This week was jam packed with meetings, training, and NEW INVESTIGATORS! I’ll just share a few stories.
When our new mission president came in July, he came with an idea called English Village. English Village isn’t a new thing, but since we’re here to serve, doing it for free was his idea. Usually it’s SUPER expensive. English Village is where Koreans can come to participate in scenarios and role-plays all in English: Doctor’s office, restaurant, market, music store, and those sorts of things. First the missionaries did it in Daejeon to practice and work out the kinks before rolling it out to the rest of the mission. After their run through, we planned to do it in Gwangju this past Saturday. But then we didn’t think we could get it together in time to be really successful, so we postponed it to give us more prep time. By the time we had decided to postpone it, it had already been announced among some of the members, and they were gung ho ready to bring their friends to meet the plethora of foreign missionaries in Gwangju. So, we had to go ahead and do it anyway. My companion and I were originally assigned to the restaurant, but when it was very temporarily postponed, we’d scheduled another appointment during that time and weren’t going to be able to participate.
But, that morning, our appointment changed and so we had the whole afternoon to help at the English Village. As we walked into the church to offer our services, an elder was leaving to take care of an emergency, leaving an open space for me. One of the role plays was going to be in the chapel, with three stations for people to learn the first three missionary lessons (The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, and The Gospel). So I stepped in to teach the Plan of Salvation and God’s plan for us. In Daejeon, they only did it in English, and church vocabulary being pretty difficult, found it to be really ineffective. So, what we did was explain a few sentences in English, and then our Korean partner would translate into Korean. Elder Kim and I rocked it! Slash, he rocked it! My part was only hard because I needed to keep it short and sweet. He had to translate what I said. It was fun because each time it was a little different, and we started altering slightly what we said to address our different audiences. We even used pictures and a chalk board. Such a blast!
This week we met with a new family that my companion met when she was on greenie splits a few weeks ago. When she met them, she wasn’t even sure if she got out that we teach the gospel because the mom grabbed her [my companion’s] phone and put her [the mom’s] name into the phone book before my companion could say much of anything. We were worried that she only cared about English and wouldn’t be interested in our missionary purpose. But, when we found her restaurant and house in the middle of Gwangju’s giant farmer/fish market, we were pleasantly surprised! We were sitting and talking, and she asked, “Ok, how will we study the Bible?” Excellent. We told her about our program and we set up our next appointment. Unfortunately, when we got there, neither of her daughters were there, so instead we sat and talked with a bunch of her market neighbors. Then she asked us what we normally teach people. We showed her our English materials, and she said she didn’t care about English. That was just for her daughters. What else do we teach?
I whispered to Sister Harless, “Teach her all about prayer.” This woman came from a long line of stern Buddhist women, but she didn’t care about that. She was really interested in what we had to say and repeated everything Sister Harless said, just to make sure she understood what she was learning. Then, at the end, she offered a prayer. WOW. It was SO POWERFUL! She told us that she was going to be performing this week (she’s a retro Korean pop singer, by the way) and her voice was giving her some trouble, so could she pray about that? Yes, of course! As she opened up her heart to Heavenly Father in her first prayer, the feeling of love and joy brought by the spirit was powerful. She could feel it, too.
Every week is so full of little blessings, big miracles, and everything in between. I’m starting to realize that I should’ve been doing a better job of recognizing that in my life before my mission, too. I’m excited that I get to help others see the merciful and loving hand of God in their lives.