This week has been a whirlwind of busy! On Wednesday morning I got a call telling us we were moving apartments… the very NEXT morning! I couldn’t believe it and in my astonishment probably used some English on the phone, oops. The apartment I moved into with Sister Sheffield at the beginning of the transfer was meant for two people: Just a bedroom, dresser room and one bathroom. but as they are having to find more apartments for the new “wave” of missionaries, we’re having to double up in some places. So, a new sister missionary team for another ward was also living with us. 4 girls, one bathroom, and a very tight morning schedule… we had to be creative to make it work, but it’s worked. Sister Sheffield and I slept in the kitchen! In the morning we just stacked our mattresses and it was like having a permanent couch between the table and sink, not too shabby. “Remember when we slept in the kitchen?” became the punch line to all our jokes.
But, we weren’t terribly concerned about it, because we knew that sometime soon we’d move into a new apartment for four people, and it would be nice and spacious with two bathrooms and no one sleeping in the kitchen. That last night sleeping in the kitchen we… well we didn’t do anything special because we were so tired from having a full day of appointments AND having to pack an entire apartment. So the next morning we set off across the neighborhood to our new abode, only to walk in to find that our new fabulous apartment was… SMALLER! We spent the whole day cleaning and scrubbing, organizing, and bleaching and mopping some more. From far away our apartment looked so nice and fancy, but as we got closer we could just tell our expectations wouldn’t be met and we walked slower and slower. When we walked in we found that the members who were helping us were also disappointed and confused by the new apartment. I said a silent prayer that if our situation couldn’t be changed, that at least our hearts would be softened to the situation and we could be satisfied where we were. As Sister Sheffield pointed out, lots of missionaries in the world have to live in huts! As the day went on and the grim and gross slowly disappeared with our efforts, the tiny apartment became our home and I could feel my prayer being answered as peace and contentment replaced our disappointments.
The super ironic part is that when I got to Gwangju this last time, I went to have my Foreigner Card and Record updated. Every time I move, a new address is added to my file and is printed on my card that I carry around. This time, however, they took my card and said that since I had moved so many times, I needed a new card because there was no space for anything else. I was told to come back in three weeks to pick up my new one… go figure I’m going to need to have my address changed again!
This past weekend was… GENERAL CONFERENCE! One of the two best weekends of the year! I just love hearing the words of the living prophet and apostles and other church leaders because I know that the words spoken are guidance and direction from Heavenly Father. One of the friends we are teaching came to the first session on Saturday morning. It was so interesting, but not surprising to me, that questions she had asked just that week in lessons were answered in the talks. On Wednesday we had talked about the Restoration of the Priesthood, the power to act on earth in God’s name, and she asked why women couldn’t hold the priesthood. We told her that as women, we have our own special nature and purpose that serve a different powerful role on earth. Then, one of the first few speakers on Saturday morning, Elaine S. Dalton who was serving as the president of the Young Women’s organization of the church dedicated her whole talk to the idea that “We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father” and each of us has a special purpose as those divine daughters that works in harmony with the priesthood that men hold. Perfect. She had so many questions answered and gained a better understanding of how she can improve in her role as a mother, which she has also been searching for.
Sunday, a less active member that we’ve been working with showed up for the last session. We had mentioned General Conference to her, but we didn’t think that she would come, so we were pleasantly surprised! Lately, she’s been struggling to understand and believe in God and the Gospel, but the first talk she heard was all about believing and holding onto even the particle of belief that we have, even the desire for knowledge that we have as we strive to better know Heavenly Father and understand His perfect plan for us. She learned and was encouraged by the thought that “anything is possible for those that believe” (Jeffrey R. Holland), even if our belief is small and seemingly insignificant. It still counts!
For me, again and again I heard the reminder that even though we aren’t perfect, the Lord is still patient with us and will help us along our effort-filled paths. In other words, again and again I heard the encouragement and reassurance that I had been praying for. General Conference: it’s the BEST! I encourage you to either study the words again, or if you missed it the first time, go and find the answers to your prayers though the words available to all at lds.org/conference. I promise you, you will find the answers you’ve been seeking. Maybe even the answers you didn’t know you were seeking.
And, by the way… we still sleep in the kitchen!