Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 27,  2013

So there's this korean saying "I speak as much Korean as a rat's
tail." And when white people say it with the equivilant of a Korean
southern accent, they think it's HILARIOUS. We make our native Koreans
here crack up everyday using it. That and saying other funny Korean
words.

Well it's time! We leave for Korean at 3:30am Monday morning! Woohoo!
I can't wait. So excited. And the best part? I can teach so many
people on the way.....in ENGLISH! I want to talk to tons of people at
the airport, resteraunts, and on the plane. It's a little
intimidating, but I know for certain that if you have the faith to
open your mouth, it will be filled. If you show your trust in God by
even just trying, he will be right there to help. So I'm setting
specific number goals of people to talk to. I've got tons of pass
along cards and pamphlets! LET"S GO! So many new friends to make, so
many people I could help!

And when I get to Korea, I can't wait to talk to people! I know my
Korean is pretty much awful. But I love them so much that my poor
Korean won't matter too much. I love Koreans. I love the gospel. And I
can't wait to open my mouth.

We've been able to teach lessons to people in Korea via Skype for the
past couple weeks. SO COOL. Koreans are so nice, and so forgiving with
their language. And you can still feel the spirit so strongly even
over the internet.

Quick super cool experience:
Elder South and I were tracting and we found this new investigator,
Brother Paul. He was really only curious about the church and "crazy
mormons." He had read a lot of stuff online and thought we were super
funny. In our second lesson, he was asking some really hard questions
about priesthood and ordinances and kept laughing about Joseph Smith
and his "so many wives!" I suddenly felt prompted to share the Joseph
Smith story. When I started to share the first vision, he stopped
laughing. I stumbled through it, slowly, partly from memory. But when
I finished the spirit was so strong. Elder South testified that we
knew this thing really happened. I asked Brother Paul how he felt. He
had no words. He was literally confounded. All his anti mormon
feelings from before were gone. He finally stammered out that he felt
something different. The power of the first vision was so strong that
it changed his heart. The Spirit touched him so tenderly that his
doubts melted and his felt the beginnings of faith. It was an
incredible experience.

The Joseph Smith story is true. We can't 'run through the sacred
grove. When we share his account with authority and conviction, it
will invite the spirit like nothing else. It is true. It really
happened. God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ really did appear
to Joseph Smith. And we can know that it happened. All we have to do
is ask God, in the name of Christ, with faith, and he will tell us
through the Holy Ghost.

I love this work! There is nothing better! I can't wait for Korea! I
can't wait to keep working hard! I love getting better everyday. I am
certainly an unworthy, weak, and unprofitable servant. But the Lord
stills sees fit to use me, improve me, and bless me with his spirit.

I love you all and pray for you!

Elder Rosenberg

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13,  2013

With only two weeks left in the MTC, it's killing me to not be in Korea. But we survive.....somehow.

I thought I'd share an interesting experience with 'justifying in a little sin" and how it progresses.
So when I first got here, I beatboxed ALL the time. That's just what I do. But after a couple weeks, I realized that beatboxing didn't help me study...at all. And it certainly didn't invite the spirit. So I
decided to stop. I was clean for a week or so. But I missed it. And apparently my district had spread the news of the "Sick Beatboxer" to the entire Zone. So I kept getting requests to display such beats. I
decided that it could be classified as a recreational activity....so it was fine on Pday, right? So I I beatboxed the next pday and it was great! But pday ends at 6pm. So at 9pm, I'm in the bathroom brushing my teeth and this Elder wants me to beatbox for him. I refuse. So he gets 20 elders for the hall to crowd the bathroom chanting for the beatboxing. After much persuasion, I finally cave. In the words of our district leader, "Everyone's yelling and then Rosenberg just drops it. Silence. Too sick." So after that, I felt kinda bad. Then on Monday, I learn that one of our native koreans who's leaving that day also beatboxes reallyyyyy well. So we did a little beat boxing together, just for my district. But then that night, he was going to beatbox again. I wasn't going to because I already felt bad for breaking my
goal that day. But an Elder yells "BEATBOXING SESSION!" And the whole floor, 30-40 elders crowds the corner and once again I cave. So he and I did a little collaboration, then some solos, and then finished it up. It was sooooo good. But I felt awful. And then the next day I was studying the missionary handbook about music. We aren't supposed to listen to music that might dull our spiritual sensitivity through it's lyrics, tempo, BEAT, or intensity. And I knew that my musical percussion certainly dulled my spiritual sensitivity. So I decided then that I will not be beatboxing for the next 2 years. At all.

So is this just a story about Elder Rosenberg's beatboxing? No. I learned some important lessons from this experience. I originally had a strong resolve to stick to my goal. But little by little that resolve weakened. Once I justified just a little 'sin,' it became easier and easier to give in. And because I didn't have a totally firm resolve in the first place, it was easy for others to pull me down from my goal. Because I didn't have a firm testimony or understanding of the 'why' behind it, it was easy to give into pressure.  With the Lord's commandments, there is no room for ANY sin. We must obey perfectly. Anything less than "exact obedience' is really disobedience. We need to understand clearly why we have commandments.  And for the ones we don't fully understand, we need to have the faith
that because it's God's commandment, we must hold true. Because we love him, we must obey him. John 14:21--"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. " And his will bless us as we are obedient. Remember Nephi's finally words: "I must obey."

The best part about this whole experience and it's relating metaphor?  The Atonement of Jesus Christ. We can always repent and become clean.  Not only can be redeemed, but we can also be enabled. We can be forgiven when we disobey and we can receive strength in order to obey. Great is the mercy of God. And great is his love for us. Romans 8:the ending verses--NOTHING can keep us from the love of God.

The mission is awesome! I love every moment. I feel so blessed and so happy. Never before have I done anything like this. This is truly the Lord's work, and if we desire, we can truly be his servants.

I love you all and pray for you daily! Your prayers and love are felt and appreciated.

Sarang-heyo!
Elder Rosenberg

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sept 6, 2013

This week has been wonderful. Elder South and I are teaching like never before. Our unity has improved so much since we started studying the "Teaching Skills" section of PMG together. He is improving his simplicity and I am improving my ability to actually speak. The other day while we were teaching Brother Kim we had a really touching experience. We were talking about the Holy Ghost and it's role. I asked him what he had learned thus far through the Holy Ghost. His response was basically his testimony. It was such a tender and powerful experience to hear him testify that now he knew God was his father. That Christ was his savior. That the Book of Mormon was true and that this church is God's church. It was awesome. Korean study has been great. I'm focusing more on using up the little bits of time throughout the day to study vocab. It's hard though. Some days I knock out 25 words, someday I struggle to do 5. I've been studying ahead in the grammar book a ton. So at this point, I've already learned EVERYTHING they plan on teaching us in our basic grammar book. That's cool. So I'm working on starting the more advanced grammar books/practicing the grammar I already know. It's interesting. For me, it's super easy to learn the concepts and to apply them in practice sentences. But they just don't come to me when I'm trying to speak. So I need a ton more speaking practice. Yesterday I told Elder South that I was not going to speak any English outside of the cafeteria, and residence hall. It worked pretty well. We're basically supposed to be doing that all the time. But it's hard to remember. And speaking part korean, part english doesn't work because the grammar is backwards. So FULL korean it is! I'm striving to do that more. 

On Sunday, one of the native Koreans, here for 2 weeks, got up to bear his testimony. He said that as he watched us bearing us testimonies, it reminded him of the the little children who would get up in his old ward. We didn't say much, we didn't talk quite right, but he could feel, without a doubt, that we knew what we were saying was true. Though simple, these testimonies born from the humility of little children were incredibly powerful. 

It's awesome to constantly strive to be better. I set harder goals, and try to be more effective than I was the day before. I have so much to learn and so much to become, but I know I am on the right path. The spirit's guidance is amazingly clear. I love it. As we pray with faith and humility, we are directed as to how to best accomplish this work. 

I've also been reflecting on how well I was prepared for this. I feel that the Lord blessed me so much in my early life as he gave me the experiences needed to best prepare me to be a tool in his hands. I think back on some of the experiences I've had: camp staff, pageant, marathon, TJ, leadership callings, SMOB, moving around so much, etc. I was shaped and molded for missionary work. So many of the talents and characteristic that I have been blessed with are optimized for missionary work. It's as if I was born and raised specifically for this. In a sense, I was. How blessed I am. But with this in mind, I feel a heavy responsibility. Where much is given, so much is required. I feel deeply the urgency to learn Korean so I can apply more of my abilities. But the ability to love and to make other feel loved spans the language gap. I love this work and I feel so blessed to be a part of this grand missionary force.  

As I've been rereading the beginning of this Book Of Mormon, I've been really impressed with Nephi. For him, the commandments are black and white. We follow them. That's just what we do. The Lord commands, we obey. You see it throughout this writings. And he cites the Lord's commandments without exception every few verses. Read the first 8 chapters or so and you will see. He was amazingly blessed for doing so. So also are we amazingly blessed for doing so. Just read a John 14:21,23,27 (Thats just off the top of my head so i might be a little off.) We obey because we love God. As we love him, he will love us. He will come to us. He will make his abode with us. And we will receive his peace. NOt the worldly imitations of peace or happiness, but the real long lasting kind of infinite joy and serenity that comes honly from him. Love it. 

Thanks for your prayers. I pray for you always. 

Elder Rosenberg.