Sunday, March 1, 2015

동대문 스테이크 대회!

(Translation courtesy of Google Translate: "Dongdaemun Stake Conference!")

A little cold, but a good week!

Yesterday we had stake conference for the Dongdaemun stake, which Choonchun is a part of. So we got to go to the Dongdaemun stake center, which is the Dongdaemun church building that I lived right next to for the last 4 transfers. (Cool fact... they say that the Dongdaemun church building, also known as Yongdoodong, is the first chapel to be built in all of Asia. I'm not sure if that's true, but that building is definitely ancient.) It was really good to go and see all of the members and say hi again. President and Sister Christensen both spoke in that meeting, and President talked about coming to Korea as a missionary 40 years earlier and standing at that exact same pulpit and giving his first testimony on his first Sunday in Korea. One of the Choonchun ward members owns a bus, so we got to ride the bus as a big ward family to and from Dongdaemun (about 4 hours total). Buses are so relaxing.

Things are going well for Elder Jung and I. We're working hard and are meeting some pretty cool people. Choonchun is a college town with two separate colleges, so there's a ton of students. Students are usually nicer than older people and more receptive to the message. In Korea, there's a summer break and a winter break, each lasting about 2ish months. The spring break ended today, so students have been flocking in to Choonchun after spending the holidays at home. It's fun to proselyte to them.

In district meeting, Elder Batschi (the district leader) asked each companionship to share a miracle from the last week. Elder Jung stands up and says: "I played a lot of video games before the mission, but I don't miss them anymore. I think that's a miracle." He's so funny. He works hard and does whatever I ask him to do super willingly. I like him a lot.

Last night (Sunday night) was a pretty cool and crazy night. We had 3 appointments lined up... one for 5 o'clock, one for 6 o`clock, and one for 7 o`clock. The 5 o`clock appointment punked, and the 6 o`clock appointment came pretty late, so we started teaching him at the church at 6:30. His name was Brother Lee, and he's over 80 years old. We taught him and invited him to be baptized, but he didn't really understand any of it even though we tried to go really slow and do our best to teach to his understanding. Nevertheless, he didn't really understand anything. About 5 minutes before that meeting ended, a guy randomly walked into the room and sat down in an available chair. It was Michael, a Korean that we'd met on the street last week and who randomly decided to show up at the church. So we hurried up and finished with Brother Lee and said goodbye to him, then asked Michael to take a seat while Elder Jung and I hurried outside to figure out what to do because we had another guy that was going to come (our 7 o`clock appointment). As soon as we walked out of the room, we found Brother Kim standing there in the hall, who had walked from his house all the way to the church and was ready to be taught. Brother Kim is our investigator whom we taught once last week, and he has cancer and diabetes and memory loss and all sorts of medical problems, and we had called him on the phone the other day and agreed to meet next Tuesday. But he misunderstood and came last night. So, we had Michael sitting in the room waiting to be taught, Brother Kim standing in the hall waiting to be taught, and our 7 o`clock appointment about to arrive. It was really stressful and Elder Jung and I had no idea what to do. Luckily (and unluckily), in the end the 7 o`clock appointment didn't show and we ended up teaching Brother Kim and Michael together, mostly focusing on Brother Kim. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and taught about learning and living the gospel and how it helps us to overcome trials in our lives (which Brother Kim has plenty of). It was a really spiritual lesson and Elder Jung and I taught and testified and shared scriptures really well together. And Brother Kim agreed to be baptized on May 10th! We set the date pretty far in advance because he doesn't have a lot of time to meet because he's always getting surgery, and his memory isn't very good. But, he wants to get baptized! So we'll be working with him to get baptized then. After Brother Kim left, we taught Michael. Michael had just been sitting there for the whole lesson with Brother Kim, focusing half the time, and kind of mumbling to himself the other half of the time. Come to find out that he's not really all right in the head... He says he's from Germany and has an American girlfriend and can't speak English or Korean super well but also can't really speak German as far as we can tell... it was just a really strange meeting. But, he's coming to church!

Wow, that's a long paragraph. Hopefully it's not too difficult to read.

I really like the wording in Acts 5:42. "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." This is Peter and "the other apostles", after they had been arrested and tried and beaten and released on the grounds that they "should not speak in the name of Jesus". And then they walked out of there "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." They rejoiced? And then "ceased not" speaking in Jesus' name? That's bold. I think that's a lesson for all of us. No matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, ceasing not in being a representative of Jesus Christ. Ceasing not in being "anxiously engaged in a good cause." That's part of the baptismal covenant. "... to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places..." To cease not. To stand as a witness always. That's what we're asked to do. And according to the scriptures, the blessings that come to those people who "cease not" are enormous.

I love you all. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Edwards

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