Monday, January 27, 2014

We're all in this together

Wow. I tell you what, wow. Thank you for the veritable flood of emails this week! I haven't had time to read any of them, but it did take me a full fifteen minutes just to take pictures of them all! I'm so excited to read them, so just...thank you. You have no idea what your words mean to me.

Also, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better this week! Since I legitimately have never been so sick in my entire life, there was only room for improvement. I'm sorry for whatever I wrote in my letter last week. I was still a little loopy from my brush with death (okay, I know I'm being over dramatic) and I don't really remember what I wrote, but I can't imagine it was terribly coherent or profound...So, sorry about that.

This week...
All the good things happened on Sunday! Don't they always? :)
The rest of the week was actually pretty rough. I don't really remember the details, but I do remember there was quite a bit of crying. I blame the stress of a mission and the after-effects of sickness.
But anyway, Sunday. Also known as yesterday.

Yesterday, two of our investigators came to church (remember in Korea this almost never happens)--one of our Nepali 사람s (Raju) and the investigator about whom I wrote last week, the one who showed up to church before us (홍정혜). Fun fact--missionaries almost never know which, if any, of their investigators will actually show up to church, so Sunday is always a bit of a scramble trying to arrange lessons and fellow-shippers for the investigators who do decide to attend. This Sunday was no different. It was a busy day of sudden missionary-member splits, last minute arrivals, and lots and lots of good, old-fashioned teamwork. Our elders stepped in and taught our Nepali investigator the first lesson, one member translated all of sacrament meeting to someone's Filipino investigator, and another member sat with our other investigator and explained to her the gospel words she didn't understand, like "testimony" and "gift of the Holy Ghost."

Yesterday especially, I realized how incredibly important it is that members and missionaries work together in this wonderful cause we call "missionary work." I mean, missionaries could try doing it by themselves--finding the investigators, teaching the investigators, baptizing the investigators, making sure the investigators feel comfortable and are happy and understand everything.  
But it does not work.

In fact, I've personally witnessed all the ways it doesn't work.

We've tried finding investigators on our own, but the world is scary and no one wants to talk to strangers and sometimes miracles happen, but more often than not, it doesn't work.
We need members to prepare their friends and their neighbors, to introduce them to the gospel and then to introduce them to us.

We've tried teaching the lessons without our members, but the testimony of a member is so vitally important that usually without it an investigator doesn't progress and their desire to learn more disintegrates and it doesn't work.
We need members to teach with us. We have the name tags, but they have the important added witness that what we teach is true.

And we've tried fellow-shipping our investigators by ourselves. Really, we have. We run around like crazy people trying to ensure that every investigator understands the meeting and feels the Spirit and wants to come back next week. But it doesn't work.
We need members to invite investigators back to church and to help explain the gospel and really, just to spend time with them and be their friend.

And I know it's scary talking about the gospel to your friends and it's time-consuming helping the missionaries with their lessons and it's sometimes cringingly awkward trying to become acquainted with the random people who show up to church. But, we need you. As one little missionary to a whole bunch of friends and family and Church members--we need you so much.

And we don't need your food (though it is nice sometimes), but we do need your love and your support and your testimonies. We need you to help us share the gospel because we are struggling to do it on our own.

We need each other.
And I know that the Lord needs us to need each other. Because that's how we grow and progress and become better.
It's all just part of the plan.

I love you all immeasurably.
Thank you for everything you do.
Sister Abba.

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