Hello Everyone! It's been a busy few weeks since my last email. All I can say is how forgiving and amazing the Lord is to trust and use His servants the moment they turn themselves more completely to His will.
These weeks have been full of miracles, do in part to a mission-wide 40-day fast that we are doing to ask the Lord to bless more young people to be ready to accept the Gospel; Lead us to find, teach, baptize and start on the path of conversion more people who will not only join but strengthen and lead the church in Korea, and to prepare us missionaries for these souls as we diligently strive to follow His will.
One thing that we decided to emphasize this week is the reason why young teenagers and many members of this church would ever want to share their beliefs and try to help others learn them even when they have another religion. The reason? Money, no. Popularity, no. More followers, no. Political strength, no. The reason is because truth has been restored to the earth after centuries of being lost.
Personally, I haven't used the restoration as much as I would have liked in my conversations on the street with people, or even in teaching them. Especially when we start meeting with someone, it is vital that they understand the restoration, because then they now why on earth we want to meet with them. And they feel interested. The first chapter of PMG says " God will bless you as you take the message of the Restoration to a world drowning in spiritual darkness" (or something along those lines). I got to see firsthand the truth of that promise.
Well, lets get down to it. Elder Craven and I went on exchanges this week and we had an appointment at a far-away place with a man that the sisters found and gave to us. He said to them that he knew the elders, and wanted to practice english again. So we called and set up an appointment. When we met, we talked a lot about his past, how he knew the missionaries. Lately, Elder Thorup have been really emphasizing using our studies to prep specifically for investigators, and so we had a great lesson plan from that morning. But, after we did some getting to know his situation, etc, we actually decided to switch to a different lesson plan we had to use with someone else later. It involved explaining the Restoration, summarizing the whole, in a simple, concise way. We did that, and this man started randomly telling us that he's always believed in God, because how else could the universe be created, with us as little specks living on a rock in the depths of it? We were then able to show him that truth about God and His master plan have been restored as part of this church. We invited him to learn more, meet regularly, and practice english in addition to learning about the restored Gospel, and he said it would be fine if we didn't do english. wow. English interest? ^^ He also said he could come to ward conference this week, but he ended up having to work, so next week. Anyway, God truly is preparing people!
The other big miracle came in the form of an older man we have been kind-of meeting since before I came here. He runs a small restaurant right outside our apartment complex. He likes english, so we offered to do the english program with him. He unfortunately misunderstood us when we said we wanted to practice Korean, and he just taught us natural phrases to say in certain circumstances. Anyway, we went in and ate after about a month of being unable to, and got an appointment for the next evening. We went in and helped him translate a letter he wants to send into english, and then explained that we would like to practice sharing the Gospel in Korean for our part of the study. We did How To Begin Teaching (see PMG chapter10), and helped him see that while we would be practicing, we really wanted to share the message with him and help him see how good it is, too. We explained the reason why we want to share it, even with others who already have a religion, which was the simplified Restoration. After listening to our brief summary and explanation, he told us that he had met missionaries 30 years ago in 부산, an Elder named Richard Hales, and maybe us meeting now is a sign from God that its time to accept the restored Gospel.
The next morning we stopped by his place, and got to meet his son, who also has interest in the Family English Program! wow!
One of my favorite things this week was that morning studies were super effective and uplifting, and they were almost 100% focused on the investigators. It really works. When we give our lives (or study time) for Christ's sake (or to prepare to effectively represent Him to others), we truly gain our lives, meaning we are uplifted and inspired, making testimony that much stronger when we bear it later. On the other hand, if we try to just save ourselves with exclusive study of what we feel like studying, we may find some enlightenment, but we can't be as effective when representing Christ to others. That's why I think PMG says personal study is to prep for investigators and (secondly) to strengthen ourselves. Cuz if we do the first, the second automatically happens!
We also had a Zone Blitz proselyting activity this last week, which only about half our zone could attend, but was nonetheless very fun and effective. It was great to get together with our zone members and see different ways to proselyte, and meet a bunch of people. Talked with a nice old lady for about 30 minutes about the Restoration, using scriptures from the bible and personal experience. She almost accepted a Book of Mormon... snap! Oh well, we'll get her next time. And she took a pamphlet on the Restoration (contact your local missionaries to get some of your own to share! ^^).
We also had some last-full-week miracles with the 2 missionaries in our district who are going home this week. We got to prepare and perform an amazing a cappella arrangement of Love At Home as a district at Ward conference. We also got to go out with our bishopric and eat 보신탕 or Dog Meat soup. Don't be alarmed, its a health food here in Korea. People eat it when they feel weak. Anyway, we had to try it once. it was okay, just really soft. Some of you are shuddering. They do the same things to cows and pigs, so whats the big deal? (this time the big deal is not the Restoration.-_^).
Well, that's a long enough email for today. I love you all, and thank you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, and love. I can feel it! Lets go have another great week. ^^
Elder Derek Wilcox