(March 21, 2016)
On top of probably one of the highest apartments in Daegu – SK Leaders Apartment
As we were deep cleaning the church in preparation for Stake Conference I climbed down into a drain to clean it out. The other elders thought it would be funny to close me inside…
Last District Meeting of the transfer at the Dustin’s Apartment.
The roof of the Suseong Church~
Well it is the dawn of a new transfer and the big news is that I have a new companion! Elder Suttner was transferred away and is off to whitewash train a new missionary. We spent a good last week together and ended a really hard working and fun transfer together. I was sad to see him go but am also really excited to see where me and my new companion will go.
My new companion is Elder 노준철 (Joon Chul, No) from Seoul. He is actually in the same group of missionaries as Elder Suttner and came to Korea only one transfer after me, but because we have always been in different zones, we haven’t seen much of each other. We are the same age and he attended 1 year at BYU Hawaii the same time I did my 1 year at BYU Provo. His major is Accounting just like me! He is a bit quiet but good at English, super nice, and a hard working missionary. We only met a few hours ago, but I am excited to see where this transfer will take us. It has been several transfers since I have served with a Korean and it is nice to be back!
Elder Suttner and I had a really great last week together. In many ways it felt like all of the 6 weeks of hard work we put in proselyting and giving it our all accumulated into 1 week of finding a lot of great investigators. We found 3 really great new investigators. I kind of felt bad for Elder Suttner because as soon as we found good investigators he got transferred, but I am hoping that now with Elder No we can focus a little bit more on teaching and help them to be baptized within the next transfer. 2 of the new investigators that we found were a former investigator and his friend that we found when calling people out of the area book. They are both college students and the one former investigator met with the missionaries about a year ago, was super interested, was preparing to receive baptism, and then suddenly went to Japan to study and fell out of contact with the missionaries. He came out to English class, we were able to teach him and he brought his friend with him who is also really interested in learning about the gospel. The other great new investigator was a friend of 2 less active boys whose mother I wrote about visiting in the previous email. We went to visit them with a member during the week, had a great lesson, and brought them all out to the church for our English class and guitar class. They brought one of their friends with them who is interested in learning English and also said that he wants to learn more about God. He seems to have lots of good potential as well.
The other major highlight of the week was a totally amazing Stake Conference. A few days of our week were sadly spent in preparation by helping the members to deep clean and reinstall carpet and repaint some of the parts of the church, but it probably turned into one of the most spirit filled and great meetings I have been to. It was unique in that we were visited by Elder Whiting, a 70 and the president of our area, the Asia North Area. We brought investigators, recent converts, and less actives and were able to hear from him, our Stake Leaders, and some great members during the Saturday night and Sunday meetings. Elder Whitings remarks were amazing in that they were really interesting and funny, but also so reverent and spirit filled. I honestly learned so much. Two of the things that he taught which stood out to me is that more so than knowledge and standard education, we need to teach our children to learn to feel and recognize the spirit and that young single adults should show their faith and not be afraid to be married when they are still young and not 100% financially stable. I really felt like these were just the messages that Korea needed. Korea has a ridiculously rigorous education system (probably the best in the world) that although helps their country develop and helps their students be really smart often entails students to study all day and often not return home until about 10 or 11 at night. Elder Whiting taught that even though that learning is important, nothing should come over our family prayer, family scripture study, seminary, and the things that help us to learn more important things: how God speaks to us through the spirit. Korea also has a problem of people waiting to get married until very late because of a social expectation for men to have a job, house, and car, before marriage, which Elder Whiting said only prolongs the joy and happiness of marriage and raising children. He explained that keeping the commandments will bring us joy. I think a lot of these messages were applied to the members but I felt the spirit a lot and was able to apply things well to myself and how to be a better missionary. The power of our leaders teaching by the spirit truly is amazing.
Besides Elder Whiting, one of my favorite things of the conference was that my recent convert that Elder Finch and I baptized 2 transfers ago in 중리 (Jungri Ward), 정명한 형제님 (Brother Jung) the high school student, spoke in the conference! He was the third speaker in the Sunday Morning session and spoke just before Elder Whiting in front of about 350 people. I was amazed. He did so well. He bore a simple testimony of how the gospel has helped him, how he knows this is true through the Book of Mormon, and his desire to share it with his friends and family. He thanked all of the missionaries who taught him and great members of the ward. I was so amazed and touched. He also received the priesthood last month and is blessing the sacrament weekly. It is so cool to see so much progress in an individual and it honestly makes me so happy. There truly is so much joy in missionary work and joy in bringing even one soul unto Heavenly Father. This is a true work.
Well that’s all for this week, here’s to a new transfer and a new companion. Have a great week!