It's been a while! Sorry for neglecting the Big Email; I hope those of you who are allowed to are following the blog my Mother is running for me. I have been well, how are all you?
I am still in the beautiful little town of Anseong. I have been here for a total of 7 months now, and the people on the streets start saying hi to me now because I have seen them so much. I have almost been adopted into the close-knit society here in the southernmost corner of my mission.
Elder Jensen, my awesome, less-green-than-he-should-be-
for-only-one-full-transfer companion and I are still doing work here, and we have currently been blessed with baptismal dates with 2 of our investigators. We are working with them to be baptized at the end of this month, but more time may be necessary for conversion.
Last week we had a great Zone Training, and among other things I was reminded that conversion happens between the lessons, not while we're sitting there with them. Decided to focus on our investigators' personal study and prayer.
Also, yesterday we were blessed with inspiration during companion study. I heard one time, and it makes sense to me, that God doesn't send prepared investigators to missionaries, but to wards and branches that are ready to receive them. It makes sense because the ward is there with the investigator much longer than the missionaries. So, especially in our tiny branch, each member needs to do 2 things: Prepare to be a gospel leader, not just a follower, and Participate actively in the work of Salvation with the full-time missionaries. The members of our branch vary widely in their faith, but the way that we missionaries can help them to prepare to become the fellowshippers that our investigators and other prepared people need is by sharing the Love of Christ with them thru service and meeting them, sharing the words of the prophets and encourage them to study them on their own, and invite them to do something with us in the Work, all while having a humble attitude and love for them. Our Mission President has emphasized that our work is Strengthening Wards and Branches, as taught us by Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 in a conference earlier this year. So, here in my little branch, I am starting to prepare my members to be the leaders necessary to support all the prepared people we will be blessed to find as we thrust in our sickle.
Speaking of Thrust in your sickle, we got to do Farm work for the first time in a few months. The other Elders, Ely and Despain, have been taking care of it while I train Elder Jensen, but we went. The Less Active sister we do it for is starting, little by little, to change and become more happy. She knows we love her and want to help. She's started praying again, too. ^^
We are looking forward to Stake Conference this week. It's the second I have attended as part of Anseong! And I have seen 2 general conferences here. Been here a while. But here is where I have come to realize my faults and learn how to improve the most. I love this little middle-of-nowhere town at the edge of our mission! Even if it means lots of travel and separation from other missionaries. I have come to love the people here that at first I resented. God has blessed me to change thru the enabling power of the Atonement as I put forth my effort.
Also, I have been humbled here. I have been blessed with more lessons and investigators than ever before, but have therefore discovered my weaknesses with teaching, testifying. I have been brought low, and doubted whether I am doing things right in God's sight at all. But this week I found 1 Corinthiansand 2:1-5. They taught my soul that it is alright if I can't speak the fancy eloquent Korean that convinces the wise, my job is just to convey the spirit by my testimony, the one thing that no matter how much others may rail and curse, no one can deny, that I know God lives and loves me, and each and every one of us, His Children. His Son, Jesus Christ, payed the price for our sins, and will forgive us completely if we just meet the standard set by Him to have faith in Him, repent, be baptized and make other covenants, and live so we can follow the Spirit until the day that we die.
That is what changes and improves us, and gives us power and authority to teach others. That's why I can stand up to a trial with faith and say, "Someday it will turn out alright, because I know what I am doing is right." I do. I also know that God is hastening His work, and we as His Church need to follow His lead. It will take all our strength, it will take away some free time, but it is infinitely WORTH IT. There is nothing God can't do in His work, and He invites us all to participate, to be changed and bettered in the process of bringing souls back to Christ. That is the lesson I have been learning for the past 14 months, and I testify in the name of our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer that this is the True Church of Jesus Christ. I am His servant and representative, and though I lack a lot, He has made me more than I ever could be alone already, in only 19 years of life. I stand forever indebted to and awed by Him. Amen.
Thank you all for the support, thoughts, prayers, words that you give to and for me. I love you all as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope you all have a great week, and find ways to let the Lord guide you as you act in this great, Latter-Day WORK. It is work. But it is sooo fun! ^^
Elder Derek J. Wilcox
Here's a pic of us today at our lunch restaurant. we plan to go hiking today, so dressed down. ^^