Dear Family, friends, loved ones,
Week one in Daejeon! What a ride, huh? It has been pretty crazy week. and I'm not sure what to write so I'll just backtrack and see what my fingers pump out of this here keyboard.
So our transfer meeting was Thursday in Daejeon at the church next door to the mission office. This past transfer was a big one. The group that went home was pretty big and President felt really impressed to change a lot of companionships. Like half of the companionships in the mission had change-ups. And with some many older, experienced missionaries heading home, the lot has fallen to a lot of younger missionaries like myself to fill some leadership positions. My zone this transfer has all new district leaders and lots of young missionaries. Like, I'm still young and I have almost twice as much mission experience as our sisters in the district. Luckily Sister Lee is American-Korean so the language isn't a big deal. Our other sister, Sister Pahler is from some small province in the Philippines. Some small island in the sea. Elder Johnson in the other companionship is my younger 동기 (I'm not sure what the true English equivalent to that word is...younger MTC District?? Yeah, the jury is still out.) and is a senior over Elder Young. Elder Young is nice. He's from Ohio. And he kind of reminds me of Dudley from the Harry Potter books. But Dudley from the end of the series when he warms up and puts the tea outside Harry's door to wish him goodbye. Hmmm, I'm not sure if I'm painting the perfect picture. . . I'll just send pics in an ensuing email, tell ya a 1000 words, ok, sounds good.
Elder Hernandez. What a guy! I love my new comp. And I need to publicly apologize. It turns out that he is from Honduras. NOT Guatemala. Though he likes Guatemala. But not Mexico. Ok, I had to straighten that out. But he really is the best. He is like my very own gordito burrito Hispanic friend!
And really quite smart. Korean is his fourth language because he's fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. His English really is quite good, especially considering he only studied it in elementary school. Let's just say the gift of tongues is real! Amazingly few number of communication difficulties. At least in the last four days^^. He is a convert of two years and is fantastic! I'm not really sure how they do things over in the Central America region, but they do it right! Elder Hernandez's mom and brother were members and Elder Hernandez was a minister for the evangelical church. (Pretty crazy. He was a minister for three years, and he was baptized at 19. Anyways.. moving on) One day his Mom was pretty sick and couldn't take herself to church to Elder Hernandez offered to take her. He went and they were super late for sacrament meeting. Like they got there at the "amen" of the last talk. He stayed to sing the hymn, then some cute old lady got up to give the benediction and prayed for FIFTY minutes! I think my South American friends have more patience than I. Super long prayer. And Elder Hernandez didn't know what to think but decided to stay. And stay he did! He liked the block and was baptized two weeks later! I don't know his entire story yet but I imagine it's pretty eventful because at five months of membership he was called to the high council. So he was a high councilor for several months and actually went all up and down South America on church business. My favorite tid bit was when he went to Cuba to be a chauffeur and translator for my friend Jeffrey R. Holland. Yep, mom you did read that correctly! Elder Hernandez appreciated my bound "Best Talks of Elder Holland" book and I appreciated his picture of Elder Holland hanging on our wall. Elder Holland is the best! He told Elder Hernandez to serve a mission and....fast forward several months....he got called to Korea! So I guess Elder Hernandez is the first missionary from South America to ever serve in Asia. Ever. Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool too. I'll share more details forth-ward.
Another highlight of serving with Elder Hernandez is that one of our investigators Enrique is taught in Spanish and Emanuel is taught in Portuguese. And then we also get to teach our friend John who is from ..Nigeria?? We teach him with one of our ward members, Anthony, who is from Kenya. It has been a pretty international weekend. And the weekend was great because we had Stake Conference! Elder Whiting from the Seventy came and his talk was very pointed and so great! He taught so well and so clearly! The spirit was very strong. Actually, I'll refer back to him for my 2.0.
I love my new area. It is very big, and very new and I feel like I'm in over my head, but all is well. I really feel and know that the Lord is with me. He is backing me up and helping me to so his work. My district is very young and there is a lot of pressure for us to have baptisms this transfer, essentially to do the work of missionaries twice our age. Sounds nigh near impossible. That's why I love God. For things which are impossible unto man are not impossible unto God! That is the truth. But if any of you have a minute you should check out SeJong on the web. It is huge! And beautiful. My area is the largest geographically in the mission and there is so much that is beautiful here! I love the Lord and am excited for this opportunity!
So Elder Whiting's question posed to the congregation was "what is the one gift you would give you posterity when you pass away?" varied answers may include "a prosperous future", "a great education", "a great job". These would be very common answers in Korea. But Elder Whiting shared the story of the Savior's visit in America and there we learn what the "most desired" gift should be. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost! He said it and I went like "...Yeah, ok, that makes sense that that would be the correct answer, but why?!" It is because the Gift of the Holy ghost is central to it all! It testifies of truth, the Holy Spirit of Promise is what secures for us the promised blessing of heaven and covenant. It is the Holy Ghost that will comfort us and will bring the love of God unto and into our hearts. That is the truth! That is the most precious gift! And we each have the ability and opportunity to receive it each and every day!
I love that! And I love the symbolism he shared with the signs of Jesus' birth and death. When Jesus was born there was a day and a night and a day of light., continual light! and when He died there was a day and a night and a day of darkness. In our lives when we are reborn with Christ, when we truly live up to our covenants then we can continually live in the light. When we are resurrected we will come forth with our families to forever enjoy the light of the Lord. And if we fail to heed, we will be alone in the darkness. I choose the former. I love all of you and I love this gospel! I know that is it true! I testify of that.
In all things, Onward and Upward!
|me with the best convert in the world, Anna!~|