Saturday, August 16, 2014

Modern missionary work?

July 21, 2014

Dear family!

Happy Pioneer Day!!! Hope you're enjoying your summer! It's finally gotten hot in Bangeojin, but we have a lovely breeze off the ocean almost all the time, so I'm not complaining. Sister Bae and I now use sunscreen regularly, and we've gotten really good at finding appointments during the hottest time of the day so we don't have to go outside... Unfortunately, we did not eat dog this week. The members decided to make that a elders quorum activity because apparently the relief society sisters prefer traditional Korean chicken soup, which is also a "summer food". Pronounced sam-gay-tang, Korean chicken soup is a young chicken stuffed with rice, ginseng roots, and Chinese dates and then boiled for an hour. It's super good. Everyone usually eat one full chicken. You NEVER worry about being hungry after eating one of those. Heck. It's a whole chicken. So we will be eating that this week at a relief society activity. Actually, that WILL be the activity. Koreans love food. If there's no food, it's not an activity.

We found two new investigators this week!!! They're both friends and 20 years old - Sister Shin Yoo-mi and Sister Oh Soo-min. Sister Bae and I met then on the street a few weeks, and we got Sister Shin's number but only because she wanted us to test a soap she was making for a school project. But we called them and invited them to our English class. They came, had a great time, and afterwards, were very open to learning about what we had to share. They have no background about religion at all. Their families are Buddhist, but that just means that their grandparents are Buddhist and so the family is "Buddhist". We all got to know each other, and after asking a few light questions, we figured that they didn't even know who God was. Basic. We were able to teach them who God is and how Jesus Christ and God are different. They were actually really open and really interested! They said they felt like there must be a god and that they were glad to learn because they both honestly have interest in Christianity, "But when we've gone to Christian churches before, they talk about doctrine really deeply and we couldn't understand." We're meeting them again this week, and all four of us are really happy we met eachother.

Recently in our mission, some new missionary work ... methods? have been being tested. It came to light that a HUGE problem with missionary work in Asia, specifically Korea and Japan, is that there are tons of people (60-80% depending on the area) who are Buddhist or just unreligious, and they don't even know who God is. When these people meet us - the missionaries, we start teaching about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation and commandments, and these people are so confused. The Restoration of what? If they don't even know (or care) who Jesus Christ is, how they can understand why His gospel applies to them? And so to help us help our investigators, we have a new set of lesson that we can now teach in addition to the lessons in Preach My Gospel AND we recently received two new pamphlets for proselyting and lessons. They're still in testing, but meeting Sister Shin and Sister Oh was an incredible experience because Sister Bae and I both were able to recognize again how much God cares for His children and how this truly is His work.

Missionary work is always changing to meet the needs of others. The message stays the same, but how we share it is constanting progressing. As I thought about this, I learned something. That is the foundation of charity - the pure love of Christ. When Christ came to earth and performed miracles, taught the gospel, and performed the Atonement, He didn't do it according to what was most comfortable to Him; He did everything according to the needs of those around Him. If we truly love someone, we will be willing to change ourselves and do what is in our power to show our love for them and serve them in every way we can. That's completely opposite to the world's way. We change ourselves in order to love and serve others. Changing ourselves is the core of discipleship. To truly be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must constantly be seeking to improve and change ourselves so that we can become more like Him. That IS repentance. That is also one of the foundational purposes of the Atonement  - enabling power to become like Him. And becoming like Him includes loving like Him. Love is the core of the gospel. Love is the motivation for everything the Father does. And I know that one day, we can be like Him, that we too will be able to love so perfectly. And when that day comes, we will be so unbelievably happy. I can hardly wait. I know God lives. I know He loves us. That is the gospel, and the gospel is true.

I love you all so much!

Sister Bonney