Friday, August 30, 2013

I cannot do this, but God can!

It's getting closer for Sydney to head to Korea.  In just over a week, she'll be in Korea.  It's crazy!  I'm sure she is ready to leave the MTC and get over there.  She already has such a love for Korea and it's people and she hasn't even stepped foot in it.  She is upbeat and still the same old Sydney that we love.  

to be sung to the tune of "one day more"...

Kay, I'll stop now.

Big news! we received our travel plans today!
We're flying from Salt Lake to.......
and then from Detroit to Seoul.
I feel like it's that scene in Hercules when Hades is like, "um, guys. Olympus is THAT way."
Oh well, at least we'll get to Korea.

We actually thought our elders got their travel plans yesterday. When Pappa Jameh  and I went to the post office to check, we could see a collection of envelopes in our mailbox and got super excited, thinking they were our travel plans. And since the MTC post office lacks any kind of security or discretion, when we asked for all the mail, they willingly gave it to us. Sadly, they were only letters for the missionaries going to Busan, but we decided to play a fun prank on two of our elders by hiding their letters and creating a scavenger hunt the led them on a wild chase around our building. While everyone else got their mail, they followed a trail of rhymes written on post-it notes in order to find their letters. I'll write down all our clues! See if you can figure them out!

October's near,
it's almost fall.
For your first clue,
go to the ____.

I'm feeling parched.
Timp is a mountain.
where to next?
how 'bout the ________.

Now that I drank,
I have to pee more.
To the washroom I go,
but look at the ____.

The building's aflame!
shall we climb higher?
Yes! but first,
find the alarm that calls, "____."

The fire's put out!
Climb the stairs to win!
Where to look next?
check the r_______ ___.

The environment's saved,
But your plans you lack.
Just take a walk
on the r______ _____. (this one's a picture)

You're almost there!
Soon your plans you will see.
How are you at math?
95 + 25 = ___.

Just one more clue,
and then no more of the crap-ah.
They're inside the journal of
sweet Sister _____.

Aren't we clever? p.s. We did this during our excessively long gym time. we promise no MTC rules were broken in the making of this scavenger hunt. 
In other news, at the devotional last Sunday, I met random elder from Ohio who then introduced me to his companion who was from PITTSBURGH! The first thing he asked? "is President Carter your stake president?" YES!
As it turns out, he's from Greensburg, but we'd never met each other because neither of us ever went to stake activities. We became fast friends here in the MTC, though. His name was Elder Jordan Lundquist in case anyone knows him.

A fun Korean fact! The word for tracting in Korean in "kakahoho." It's such an absurd word that I giggle every time I say it.

Also, this little gem...
the time? yesterday.
the place? the classroom.
the activity? language study.

My teacher had given us sentences to practice writing in Korean and I was having him check the sentences I had written. The thing is, Korean sentences are kind of difficult to tell apart with just a cursory glance and instead of asking my (rather attractive Korean) teacher if the sentence I had just written was correct, I accidentally pointed to a sentence I had written the day before when I had been practicing the "Have you ever/I have never" grammar form.

the sentence? 
"I have never kissed a boy."


And then I found a tiny crevice to crawl into and die.
the end.

Finally, the highlight of the week, we got to hear from ANOTHER apostle. So exciting.
This past Tuesday, Elder Neil L. Andersen visited us missionaries in the MTC. What i got from his talk was this:

Over the course of these next two years or eighteen months, one of our greatest sacrifices will be to put away all thoughts of 'I" or 'me' and instead shift our thinking towards God, Christ, and other people. It is a shift that we will  make our entire lives, but now, on these our missions, it is of paramount importance to realize that I CANNOT DO THIS. I cannot learn the language. I cannot find people to teach. I cannot bring people the gospel. 
But God can. And God will.
I am the messenger and He is the master and as I follow His will and His plan, I can be the means of bringing many souls unto Christ and great joy unto the children of men.

I love you.
I wish you all a very happy week.
Sister Arvanitas

 Arvanitas Jameh and Elder Arvanitas.

 Arvanitas Jameh and Pappa Jameh
 I'm really not sure what they are doing.  Sydney gave no explanation.  This is her district.
 This elder was excited to have shaken Elder Neil L Andersons hand

Even the Little Mermaid has been doing missionary work!  ha ha

Friday, August 23, 2013

Breathe. In. Out. In. Out

I received a precursor email today from Sydney asking to send some specific pictures to her.  I sent pictures of Steve and I dressed in 20's outfits of which she said we looked ADORABLE!  Also, one of the newly picked Dr Who of which she decribed him as the CRYPT KEEPER.  He is much older than the previous but I wouldn't call him a crypt keeper.  She also tells Maddie about wearing vacuums for her service job that are just like the ones on a video game called Luigi's Mansion.  She said she hummed the theme song the whole time and felt like looking for ghosts to suck up.  Funny girl!  The picture is of some of her don-gee and the native Korean Elders and Sisters.  


and breathe.
in. out. in. out.

Now that my hyperventilintations (look! i made a new word!) are out of the way, a few matters of business.

Firstly, THANK YOU GRANDMA AND GRANDPA GRAY. I got the hymn book you sent me yesterday and it is wonderful. The fact that it says, "Sister Sydney Arvanitas" on the front and has your signatures on the inside makes it all the better. You both are the best. I may have burst into tears I was so grateful. Also the box you sent it in smelled of your house. I inhaled deeply and wept some more. So, thank you. I love you both so much.

Secondly, I SAW ELDER FAUCETT AND ELDER LONG. It was so exciting! I actually saw Elder Faucett two Sundays ago, I just forgot to write about it. He looks great and seemed to be really, really happy. I saw Elder Long last Sunday just randomly in the cafeteria. We talked for a little bit and he says he loves it here. It was funny because he was like, "Well, it was so great to see you, Sydney, but I just REALLY wish I could see Nick." I feel your love, Hunter. I'll gladly take second best. :)

Thirdly, even though Elder Long didn't get to see Nicky, I DID!(Actually, so did Hunter.  He wrote it in his letter home. I'm sure Nick was happy about seeing both of them.)   We both sang in the devotional on Tuesday and I met up with him afterwards. I think he's liking things better here. He's made good friends with the Elder that randomly bleeds from his abdomen (bleh). We got to talk to each other for a little while and actually got separated from our companions because of it. Everything turned out all right in the end though. At least I hope it did. If you haven't heard from Nick yet...well, you know why.

But enough about everyone else, let's talk about ME.

We got new Korean-speaking missionaries this week! which means the older ones left (super sad, let's not talk about it) and which also means that WE'RE THE OLDEST NOW.
Our whole dong-ee is kind of freaking out about it. we should get our travel plans next week, so hopefully I'll have exciting things to tell you next Friday!
With the new missionaries here we now have 66 people in our zone. Not as big as we were before, but still fairly enormous compared to everyone else. also, I feel like people (namely, my mom) are a bit confused at my Korean MTC  terminology, so let me just take a second to explain.

The word dong-ee: EXPLAINED.
dong-ee - (n) in korea, the word "dong-ee" means the class with whom ones proceeds through school. 
if I were a thesaurus I would say "graduating class," "team," or "group of students with the same amount of educational exposure."
In the mtc, and regarding my life specifically, "dong-ee" is a word which means 
"the group of korean-speaking missionaries who arrived here nearly seven weeks ago--July 10, 2013."
In my dong-ee there are two districts, or classes in which we learn Korean and spend all our time.
Thank you for you time.
We shall now return to our regularly scheduled email.
[so not a district leader, momma. :)]

A little more about my district: we have six elders and four sisters. Three of the sisters (me, my companion, and sister K........) are going to the Daejeon mission. The elders and the other sister, Sister H......, are going to Busan. However, all the missionaries in the other district in our dong-ee, both Elders and Sisters, are going to Daejeon. It's happy because we'll get to go with them, but overwhelmingly sad because it means my companion and I will have to say goodbye to our Elders, not to be seen again for a VERY, long time. And we love our Elders like our own younger brothers, so that's going to be hard. really, REALLY hard.

In other news, Sister H....... (not the one who is in my district, but her twin who is in the other district. confusing, but true) came up with a rap this week to help us remember our missionary purpose in Korean. I swear, everyone here is unbelievably talented. I can't even handle it. I'll have to record and send it to you next time. It's fantastic.

Also, this week in my district we all got to pretend to be investigators and taught each other, instead of just our teachers. It was so helpful being an investigator and really trying to understand what questions and concerns I would have if the gospel were a new concept to me. It really helped me to realize what things I would care most about and what doctrine I would want explained. One of my favorite things about this gospel is that it is a gospel of INDIVIDUALS. We are all unique and we all have specific personalities and specific problems. The wonderful thing, though, is that God understands that. He loves all His children and it is only from Him that we have obtained our many different gifts.
Here at the MTC, they stress so often that we need to remember that Christ's name is on our name tag, that we are acting in His place as missionaries on the earth. I think sometimes, despite the beauty of this concept, that missionaries get a little panicked about this. We think we need to be flawless and uniform and that in order to meet the requirements set before us, we need to squash our personalities and become these model missionaries, all exactly the same. But the thing is, it doesn't have to be that way! Even though it's SO important for us to remember that Christ's name is on our name tag, we need to remember, silly though it may sound, our names are on our name tags too. We're allowed to be different and to express our personalities. We're called to specific missions because these people specifically need us. This is a gospel and a church and a world of individuals. individual members. individuals investigators. individual missionaries.

We ought to all rejoice in our differences, in our uniqueness, and never forget the one name that ties us all together. The one person we're constantly striving to become more like--Christ.

I love you all. I think and pray for you every day.
All my love,
Arvanitas Jameh <3

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lost in Translation

I think the MTC has it's ups and downs and Sydney has experienced both.  She appreciates all the letters and prayers that have been sent.  Remember you can write her on  She is Unit 69 and she leaves Sep 9. 
I realize I'm many weeks late on this news, but nevertheless....
Thanks, Katie, for keeping me updated on news of the royal family. Love you. :)

This letter comes to you in three parts.
At the end of my mission, someone is going to have to create a collection of my letters home and entitle it, "Eighteen Months in Lists: Why Sydney Will Never Be a Good Writer."

Lost in Translation: A Story of Confusion and Embarrassment

Did I ever mention that the new native Korean missionaries arrived last week? or that the dong-ee above mine is leaving for Korea with them on MONDAY? which means we'll be the OLDEST. I feel queasy just thinking about it. Anyway, since the older group is leaving, this past Sunday I got a new sister training leader! She calls me Arvanitas Sensei and it is wonderful. Also, since her family is Korean, she understands and speaks WAY more conversational Korean than I do. Which is a blessing because the native Korean sisters speak very little English and I have been STRUGGLING.

For example, a few nights ago, I went to their room to say goodnight and to make sure that they had had a good day. I prepared accordingly--I memorized how to say "goodnight" in Korean (annyeong-jumu-seyo) and made sure I said it slowly and clearly. But then I attempted to ask them if they had had a good day and I...failed. Miserably. The only words I could say were "good" and "day" and then I kind of shrugged my shoulders encouragingly. Sadly, all the Korean sisters did was look at me. blankly.
So I tried again, this time adding in a few wild gesticulations in an effort to get my point across.
I finally resorted to doing what I always do when I'm confused--laugh hysterically in an attempt to hide my shame.
In response, the Korean sisters kind of laughed nervously and so I said, "goodnight" again and backed hurriedly out of the room. It was a rather awkward encounter.
And yet, sweet, wonderful sisters that they are, they continue to be SO NICE to me. And every time I say something right, we all get super excited, like, "LOOK AT US. WE'RE COMMUNICATING." it's pretty great.

Awesome Experiences in TRC

So TRC is something we got to start our third week here in the MTC. I'm pretty sure it stands for teaching resource center. Basically, members and non-members alike come and volunteer to be taught by the missionaries in their own language. It's great practice for us because we get to speak to actual Koreans and also get to teach real people, not just our teachers posing as investigators.

Last week at TRC we taught a recent convert, Oh Soo-Bin. she's been coming to TRC for awhile now and actually began investigating the church because of TRC! She just got baptized a few weeks ago and the missionaries in my zone that taught her got to go to her baptism! Isn't that exciting?! Anyway, the lesson we taught her was on receiving revelation by reading the Book of Mormon. We told her that when we pray to Heavenly Father with a question, we can usually find answers to those questions in the scriptures. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are God's word and when we read them, it's as if God is talking directly to us. We asked her if she had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and she said she kind of did, but it wasn't very strong yet. But the wonderful thing about Soo-Bin is that she WANTED a testimony of the Book of Mormon and she knew that as long as she read it and consistently prayed to Heavenly Father to ask if it were true, that she would obtain an answer. It was amazing! At the end of each lesson, the TRC volunteers fill out a little sheet of paper and record what they've learned. About us, Soo-Bin wrote, "As I see how much the missionaries have advanced, my faith in Christ has increased because I know that Jesus Christ is watching over them. As a result of this experience, I will read the Book of Mormon more and gain a stronger testimony and learn to receive revelations. I want to go home and read the Book of Mormon as soon as I go home!" Isn't that just the BEST?! Finally, I felt like we helped someone in some small way to gain a stronger testimony of this gospel and it felt amazing! I'm so excited to get to Korea and do this every day!

An Apostle! An Apostle! We Saw An Apostle!

As many of you know, every Tuesday night the missionaries in the MTC  go to a devotional at the Marriott center. This week, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to speak at our devotional--RICHARD G SCOTT!
It was pretty much the best thing that's happened to me thus far at the MTC. His talk was all about praying with a sincere heart and asking, WITH FAITH, for answers and blessings from God. In the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 8:10-11) there's a scripture that says, "Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith...and according to your faith shall it be done unto you."

I know that most blessings, if not all, are conditional on our faith. But, I also know it's hard to have faith. It's hard to put one's trust entirely in God, especially because the unknown can be such a vast and scary thing. However, we have no need to fear because I know that God will bless us, that He wants what's best for us, and that He loves us with a love that is infinite and perfect. THAT is the message I am going to Korea to share. THAT is my purpose as a missionary--to tell everyone I can of the perfect love our Heavenly Father and Our Saviour, Jesus Christ have for all of us.

"Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." (Moroni 8:16)

It's all true, friends.
And what a beautiful truth it is.

I love you all.
till next week,
Sister Arvanitas

[p.s. During his talk, not once but TWICE Elder Scott, with his apostolic power, blessed us learning languages to be able to study and speak in the languages we had been assigned. That's right. an APOSTOLIC BLESSING. FOR US. We can so do this. :)]

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wanderers in a strange land

This week when we dropped off Nicholas,  Sydney surprised us and came in while Nick was being set apart as a missionary.  It was a bittersweet day.  We received an sd card from Sydney this week and so we were able to see a lot of pictures.   There were many of her district.  We did find out from Sydney that Nick will move to the other MTC campus, aka old BYU dorms, on Monday.  So, they won't be seeing each other that often.  Writing letters on is easy and Sydney welcomes anything.   
All caps announcement of the week: HAPPY FORTIETH BIRTHDAY, SHELLIE!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!
It finally happened. After swimming in the petri dish that is the MTC for a full month, I finally caught the plague that finds so many missionaries--A COLD.  IN AUGUST.  So, family, I hope I didn't transfer any of my cold germs to you when I hugged you on Wednesday...but if so, it was totally worth it, because YES I GOT TO SEE MY FAMILY. I decided I wanted to be there for Nicky's setting apart in the MTC, so I went straight to the top and asked President Nally (il presidente della MTC)(translated:the president of the MTC) and made sure it was okay. Since he is a sweet and lovely man, he said, "Of course!" and shook me warmly by the hand. Sadly, by the time my companion and I finally found the room, Nick was already being set apart, but fear not because I was able to sneak into the room right in the middle of the blessing.(It was right at the beginning, actually) LIKE A NINJA. It was awesome. Unexpected crying ensued.

This week, I've decided to tell you about my schedule, since a few of you haven't a clue what we do here in the MTC all week. Let me elucidate...

6:15 awaken. It is no fun, but we deal.
7:00 study time. My companion and I usually read scriptures and I, as one of the Sister Training leaders, usually use this time to interview the new girls and making sure they're adjusting to missionary life okay and don't want to lie down and die yet. So far, everyone has been good.
7:45 breakfast. I eat a bagel and intend to continue to eat a bagel every morning. For nine weeks.
8:15 T.A.L.L. Bane of my existence. I can't remember what it stands for,(It stands for Technology-Assisted Language Learning) but basically TALL is a computer program that helps you learn vocab and phrases in your language. It can exhaust your brain fairly quickly, so sometimes my companion and I intersperse our TALL time with watching a few mormon messages. My favorites thus far, the one with the adorable Italian man who is a bee-keeper.  and one called "men's hearts shall fail them" in which Elder Nelson tells a beautiful story that makes me weep every time.
9:15 personal study! The best time of the day! This is the one hour in which we don't have to think about korean and instead just read our scripture or preach my gospel and think about what kind of spiritual help our investigators need. It's great.
10:15 additional study! This is usually the time in which we plan our lesson for the day. We have two investigators (our two teachers role-playing investigators) and we teach one of them every day. Our lessons are getting a lot better too! We don't really need to read our notes anymore as our gospel vocabulary in Korean is growing every day. In our last lesson, especially, we were really able to invite the spirit and give a good lesson on the atonement. It was awesome.
11:00 gym time. Nice because we get a break from thinking about Korean or gospel things, but because neither I nor my companion are particularly athletic, we sometimes have trouble coming up with things to do. Sometimes we play four-square with our district, sometimes we acutally do physical activity, but most of the time we just walk across the street to the field in front of the temple and talk. it's a good time. :)
12:40 lunch time!
1:25 class for three hours. I'm not going to lie, it is hard to sit through three-hours of Korean and gospel study, but one can never underestimate the worth of a GOOD TEACHER. I must say that my district's teachers are incredible. Forsyth Hyung-Je-Nim and Jeon Hyung-Je-Nim take such good care of us and are such great teachers. Forsyth has the most energy of anyone I have ever known. He always keeps us awake and learning Korean in the most entertaining of ways. Jeon Hyung-Je-Nim speaks English and Korean so incredibly fast, you have to be awake in order to keep up with him. Also he does this thing where he switches from English to Korean with no discernable change in speaking pace. It kind of makes your brain confused, but he's so funny and nice, we forgive him always.
4:25 language study. Yesterday during language study, I saw Nicky! It was awesome! He looks so great as a missionary with his shiny new shoes and his clean haircut. His companion seems a little.... but Nick's a chill kid, I'm sure he'll be able to still be friends with him. Hopefully they find they have something in common.
5:40 dinner! and mail time! The best time of the day! It's always a horrible day when a missionary doesn't get mail, so please SEND ME LETTERS. Lack of mail for me makes me all kinds of depressed. Even if it's just a quick sentence through dearelder, I'll take it. Mail is my lifeblood.
6:25 more class. So much class.  But, I kind of love it. It's also during our class times that we teach our lessons. I always dread going into lessons for some reason (I think it's because I'm so nervous) but then, after they're over, I always feel so good!
9:25 back to our little home. Then showers, journal-writing (I'm trying, I promise), goodnight, and sleep by 10:30.
Then we awaken and repeat. The same every day except for devotionals on Tuesday nights and craziness on p-days and wonderful things on Sunday.
Also! This past Sunday for our devotional speaker we had JENNY OAKS BAKER! The violinist! and Elder Oaks daughter!(Elder Oaks is 1 of the twelve apostles to the prophet) I remember we went to see her once in Pittsburgh and it was so much fun! She's amazing. She gave a little talk and then she played the violin for us for the rest of the time. It was pretty much the best and most beautiful thing ever. I'm so lucky to be a missionary.
This week, during personal study, my companion and I were reading Alma 26.(Which is found in the Book of Mormon) It's the chapter where Alma and the sons of Mosiah have finished their missions and Ammon is talking about how far they've come since they set off on their missions so long ago. He talks about how far they've come and how much they've learned. my companion and I realized that this scripture was for US. It was perfect for us in our situations as missionaries and we both set the goal that at the end of our missions, as we are on the plane home, that we will read this chapter and think back on all the ways in which the Lord has blessed us over the course of 18 months. One of my favorite lines comes at the end of verse 36. It says, "Yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land." We will certainly be wanderers in a strange land, but I know that the Lord will bless us so greatly for our efforts. The Lord knows us and He is always mindful of us and our needs. I know this to be true.
I love you all.
I hope you are well.
Arvanitas Jameh
Nitas Jameh & Pappa Jameh

Two elders that are coming to the
Pittsburgh mission. Yay!

The 74 missionaries that left for Korea
about two weeks ago. 

The Korean elder who loved to run up to
Sydney and say her name as fast as he could. 

Sydney's MTC district.  She loves her little district!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Where every day, you poop your pants a little less

I think Sydney was rushed a little bit this week and so her letter is not very long.  She says it is near impossible to send pictures and so she is going to send home one of her SD cards and then we will send it back.  I think it's funny that her companion loves Christmas music because Sydney does not.
You both look beautiful. Mostly Kendra, but still. and thanks for sending pictures!!! The reception looked incredible and it was SO WEIRD seeing Collin at home. He looks so old now.
I'm going to start with some more thing about my companion because she's amazing and I'd be remissed if I didn't say more about her. So here it is...
1. She's an artist. like, paints-murals-on-walls-and-gets-paid-for-it artist. She's incredible. It's funny because my college roommate, Katie (I miss you, Katie!) was also an artist. I feel like the Lord is trying to tell me something or else he just wants to make me feel really badly about my lack of artistic talent.
2. She LOVES christmas music. Seriously, she's been singing "O Holy Night" for the past two days and it's been driving my district crazy. I now am perpetually nostalgic for christmas.
3. Her parents are converts. fun fact.
4. She lives on a farm in Herriman, Utah. She has chickens and horses and a goat and a cow named "Carne." She says she isn't too hopeful that the cow will be there when she returns.
5. She is obsessed with Dr. Phil and pugs. I....don't even know.
6. For high school, she went to a charter school called "Paradigm." Does that not sound just magical?
7. She dresses like she's a model for an L.L Bean catalogue. While I'm all insane colors and mismatched patterns, she's all neutrals and flannel. We balance each other out nicely. :)
8. Her favorite movie is "Christmas with the Kranks." What can I say, the girl loves christmas.
9. Her favorite flowers are sunflowers (like me!) and her favorite store is Savers (also like me!).(a thrift store here in Utah) We are soul sisters and were destined to be companions.
10. I  LOVE LOVE LOVE her. Seriously. I've never met someone who i'm so alike and yet am so different from. It's crazy how well our companionship works and how much I've learned from her in just three and a half weeks. We always joke and say we're "BCF"s--best companions forever. But really we are. I'm going to miss her terribly once we get to Korea.
So there you have it. A bit more about my better half. :)
As for exciting things that have happened this week...
Our dear older group of missionaries left. All seventy-four of them. I miss them dearly, but the good news is...WE GOT NEW MISSIONARIES. YAYAYAYAYAY. Wee korea-speaking babies. They came in on Wednesday--thrity new elders and six new sisters. It's so exciting to have them and it's even more exciting because our dong-ee isn't the youngest anymore. Two of the new missionaries are international--an elder from australia and a sister from New Zealand--so as one of the Sister Training Leaders, I got to welcome them when they came in on Tuesday. Since the sister didn't have her companion yet, she joined my compainship for the rest of the day. It was wonderful. she told me all about New Zealand. A hilarious fact--THEY RIDE THE SHEEP IN NEW ZEALAND.  No joke. we were just chatting about the beautiful countryside and all the sheepies and she's like, "Yeah, they're kind of annoying since they're always 'baaaing' and stuff, but it's really fun to ride the big one. They're nice and comfy." and then i fainted out of joy because now i must go to New Zealand and ride a sheep. It's my new dream.
Another fun thing that happened this week is that Pappa jameh-nim and I found an elder from FINLAND. but that's not all. He's from Finland, but he goes to law school in Sweden and he speaks perfect english and he's going to Taiwan on his mission, speaking MANDARIN. and yes, he is a real person. honestly though, some of the missionaries feel like a caveman with how little i know'm not sure if she feels like a caveman or if she feels like the missionaries are.  Her English will suffer, now that she lives life mostly in Korean). Anyway, my companion and I always get really excited when we see our Finnish friend because his life is just so randomly magical. Also, he wears snazzy european suits with slicked-backed Hari and LOUIS VUITTON belts. His life is just too majestic for words.
Our lessons with our investigator are going well. I feel like we finally can understand what's being said to us in our lessons and can respond according to our investigators' needs without searching through our notes for twenty minutes. However yesterday, in our lesson with our investigator Bang Hyung-Je-Nim, we were trying to teach him about the plan of salvation and he went off of this random tangent about he was super tired because he'd been up drinking the night before. Apparently his girlfriend broke up with him and he was super sad and just needed to drink and forget about her...craziness. Anyway, my companion and  I didn't know what to do instead of say that we loved him and that we would pray for him. I guess we'll have to start learning the korean vocab for the word of wisdom now. :)  (Remember, these are not real investigators.  They help the missionaries prepare to teach different people)
This week, I've been thinking a lot about the atonement. How amazing is it that Christ loves us so much that He was willing to die for us and pay the price of our sins. that because of Him, we can repent and live with Him and our Father in Heaven again? in our lesson with our other investigator we were trying to explain this concept of the atonement and how we can know if we've successfully repented and been forgiven of our sins. In Alma 36:18-21 it explains the feeling perfectly. It says,
"Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.  And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.  And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains.  Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."
I testify that we CAN be forgiven. That Christ's atonement is perfect and infinite and that it applies to ALL of us, if only we take advantage of it. I love the Lord and I love this gospel. I know I'm here for a reason and that reason is to bring to the people of kroea the glad message that we CAN live with God again.
I love you all and I pray for you every day.
Arvanitas Jameh