I was so happy to watch Conference this weekend, so now I feel like I am filled in with the whole new missionary ages and huge announcements! It is absolutely CRAZY! I am still in shock even right now. I can't imagine having companions that are only 19 years old! This is definitely going to be an adventure... I am so happy to hear all of my friends that have decided to serve a mission! It is the best decision that you could ever make and you will be so happy with your choice. It has been the best experience of my life and you will have relationships and experiences that will change the rest of your life. I think everyone should go on a mission! I am thankful everyday for being here, learning more about myself, making eternal relationships, learning a new culture and language, and most importantly learning about this gospel and creating a firm testimony. I already can see how this mission will affect the decisions that I make the rest of my life!
Conference weekend is always a blast here in Korea. The members get together for four hours at a time on both Saturday and Sunday to watch the Conference. They are so devoted to come to the church for so long and sometimes even have to read the Conference with subtitles. On Saturday night they stayed for another two hours to watch the Priesthood and Relief Society Sessions. They are such devoted members and such huge examples to me. I learned so much in Conference and was especially shocked finding out what is going on in the world. Being here on a mission, I am in such a bubble and was shocked to hear what the world is stuggling with right now. It kind of made me scared to think about how my family is out in that world right now....
This week I had one of the most amazing experiences! On Tuesday night, we met with a woman named Jin who became our new investigator just a few weeks ago through our English class 30 minute introduction lesson. When we did the 30 minute lesson, we fill out an application sheet for English class and then share with them about why we are here serving missions and share a spiritual message. We had prayed so much about this lesson and to know what she needed to hear that would help her have the desire to learn more about the gospel. She filled out the application sheet and marked that she had absolutley no interest in God, Jesus Christ, missionaries, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, etc. We were kind of shocked, but continued with her lesson. We explained why we chose to serve missions and why we were here in Korea. Earlier that day, my companion felt impressed to share with her the story of Jesus Christ when he came to the Americas after his resurrection and blessed all the children. So we started to do that. We showed her a picture of Jesus blessing the children and read with her the story out of the Book of Mormon. After our short lesson, we started doing our English lesson. Before she left, we asked her if she would want to meet with us again before English class to learn more about our gospel message. We were absolutely shocked when she said yes, and even more shocked when she showed up early this week with her Book of Mormon in hand ready to learn. She had read the introduction, the Prophet Joseph Smith's testimony and the introduction of 1 Nephi and had TONS of questions for us. Earlier that day in personal study, I was reading in 1 Nephi and came upon a scripture that really stood out to me and during companionship study explained to my companion that I felt that I needed to remember that scripture for someone. When Jin asked us all the questions she had about the Book of Mormon, that scripture popped into my mind and I opened the book. To my surprize, she understood what it was saying exactly and it answered all of her questions.
Because of her questions about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, we started questioning if we should teach her about the Restoration, but then felt that we needed to teach her what we had planned: The Plan of Salvation. She was so intriqued with this new information and started explaining that she understands now about a God and agrees with this plan that we were teaching her. A complete miracle! She said that for years she had thought that we had lived in a heaven before coming to the earth and that after we die we would go to a heaven again. We were shocked (especially with having no concept of God beforehand and with the common Buddhist belief about reincarnation)! The spirit was so strong and I was able to teach in a way that I had never taught before, and that I thought would never be possible. I completely forgot about language, and just completely understood and taught what was in my heart.
We had printed President Monson's talk from last conference and asked her if she would read it before our next visit. His talk was on the Plan of Salvation and we explained that it was a talk from our modern day prophet. She accepted it gladly and kept talking about how fun it is for her to learn these new things! She kept saying that it was all so interesting to her. We invited her to come to watch our prophet speak that weekend in Conference. She was so thrilled about our invitation. We will find out on Tuesday if she was able to go or not (she lives in a different area and would go to a different ward building). She is so ready for this gospel and so willing to learn. I have never seen anyone like this before! I feel so blessed for this opportunity to teach her and to see the influence that it is already having on her life! The feelings that I had after that lesson were like I had never had before and the way I was able to teach was like I had never known before! I know that I was able to be God's instrument in helping this woman receive the message that He has specifically for her!
Later this week, I received a call that I needed to conduct an exchange. This was a huge surprise to me because I had never even been on an exchange, let alone conducting one! The sister that I was to serve with for 24 hours was really struggling with the work and I was supposed to do something to help her....It was an interesting calling and I wasn't sure that I could do anything for her. We went on the exchange and had a wonderful time. It was interesting that Heavenly Father had his own plans in mind for that exchange, because all of the plans that I had set up to do completely fell through. But now looking back, I realize that it was exactly what my companion needed. We had a blast!
Sister Gilbert has given the mission a new assignment, and I would like to ask you all to do this assignment too! Get a new Book of Mormon and read it for someone else. You may not know this person right now, but Heavenly Father knows who needs this Book of Mormon. So read the Book of Mormon and mark the scriptures and passages that the spirit tells you to. Write down impressions in the book that comes to you. Then pray about who needs the book and give it to them for a Christmas present. I have started reading the Book of Mormon over again, and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost for the person that I will be giving my gift to. It is such a humbling experience to see how the spirit works in our individual lives and how it feels when you need to write down a comment or mark a scripture. It is such an amazing experience. I have noticed as I have been doing this a pattern in my markings and comments. I am starting to feel who needs this book. I promise that if you take this challenge, your love for the Book of Mormon will increase and you will learn how the spirit works in your personal life. I also know that you will know who needs that book and it will somehow change their life.
I am so grateful everyday to be here as a missionary and a representative of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. My heart is full of gratitude for the blessings that this gospel brings into my life and the people that I am able to talk with and teach everyday!
I love you all! Thank you for your love towards me!