I remember when I was little, I teased my mom all the time because she had no shame in talking to strangers; now, that’s my life. But, so many times I feel like I walk away with a friend, no longer strangers! This week was filled with fun conversations! One of my favorites being when I sat next to the very same grandpa on the subway two days in a row and we kept the conversation going on the second day. The second time he wasn’t going anywhere; he was just riding the subway from one end to the other and back again because it’s air-conditioned.
Monday night was super fun. We had to take a taxi from one appointment to another, so the taxi driver asked the questions they always do, “Why can you speak Korean so well? How many years have you lived here?” We told him that we were missionaries, and he loved that! He told us that we were doing the best work possible. I shared our church name and a little about our message: that Christ had reestablished his true church through a living prophet. He said, “That’s right,” so I knew he wasn’t really listening. Then he asked me if we’d heard about people who go to foreign countries and teach anti-Christian doctrine. I told him I hadn’t and asked if he’d ever met one. He said no, but what he said next was priceless. “Have you heard about the Mormons?” Rough. I said, “Of course! We were Mormon missionaries.” I could see his confusion in the rearview mirror. He said, “You can’t be, you said you teach about Christ! Mormon doctrine and Christian doctrine aren’t the same!” So he and I compared notes on prayer, the Atonement, resurrection, judgment, the Second Coming, and so forth. His angry countenance slowly melted as his confusion grew about whatever he’d previously heard about us. Then he tried telling me that the Book of Mormon wasn’t about Christ like the Bible was. Luckily, it was still light outside, so in the rearview mirror I showed him the cover with 예수 그리스도의 또 하나의 성약 (Another Testament of Jesus Christ) printed under The Book of Mormon. Then, I showed him the picture of Christ in the inside cover. I asked him if he’d ever read the Book of Mormon before and he said a little, enough to know it wasn’t about Christ. So, I turned to 2 Nephi 25:26 and read to him from the backseat:
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
At that point, we were getting close to our next appointment, so I asked if we could meet again. He said no and, because he didn’t need it, he wouldn’t give me a phone number. I told him everyone needs it, so I was going to give him a Book of Mormon and he had to read it. He said no, but gave us a discount on our taxi fare. When he pulled up in front of the apartment where we were going, I wrote our number in a Book of Mormon, showed him where the introduction was, and told him to call us whenever he wanted. He asked, “A gift?” and was still reading through the pages by the time we found the right apartment and got inside.
What was really neat was that on my year mark, I started reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover in Korean, highlighting and looking up the words I didn’t know. Because of that exercise, I was able to understand so much of the lofty Bible language he used and follow the entire conversation. A modern prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, made a promise about the Book of Mormon that if you read it, there “will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit” (full text) and because the Spirit teaches “the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5) we will be able to learn better, no matter the subject. It works for Korean!
In the introduction is another promise by a modern prophet that I read to another nice old grandpa in a convenience store this week. He asked me why I would bother teaching people who already believe in God; shouldn’t I spend my time finding those that don’t? And I said, “Everyone needs our message because it’s true.” Christ restored not only the fullness of his true church, but also the authority and priesthood power that enables us to obtain salvation. He said that one true church wasn’t important because there were so many good churches. He didn’t need our message. I said, “Everyone needs stronger faith, right?” He agreed, so I had him read one paragraph from the introduction:
I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.
Then he asked why the Bible couldn’t accomplish that, why do we need another book? I told him God still loves us the same as he did back when the Bible was made available, so why not give us more of his word. I also asked him if he ever had questions when he read the Bible. He said he did, and I promised him that if he would read the Book of Mormon, those questions would be answered. He wouldn’t give us his phone number either, but he said if he “accepted” the Book of Mormon, then he would call us. I hope that’s soon!! Maybe the other people in the convenience store will call us instead.
Anything’s possible when you’re serving the Lord!