Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24,  2014
This week has been good, full of lots of finding. Working hard to find new people to teach, because we've had to drop most of our investigators. Saddest thing: our most progressing investigator left today for his manditory military service. All Korean males have to do it for about 2yrs. Pretty sad watching him ride away on the bus today. He had his hair cut all short and ready to go. But he's been changed by our meetings and committed to continue to pray throughout his tour. And we promised to mail him a Book of Mormon as soon as he finishes basic training.
I've been thinking this week about the light of Christ, the light of the gospel, the "candle set on a hill." One of our Zone Leaders spoke at District Conference(basically stake conf) and shared a great scripture: "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the alight with you. Walk while ye have the blight, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in cdarkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have light, abelieve in the light, that ye may be the bchildren of light"(John 12:35-36) As we follow Christ and walk in his light, we become the "children of light." We become as a candle set upon a hill. The light of the gospel that shines from our eyes can only be hid if we let it. Do we dim that defining characteristic? Do we put it under a bushel? Can others look at us, our faces, our actions, and see us as disciples of Christ?
With that in mind, we've been focusing a lot on finding this week. Last night we were out street contacting and we met this guy, Jeong-Su. He was smoking and totally didn't want to talk to us. But we just kept pushing it, smiling, laughing, being nice. I pulled one of my favorite lines, literally translated, "outside of the amount of a rat's tail, I speak no Korean." Koreans always DIE when they hear that. That's all it took with him. "Hey, you want to go get something to drink together?" We proceeded to talk for 2 hours. He kept commenting on how he could tell that we were different. "You can see it all in the eyes: maturity, conviction, strength." He just felt that we were pure men, good men. He ended up being a business man from Seoul, taking a midlife crisis vacation out here in 동해. He had planned to leave the day before, but suddenly felt that he should stay just one day more. He was in a bad mood and didn't want to talk to anyone. But when we just kept smiling, "the amount of a rat's tail," and were being so nice, he felt moved in his heart. He detected our light.
He ended up staying an additional two days, so we met again. He took us to the fish market and we bought live crabs and fish. We took them to a resteraunt and had them cook the crabs for us. So I had the most amazing, freshest Korean crab. And an entire raw fish. "회." or "Hway". Definitely an interesting day. We're referring this miracle of a man to the missionaries in Gangnam (yes the same place as Gangnam Style). Hopefully he will remember the miracle of first meeting us and continue to seek the light.
The Lord truly sends his Spirit to testify to the hearts of those we teach. He answers our prayers. He even lets us have a little 'loaves and fishes' sometimes. If we are obedient, keep our covenants, and do all we can to ensure our lights shine brightly, then others WILL notice.
love you all!

Elder Rosenberg

Monday, February 17, 2014

Feb. 17,  2014
This past Sunday was the BEST day of my mission yet. Hands down.
We had a baptismal service!!!! A less active, reactived by my companion and his trainer, had his 8yr old son(taught by the sisters) get baptized. And another less active who started coming back a few months ago, baptized his 19 yr old son(taught by the other elders). The first baptisms 동해 has had in over a YEAR. So great!!!! And we had a record number of church attendance. Not enough chairs to fit everyone!
Best part? WE HAD INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH! I've been fasting and praying for a long time to get investigators to church and we've been working really hard. And after a transfer and a half.....the Lord blessed us with an amazing miracle!!! Two of our cool college investigators, young-chul and jun-yong, came!!! They were 30 min late, but they made it in time for sacrament meeting! And the talks (which are often sketchy out here in the more wild part of the Lord's vineyard) were awesome! Our two strongest members spoke about faith and repentance. Then the baptism service was afterwards which they stayed for. AND Jae-wan, another college kid (who attends the Yale/Stanford or Korea) showed up! So 3 investigators at the service. And they all stayed for the big meal afterwards. Our members did a great job fellowshipping and making them feel loved. One member said "Ohhhh you elders brought such handsome boys to church. Don't worry, I made sure to touch them." AHhh, in our own special way, the branch is VERY good at fellowshipping. Low form language and touching. Afterwards, we just stood around in the parking lot and talked and threw snow balls. It was perfect. They LOVED church.
Oh it's snowed a total of 6-7 feet in the past week and a half. So we've shoveled SOOO much at our church/just around.
I had a really powerful experience in the Book of Mormon the other day. I was reading 3 Nephi 17, where Christ prays for the people and blesses the sick and the children. The whole chapter is so beautiful and striking. But verse 17 hit me especially.
"And no atongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father."
Such JOY filled their souls, to the point that it is impossible for us to imagine, when Christ prayed for US. For some reason that imagine burned in my mind, Jesus Christ, kneeling and pleading unto the Father in MY behalf. And he does that still. In his role as advocate and mediator, he still speaks with the Father for us. What a wonderful image. What powerful joy. Ahhhh, it is so amazing. So awesome, in the truest sense of the word. I know my redeemer lives. And he shall live again. He watches over us with infinite mercy. He is the good shepherd. He will leave the 99 to find the 1. Through him and his sacrifice, we can receive peace in this life and salvation in the world to come. This I know.
Love you all!

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10,  2014

There are currently 3 feet of snow outside. It is CRAZY. Cars are entirely covered, the snow goes up to your waist when you try and walk, and I'm pretty sure old Korean ladies get lost in snowdrifts.

But that's not an excuse to slack off! That's an opportunity to work harder! We've spent sooo much time shoveling people out. Some will tell us to go away, so we just help anyway. Some will yell "AHHH MISSIONARIES!" and motion us over. It's great.
We sure love the chance to serve God's children. And pretty much everyone accepts this service. So it's great! And it's a great way to segway into our real purpose as missionaries.
With the snow certainly comes more miracles. The situation gets harder, but the Lord compensates with more heavenly help. His work will not slow down! We had a great lesson with 재환(Jay-wahn) who's our age. He actually sincerely wants to know if God exists! And is acting to find that answer. He goes to the military in a few weeks, so it's going to take a miracle to get him baptized in time. Good thing this is a work of miracles!
We got let into a Jehovah's Witness house this week. He just wanted to Bible bash. only works if both parties understand what's going on. We couldn't understand what he was saying, poor guy just kept going. Finally we just said we had to leave. Bore testimony and shared some Book of Mormon scriptures, but he wasn't having it. Told us to come back when we're better at korean so we can fight again.
Had a crazy intense lesson with our seventh day adventist missionaries. They wanted to talk about Baptisms for the dead, so we prepare a sweeet lesson on it. We expounded our doctrine of baptism, the Holy Ghost, and then the Spirit World and ordinances for the dead. Mostly using bible scriptures. As soon as we finished talking, one of the them just unloaded on us. We felt the spirit instantly leave. It was the weirdest feeling. Whenever we would talk, calmly, just testifying and sharing what we know to be true, we would feel good. But as soon as he started to raise his voice, trying to prove us wrong, the spirit fled. We continued to answer calmly and boldly. The promise that we will not be confounded before men is true. Nothing he could say could really even come close to what we had shared. The other missionary reacted totally differently. He couldn't believe those scriptures were in teh Bible, we had shown him things he'd never seen. It truly intruiged him and he committed to study and pray about it. We ended by simply testifying that we can't prove anything. Knowledge of what is true must come through the Holy Ghost. Without a spiritual witness of truth, scriptural evidence will never be enough.
That's how I know. It's true. Through prayer, study, experience, I know with a certainty that it's true. The Lord has provided a way for ALL his children to hear the gospel. Now, or after we die. He loves us with an infinite love, and would never condemn his children to hell simply because of their birthplace or time period. He everlasting mercy extends to all.
This work is the work of open the Celestial kingdom to ALL of God's children. Missionary work, temple work, reactivation, it's all the same.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Feb 3,  2014

Happy Lunar New Year!
This week was the Korean holiday 설날, the lunar new year. Kinda like Christmas for them. SUPER big. So we went into Seoul for mission conference. Fun. If you bow to your Elders, they are supposed to give you money. So people bowed to President and he handed out candy. Good to see all my beloved mission friends. But not a lot of missionary work happened this week again. It's a big family holiday so not a lot of people to talk to. We had to do a deep cleaning of the apartment too. And just lots of time with members, and the branch.
Excited to get back to work for real this week! Especially since Elder McFarland and I are staying together another transfer! WOOOO. He's a great missionary and we are going to get things rolling here in 동해!
We're starting to wake up at 5:30 every morning to have extra time to workout and study Korean. There's just not enough time during the day! We'll see how it goes.
We had a 고기파티 or meat party, with the branch president and a few members. Elder McFarland and I spent two hours cooking meat in the rain. On authentic korean coals!!! It was pretty fun. And backbreaking.  But I think it really built our relationship with Branch Pres. The missionaries definitely need a stronger bond there. And us serving him so willingly, really impressed him. And now we're actually having a regular missionary correlation meeting! Not sure if that's correlated.....but......
There's a saying that's apparently from a general authority who came to Korea "English missionaries come home gospel scholars, Spanish missionaries come home fluent, and Korean missionaries just come home." OUCH. There's merit to that....but it's not going to be true for this Korean missionary! "Just coming home" is your choice. You can choose to be changed. You can choose to learn, grow, and deepening in conversion. You can choose to do real missionary work, expand your knowledge of the gospel. I'm here to change, here to become something more than I was. I've already seen that change, and I see it continuing to occur. And as you change, you will change others as well! AHHHH it's all so great.
"Come unto Christ. Come unto him. And by his grace become perfect again." --That new Youth theme song has some good true to it.....
--Saw a BYU hoodie in a random korean shop!??! What. The lady googled byu when I started freaking out about it. she yells down the street after us "bingham young!"
--Real mexican food in Seoul. What a dreammmmmm.

Love you all. Praying for ya! 수고하세요!