This is a fun read!
October 7, 2013
Well, devoted followers, I've got some really cool stories to tell.
First off, I learned that dragonflies can and will bite you. Rather than catch butterflies in Korea (reminds me of another story... next paragraph), people catch dragonflies. The secret is to wait for them to land and then sneak up on them. One of the recent convert's sons caught a dragonfly, brought it up right next to my arm, and let me tell you, that thing chomped. While the bug was on my arm, I thought "Wow, I hope they don't bite," and just as I finished the thought, boom. Bite. It didn't hurt as bad as you might think. It was just shocking. So, if you catch dragonflies, steer clear of the mandibles.
So, back to butterflies. I don't think I ever shared this with anybody - it was emotionally scarring... this is when I was with Elder Oman 15 weeks back. We were up in Osan, taking a break in a park on a nice summer day, watching butterflies playing in the flowers. Then, out of nowhere, a magpie swoops down and demolishes a butterfly and eats it. Keep in mind, this was right after I accidently stepped on a butterfly at a subway station. I almost cried (both times). Seriously, nature is scary. That butterfly didn't stand a chance.
Last story. Thursday (the same day I got bitten by the dragonfly), Elder Pruner and I visited a member, 임은희 (Leem Uenhuei), and on the way back, Elder Pruner really had to go to the bathroom. This put us in quite the predicament. We were about 10, 15 minutes away from the nearest bathroom we could use, and well, it was just a predicament. Walking with purpose, we see a car parked on the side of the road. As we pass, the driver rolls down the window, and it turns out that it's a less active member of the American branch who lives a few doors up from us. He tells us to get into the car (It's about 8:50. We needed to get home anyways), so we do. His girlfriend is in the front seat, and we make conversation. It went a little like this:
Me: "Did you have work today?"
Him: "No, we had the day off because of the holiday."
Me: "Oh, what'd you do then?"
Him: "We went to Suwon... we visited the toilet museum."
At this point, Elder Pruner and I just look at each other.
Elder Pruner: "Wait, what?"
His Girlfriend: "Yeah, the toilet museum."
Me: "Seriously? Was it fun?"
She explained the sights of the toilet museum, and then they told us all about it, giving us the brochure... we were shocked. Blindsided actually. That morning I thought I saw it all (a car had a cross lashed onto the front of it with the speakers blaring, in understandable Korean, "Believe in Jesus"... that was quite shocking too), but the Toilet Museum caught me unawares. I meant to take a picture of the brochure, but alas, I forgot to. Next week. I promise. All I know is that I wanted to go there on a P-Day, but it's closed on Mondays. So I have an excuse to come back now.
But, let me explain why this was so cool. Like, this was a miracle. This less active, he's been one that we've wanted to work with for quite a while. We just didn't have all the tools necessary to do it (like his phone number... we got it now). It was perhaps the most enjoyable converstation we had all week. And the topic thereof rather fitting for our situtation. Anyways, total tender mercy. Elder Pruner and I were coming off of having some pretty off days on the streets talking wtih people. This helped out a ton. In fact, it sort of spurred personal study the next day. I studied miracles.
Ether 2 and 3 outilines a really cool pattern for miracles. It's the story of the Brother of Jared and the stones. The pattern goes like this:
A) Have a goal
B) Share with God your goal
C) Make a plan to accomplish the goal
D) Ask God to make up the difference
Rather than point out the verses that show this pattern (I've only a Korean Book of Mormon, and not enough time to find them), I'll leave it to you, if you want, to look for it. This pattern sort of changed how I approach missionary work.... I know I've shared with all ya'll that I realize, more than ever, my inadequacies and weakness. But it's not overwhelming or depressing, in fact, it's the opposite. I know a few things I need to work on improving. This story and this pattern, though, helped me realize that no matter how good I may become, I'll always fall short of being perfect. Every plan that we've made to help somebody come unto Christ only worked when God helped, and that only happened when we asked for it. With the Spirit's companionship, it doesn't matter how week our words are, it only matters that we believe and do all that we can to succeed. Like we learn in 2 Nephi 25:23, we are only saved by grace after all that we can do. God doesn't want us to fail, He doesn't want us to be unhappy. He wants us to be happy and successful.
How has this changed the way I approach missionary work? Well, I'm not worried about being perfect, but more concerned about doing my best. I know that if I really act out of love, I don't waste time, and if I be where I'm suppposed to be when I'm supposed to be there, then I'll see success, and needs to happen will happen. Why? This is God's work. He's able to make things happen by small and simple means. He's able to accomplish wonders with imperfect efforts.
Does that mean that we don't try? No, not at all. But it does mean that we shouldn't be concerned by the fact that we aren't perfect YET. We're here to grow, learn, and become. That's the beauty of the gospel and the plan of salvation. Progression. Becoming. Those two ideas bring a lot of hope. They bring me hope.
I love you all!
Elder Elliott Wedam