A few weeks ago, my companion and I stopped in at an underground subway station to use the bathroom. She said something about talking to people in bathrooms, and I responded with, “On the last day of my mission, I’ll talk to people in a bathroom.” So of course, I can hear my companion by the sinks talking to someone complimenting her on her hat. It turns out that her new bathroom acquaintance is from China and speaks super great English. We got her phone number and she said she would come to our English class on Saturday. Her name is Coco and she is an amateur hip-hop dancer. Apparently, there are worldwide “dance battles” in Korea and people come from all over the world to dance here. I had no idea! Either way, she is basically our new best friend. This week we met with her after English class and taught her about God and a little bit about our purpose here on earth. Her mom believes in God, but there isn’t really a lot of religion where she is from, so we also get the exciting task of teaching her about Jesus Christ! Also, we are teaching her in English because she has only recently begun learning Korean, but has been learning English in school for a long time and is pretty fluent. It’s kind of crazy for me to be able to say anything I want and not have to plan or think really hard about how to say what I want to, but because I’ve been teaching in Korean for over seven months now, I understand the importance and power of teaching simply so that everyone can understand. I think that’s one of the many reasons Heavenly Father called me to Korea, because otherwise I might have talked people’s ears off and just confused them about the gospel.
Two really cool experiences came from our lesson with Coco. First, we told her what our purpose was; that we help people come closer to God, no matter their religious background. We told her one of those ways was to make special promises to God, promises that we strive to be better and serve Him no matter what. We explained that one of these special promises is baptism. After explaining the process and blessings of baptism, we asked her when she knew our message was true for herself if she would make this promise. She said yes, and we set a date! SUPER exciting! Maybe that date will change, but she is so full of desire to learn and do what is right, that I am beyond hopeful it will happen!
We always start and end our lessons with prayer, so we invited her to say the prayer! She had never prayed before, so we taught her how, and Sister Painter prayed in English first to give her an example and confidence. She followed the pattern outlined in the Chinese pamphlet we gave to her and said her first prayer. I didn’t understand any of it because I don’t speak Chinese, but I know it was beautiful. The spirit and feeling in the room was so peaceful and strong, she had tears in her eyes when she finished. We told her that our prayers are just the gratitude and desires of our hearts spoken to our Heavenly Father who wants to hear from us, just like our earthly parents do when they miss us. She loved it. I won’t share with you what she told us she prayed about, but she really opened her heart up in that prayer. She even said she would pray again that night, before we said anything about praying every day. It was a precious moment for me, to see someone really try, without any guile, what we know will bring her happiness, and then see that happiness and light on her face.
Every day my companion and I talk to people on the streets, on buses, through their front doors, and now apparently even in bathrooms. Most people don’t listen, some people run away (literally), some people yell at us, yesterday someone told my companion to try again later when she could speak Korean better, but every once in a while, someone listens. Maybe once a week, maybe once a month, but there’s always someone soon who is ready to listen and has a desire to know and understand more, just like Coco. I live to find those people. And when my companion and I do, it’s the sweetest feeling, the greatest joy. Nothing could be better than what I have the privilege of doing every day.
[Anna’s blog was highlighted in a recent Deseret News blog]