The Path of Christian Discipleship

The Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, 27 October 2014

Another Great Week!


Another great week for us here in Incheon again! I still seemed to have very little time to write in my journal, so this email will be somewhat in a journal format, to preserve some of the experiences we had this week. (I made an evening schedule last night that I will be following, and I have set a goal to write in my journal everyday again, so it won't be a problem anymore, I promise!)

I will begin with the culmination of the week. Yesterday evening, we went out to proselyte, having already far surpassed our goals for lessons and conversations, yet still short on our weekly goal of new investigators. About a half hour out, it started to sprinkle a little bit, so fearing that our suits would get ruined, we promptly started to return home, where we had planned to make calls. However, right before we getting home, the rain completely stopped, so we decided to walk past our house and keep working outside, where we met our new investigator, in the last hour of the day! His name, in romanized Korean is Kim sung chan. He seems to have a lot of interest and was very excited to meet us. 

Monday, we decided to use the church computers, as opposed to the PC방 that we normally go to, in an effort to better maintain the spirit. After emailing, we met our bishop, who was cleaning the church, so we had the opportunity we have been struggling to get, of serving him as we cleaned the church with him. There, we also had the opportunity to talk to him about some home teaching that we were hoping to arrange for our recent converts and some less actives that we had planned to visit. This resulted in our being invited to ward council this past Sunday, where we were able to discuss some of these concerns with the ward. They are awesome!

Tuesday evening, we had an interesting experience: we strayed a little from our daily plan in order to print off some records for another missionary team, which honestly could have been scheduled during daily planning the next day. This resulted in us not reaching the place we had previously scheduled to go to work, which consequently, had both Elder Nemelka and I feeling like something was wrong. We could not explain that feeling until we came home and realized that we had not follow our plan for the day, but instead put convenience as a higher priority than the work. 

Wednesday, we felt we needed to go back to the place we had designed to go the previous day to proselyte. This time, we were distracted by some legitimate and unexpected events, so we again contemplated going somewhere closer to to home to work as we were running out of time. Nevertheless, fully aware that we would only have time enough to walk there and back, we decided to go ahead. At the park where we decided to go, we saw the car parked of one of the less active, recent convert's in our ward, so we called to him. Despite the fact that he had been ignoring our previous phone calls, he answered this time and then actually showed up to church this past Sunday! He was in that area all week for an art gallery he was holding, so it was nice to know that God knew our weaknesses and provided us another day to find him!

Thursday we got to go the temple and saw the new video! It is incredible!!

Saturday, we felt that we should visit less actives in a certain area, despite our lack of data cell phones, which makes finding addresses nearly impossible. We struggled for two hours to find these houses, with very little success. I was tempted several times to abandon our endeavor in favour of proselyting, as our efforts seemed entirely fruitless. We continued, however, and a few moments later, we found a man who had lived in Orlando for 20 years and who had a surprising amount of questions about religion that he could never find the answer to on his own. We scheduled an appointment with him next week and are excited to teach him!

Also, on Saturday, I met a kid at English class, who speaks English fluently, with no accent, at the age of 10 ... which is really difficult for a native Korean. Want to know his secret? His dad made him watch English movies and television from the time he was little. THAT'S IT! He literally just sat in front of a TV for hours until he became fluent in English. His dad speaks very little English and the boy has never been to an English academy to learn English. I was astounded that he could become so fluent (with no accent) by that means. Thought you might enjoy this story, as I found it quite interesting.

I love you all, hope you have a great week!

Elder Higham

Monday, 13 October 2014

Qualify for Grace


Isn't it cool that speakers can speak their native language in conference now? I was hoping to hear president Uchtdorf speak german. Maybe next time. Did I ever tell you that President Morrise's son was companions with Presiden't Uchtdorf's grandson and found out that among his favorite movies is Jack Black's "School of Rock?" I smiled a grand old smile when I found that out :)

As mother predicted, I do have news of a new companion! I will be moving to 답동, to serve as zone leader of 인천 (Incheon) zone with Elder Nemelka. This will be my third area in Incheon, which, consequently, makes me the oldest incheon missionary by far! I will die in Incheon!! :P 

I was quite sad to hear that I will be leaving 부평, as I have gotten very close with all of our wonderful members, but I am excited to serve with Elder Nemelka. He is a very hard working missionary and speaks Korean very proficiently! It will be good to learn from him.

I will admit, however, I was a little intimidated by the notion of serving as zone leader. I feel that I am barely learning how to be a district leader! There are such wonderful missionaries in our zone, to whom I look up for an example, and who are seeing great success as a result of their efforts, so hearing that I was being assigned to lead them was a little daunting. It still is daunting! 

Yet, I found great strength in General Conference this past weekend. (It was so good!) I enjoyed President Uchtdorf's Priesthood session talk, "Lord, is it I?" in particular, as I feel his advice is the key to missionary work. So, David, Jacob, or anyone else who might be preparing for a mission, I highly recommend reading and re-reading this talk. 

Perhaps a mission is less of simply a mandate to serve than it is a call to change one's very nature, in preparation to become an instrument in the hands of the Lord. A comment in President Uchtdorf's talk supports this idea. He promised that as we make pursuing Christ-like attributes our priority, then we will become effective tools in God's hands. 

I think there are many missionaries who focus the majority of their time on studying doctrine in great detail, in attempt to understand every point and prepare a complete front against any who question or challenge. Studying doctrine is indeed absolutely essential as a missionary, but as we remember that we are emissaries of Jesus Christ, we realize that, in essence, we are the very message. Once we understand this great truth, I suppose bettering ourselves and becoming like Christ naturally should become the greatest focus of our service. In doing so, we qualify ourselves for grace, which God has explicitly stated He freely gives to the humble. Just as president Uchtdorf stated, that "the first step to discipleship is our asking 'is it I?' I would assert that our constant self evaluation as missionaries provides us with the greatest tool to become effective advocates of truth. 

In reflection of this talk, I have come to better appreciate the scripture I chose for my missionary plaque, in Ether 12:27. His grace is sufficient for those that humble themselves before Him and have faith in Him. This is exactly what we need as missionaries. Grace. As the qualification for receiving such, to humble oneself, are against basic human nature, we cannot afford to criticize, or judge others! We need to work on ourselves, tirelessly!

That is about it for this week. There were so many good talks in conference that I would love to talk about, but this one made the greatest impact on me.

Love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Higham 

Come Unto Christ

Hello again,

Happy Birthday tomorrow, Dad! Thanks for the great example and inspiration you have been through my maturing years, especially now, on my mission. I quite enjoyed your email this week, as I felt it was perhaps exactly what I needed to hear at this point in my mission. I can relate to the lack of faith that unfortunately sometimes is stimulated by a lack of visible success! I still work hard, but as you mentioned, there are times when I find myself simply going through the motions, not really expecting to see any baptisms. 

Additionally, I sometimes discover, after some self evaluation that my personal missionary purpose becomes distorted to "helping Elder Higham learn Korean," as opposed to helping others come unto Christ. Learning Korean is indeed a worthy endeavor here in Korea, but it definitely should not become more of a priority than sharing the gospel. So, thank you! 

I can't wait for conference!! We do, in fact, have to wait another week, before we can watch it with our ward. Elder Anderson and I had to print off a conference talk on the computer for a ward member yesterday and we opened to see a great big announcement, urging us to "watch conference live." Needless to say, my self discipline was tested. 

Speaking of General Conference, I recall mom talking about the Korean children singing in the General Women's broadcast and have a bit of information to add that you might find interesting. Those were the children in the 영등포 (yeoungdungpo) ward, the ward in which Elder DeMille now currently serves. They sang in the giant 영등포 building, where we have all of our mission conferences, so I have been exactly where those kids were, many times!

I want a Korean companion! Now, don't misinterpret my expression; I do sincerely enjoy working with Elder Anderson! I have learned so much from him and have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent serving with him! But, transfers are coming up and I will have finished training him, so it is likely that we will part ways ... in the which case I want a Korean companion! 

This fresh zeal was born Wednesday, as I went on exchanges with 김재겸, who having formerly served as assistant to President Morrise, now serves as zone leader in our 인천 zone. I quite enjoyed speaking Korean with him for two days; he is quite a proficient English speaker, but I didn't let him speak any English! He is going home next transfer, so he has had his time to learn English from the foreign missionaries! :) This glimmer of hope for a Korean companion is, however, simply a glimmer at best, since after I jokingly suggested to President Morrise that I should get a Korean companion sometime, he responded that it would likely not happen... But, I still have hope!

I did have an interesting experience with Elder 김 (Kim), however, that I would like to include. Last week, we received a less active couple as a referral from some sister missionaries serving in another area. For some reason, we completely forgot to visit them, until Wednesday evening, when I was suddenly enlightened to the fact that we had not visited them yet. I told Elder Kim, who, upon seeing the name, eagerly expressed that the sister we were to visit was actually in his MTC 동기 (I'm not sure exactly how that translates) ... they went to the MTC at the same time and were in the same district. 

Apparently, she married shortly after she got off her mission, then became less active. Elder Kim had the chance to see her and talk to her, friend to friend, about some of her concerns and share with her a talk that he just happened to have in his backpack, which addressed her concerns perfectly! That experience should not have happened! Indeed, the hand of God was visible, testifying to His presence and 감리 in this, His work.

This week I spent a significant portion of my studies in Preach My Gospel learning about the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion and missionary work. We discovered that several members of our ward struggle to feel the spirit and garner testimonies of the gospel. All of these members without exception are not reading the Book of Mormon daily. 

I read a talk from Ezra Taft Benson, who quoted President Marion G. Romney in his exhortation to read the Book of Mormon: "I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon, prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence sill increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy and happiness." 

For some reason, I felt I wanted to share that. Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Higham

Pday bike ride for the missionaries ... we loved it!

Elder Anderson and I in his selfie!