Last week was a busy week. And it's starting to get cold! Last winter really wasn't that bad. I only really remember being extremely cold 2-3 times. I always wore so many clothes that I never really felt too cold. But from what I have heard this winter is supposed to be like 10 times colder than last year. I always ask people why this winter will be colder than last and they say "global warming." How can global "warming" make winter in South Korea colder? haha. Anyway, I'm grateful for the cold weather because I can handle it a lot better than the sweltering heat and humidity of Seoul in the summer.
Last Tuesday afternoon we picked up a new investigator named Brother Gwon. He's in his 50's and tracked us down on the street 2 weeks ago and said he wanted to meet and that he wanted us to help him with English a little bit. When we met on Tuesday he said that he wants to learn the gospel and will even come to church. He couldn't come yesterday because of a wedding but said that he will come next Sunday, so that will be good! Besides that we spent time out proselyting but because of the weather there weren't many people outside. We also taught English class at night and made message cards with pictures of me and Elder Kim on themto give to our members when we visit them.
Wednesday our whole zone got together for lunch at Costco and then Zone Training meeting..\ Then we headed back home and then to I-mun to meet Sister Park to talk to her about what we had read out of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. We got to teach her more about the plan of salvation and had a really good meeting with her. Then we met with Brother Kim. In Korea a lot of the investigators we meet with aren't usually the "prepared" investigators that everyone wants to find. The investigators where you can just teach them the 4 lessons and then they accept the gospel and want to be baptized. So I've learned that in Korea a lot of the people don't really have interest in the gospel that much but just like to meet, which means that it is our job to prepare them and to teach them. We are sort of in the preparing phase with Brother Kim. We are trying to narrow down his needs and find something that we can teach that will have a lot of meaning to him. I'll talk more about him in a minute.
Thursday we met a really cool kid that I met outside of our church on the previous Sunday. His name is Gabriel and he's from Hong Kong. He came to Korea for 5 days for vacation and came walking up by our church on Sunday with all his luggage trying to find his hotel. I helped him find it and then told him I was a missionary and asked him if we could meet for lunch before he went home and he said yes. So we met on Thursday and got food together and found out that he had seen missionaries a lot in Hong Kong and had talked to them a few times. We got to teach him a little bit more about the church and got his information so that we can keep in touch with him and hopefully help him to meet with the missionaries in Hong Kong. He left Thursday night to go back home. After meeting him we went out and delivered some message cards to members and then we went to a big college in Dongdaemun's area at night to proselyte. It was sooo fun and we met a really cool kid who is going to meet us again this week!
On Friday we met again with Sister Park. She had a few questions about the Book of Mormon so we went through them with her. She is constantly asking us questions about our church. The more we talk the more she realizes that what we believe is what she thinks deep down. She knows our church is true. She just needs to keep reading the Book of Mormon!
On Saturday we proselyted over to I-mun and then taught English class and then we came back to Dongdaemun and ate dinner and then met with a Mongolian family that lives in Dongdaemun's area. It's a couple and the wife's Mom. The wife speaks Korean really well and her husband speaks Korean pretty well but the Mom only speaks Mongolian. We showed them the church building and sang hymns with them and talked to them for a while. The reason we met with them is because the Mom is not a member and wants to get baptized. The wife and her husband are both members and the husband served a mission. So since I am the district leader and will be doing the baptismal interview with the mom I wanted to get to know them a little bit better. When we do the interview the Mom's daughter will have to be there too to translate. I'm trying to have the Mom's daughter teach me how to bear my testimony in Mongolian before then so that I can share my testimony in Mongolian during the interview. They are such amazing people and I feel like a better person for having known them.
Yesterday we had a really cool miracle. Sister Park and Sister Hong didn't come to church so we were sitting alone on our bench and then halfway through sacrament meeting a couple walked in and sat down next to us. I didn't recognize them but I assumed that they were members of a different ward or something so I handed them each a hymn book because we were singing a hymn and then when I looked back at them they looked really confused. I immediately knew that they weren't members. After the meeting we talked and found out that they were friends from school and were looking for truth so they wanted to come to our church. So we took them upstairs and talked with them for a minute and got to know them better and taught them a little lesson about Heavenly Father. They want to know more about our church so we got their number and will keep in touch with them. Super cool! After church there were a lot of meetings for us to attend so we didn't make it home until 4 and then we had companionship study til 5 and then dinner till 6. Then we went to meet with Brother Kim. We had a bold lesson about the Book of Mormon. We talked about the Bible and why it can't be perfect. I feel like before last night we had spent a lot of time meeting him and getting to know more about him and building a relationship with him so last night when we were a little bit more bold with him it wasn't like Bible bashing or anything at all. It was a really good meeting. We testified about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and committed him to read the Book of Mormon more and to read it with an open heart.
Last week was an amazing week! I've been thinking a lot about 1 Nephi 15:11. It talks about the process for receiving answers to our prayers. I've shared it a lot with investigators lately. Four steps to getting an answer to prayer: 1. Humility 2. Faith 3. Real intent (believing) 4. diligence in keeping commandments.
Hey everyone! This last week was really good!! I literally have like ten minutes to write about it so I'll try to write as much as I can.
Last Tuesday we picked up a new investigator named Sister Lee. Apparently she is famous in Korea because she and her twin sister play the 가야금 which is a Korean traditional harp.. They play together and sing pop songs and stuff. Her sister got honors from the president of Korea for being the best Korean harp player in the country. We met her at the church on Tuesday with some of the couple missionaries as our members present and we had a really good lesson. Sister Lee was someone I called from an old investigator record and she was super happy to meet again and really just wants to learn about the Book of Mormon and where it came from and why we need it. So she has tons of potential and I'm really excited to teach her!
On Wednesday I did a district meeting about becoming sanctified and we used a lot of the scriptures and things I have been thinking about lately for the meeting and it went well. I felt like everyone learned something new.
We met with Sister Park again last week and I felt some inspiration to make a deal with her to read the whole Book of Mormon by January 16th which is how long I will be here (at least). She accepted the deal and was really excited because she wanted to read it but felt like she needed something to push her. She told me that it was revelation from God to suggest that we start reading the Book of Mormon together. We are also going to read some of the Bible together at her request which I was okay with as long as we are reading the Book of Mormon too. So now we are all going to read 3 chapters each day until January 16th!
We met with a lot of our investigators last week and had a lot of good things happen but I don't have time to write them. Things are going amazingly lately and I am loving every second of my mission!
So I really don't have too much time this week because we have spent 2 hours to day trying to find a place to email and couldn't find one so we got permission to use our church's computer. But there's only one computer and we both have to email. It's been the worst in this area trying to find somewhere to email each week.
Last Monday we had a big get together at the church right next to our house with a lot of missionaries who were going home. It was fun to see a lot of my friends in the mission one last time before they went home. It's kinda crazy how soon it will be that I have to go home. It's scary! I need to make the most of my time left. Monday night we had an appointment and then we did a family night activity with the Dongdaemun elders. We also got transfer calls that night as well. Everyone in my house left except for me. Elder Hatch left to a new area to train and Elder Rhodes left and is now companions with Elder Doman. Elder Hone went to Kangnam.
My new companion is Elder Kim Jae Kyum. He's super funny. He's one year older than me and has already done his military service. He's from the Southern part of Korea and has an accent so sometimes it's hard to understand what he says since I have a Seoul accent in Korean. But he's teaching me the dialect from Taegu, where he's from. It's way funny! The other Elders in our house are Elder Olsen (who is my younger group from the MTC) and his new missionary, Elder Moon. Elder Moon is also from the South part of the country and he and my companion are good friends. It's way fun in our house! They also made me district leader again.
It's weird how little time I have left. Lately I'm really just trying to learn as much as I can and work as hard as I possibly can for the last part of my mission. If I decide to come home the 3 week early transfer then I will be back in 4 months. I still am not sure what I'm going to do but President Christensen told me to wait longer and continue to pray about it, so that's what I'll do!
Since I'm short on time I'll just mention one of our investigators, Sister Park, the one who was a pastor for a really long time. I feel like she is the reason that I stayed in this area. She has been making a lot of progress lately. She has many deep questions and last time we met with her she talked about what happens to us after we die but before we are resurrected. So we talked to her about Alma 40 and she was amazed that we had information on that and made the resolution to read more of the Book of Mormon. I have a really good relationship with her and she really trusts me and so I hope that we can continue to help her to read the Book of Mormon more and study more about the Restoration. I really think that she was the person that I was sent here to find. Please pray for her!
My companion is good and it's been really fun to be with him. It's been a change from being with another American 24/7 but it's been really fun. It's amazing how we can just speak Korean to each other. It's weird how natural it feels to be speaking another language.
On Sunday I was feeling really tired and we had been punked so much throughout the week that I was slightly discouraged. I prayed and asked God to help pick me up and help me to keep going and do the Lord's work happily. Then as we were sitting in church (I was on the stand because I was blessing the sacrament) I looked out at all the members and just felt so much love. Then as we partook of the sacrament I could feel the spirit so strong and was so thankful for the Lord helping lift me up. I think that's what sacrament meeting is all about, just lifting our spirits and feeling the Holy Ghost and recommitting to follow Jesus Christ. I love church so much!
I've been thinking a lot about sanctification lately and what it takes to be sanctified. To overcome the world and be a true disciple. I love the word sanctification. Being pure and clean, a state of saintliness, a personal reward that follows personal righteousness. I thought of the prophet and apostles and the seventies. I remembered when I met with Elder Ringwood and had my interview with him. Our leaders in the church really have overcome the world. I want to be like that too. I feel like my mission has really changed my nature as a person and that I just have completely different desires than I used to.. That's what it's all about.
I love this work and the gospel!
Thanks for all of your support and love and prayers!