Hello All and Happy Easter!
Happy Easter for you and thanks to my friend, the International Dateline, happy April 6th to me! (and Asia) I love all of you and am so grateful for this time of year! I love the beautiful cherry blossoms that have come and gone, for grass coming up, April showers, the works. I am liking spring. I love Easter. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives! That's the heart of Easter. That because He lives we can live. We can live with Him again and truly because of Him we can live! And that makes me so happy. I will continue that thought in 2.0 but I need to digress because of the awesome Easter Miracle!
ANNA GOT BAPTIZED!!! YAY!! (enter heavenly hosts singing Handel's Messiah) Wow! Still so shocked and happy. I think the word is "jubilant"? Maybe? I don't know, I just feel great and I think I better understand why there will be so much rejoicing in heaven over the one soul who is converted. So HAPPY. But let me give you the background. I think you saw a picture of Anna last week. I was her assistant doctor when we performed foot surgery on Elder Wagner (it was acupuncture:). She is our investigator who owns a burger restaurant with her sister right behind our church building. Anna is amazing and had such an exciting life and is one of those people who is so real that you think they must be a book character or something. She is a bit larger than life and the light of Christ has totally transformed her over the past several months.
|Happy Easter. #baptism!!! #SOHAPPY|
So she is 55ish? and is Korean, but moved to America when she was nineteen and lived in Hawaii and in California and all over. She lived through the rock n' roll scene in the 80's and the pleasant cultural experience that was the 90's. So she was a part of the drinking and drug life; running with rough crowds and getting out of rough crowds. She was a successful chef and still is fabulous. Let me tell you, she makes a mean linguine! Also made me eat raw liver. Surprisingly slippery to eat with chopsticks, but then if you use your fingers you get blood everywhere and you feel a bit like Tarzan. Tarzan from the classic book series, not the awesome Disney adaptation if you were confused at my reference. Needless to say I'm stocking up on exciting personal experiences. Thank you mission. Back to Anna. . . She is great and is doing great. Because she works at a burger restaurant right by the church naturally her restaurant was regularly frequented by missionaries, and one day Elder Wagner and my good friend Elder Garrett asked if she had any interest in learning about the Church. She responded in the affirmative and the rest is history. We've been meeting with Anna my entire time in CheongJu and she progressed decently well. Her turning point happened one day when we felt impressed to give her a baptismal commitment even though she had shrugged off commitment in the past and hadn't been moving far at the time. We set the date for the 19th of this month. After that she progressed amazingly well. She in now in the book of Ether and has come to church every week for over a month. The second turning point was a few week back at stake conference. She came just a little late, sat in the back, and listened really well. Our Mission President and his wife as well the Area Seventy were speakers and the spirit was so strong. Anna said that when Sister Shin spoke something moved inside her heart and though she felt she needed to leave to go to work, she couldn't leave. That was the second turning point and the third was last week when she met with our ward member Sister Jo. Sister Jo challenged Anna to be baptized on Easter, we had to leave, but when we showed up on Monday Anna asked us what she had to do to get baptized by Sunday. It has been a bit of a whirlwind since then, but a really exciting happy kind of whirlwind. She has quit smoking, drinking, and coffee cold turkey and is so excited for the change. She knows it is hard but has an amazingly strong testimony that all will be okay. She was telling us the other day that even though she is getting baptized she knows that life will still be really tough, but all of that is okay because she is doing what God wants! So profound. So spot on! I love this lady!
She was baptized on Easter Sunday right after church. Elder Wagner baptized her. (It was a one dunk and done deal. The best way) And because next week is General conference here in Korea (time lapse plus translation means I get a bonus week) President Shin gave us the green-light to confirm her a member and give her the Holy Ghost right after baptism. Bishop asked that I confirm her and because she is just as good at English as she is at Korean bishop asked me to confirm her in English. It was such a blessing to me to give that blessing to her. God is good and He is there! So blessed.
Kind of just a fun note. This week I had a split with Elder Barton who is serving in 예성 (sorry I'm not sure how to konglish that one). He is a greenie fresh from the MTC and is really awesome. It was kind of interesting being with a missionary who was as old as me in real life but younger when it comes to black name tag experience. We had a blast and were so miraculously blessed. Like unexpectedly we had three other lessons, a member lesson, found a new investigator and got free hamburgers. Not only that but in the morning Elder Stroud and I made breakfast in the morning and totally made like 30 pancakes in ten minutes. That boy is good with a spatula.
|Does life get any better? I submit that it does not! And Elder Barton is a happy fellow.|
I don't know. I just still feel so happy. I am so glad that all of you got to watch General Conference (or the Superbowl for missionaries as I like to think of it) I'm a tad jealous , but it's okay because I budgeted my email time really well today :) I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet. I know it! I know that this is the Lord's church and that the Book of Mormon is true. Yesterday Elder Wagner and I were doing a role play (Role plays are important. All of my prospective missionary friends, remember that!) and he was asking questions because whenever we do role plays he pretends to be a non-religious Buddhist man who has no conception of God or any religious terms who is cynical and doesn't just take yes for yes-kind of investigator. Makes things interesting. Especially in a second language. Well he got me a little twisted up and confused. A little flustered explaining why this church was wrong, why that church was wrong, and so on. And then I broke to English and said "I don't have to prove why that church is wrong, I just need to help people know how this church is right!" And the awesome thing is that I don't convince anyone! It is the Spirit. The Holy Ghost, the comforter, he is the one that brings the truth unto their hearts and confirms my testimony. He makes conversion possible and will amplify my ability. I love the Holy Ghost! I love my savior Jesus Christ and am so especially happy this Easter season. I know that He Lives!
Thanks everyone! Thanks for the prayers. Thanks for the trust. I love you and you are in my prayers too! Remember Christ and make sure to wish him a happy birthday when it's the 6th for you!
Onward and Upward
|So, here in Korea.... we have these awesome face masks....|
|Korea is obsesses with having good skin so some members gave us some. I think I look good.|
|Plus my pores have never been so clean!! Love it! Got to love the work!!|
|chillin after a great lesson with Elder Barton on the split|
|With Anna. We help out sometimes around the shop.|
|And yes, Elder Wagner is holding a knife. Long story. And yeah, someone should cut his tot'in chip.|