(January 18, 2016)
Jungri ward and its newest member!
Us, brother Jung, and the young men
The struggles of building a tv stand.Elder Finch cleaning the baptismal font
Well it has been a really amazing week this week! Elder Finch and I kept busy with much of our normal things and were blessed with lots of other miracles all along the way!
I think the biggest highlight was the baptism of our investigator brother 정명한. A lot of our week was spent teaching him, meeting with him, and helping to prepare for his baptismal service. We were able to finish teaching him all of the lessons, got his parents permission for the baptism, had his baptismal interview with the zone leaders, cleaned out the font, and worked with our ward mission leader to plan the baptismal service all out which we held yesterday. He was super excited for the baptism and the service was totally amazing. Everything for the baptism went really great, except for 2 small errors – we started filling the baptismal font too soon and so even though we filled it up with warm water, by the time we did the baptismal service it was cold – we also deliberately planned to bring towels with us and set them out in the morning but somehow neglected to bring them… both of these two errors meant that both Elder Finch and brother Jung had a very cold baptismal ordinance and then had to spend 10 minutes in front of a heater warming up and drying off afterwards. Despite this minor bump in the road, we performed two musical numbers at the service (1 with the sister missionaries and our ward missionaries, and one with just us two singing and playing ukulele), had several of the young men and our young men’s president speak/participate in the baptismal service, and a really large turn out with almost all the ward and 3 of our investigators! It was such a blessing to see how happy and radiant brother Jung was after the service and too see that all of our effort and lessons all culminated to such a great result. Baptismal services are really spiritual and nothing makes a missionary happier!
The rest of the week we taught English class, went on exchanges with the zone leaders where I was able to stay here in Jungri and serve with Elder Suttner, did our service projects, and met with several of our investigators.
Another large blessing of the week was that we were able to meet a really great new investigator! We got a referral earlier in the week from the Seoul Mission for a man who had met with the missionaries there and attended church a few times but recently moved down to our area. I called him and we had a really great conversation and set up an appointment to meet him on Saturday night. We met him at the church with our ward mission leader and one of our ward missionaries and had a great lesson. He shared with us that even though he doesnt have much of a religious background he first found out about our church when he went on a business trip to Salt Lake City. He said that his first interest in our church was that he could get closer with his American, Mormon business associates, but that after meeting the missionaries in Seoul and going to church he was interested in attending and learning more. We taught him the message of the restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon, bore our testimonies and have an appointment to meet him again in a few days. It is really cool to see that there are prepared people, and we feel so blessed to have interested people be calling us up!
To end my email I would like to share a quote from a talk President Barrow gave to each of us. This transfer we have been focusing a lot on our mission vision to see more baptisms and how we can have more faith and use our time more effectively to do so. Elder Christofferson gave a talk titled Our Missionary Purpose which really made me come to see that working effectively as a missionary is all about being centered in and driven by our purpose – to invite and help others come unto Christ. We need to focus on why we are doing the things we are doing and not just what those things are. Elder Christofferson wrote: “When missionaries have internalized the purpose of bringing people to Christ through the principles and ordinances of the restored gospel, they will understand that missionary work is not a program, it is a cause – the cause of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They will understand that they are not salesmen or technicians but divinely authorized and commissioned teachers of righteousness. They will understand that the world has no access to atoning grace and salvation but through them and the Church they represent, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” The work we do as missionaries is truly the most important thing we could be doing. I have come to see that even though baptisms aren’t super common in Korea, it is possible and we need to have the faith, vision, and drive to bring them to pass. We can only be truly successful when we focus on why we are here. I truly love this work and know that it is the Lord’s.