(January 11, 2016)
Soccer with Brother Jung – our team’s star goalie
Elder Finch and I went out for Baskin Robbins this week. In Korea, it is basically the best ice cream ever
Well Elder Finch and I honestly had an amazing week together. We were able to work hard, see lots of miracles, and have a lot of fun. I have to say that the two of us get along really well, have become really close friends, and make a really good missionary work team. I am excited to see where the rest of this transfer will take us together!
This week we did a lot of our normal activities, taught a lot of member present lessons, had a lot of investigators at church, and saw some really good progress in our investigators. Our district had interviews with President Barrow, we started up our big English class again on Wednesday for our next 12 week cycle (with a record big turn our of people), we did both of our service projects, had soccer with our ward on Saturday – which turned out great with over 6 investigators in attendance and us destroying the other ward 7 to 1, had a ward activity on Saturday night where we ate rice cake soup and played traditional korean games, and then had a really well attended Sunday church meeting. While we kept busy with all of these things throughout the week I think that the thing that stood out the most to me was all the progress and changes we were able to see in our investigators. I would like to break the remainder of my email into talking about 3 of them, brother 김 (Kim) brother 박 (Park) and brother 정 (Jung).
Brother Kim is an investigator who we met with for a lesson for the first time last Sunday at church. He is a high school student and really close friend of our bishops youngest son. We met him several weeks before and have seen him as he came to our english class, soccer activity, a young men’s activity, and we heard that he even attended a stake youth activity as well. The bishop’s son brought him to church last week where he stayed for all three hours and then we taught him after. He seems interested and really willing to investigate the gospel. Sadly we werent able to visit him during the week because he was busy, but we had an interesting experience regarding seeing him on Sunday. On Saturday night we sent him a text saying that we would love to see him at church the next day and we also sent a text to the bishops son asking him to invite his friend again. The next day he didnt show up, but beacause we didnt get a response the night before, we didnt think much of it. As we were talking about him later in the day with our ward mission leader we learned that he did in fact get our text and that he texted the bishops son to ask him if he could go to church together again, but because the bishops son was nervous that we would want to do another lesson with him, the member told him not to come! We were a little surprised by that one. As we talked about it later in the day we decided that the key to being able to meet with him is to strengthen things with the bishops son first. Kind of a weird experience, but we are working to meet him again and think he has lots of potential.
Brother Park is another investigator that we met for the first time last week. He is the older man that walked right into the church wanting to meet with us. Throughout the week we met him at english class and were able to meet him for a lesson on friday night. He also came out to our ward activity and to church the next day. He is a really cool 69 year old man who lives alone on a blueberry farm. He graduated from Seoul university (basically the Korean Harvard) studying music (he is super good at singing and loves hymns), served in the marines for several years, works as a business man currently, and for a hobby takes careof stray dogs on his farm. As we met with him throughout the week he has already read several chapters of the Book of Mormon, began praying, and came out to church on Sunday. He is preparing for a baptismal date at the end of the month. When he came to church he was immediately taken in by the members, and actually hit it off super well with another older brother in our ward who started coming back out to church a few months ago after we went to visit him. Turns out they are the same age, and the member studied art while investigator studied music. We are hoping to do some lessons together and their parting words were “lets see eachother at church again next week.”
Brother Jung, is probably our best progressing investigator and one that we were really able to see some miracles with this week. He is a high school student that we met while doing english class proselyting several transfers ago. He has been coming out to english class and soccer for a long time but we have only been able to teach him lessons here are there. He has interest in religion and our church but nothing really came of it for a long time. At the end of the last transfer Elder Stradling and I started meeting with him more often and on one Sunday when he came out to church we set a baptismal date for the 17th of January. As soon as Elder Finch came we started meeting with him a lot more and getting really close but he still seemed to have a lot of doubts about baptism and it looked like the date was pretty shakey. Because the 17th is next Sunday, this last week we decided we needed to talk about the date again with him and decided to do it after english class on Wednesday night. We sat down for our lesson and brought things up again and for the first time he shared his real concerns with us. He told us that he wants to get baptised and that he thinks it is a good thing, but because it is such an important thing, he would like to wait until after he graduates from high school and has more time to dedicate to coming to church. In Korea, especially the 3rd year (which he is about to start), is notorious for being busy and rigorous. Students often dont return to their homes from studying until 1 am. When he shared that with us, we didnt know what to say. We sat there for a second thinking, and then decided to ask the member who we were teaching with’s opinion. Luckily we were teaching that lesson with a member, and not only any member, but our ward mission leader’s son who is one year older than brother jung and just graduated from the 3rd year of high school. He thought for a second and bore an amazing testimony that being a member of the church has not interfered with his school work but that if anything, it has helped him. When he was stressed or busy he was able to pray and get help. We backed up the members testimony and invited brother Jung to read 3 Nephi 11, think about the Book of Mormon, and pray to ask God what he should do. We parted that night and sent out a text to the members to request their prayers that he would get the answer he needed. A few days later we met him again at the church to eat hot chocolate (tim tam slams) and teach a lesson. As soon as we started the lesson we asked him how the book of mormon was. He told us that he read and prayed about it. He described the section as amazing, said that it spoke to him, and said that when he prayed about it and thought about the testimony of the previous night’s lesson he got a warm feeling which he understood to be an answer from God. He commited to be baptized on the 17th and we are preparing for his baptism this week! It was honestly a huge testiment to me of the power of prayer, testimony, and the importance of doing lessons with members. We are super excited for all that is to come!
I would like to end with a scripture that President Barrow shared with me during my interview this week with really spoke to me.
17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, andye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be ofgood cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
Missionary work is amazing, Korea is awesome, and I am loving every minute of it. Have a great week!