Monday, April 20, 2015

Blessings of Fasting

So much happened this past week, I hardly know where to begin. Last Monday for preparation day we went with a bunch of Elders in our zone to see the cherry blossoms in Yeouido Hangang Park. It unfortnunately rained the day before so most of the blossoms had fallen and it was a cold cloudy day when we went so it wasn't as beautiful. However, we still had a fun time. We even saw a famous person. I think it was 수지 but I couldn't really tell. She was doing some interview in the middle of the park when we saw her. Some of the elders tried asking if they could get a picture with her, trying to work their foreigner charm, but got denied! Haha! We also met these guys in the army and they ended up coming up and asking if they could take their picture with me. So that was cool.

Our Tuesday Sister Mustain and I fasted and saw blessings from it almost immediately! We're doing a mission-wide fasting and prayer to find, teach to real conversion, and baptize more people. Missionaries take turns fasting for 24 hours so that several companionships are fasting each day. Each zone takes one week, with companionships fasting as scheduled with our zone leaders. No one is required to participate, but why would we not want to?
Fasting as a missionary means we actually fast for the whole 24 hours and not just till the end of church like most of usually does haha. So, it's been rough, but my testimony of the power of fasting is strengthened every time I fast with real intent. Just like President Eyring talked about in General Conference, I tried fasting past my hunger point. That's when we started seeing the blessings. I also noticed that the more we kept busy the more I forgot that I was fasting. Nice how that works out, right?

So, while fasting, we visited Sarah Cha's apartment while she was away at work, and we heart attacked their door. We then went and tried visiting with Ritchell, but she didn't answer so we heart attacked her door as well. Because we did that, later both of them said we could come and visit later. Sarah Cha texted us saying  how her kids all loved it and were so shocked when they saw it, and mentioned that she'd like us to visit soon. Then later in the week she said we could visit every Friday around 5pm. AWESOME!! So, before english class on Friday we visited them. It was a good time. I also learned that there's an english "group" in our zone area that she can go to instead of going super far to attend the English ward. This one isn't quite a branch yet, but in the future they will most likely become an official branch. So, next time we visit Sarah, I'll invite her to that! :D On  Saturday we visited Ritchell. She's doing very well and while we were there he husband came home from work so we were able to visit with them both for a little while.

On Wednesday, we got a call from a former investigator from Bpyeoung area and she wanted to meet that night at 7pm. Sister Mustain and I were just in aw because we had been praying for help in having more people we could teach. So, after looking at old records for her and meeting with her, we started the Family English Program with her. She doesn't have any gospel interest sadly, so we won't really count her as an investigator, but we're still grateful for this sacred opportunity to teach her through the Family English Program. And who knows... maybe later she'll start having more interest in our message. She's at least kind and let's us share our message with her.
Wednesday night as we were planning, I decided to text Crystal and see how she was doing. She ended up telling us that she can meet the very next day! AMAZING! We had been trying and trying and finally the opportunity came. I give credit to all the prayers that the members offered in her behalf, and our fasting. We had been praying that she would have the opportunity to watch conference, so on Thursday we did just that. Sister Mustain and I went to the church and reviewed over our notes from conference and we discussed some possiblities of talks that we think would be good for Crystal. After narrowing it down, we knelt in prayer and asked the Lord for His appproval. We didn't really know right away, but when we read through the talks online we figured out that Choose To Believe by Elder L. Whitney Clayton
of the Presidency of the Seventy was the one we needed to watch with her.
That discussion with her was so good that I think I'm going to go into more detail. Or at least I'll try my best.
4:25pm came around and she would be coming soon. As we waiting, I walked into the halloway of the church and saw that Crystal was outside riding her bike around the parking lot going around in circles. It made me smile, mostly because I know how much she likes riding her bike and because I was just so happy to finally be meeting with her again. I missed her. We still had a few minutes so I didn't want to interrupt her so we just went back into the classroom and waited.
When she came in she sounded really excited to see me again. Pretty sad that Sister chestnut went back home to America though. Sister Mustain then introduced herself, and we just chatted for a little. Then when the two of them got to know each other a little better, I mentioned general conference and asked if she would like to watch a talk with us. She was totally ok with that, in fact she even brought snacks! So, it worked out great. When the talk finished I mentioned that usually we take notes and ended up showing her my notes from conference. She was impressed to see how much revelation I received for myself just from listening to some talks. I asked her what things she liked from Elder Clayton's talk and how she can benefit from it. She said she liked how he talked about faith and how she needs to find something and focus on it when she finds it. She mostly got what he was saying, but I explained more for her about faith. I reminded her about the faith and seed analogy and how she said her tree was growing. Once we start having that little speck of light in our lives, we have to go towards it. And like the seed, we must nourish it through daily prayer and scripture study, attending church weekly, and keeping God's commandments and eventually, we will come to know the truth for ourselves and receive more light and knowledge.
 This lead to me following up with her if she still was praying and reading her scriptures daily. She unfortunately stopped reading the Book of Mormon, but she is diligently studying the Bible. For her I can understand why. I know she needs to gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, but she hasn't even received that from the Bible. So, I can understand why she prefers to read the Bible. She's still praying daily. I asked her if she would share her experience of prayer and how it's been helping her and making a difference in her life. She shared how she feels warm in her heart and at ease whenever she prays. I quickly testified to her that those feelings are the Holy Ghost. She agreed. I asked her if she feels that way as she reads the scriptures and she of coarse did. I had asked her to read some chapters in Alma in the Book of Mormon, but she didn't read them, so we read it with her. I was hoping that would lead to some sort of discussion, but not really. I then had the thought to ask her about what she's been reading in the gospel of Matthew and then supporting it with a witness from the Book of Mormon as well. I had no clue as to what I'd say or share, but thankfully Sister Mustain was fine with following my lead. Crystal ended up sharing with us a scripture she really likes that she had read. It was Matthew 3:16-17.

"16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Crystal really loves birds so I figured she liked this because it mentions a dove, but I was wrong. She told us she likes it because Jesus Christ was baptized and how he did it all for her. He suffered and died and showed an example to us all. She pretty much shared her testimony of Jesus Christ with us. Just like Aaron in the Book of Mormon Alma 22: 8 "And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice.." I was so happy to witness Crystal's testimony growing. I asked her how she would feel if God were to say He was please with her. As she answered  I felt prompted by the spirit to share 2 Nephi 31 from the Book of Mormon when the prophet Nephi tells why Christ was baptized. Before reading I asked her about different ways we show God our love. she listed off the primary answers: prayer, church, scriptures. But then I testified to her that the most important we can show our love to God is by following His son, Jesus Christ. And one way we do that is by being baptized. We read 2 Nephi 31 together starting with verse 5.
"5 And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
 8 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
9 And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them."
After we finished taking turns reading, I asked her if she would still like to be baptized. She said yes, but she mentioned how she wasn't sure because she still doesn't have a confirmation from God yet. So, we talked a little more about that. She said she would like to come to church, but can't because she works and isn't really sure if she can come. We mentioned how on Sunday we would be having a meal together after church as a ward and how she can just at least come to that. Only then she taught me a lesson, by saying that she doesn't care about the meal, if she comes to church she'll come to sacrament meeting to partake of the sacrament. She was completely right. The sacrament is why we come to church and it's the MOST important part. Crystal realizes how important it is, but I knew I had to explain that it doesn't really have meaning to her until after she makes those sacred covenants-or promises- with God. I touched on how when we are baptized we make those promises and renew them each week, and right after making those promises, God gives us a gift and makes a promise with us as well, namely, the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I explained to her that right now she can feel the Holy Ghost sometimes in her life as she does righteous things that invite the spirit and that's because of the light of Christ, but because she hasn't made that covenant with God yet, she doesn't have the promise of the Holy Ghost as her constant companionship. She seemed to understand that better and I felt the spirit guiding me as to everything I should say. I remember promising her that she can have that gift of the Holy Ghost when she is baptized by those with the proper authority-namely the priesthood. I testified to her that through the Holy Ghost I have received some many blessings of comfort and guidance. I promised her that she could have that too. I can't remember every single thing I said, but I know I kept referencing back to the conference talk we watched together.
When I felt like I had said all I needed to say, I felt guilty for not giving Sister Mustain any translation. So, she was just sitting there quietly trying to understand. I ended up inviting her then to share her testimony and to my surprise she had been blessed with the interpretation of tongues and had understand just enough to know what she should testify about. She shared a beautiful power testimony of the gift of the Holy ghost and baptism. As she was sharing her testimony, I felt the spirit grow stronger and stronger, prompting me to give Crystal a baptismal date. I knew I needed to, but just didn't know what date. Sister Chestnut and I had been thinking about May but that was way too soon now, and so I said a quick prayer in my heart and immediately my birthday came to mind- June 8th. I knew that had to had been inspiration, so I went with it. I have found going with it and not questioning good things has always worked out and later I realize it was the spirit. So, like I said, I went with it. I was nervous so when I tried asking Crystal to be baptized in June all that came out was, "my birthday" which ended up confusing her and she thought my birthday was that day, but after explaining, I was able to invite her to be baptized. I asked her if when she receives a confirmation and strengthens her faith by June 7th, would she be baptized? and she without hesitation said yes! :D

I know that the spirit had guided that lesson. I didn't expect any of that to happen. I merely thought we would be following up with her and seeing if we could just meet again. However, I'm glad Sister Mustain and I had fasted, and had prepare spiritually the days before so that we could be ready to teach what we needed to. Later we learned that our elders were fasting on that day and I factor that as a reason this wonderful discussion happened. Crystal wants to meet again and I know she has the right desires. So, now it's just about her gaining a testimony of the truth and she could really be baptized in June!!

That's about all the news I have for ya'll this week. Thanks for all your support!! Love you and keep me and most importantly Crystal in your prayers!!
Sister Kelly

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