August 12, 2013
Well, Family, Friends, The Usual Suspects (Including Fan Club)
We'll start at the tops. First story. Monsoons.
Wow. That's all I can say. Tuesday was near pitch black at 3pm. Elder Pruner was feeling sick, and NONE of our plans worked. Then came a rainstorm. False. Then came a deluge. Coupled with the heat, humidity, and shear volume of rainfall, we were soaked. Head to foot. We ducked into a 평의점 for shelter, for like 30 minutes. And we made friends with the cashier. I did at least. Then, the rain lifted and SUNSHINE. It was a strange day. I have never seen weather change so fast (even in Klamath Falls).
Next story is better. Accents.
I took the strangest phonecall ever on Wednesday. Elder Pruner and I have been working super hard to advertise our English class, and we made a little pamphlet explaining our program. We pass them out like a stranger gives out candy when we're on the streets, and we hope that people have interest and call us. We finally got a phone call. I'll give you the translated version of it:
"Hey, you gave me a pamphlet yesterday about your free English Program. I want to learn; how can I do it?"
"Well, we're teaching a conversation class tonight at 7 if you're interested"
"Really. Well, can you speak English well?"
"Yeah. I'm American"
"Oh. Well, I don't want to learn the American accent; it's difficult to keep it up in Korea. Can you do a British accent?"
"Yeah, a British accent."
"I don't know. I'm American."
"Give it a shot."
"Okay." Then I gave it my best shot.
"Wasn't that Australlian? That sounded more Australlian"
"I have no idea. I'm American."
"Could you try an Australlian accent."
"Tell you what, I'll come by your church tonight. What church is it?"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"
"Isn't that the Mormon Church?"
"Well, that's a nickname"
"Okay. Well, if I have time, I'll come by." Hangs up.
Yeah. He didn't come to English class that night. But I had fun on the phone with him.
Last story is the best.
We had two people come to church yesterday! There's two stories I have to tell to get this to make sense.
The first person is Korean. She is SUPER shy and really loves learning English, and I think she might be a little bit lonely. But, Elder Pruner and I have a great relationship with her, so it's totally cool if we ask her to come to church, if anything to make friends. She comes. Sacrament is great - she paid a lot of attention and really loved the same talks I did. Then comes Gospel Principles. We'll pause here - you need the other story now.
The second person is American. He's dating one of our members (who WAS less active... not anymore. She referred him to us yesterday). She was translating for him in sacrament meeting, and well, she left me to translate in Gospel Principles (I did so bad). The lesson was about the great council in heaven, which evolved into something significantly off topic (...I was stressing out trying to keep up with the lesson and translate it in such a way that would make sense to somebody who doesn't know a lot about our church. Not much I could do when the topic that came up was schisms within the Church...). But now I can cut back to the first story!
So, while I'm translating for the American (again, I was keeping track of a lot of things), our Korean volunteers some information (IT NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!! I literally did a double take once what happened dawned on me). And, she started taking steps to make friends with our Korean members... she really loved church yesterday!
Now, back to the second story. I apologize for the lacking translation, but he was fine with it. Then, it just seemed natural to invite him to meet with us for the third hour. We talk with him, and really find out that he is SUPER interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon. We introduce the Book of Mormon to him, and he wants to read it! I was trying so hard not to sing from sheer happiness mid lesson! The Spirit was so strong!
And that, my dear family and friends, was the week in a nutshell. Let's go on to some other exciting news.
I learned so much. Transfers are coming up, and yes, I'm nervous. I could very well be transfering. And I've been thinking a lot about my time here in 평택. I should probably explain a little bit more...
There's a mission wide push for missionaries to consecrate themselves to the Lord - it's advice that applies to every member, really. And I've been thinking about this idea a lot. I haven't been able to produce great numbers - some other missions have an average of 40 lessons a week. I'm blessed to have 10. I haven't had a baptism yet. A lot of other missionaries have been blessed with the opportunity to do so.
We're promised great blessing if we can consecrate all our efforts to the Lord. But I'm realizing that I shouldn't assume that I know what blessings will follow from consecrating myself. Think of Mormon and Moroni - the last two prophets mentioned in the Book of Mormon. I have no doubt that they were consecrated missionaries. Read Mormon 9:6 - Mormon knows that he has "a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay." He teaches of faith, hope, and charity, and he explains why we need them (see Moroni 7). Moroni labored to compile the records so that the Lamanite might learn of the truth of God, yet the Lamanites hated the Nephites that would not deny the Christ (See Moroni 1). Both these prophets had HARD missions, and they weren't able to prevent the Nephites from destruction. Yet, I don't think that they were unhappy. Mormon put his hope in Eternal Life, and had faith in Jesus Christ. Moroni worked out of charity and love.
Yes, I would love to be blessed with tons of conversions, but if not, then what? I'm satisfied knowing that I'm giving this effort my all. Yes, I'm not perfect, but the Lord doesn't expect immediate perfection. He just wants immediate progression. And everyday I learn more and more about what it means to be a good missionary (and I mean this outside of being a full-time missionary).
The question I really care about is simply this: have I done all I could in my time here to strengthen the units I've been given a responsiblity to serve? The answer is, yes. With what I knew, I did my best. With what I know now, I could do much better. What does this mean? I have a better idea of how to use my time wisely. It's not just about finding new people to teach, it's about finding the people who need to be strengthened, whether it be by teaching them the gospel, being a friend, or just trying to show your love.
God lives. Never forget that. He knows us. We lived with Him before this life. We can live with Him after this life. That's my hope - to stand in the presence of God with my family and friends, and to be able to spend eternity with the people whom I have come to love whilst in this life.
I love you.