Have you spent your time well? (Korean greeting) ^^
This week has been pretty crazy. Lots of stuff happening, and not happening. Definitely a "Missionary" week. ;)
We met with a potential Investigator whose English name is James Bond on Monday! He is mostly English interest, but we did our 30min/ 30min program with him and when we taught about the Gospel he was actually interested! We gave him a pamphlet to read and will meet him in a few hours, actually. Pray for James Bond, everyone! (never thought I'd say that...^^)
In other news, our many appointments for the week almost all decided to cancel, so we ended up not getting to teach as much as we would have liked. We are sorely lacking in lesson practice, because real true investigators are few and far between. We plan to start practice teaching the members of our ward this week so we don't forget all the Gospel words we know! That way is good, though, because honestly your can get much better investigators from the members than you can from just walking the streets talking to everything that moves. Referrals are the best possible way for missionaries to find people here. We have planned a lot about how to work with the ward, and Referrals have been a huge part of out planning. As church members, we all need to help do our part! Please, help us out!
Anyway, we had a combined mission conference with 서울 (seoul) mission! I got to see my MTC District mates that went there, as well as my old friend Elder Black! They're all doing well, and we all have dark circles under our eyes. The mark of a missionary! Haha ^^
We learned a lot in that conference, and we heard a lot about new developments in missionary work that I'm actually not allowed to divulge! Things really are speeding up, though! The Work is hastening! ^^
We met with (Lee), our marathoner friend, for a 식사 (meal appointment), but we couldn't really talk about the Gospel because time was very short by the time we found each other. It was good to meet him outside of running so he could se that there is more to our purpose than that. We met him to run the nect day, and tried to explain the Book of Mormon to him, and he listened, but he said that he is fine with his "religion", which he said was 마라톤교, or "marathon-ist". We are devasted, and we plan to discontinue our running visits because they require a lot of time spent in changing clothes, etc, but we are trying one more time tomorrow to give him a pamphlet about the restoration. We'll keep calling him to see how he is doing, but I think we can just plant our seed in him and move on for now. ㅜㅜ
We also might have to drop our other investigator, Thomas, whom we brought to church last week. He was kind of overwhelmed by the ward members, who haven't seen an investigator at church in a while, and now he says he is more comfortable with his church. He says we can still meet every week for dinner, but he doesnt want us to talk about anything Church-related. It is very agonizing to watch people turn away for what I know will bring them happiness, but I can only invite. The beauty of God's plan is that each of His Children can choose for themselves what to do. I did start worrying a bit too much about my teaching skills, though. We need more practice!
With these things happening, and a seeming relapse of my Korean to MTC status, I was feeling very down on friday night. But, the other elders in my house helped me understand that as long as I do what little I can, the Lord will use me as His instrument. I just need to keep the faith, hope, and desire to continue to improve in my abilities, and He will assist me as I strive to assist His children.
This week we had Stake Conference on Saturday night and Sunday. This meant that combined with the Mission conference Saturday morning (which we needed to travel about an hour and a half for), we woke up at 5:30 and went to bed around 11:30 on Saturday. Now, normally, I can handle this kind of thing, but the next day during Stake conference, where it's all in Korean, so I can't understand more than a few words and phrases, sitting still for 2 hours, and not allowed to study anything else, I started nodding off a few times. Suddenly, the Sister in front of me turned around and gave me a note (in english). It went something like this: "I think the reason you're here in Korea is to serve for God, not to sleep. Isn't that right?" I was shocked, and immediately felt awful that I had possibly affected this sister's view of missionaries. She took the note back, and wrote, "Don't be upset; Read Revelations 3:19. Be the Good Missionary!". I read it. It's about God rebuking and chastening those he loves. Now I felt even worse. Needless to say, I couldn't really focus the rest of the meeting, and I even had to resort to reading PMG, which apparently is 안돼요 (not good/ dont do it). I couldn't stop thinking about the note all during the meeting. When it was over, I got the sister's attention and tried to apologize, but she just started going off on me like a bad dog. I couldn't even understand more than half of what she was saying, and that just made me feel worse. I know I lack so much, and I have SOOO much room to improve, but that is one of the reasons I was sent here. To become better myself. Anyway, I decided that I can't go ruining the Member's views of me any more, so I won't fall asleep in any more meetings. Afterwards, the other elders were talking to me about how I should have responded, and I realized that I hadn't felt any anger or indignation, as their suggested responses would have indicated. I only felt sorrow for my weakness and a desire to change and do better for her sake. I felt better realizing that that feeling was a small improvement. I later learned that she had been an investigator for about 4 years, and thought she knew the difference between Bad and Good missionaries. She's not in my ward, but she apparently has done similar things to other missionaries. Oh, well, I guess sometimes we need a kick in the pants to get us moving, right? ^^ I am glad she provided it!
Anyway, that was this last week. This week, we don't have P-day (because we go to the Temple on Thursday), so I gotta finish up and get out there! We meet with James Bond today, and have a few new finding activities to try. I am looking forward to the temple, and I am glad for the strength it provides. I need a refill! Haha ^^
I look forward to your emails! I'll try to answer if you send one, it just might take a while.
I am sorry it has taken me this long to do this, and that I haven't been able to respond to all of you lately. What can I say, I am popular! Haha, just kidding. ^^ But, I want to make sure you all know that I still remember you and want to tell you about my adventures. So, I hope I can be forgiven and start now. My Wonderful Mother has created a blog that has previous emails on it, so if you are not a missionary, I encourage you to read it! Unfortunately, I don't know the web address, but you're smart. You can find it! ^^
Anyway, This last week was sooo crazy! We have been working super hard, Elder O and I, since the time that I got here in 수지 (suji), my area. We haven't seen a lot of success, but a few miracles along the way (one of which being the opportunity to run with a potential investigator, Lee!!! He is a marathoner, and he lets us run with him once a week. We only do the warm-p with him ( 50 minute jogging), and then share a short spiritual thought. He is super cool and likes us a lot. Through him, we have contacted other runners on his team! Also, He has agreed to meet with us and hear our message this week!!!! Pray for us! ^^
Anyway, this week, we decided to call all of our people that had given us their number (that phrase is so much easier in Korean...) and we reached a lot of them. When we called, we talked about our English class, our message, and asked if they wanted to meet. Suddenly, all of them had time and wanted to meet us again, and now we have several investigators that we will meet this week, a few in just a few hours! Huge Miracle!!! ^^
Also, another huge miracle was that one of our investigators (the only one we had before) came with us to church yesterday! His American name is Thomas, and he is very good at English. We have only met about 3 times, and only taught once, but he still actually suggested to us that he come to our church for a day. So, we met him an hour before it started and taught him about the Sabbath and our church, and then did the 3 meetings with him! He was super cool about it, and even though the members were all over him, he enjoyed it. In the 3rd hour, we took him into another room and taught him the whole first lesson. We had a member of the Bishopric there at first, and Thomas was kinda clammed up around him, but once he left, Thomas opened up and let us know his needs. We taught pretty well and felt the Spirit. We asked him to pray about or church and he said he would. Then, we went and had a 식사, or meal, with a member of our stake presidency, Thomas, and the other Elders serving in 수지 with us. Then, I was exhausted and slept very well. We were with our investigator for a total of 7 hours, and he was taught 3 lessons! Wow... I hope he remembers it all!
So, those huge miracles have been the highlights of my first Transfer in the mission field! I still can't speak the language well, and my teaching skills are nonexistent, but the Lord is still using me as His instrument to further His Kingdom here in South Korea. The work is hard, and the days are long, but the miracles are many and the weeks fly by! I have learned so much, and will continue to learn so much more. I love my Father in Heaven more everyday, and I learn a little better how to help His precious Children here.
I know that all of you can likewise experience the great blessings of missionary efforts wherever you are, be it in School, work, at home, on your computer! There is always something to be done to help God's Kingdom grow, and He has given us the responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity. That has become one of my unspoken mottos here: Take advantage of every opportunity, even if you lack confidence or competence. God will not let us fail. He will take us higher and higher, and lead us by His Spirit to speak to the hearts of His children to their understanding. This is our duty: to bring the spirit to their hearts, where they can then accept it and live, or reject it and face those consequences. We do not do anything more that inform. The Spirit teaches, and the Investigator chooses and acts. I love being a mouthpiece of the Lord, and I encourage each of you to act and experience the same joy! Let us ALL press on in the work of the Lord.
I love you all! Keep writing to me if you have time!
안녕하세요! 한국말 잘하시는대... ^^ (I'll make you google translate that one...)
I have been doing awesome this week! We have had lots of meetings and planning sessions, so our contacting was down from last week, but that is ok, because we met several incredible people that may want to meet!
Korea does not do daylight savings, so we don't get that extra hour, as bad as we need it! Darn...
Our marathon friend, has been great! He got his goal in the last marathon, and he is running another one soon. He runs about 13 every year! What a beast! He is also 65, and still incredibly fit! We have a tentative date set up when we can eat and share a gospel message, but he is very busy, so it wont be for a few weeks. I hope we can meet with him! My companion and I decided to run with him once every week, either tuesday or saturday night. We did tuesday this week, and shared a very very short spiritual thought about running. I hope I can share more later, because running is a huge part of my testimony as you know. I hope I can really connect with him and help his life improve though the Gospel message! With God's help, I know I can, if he is ready. No matter what, I have planted a seed that can be harvested later. Thanks for your prayers for him and the others we meet! They need those blessings! ^^
We got to meet up with our MTC 동기 (missionary "generation", the people we came to Korea with. They were all in my MTC district that came to my mission) on Tuesday, too! It was so great to see them! They are improving rapidly in Korean, and they have been in very similar situations to me. it is really hard to get investigators here in Korea, because everyone already has a bad impression of us, so they don't wanna talk to us. But, when we do talk to people however, it is so amazing and rewarding! I love going out and smiling and talking and laughing with these people. There are no friendlier group of people that I have met on this earth than Koreans (you guys and my team excepted, of course... ^^)!
I had a great, natural conversation with an older gentleman on the subway yesterday, and I didn't have time to get his number but he really enjoyed my company! I could understand and reply to his Korean, too, so I was very happy. Those little miracles happen all the time! They are in your lives too, as you try to do God's glorious work.
Say hi to Bro. G and B for me! 수지 does have some countryside, but we don't visit very often because it takes precious time to get there. It is so beautiful, though!! My 동기 missed 추석 (Korean thanksgiving) by a few days! I was disappointed, but now I have something to look forward to at my year mark! It sounds fun! Everyone goes to family's house, so missionary work literally becomes impossible for a few days, so they have a mission party. We'll have one of those for Christmas, too. ^^
Yes, we use Chopsticks, but they are flatter than Chinese ones. I still struggle to use them, but I am passable now. It is so good! We do have little tables you sit at, but I have only eaten at a place like that once. My bed is a 요 (yo) and it's a mat on the floor, but really thick and soft. I love it! Really easy to make you bed, too! ^^