Sunday, September 14, 2014

성신의 은사, 속죄, 삶을 변화함

This week we had a great week. We met a few new people, one is a baker at the market we shop at every week, and we see him all of the time (we call him Baker Park ㅋㅋ). He's very friendly, and out of the blue he saw us on the street, then called us asking to meet. He quits his job in a week, and he really wants to come out to church. It's so special to see his desire. He's a kind person, but he admits that there's a 'dark side' (in our language we say the natural man), and he wants to relieve some of the guilt from his past. We met briefly at the church and took him up to the Sacrament Meeting room. He really liked it and said he feels good there. Most churches in Korea are built for looks and have a lot of expensive things, but he commented on how we don't have much to decorate it. It's humble, and it helps him know we're sincere about our worship. We do it for God, not man. He's 24 and we have high hopes for him. I loved our lesson because even though it wasn't a regular, 45 minute lesson, as we sat in the empty sacrament hall, the familiar peace the spirit brings spoke to us. I testified of Jesus Christ and the special, very real power that comes from him. I've been changes by Jesus Christ, and I know it's so I can help other people experience the same change. There's a real, tangible presence and strength that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful that he knows me, and that he loves us enough to have suffered so we don't have to. He knows all of us and the trials we go through; He is the only one we can trust 100%. If we come unto Him, he will never let us down.

Another guy we met this week is 31, but he looks like he's 18. Everyone at church asked him what year in high school he's in ㅋㅋ  He is smart and seems to have a desire to learn about God. We met on Saturday, then he stayed for English Class, and we invited him to church. He came! We think he'll progress fast. He doesn't believe in God much, but we taught him about prayer and committed him to pray daily.

We met a guy a week or two ago, an old investigator, and he is doing well. He came to church and when we taught, he said he's willing to be baptized. He's heard all of the lessons before, so technically he can be baptized next week if he wants to, but it's been a few months and we want to go through the lessons another time to make sure he knows the doctrine and believes it. He's great, but doesn't seem to comprehend all of what we say sometimes.

We visited a less active sister that lives by the church. She's really nice, has a son my age, and has met with the missionaries outside of her front door almost every week for a long time. Sometimes it can be a bit awkward, she might not want to talk, but it seems like the more we prepare a message just for her, and put our heart and soul into it, she's open and ready to listen to the spirit. It's usually when we ask her for help. She used to teach Sunday School at church for a few years, so we asked for some advice on teaching, asking questions, and helping people understand our message. She usually responds in short replies, but she just burst out giving parables about God and oxygen, how to ask inspired questions, and how she prays daily, expressing gratitude for the small things in her life to help her remember who she relies on. There was a spirit that I've never felt with her before, she had shown us the side of her that wants to come back to church, that longs, aches, hungers for the gospel.

I felt a rush inside as we testified and prompted her with soul searching questions. I know we make a difference in her life. I know that something is preventing her from coming back, maybe a family member, because she has such a strong love for the gospel that I've never seen before. She is cut off from connections with the church, except for us, and that day I felt her gratitude that we visit weekly. We are her only connection, besides prayer, to discussing the gospel and feeling the spirit.

Being a missionary is fantastic. I love meeting people like this, that have such strong desires and love for the gospel. It gives me hope for the future and builds my testimony.

Church was truly a miracle, we had ATR's confirmation, and two other investigators to church. Again this week I felt the truthfulness of the scripture 'Seek and ye shall find.' If we approach the door of revelation with faith and patience, God will not hold back. If we seek help, we will find it. The answer just might not be in the way we expect it. I read 2 Kings 5 and thought about how we sometimes imagine if we saw some big sign, we'd believe, or THEN we'd follow the Lord's counsel. Why wait for big spiritual earthquakes when we're not willing to pay attention to the soft whispers of the spirit?

We went for a great hike this last week for a ChuSeok activity
Also, I'd like to mention how awesome our zone is. Who would have thought Kangwondo would get cooler than last year when I was a wee lad? There's a special unity with the missionaries here. When one companionship has a success or trial, we all celebrate or come together to help. Two years ago people would ask to leave this zone. At the beginning of this year, attitudes changed. Despite the rumors that it's the hardest zone in the mission (not true), people ASK to come now. People want to experience the love, sacrifice, and teamwork out here in the boonies. I love it here, and being out here has changed my mission, which has changed my life. It's changed me.

Kangwondo Zone at the Seoul Tower
Have you tried missionary work? If not, you should. Have you heard of that book? Yeah, that one we always talk about. It's a great read. You should try it sometime (Thanks Elder Duffy).

Love you all,
Elder Franchina

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