Monday, April 24, 2017

Little Corner of Paradise! April 24, 2017

Our best but sad attempt at a jumping picture by the beach last p day!

When we finally got on a bus after getting lost in the new area, it calls for a picture!

There is a fun wall graffity everywhere!

When we went and sat by the ocean this week Sister Brady found a new setting on her camera so we were playing with it! 

Another great week in Korea! I really do love it here, the food, well maybe one day but the rest of it is great! I realized this week I'm living in my own little corner of Paradise. After a huuuuuuge lunch with a member neither of us were hungry for dinner so we decided to walk to the beach and eat ice cream by the water. That was the best hour. Everything is so beautiful here and green thanks to all the rain we got a few weeks ago.
We found out this week that our area is bigger than we thought it was. There's another city we haven't been that we wanted to go see. Sister Brady and I, being the capable people that we are, told the Elders we could figure it out alone one night since they couldn't make it. We hop on a bus and off we go. After 30 minutes of riding the bus we get to where Sister Brady thought the stop was. When we got off the bus we looked around and there was nothing! It was super dark and we were on some random mountain side! We had no idea where we were or when any bus would be coming back through this little abandoned city. We ran over to the bus stop and stood on the bench by this little light post hoping a bus would come back eventually. And of course, like in any classic horror movie, there was this abandoned hotel across the street with the weirdest sounds coming out of it. After a solid 20 minutes of prayers an empty bus pulls up and I don't think we've ever been so excited to get on a bus in our lives! It was quite the adventure for the week!
Twice a week we teach a free English class and it is the best. I love teaching English! Thanks to my lack of Korean skills I get to teach the advanced class. This week Elder Sam Yiou came up to me and said "Hey Sister Stout you're doing the announcements today!" I just looked at him and laughed! He grabs the board and starts writing all of this Korean. I realize he's serious. He looks at me and says "Do you believe in the Gift of Tongues" I say yes. He says, "Well then we have 20 minutes to get this all in your head so the Holy Ghost has something to work with!" The next 20 minutes he spent trying to help me memorize that! When class rolled around, I got up and gave the announcements. I have gained such a strong testimony of the gift of tongues this week. I know through Christ's help we truly can be lifted through any trial that comes our way. After we put in the work He will always come through and help us become more than we can imagine. I know as we put our faith and trust in Him we can do things we never thought we could. 
Thanks for all the prayers and support!
Love, Sister Stout

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week #1 April 16, 2017

Some of our ward at a little girl in the wards 1st birthday party

Stage fun

Our biggest fans ;)

Singing at the service activity at the hospital! These are the Elders we spend a lot of time with that are in our same city

The group that we helped at the service activity

Korea is like a little slice of Heaven. I am loving it here!  By the time my year and a half is up I'm pretty sure I'll be a professional surfer after all of the bus surfing we do here! It truly is an art being able to keep your balance, holding all of your stuff while you hold onto a little pole and these buses are driving like mad men! It's quite the adventure! 

We were able to do a service project this week with one of our investigators. She goes to a hospital each week and puts on this big show. She sings and they make it fun for the people in the hospital. She invited us to pick some songs and come perform then with her at the hospital. It was the funnest thing I've ever done!! All of these people had been through so much, there were a lot that were Elderly and were there because they were sick. The rules for when we do these things are a bit different and so we sang Marry Me by Bruno Mars and Party in the USA by good old Miley Cyrus. We danced and karaoked! Sister Brady and I belted it out and danced, the Elders were a little more skittish, but it was the greatest experience ever! 

We have seen so many amazing miracles this week. It has been unreal. Now that the Cherry Blossom festival is over we have been able to meet with our investigators again because it isn't so busy.I started out this week really sick. I think it is just a mix of exhaustion and stress so my immune system was really low. I was really dragging and just going along one step at a time. It seemed like nothing was progressing and I was just exhausted and sick. We had planned on watching Conference that night, but for some reason our conference wouldn't play. It was the only thing on the drive that seemed to be broken. After messing with it for a while we decided maybe that wasn't the way we were supposed to spend our night. We headed out onto the streets to proselyte. We didn't have much luck, we were heading back home and bumped into one of our investigators that we hadn't been able to get a hold of for almost two weeks. She was with her mother in law and so we didn't get to talk much. The next day we got a phone call from her and she explained to us everything that had been going on. In Korea your mother in law dictates a lot of what you are able to do. When a girl gets married, they automatically have to take the religion of their mother in law. It's just the way the culture is and it is super frustrating as missionaries. This girl we've been teaching loves the gospel and loves meeting with the missionaries, but her mother in law hates the church. She had been sneaking out to meet with us behind her mother in laws back. The last appointment with her, before I got here, the missionaries had given her an Ensign. Her mother in law caught her with the ensign and freaked out. They got into a huge fight and her mother in law started hitting her and kicked her out of the house. It was a huge deal. After about 2 weeks things started to calm down and our investigator didn't know what to do. She had been praying for a sign of what she should do and that was when she ran into us on the street. We were able to meet with her again this week, behind her mother in laws back, and talked to her about the whole situation. It's really sad how little freedom they are able to have. It also makes you realize how lucky you are to have the gospel without having to sacrifice really anything for it. There are people here that are sacrificing so much to have the gospel in their lives because they can taste the blessings that comes from it. It really is amazing. I feel so thankful for the opportunity I have to be able to share the gospel with the amazing people in Korea. I've been able to see  first hand that God's work will go on and there truly is nothing that can stand in the way of the work progressing.
I love and miss you all!
Sister Stout

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Korea Busan Mission.......A Letter from Laken's Mission President.....April 15, 2017

Just wanted to post an update from the letter we received yesterday from her mission president.  I know many people have been asking how she is doing with the conflict over in North here it is.

April 15, 2017
Dear Parents,
We are grateful to serve with your sons and daughters. Our highest priority is their safety. With the recent media attention concerning North Korea, we recognize that many of you are concerned. The purpose of this email is to update you on the current situation and to inform you of what is being done to protect the safety of missionaries.
In the last several days, the Church has made contact with military, government, and individuals in private industry to better determine any threats to missionary safety. Given the longstanding tensions between the United States and North Korea, there is little evidence to suggest that a direct military conflict is likely to occur in the short term. Despite the deployment of the U.S. Navy carrier group and aggressive rhetoric from North Korea, such provocations are considered to be a show of force and are not an indication of an imminent threat of widespread combat.

The Church will continue to monitor the situation and is in contact with several entities – including the U.S. Embassy in Korea and the U.S. Department of State – to identify circumstances that would indicate the need to move missionaries out of the area. Please be assured that the Church will be at the forefront of moving missionaries should the situation require it.
Additionally, we have been asked to review emergency action plans and to help missionaries acquire necessary items such as food and water in case there is an unexpected response by either side of the conflict that would result in the inability to move missionaries in a timely manner.
We are grateful for the sacrifices you are making to allow your sons and daughters to serve our Heavenly Father. We ask for your continued prayers as we work to share the Gospel with the wonderful people of Korea and for the guidance and protection of the missionaries. 
If you have further concerns, you can send me an email at

President Kenneth S. Barrow
Korea Busan Mission President

Monday, April 10, 2017

Koooorea:) Monday April 10, 2017

We finally made it!

On the boat ride headed to the island!
A sketchy bridge we walked across!

Our district on the Golden Pig on the island this morning. 
Meeting her new companion and her Mission President!

One of Laken's first meals!

McDonald's Delivery Scooters!  Who knew!

Well I officially made it to Korea! We said our goodbyes to our teachers and other missionaries and were off! They gave us instructions and kind of just dropped us off at the bus station. Thankfully we still made it!

After a solid 25 hours of traveling and no sleep on the airplanes, we made it to Korea! Our mission president picked us up from there and took us to the mission home. We were all so exhausted, we were out! The next day we headed straight out to go proscelyte and do a mini training session. After we got assigned our trainer and area. My trainer is Sister Brady! I lucked out, she is amazing! Our personalities get along really well, she's just awesome! She is 29 and from Texas, the story of how she ended up serving a mission is so cool. I look up to her so much. 

My area is called 진해 (Jinhae). It is such a beautiful place! It is right inbetween the mountains and the ocean. The pictures don't do it justice, it is amazing! On top of that right now is the cherry blossom season. Where I am has the biggest Cherry Blossom festival in all of South Korea. It is so beautiful with all of the cherry blossoms every where. They line the side walks like snow. 

So right after I got my new companion we headed out to our Area. It was about a 2 hour bus ride. We had an appointment with an investigator from the English class we teach and were cutting close on time. Lugging luggage around Korea and on and off buses is a huge pain in the butt! When we finally made it to the house, we threw my stuff down and headed out the door. Sister Brady looked and me and said I know you're exhausted, I'm sorry! We took off sprinting down the road to make it to the church on time. On top of it, it was DUMPING rain!!! Here I am, with 5 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, sprinting down the road in the dark, in a foreign country, in the pouring rain with no umbrella thinking, oh my gosh what am I doing!? When we finally made it to the church, we were an absolute mess! Looking in the mirror at the make up all over our faces and my hair almost as fashionable as a lion, that's about when I realized I was headed into the adventure of a life time. 

The ward here is super sweet. They show their love through food. Which is awesome, except when their food is...well you know, Korean food. I'm convinced I'll never grow to love it. That is some rough stuff. But their intentions are so sweet. The stake president's wife invited us over for dinner, which is a big deal I guess, Koreans don't just call to invite you over unless you call first. She was soo cute. She told us she had been thinking about the new missionary and wanted to make me my first meal in Korea. Meanwhile, I was terrified. Sister Brady was telling me that since it was my first meal they would be watching me closely to see if I liked it and to be really careful about what expressions I made on my face. This would've been awesome if I could've even got it in my mouth. Being able to successfully use chopsticks is a talent that I hope I can learn. I lived through that, ate all the food, and hope I can learn to love it. It's funny because my zone is all Elders, except for Sister Brady and I. The members love Sisters, we get fed 3-4 times a week, where the Elders only go 3-4 times a month. I told them they're more than welcome to eat my share!

This morning for our P-Day we were able to take a boat out to an island to explore with our zone. Korea is such a beauiful place! It was amazing. I feel so thankful that I'm able to serve here. It's really cool to see the church all over the world is in the end the exact same. I can't wait for this adventure that lies ahead and the amazing people there are to meet. I love and miss you all!
I send my love!
Love, Sister Stout