Sunday, July 15, 2012

Letter from Korea~July 16, 2012

Hey everyone!

It's crazy how fast time is going by. When you never think about time and you just go from place to place each day doing tons of different things time seriously just disappears. It's kind of scary. Practically all of the missionaries older than me are going home so soon and it's so weird that I don't have that much time left. I'm scared of being in the real world again. I've seen so many changes in my life and in myself over the last 16 months that I'm scared to have to start living normal life again. It's gonna be the most bittersweet thing ever.

Anyway, last week was amazing, of course, because every week is amazing as a missionary. On Monday night we picked up a new investigator named 고진혁. He is currently dating one of the less-active sisters we are working with, who is going to come back to church because she doesn't have to work on Sundays anymore!! So we met our new investigator and tried to get closer with him. Then we gave him a Book of Mormon and bore our testimonies and kind of set it up so that we can talk more about the Book of Mormon and why it's so important. He doesn't really have much interest but I think as I can get closer with him and have more of a relationship he will listen more to my testimony.

One thing I've noticed is that a lot of missionaries in other places meet investigators just to teach them; the investigator has interest in the gospel and wants to know more. But most of the people that want to meet us just want to meet me because I'm an American and they want to practice English and have an American friend. So it becomes the challenge to be able to be their friend and get to know them and teach them the gospel naturally without giving them too much pressure, but enough pressure to have them make changes in their lives. And to do it effectively, with the spirit, and in a different language, Korean, which is the hardest for Americans. I've been really thinking about this lately. The Lord is asking so much of me but obviously it's possible or He wouldn't have asked me to do it! I really want to do better and so I've thought and prayed a lot about how I can help people with seemingly no gospel interest to progress and have a desire to know more. The work here is hard but it's really rewarding. I'm learning more than I could ever learn just going to college or working or anything back home.

Tuesday we were crazy busy. We had lunch with a less active member and then went to our appointment at the church with 홍모영s. She brought three of her friends and we taught them English then used The Testaments movie to help them understand the Book of Mormon a little bit. They really don't have much interest so we might have to drop them soon but we're going to try two more times with them. After that we got on the bus and headed to Yonsei University and met with Melanie. She is an American from Seattle. She was a referral from an American member in Seoul. She met with the missionaries in Seattle when she was in high school. She actually read the whole Book of Mormon while she was meeting with them but she couldn't be baptized because her parents were strongly against it. After that she moved to Korea and has been here for 2 and a half years. She seriously has so much potential and is so prepared for the gospel. I'm actually pretty sure she knows more about church history than I do. So we met with her and got to know her more and her religious background and things like that. I'm so excited to teach her. It's going to be crazy to teach in English! After we met her we had another appointment at Yonsei University. We met with Dhruba, from Nepal. We talked for a long time about how he feels he doesn't have time for God right now because he needs to focus on his studies so that he can help develop Nepal more. So we focused on the fact that if he makes time for the Lord now he will do better in his studies and the Lord will help him become a tool to help the people of Nepal. He went back to Nepal last week for a short trip for research so we gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. They don't have a Book of Mormon in Nepali yet.

Wednesday we went to Kangnung for combined district meeting where we learned about focusing on the Doctrine of Christ when teaching investigators. It was really good and I learned a lot. When we got home we met with a college student who we had contacted on the street. He's really cool but we are trying to find a good way to teach him the gospel since he doesn't have too much interest.

Thursday we taught English at the North Korean kids school for the last time of the semester. This time Melanie came and taught with us because it's her dream to teach North Korean kids. After that we talked with her for a while then went home for dinner and went to go visit the less-active sister who is going to start coming back to church.

Friday we had lunch with a different less-active sister and her daughter. Her daughter is half Canadian and is visiting for the summer so we are going to meet with them once a week. I really want to read the Book of Mormon together with the daughter. Her father won't let her go to church in Canada or even have a Book of Mormon but she really wants to go to church. We had planning meeting for a while and then we went to meet two kids that we meet with each week. I played basketball with them and proselyted to all of the kids we played basketball against while my companion talked to the mom and introduced the gospel to her.

Saturday we taught English at our English class and at Golden Voice. After Golden Voice we ate lunch with the GV members. One of them wants us to meet her family and hopefully to teach them, but they can't meet until August which is after transfers so we'll see what happens! Then we met with Brother Jung and then we visited a partially less-active family because their daughter just returned from BYU and we wanted to meet her and see the family.

Sunday was great! Melanie came to church. She's really good at Korean but she's better at college talk and I'm better at gospel talk so I helped translate for her a little bit. It's weird because I can understand everything they say at church but putting it into English words that don't sound weird is really hard. Church was good and the members love Melanie. We met with 전현아s; we help teach her daughter English. She agreed to learning the lessons so we are going to teach her the lessons starting next week. After that we visited some other people and then went and had dinner with two great members. One of them is less-active. There's a super long story to that. There has been tons of drama in Wonju over the past 20 years and getting to the bottom of all of the stories is super hard but there are a lot of people who fought and stopped coming to Church. So we are really trying to help them to make up and come back to church.

My hands officially hurt from typing. I love missionary work, though! Thanks for all your support and prayers.

-Elder Rife

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