Hello Family and friends!
This week was good, and fairly normal. We were able to get out more this week and proselyte (called jundo in Korean). We met some really neat people. I will write a bit more on that later.
This week was also 설날, the Lunar New Year! I have Hanbok that I bought last year that I wore in our missionary activity we did ... we took pictures with people and gave them free Book of Mormons! Afterwards our district missionaries had dinner at President's house! Sister Kim, his wife, made delicious boolkogi. After dinner we played a Korean traditional game called yutnori! And took pictures in our hanbok. One of my favorite parts was what is called saebae... it means new year's bow. Allie will know how to do it. The tradition in Korea is that kids do the bow to the elderly on Solnar and get money! So after dinner President Jeong told me to do the saebae... so i did it and he pulled out 3 crisp new korean 1000 won bills and gave them to me! It was so fun and I felt like i was their Korean child. Other missionaries did it too.
One neat experience was as we set up a board with some questions about God with the other Elders and Sisters who serve here in Oncheon, then talked with people as they walked by, asking them to pick which question is most important to them. While doing the activity, two of the 6 of us were singing hymns in harmony there on the street... at first we had a mic and an amp but then it died so we just sang really loud.
While we were doing it, I could see the people around us, so many people going back and forth, each with individual stories, desires, fears hopes, dreams, struggles, successes and failures... There were definitely happy people, who love their families and do good. There were also people who were unhappy in daily life, living for the next party, drink, cigarette, or other momentary relief from the stresses and pains of life. One girl I talked to stands out in my mind. She had a cigarrette in her mouth. She was 16, standing there with some older boys and when I asked her what she thought her life's purpose was, she immediately answered "drinking"... I asked if she had any other dreams or desires. She couldn't think of any.
That broke my heart. She is younger than Seth, and she is smoking and drinking and has no dream... . I wanted to teach her the plan of Salvation! After talking with her, I could recognize a difference in the atmosphere of the area that we were working in and the rest of the road. People would walked past, looking with a curious expression. Some would stop and talk with us. I met some kind people who may be wililng to meet again. As we continued to proselyte, I could almost see in my mind, the light that comes from the Gospel, radiating out in the area we were in... Not due to our skill or some kind of superiority to anyone, of which we have none, but because of the Gospel of Christ is light. I think that people could feel the Spirit as they walked past, and for some, it was one of the few times they have felt it.
The Power of the Holy Ghost is real. I have felt it in my life, and you all have, too. There have been times in my life where I wanted to feel the Holy Ghost, but couldn't. I have recognized on my mission two things that prevent me from feeling the Spirit:
One is our own fear, doubt, or distraction. Sometimes we fear that we are not good enough to receive guidance. Sometimes we fear that God isn't there. Sometimes we doubt that we, with all our mistakes, will be able to receive guidance at all. We put a wall up between us and the messages that God is sending us, blocking from us His words of guidance and encouragement, and His invitations for us to repent and become more like him.
However, the counsel in the scriptures is clear:"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" (Matthew 7) We need to trust in the Savior and the sacrifice he made to enable us to feel the Holy Ghost despite our weakness and sin, on the condition that we repent. Don't block what God wants to tell you because you fear you don't deserve to hear it. He knows was He's doing. Ask Him, and then act in faith.
The second thing that prevents us from feeling the Spirit is sin, or unworthiness. Sinning pulls us spiritually farther from God, the source of all light. As the distance that separates us grows greater, we feel His loving presence less and less. We know when we need to change. And the sooner we start heading the right direction again, and seek first the kingdom of God, we will come to feel the Holy Ghost more. The Holy Ghost is a wonderful feeling. It reassures you. It redirects you. It comforts you and motivates you to act and serve and love.
I hope we can all choose repentance. I hope we can choose to ask of God, so we can receive the answers and comfort that he is ready to give. I know we can, if we trust Him, and trust in His Spirit. Remember that God doesn't require perfection. He said, "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
I know thats true!