Hey everyone! Sorry my emails are always so long!
Zone Conference was this week. And the main topic was "Begin with the end in mind." That means a few different things, but the main thing is that when we are trying to find people to teach, our goal isn't to just baptize them. Our goal is to one day get them to go to the temple to make sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father. I also got out of conference that it also can mean something personal. To help myself grow spiritually, I can begin my day with a prayer that is linked to my pray at the end of the day. I've always known this but it never really hit me until zone conference. Our prayers in the morning are the start of us telling God how we will improve and ask for his help. Then throughout the day we have little prayers that lead up to our final prayer at the end of the day where we report to Heavenly Father everything that happened that day. We tell Him about things that we didn't do and need to work on. We thank Him for the miracles and the tender mercies He blessed us with and then we tell Him how and what we will do to be better the next day. And by so doing we will grow and be able to actually recognize the change we are making.
I've noticed that as I've started to do that, it's easier to also recognize spiritual promptings and I can truly see how I am progressing. Sometimes it's difficult to say prayers every morning and night. I know I struggled with that back home, but on a mission it's still hard sometimes. I am more exhausted than I've ever been every single day. So I really just want to keep my prayers short and get straight to bed, but I have noticed that when I pray with real intent and not just going through the motions and saying repetitive things, that I am actually having a conversation with my Heavenly Father and I'm not just "getting on the phone" and saying something real quick and hanging up. When I tell Him the details of my daily life, I know He is listening.
Anyways, another important thing that I got out of zone conference was the importance of family history work. We learned how we can better use familysearch.org to find people to talk to. My companion and I have used the pass-along card and pamphlets and it really is something that the koreans are interested in. Family history is very important to the people here. Just this past Tuesday I had an investigator asking me all about my ancestors, where they came from, how they joined the church, etc. I tried my best to tell her, but I felt embarrassed because I honestly didn't know very much. But after that lesson and after zone conference I've really grown a desire to want to learn and do my family history. My companion are hoping that this investigator will find interest in doing her own family history work, because right now she has no interest in the gospel. Same with our other new investigator. In both lessons with them, I learned the importance of sharing my testimony. Our lesson with a woman named Ann (her English name) was the most difficult. She is only an English interest so it was rough lesson. We began teaching lesson 1 about the restoration of the gospel, but soon after we taught her the 2nd principle the gospel blesses families, I had a prompting to just stop teaching. My companion was probably way confused when I just stopped all of a sudden. I just sat there thinking. I realized that Ann has no belief in God and us teaching her was like we were just talking to a brick wall. I asked some inspired questions which I know can't remember, but from those questions the spirit guided me to share her my personal experience with prayer. (Don't you just love how this has to do with what I learned at zone conference. Totally not planned. INSPIRED! haha )
And as I shared that experience I could tell from her body posture and facial expressions that she was actually listening to what I was saying. I told her that she has the gift of agency. She can choose to listen to our message it's up to her, but I bore the most sincere testimony I think I've ever given of this church and that I know it's true. I don't know how she felt or what she got from what I said, but I know I felt the spirit and my companion said she felt the spirit so that's what's important. I know that the spirit testifies of truth and that no know can take away my personal testimony. It's the one thing no one can bible bash about. It's your testimony and no one can tell you your spiritual experiences didn't happen. I left that lesson with the confidence that my testimony impacted her somehow. Many she doesn't have the interest right now to believe in God, but we never know.. somewhere down the line she might meet missionaries again and come to believe?? Only God knows :)
We also had a lesson with our recent convert where we learned she is struggling with some of the commandments. We made goals with her to help her one day go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. She will have trials along her way, but I know the temple is the place to be. I want her to be there with me :) So I am excited to help her along her journey.
Anyways, that's about it for this week. We had a 5 week transfer so that means we had transfer calls! Yay! My whole district is staying put in Ansan. Strange I know, but we're happy about it. Just means there's still work we all have to do in this area. Also, my old companion Sister Chao is going to be a sister training leader! So awesome. But in another zone so I won't see her as much anymore :( but she'll be great!
Random funny fact about Korean:
Koreans love America and so they sell a lot of clothing with random english words or phrases. Here's one that we say recently: "Don't worry, Be Yonce"