Oh Lord, Increase Our Faith

안녕하십니까?

At our zone conference on Wednesday, the Dustin’s, the senior missionary couple serving at the military branch in my district, suprised us all by serving us a thanksgiving feast, complete with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pie and everything in between.  I have to say it has been a long time since I have had American food and a meal without rice.  I left that meeting very happy, and very full.  DSC03091.JPG
Elder Jung and I may have gotten a little distracted during lunch on our exchange after I found nerf guns in Elder Hoyne’s desk.  Maybe that just goes to show that I am still a child at heart…DSC03097.JPG
prepping the cabbage
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I dont even want to remember how much garlic we prepared that day
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shredding raddishDSC03115.JPG
Preparing the red mixture
DSC03120.JPGI will take a second to describe the kimchi making process, because I actually learned a lot.  We started by laying out the cabbage heads which sister Kim had prepared before we came to drain.  The basic process was to prepare everything into this giant tub of spicy red sauce, which we then meticulously placed by hand between each leaf of the cabbage, wrapped up, and placed in large Tupperware containers for storage in sister Kim’s giant kimchi refridgerator.  The sauce consisted of tons of red pepper flakes, shrimp sauce/juice, anchiove juice, shredded radish, green onion, and lots of garlic which we mixed in the giant red container.  The process took several hours and proved to be very difficult but was I think a good opportunity to serve one of our members and learn some real Korean culture.
President Barrow opened this weeks zone conference with a large, ambitious question that has had me thinking all week:
“What would it take for each companionship in our mission to baptize individuals every week?”
Honestly, upon first hearing this question I thought to myself, “wow, that is a pretty lofty goal.”  Or “is that really possible?”  As President Barrow continued to speak and I heard the discussion that followed, I started to think about exactly what it would take for us to accomplish such a task.  We would need to find more prepared investigators.  We would need to teach more people each week.  We would need more help from the members.  We would need to use our time more efficiently.  We would need to see more miracles.  And the overarching, largest answer to such a question amounted to be:  “We are going to need a lot more faith.”
We continued on throughout the meeting to discuss what it will take to move our missionary work to the next level and what it will take to find, teach, and baptize drastically more.  Since that meeting and all throughout this week I remember thinking “do I have the faith to see more miracles.”  And as I have done so I would like to pose the same question to you “do you have the faith to accomplish more?  Do you have the faith to do something that you wouldnt have originally thought is possible?”
As we continued into the meeting we discussed how we can use our time more effectively, how we can develop our own faith and increase it, and how we can exercise the faith which we do have.  We discussed ideas like making shorter visits with members and investigators, inviting people to be baptized more early and more often (even during street lessons), and doing all the things we normally do with a greater, stronger trust that it will work.  President Barrow even gave to us a small laminated card with about 10 verses about faith on it and a small mustard seed sealed inside title The Faith Project.  His invitation is that at several key moments throughout the day (while planning, before lessons, when we are out proselyting on the street) we stop and read this card and commit ourselves to having more faith in carrying our God’s work.  Elder Stradling and I are already seeing great results.  I remember leaving the meeting energized and rededicated to work harder in the service of God.  It is truly an exciting time to be a missionary in the Korea Busan Mission.
Following that zone conference on Wednesday, Elder Stradling and I continued on with a busy, faith driven week.  We went on exchanges with the zone leaders, where I served with elder 정시온 in 수성 and Elder Stradling served with Elder Hoyne, having his first exchange leading our area without me.  We visited with members and sought out referrals, we searched for new investigators, and we met with less active members.  We forwent our normal soup kitchen service project to go to a member’s house and help her do 김장 (making kimchi for all next year).  I did a baptismal interview with the 수성 B team’s investigator (which turned out quite interestingly as he is a devout member of the unification church).  We played in the Saturday 대구 Stake soccer activity and had over 7 investigators there with us (including one of our investigators who brought along 3 of his friends).  We taught English class.  We participated in an Elder’s quorum activity where we cleaned the church and had a ping pong tournament.  We went to church.  And we spent the afternoon and evening on Sunday visiting less active members and part member families with first our ward mission leader, and then our ward high priest group leader.
One of the biggest miracles was to find a new investigator – Allan, our recent convert Bryan’s uncle who just moved here to 대구.  He came to learn Korean at our Korean/English class on Wednesday and then we taught him the message of the restoration on Friday which he accepted whole heartedly and agreed to be baptized at the end of this month.  He responded to our invitation with “yes, I have always wanted to follow God and Jesus Christ.”  He sadly got lost on his way to church on Sunday but we are looking forward to seeing him more this week.
All in all it was a busy, thought provoking, and faith driven week.  And we are working to do even more in the weeks to come.
“… if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. ”  Matthew 17:20
Do you have the faith to move the mountains that are in front of you?
Have a great week,
Love,
Elder Lease
(my name in Korean 리스 is apparently the same romanization of the word lease in Korean, so sometimes when I introduce myself, especially to business people, they respond with “what are you leasing? a car?”  pretty dumb joke, I know)
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