Email 9-14-14 Sister Alexandra Sue Burton
Pictures: Baptism yesterday...Sister Kim, our lovely Grandmother Park, devout member Sister Jeong, me
Eating hae (raw fish! Yes, I did that before, but this time IT WAS STILL MOVING WHEN I ATE IT!)
Maybe you are all wondering, does it feel real? Last email, last week...
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. It hit me Friday night after mission tour. I just excused myself after planning and went and sat on the bathroom floor and cried for about 20 min. I couldn't help myself...ha, ha, I'm crying now just thinking about it. It doesn't matter how great of a writer I become or how much time you give me...I will never be able to express this deep love and gratitude I feel to have been able to serve my Lord as a missionary in beloved Korea. I am blessed to have been given a love deep, a joy incomprehensible.
I know that He lives and that He loves us. God is our Father, and His son Jesus Christ is our Savior.
He is a God of miracles. Just one example if my fingers can fly fast enough!
We had a baptism on Sunday! I remember weekly planning that last week in August and I just had the gloomiest feeling. I just stared at these names (especially Grandmother Park's) and thought, "I've done everything I know how to do. I don't know how to help her. I don't know what to do. We've prayed and fasted and studied and taught our hearts out."
My companion, then, gave me the greatest words. She said, "Sister Burton, right now these weeks ahead are darkness, but we must first step into the darkness. God will turn on the light. We don't have to know what to do. We just go forward."
We stepped forward. Sister Park was sick, and then it was a huge Korean holiday and she left for her hometown early. We couldn't meet. We couldn't finish the lessons. We had to call the district leader and cancel her interview and we tried to figure out a new date...but nothing was working out.
Then, the second day of Chuseok we were eating with a member when Sister Park called that member to say that she'd just arrived home (EARLY! nobody arrives home early from Chuseok). Sister Jeong sent us over there lightening fast in a bouncing mountain truck. When we got there we were able to have the most amazing lesson with her, and she told us of a dream she had in which she had been by a river and seen people dressed all in white walking through the water. She knew then that she wanted to be baptized. We were able to finish the lessons that day and preview the interview questions.
We called the district leader and reset the interview and he canceled exchanges. He took an hour and half bus ride up to Andong where he was to meet us at the terminal so that we could catch another bus to Yeacheon where a member would pick us up and drive us 50 min. out to the farm where our investigator had to work. We could do the interview during her lunch break...a super small window, a lot of important bus connections that we couldn't miss.
Well, we left our apartment headed to the Andong bus terminal in plenty of time, but what could possibly happen but a PARADE! We were stuck, dead, for 20 min. When we finally got passed the traffic we jumped off the bus and into a taxi and the district leader called us.
"Where are you?"
"We're in a taxi. We're coming. Hang on."
"How long will it take you to get here?"
(Ask the taxi driver...) "Five minutes."
"What! The bus leaves in three minutes!"
"What will you do? You'll never make it!"
"I don't know. Believe in miracles, Elder."
We jumped out of the taxi as the district leader yelled through the phone into my ear. "It left, it left! the bus left!" But we just kept running. Through the terminal, out into the sun...there is the bus, barreling down the lot toward the road, there's the district leader, waving his hands and then the tickets go flying into the wind and all over the ground. He runs at the tickets, I run straight at the bus, and oh, that kind bus drive taps on his breaks just enough and opens the door! I jump up onto the step and Elder Stoker yells, "Sister Burton, where is your companion?"
I turn to look at something other than the bus and Sister Kim is nowhere. I meet the bus drivers eyes and then leap from the bus as the Elders board. Sister Kim is standing in the terminal with a really confused look on her face and when I yell everyone in the terminal hears expect for Sister Kim. I ran and grabbed her hand and we dashed back to the bus.
Luckily we had cookies on us so we could give some to that good bus driver.
Sister Park had her baptismal interview in the middle of the farmland, under an arch of berry bushes. Time is out or else I would describe how perfect it was. I will never forget her smile as she came up out of the water...pain free, clean, perfect.
I love you all! See you soon! Many more stories then.
Love, Sister Burton