Monday, July 28, 2014

I kick when I don't want to kick

July 28,  2014

"I kick when I don't want to kick, I stroke when I don't want to
stroke." --Advice from Elder Holland on how to be a swimming champion.

Elder Sullivan felt prompted to take a different way home the other
night, and we met this sweet chinese guy. He didn't speak very much
korean, and even less english. I pulled out a couple of badly
pronounced lines of mandarin, and he LOVED it. But then he went into
fluent mode. And I don't speak chinese.......

We dropped some investigators, watched almost every lesson fall
through, and got another baptismal date! WOHOO! He joined catholic to
learn about Jesus Christ, but then didn't find what he was looking
for. Reading some Book of Mormon verses together on Christ (Alma
7:11-13) blew his mind. Yes, this is what he's looking for.

In our mission, if someone doesn't show up for lesson, we call it
"getting punked." And we usually meet at Dunkin Doughnuts. This week
every single lesson there fell though, and Elder Sullivan's genius
created "Punkin Doughnuts." Ahhhhh we laughed for ages. Missionary
humor. It's the little things that keep you going.

Everything we experience gives us an opportunity to apply the
teachings of Jesus Christ. As living things, like plants and animals,
we all experience stimuli. But unlike plants and animals, we have a
period between stimulus and response, wherein we can choose our
reaction. In that moment we find humanity. In that moment, we choose
whether to apply the teachings of Christ or not, to follow the natural
man or Him.

My old ward mission leader, from my greenie area, 김홍민 came to church
this week! His family was visiting. AHhh so nice to see them. I really
love that family. It's the relationships that we form that bring us
the greatest joy. Aren't they cute?

I approach my year mark, my halfway point of the mission, this week.
AHHHH. But it's a good time for reflection. I've come to realize two
major things:

1) I actually am starting to feel like a missionary! It's taken a
year, but I"m just starting to get there.
Deeper thoughts on that next week. But in the words of Elder CS Lewis,
"I did not come to frustrate the natural man, I came to kill it. I
don't want to prune a few branches, I want the whole thing OUT."

2)I LOVE these people. My people. I loved them when I first got here,
but....it's just different now. Now I really love them. And I expect
to love them even more. AHHHH. Such a wonderful culture, a beautiful
people, a wonderful language. yup. It's love.
So we decided to make brownies to make for a lessactive/member.
Korean cooking directions are super difficult to understand, for multiple reasons, one of which being that I don't know any of the strange cooking words. We'd made brownies before, and it had us heat up water in the microwave. And this package said something with a microwave too. So I tossed the bowl full of batter in, and thought "hmm 4 minutes seems like a long time...." then left the room to go make calls. I thought the directions seemed a little strange so I rechecked the package. "Microwave Brownies." I run back to the microwave, but it's too late. There's just a big bowl of unevenly cooked brownie-ish stuff. So in my desperate attempts to salvage it, I decided to spoon out the brownie stuff into cupcake tins, then just pretend we made brownie cupcakes. YUP. It worked. The family loved them. An we ate the crusty parts out of the bowl with a spoon. 

D&C90:24 "be believing, and all things shall work together for your good" 
Just another day in paradise.


LOVE YOU ALL! The Book of Mormon is true, Jesus is the Christ, and God
still speaks to men today. If you know that, you're good to go. Do you
have a burning testimony? Or is it burnt? Strengthen it. Share it.
Treasure it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Dog Days....

July 22,  2014

We are currently in a period of time called the "dog days." The 30
hottest days of summer. Named because they traditionally eat dog soup
during this time. Fun.

Transfer calls came and I'm.....STAYING! This will be my 6th transfer
here, 4th with Elder Sullivan. WHOOOAOA! So I will be spending almost
HALF of my mission in Donghae. yeah I'm happy.

We've been working hard this week, cutting back meal times and really
focusing on  "keeping our lines in the water." You know it's a good
week when dinner is usually just a back up plan.

It's been interesting to see my spiritual sensitivity slowly
increasing as I grow. I've had many a cool experience this week with
it. It seems for me, I don't have those classic inspiration stories.
"I felt to go to this address at this time, and I met the guy who
wanted to get baptized."  But it's the little, day to day, tender
mercies and little promptings that have build my foundation of faith.
I know the spirit is with us, and I have learned to recognize what it
feels like. As I've focused on boldly heeding those little 'nudges'
I've felt them muchhhh more often.

One cool experience this week. We were on a "shee-neh" bus, one of the
big tour buses we ride almost daily. We try to sit next to people so
we can talk, but there was no one to sit with. I sat pretty close to
the back. Then an old guy gets on with headphones, watching a movie on
his phone,  and sits up front. I was really tired and didn't feel like
that awkward situation would help him. But I prayed, "Heavenly Father
if I'm supposed to talk to him, let me know." and stood up to show my
real intent. The immediate response, "Duh. We talk to everybody." Ok.
So I weaved my way up the isle, plopped down next to him, looked over
and proclaim loudly, "NICE SHOES! WHERE"D YOU BUY THEM!" He pulls out
his headphones and says in perfect english, "In the states, but
nottttt utah hahah" Boom. Turns out he's an english professor who
lived in american, visited utah a ton, and loves mormons. Thank you so
much to the nice mormons who helped him out when he was lost! Boom.
Follow the spirit. No matter how awkward it might seem. Simple things,
truths we already know, but good to refresh.

Other big takeaway this week: The Restoration. What an incredible
story. So powerful, so live changing, so 신기해요. And it makes sense.
Logical, simple, truth. Other religious theories are SO confusing, but
the missionary 1st lesson is sooo right. It's beautiful. God led His
people through prophets throughout all time. Christ established 1
church, with a prophet. But that church was lost because of
wickedness. In our day God has restored that same church through a
modern prophet. BOOM. easy. And what's more, it's true! And any one
can learn that same truth through prayer and study. Easy.  No
unknowable God, no complex and erroneous trinity, no man made creeds.

God is our Father. He has always loved His children. And He loves us
today. I know that. Through my our prayer and study I have learned
that this church IS that same church Christ originally established.
The Lord has answered my prayers. And I know that He will do the same
for anyone who asks.

Love you all! Be happy! Take care during the dog days!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The miracles continue..........

July 14,  2014

This week was crazyyyyy.
Despite losing an entire day to a zone activity, and spending most of
another day trying to get to a remote city, Elder Sullivan and I had
some record breaking stats and super sweet miracles. Every mission is
different so you can't compare stats and such. But know that there
have been weeks on end where I've found 0 new investigators. Many of
such weeks. But this week the Lord blessed us with SEVEN new
investigators. That's incredible. And so many of them have such great
potential.

Brother Choi: He has problems and remembers missionaries from his
childhood, so he runs down the Sisters one night to talk to them. They
refer him to us. We meet him. "Wow. I was expecting someone muuuuch
older...." (in korea, "elder" usually refers to those ancient pastors
who've been doing this forever.) He was really concerned with our age,
and didn't believe we could help him. He was only 36. Come on now. Age
is VERY important in Korea, but we explained that God had called us to
be missionaries, we held His power and authority, and we WILL help
Brother Choi with his problems. It was such a powerful lesson as we
filled his needs with the gospel and testified with a power and
conviction that no korean pastor, no matter how old, could possibly
have. It blew his mind.

Brother Kim: Another referral from the sisters. We thought he wanted
to learn english, so we can in ready to introduce our english program
to him. Turns out he's got 3 degrees from divinity school. One from an
American school in Chicago. WHOA. But he's working as a security
guard. Why did he want to become a pastor? Because other pastors
couldn't answer his questions and he wanted answers. Did he find those
answers? NO. I have no religious degree, but I knew more of the truth
when I was 14 than he does now. How sad. But how glad! His questions
will be answered and he will find what he's looking for....the
restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He recognized that we were different,
particularly the light and joy that radiated from us.
On a funny note: He related his impression of Chicago gangsters. (they
call africans "big black brothers") "They just sit around the gas
station, no shirts on. NONE. And their pants are halfway down their
legs! So I can see ALL of their UNDERWEAR. And they walk really funny
to keep their pants up. SOOOO scary. Very scary." All this in a
slightly appalled, and very afraid voice. Oh if only he could have
seen my highschool. Elder Sullivan and I tried so hard not to laugh.
Someone explaining "sagging" in korean.....ahhhhh.

We met another man who was super nice to us. Why? Because he saw Elder
McFarland and I shoveling snow from the streets, 6months ago. Elder
McFarland and I shoveled for DAYS. We helped so many people, but saw
virtually zero results from it. What a tender mercy to see someone's
heart softened by that service, even 6months later. Ahhh.

There are a series of other miracles that are not appropriate for me
to relate right now. But know that the power of the priesthood is
real. There is healing, and angels, and miracles just like in the
bible, all around us. The Lord truly directs this work. He speaks to
each of us through the Holy Ghost. Revelation and the Priesthood. Wow.
It's amazing.

I hope you all are doing well. And are enjoying the blessings of
repentance and the atonement. This is the true church of Jesus Christ
in the later days. People have given their lives for His cause,
they've devoted their lives for His work. I know that Christ did truly
atone for each one of us. Through His infinite and eternal sacrifice
we can all be reunited with Him, and all our loved ones, after we die.
Such a pure and beautiful message.

Love you all!
selfie with a Buddhist monk.
Sweet pday hiking.
loving our recent convert. the hike about killed him.




Monday, July 7, 2014

The best of times

July 7,  2014

Saw a sign this week: Urinating prohibited. Why was it funny? because
it was inside an apartment building, in front of the elevator.

Ate intestine for the first time this week. Pretty good.
FHE games are the best. Imagine little kids playing ninja, signs,
bunny bunny, samurai, etc. But they're all adults. And Korean. And
trying to understand from badly conveyed instruction from yours truly.
But all LOVING it. Sooo fun.

This week was SOOO packed with miracles. Baptisms, baptismal dates.

Robert was baptized this week! He wasn't our investigator, but that
doesn't matter.
Doing his baptismal interview was such a cool experience. So powerful.
He'd been searching for years, and through a series of crazy
circumstances, ended up here in Korea. He lost his job and is leaving
in 3 weeks. But the Lord brought him here to find the gospel. He found
it, he embraced it, and he intends to follow it forever.
His baptismal service was pretty cool. Half english. Half Korean.
Really only the missionaries understood the whole thing. We had 4
investigators there! The branch did such good job welcoming him and
showing love.
His confirmation on Sunday was also powerful. Despite Satan attacking
Robert, he prepared for and took that step in following Jesus Christ.
He's such a wonderful man, and will continue to be a great member.

We did exchanges this week and I meet the other Elders' investigator,
Isaac. He's a really cool kid that I've actually met a lot. Last time
I met him, he was going to drop us. But we prayed like the dickens,
listened sincerely, followed the spirit, and he stayed. This time, I
felt that we should give him a baptismal date. As I extended that to
him, he accepted it excitedly. He said "I first met the Lord in march,
as I was baptized into the Presbyterian faith. But it's like living in
a small city that you like. But then you see a new, bigger, better
city. And you wonder if you should move, if your city is really best?
I really want the Mormon faith to be true."
SO cool. The spirit was so powerful.

While I was gone, Elder Sullivan got a baptismal date with one of our
really cool kids, on the first meeting! Super excited. The first
baptismal date our area has ever had!

The Lord is pouring our His blessings in Donghae. He sure loves these
people. And as we work hard, live obediently, and testify, He will
reward us. Our sheaves will be made full. He will open the people's
hearts, they will receive us. The Lord is pleased with the wonderful
missionaries that I am blessed to serve next to.

I was so struck last night with how much I LOVE this people. My
people. The people of Korea, but specifically here in
Donghae/Samcheok. My heart is full.

Love you all! Have a great week. Invite as many people as you can to
be happier!

Elder Rosenberg.

--robert's baptism
--food at the baptism, I made the cookies.