It was really nice to Skype with you yesterday, even though I didn't get to see much of Jacob or Ben. I do apologize for the lateness of the hour, but as I said, that was the only time we could get with the computer. The name of the member is 황장연. I think he may go by John in English, John Whang, or something to that effect. He lived in America for 8 years and taught Korean at BYU, so he can understand English very well. If you send him something, it would probably work best to send it to me, then I can give it to him.
I wanted to first thank Dad for telling me more about his mission, it was really great to hear, and I look forward to hearing more next week! :) It is interesting to hear that your experiences are actually quite similar to mine, with the amount of tracting and relatively few investigators. One of the biggest struggles here is to find people that are interested in our message and not simply learning English!
Reviewing my studies and experiences this past week, I came to realize that a major focus of my efforts seemed to be concentrated on faith and hard work. In my study of the Book of Mormon particularly, I'm reading of captain Moroni and of the preparations he constantly made to guard his cities against the Lamanites. In Alma 50:23, for example, shortly following the descriptions of the efforts the Nephites made to build massive walls and defenses around their cities, it says that there never was a happier time known among the people of Nephi. I found that statement quite interesting and took the liberty of attributing their happiness to hard work. Since my Book of Mormon study is centered on faith this time through, I recognized that hard work is inevitably associated with the maintenance of faith. Faith and hard work makes us happy and fulfilled!
Faith focuses our desires and ambitions on one attainable, yet almost entirely occupying pursuit. Such provides the structure by which we can successfully negate the tendency to feed our fickle and insatiable natural appetites. Through faith, which demands work for sustenance, we can find the peace and satisfaction that cannot stem from constant self-indulgence. It's a simple, blatantly clear principle really, yet our natural appetites are often strong enough to blind us, even momentarily, of this fundamental truth. As a result, people move from one worldly ambition or indulgence to another, constantly seeking for something to fill the void that simply cannot be filled except by a higher goal and sense of purpose in life.
Elder DeMille and I had an experience which solidified my testimony of the joy that comes from hard work and which gave me an opportunity to apply what I'd learned., we set some high goals for street contacts, as we did not have anything planned aside from a zone training meeting we thought would last no longer than two hours. The meeting in fact lasted four hours, and after eating dinner, Elder DeMille and I looked at our intimidating goals with some disappointment, as we had little time remaining in the day. I turned to Elder DeMille and told him that if we tried our best to achieve these goals, we would see a miracle. Indeed, we did! We reached all of our contact goals for the night and met several solid potential investigators, who gave us their phone numbers and asked us to call them again. That short time evening was the most productive time of our week. I can speak for Elder DeMille as well when I say that, exhausted as we were, we were truly happy that evening.
As I am running a little short for time, I will mention only a few more things. First, I want to attest to the greatness of our mission president. President Morrise is a wonderful man! He attended our zone training meeting all the way in Incheon (a good two and a half hours away from the mission home), just to personally present me with a certificate for completing the new Preach My Gospel Teacher Improvement program (pass-off program). I was the first in the mission to do it, so perhaps it might have been a special trip for that reason, but it was very kind of him nonetheless. I am thoroughly impressed by his personal approach to missionary service as our mission leader and can feel of his special spirit every time I meet with him.
I also should mention what I studied in Preach My Gospel, since I am asking you to do the same thing! I read the last chapter recently and felt impressed to work more with the less active members of our ward. Therefore, to act on that prompting, Elder DeMille and I spent three hoursfinding addresses of these less active members on our map and plan to visit them this week.
My companion is wonderful! We were walking home from delivering the computer back to 황장연 in the pouring rain, and he felt impressed to talk to a man in a park, whom I couldn't even see. We went over and he was very glad to talk to us and gave us his number and asked us to call him to set up a time to meet. I have found there is much I still have to learn, and though I do help him a lot (being a little more experienced), I feel he teaches me much more.
Anyways, I love you all very much and pray for you every day!