Happy New Year!I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's party! Instead of partying here in Korea, they all wake up very early and hike up a mountain to see the first sunrise of the morning. As missionaries, we have permission to accompany our ward members to hike the mountain in the morning, but as we did not receive an invitation, we unfortunately did not get the chance to participate.
Following the hike, everyone gathers together to eat a big meal. Also, everyone turns a year older in the New Year, so I am now 21 here in Korea! However, you apparently do not turn a year older until you eat a bowl of 떡국 (I don't know how to describe this in English!). I suppose I am still 20, since I have not eaten 떡국 yet! But I guess I'm still only 19 by North America reckoning! :)We received our transfer calls this week: both companionships in our house will stay the same. It is, however, always difficult to say goodbye to several of our zone members each transfer! But such is the life of missionaries!In my modest attempt to entertain you all, I will mention an experience I had with one of our district leaders on exchanges this past week! While Elder Bodily and I were talking to people on the way to a member visit, Elder Bodily offered to shake hands with one man on the street who was clearly intoxicated ... at which point the man, who wobbling down the street with his hands in his pockets, pulled a can of beer out of his pocket and placed it right in Elder Bodily's hand! Elder Bodily stood for a moment, surprised and not knowing what to do, then gave the can back to the man, who proceeded to give him a big hug and continue on his merry way.
I could not help but laugh, both at the sight of a stunned missionary with a beer can in his hand, and at the man, completely severed from controllable conscious thought, offering a great big bear hug, then continuing to struggle down the street, trying in vain to rid himself of the shackles that impaired his basic motor skills!! Good to find humour and laughter in the simple daily experiences!In consideration of the New Year, I set some goals that I would like to share. Our district leader, Elder Hale, had us complete an activity last district meeting which he found in the back of chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel, which served as the foundation of my New Year's Resolutions. He asked us three questions, prefaced by a prompt to consider our last day in the mission field, to which we then responded.
The first question was: "What do you want to say you have done as a missionary?" My reply: I want to say that I exerted a consecrated effort to firmly establish the roots of God's kingdom here in Korea alongside the Korean people. The second question was: "What do you want to have become?" I responded that I want to become a dependable man, whom the Lord can trust with His work. Finally, to the question, "What differences would you want others to notice in you?" I answered that I would want people to feel that I care for them more profoundly than I care for myself.
I decided to refrain from very specific goals for the entire year, instead allowing myself to set weekly and monthly goals to achieve the general vision outlined in my responses to these three questions. I suppose, this will allow me to continuously evaluate my efforts in achieving what I desire to achieve this year, specifically before the end of my mission.
This next experience is somewhat related to my previous remarks, as it outlines more specific efforts to achieve my vision to help the members of Korea establish the church in this area. Somewhat identical to the Susan Fulcher case (I am not sure if you are familiar with this case study, but it's a true story about a full-time missionary, Sister Fulcher, in Boston found in the book The Power of Everyday Missionaries), Elder Lee and I felt it would be a good idea to invite some of the members we have been closely working with recently to share a testimony reflecting their experiences with missionary work. Most of them refused for various reasons, but our bishop's wife shared a beautiful and powerful testimony of her experiences setting goals and performing missionary work for her deceased father and for her mother, who currently lives in 대구, but will return to 인천 in three months. Her testimony invited the spirit powerfully and demonstrated a wonderful example of member missionary work to the rest of the ward. I was so happy!Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week back at school!!!
Love, Elder Higham