In just two days, we get to talk to Sydney. I can't wait. I know that she is where she needs to be even though we miss her and Nick terribly. Merry Christmas to everyone and God Bless you and your family!
I didn't tell anyone this because I thought it was too good to be
true, but a couple weeks ago I asked President Shin if I could travel
back to 충주 and attend my little twelve-year old investigator's (오다은)
He said yes.
And so yesterday, my new companion and I went on a little road trip and
spent the day with my dear 예성 Ward. It felt a little like what I
imagine coming home will feel like at the end of my mission. Everyone
there welcomed me back with hugs and smiles and exclamations of
"Sister Abba! We missed you!"
I didn't even think they'd noticed I'd gone. :)
But the best part of all was being there for 다은's baptism. She was so
nervous and poor Elder Kim had to baptize her five times because her
dress wouldn't go all the way under and the font didn't have enough
water in it, but finally, finally, everything went right and the whole
ward cheered and really it was just perfect. Honestly, it wouldn't be
a baptism unless something goes a little awry.
After the baptism we ate curry and kimchi together and the ward
members gave 다은 gifts and the Ward Mission Leader brought out a cake
and candles and we all sang, "Happy baptism to you! Happy baptism to
you! Happy baptism, dear 다은! Happy baptism to you!" It was hilarious
and wonderful and I'm sure all the other investigators who were in
attendance thought we were a bunch of crazy people, but I didn't even
care. Gah. I love that ward so much.
And really, it was the perfect ending to my time in 충주. My least
favorite thing about transfers is that it all happens so suddenly and
one never really has the chance to say goodbye or to get closure. But
going back for 다은's baptism was exactly what I needed and now I feel
like I can love the people more and work harder than before in my new
공주 Ward because I have personally witnessed the change that the
missionaries brought to 충주 and I want that for 공주 too.
In all honesty, lately, things here have been really hard. I've missed
my family. I've missed my friends. I've missed feeling like it was
Christmas because, fun fact, Christmastime in Asia is NOT the same as
Christmastime in America. To tell you the truth, I've been a
little...bitter. But these past few weeks especially, I've been
studying the life and ministry of the Saviour. In America, the
reminder of the true meaning of of Christmas comes in the pithy
phrase, "He's the reason for the season." But as I've studied Him--His
birth, His death, and His purpose--I've come to realized that he isn't
just the reason for the season. He's the reason for everything.
He's the reason I wake up at 6:30 every.single.morning and walk around
in the cold every.single.day. He's the reason why I put up with typing
these emails on a browser that's so old it doesn't even fully support
my email account. He's the reason I talk to strangers on the street in
a language I don't really know. He's the reason I try to be patient
and kind and understanding and generous and good. He's the reason I'm
here in this foreign land, away from my home and away from my family
during this, my very favorite time of the year.
But more than that He's the reason I can be forgiven of my sins and
upheld in my trials and His gospel brings me the knowledge that it's
okay that I'm apart from my family right now because I know that after
this life is over I can be together with them forever.
He's the reason for everything.
And, really, there is no better time to be a missionary that at
Christmastime because it is only in my sadness that I've come to
realize more perfectly this beautiful truth.
I love you all so much.