Monday, November 23, 2015

Answers to Prayers

First of all, our investigator is progressing so much! We had a baptismal date for December 12th and we moved it to the 5th just because we believe he is ready. It has been awesome teaching him because he is so humble and desirous to meet with us. He doesn't feel or interpret things the same way we do, but what has been so incredible is how he said he can feel the Spirit. The fact that he understands what we teach and wants to be baptized is a miracle in itself. We've been working a lot with the bishop and members to make sure he is taken care of, and they have been so helpful and loving. We are so excited for him!

We had a big Kimchi making service project this week. There were tons of people there from a bunch of different organizations, and there were about 50 missionaries there. Basically, crates of Kimchi, sauce, and moo were brought in. Some people would bring it to tables, where other people would mix it and prepare it. They would put it in shipping containers, which were then weighed. It was my job to run those containers over to another table to be packaged. It was lots of fun and very educational to see how Kimchi is made (or part of the process, anyway). I have no pictures, but apparently Sister Sonksen took a ton and put them on Facebook. You might try to find them there. 

This week's funny experience: On on exchange with Elder Saunders, we met a ninety-five year old man on the street. He was super energetic and happy to see us. We had only said we were from America, and he called us family, pointed at each of us individually, then firmly asserted that he loved us. Then he went berserk making the sign of the cross over and over again as fast as he could, which was actually pretty impressive. We just smiled, said "nice to meet you", and walked away. 

An interesting thing about Korean culture/language that I don't think I've talked about are the different forms of speaking. There are actually three ways we might say hello: "an young," "an young ha se yo," "an young ha shim ni ca." Korean society is very hierarchical, and whenever speaking to someone, you use the form that suits that person's rank. To elderly people, we say the latter form of hello. To middle age, we use the middle one. Normally, one would use the low form on children or people beneath you, but as missionaries we are simply told never to use low form, which is called "pan mar." Every sentence ends with a verb, and it is conjugated to one of the three forms. It can be very rude to use to use the wrong form in the wrong situation because of Korea's high standard of formality and respect. Luckily, it's actually pretty natural to feel which form we need to use on what person. 

I've seen powerful answers to my prayers this week. I feel that my weaknesses are patience and continued diligence, because I might work and be focused really hard on learning, sharing, and opening my mouth one day, but fall short the next. I've been praying really hard to be able to stay focused continually on doing His work and forgetting myself. One night, I prayed to know what I need to do and remember in order to stay strictly devoted to what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing. The thought that has permeated through my mind since is: "Am I a servant whom the Lord can trust?" I've thought about this a lot. The first thing we teach others is that we have a loving Heavenly Father. He is literally our father, spiritually, and like us has a body of flesh and bone. His desire, work, and glory is for us to return to live with Him. Everything He does works toward this end. I have only just starting realizing the sacred trust He has placed in us as missionaries. We are to bring his children back to Him. Our purpose, through the Gospel of Christ, aims to bring Heavenly Father's children Eternal Life and happiness. This realization really sunk in the past week. The Lord pours blessings and miracles out upon us. Do we use all of these, to the very best of our ability, to fulfill His eternal purpose? If so, then He can trust us with more. This eternal impact and significance of this work is overwhelming. But, through His Spirit, the Lord can make us instruments in His hands. We have the potential to receive an outpouring of the Spirit, but only if we are 100% dedicated to serving Him and, thereby, his children. The blessings he pours upon us, namely the gifts of the Spirit, are a sacred trust. They are to be consecrated for His work, which is of infinite importance. We show our love for Him and our desire to submit ourselves to His will when we use all our heart, might, mind, and strength to follow every prompting and serve. The greater we show and act on our commitment to use all He has given us for the salvation of His children, the more he can trust us with. We must continually be diligent, patient, and consecrated to His will. Doing well for a while but slackening our effort from time to time does does not make us someone He can trust. We cannot follow the Nephite cycle of compelled humility in order to pour our hearts out to Heavenly Father. Rather, we must be like the people of Ammon - forsaking that which inhibits our conversion and pursuing only what the Lord would have us do. When we consistently show that we will do what He wants, He blesses us with a greater portion of His Spirit. I know that this brings more joy, peace, love, and happiness than anything else we can experience. 
This church is right outside our house. Seoul is full of churches, many of which are massive. Right across from this one is another big church that isn't in the picture (just to the right). ​

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