Monday, May 29, 2017

Elder Oaks and Miracles....May 29, 2017

This is Sister Brady and I on our cute little table. Featuring our favorite lettuce meat wraps because tortillas don't exist in Korea!

Our walk to the beach to Stickerboard Proselyte. Everyone looking their best thanks to the blinding sun!

 The top of our hike this morning for p-day. Because this is at the top of the mountain it is supposed to give you a lot of power when you touch it.

The Prayer towers

This is where Sister Brady and I studied this week. In the cute little red Buddhist thing. President Barrow asked us all to do our studies outside of our house from now on, so we've been finding fun places to study!

You could see everywhere from our hike! Love you guys!

Well hello everybody!

The amount of miracles we saw this week was unreal. I feel like I could type about them for forever, but due to the computer's going to have to be super cut down!

First, this week Elder Oaks came and visited our mission! Everything about that was just the greatest. We all got to shake his hand and when he looked at you it was like he was staring through your soul. The power behind him was amazing. I never pictured him as a comedian, but Elder Oaks is super funny! He talked a lot about the power behind all of the positive touches we leave on people and how that can effect them. The whole talk just seemed to answer prayer after prayer for us all.

This week Sister Brady and I were walking to church and passed this lady, we said hello and she looked at us and said hello back! Except the cool part was, she actually said hello in English! She is from America and is here as an English teacher. She asked us if she could be part of our 30/30 (we typically teach 30 minutes of one on one English, or in her case Korean, then then next 30 minutes we teach about the gospel.) program and come to church with us next week. Talk about blessings being thrown into our lap!

Each week we teach a free English class at the church. As we were walking out of a gas station this past week a man asked us if we could teach his family English. We told him about our English program and him and his whole family showed up at English class. It was sooooo awesome. We are super excited about having a new family at English class. English class is the number one way in Korea that people get baptized and introduced to the church. Right now we have 15 non members and 2 less actives attending class every week. Two of the families that attend regularly were past investigators that, because of Korean tradition they have to follow the religion of their mother in law, couldn't take lessons from the missionaries anymore. They love the church and being around the missionaries so they come every single week. It has been such a big testimony builder to me of what people have to go through to come to the church. There are so many sacrifices made around the world that we forget or don't realize. It makes you realize how lucky you are to have the gospel so close and not have to give up anything really to have it. The faith of these families that one day they will have the opportunity to have the gospel is amazing. I feel like I get to learn more from them every week than I could ever  teach them. 
Love and miss everyone!
Love, Sister Stout

Monday, May 22, 2017

Because of Him! May 22, 2017

Hey Hey everybody!

Every week in Jinhae is just getting better and better, I'm also getting more and more tired, which is concerning because I just got here!

This week I feel like all we did was laugh and work our butts off! We made some lettuce wraps for dinner and were almost done eating and Sister Brady look at her lettuce and says, "Sister Stout, please look at this." We both take a close look and realize our lettuce was covered in these tiny bugs. WE ATE BUGS FOR DINNER. And to make it worse, that was the same lettuce we had eaten from for lunch and hadn't realized it was covered in bugs! I always promised myself eating bugs was were it crossed the line, but this week I ate bugs out of my own free will! 

There is a guy in our ward and he is the happiest man I've ever met. He always walks around with a smile on his face. Before church we stand outside and greet everyone as they come in and every week when we ask him how he is doing he says, I'm doing great, because of Him! It doesn't matter what is going on in this man's life, I've never seen him with out a smile on his face. I've been thinking a lot lately about the phrase he says every week, "Because of Him." The longer I'm out on my mission and the more trials I face, the more I realize that our true joy comes because of Him. Through Christ we truly can overcome all of our trials. When we have the Lord on our side, there is nothing that we can't do. Because of Him, anything is possible.
I send my love!
Sister Stout

PS I left my camera cord at the house, so sorry!

Hi Mom and Dad!

Elder Haskall got transfered so now we have a new Elder in our area whose Korean and he's super nice. He made us Korean food this week and gave it to us in a little tupper ware. We were super excited because we ran out of food this week, it was actually the funniest thing ever. Sunday night for dinner we just heated up anything we could find. We had frozen bananas with peanut butter (SO GOOD, frozen fruit is becoming one of my favorite things, like frozen grapes are going to be a staple for the rest of my life) and a ramen noodles packet that we stole from the first aid kit. 

For P Day today we had to go to Masan to get Sister Brady's foreigner card renewed and after went with our district to a, it's like a meat buffet. You cook the food in front of yourself and they just keep bringing it. That was really yummy, the boys would love it! It's a lot of fun. I also tried raw octopus this week, it was soooo gross. I hated it. I didn't realize what it was until after the ward lunch and Elder Sam Yiou told me what it was. It is the most nasty thing eeever. Plus the lunch with the ward just wasn't that fantastic, everyone was on a hate roll! That's one problem we have, people want to practice their English to you, but then there are some people and if they hear you speaking English will come and chew you out. Especially that little old man I told you about, I avoid him at all cost!

I gave away a Book of Mormon this week to the cutest little old lady! She was Christian and was super excited when I gave it to her. We can't get many people to take Book of Mormons on the street so I was so excited! We don't knock doors in Korea, we can only talk to people on the street. It makes it kind of hard because everyone has some where they need to be and a time frame. 
How was everyone's week?
Well love you!
Have a good week!
Love, Laken

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Happy Mothers Day! 2017

Our Little Family Together Again!

Laken at her half training day with her MTC group!

Hey everyone!
We have seen so many blessings this week it has been awesome. Both Sister Brady and I are staying in our area. We're finally starting to make some progress with our members and I can't wait to see what happens this next transfer in Jinhae!

This week we got to go to Busan for my half training meeting! It was so nice to be able to see and talk to everyone from my district! Everyone was still alive and kicking.

I'm super low on time, so sorry, but know that I send all of my love!
Sister Stout

**This is a letter we received from Laken's Mission President the Saturday before we talked to her.  It was also right after the North Koreans launched a Balistic Missile.  It made us feel better and thought we would share it.

Dear Parents and Family of our Beloved Missionaries,

This letter is a follow-up to my April 15 letter regarding the current situation in South Korea and our constant effort to ensure your missionary’s health and safety.

We know the headlines and daily news continue to focus on tensions in the region, however, daily life in South Korea goes on unchanged as do your missionary’s daily labors.  We continue to closely monitor the current situation and have sought appropriate guidance from various sources to safeguard our missionaries.

At the request of the Asia North Area Presidency and the Missionary Department, Church Security Department personnel recently traveled to South Korea to assist in reviewing and updating emergency action plans for the mission.  While here, they not only met with me, the mission president, but also with Church Area personnel, and personnel at the U.S. Embassy and in the U.S. Forces Korea.  As a result of these meetings we have further refined our mission emergency plans.  Mission plans monitor and reflect U.S. and Korean government travel advisories and travel warnings.  Because of our other preparations, you may also hear in coming days that your missionary is participating in various phone and transportation exercises.  “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

Additionally, you should be aware that each spring the U.S. and South Korean armed forces hold joint military exercises in South Korea while in North Korea they concurrently commemorate military anniversaries.  This combination of events historically escalates tension and rhetoric levels during that period.

For parents located in U.S. time zones, if you have immediate concerns we have also established a telephone information number through the Missionary Department at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City that you may call.  That number is (801) 240-0710.  If this is not convenient, you may still call the mission home.  For parents of Korean missionaries, we have a telephone information number that you may call here at the mission home.  That number is 051-552-7011.

You may also be interested to know Elder and Sister Dallin H. Oaks as well as other Church leaders will be in South Korea later this month on a regularly scheduled visit.  We are excited to hear the message of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and know his visit will bless the members and missionaries throughout South Korea.

In closing, please know that we love your missionary and feel so very blessed to have the opportunity to serve together.  We pray for peace and calm in the region and know tour loving Heavenly Father is mindful of his chosen missionaries as they go about their labors.

With great love and respect,

Kenneth S. Barrow
Mission President

Korea Busan Mission

Monday, May 8, 2017

Singing in the Rain....All Day Every Day!

Boat rides!

Another picture I got sent from our hike last week for Zone Conference.

HA I fell getting trying to get off of this.

             Hiking up in the island!

Sitting on the glass windows looking down at the city from the top of the solar tower, it was beautiful!
But how I really felt inside captured.

Hello everybody!
Another week of hard work and I can't believe how fast this transfer has gone by. The weather here has been beautiful, we are definitely in for a boiling summer! I got told this week that the size of the spiders in Korea is unreal and they string themselves between trees so you have to be careful to not walk into them. That is death in a sentence. I take what I said last week back, I'll just eat the tomatoes!

This week we were able to give one of our investigators a baptismal date. She told us she wants to learn more first, but that it's something she wants. I'm so excited for her, she's adorable! It's kind of fun because right now we have 7 investigators, one is from Thailand, one from China, and one from the Philippians. They're awesome!

We met with a member this week and she taught us a Korean song about love that has become the theme song for everything we do! We sing it everywhere we go. It's the greatest! 

For P Day today we went island jumping. That is something I never thought I would do on a weekly basis! Definitely the best $3 I've ever spent. One island we went to we decided was like the arena from the hunger games. It was super fun being the only ones on this little quiet island full of trees. We were a little nervous because we got told there were wild bore on the island...after we climbed all over the island and were wondering what the scrapping on the bottom of the trees was from. We probably wouldn't have gone weed wacking through the trees if we would've know that! On one of the islands there was a huge solar tower. We went to the top and you could see everywhere! There was a section where the ground was glass, so you could see the ground below you. Definitely a day well spent. 
Thanks for all the prayers. I send my love!
Sister Stout

Monday, May 1, 2017

Bowls of octupuses and eels for sale at the market. Oh you know, totally normal. They cut up and baby octopuses raw and alive. Sister Brady says you can feel the tentacles wiggling around on your tongue, thankfully I haven't had to eat that one yet!


 Playing ping pong with one of our investigators before English class. Ping pong is huge here! And when you suck at the language, you have to find some way to connect with people!

 Our famous Christmas tree shaped Banana bread we take to members!

A Buddhist Temple we went and explored this morning for P Day

Another Hike Picture

Action shot during one of the talks on the hike. Our confused as always look.

 Corn Dogs we went and got for lunch. Fun Fact, Corn dogs in Korea are rolled in Sugar. Weird, yes, but so good!

A killer view from our Zone Conference Hike

Well I have officially hit my three month mark!! I can't believe it, time has flown! This week has brought the start of tomato season. I have been dreading tomato season. People in Korea like to eat tomatoes like apples. Unfortunately Sister Brady and I both hate tomatoes. I'm convinced it's going to be the death of us! We went to a members house this week for lunch and she pulls out this huge bowl of cut up tomatoes, now we aren't talking little chunks. I'm talking the tomatoes were cut into like fourths. We both looked at each other horrified, because I knew of all the things I've downed in Korea that there is no way tomatoes could be one of them. When the member ran into the kitchen we opened up Sister Brady's backpack, emptied her camera case and started shoving tomatoes into the camera case. It was like being on some spy movie, which was awesome and on top of it we got out alive without having to eat tomatoes! Shout out to Sister Brady's camera case for taking the blow, it is permanently stained with the smell of tomatoes. 

Another random miracle this week was we got to go on exchanges with our STLs. That's not the crazy part, the crazy part is I got asked to go on splits with Sister Oleson! She was in my district at the MTC, but got put in the 3 week program. It was like having a little piece of home! The even more crazy part was because we stayed in my area, I was our guide around town. I was positive I was going to get us super lost. Considering I don't know Korean and am not super good at the bus system here, it was an interesting day. We had so much fun though, it was like having a sleepover with a long lost friend!

The next day we met back up with our companions at the Mission Home in Busan for our Zone Conference. (That also means another shout out to our dear Elders for helping us get to Busan, I had no idea which direction it was even in from Jinhae. We would've been doomed!) For our Zone Conference President Barrow took us on a super awesome all day hike. It was absolutely beautiful. We passed a random Buddhist temple really high up in the mountains and that was really cool to see. I got to know everyone in my zone pretty well which I just loved! Along the way we stopped and talked about each day of the Savior's life. It was such a cool atmosphere to be able to learn about the Savior's life and feel of his love. I know that He lives and loves each of us. He understands each of us perfectly and knows us better than we know ourselves. As He was on the cross and suffering all of these things His sole motivation for it all was because He loves us. He could've stopped it at any point, but He didn't because He loves us. Because of Him, anything is possible.
I love and miss everyone!
Love, Sister Stout