Sunday, August 4, 2013

Relationships and Christlike qualities

July 29, 2013
Family, Friends, Loved Ones.  Anybody Else,
Well, let me just start by saying THE OTHER COMPANIONSHIP HAD TWO PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO RECEIVE BAPTISM THIS LAST WEEK!  pardon the Korean verbage.
It was a nice service.  The ENTIRE ward came (to be fair, it was right after church and a fourth sunday, which means that the ward had an after church dinner), BUT THE ENTIRE WARD CAME.  Our ward mission leader did a great job orgainizing it, the spirit was super strong, and my goodness, I WAS SO HAPPY FOR BOTH ANGELA (that's her English name), HER SON, AND THE OTHER MISSIONARIES (Elder Lion and Elder Atkin).  And, the music was beautiful, the talks were nice, AND I JUST FELT THE SPIRIT SO STRONG.
Ten points if you guess how happy (albeit stressed - baptisms in Korea are a team affair, I'm finding out) I was.  I was just happy.  Almost in tears.  Like I get whenever I sing "Families Can Be Together Forever".  Yay!
The stress of training and senior companion-ing is, well, a lot, but hey, it comes with a lot of blessings.  Yes, I'm worried about the people we teach, and I always worry about Elder Pruner and making sure that he doesn't get discouraged with learning one of the toughest languages for English speakers to learn... and to make sure that he is involved with planning and teaching and finding (there is always the temptation to just do things my way.  But then I remind myself that I have no clue what I'm actually doing, and that other people usually have better ideas than me.  And then he gives me a really good idea, or at least a start, and we change it around just a bit to work in Korea).   But let me just say, with this added stress has come an increased love for studying the scriptures, and a dramatically improved Korean reading/writing/listening ability (speaking also has improved, but not as dramatically).  Oh, and there's been a dramatic increase in the capacity to love other people.  Yeah.  It's stressful, but hey, it's well worth it.  And, I'm figuring out what I like to do to blow off stress.  Write and talk to people (I LOVE talking with our investigators who are super interested in English - they're are really good... at least I think they are, but my opinion my be slightly skewed... and sometimes I get texts that just make me so happy that I can't help but laugh).  I also love living in these four-man apartments.  I've made some of my best friends living with a lot of people all at once.  Anywho...
Nobody we are teaching came out to church, but I'm fine with that right now.  What really happened is that I learned how to build a good relationship with people.  The secret is to be interested in their interests, ask them questions, and to just be nice.  I'm also learning that an honest well-wishing goes a long way.  I love the Korean people so much.  Everything here is just so fun and new!
Misisonary work is hard, but let's be honest here, relationships are never easy (see what I did there?  Missionary work is building relationships ^^).  It's fun.  I've never been so involved with trying to show people I love them (and not just tell them).  But I've learned a lot.
Speaking of things learned, I want to share this... I've been thinking a lot about what kind of person I envision Jesus Christ to be.  Like which qualities of His stand out the most to me.  And this is what I've discovered:
1) He seeks out the one who needs His help - My favorite story from the New Testament is the story of the woman with an issue of blood (I wanna say Mark 5, but I'm not sure).  The part that stands out the most to me is that Christ wanted to seek out the woman who sought His healing, even though He was on His way to help somebody else.  I love the fact that we can rely on the Lord whenever we need Him, and He won't be too busy for us.  If we but seek Him, He will seek us.  And He will minister to us in the way that we need.  I want to be the type of person who seeks out the one who needs help.  I may not be able to much, mere man that I am, but I can try and trust that God will do what I cannot.
2) He stands up for people who need a friend - I also love the story of the woman taken in adultery (See John 8).  I imagine when the Pharisees found this woman, they harassed her.  I'm sure the entire ordeal must have been difficult for her; I imagine the Pharisees and the scribes weren't exactly the kindest to this woman.  But Jesus Christ diffuses the situation by simply stating an obvious truth... that no man is perfect.  "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".  Then, I love the last lines.  I'll try quoting them from memory, but if they be wrong, know that I am human:
"Woman, where are thine accusers?  Hath no man condemned thee?"
"No man Lord"
"Neither do I condemn thee.  Go, and sin no more"
Not only does Christ save this woman from the judgement of religious zealots, but he doesn't pass judgement Himself and admonishes the woman to "go, and sin no more"
I imagine Christ to be a friend to the friendless.  That's somebody I would love to be.  To be a true friend, judging not, but loving.  And then inspiring my friends to be better.
I love you all so much!  I hope this week goes by smoothly!  Keep me posted on news, like people fending off grizzly bears, monsoons that rival Korean Bath Houses, and houses that look like warzones!
Until next week!
Elder Wedam

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