Well, to put things simply: a LOT happened this week. I'm never quite sure how to share all the experiences I'm having from week to week because every single day is full of hundreds of little miracles. To others, they may seem like insignificant coincidences, but we don't believe in coincidences-- God is in charge and He has a perfect plan for every single one of us.
In Doctrine and Covenants 4:4 it reads: "For behold the field is white already to harvest..." In our mission recently, we've been really starting to focus on baptism and the importance of making that covenant. We've been trying to focus more on finding and teaching people who are prepared to accept the gospel. We have a program called "the Family English Program" that we do with almost all of our investigators. We meet with them for an hour and spend half of that time helping them with English and then the other half of the time sharing a gospel message. In all actuality, a lot of the people I've met with during the course of my mission have been mostly-English interest investigators. (Of course, we've seen people's hearts change and we've seen miracles happen-- but we've also seen a lot of people come to KNOW and believe in the restoration of the gospel... but not be willing to put forth the effort to keep the commitments we extend.) As missionaries, however, our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." And that's what we want to focus on with the people we're teaching.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for every type of person in every type of circumstances, but sometimes people just aren't ready to accept it in their lives-- not yet, at least. Recently we've been really trying to follow the guidance of the Spirit in order to know who is ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their life and who is not. And we've seen such a difference in the progress of the work here in our area. I mentioned a few weeks ago that, as a district, we set a pretty high goal for how many people we wanted to help get baptized within the course of this next transfer (six weeks). Initially, as we were thinking about what goal we wanted to set, we just couldn't shake the higher number; it felt so right! (That's the hard part about setting goals-- we have to ask ourselves "are we doing this in faith or are we just being irrational?") But, we have come to realize that there are two types of people in the world: people who are ready to accept the gospel and people who are still being prepared to (someday) accept the gospel. Both types of people are important, but as missionaries, it's important for us to recognize which of the two categories the people we are working with fall under so we can know how to best help them. Our ward mission leader right now has asked us to put the majority of our focus on those who are ready to accept the gospel-- or in other words "Hey, missionaries, 'the field is white already to harvest...' so let's work hard to find those who are ready to accept the message you came here to share."
We've been working with so many awesome people-- and as a district we've been seeing so many miracles. There are so many prepared people! For example, one of the women we're currently working with has been basically giving herself commitments to keep. For example, we started officially meeting her last week-- she told us that reading the scriptures is hard for her (particularly the Bible), so we gave her the church magazine, The Liahona and asked her to just read over one of the talks before we met again. When we showed up again for an appointment, she'd been reading the Liahona daily and had started to read the Book of Mormon daily as well. She had so many fantastic questions about all that she had read and studied. And then she asked if it was okay if she came to church even though she's not a "member" of our church... she's SO good and she's so genuine about wanting to learn more about the gospel. Before we left her house that night, we asked her if she had any plans for the next day. Her response was, "Well, I'm going to wake up, say a prayer, organize my thoughts a bit and study more of the Book of Mormon. It's a little confusing, but I really like it." Seriously, we are so impressed with her. And what's great is the fact that there are people just as prepared as she is that walk the streets of Korea every single day! The trick is merely finding them. The field is white NOW and ready to harvest NOW! As missionaries, we've just got to be really aware of the promptings of the Holy Ghost and we have to be willing and courageous enough to then act upon those promptings. Heavenly Father will lead us to those who are prepared to follow His plan for them. It's such an honor to get to see others begin to gain testimonies of the Gospel!
Our ward has started this new weekly tradition called, "Friendship Night." Every Saturday night one of our ward members will prepare a dinner and invite all the missionaries over, ivite some investigators over, and then invite a couple of other ward members as well. The whole purpose of it is to strengthen investigators by talking with them and getting to know them while eating dinner and then having a mini testimony meeting together afterwards. It's been such a beneficial method of helping our investigators get to know our ward members-- plus, it's almost always on Saturday nights so it makes it easier for investigators to come to church the next day. I'm telling you, being a missionary is so cool when you're serving in a ward FULL of enthusiastic member missionaries. Every day is a new day full of new adventures and I'm loving every second of it.
In other news, Sister Brocious and I are the new sister training leaders for our zone... the look on our faces when we got that phonecall was pretty priceless (mostly because we thought it was a joke... but alas, it wasn't). Needless to say, I am quite convinced that this transfer is going to be one to remember!
We got a phone call this week from a number we didn't know... and guess who it ended up being: one of my favorite old grandpas from the Gangnam ward! (The area I was serving in when I got sick, right before I came home.) I guess he referred a friend of his to the sisters in my last area and I guess my name came up or something. Long story short, he was so excited to hear that I made it back to Korea that he got my number, called us up, and then asked if he could take us out to lunch. He brought his friend (an investigator from my old area) with him so that we would actually be able to go out to lunch with him. That was a pretty eventful day, to say the least. Flashback to Gangnam! I loved it though. And it made me so happy that he was so excited that I made it back to Korea. He came allll the way down to my area just to buy us lunch. He's seriously such a sweetheart. (Also, he made Sister Brocious eat a snail. He just pulled the little guy out of its shell- slimy and everything- and then Sister Brocoious ate it. hahaha. Too funny.)
Missionary work is the best.
I'm one happy Sister Missionary.
(Especially now that the flowers are all beginning to bloom!)
Sister CaLea Bagley
p.s. CONGRATULATIONS to Jade! We'll get to be missionaries together for a few months and I couldn't be more excited about it!