Sunday, November 30, 2014

Getting to Know You

Momma! Thank you for the package!!! I got it last Monday and I was so, so
happy. I'm excited to open the presents on Christmas and I already put them
under our tiny, little Christmas tree that sticks out of a Domino's pizza
box. And I was very excited about all the treats too. I ate all the Kitkats
in less than an hour. I love Kitkats. Also, confession, I read every one of
the Christmas stories this week. I mean, I know it was supposed to be a 25
Days of Christmas thing or whatever, but patience is overrated. Plus I
haven't read anything outside of the scriptures, PMG, and Jesus the Christ
in nearly 17 months, so I'm a little starved for varied literature.

This week we visited so many members! Which is good because there are a ton of members to visit in this ward. This ward has more members than we have in Cranberry and it's quite alarming since my whole mission I've been used to wards with only like 50 to 60 people in them. My favorite thing about visiting members is showing them pictures of my family! Remember, Koreans are extremely blunt, especially when it comes to appearance, so their comments on my family pictures are always a good time. They always sound a little something like:

"Your siblings are more attractive than you."
"You've gained weight."
"You look much better now than you do in these pictures."
"White people!"
"Wow, your sister is really pretty."

And my personal favorite:

"Your brother looks like Tom Cruise."

Bahahaha. Seriously. Every time.

As for our investigators, MJ came to church this week!! Yessss!!!! And she has a baptismal date for December 14thh. Funny story, her brother's return missionary friend (the one that suggested they visit Temple Square) just came back from America and is in Nongsung Ward, the ward that meets in the same building as us! I know this probably means nothing to you, but it meant a lot to us! We kept hearing about this guy in the other ward who came back from BYU Provo to do his military service (all Korean boys have to serve in the military for two years) and was referring all his old friends to the missionaries and it turns out he's the one who referred our investigator in the first place! All the way back in America! What a small, Korean, Mormon world.

Pongo is still a situation I don't know how to talk about, but he's definitely golden, even if his situation isn't. Hopefully we can toss him right on over to the elders and he can be baptized soon.

Oh yeah, and Thanksgiving was a thing this week, wasn't it? It's been so long since I really celebrated a holiday that I totally forgot. Korean companion + missionary life + living in Korea = no holidays. But I'll celebrate holidays better than anyone once I get home so just you wait. Next year's Valentine's Day is gonna be huge.

Now let's have a spiritual thought! This week Elder Aoyagi (the Japanese Seventy who's name I can't pronounce) is coming to our mission and we're having a Mission Tour. Whatever that means. I know, it sounds like something exciting where we tour around the famous historical sites in our mission and grow to love the people and the culture more, doesn't it? Well, it's not. Not in this mission at least. A mission tour is just a fancy way of saying a meeting. Missionaries come up with lots of names to call things that are really just meetings. But this meeting is special because it's going to be in Japanese! With Korean and English translation, of course. I'm excited. I love meetings!

Anyway, in preparation for the meeting, Elder Aoyagi has asked all the missionaries to study a few of their favorite Book of Mormon missionaries. Who did I choose, you may ask? Alma? Amulek? Aaron? No! I chose Abish--the Book of Mormon sister missionary! Girl power! Let's turn to the scriptures.

Alma 19:16
So everyone has already fainted, right? The king, the queen, Aaron, all the servants. Everyone, except Abish, that is. Luckily she's already a convert and she's knows a missionary opportunity when she sees one, so "supposing that this opportunity, that beholding this scene, would cause [the people] to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people."

Eventually all her running leads to the gathering of a whole multitude of people, but they don't quite become converted as quickly as Abish had hoped they would be. In fact, upon looking at their king and queen lying on the ground "as though they were dead" they're a little confused. And really angry. Abish gathered the people so that they could behold the power of God, but instead all that ensues is greater chaos.

Alma 19:28
"And thus the contention began to be exceedingly sharp among them. And while they were thus contending, the woman servant (Abish) who had caused the multitude to be gathered together came, and when she saw the contention which was among the multitude she was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears."

Been there. Done that.

But! Abish is better than me. She doesn't just break down and give up. She tries again. Despite her fears, her nerves, her silly name, and the apparent irreversible mess that she's landed herself in, she steps forwards and takes the queen by the hand (and this is my favorite part), "that perhaps she might raise her from the ground." I love that word. Perhaps.

Abish doesn't knows if any of her efforts will ever work our right, but she tries anyways and she believes in Perhaps.

And it does work. The queen wakes up. And then the queen raises the king from the ground and then Aaron wakes up and all the servants do too. And before you know it, it comes to pass "that there were many that did believe in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them."

And maybe in our lives and our missions, we don't ever live to see the queen or the king or the servants wake up. We don't live to see the people converted and baptized and the church established. But we can still believe in Perhaps. We can take the opportunities to share the gospel when they come and we can hope and pray that perhaps one day, miracles will come from us taking that first step forward and believing.

I love you dearly.
Till next week.

Abba Jameh.

Sorry, I literally took only this one picture this week. But it's cute, right? I like old people.

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