Last week was such a great week! We got to meet with a lot of our investigators and teach them and several of them are progressing. The next step with each one of them is to come to church. We taught each of them about that but none of them were able to come to church. One of them has work only on Sundays each week and another one has a study group Sunday mornings and the rest of them just say that they can't come. So it's been a bummer lately. But they are keeping commitments and reading the Book of Mormon and praying so that's good.
Thursday we had Elder Ringwood of the seventy visit our mission and teach us for a couple of hours. He's so amazing and taught us so much about the scriptures and was really funny, too. I love when people teach and they can make us laugh and feel the spirit. After the meetings we had an interview and he asked me about my missionary work and then just let me ask him questions for about twenty minutes. I asked him about prayer and he taught me a lot about how I can make my prayers with Heavenly Father more spiritual and more sincere. He also just talked to me about my family and helped me to understand more about Heavenly Father's plan for me.
I read something by Bruce R. McConkie that was about how Mormons are "peculiar people." One of the main reasons we are "peculiar" people is because we have overcome the world. Obviously not all Mormons have overcome the world. Maybe more haven't overcome the world than have. But when I met with Elder Ringwood and talked with him I could tell that 1) he was a servant of God and 2) he has overcome the world. So it has become something that I am really trying to do: overcome the world. To only care about serving the Lord and not get caught up in the worldly things.
One scripture that I really loved that Elder Ringwood shared with me was this one..
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
So true! The only way that we can find true happiness is through the gospel. I have realized that lately as I have had more of the spirit in my life and have found that when I have the spirit with me I am always happy.
I don't have too much time now but I just want to say that this has been the best experience of my life. We met a lot of our investigators last week and there were a lot of funny or odd things that happened. Some of our investigators have been studying philosophy and stuff so it's been interesting to try to teach them the gospel. I'm not a big fan of philosophy. Seems like it's people who are trying to figure out all of the hardest questions of life just by logic, without feeling, revelation, or the Holy Ghost.
Anyway, I love you all and am so thankful for your support!!
Last week was pretty busy as usual but we actually ended up having a lot of appointments cancel on us so that was kind of a bummer. Other than that everything was great!
We met a new investigator named Brother Kim on Monday night. He was a referral from the Bongchun elders and was awesome! He's already reading the Book of Mormon like crazy and he loves to meet with us and learn more about the gospel. We had a great first meeting with him and got a lot closer with him.
Tuesday we had lunch with our ward mission leader at a place called Kogi King. (Kogi means meat.) It's a huge meat buffet and it was amazing. It was Elder Hone's first time and it was awesome. I'm pretty sure we ate a whole cow. After that we went out and visited several members and just spent some time on the street talking to people. We met with one of our investigators, Brother Han, and one of his friends at their work and talked about the church for a while. His friend had heard a lot of weird stuff about our church so she was kind of scared to meet with us but we had a good first meeting and clarified some things for her. After that we raced home and taught English class with the Dongdaemun elders.
Wednesday was transfer day but since neither of us transferred we just had a normal morning studying and then Elder Hone did some of his pass off stuff after lunch. We spent quite a bit of time working on a new English flyer that is a flyer on one side and a proselyting card on the other side. It took some time but it turned out really good and we have been able to use it to tell people about our English program and about the gospel. Other than those things we called former investigators and did a little bit of street proselyting.
Thursday we had several appointments cancel on us because it was pouring rain. So, I spent some time organizing all of the records in our house; there are seriously so many. Elder Hone made message cards for people and then we went out in the rain and talked to people for a while and visited once more with our investigator Brother Han. He's a Catholic and has met with the missionaries before but he never progressed. So we are trying to find the best way to teach him and help him progress. He's super busy and can never leave the college campus so we always have to teach him there and there are always people there so it makes it a little hard to teach.
Friday we studied and had weekly planning meeting and then we went and delivered some brownies to our Branch President. On Sunday they brought back the tupperware we gave them with way more delicious stuff in it than the brownies we gave them. That's typical Korea, though. You should never get in a gift-giving battle with a Korean because you will always lose. After that we headed over to one of the universities and talked to a bunch of kids. They were way cool and we set up some appointments to meet with them again this week. Then we met with an investigator who was a referral from one of our members. He's way cool and is curious about the Book of Mormon but goes to church with his family every week. He's really cool though and we are good friends with him.
Saturday morning we played soccer with lots of church members and investigators. Brother Kim came and played with us and me and him had a sweet play. We brought the ball down the field passing back and forth and then he centered it from the right side and I headed it. It was sick! Saturday we had seriously so many appointments lined up but one by one they fell through; it was way sad. We had English class in i-mun for the second time and it went well. Then we got punked a bunch of times and ate dinner. We met with Brother Kim again at night and taught him more about the Plan of Salvation and then talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It went really well. When he came to the appointment he brougt us each an Americano coffee. We've been offered coffee like five times this last week and I am always the one who rejects so this time I turned to Elder Hone and told him it was his turn. Brother Kim felt soooo bad. He said he should have known and he will never do it again. I felt way bad. But after the lesson when he prayed he told God "thank you for teaching me about not drinking alcohol or coffee. From now on I will never drink these things." Pretty amazing! He's progressing really well and I think he will be prepared for baptism soon.
On Sunday church was really good. I learned sooo much! But then all of our appointments cancelled, so it was a huge bummer. We delivered more brownies to members and then put message cards on some of our investigators' doors and then we street-boarded right in front of our church. It seemed like it wasn't going to work very well but it actually did. We talked to a lot of amazing people. I met a university student who was sooo cool and he is going to meet with us again this week. Then we met a guy named Emmanuel from Cameroon and a guy named Lionelle from Madagascar and talked with them. They both actually knew the missionaries from seeing them back home and were excited to see us. So we are going to meet with them again some time this week. We also met a whole bunch of Japanese kids who were hilarious and really want to meet us again. It's weird hearing people talk and not understanding it, though. It reminds me of when I was a greenie. I then had some more sympathy for Elder Hone. He's sick at Korean now, but for his first couple weeks it was pretty rough.
I've learned a lot lately through studying about the gospel each morning. I guess I should do better at sharing that with everyone. I heard a quote I really love the other day. It goes like this, "The things we do for ourselves die with us, but the things we do for others are the legacy we leave behind." I really love that. Doing things for ourselves is useless. We need to serve others!
I've been studying a lot about love and charity lately too. I've been thinking about passive and active love and how they are different. I think that passive love really is weak because it doesn't lead you to do anything. But active love leads you to action and becomes charity. It's the same with belief and faith. Believe is very passive but faith is active. Knowledge by itself is useless, but once it's applied and active it becomes wisdom. Anyway, I've thought a lot about stuff like this lately. The gospel is amazing!
One scripture I read this morning. Acts 3:26
"Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities."
Jesus Christ was sent to this earth to bless us and to turn us away from our iniquities (so that we can return to live with him again!). I love this message. I know this church is God's church on the earth and I know that the gospel is the only way to find lasting happiness.
Last week was the last week of my first transfer in i-mun! It's crazy that I've already been here for a whole transfer. Tonight is transfer calls but when you are training you are usually together for two transfers and since we are white washing I'm not expecting anything to happen this time.
Last week we met with several of our investigators and we met with three new investigators. I talked about a Sister Park from last week. We met with her and we learned a lot more about her. We also got her to start reading the Book of Mormon again. She was amazed at the fact that we listened so well when she was speaking and at all of the questions we would ask her.
We've started going through all of our old potential investigator sheets and texting all of the people on the lists because most of the people in our area are college students and they respond to texting more than to calls. It's worked so well. We have about 6 more people we are lined up to meet this next week, all from texting. One of them, Brother Seo, said that he is having a really hard time in his life and that he needs something to rely on. We are meeting him next Sunday to teach him about the gospel. We also got a referral from one of the members of our branch. He brought one of his friends to play soccer with us on Saturday morning and we got closer with him and invited him to meet with us and learn more and he said yes. And we received a referral from some other missionaries of a guy who already has accepted the soft baptismal commitment and is living in our area. We have so much potential and we are being so blessed lately.
Something I've thought about lately is just letting our light shine forth as members of the Church. If we just live our lives well and let the light that we have shine then people will notice and will want to know how we are so happy. It's really been the key for our success with missionary work lately. We don't force people to listen to what we say out on the street but we greet everyone we walk by and let them see the light shining in our eyes and try to spark up a conversation with them. Most of the success we have been seeing lately is just because people are curious about why we are so happy. That's what the gospel is! Pure, eternal happiness.
My mission has been such an amazing time for me to figure out who I am and what I want to make with my life. I've learned so much more in the last year and a half than I had in the 19 years previous to that.
I'm sorry that I didn't go into very much detail about all of our investigators! Sister Jee is progressing well but she can't come to Church because she has an English study group every Sunday at 11 in the morning. Please pray that something will change and she will be able to come to Church! That's the next step for her.
So much stuff happened last week! I've gotta write fast though so here we go!
Last Tuesday we had temple day and we got to see my Korean grandparents who recently returned from their trip to Utah! It was so good to see them and spend time with them. They brought me tons of pictures of my house and family and their trip and gave them to me. They are such amazing people! After P-day we taught English class and that was our day.
Wednesday we had district meeting and then we spent a few hours during which I worked on organizing and going through all of the records in our house and Elder Hone called potential investigators. We also met with a new investigator named Sister Kim. She is 60 and had attended other churches for 30 years and went to church every single day to serve but she felt like nothing good ever came from it and "lost" her faith. She was a former investigator who we contacted. We plan to keep meeting with her and to try to help her to develop true faith in Christ.
Oh, by the way, it was raining all week cause of the typhoon but it wasn't actually that bad in Seoul. It was just pouring rain the whole week..
On Thursday we spent some more time with the records and I made some new binders full of former investigators reorganized alphebetically. They look pretty dang good. I'll send pictures of everything we did next week. Then we picked up another former investigator named Sister Park. She's in her 60's and is totally legit. She was a preacher for several huuuuuge churches. One being 여의도순복음 (Dad you're the only one who will know that one) and she got a PhD and everything. I'm convinced she's read every single book that was ever written. But she loves the missionaries. She kept switching churches because she realized that each one of them was apostate. She said that our church is the most true but that she feels that she has a different mission from God so she can't be baptized or join our church. But she wants to meet more with us and we are really excited to teach her. She has a huge binder at her house of all church material from our church, like pictures of prophets and temples and every kind of pamphlet or book. We're gonna continue to meet with her and try to get to the bottom of her story and what her mission is. (Dad I need your help with her if you have any kind of ideas on how to teach her or anything!!) After that we knocked some doors and tried to visit one of our investigators but he wasn't home.
Friday we went out to eat lunch with some of the members from a different ward, including 이창엽 who was a missionary in Daejeon when I was a little kid. It was fun to go out with all of them. After that we did weekly planning and then got stuff that we needed for organizing our house more and then contacted people.
Saturday morning we played soccer with several of the ward members from our stake. We got two referrals from one of our members there and we got way closer with all of the members. Then after that we met with a new investigator named Sister Hong. She's 24 and is a college student in our area. We met her through English flyering. She came to English class once and asked us for a Book of Mormon at the end of class and then we set up a time to meet with her each week. She's great! We had stake Conference last weekend so we attended the meetings on Saturday afternoon and saturday night and that was our day.
Sunday morning we had stake conference and it was way good. We had a guy we met on the street come and we taught him a short lesson and set up a time to meet him each Sunday. Then we had one of the guys we played soccer with come too and we need to set up an appointment to meet with him this week. Then after stake conference we did comp study and then headed out to go knock doors. The second door we got into there was a lady named Sister Jang and she let us in and gave us fruit and drinks. When she opened the door she asked us if we could speak Korean. After she realized that we kinda could she asked us what we were doing. We talked about the Book of Mormon and then she asked if we were selling them and we said they were free and then she let us in. She was kinda distracted while we were teaching but we got to introduce the message to her and then set up a return appointment! After that we went to the church and cleaned up in front of the church.. The college kids destroy the area in front of our church each week. It was covered with garbage and cigarettes and vodka bottles. Then we met with Sister Jee but this time she brought her boyfriend, so we took a step back and tried to get to know him and start teaching him a little but we are gonna have to take it a little slow because he has no religious background. It was a really great spiritual lesson though!
I gotta go now but I love you all!!!!!!!!!! -Elder Rife