The Path of Christian Discipleship

The Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Patient Discovery

Hello all:

Before I forget, I will mention one thing I noticed about Korean culture this week. Seeing as there is a very concentrated amount of people and consequently cars in a relatively small area, people do not use parking breaks when they park their cars. Therefore, if someone is blocked by a car parked in front of them, they simply get out and push the car out of the way. It is quite the sight!

I hope you are all doing well! I forgot to mention in last week's email a baptismal date that we have with one of our investigators, 이희용. He is about 50 years old and is currently in Hawaii now, but is only staying there for five days with his wife. The date we set with him is September 28. He accepts all of what we say very well, yet he still has a lot of progress to make before he gets baptized. I suppose he simply needs to start applying our teachings more personally, as well as gain a proper understanding of what precisely is entailed in the covenant of baptism. I believe he can be ready for the date we set, if he does his part, however. We had an interesting experience with his this past week; after accepting the invitation to pray at the end of our lesson, he knelt down to pray with us, then began an 8 minute chant, shouting repeatedly 아버지, which means Father and Hallelluya (how do you spell that?). Needless to say, we had another simple disscussion about prayer immediately after.

I will also mention some small miracles I saw this week. This week, we had the opportunity to attend the temple, which moved our pday from monday to thursday. When monday rolled around, I opened the fridge to discover that aside from a few eggs and some toast, I had no food! Seeing as it was not pday, we did not set aside any time to buy groceries, yet I contemplated the notion of quickly buying some things to last until thursday. We scheduled some tracting time in the evening, and after weighing my options, I decided to forego shopping and follow our scheduled plan instead. Not five minutes later, we got a call from our relief society president urging us to come to her house so that she could give us some food that she had just bought for us! I was reminded of a scripture I read earlier in the week, that if we seek first the kingdom of the Lord, He will add unto us what we lack (I can't remember the English version; sorry if that is not a proper translation). Regardless, that scripture is true!

I also saw another small miracle this week, this time directly in response to patience. Ever since his coming to Korea, my companion has been struggling a little to accept the concept of a lesson plan, or simply teaching lessons the way that Preach My Gospel outlines them. Yet, instead of telling him what truly works, I simply have patiently let him discover many things for himself. This week, during a companionship study, we were role playing the first lesson in English and after a few struggles to teach smoothly, my companion observed aloud the value that lesson plans perhaps might have. It was a small miracle, yet I am sure that he will learn much more quickly as he discovers things for himself, rather than me telling him what works, therefore I am grateful for the inspiration and assistance I have received to be patient.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that we received transfer calls this week! Elder Anderson and I will be staying and I will be serving as district leader. The idea of having to give trainings slightly intimidates me, but I have full confidence that I will receive whatever guidance that is needed. I alos just got finished with another week of Korean, which was a lot easier this time, in comparison with my first attempt! I have learned to communicate quite effectively through the use of hand gestures-yet elder Anderson is progressing quite quickly in Korean! He was very patient this week.

Before I close, I will mention one last miracle that I saw this week. When I first came to Bupyeoug, the concept of Ward Council and Missionary Coordination Meeting seemed a very distant fantasy and was certainly not on the agenda of any member in the ward. However, after several weeks of softly pushing for these meetings, we finally had a missionary coordination meeting this week! It went very well and we were able to discuss many things that we have not as of yet been able to disscuss with our ward mission leader. He is a very wonderful man, yet, as with many korean men, is very busy. We are still working on ward council, but I am indeed grateful for the meeting that we had this week.
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Dallin

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Subtle Promptings

Hello Hello!

First of all, those pictures Jacob sent me are magnificent! Perhaps even a little dangerous to my focus on missionary work. I'm not trunky, I promise! I'm not trunky. I'm not trunky... :) Seeing real mountains again is quite nice! They have hills that they call mountains here, but anyone can easily see through that trickery. I'm glad to hear that you had a fun time!

I suppose I will start with an experience we had this past Saturday evening. We ventured to the church at 7 to attend an appointment with one of our fairly new investigators (a man who has interest in the English program, but barely knows the alphabet. Teaching English at that level really tests one's Korean speaking ability, to say the least!). Shortly prior to the scheduled time we had set to meet, he called to inform us that he suddenly got busy with another appointment, and therefore could not meet. Slightly disappointed, we yet eagerly departed to proselyte, according to our back-up plan. 

While we were talking to people on he streets, we got a little bit lost, but seeing as I knew the general area we were in, I was not particularly concerned. Suddenly, I got a very subtle prompting, which urged me to visit a certain less active we had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to meet. Within 30 seconds from the moment I embraced the determination to visit him, we found our way, which coincidentally also happened to be right on the way to the less active member's house. As we walked, I felt a indescribable conviction that the man whom we were intending to visit would be home, therefore I called the sister missionaries who are serving with us in 부평 and told them that they needed to come with us to see the rest of his family (other than the father, the family is composed entirely of women).

We made a bit of a detour to meet them and show them where the family lived, but we arrived with no difficulty and met the family for the first time. The visit was pleasant and ended with the father asking us to come more often. (I threw my companion under the bus a little as we were scrambling to think of a message to share, and told the family that my companion wanted to practice teaching, since he is new, but he did well!) I am indeed deeply thankful for that experience and for the way I am learning to recognize the subtle promptings of the spirit. 

I am relying on this newly developing skill of recognizing promptings of the spirit to train as well. Chiefly, I have come to the realization that my companion will learn more effectively trying things out on his own, as opposed to me simply telling him how to most effectively perform missionary work, given his scholarly disposition, which naturally questions every new concept it encounters. For example, he was a bit surprised when he first came to Korea, at the amount of sheer rejection that we encounter and is convinced that there must be a certain key dialogue that will open the hearts of those people we talk to. Instead of forcing him to come to the conclusion that we find through the spirit, after all our personal efforts, I simply tell him what I know, demonstrate it as best I can and let him work on his own "perfect script," participating actively and patiently. I hope that this will help him to learn dependence on the spirit, rather than personal talent and knowledge.

Finally, as I was updating my lesson plan for lesson 1 in Preach My Gospel this past week, I made a very useful discovery. Specifically, as I was studying how to better ask effective questions, I realized that most every question can be easily adjusted to conform to the three major types of questions that are useful in teaching: questions for understanding, questions that insight reflection and questions for application. For example the question for understanding "What is prayer" can be adjusted to "Why is prayer important," to become a question to insight reflection and can be changed even further to become a question for application: "How has prayer blessed your life/How do you think prayer can bless your life." I have been using this technique as I teach and it has been very useful!

Anyways, I am running out of time, so I will go! Thanks for the pictures and the emails!

Love you all, Dallin

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Productive and Pleasant

Hello, Hello!

Long live the Cirrus! Congratulations on getting it all fixed up! Here's hoping it will survive yet another teen-aged driver! :)

Thank you for your emails, they were well appreciated. I have one question I thought of while I was reading mom's email about the Book of Mormon. Have you heard about the Book of Mormon movie they are making, with an 80,000,000 dollar budget? Both Elder DeMille and Elder Anderson heard about it from their different sources; apparently it is not being made by the church, but by a member, who is pulling a lot of strings with a lot of different people (the people who designed the costumes in Lord of the Rings, to name one). I don't know much about it and was simply wondering if you knew!

Anyways, this week was thoroughly productive and pleasant. I find such great strength when I strive to forget myself, along with my insecurities, fears and selfish desires, and instead devote all my attention to serving others. We met a new investigator this week, a diligent member of our English class, who wanted to start our 30/30 English program. His name is 김상휘 (Kim, Sang Hwi). He attended high school in China and Elder Anderson studied chinese for a few years in college, so they hit it off quite well! He has a strong Christian background, yet despite his daily effort to pray, he, as of yet, has not felt to have received any answers to his prayers. Hopefully, we can fix that!

We also meet every tuesday with a young man in our ward named 이동규 (Lee, Dong Gyu), who also happens to be our ward mission leaders son. He is 15 years old Korean age (14 Canadian). When Elder DeMille and I first started to meet him about three weeks ago, we struggled to get him to focus on anything gospel related - we tried playing several games with him and tying in principles from the lessons, but to seemingly no avail. Last week, however, he improved miraculously and even had all of the principles from the first lesson memorized! He is a great joy to work with and I am very pleased with the improvement he is making. I promised to buy him ice cream this week if he could teach us the whole first lesson, so we'll see how it goes!

I have also decided to start writing in cursive. I'm not exactly sure what stimulated this decision, but I have been doing it regardless and have found it to be a very valuable experience. It is quite difficult to find the discipline to write everything in cursive, as I am very slow at this point, but I have noticed my self-discipline gradually improve in other small areas of my life, as I have made a resolute effort to write only in cursive. It also looks much more professional, so hopefully I can gain some proficiency in this style of writing!

Finally, I was reading Chapter 7 in Preach My Gospel this week, as I am looking to improve my language study plan again. I don't recall precisely at which point in the chapter I made the following discovery, but I realized profoundly how truly grateful I am for the principle of time management that I have learned on my mission. Looking back to my time spent before my mission, I have realized that I can spend time so much better! This mission experience has been such a blessing in so many ways.

I hope you all have a great week, and say hello to Aunt Isabel, Sophia and Mackenzie for me, when they come on Friday! And say goodbye to Grandma for me, when she leaves on Wednesday! (This probably sounds silly, seeing as I am thousands of miles away, but I love her!)

Love you! :)