The Path of Christian Discipleship

The Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, 29 June 2014

My Purpose: To Invite

Hello again,

And hello grandma Sokol! It seems a little strange that she came this past week, since I have actually been thinking about her a lot this past week! If you didn't already know, my companion Elder DeMille is part Korean (his grandma is from Korea), so he is here learning the language of his ancestors. What a priviledge that is for him! I have been thinking lately that I want to learn Croatian when I get home... so I was thinking about grandma Sokol a lot this week! :P

But, that is still long away, thankfully... I still need to learn Korean first!! I hope this email finds you all safe and well. Thank you for the talks you sent me this week, mom, I enjoyed them very much. Also, thank you for reminding me that it is Canada day tomorrow dad. There is an elder I served with in my last area from California, who's birthday is on July 1st, so I think I will call him tomorrow and sing O Canada :)

Last tuesday, we taught our investigator, Jack. I'm not sure if I have mentioned anything about him; he was a missionary for the Jehovah's witness church for six years, but no longer attends. I realized  a very comforting truth as we met with him last time. My role as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints differs substantially from the role of other missionaries from other churches (I have had many opportunities to observe and interact with missionaries from many churches here). While they all, without exception, are trained to disprove and to convince (and in many instances are paid quite well to do so); my purpose is simply to invite.

Many ridicule our young age and inexperience; yet these contribute so beautifully to the very attributes that are required for our work: faith and humility. To me, it is truly humbling that God would call such young and inexperienced people and place such great trust in them. It is so comforting to know that I do not have to know all of our doctrine perfectly and battle against others to convince them of the truthfulness of this gospel. Rather, the Spirit fulfills this role that others strive so desperately to attain: it guides the honest seekers of truth to that which they seek, truth. All I have to do then, is strive to be obedient in my calling and invite others to find out for themselves, following the process that God has set for discovering truth, namely to read and to pray. I have seen this principle of guidance a few times this week.

On Wednesday, my companion and I were roaming the streets, endeavoring in every place to find those that were "seeking for truth." Visible fruits were few in the early hours of our labours, yet we persisted nevertheless. Some time during our ventures, we observed a driver with a peculiar disposition: he honked several times and swerved through many lanes of traffic to pull up beside us. With purpose, the lady sitting in the passenger seat threw open her door, and in broken English expressed great interest in coming to our church. Needless to say, Elder DeMille and I were a little surprised and had to satisfy ourselves that she was talking to the right people before we took down her number and were introduced to her family. Shortly after, we parted ways, promising to call and give her the address of our church so  she could attend with her family. It is not often that people are led so abruptly and suddenly to us, so this was a marvelous experience to be a part of.

On Sunday, we taught our investigator, 김대남 (kim day nam). We planned on teaching him the second half of the plan of salvation, as we had already taught most of the first half, but for some reason, we felt strongly that we should first review the first half with him again. Our review took much longer than we had initially expected, as he seemed to have many more questions.

Finally, we shared a scripture that we commonly share while teaching the plan of salvation, but I suppose we didn't the last time. The scripture was Alma 2:25 "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy." Our investigator paused and reflected a moment after he read this scripture. He told us that this is exactly what he was looking for, and even asked himself on the drive to our meeting how he could find more happiness. We told him with all the vigor in our beings that living by the principles in the gospel has brought us such great happiness, regardless of the circumstances we have been in. Both Elder DeMille and I feel grateful for the opportunity we had to help 김대남 find the truth he was looking for and hope this will have a lasting impact on his life.

In Preach My Gospel this week, I am focusing on teaching skills. I read a section that I quite appreciated. It admonished us to record blessings that we receive from living according to the principles in the missionary lessons, so that we can both better appreciate them and so that we can more readily share with others what blessings they can receive if they live similarly.

I hope you all have a great week! 

Love you lots, Dallin

An oasis in the concrete jungle ... the swelteringly hot, sticky, humid concrete jungle!

Elder DeMille with his new glasses and sisters looking in approvingly! :)

Little birthday party my district threw for me ... so awesome!

And can you beat this cake they made for me?!!
Typical, interesting, bustling street in Seoul ... always something interesting going on!

How's this for a beautiful sunset scene?

Elder "Angel" DeMille - looking sober and purposeful wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Seeds of Faith

안녕하세요 여러분!

JACOB LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A KOREAN!!! Everyone in Korea has their haircut like that, so I was not as shocked to see his cut like that. Though it is different that what I am used to seeing on him for sure! But it looks good! :) Much better than the long, shaggy hair :)

I finally got your birthday package! Thank you so much, it was an unexpected, but wonderful present! :) I love it so much! There are lots of great songs on it, good choices! I have converted my companion. He is in love with the gladiator soundtrack (as he should be, it is great!) and listens to it everyday! Thank you thank you! :)

I also really enjoyed reading mom's email this week, it was very touching. I am so glad to hear of the things you are implementing in the family, with preach my gospel and with walking so early in the morning! I'm not sure if I already told you, but we have a track oustide our house, which we run on a lot in the mornings. There are sections of a gate set together around the track, so I take some and run hurdles sometimes! It is really fun!

I was reading in Jesus the Christ this week, specifically a quote in chapter 20 that struck me. Speaking of the miracle of walking on water, James E. Talmage said: "The phenomenon is a concrete demonstration of the great truth that faith is a principle of power, whereby natural forces may be conditioned and controlled." In this quote, Talmage confirmed what I had been studying and discovering in a much more profound manner this week, that the powers of Heaven and God's capacity to wield them in direct answer to our prayers are governed, to an extent, by our faith. the Saviour Himself was limited in certain places to the miracles that He could perform, simply because of the lack of faith.

I have also discovered this week that faith and thoughtful actions according to such is the life-blood of priesthood power, stimulating or limiting its potential, depending entirely on the faith of the holder. President Morrise demonstrated to me this principle as I observed him take a day of preparation before giving a requested priesthood blessing. I had the opportunity to participate in the blessing and it was a very spiritual experience indeed, in which special and very specific blessings were promised. Already, I am observing several miracles directly from this blessing and from the wonderful example President Morrise showed me.

Given the many analogies to seeds and nature in the scriptures, I suppose the connection can be made between such and the powers I have briefly mentioned. The principles and laws of nature are indeed resolute and independent. Man's capacity to utilize these in his own sphere relies wholely on careful preparation and strict obedience to the laws with which the world is governed. A man who hurriedly and casually flicks a seed into an untamed ground, taking no thought for preparation or maintenance will not reap the desired fruits, the very obtainment of which having fueled his initial actions.

Preparation and careful observance of the laws by which the seed grows are essential in obtaining the desired results. I think society has grasped these principles in a variety of ways; those who wish to become proficient in a certain activity demonstrate the faith to exert sufficient effort to practice the precise method of success that is required, until habit is formed, yet there are so many branches of this same principle of obedience and faith that so many of us miss. Though society has advanced in many ways, there are several things that we do not know, to make somewhat of an understatement. God, who abides perfectly by these laws and who knows perfectly how we can be happy and truly successful, has established the path for us to follow. What wisdom lies in following it. I have seen miracles as I have followed it. I, therefore, simply cannot deny this simple principle: faith is power.

I will mention but a few more things. We met a new investigator this week named Tony (he did not give us his Korean name and likes to speak English with us). My heart was sore after hearing of some of the things he has had to endure as a handicapped person in Korea. To maintain his privacy, I will not mention any details. Suffice it to say that I truly feel that my companion and I have become intruments in the Lord's hands, in reaching out to this man, who currently feels utterly alone.

Lastly, in the Book of Mormon this morning, I read a verse in 3 Nephi: "All things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books that shall be written shall the world be judged." I read this verse the morning after the one night I forgot to write in my journal... Needless to say, I took the time to write in it this morning. After reading this verse, I learned that perhaps journal writing has more of a profound consequence than I had initially assumed. I believe journal writing can be a special experience in which we can receive guidance from the Lord and through which we can gain the most of what He wants us to learn from our daily experiences.

Love you all so much, and pray for you everyday!

Love, Dallin

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

So Much Joy!


I hope you all are doing well! I have not yet received your package, but transfers are on Wednesday, so maybe we will see it then! I feel so bad for my companion, he has gotten two packages in the time that we were waiting for mine, and always feels so bad for all the mail that he gets, as I don't get as much. It is a weird situation, but I feel bad that he feels bad for me! haha. Ever since coming to 부평, however, I have found such a passion for missionary work that has demanded almost the entirety of my attention. I have found so much joy! I have also found something here on a mission that I value more than gold, that is, countless friendships with people who share my convictions. It is quite different, indeed to be surrounded by so many people my age who share my values and my beliefs.

I cannot discount the people who have influenced me in Canada though! There are several people whos names I hold sacred and who have influenced me significantly. For them, I am ever grateful. I am sending off some letters today as well, I am sorry that it has taken so long for some of you! Most particularly, I value the parts in your emails detailing your mission experiences and studies in PMG. I look eagerly for those every week! They help me in so many ways. Dad has been very faithful in doing this, so thank you so much!!

So, to make things short, I have sooooooo much to be grateful for! This mission is a wonderful opportunity indeed and I am learning so much. Mom, you told me in your email to do something to celebrate my birthday, but to be completely honest with you, there is nothing that could make me happier than simply getting back to work! :) So, I think that is how I will celebrate my birthday this evening :)

I suppose I should report on transfers! :) Elder DeMille and I are staying together another transfer in 부평 (our current area, Bupyeong). Also, my trainer Elder Miller is going home this week! So, we are going to see him today for pday. Elder Berry goes home next transfer, so I will only have two companions still alive after next transfer! Strange. I am very excited to work with Elder DeMille for another transfer. He is a pleasure to work with.

This week, I went on exchanges with an elder who asked me how I don't feel any stress! It was an interesting question and I would like to share the answer I gave him. At the beggining of my mission, I indeed felt a lot of stress. I looked at all of the attributes and qualities of the missionaries whom I admired, either here or in the Book of Mormon and was overwhelmed with the things I felt I needed to do! I felt so inadequate in so many ways and was stressed so often. 

I decided one day, however, to simply try focusing on one attribute I wanted to change. So I worked on that attribute diligently for a couple months and was amazed to see the opportunities that came to help me develop that attribute and then others as well. As I have applied this principle of focusing on one thing at a time, line upon line, I have seen miracles and have replaced my stress and feelings of inadequacy with satisfaction and joy. I have been able to accomplish so much as I quit worrying about things and simply start working on the small things I can control and change.

This week, however, I was beggining to feel a little bit discouraged again, mostly because our most progressing investigator 김대남 (kim day nam) is now progressing very slowly. We taught him the word of wisdom and it went super well, but he is not keeping any of his commitments very well, as he still drinks frequently with his friends and smokes and is too busy to read the Book of Mormon ... actually, that is something that I wanted your opinion on, how to get investigators to read the Book of Mormon. I have not had an investigator read more than 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon my entire mission so far, despite our emphasis on teaching with it and testifying of its importance. We talk about it almost every lesson.

Anyway, I was feeling a little bit discouraged and desperate to find out how to help him. One morning during personal study, I went in with the question "how are people converted and how can I help in the process?" As I was planning my study the night before, I felt strongly that I should read Jesus the Christ the next day, which came as a surprise, as I had not read it in a long time. Nevertheless, the next morning, after reading in the Book of Mormon, I opened Jesus the Christ, to the page I had left off on. The title of chapter 20 is "Peace, Be Still." When I read those words, still a little anxious and discouraged, I suddenly felt overwhelmingly calm. I realized in that moment that it is ultimately up to each individual person whether or not to accept our message ... I simply have to do my best to ensure that I teach with the spirit and provide for them the opportunity to change. That was a nice experience that I had this week.

Elder DeMille and I have also seen miracles as we have worked diligently to find investigators and less active members. However, more often that not it seems, we find success from sources independent of our personal efforts. I believe these come as a result of our hard work, but are there to remind us of our dependence on the Lord. For example, we have not had any success looking through the member records and trying to visit less active members; but this week, we had a man run up to us and declare he was a less active member of our church and that he wants to meet with us again. Yesterday, we had another man show up at the church and give the bishop his address, asking us to visit him sometime. Small incidents maybe, but they really reveal for me God's hand in this work.

Well, that is it for this week, I hope you all have a great week! 

Love you lots! Dallin

Elder DeMille remembered my birthday! :)

Birthday pancakes!!

Elder DeMille's 6 month celebration - Subway dinner!

6 months just flies by around here!

Seoul Korea Temple - we get to go once a transfer.

Our district on a temple trip.

Subway doors guard access to the trains.

Ah ... a taste of home in a far away land.

Missionary work takes a toll!! :)

Monday, 2 June 2014

Understanding the Spirit

Hello hello!
David, you look like a handsome, wealthy business man. Congratulations on getting through the easiest part of your life! ;) I hope all of your exams go well, that goes for everyone else as well!
I am emailing a little bit early so that elder DeMille and I can attend a brunch put on by the president and his wife, to recognize progress in the new teacher training program. Elder DeMille passed off the first pamphlet, so we are going to celebrate his success by feasting on american food!  :)
This week, a greater portion of my studies was devoted to better recognizing and understanding the spirit, as dad is studying in his PMG study. As a result, I had some valuable encounters with the spirit this week; some were clear and strong, others were soft and easily unnoticeable, without proper attention.
The first came Sunday, as we both felt impressed to set some goals for street contacts that were a little higher than usual. We were excited to see what the next day had in store for us, however we found that afternoon that no one seemed to want to talk to us (even more so than usual). It was strange, because we don't normally have such a hard time getting at least some people to talk to us, but today it seemed no one wanted anything to do with us. In the evening at around 7, we had not talked to a single interested person all day! Then, as we were walking past a certain street, I felt that I should stop, go back and cross.
I remember distinctly standing there, a little frustrated, wondering if this was from the spirit, or if it was simply a thought that I had. I have had some powerful feelings that I have been able to easily recognize as the spirit, but often it is hard to distiguish little impressions that come. Nevertheless, we crossed and immediately talked to a man with a little family who had, it seemed, great interest. We got his number, then immediately were approached by another man, who wanted to meet with us. It was wonderful to see the Lord confirm in such a visible way that He was guiding me.
The second experience came as we were riding the subway to a zone activity. I felt like I should talk to a man on the other side of the subway, but he looked kind of intimidating and I was already next to another man whom I had intended to talk with, so I started talking to him instead. After getting prompltly rejected, I went and talked to the man on the other side of the subway. As it turns out, he was baptized into our church 34 years ago and has since lost contact with the missionaries and with the church. He expressed his desire to meet with missionaries again and to come to English class, then gave us his number, which we gave to the elders in his area. It was a sweet experience.
Finally, I felt very distincly that I should invite a certain ward member to teach our investigator 김대남 (Kim Day Nam) with us the next day. I was a little hesitant to have 김대님's first member lesson be the word of wisdom, as I feared that would put more pressure on him, but it was a wonderful lesson. We discovered that this member, 박경수 (Pak Young Su), quit smoking before he was baptized, therefore he was a very useful source of insight as we made a plan for our investigator to quit smoking - specifically, we introduced the idea that perhaps he could cut down a few cigarettes every week, but our member stopped us and said respectfully that the best way would be to try to quit altogether. I was nervous to see our investigator's reaction to this, but, to my surprise, he agreed and said that would be the best way.
Looking back, it was critical that we had 박경수 teach with us, as he provided not only a more effective method of combating smoking, but also testified of the blessings that come both as you first try to keep, and then live the word of wisdom.
We also had the wonderful experience of listening to Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife on Saturday. They both gave great talks. Similar to my experience seeing Elder Oaks in the MTC, there was a sweet and powerful spirit that filled the room as Elder Cook entered. I know he is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. One thing he said stood out to me, and I will try to implement it more effectively in my life this week: he mentioned four aspects of love we need to have to be successful misisonaries: love for the people you serve, love for your companion, love for your mission president and love for the Lord. He talked about his experiences with God's inspiration in assigning people to different missions and testified that we are indeed exactly where we need to be at this time. I know this to be true.
That is everything for now! I still have not received your package, but we are going to the office today, so I will let you know if we get it!
Love you lots,
p.s. Just a few picts this week ... more coming next. Have a great week! 
This week we visited the garden I helped plant in my last area, and it looks great!!

Bird-watching sanctuary.

Bird-watching huts we explored.