Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Week Thirteen: Koreans Don't Celebrate Christmas

Dear People,

Christmas is deeply woven into American culture; every snack brand changes their entire product line for it every year. Koreans do almost nothing at all. Super weird. A part-American family invited us over for their kind of Christmas-y kind of American dinner though, so we were ok.

I finally feel like I know what's going on. I've been lost most of the time since arriving in here. Mentally and directionally. But I now pretty comfortably know where I am on a map and in our lessons. I can understand 76% of what my companion says to people, and I can convey about 30% of what I want to get across in Korean. I know what I should be doing at every minute. I know where I am going. I am super happy, and super excited.

I'm emailing late today because this morning we taught an investigator named Soh Yu Ri (서유리). She 28 years old and is so prepared. She has been looking for God, literally looking; going to lots of different churches and talking to the pastors about religion. Her big issue with religion has been that everyone is focused on salvation and how to get to heaven, but she really just wants to know how to be happy right now. My companion is so excited about her, he is praying that he won't get transferred so he can be here when she gets baptized. We think she will. I've always known that baptisms aren't the measure of missionary success, that is especially true in Korea where the inactivity is 90%. Baptisms are not rare. Strong active families are. Reactivation of a family is so valuable. Families can be a slice of heaven on earth. Skyping home reminded me of that. Families are very central to the Plan of Salvation. 

One of our other new investigators is Kim Shi Youn (김시윤) He is 27 and also has a ton of potential. We haven't actually taught him yet, but when we first met him we talked about Christmas and he mentioned something about wanting to "become more like Jesus". Who says that? Hopefully we'll be able to teach him with 서유리 and they'll get married. That would be the best story ever.

During my Skype home, Austin asked how my conversion to Jesus Christ has changed, I didn't give a very good answer so I've been thinking about it since. That is a good question. Our conversion to Christ is never finished, so it really should be constantly changing. I've recognized that I'll never be done and that I'll always need to be pushing myself and my change of heart has been promising Him and myself that I will. I will never get into a comfort zone with my conversion.

So much is going on, there so many awesome stories I should probably be telling, but the missionary brain is day by day. Yesterday feels like weeks ago. If I don't write stuff down I don't know how I would remember anything. Time flies so fast. 

I love the Gospel. It is perfect. It is super difficult to live, but even that is perfect; most easy tasks aren't worth doing. Just do it. Live the Gospel, do what you know will make you truly happy. You don't need to wait for anything. At any moment you can think of something you should be doing if you try. Just get up and do it.

-Elder Brown

The attached temple photo is actually not a temple, but everyone has a theory that the church is just going to convert one of these two massive stake centers into a temple if they need to. They used to be the biggest stake centers in the world. 

The baby picture of me was given to me by the lady at my alien registration. When I was telling her my information she freaked out a little and asked if I had lived here before and showed me her screen with this guy on it. Korea keeps good records... The bowl cut is still super in style here by the way.

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