I mentioned last week that my companion Elder Child is gluten intolerant; that is actually just what we have all assumed because he's been sick since he started his mission and as soon as they put him on a gluten-free diet he got better (gluten is just calories or anything bad I think). Recently, however, he's been having other problems even when he is avoiding gluten, so President Madsen had us to go a hospital to confirm exactly what he has. In order to avoid leading the doctors to look in the wrong place for the problem, we were advised not to mention our suspicions that it is Celiacs Disease (even though his mom and grandma both have it) So we went to the doctor, told him the symptoms, the doctor prodded him a few times and was like "It's probably Ulcerative Colitis. We'll do a rectal scope." At that point we finally brought up the gluten thing, but he was like, "It couldn't be that" so they proceeded. Throughout the whole thing there was a woman named Cha Ah-rhym who was the interpreter for the Doctor and nurses. She's super cool and she's worked with a bunch of missionaries throughout the last couple years so she's heard a bit about the church. While my companion was doing his business, I got to give her a Book of Mormon introduction. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure Elder Child had to go through all that nonsense just so that Cha Ah-rhym. could hear a Book of Mormon intro. Poor guy. After they didn't find anything during the scope, we talked more about our near certainty that it was Celiacs and the doctor was like, "Hmm I actually don't know anything about that because it's not a thing in Korea" then he got out his phone in front of us and Googled it.
So that was ghetto.
Yesterday we met a sister member who was baptized like 20 years ago who has a powerful testimony of enduring to the end. Her husband has been coming to church every week for the last five years, but won't get baptized because he doesn't want to give up drinking with his friends. She talked to us about how the missionary that baptized her is now inactive and how it was hard when she found out about that, but when she read a journal entry from the time when she joined the church and was overwhelmed with peace. She asked us if we kept journals and I excitedly validated her feelings that they are so important. It's silly to deny that writing down spiritual experiences makes remembering them much easier and more powerful. Even if we are not having frequent spiritual moments, when we ponder and write each day, we will realize how we can change our lifestyle and thought processes to be able to deepen our conversion daily. I cannot imagine anyone losing their testimony if they would take just a couple minutes to think about each day of their life and write down their thoughts.
Enduring to the end is so deceptively difficult, but incomprehensibly rewarding. The gospel is so so simple. So simple that we overestimate our understanding of it constantly, fall into pride, and sin. Enduring to the end is the repetitive cycle of getting back out of the pride and repenting. Each time we go through this process we can learn a little bit about how to avoid doing the same thing over and over again.
An investigator that the Sister missionaries were teaching was baptized. Baptism is just the first step. That becomes really apparent when you are in a country with 90% inactivity. Baptism is important, but it's the enduring repentance that brings the joy and conversion.
This week we had to drive out into the super back-country of old-Korea to visit that Peruvian sister we met a few weeks ago. We rode on really old bus full of incredibly old Korean women through the gorgeous hills and cherry blossoms listening to cassette tapes of traditional Korean music. T'was a serene experience.
My favorite scripture this week is 1 Nephi 10:5-6
P.S. Several people (including Russians) have asked me if I am Russian. Apparently I look Russian. Awesome.