Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas week

So actually, Christmas is not really a big deal in Korea. It's definitely here, though, and everyone knows what it is. As a district, we wrapped a bunch of Book of Mormons and plan an giving them away as kind of a fun and hopefully successful project. In Seoul, most all of our finding activities are streetboarding - we go out on the street in a crowded area and ask people to pick a question on our board and put a sticker on it. We nearly never go door-to-door, which I'm quite okay with. 

Something I've wondered about a lot on my mission is why so many people reject the word. I think of examples of great missionaries in the scriptures who converted nations of people and wonder why we don't see the same thing today. In Seoul, there are many churches. It is astoundingly clear when, from any point you stand, you can see at least three churches, with the typical red-lighten cross high in the hair. Looking out at the city from a higher point of view, the city is literally covered in these crosses (I'll try to get a picture at some point just to show you). There are so many churches in Seoul, and they come in shapes, sizes, and names I never imagined a church having. It is easy, then, to wonder about this. People recognize us immediately on the street, and usually see us like any of the others calling "lo here" or "lo there." One funny and weird thing, too, is that we often streetboard next to Jehovah's Witnesses who are also proselyting. They are really nice and great people, certainly following Christ in the way they know how; but with such obvious "religious excitement," how is our church different from all these others? Certainly, as missionaries, we are physically doing the same thing as the others. 

The answer is the same message we share when we first meet someone: The Restoration and the Book of Mormon. There are many who share our core belief in Christ. I've met many great, warm, Christlike people here who have strong testimonies of Christ and who aren't of our faith. But when we consider this sea of crosses across Seoul, many similar is message and appearance, but no two being exactly alike, I am reminded of Joseph Smith's own question: Which one is true? Our message is bold: Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. Considering the doubt and confusion I am just starting to see and understand, having always been a member of the church, it only now is clear why that is significant. Christ leads His church himself through living prophets, like in times of old. He has declared, yet again, like in times past, His word and gospel through the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the foundation of my faith. As I study it, the depth, power, and spirit that it contains make it clear that the book is true. The implications of this are massive - all the revelations and truths taught in the church are true, and all that has been spoken of really will come to pass. Many people will turn it aside without a thought, and many will deny it. But the truth is simple - The Book of Mormon is true. We can find out by obtaining the word it contains, praying about it, acting upon it, and witnessing the precious blessings it brings. This process we complete over and over again as we strengthen our faith, and again and again it proves true. Thus, the church is true, and it can never be proven anything else. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season! Take a little time to think of all the miracles in our life, including family and the greatest gift of love, which is our Savior. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Transfers--Elder Moore goes home

Temple day.

Well, Elder Moore finished his mission and is with his parents for about a week, then he'll go home. My new companion is Elder Kim Taewan, and he is awesome! I was so surprised when I heard my companion was a native Korean. Naturally, like all the other Korean missionaries I've met, he is really good at English, but he almost always speaks Korean to me. That is good, because what I need to work on the most is listening. I still can't understand most of what anyone says, so I hope this transfer with Elder Kim will help with that. 

Elder Kim Taewan is from the Busan area. He is super focused on the work and extremely diligent in getting things done. I hope to learn a lot from him and find some people to teach. 

Our investigator got confirmed on Sunday, which was great! We will still be meeting with him regularly, and we are praying a lot for him to continue building faith and pursuing this commitment he has made. 

I've been wondering a lot recently on what really brings the Spirit to people and how to testify in a way that invites the Spirit. I am learning that every testimony must be sincere - that is, when we testify to someone on the street that the Book of Mormon is true, we are saying that with an honest desire for them to find out for themselves if it is true. When are intentions parallel Heavenly Father's, he will bless our actions and words with power. President Hinckley was told by his father during his mission to forget himself and go to work. To "forget yourself" is not easy to do, but as we strive to serve the Lord because we love Him, and thus serve His children, he will pour his Spirit upon us. Heavenly Father wants His children to know he loves them, and he wants them to come unto Him and to be able to bless them. When we do all we can to be in a position to accomplish this will because of our sincere desire to serve Him, He will be there to help us. The intentions within our hearts, when pure, create room for the Spirit to fill us. 

Hope you are all doing well and enjoying Christmas season!

Monday, December 7, 2015

100 Hour Week

This last week has been so busy! We woke up at 5:30 each day and only did an hour of prep and an hour of study before we went out for the day, then stayed out until 9:30. We made lots of contacts streetboarding, met lots of members and a less active, worked with our investigator, and got a lot done. As I reflected on this past week I saw that the Lord has been teaching me many things. First of all is diligence. I've been wondering a lot about not reaching my goals and what I can improve that will allow me to fulfill them. Christlike attributes that I've focused on a lot since coming on my mission are humility and diligence, and from this past week I saw and learned that diligence and putting our focus, effort, and heart primarily into the work before anything else, we will accomplish our goals. Our vision, which ought to be aligned with our Father's will, should be concentrated on our purpose and the plans and goals we set to accomplish it. These lessons, I believe, were the most valuable part of doing the 100 hour week, because they will make me more effective for the rest of my mission. 

The coolest part of the week was 이상호's baptism. It happened right after church, so most of the ward was there. The speakers welcomed him to the ward, it it was all-around a very joyful experience. One rather unfortunate thing that happened was that the water in the font was too hot right as we were going in, so we had to wait and sing songs while some cold water was pumped in. It's been great working with him, and I've really grown to care and develop Christlike love for him as we have worked with him. 

One thing I've gained a strong testimony of on my mission is the power of the scriptures. I've found that almost all of my prayers are answered by the scriptures. The time I get to spend just studying God's word (Alma right now) is one of the most spiritual and powerful during the day, and as I've learned how to better study and apply the scriptures to myself, I have been immensely blessed. If there are any concerns, doubts, struggles, questions, or trials we have, simply studying the Book of Mormon will help us overcome. Any chapter will do. In fact, nearly any verse would work. Search for an answer and revelation to whatever your specific trial or question may be. The Spirit will be there, and you will obtain a joyful remembrance of our Heavenly Father's love and plan for us. Your testimony of the Savior will be strengthened. These things will bring you joy and remembrance that can overcome anything. The scriptures are an incredible blessing to us, and one of the things I am most grateful for in my life. 

I love you all and hope you are doing well and loving the Christmas season. Elder Jones, you are a great example to me! Keep being awesome!

Evolution of the Nametag

​Thanksgiving dinner: Ordering Chicken. Left to Right: Elder Huckvale, Elder Kim, me, Elder Moore, and our streetboard in the background

Thanksgiving Dinner
​First snow from the apartment window. Didn't stick. 

​Kim bop! (Making Kimchi)