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. :)]

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