February 9, 2014Dear everyone!
This week's been pretty eventful! Sister Park and I are working hard and we've experienced a few HUGE miracles along the way!
A few weeks ago, Sister Park and I met a girl on a bus. She's a high school student, Sister Kim. (I think I emailed about her before...) Anyways, we met her once and she expressed interest in being baptized! We were pretty excited. She and her boyfriend, Brother Choi, started attending almost every ward activity EXCEPT church on Sunday. Well, we met them both with the elders last night. We had planned to teach about the restoration of the gospel and then read from the Book of Mormon together. One of the elders asked if we could read 3 Nephi 11, when Christ visits the Americas and teaches about baptism. We all agreed that that was a fantastic idea.
As we taught, both Brother Choi and Sister Kim were really focused, and the Spirit was strong. When we got to the Book of Mormon chapter, we began taking turns reading. We read verses 7-28, and then 31-41 testifying and clarifying and asking questions as we went. However, there was one little hiccup. Verse 34. It was one of the elder's turns and he read the verse in Korean. I was following along in my English scriptures as we read, and then I just about died. Verse 34: "And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned."
BRIEF CLARIFICATION: Now in our church, when we read that scripture, we understand it to mean that those who are not baptized cannot enter the kingdom of God. They don't go to hell. They just can't enter the kingdom of God. There's more than just heaven and hell. There are kingdoms with different degrees of glory. The kingdom you get to enter is decided by Heavenly Father based on the choices you make in this life. To us, hell isn't so much a place as a condition of knowing what you could have had but turned away from. Nevertheless, most other religions believe in the fire and brimstone idea...
ANYWAYS, one of our American elders read that scripture in Korean so it took him a second to realize what he had just read. He looked up with a look of shock and horror, and I started to laugh. And it wasn't just, a "hehe-oops" kind of laugh. I just lost it. We had to stop reading, wait to for to get a grip, and then explain that "I'm so sorry! I have a personal laughing problem..." Oh goodness. It happened in the MTC. Never thought it'd happen in the field... Good grief.
Fortunately, "damned" doesn't really translate clearly into Korean, so that didn't end up being a problem.
Well, we finished reading the chapter, and asked them how they felt. They both said that they felt good and wanted to be baptized. So we invited them, and they accepted. Laughing, damnation, and all. They're date is March 8, and we're praying that they'll be able to receive permission from their parents to continue preparing for that day. Miracles!!!!
I'm so grateful to be on a mission. Being able to serve these people and share with them the gospel that has blessed my life so much is such a privilege and a blessing. I'm so grateful to be a missionary, and for everything that Heavenly Father has given me and continues to give me. This gospel is gospel of blessings and joy! Every single thing Heavenly Father has given us through this gospel provides for our happiness. That is His deepest desire: our happiness. I know that that is true, because as I have tried to not just follow the gospel, but really live it, I am happier than I've ever been before. We really do share a happy message. I'm so grateful to be a missionary!
I love you all so much!