(December 7, 2015)
On Saturday Morning we got permission to go with our ward on a hike early in the morning together. As we went up the mountain we talked about our efforts and at the top prayed together for the progression of Jungri ward.
Today we went to E World (the amusement park in Daegu) as a zone
Elder Jung rejected my marriage proposal…
Well another week has come and gone! Can you believe it? Looking at the date it is hard to believe that it is already December 7th! Looking around Korea there is not much in terms of christmas decorations or christmas lights or christmas shopping but the feeling of christmas is here nonetheless! We are using a new initiative in our mission based on the Church Christmas video “A Savior Is Born,” we are preparing a performance for our ward Christmas Party, and we are directing our thoughts and our message to Christ and the gift he is to us. It is an exciting time to be a missionary.
Elder Stradling and I had a harder week this week, but one that was nonetheless filled with small miracles and opportunities enough to keep us going. We were blessed in the weeks past to find and meet with our recent convert Bryan’s uncle – Allan, have great lessons with him, and help set the foundations to receive baptism at the end of the month. We were rather surprised and saddened this week to find out that because of work, he is returning to Seoul and will not be able to continue to meet with us here. We are working to help him meet up with the missionaries there but it was kind of a blow to us to see him go. Similarly, our investigator Brother 박 – the owner of the coffee shop, has recently ran into some legal troubles and informed us that he is so busy that he cannot meet with us for a while and “does not have time to find God.” He had also been preparing for baptism and we were working toward a service at the end of the month. Within one week, both of our investigators with baptismal dates, at least for the time being, vanished. It left us a little discouraged and a little confused, but brought us back to the drawing board for what we can do next.
While we lost some of our regular investigators this week, we were also very blessed to find some new ones. We have been focusing a lot more on our potential investigators and especially people that we can meet with from our large english class. We started teaching one person from our english class and have a few lesson appointments with others for this upcoming week. Our ward also participated in a stake wide, sports activity (volleyball and 족구 – a korean sport that is like soccer and volleyball combined) which we worked a lot to get people involved in. About 4 of the investigators/less actives we are working with were able to attend the event and bond a lot with the members. We also participated in a practice game with the members on Friday night with several of our investigators which was really fun.
Another big part of the week was preparing for a special sacrament meeting and fireside in our ward attended by an area 70 whom our bishop invited – Elder 김창호. We did everything we could to get our investigators out to the meeting and spent a lot of time visiting less active members and inviting them to participate. Our sacrament meeting was extra full and well attended by many less actives and none members. Excluding ward conference, we set a new record of 65 people at church – a big step up from the weekly 50 who were attending when I first came here! Elder 김창호 gave us lots of great instruction on how our ward can improve and how we can have happier, more unified families. He focused his remarks on his selected topic of “enlarging the boundaries of zion.” His remarks centered on how we can participate in the work of salvation as families and how we can draw closer through family prayer, family scripture study, listening more sincerely to one another, and giving compliments to those we love.
One cool thing that Elder Stradling and I have been able to see a lot more of this week is the effects of focusing on and developing more faith. After zone conference a few weeks ago President barrow gave each of us a laminated card with about 10 various scripture verses about faith and a small mustard seed. As we have carried this card with us everyday and read and followed the scriptural teachings we have started to see small miracles. We often read a scripture each at the beginning of daily planning and companionship study, before we teach a lesson, when we go out to proselyte, or whenever we feel we need a boast of more faith. As we have used the card we have seen some really cool effects. This week we finished an appointment and decided we wanted to visit some less actives in the area before going home. We selected 5 different houses to visit on our way, plotted a course and set out. As we went to the first 3 it was a combination of either the people having moved away or not being home. As we came up to the 4th and 5th houses we decided to say a prayer before knocking on the door and that we would read a faith scripture before trying to visit. We prayed for God’s spirit and for us to be able to find and meet the people we set out to visit. We read God’s words on faith and contemplated our own commitment to what we were doing. In what i think was a small miracle, when we did this, we found both of the last 2 people we were looking for. Both of them said they were busy (one also said they do not want us to come back) but we were able to introduce ourselves, show our love, and invite them to a special fireside we had on Sunday. I dont think that this means that every time we read one of those scriptures everything will go perfectly, but I could see that as we made an effort to show our faith and put our trust in God, he blessed us. We had a very similar experience where we went out proselyting with the Savior is Born initiative cards, and after reading a scripture on the faith project card, had a man come up to us (instead of us going up to him) and say “you are the Mormons right? Can I come to learn english?” and then a little bit later “can I come to your church meeting too?” We are seeing small things change as we focus more on our faith in Christ and exercising it.
Doctrine and Covenants 8:10 “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith.”
All in all it was a week of all sorts of ups and downs, but nonetheless hard work, busy days, and nights falling asleep dead tired. I know that this is the Lords work and I love doing it. Have a great week!