Other than that things have been pretty normal in our missionary work here in our area. We met with our usual investigators 윤영온 형재님, 박신곤 형재님, 정대영 형재님,박재휘 형재님, and 오삼석 형재님. Both 박신곤 형재님 and 정대영 형재님 are progressing really well and we taught really great lessons with them this week. 정대영 형재님’s parents are still not allowing him to be baptized but he is coming to church, seminary and youth activities (which they do together on saturdays), and meeting with us regularly, even despite being a busy student with lots of tests. We are teaching him the commandments right now and are planning to finish the lessons with him and then pray together and see if we cant meet with his parents or figure something out. It is sad to see that he cant proceed as he wants but we are just trying to help him continue to grow and see what we can do. We had a great lesson with 박신곤 형재님 about the plan of salvation and he commited to reading a few chapters in 3 nephi, praying about the book of mormon, coming to church next week, and we made a plan for him to be ready for his baptismal date we set in October. He seems to be genuinly interested and wants to be ready to be baptized. So many people we meet do not have real interest or do not understand the missionary purpose or the gospel well, but it is so refreshing to have someone where everything is going so well. Sometimes he even calls us throughout the week and asks us different questions about what he has been studying. We are just working to keep him progressing as best as we can. We truly love him and hope everything continues to work out so well! Several of our other investigators are not super interested and even though we teach them basic lessons and they read from the Book of Mormon regularly, they do not understand what we want from them or what they have to do personally to be converted. Sometimes it can be really diffficult to teach people without a christian background because concepts such as prayer, or even who God is are so foreign. Our investigators struggle with praying to God or even feeling like they can or should pray. it can also be hard because they come to english class and their priorities are kind of hard to discern. Hopefully as we continue to tailor our lessons to their needs things will progress. Sadly we had to stop our meetings with 박재휘 형재님 this week. He has been meeting with the missionaries off and on since 2007 and regularly with us for 6 months. Even though he has been reading the Book of Mormon and is already up to 2 Nephi and keeps our assignments to read and pray pretty consistently, he refuses to come to church. Sadly I think he partially just enjoys being around the missionaries and playing ping pong with them. We have been teaching about church for weeks and trying to help him resolve his concerns, but apparently he had some kind of childhood trauma and has fears of being around large groups of people. Despite teaching about faith and that he can get help throught the atonement, offering to sit with him in the back and introduce him to people, he hasnt been able to move forward. It was hard for us to decide to stop meeting with him because he is truly a good person, but just has to make this step to move forward. hopefully things will change over time but for know it doesnt seem like he can make the next step from where he is.
Little by little elder Luke have been trying to find more and more truly interested investigators and teach lessons to new people. we have been trying to meet with former investigators and contacts we receive through proselyting. We actually had several first lessons with people this week which has been going really well. Sometimes when we meet with people things do not go as well though. Somehow this past week we managed to meet with both an atheist and an anti mormon, which were both very interesting experiences. One of the people we found, Noel, an astralian english teacher, met with us and asked us all sorts of questions such as “did noah really take 2 of every type of every animal with him on the ark? what about bacteria?” or “how did noah feed all the animals” and talked all about the true meaning of truth and the burden of proof and logical arguments. Another person, who we sometimes call Taxi man, we met while doing doing english class proselyting when he yelled “hello mormon missionaries” from his taxi cab. Talking to him for a second we wondered how he knew words like companion or Thomas S Monson. Thinking he must know something about our church we got his information and called him. Not knowing what would happen he took us out to lunch and i dont know if it is because he was speaking in english or was slightly “different” he launched into a lengthy, confusing story about how he was a member but that he found the church was wrong and cited all sorts of anti mormon names and things he thought proved the church wrong. In both cases Elder Luke and I tried to answer questions as best we could but continually fell back on the answer that “we dont have answers to everything, we dont know everything that god knows, but we have read the book of mormon, we have prayed about it, and through it we know and have faith in the truth of this church.” I would have thought these meetings might have shaken my testimony but they rather left me with a greater understanding of the power and importance of personal revelation. All we can do is pray and seek the truth for ourselves, live true to what we find, and have faith in our heavenly father. As we met with these people I only wished they could have the same witness I have. As missionaries all we can do is invite people to do so.
I truly see that as I try to help people every day I learn more and more and strengthen my testimony no matter what experiences I have. I wish that everyone could have the same knowledge I do. I realize that as a missionary it is my job to invite, testify of the truth and blessings I have recieved, work hard, and leave the rest to Heavenly Father. Even though we should live true to whatever faith we do have and that lasted me for a long time in my life, I see that it is imperative that our testimonies are based on Christ and our own witness from the spirit, not reasonings/logic or following others. If we do that we can stay strong through anything. Just like it says in Helaman 5:12.
Well have a great week everyone and pray for my investigators and for me to be able to do my best!