an answer. I sat there dumbfounded, how could she expect me to know anything she was saying? I awkwardly laughed and just gave her a look of counfusement. She smiled kindly and slowly started to mime out what she was asking me and I figured out she wanted to know where I was from. I responded and laughed nervously. I realized immediately that this was not going to be like any language class I had ever taken. We've had a few classes since then and the Korean just keeps going. Basically any time she speaks to us, it's in Korean. The night after I arrived I prayed so hard for help. I have realized more than I ever have before that there is no way I am completing this mission without the Lord's help.
On my third day here I got another surprise. My companion and I would be teaching our investigator that night. In Korean. I couldn't even believe it, how could they think that I was anywhere near ready to do something like that? But quitting isn't an option. So my companion and I started looking up some phrases in our books and slowly reading over them praying that we might be able to get our message accross. Before it was our turn to teach we said a simple prayer asking for help and assistance that we might remember what we'd prepared and not be too nervous, and then we just went for it. It was shaky and slow and sometimes we had to repeat oursleves a few times but we got through it. We taught him about God's love for him and it seemed like he understood. It was a great feeling of accomplishment. We just thought if we can do this now, think of where we'll be in nine weeks if we keep The Spirit with us and rely on God for our help.
Some days the Korean comes easier than others, some days I feel like I am the smartest person on the planet just for being able to sound out a word. Yet I cannot let myself forget that it is not just by my power this progress is being made. I know that it is the Lord's help that is making this so much easier for me than it ever would be if I was not set apart as a missionary of Jesus Christ. All he asks of me is that I try my very best and turn to Him for help. In our devotional on Sunday something was said that I really liked.
"God does not expect perfection but He is pleased with progression"
I know that if I humble myself and become, as Christ commands, like a little child I will have the strength and the help I need to make this time in the MTC and this mission the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I would love to hear from all of you, don't be shy in writing letters... I promise I'll respond. I'm a really good pen-pal if you're looking for one haha.
Much Love,
Sister Annie Atwood

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Time Has Come

"The time has come," the walrus said
"To talk of many things: 
Of shoes-- and ships--and sealing wax--
Of cabbages--of kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

     Lewis Carroll

The time has come...after four months of waiting to begin my mission the day has finally arrived. 

I spent yesterday on my last "girl trip" for a while (me, my mom, my older sister and her daughter). It really can't be classified as a trip, but rather a day. It began with running all my last errands, picking up the things I had forgotten. We also managed to fit in my last time to indulge local food cravings by beginning and ending with pit stops at respectfully, J Dawgs and Taco Amigo (Waffle love was the night before). We finished with a trip to the grocery store to prepare for my last chosen meal with my family. My mother prepared barbecued T-Bone steak (home raised), risotto, green salad, and parker house rolls (the bread of life). I understand that most missionary apartments in South Korea do not have ovens. This will be the hardest thing to do without as I am a baker. Later in the evening we had a movie night. We watched Anastasia (to my mother's dismay), ate popcorn (my comfort food), and topped it off with a little chocolate. We finished the night off by going to the stake house where I was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This afternoon I will enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. I couldn't be more excited. I can't wait to begin my service. I am ready to learn all I can. I am so happy and I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with the incredible people of South Korea. Like Alice, I have heard of things about shoes (sore feet), cabbages (kimchee), and how sharing my testimony may be received as well as the tales of flying pigs. However, my grandmother shared something with me this morning. She said that she just had an epiphany about the equality of souls in the Lord's eye. I know this seems elementary within gospel principles, but do we really internalize this concept. I know that I am a daughter of God and that my life has a divine purpose. But she reminded me that every soul on the earth fought in heaven along side of me for the opportunity to follow Christ's plan. It helped remind me that every person I encounter, whatever nationality, ethnicity, gender, social status, and position on the path back to God, was His valiant son or daughter in Heaven. I, however, received the gospel early in my tenure on earth. This has made all the difference in recognizing how blessed I have been. I never had to spend time looking for the gospel, and that puts 18 months into perspective. It is little that I give bringing hope, blessings, and the message of salvation to Christ's valiant servants living on the other side of the world in South Korea.  

Check back soon for stories of my foreign adventures and spiritual experiences.  

n. Martin Gardner argues that the Alice books were not always intended as symbolic literature, and rather than made for "mad people" they were written for the imagination of children. 
In other words: Don't try to read something not intended into the things I quote.