(November 2, 2015)
Well despite a week of lots of rain, dark gloomy evenings, and cold 대구 weather, Elder Stradling and I spent a very warm, pleasant, and productive week of missionary work!
I think the main focus of the week has been with our investigator Bryan from the Philippines. We met with him several times throughout the week this week and also yesterday at church to finish teaching the commandments and help him to prepare for his baptism this next Sunday! We are really excited for him and focusing to help him be as prepared and comfortable as possible. This week we need to finish up teaching the Laws and Ordinances and then have our baptismal interview with the zone leaders and we should be all set for the service this Sunday! This next Sunday we have the baptismal service all planned and one of the sisters investigators, the father of a part member family in our ward, is scheduled to be baptized in the same service as well. Jared, Bryan’s uncle who met with us originally and referred us to Bryan should be performing the baptism and another recently activated member of the Philippines should perform the confirmation the following Sunday. It is really exciting to see just how strong Bryan’s testimony is and his desire to follow Christ and receive this important ordinance. Recently we have been seeing lots of progress with Bryan, his uncle Jared, and another member Alex. Because our area has so many factories and workers from other countries our ward has really been working to help those people come to church and we are even considering making adding a Korean class along with our normal children, basic, intermediate, and advanced classes at English class.
One of the really cool things that we have seen in the 중리 ward recently is a lot more interest and involvement from the members here. A few weeks ago, our ward was visited by one of the leaders of the church here in the Busan mission area, President 길 who also oversees all of the buildings and facilities management. During the third hour of church we had a combined meeting with the Relief Society and Priesthood where they informed us that because the city is using the land the church is located on in a development project and are planning to construct a new group of large apartments here, in approximately 5 years, the Jungri ward church building will be demolished. In order to qualify for a new building our ward needs to grow to over 100 people attending sacrament meeting or show significant growth in doing so or else we will be combined with the 상인 (Sangin) ward in their building which is relatively close by. At first this made for kind of sad news for the Jungri ward, especially in that if the Jungri ward goes away, the Daegu stake will no longer have enough wards to qualify for stake status and will become a district. Despite this however, we have also seen a lot of action from our leaders, a call for more faith and diligent missionary work, and a greater focus from our stake. Our bishop and ward mission leader have already worked out goals and plans for how we can increase the reactivation and baptisms within our ward and we have already seen results as less active members have come back to church through the effort of the members. It really makes for a cool and important time to be serving in this ward and a sense of unity and purpose with the members. Along with normal member coordination meetings and ward council meetings, our bishop also started a monthly ward prayer meeting that we had this last saturday. Us four missionaries and several of the leaders in the ward woke up early on a rainy saturday morning and hiked to the top of a mountain here in Daegu overlooking the city. As we made our way up we talked about our progress and what things we can do and at the top we united together and prayed for the development of our ward. It is really great to see everyone come together and the diligent effort of not only us missionaries, but the leaders and members of this ward as well.
As a final thought for my email I would like to include a scripture that our bishop shared with us during our last ward council meeting. He began his address to us missionaries and ward leaders with a call to come together and be unified with one heart and one mind. He then shared the following scripture:
Abraham 3: 2-3
2 And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.
As our bishop shared this scripture he explained that of all the stars, Kolob was the greatest, but the reason for this is not because it was the biggest or the most special, but that it was close to God. We too need not do great or big things, but our goal should be to come closer to God. I know that as we do so, we can receive his help and blessings, and become better people.
Thank you all and have a great week!