Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Random Miracle

A miracle I saw this week was actually a little different than usual. I accidentally left by bag with money, credit card, camera, and my scriptures in it at a proselyting spot yesterday. I didn't realize that until I got home, so we hurried and took a taxi back, saying a quick prayer to find it, but it wasn't there. Fortunately, just a few minutes after planning started, the zone leaders called and asked if someone was missing a camera. Apparently a police officer found the bag, saw the Book of Mormon and pamphlets, looked up the church online, and found the phone number for the zone leaders and called them. It was such a relief and an answer to prayer. We went and picked up the bag this morning. 

We also had a big 2-zone English Class Talent show at Nokbeon ward on Friday. A bunch of people were there, and it was lots of fun. Our English Class/district performed a traditional Korean story called Heongbu/Norbu, which is about selfishness vs. selflessness. It went really well, and the night was really fun. Nokbeon ward has some awesome members and great actors, too. I also realized that literally almost everyone in the ward speaks English, and lots of them speak it really well. Seems to be a theme among people in the church here...interesting. 

Anyway, thanks for all your messages! Love you so much! Have a great week.
​From one hour ago - we are going to visit some Buddhist temples from the same mountain I sent them from last fall. BTW, it is now in our area, so we don't even need permission to visit it! We are in the subway station.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week of Endurance

 Transfer calls! Elder Carmen and I are both staying for another transfer. 

This week has been pretty difficult and slow. Our investigators either couldn't meet or didn't respond to calls, and besides that it seems like nothing went according to plan. I find myself again and again reflecting on Elder Holland's council from last general conference. We really seek to do the right thing each day, and we feel like we should find success and rewards immediately. When that doesn't happen, however, I've learned we have a great opportunity both to build patience and to reflect on what we can be doing better. 

This week I've thought a lot about humility. I heard a talk from a past general conference, I'm not sure from whom, which said that humility is the recognition that we can't change anybody. Throughout missionary work, we learn again and again that this work isn't about us. We can only bring the Spirit, the true converter. We do that through obediently submitting our will to our Father in Heaven's will. This isn't always easy, especially when we are thoroughly convinced that we are right. But the humility necessary for this submission can come through remembrance. When I reflect on the times I have most powerfully seen the Lord's hand in my life, I recognize just how little my own efforts can accomplish. In giving us direction, Heavenly Father doesn't seek to take away our agency - rather, He shows us the path by which we can find the most joy and success. As missionaries, we can't bring about faith or repentance by ourselves, because those things can only be accomplished when the Lord's hand is at work. 

Thanks for all your love and messages! I hope and pray everyone back home who is struggling will find strength and comfort. Love you all!

Temple P-Day

​Look who I found on Temple P-day!

​Biking! Elder Manwaring and Elder Carmen behind me

Biking the Han River

​Biking - Elder Collins and Manwaring behind me

​Panorama of the Seoul South Mission on the other side of the Han River

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The way of Escape

This week we saw a great miracle when our investigator showed up for a lesson with a less active member from California. They were both going through a hard time, so he brought him hoping that we would be able to help him. Despite being less active and having some issues he was dealing with, this member had a very strong testimony and solid knowledge. The investigator also talked about a bunch of the things he himself was going through and his desire to overcome some of the Word of Wisdom problems he struggles with. The lesson got particularly emotional when he talked about the family issues it has causes him. We got the opportunity again to testify that Christ could help them through and give them power to overcome temptation and weakness and to repent. This is the same investigator that we found a couple weeks ago miraculously just as he was about to get in his car. He approached us, said he'd met missionaries before, and that he'd been thinking about us and wanted to meet again. I'm so thankful for the miracles the Lord has put in place for him to find the way of escape from his trials and difficulties, and that he has chosen to start along that path. The Savior is that way, and it is all we can do to bring Him to the hearts of others. 

The Sisters had a baptism yesterday, which was great! It was a part-member family of which the father had been a little less-active. He baptized his wife and will baptize his daughter, soon, too. It was very spiritual and an awesome experience! The missionaries sung a few special songs for it, and it was great. 

If anyone is wondering, here are a few of the foods I have eaten that you might not find in the U.S. - Intestine soup, pig feet, mud fish...actually I can't think of any more right now, but I'll try to write them down. The pig feet was great, the intestine soup was good, and the mud fish was okay...As for Korean, it's progressing steadily. I can think of a way to say most of what I want to say, but listening is still the hardest part. 

Thanks for all your messages! I love hearing how everyone is doing. Love you!

Monday, May 9, 2016

This week I went on an exchange with Elder Collins and he taught me about how we can keep ourselves eager and desirous to serve each day. The example he used was Alma. In Alma 29, we see just how earnest and sincere Alma is each day in seeking to serve the Lord. He says his joy comes from being an instrument in the Lord's hands and expresses his desire to declare His word to all the world. It isn't easy to get ourselves to this point that our own greatest desires are to serve the Lord, and that our very nature is to do what He wants. Our drive, energy, and eagerness naturally fades over difficulty and time. A powerful way we can maintain this eagerness to serve that we might feel at a time of great spiritual illumination, like general conference, is gratitude. When we recognize and pour out our souls in gratitude each day, we remember, like Alma, the immense blessings of our life. We need not forget, like the Nephites did again and again, the Lord's merciful hand in our life. Expressing gratitude with equal or even greater fervor than when we ask for more blessings builds greater love for God. It invites the Spirit to be with us. As go through daily life, taking more of our time and energy to examine how we have been blessed, rather than how we still want to be blessed, helps us realize that Heavenly Father has blessed us with answers and mercies we never before recognized. 

In a talk by Elder Bednar, he talks of an experience where Sister Bednar was asked to say a prayer of only gratitude. Despite the fact that they had just learned of a tragic event if the life of a friend, she did so. The result was a deeper sense of love and joy than could have been obtained by praying for comfort, though doing so is right and good. It helped them to see plainly the joy and comfort that had been and always was being given to them. I would challenge everyone to give a prayer of only gratitude each day. I know that doing so will grant greater strength, joy, and love each day. 

Thanks for your messages everyone! I hope you get better soon Bishop Christensen! You are in my prayers too. 

​Me and Elder Carmen

​Nokbeon Church with a really nice car in front of it

​Eating with Elder Carmen and Yunseokboem

Monday, May 2, 2016

So Many Miracles!

This week we've had the Lord's blessings poured out upon us. We were walking to find a less active in another part of the area when a member we work with a lot texted us and asked us to bring a hymnbook. We turned around to go get it, and on the way we found someone who was about to hop in their car, who actually approached us. He said he'd met missionaries before and had been thinking about them recently and wanted to meet him again. So, we set up an appointment for later that day. We didn't actually meet until Thursday, but when we met it was such a spiritual lesson. We taught him the restoration, and he expressed desire to quit smoking. Teaching someone who was prepared by the Lord for us already is such a humbling and incredible experience. 

Later that week we received a call from someone else who had also met missionaries before and wanted to meet again. When we met, it was very clear he had been thinking a lot about this. He said he wanted to be baptized, but has a certain difficulty he needs to overcome first. We assured him that, through Christ, he would certainly be able to overcome it. 

We also received 3 unplanned referrals this week, which is a miracle by itself. We are working to get a recent convert we have been meeting regularly, who has a super strong testimony, to the temple for baptisms. He already has a family name prepared and has been outside the temple before. He is progressing a lot and has recently developed a strong desire to have his family be a part of the gospel with him. It's amazing how even just being near and being taught about the temple has really helped him realize the importance of having a Christ-centered family. 

So many awesome things happening! I've felt the importance this week of putting myself out there to listen to people more sincerely and diligently and offer more praise for commitments that have been kept. When people are trying, in all sincerity, to change their lives, some praise and encouragement goes a long way. Having an attitude of seeking to uplift, help, and inspire people is important and, like Christ did in his ministry, reaches out and touches their hearts. 

Thanks for your messages and testimonies everybody! Have a great week! 

​Pictures from a P-day. Super windy day, for which I blame the bad hair.

​HUGE church! (Not one of ours) It's that whole stadium

​Just some park