Monday, July 17, 2017

Week Forty: Rainy Season

Dear People,

Once upon a time it rained. A lot. And I had holes in my shoes.

I'm still not tired of missionary work. I am shocked when I realize how much time has passed and how little I understand about everything. We will never know everything we can about Jesus Christ before we die. We will never understand the Book of Mormon enough to not study it diligently and methodically every day, we will never become perfect at sharing these things with others. 

I had a pretty discouraging experience yesterday on a bus talking to a really nice atheist guy. I felt so insufficient in presenting the message according to his needs, and by the end of the conversation when I tried to get his number he just laughed and said "I don't believe". 

There is nothing more humbling than this work, but there is also nothing that makes it more clear that God lives. I have learned for myself that God lives. He loves all of His children. Nothing we do will keep him from desiring to help us.

That's what it comes down to. I feel like everything else is really just appendage to that.

Something that experience and several others have helped me appreciate is the truth that no one else's actions, belief, or lack of belief can negatively effect our own joy in living the gospel. No one else's lack of belief in the Book of Mormon will detract from the joy and wonder that I receive while studying it. 

A member's son was baptized on Sunday. Even though it wasn't an investigator baptism it was really cool to see the progress of the church in Korea in that simple way. Sometimes I forget how new the church is to Korea. There are very few multi-generational families, almost everyone over 30 years old is a convert. 

Keep doing good stuff. Read Preach my Gospel. Ask me questions because I don't really know what to write about...

I love you.

-Elder Brown

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week Thirty-Nine

Dear People,

This is going to be short because I want to go bowling.
Yesterday we found a taxi driver that seemed so gold. He talked about how he goes to church every week even though he feels like it's not completely true and doesn't like that there are lots of churches. We super tactfully introduced our message and we felt like we were doing everything right but he just nodded and grunted and showed not even a glimmer of interest. This happens so frequently and it is so frustrating. Everyday it becomes more and more plain to me that the church is true, and because it seems so objective in my mind I noticed that I got into a habit of planning my lessons in a way that logically presents the truth of the message. I try to convince in a way that I don't feel the Spirit and we don't see results.
I was on a split with Elder Anderson who talked to me about Brigham Young's conversion in Chapter 11 of Preach My Gospel. I learned a lot as I read it.

“If all the talent, tact, wisdom, and refinement of the world had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared, in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by learning and worldly wisdom, they would have been to me like smoke which arises only to vanish away. But when I saw a man without eloquence or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and a light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true”

Having faith in the converting power of the Spirit is going to be my focus for a while. I struggle with this, I'm such an objective thinker: "If we can just explain it in this way in this order and make them understand this, there will be no way they won't know it's true!" There is no lasting conversion without the Spirit. There is no lasting conversion without repentance involving the savior.

Oh fun story, at the beginning of the week a member called us and asked:

"Do you know Jung Dong-Wook?"
 We go through all our previous investigators and are like: "Uhhh, no..." 
He's like: "Hmmm...  come to my house at 7:00 Thursday prepared to teach the first lesson"

So we get all excited and are role playing for this new referral and are so happy that the members are doing missionary work. We show up at his house and just his family is there and they seem happy to see us, but there is no investigator in sight. We're just talking with them too nervous to bring up the referral but then he sits us down with his 8 year-old son who is about to get baptized and we realize that Jung Dong-wook is his son. So that was a little awkward but teaching him was really fun and was the first time I've taught a little person.

Life is good. Pray for missionary opportunities.

-Elder Brown