Monday, October 6, 2014

October 5, 2014 Email: "Big Miracles after Big Trials of Faith"

It says in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. These past few weeks have been tough, not in any particular way, but just lots of struggling and striving to do the will of the Lord. Elder Jensen and I have been pushing ourselves in every aspect of the work, from our morning run to study to language excellence to teaching. I have come to know many of my weaknesses, and had to be chastened a bit due to my shortcomings. I have had trials coming from all sides, the people I meet here, the news I hear from home. I have decided to face these trials with faith and trust in the God that I know without a doubt loves me, even if He seems to take a long time in fulfilling promises. I've done a lot of enduring, pushing through.

But, this week, the Lord has blessed us with a witness that He is indeed the Lord and Master of this work, and He does lead and guide us if we just surrender our hearts to him.

The big miracles didn't come until just yesterday, so for the sake of time, I will just explain those ones.

We found 2 new investigators in the past few weeks, Do-gwon and Gwan-oo. We were expecting them to come to church yesterday (we don't see conference until this week, so normal sunday). Gwan-oo couldn't come until later, but that turned out to be a blessing, because 4 other investigators came who I wasn't expecting. I invite them every week, but they said they were busy. But, they came, we had the chance to do member exchanges and teach them seperately in 2 Gospel Principles classes. They attended sacrament, and built great relationships with the branch members. They felt the spirit, and exercized faith or the desire to believe by acting on the invitation we gave them. We then had a member lesson (one of my first in this area, Anseong) with a member of my last ward, who has received the assignment of attending our branch for the next 3 months. He helped Do-gwon understand the Plan of Salvation, a really difficult thing to grasp the first time. The Spirit was present as Elder Jensen and I worked together with the member and the needs of our investigator, and we were able to set a baptismal date with him for the end of this month. He's got lots of potential, lots of faith in Christ, and a love for the Book of Mormon already, and with the friendship of our members, he feels home here and wants a place in our society. That was great!

Then we met Gwan-oo, who was late due to a visit to his aunt in the hospital. She had a stroke, and isn't looking good. But he wanted to come see us. We met him on the bus last week, Elder Jensen, the fiery greenie started to him. He has heard of our church before, and something attracted him to the missionaries he saw before. We were prompted to share the message of the Restoration, a real, strong prompting thats among the first I have ever felt of that nature, and we did so in a way that he could feel the Spirit. We invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and we knelt as he said the closing prayer. He prayed simply, sincerely, and as he did, I felt the most overwhelming love for this man, not much older than me, the love that Heavenly Father has for him. I have been praying for this kind of love for the past 14 months. After he left, Elder Jensen and I talked about the lesson and we both had felt the same thing, the same spirit guiding the lesson. I have been looking for this kind of experience of being led in a lesson for a long time, we are promised it, but I haven;t felt more than little pushes before this. This time, I felt so surely God's loving spirit, and felt as if he said to me, "i have trusted you with this child of Mine because now you are ready to lead him to Me." I knew why the past few weeks have been like a refiners fire, because now God has given us these children who need the message we bear. When I finally learned to trust God, not my own strength, then he makes me His hands.

In the words of my companion, Elder Jensen, I feel my purpose. I know, firsthand, why God calls teenage kids to share this Gospel message in a language they don't speak to people who most of the time just reject them and turn away. Because He truly loves them. Because there truly are those who are prepared to receive this life-changing message. And because participating  in this work changes those teenage kids into men and women of God. 

I am honored to be in the ranks of God's army in these last days with all of you. whether or not you wear a name tag, you are a witness of God. As you surrender your will to his, He will use you to fulfill His eternal purposes. Even if you feel like it's taken a year and 2 months. ^^

Jesus is our Savior, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His Church. I know it, and I will do my best, no matter how little it may seem, to tell it to all the children of God I am blessed to meet. It will be hard. I will be long. But It is worth it.

in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Wilcox

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