Monday, 27 October 2014

A test of Faith

Lately, we are not able to meet some of our investigators because it is the harvest season of the year. Sister Nam works harvesting ginger so she is too busy to meet till middle of November. We call her occasionally and she is doing well reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday. Gosh, I feel for her. She works so much that she only sleeps like 4hours a day but she still takes time out to pray and read every morning. From what I've observed, I think a lot of investigators who end up getting baptised has this kind of period when God tests their faith before baptism...

Gosh... we have been getting a lot of punks this week.. haha.

On Tuesday, we were on our way to go to our investigator, Sister Hwang's house. We wanted to suddenly visit her and give her the Restoration Video. We were walking past the bus stop where we met her spontaneously last time. I thought "It'd be so funny if we see her again here" then there she is casually walking towards us with her bag full of 목욕탕(public bath) neccessaties. She was on her way to the public bath again. We were so ecstactic to see her. She said that usually she goes to the bathhouse earlier during the day but her grandson locked himself in a room with her celphone so she had to go later. Sister An and I were both thinking "what should we do?? We really need to talk with her...This is a rare chance!" then Sister An was like "can we go to the bathhouse with you??" haha yes we ended up going to the bathhouse with our investigator... We followed up about the Book of Mormon reading and everything and taught her a lesson while she was on the water massage machine in the bathhouse.  We took out our meal times for the time we spent at the bathhouse. 

Sister Hwang is doing really well. She is praying about our church, reading the Book of Mormon and attending church so we are expecting miracles for her. Recently Sister Hwang's ancestors have to appearing in her dreams and we felt that her ancestors want her to do the family history work and take their names to the temple. We've taught about the temple and she was really interested in it. Yesterday at church she told us of another special dream she has had recently. The reason why Sister Hwang refuses to be baptised is becaused she has already been baptised with her mum at a different church and doesn't understand the importance of the priesthood authority. In her dream, her mum appeared in her dream and she was handwashing a white dress then her mum handed her the dress. Sister Hwang noticed that the dress was still dirty and when she tried washing it again a lot of dirt kept coming out of it. When Sister Hwang told this dream to her daughter (Sister Kim who is a member), Sister Kim was shocked and realised the meaning of the dream that Sister Kim's grandmother wanted to tell her mum that the baptisms wasn't valid. This dream is making Sister Hwang, think more deeply about everything.

My companion, Sister An is not well lately. Her health is getting really bad. I'm worried about her. I hope she doesn't have anything serious...The church members are worried about her health because she doesn't look healthy. The branch President's family gave 보약 to us yesterday and this Recent Convert gave her a 1 hour 1:1 lecture on natural healing... haha. She had a headache by the end of it. haha We have such a loving branch...
I'm having so much fun serving with Sister An. She has such a deep understanding about the Gospel. I learn so much during companionship study time. Lately, during personal study, I have been trying to ask good questions to myself while studying the plan of salvation. It's so fascinating. I'm learning the importance of asking questions while studying, the best personal studies have been the times when I asked questions to myself and found answers to them in the scriptures.

Personal goals

Our mission has 140 missionaries and we have not been having baptisms for 3 weeks in a row so we are having a special fast.

I'm am constantly reminded of how important it is as a member to be fed spiritually everyday with scripture reading and prayer. We have been working with and visiting some members. When they are having their trials when their faith is tested, I am saddened about their trials but I am even more saddened when I find out that they don't do their daily prayers and scripture reading. When we seek to help our members, we are always prompted to bear testimony of the importance of daily prayer and scripture reading.

Lately, I have been slacking at talking with everyone. I made excuses like 'we haven't seen much fruit from proselyting' 'we need to focus on thinking and praying about the investigators we already have' etc... This week, I noticed myself that I am starting to fear men more than God. I noticed that I am slowing down a little and being more nervous. I told this to the Lord. I asked Him to lift me up. By experiences and feelings, He reminded me how important it is to open my mouth at all times. I have made a personal goal for talking with more people and this has made a big difference to my spirituality.

We went to the countryside to help our member's mother pick chilli. Sister An had so much fun with that dog. That dog has some kind of a mental problem so it barks at his own foot... The member's mother became our investigator and we are excited to go again next week.
Our investigator and her friend took us to a 팥죽 place. It was yummy but we had to drop her after that meeting... She is not willing to keep commitments... :(

Yesterday this lady we met on the street showed us how to get to a bus stop. We went past her garden with a pumpkin patch. Sister An told her about the Halloween party we are having and how we need a pumpkin for pumpkin carving. She said that to invite her to the party but the lady actually ended up giving us a pumpkin hahah. We carried that around with us on the way to the member's house haha.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Making a difference in our lives

Sister Nam is progressing well. She first had english interest but as she learned more about our message. She realised that it's time she has a belief in her life. We didn't ask her to pray everyday but she has been praying everyday before she goes to work. She says that it's making a difference in her life. The other day, she only had time to sleep for two hours then she went to work. In the past she has been grumpy and impatient with the people around her whenever she was sleep-deprived but she said that prayer helped her to get through that day without feeling too tired and grumpy. 

We had a touching member lesson with her this week. It was with our member sister강. In the lesson, we were sharing about how the power of the atonement can be applied by reading the Book of Mormon. Sister 강 shared how she used to suffer from insomnia. It was so bad that she couldn't sleep for 4 days once. One day, a church sister suggested her to go for a walk outside and read the Book of Mormon everyday. At first Sister 강 hesitated and doubted about how reading a book can heal her disease but as she did that her insomnia got so much better gradually. Something that Sister강 said really made think. She said that she realised during the lesson that her healing came from the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is just like what I am learning on my mission. Before my mission I received soo many blessings from the Gospel and my nature changed gradually by feeling God's love for me but I didn't realise all of that was from the atonement, from Christ's sacrifice. I was like a child enjoying the food and everything parents buy for her while being oblivious to the sweat and tears parents put into earning that money. I'm learning and feeling little bit by bit about Christ's sacrifice for me but I will never be able to understand fully his sacrifice in my mortal mind but I can keep being grateful till the day I see Him.
On Thursday, we went to a zone conference in 청주 (Cheon-Ju). It was such a long time travelling :/ ... but it was a good meeting.

I did a musical item and sung "Come Thou Fountain." I got an elder to accompany me on the piano. Being a missionary he didn't have much time to practice so when we performed, he messed up quite a lot. I just kept on singing to keep the flow. The people still loved it and the Spirit was there but I saw that the elder seemed really embarrassed about it. I expressed my thanks to him. Later on he told me that he has learned a lesson from this experience. Because of his perfectionist personality, before his mission if he did that in a performance, he would walk out of the room and never come back but he felt ok about it this time and it didn't bother him as much. Hearing that made me happier than any other complements I got for the performance. I could see God's hand in helping him to learn and grow.
I did a split with Sister Livingston after the zone conference. She is a beauty. The photo is of us having dinner together when unsplitting.

안규진 자매님 and I
After the split
Yesterday... with our member and investigator next to a "Nike Missile." haha

My testimony

Our mission is making a collection of the missionaries' testimonies and making a book for Christmas. This is my testimony...
"When I came on my mission, I hoped that this year and a half of service will increase my understanding about the Atonement. On my mission, I have had to rely on Christ's Atonement every single day.

There were times when I did not have the physical strength to go on anymore. As I cried out for strength, He gave me strength I did not have.

There were times when my heart hurt from other people's actions. By being open and honest with Him through prayer, He let me know that He understands perfectly then gave me strength to forgive and forget.

There were times when I was stressed about the progress of investigators and felt hopeless, He reminded me through the words in the Book of Mormon that HE is the healer, not me.

There were times when my heart was weighed down with guilt and sorrow for my mistakes. By humbly seeking Him through prayer, He let me know that my sins are forgiven and that I need not look back.

There were times when I was worried about my family and missed them. Through my family's emails, He let me know that He is blessing my family everyday.

I know that my Redeemer lives because I would not be where I am without His power of the Atonement. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

I want to share a miracle we had this week.

We have an investigator called Sister 지. She has been meeting with us for about a month now and she is a great listener and she reads whatever we ask her to read but she always refused to pray... We have asked her to pray several times already so before we walked into her lesson, we decided not to ask her to pray.

As we were finishing up the lesson, 안규진자매님 shared her powerful testimony. As I was watching Sister 지, I felt Heavenly Father's sorrow and how much He wants her to pray to Him. 안규진 자매님 was about to say the closing prayer but I felt prompted to let her know about what I felt. I asked her "Is there a reason why you won't pray Sister 지?" She said "no, it's just I don't know a lot yet and I don't have much belief."
I said to her "I'm sorry if we gave you 부담 (uncomfortable pressure) by teaching you about prayer and asking you to pray several times but I have felt during the times we have met you that Heavenly Father really wants to hear from you."
I felt the Spirit strongly as I said that. She then agreed to pray and said the closing prayer. I was reminded of the importance of following the promptings of the Spirit.

"Why did Jesus teach to forgive everyone when He came?"

Dear family and friends...            
I have a new companion. Her name is 안규진 자매님. Before we met each other, we both have felt that we need each other for this transfer while we prayed. I am understanding little bit by bit why. I'm learning so much from her especially on being bold with love. I read in acts when one of the disciples say 'I will obey God than obeying men.' That describes her. She has a strong love for the Gospel and is fully aware that we as missionaries have a serious calling to work for people's salvation. She is 29 years old so she has experienced a lot of things in her life. Because of this she is able to understand more about the investigators. I love her.

SIster An and I are having a lot of fun doing missionary work together. She is the first companion who I speak Korean all the time with. All other companions we did english inside and Korean outside. She is teaching me a lot of words I have forgotten and I'm learning more deeply about the Korean culture from her. Usually in Korean culture the age difference really plays a role in a relationship but although she is 8 years older than me we are just like friends.

Last time we skyped, mum and dad you told me that I need to understand more about the Korean people and their hardships. That made me a sulky at the time but I have been thinking about that over and over again. I have come to understand that actually I will never be able to understand these people's hardships perfectly because I simply haven't experienced it. Just like I cannot understand perfectly the sacrifice of Christ's atonement at this time. However, we have the testimonies of other members of the church around the world who have experience things our investigators have. They can get a lot of strength from that so sister 안규진 and I are utilising a lot of resources from right now.

Lately, I've been learning how important it is to forgive people. I remember mum once asked me 'why did Jesus teach to forgive everyone when He came?' By observing the people around me I see that Christ wants us to forgive everyone because that little bit of hatred left behind in our hearts makes it hard to live the Gospel and Satan utilises that so well to drag us down the wrong way. The happy part is that through Christ's atonement we can get rid of any kind of unforgiveness in our hearts 100%.

Our investigator 남금송s is doing so well now. She said that last time when we met she felt that she needs to stop being unbelieving but and needs to try harder to know about God. Since then she felt the desire to pray and she has been praying every morning before she leaves to work. She says that it makes her feel peace and a lighter feeling in her heart.

Funny moment...
We visited this grandma who has trouble hearing. 안규진자매님 asked her what do you ask for when you pray to God. She then said 'cleaning, washing the dishes, scrubbing the floor." We were both looking at each other with "??" We found out she was talking about the helpers that come around regularly. haha