This past Saturday we had English Village round two! It was outside in a park near the church and super fun. When getting our assignments, my companion and I were really torn between doing a post office and a gym class. We LOVE mail and going to the post office, but we opted for the gym because we could wear pants. As sister missionaries, we look for every opportunity to wear pants because there are sooo few. Our plan was to do some stretches, a little work out with jumping jacks, kick boxing, running in place (nothing too strenuous because few Koreans seem to enjoy working out), teach them “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” and end with some cool down breathing. A five minute workout! Five minutes for people going to stations, but 3 hours for us. We were excited to get to run around and be active all afternoon, but only 30 minutes of working out every morning did not prepare us for the soreness and exhaustion we experienced after doing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” over a hundred times. I’m not exaggerating! We did it twice for every group, and sometimes a third, super-fast time. Stairs, they’re a pain.
We saw a really cool miracle at English Village! That week and especially the day before, I texted and called TONS of people about it. Even people that I didn’t think would care or come, I contacted them. So near the end, in walks the man we’d met on the street about a month ago who wanted a Book of Mormon to study. We’d met him a second time and he’d even come to church! But, when we tried to refer him to the elders to teach, something happened and he freaked out. All any of us have been able to do is text him to say hi and see how he’s doing. But there he was! He sat down and had a great chat with one of the elders over a ukulele. When I asked him if he was reading the Book of Mormon, he said he was reading one of the other books he’d gotten at church that summarizes the teachings of one of the modern day prophets Lorenzo Snow. Not the Book of Mormon, aka the key to knowing if our message is true or not, but still definitely unique to our religion. I invited him to church, too, but he sort of ignored me and under his breath said he didn’t like church. I don’t blame him, his one experience at church was kind of rough, but there’s always next time, right?
But then, on Sunday when we were standing by the door saying goodbye to the members as they left, he walked in! He wanted two other books of scripture unique to our religion: The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. As he’d been reading and studying, he kept coming across references to these two books and wanted to know more. I told him to wait a second, grabbed one of the young men and told him to find the elders as fast as possible, and then grabbed my scriptures to show him what it was that he was asking for. When the elders came down, they hit it off again and we all ate lunch together with the members while talking about the Book of Mormon and English village. After lunch, two of the elders sat down with him and talked about God, prayer, and the Book of Mormon. He told them that all the Mormon missionaries he’s met say the same thing, even though we’re all different people, we say the same things and have the same feeling about us. Elder Evans told him it’s because it’s the truth. It’s because that is the spirit testifying and reminding him that it’s true. He laughed. Ah, well. Small steps. But they have another appointment and he finally promised to read the Book of Mormon!
Even though our purpose is to teach the gospel, and the cookies my companion and I made for the “Eat and Greet” station at English Village tasted like biscuits with chocolate chips (granted, really delicious biscuits), something really amazing came out of serving the Gwangju community through English Village. Sometimes we have to push and prod, but without a little discomfort and experimentation, no one can progress and come closer to Christ. Miracle after miracle, it’s possible!