I’ve talked about how the greatest miracle is conversion in a previous blog. But there are also other miracles that occur in the lives of missionaries. Miracles that lead to others’ conversions and miracles that may not seem that miraculous to others, but let you know that you do have a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of you and your pathetic struggling ways. This week, we had some miracles. We also had some setbacks that involve others choosing to follow the Adversary (to quote the District 2–which I can quote all of–speciffically Sister Voyles–“Don’t listen to Satan!”) to the impediment of us and our investigators, but today I want to focus on the miracles.
In Korea, there are a lot of Christians. Weird Christians in particular. Like the Mother-God people from UW? They come from Korea (and are aggressive and creepy). There are also people called 전도사 which are paid missionaries. They are crazy town. And we have to make sure that anytime we introduce ourselves we say that we are serving and don’t get paid for this missionary work so that we can be distinguished from them.
Anyway, after our district meeting on Wednesday, we were coming back from Changwon and were waiting for a bus. We greeted a couple of women as they got off another bus, not knowing that they were paid missionaries for one of the crazier churches here in Korea (시전지–not sure how to spell it). They wanted to argue with the Mormons. Great. And we couldn’t do anything because we were waiting for our bus. They talked about their religion, then they started trying to give us crazy Bible scriptures to justify themselves. We tried to give them a Restoration pamphlet and testified of the Book of Mormon. They quoted scripture and were not happy when they said Amos 3:7 as the reference and then I quoted it for them (very thankful that I had learned it in Korean earlier that week as part of my certification). We testified of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. After about half an hour, they finally left. We had stayed calm and hadn’t “bashed,” but I was so spiritually and emotionally drained. They professed faith in Christ, but when we testified of Him and His restored gospel they either couldn’t feel the Spirit bearing witness of the truthfulness of it to their hearts or they ignored it. I was so sad.
We finally got on our bus and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was a little bit discouraged, let’s not lie. But as we sat down on our almost empty bus, I saw a college-aged girl sitting behind us. I did not want to talk to her, but I felt that I had to do so. I expected her to not really listen and responded to the promptings to talk to her more out of a feeling of duty than out of faith. I didn’t try to BRT or anything–I wasn’t in the mood. I just turned around and said “Hi! We’re missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” She leaned forward and said, “What do you believe?”
Wait, what? I was most certainly not expecting that. So I told her. And she listened. I told her that we believe that Christ’s true church was restored. She asked what that meant. I explained about the great apostasy. She still listened. I got to Josheph Smith and the religious excitement of his time. And she was still listening. I quoted James 1:5 and explained what that verse meant to the young Joseph. She was still listening. I quoted the first vision. She still listened. I testified of the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy. She accepted and gave us her number.
Defintiely not what I was expecting when I sat down on that bus. She attends a Christian church in Busan and when we called she said that she was busy. So nothing might come of this, but it was such a sacred and reaffirming experience to me to be able to bear testimony of this restored gospel on the bus from Changwon to Jinhae. It was a miracle that I needed, to keep me going. And Heavenly Father knew that. And He knew we were trying, so He gave it to us.
Next miracle. We have a 17-year-old investigator who has been coming to church for quite a while. Her best friend is the stake president’s daughter. We taught her the last lesson she needed on Friday. Knowing that probably the only reason why she hasn’t been baptized yet is because her parents oppose, we still extended the baptismal commitment for the fifth of May. She accepted. Which was great and wonderful, but we already knew that she wanted to be baptized. So here’s the real miracle. Her parents said that she can get baptized if one of her grades that is currently lacking improves. What is the class with which she is struggling? The one thing that Sister Abbott and I can actually help her with–English. We’ve started a little private English study club with the two of them.
And then the last miracle that I will share today happened on Saturday. Sister Abbott and I had been working hard knocking on doors. Which is a very different story here in Jinhae compared to Daegu, as there are actually houses here in Jinhae–in Daegu only one member in our ward (the wealthiest) lived in a house; the rest lived in apartments. When we knocked on doors, we would be in apartment buildings and there was always the possibility that we would have to face the wrath of the guard (which happened often). So we had knocked on doors all day and had given away several pamphlets, and pass-along cards and one Book Of Mormon, but hadn’t really found anyone who was interested. After the day was done and we were tallying up our list of zeros for all of our key indicators, we heard a knock on our door.
I looked through the WAIST-high peephole–and all I could see was a pair of fuzzy yellow pajamas. I aksed who it was and a voice replied that it was our downstairs neighbor. I somewhat apprehenisively opened the door. I was met by a woman in her fifties or sixties. She said, “You are foreign missionaries, right?” I said that we were. She then said, “I want to study with you.”
Are you serious? She then invited us down that very instant for dinner, which we had to refuse as it was after our curfew. So she then gave us some kim and gave us her name and number. Really?! We had knocked on doors all day only to come home and have someone knock on OUR door and give us their information. Such a miracle.
I testify that God is a God of miracles and that He acts in accordance to our faith. As we purify ourselves and try to be in a place where He can work miracles through us in the lives of others, we will see His hand in our life and feel His love for us. No, my dear friends, miracles have not ceased.