Monday, April 27, 2015

April 26, 2015 "Work of Salvation- The Biggest Deal in Existence!"

Hello everyone! I've added some long-neglected names to the Big Email list. Sorry! This is Elder Derek James Wilcox coming to you (through email) from the Korea Seoul South Mission, Anyang Zone. 

This last week has been absolutely incredible! The Lord has seen fit to grant me with some miracles that raise energy, enthusiasm and drive to share the Gospel. It's getting to the point where I hate going to bed at night because there's too much still left to do! There truly is nothing Bigger than this work in all of existence.

Sometimes I look at the Korean people and their busy lives. They are the epitome of work-a-holic! Hard to find a more diligent people than them, but I see their lives and I see that the mists of darkness are so very real in our world! The mists here have blinded divine sons and daughters of God to the very purpose they came to the earth with! They waste their labor for that which cannot truly satisfy. I realized once more how great is the responsibility I bear, and which is borne by all those who have been baptized to show a willingness to follow God's commandments and be a witness of Jesus Christ. We have been called to reawaken  our fellowmen to the great and eternal purposes of God. Dispel the darkness.

How do we do this? I shared a few weeks ago about the message of the Restoration and how it is our special message to the world. To shine the light of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, God has blessed us with a witness, something we can feel and hold in our hands, that proves the truthfulness of the message. The Book of Mormon.

In my experience as a missionary here in Korea, I have dealt with a wide range of opinions about the Book of Mormon, ranging from instant acceptance after reading their first verses to cries of heresy and devil worship at the mere mention of it. 

I have grown up reading this book, and have received a LOT of help from its pages. I have even received a confirming witness in my heart that it is true. But, as we all do, I have forgotten at times, or at least testified with less-than-sure conviction of it. 

This last week, I pondered and studied the Book of Mormon again. I reviewed all of the teachings I had received, as well as the purpose of the Book as described in the title page and introduction. Then I knelt in prayer and asked my Father in Heaven for another witness of the truthfulness of it and of the Restoration it witnesses of. God answered my prayer, as He does for anyone who asks with faith, real intent, and a sincere heart, ready to learn and act.

I learned a little more about "likening" or applying the scriptures we learn to our daily lives. If we merely read the scriptures because it's what we're supposed to do, we miss the power contained therein. It is by taking questions, seeking for the answers, looking for and taking ways to apply those answers in our personal circumstances that bring that great power into our lives.

This week as my companion and I shared the Book of Mormon with 2 of our investigators, Dong-Jin and Ji-Yeon, I was once again able to testify that the Book is true, and that God does answer the prayers of those who ask sincerely to know that. This book is a vehicle of the Light that dispels the darkness we wade through in the world. A witness of Christ, and of God's love and long suffering towards us. 

I invite you all to ponder, study, and pray the Book of Mormon to come to know or strengthen your knowledge of it's truthfulness. Then I invite you to look for and apply ways to use it in your everyday lives, both sharing with others and personally. I testify that as you do, you will come to feel, like I have, the hugeness and happiness of the Restored Gospel of Christ. It is not a burden, not another chore to be done. It is our very reason for being. How grateful I am to be a part of it.

In the name of Jesus Christ, and as His servant, Amen.

Love you all, thanks as always for the support, prayers, thoughts, and love. God Bless!

Elder Wilcox

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 19, 2015 "Big Hearts" Email

Hey Everyone! 

Time for another Big Email! 

The past few weeks have been incredibly, wonderfully busy. Our area has exploded with investigators and members, others to meet and invite to come unto Christ. 

One insight I have had recently is the fact that we, as the Lord's servants, just need to be ready to act. Like the individual muscle cells in a muscle, we just need to be charged and ready for action at any time. God never forces others to learn about or accept the Gospel, but He is primed and waiting with bated breath for them to take one of the opportunities He places in their path. We as members and missionaries of this Church provide many of these opportunities. The point is, if we are God's Hands, or Instruments in them, we can measure our effectiveness by how prepared we are to act, pounce on opportunities to love, live, and share this gospel message. due to others agency, we will not always have people to teach, people ready to accept the Gospel, but if we are ready for them, God is pleased with us. 

In my running experience, I related this idea with the feeling of tenseness on the starting line. It's one of the scariest, most exhilarating feelings I've felt. That moment before the gun goes off and you start running. God wants us all to be prepared and waiting with the same tautness for every opportunity to invite others to come unto Christ. Sometimes that requires waiting for longer than we think we should have to wait for the gun to go off. But that kind of active waiting, combined with the preparation of hours of exercise previously, is precisely what God is doing, and what He wants us, His Instruments, to do as well. The urgency of the work is immense. We cannot afford to not be ready.

Well, I guess the gun has gone off to start the race for several of God's children here in Anyang city. We are meeting with an old man (Mr. Ryu) who has a sincere desire to be a good christian and help his adult children come back to that life, as well. He struggles to accept the Book of Mormon, but he has a very good impression of our missionaries from his attendance of our English classes. He has been meeting with us to discuss Gospel truths every Monday for a few weeks. 

We are also meeting with another man who attends another church, but is considering changing religions because of an inconsistency of doctrine. 

We meet another man and his wife who runs a restaurant nearby our house. They've attended the Catholic church for their whole lives, but recently he has been wondering what it really means to live a life of faith. He has had contact with the missionaries for about a year, and is impressed with their diligent service with no recompense. He also has been meeting with us to discuss restored truth and the motivation for our service.

Along with these and other people we are meeting with has come the opportunity for me to study and prepare especially for them. I've heard about how study directed to others' needs my whole mission, but I have never applied it like I have recently. In other aspects of missionary work, as well, my life has been full of "a-ha" moments lately. "So THIS is what it means..." Sometimes I feel bad about not figuring things out until this late in my mission, but then I realize that God is mostly concerned with the direction of our progression, and our diligence and willingness to continue learning. I have needed a few wake-up calls up to now, but I am continuing to increase that desire. Being in this eternal work of progression is so FUN!!! I never want to stop!

Thanks to all of you, for your prayers, thoughts, love, words, support. I have been blessed to be surrounded with great examples of people happily, faithfully living the Gospel. It helps me get back on course when I make a mistake. 

God loves us and all His Children, and He is eager to lift and bless us. Sometimes His methods may not make sense to us, but they always work out in the end. 

Love you all! Have another great week!

Elder Derek Wilcox