November 30, 2014
And it's P-day again! P-day in missionary weekend. Sort of. We have things we have to do and places we have to go but it's about as close as it gets to a weekend. The real weekend is actually one of the busiest times for missionaries cause that's when everyone else is free - off work or school - so they're on the street or free to meet us. Sunday is crazy with church and meetings and everything, so when Monday comes, we P-day hard. Sometimes. Sometimes we just email and eat food. That's cool too.
This past Thursday was Thanksgiving in America and ... just another day in Korea. Lucky me was in another area on exchanges with a kind elder somehow had gotten his hands on creamed corn, instant mashed potatoes, gravy, and some just-add-water stuffing. Excited? Heck yes! We cooked it all together and ate it with canned chicken instead of turkey. It was Thanksgiving Korean style, and we were counting our blessings.
Creeper moment of the week: So Sister Nielsen and I headed down to the northern part of our area to visit a member. This member owns a Chinese restaurant so we were planning to eat dinner there, but as soon as we got there, what did we see through the window? Our beloved elders eating delicious Chinese food chatting with the members. Awkwarddddd......... We were kind of disappointed, but we decided that God must just have a plan other than ours so we started making our way back. As we were waiting at a bus stop, a man came out of a restaurant and started talking to us. He was American, and so in our area that means you're kind of automatically friends cause there aren't that many Americans around here... We talked for a while and he seemed really nice, not weird or creepy. Then he invited out to dinner with him, which we politely turned down.... But we decided we should meet again later to talk and we got his number. Not too creepy. Until later that night in planning. He texted us and asked Sister Nielsen on a date. hahahaha I thought I was going to die laughing. But then he called us twice. We didn't pick up. The next morning, he called again, and texted two more times inviting her and then us out. We decided he didn't really have gospel interest and moved on.
This week though, we did have a neat experience on Saturday night. It was late and we only had about 30min left before we needed to head home. It was pretty cold and Sister Nielsen and I were walking when we passed a bus stop. There were three teenagers there who were laughing and joking together. We weren't quite sure how to break into their conversation so we just kept walking. But then, Sister Nielsen looked at me and asked, "Should we go back? I don't know we could talk to them though.." Then I remembered something that one of my companions had said to me before, "You never regret talking to someone." I told that to Sister Nielsen and we went back to the bus stop. We were able to just join in their conversation and it was so much fun talking to them. We got their numbers and decided to meet again. I'm so grateful that we didn't pass them by.
More and more recently, I've been thinking about conversion. A familiar quote to hear as a missionary is, "Be your own best convert". What does it truly mean to be converted? It's a hard question because it could easily just mean to change religions or to commit to follow a certain set of beliefs, but part of conversion is sacrificing what you want or desire or would choose to do what Christ would have you do. But that is just a beginning. True conversion is when the sacrifice is no longer a sacrifice - conversion is when you WANT to do what the Savior wants you to do. You would rather follow Him then do anything else. That is conversion. As I've been a witness to the miracles that the gospel of Jesus Christ works in the lives of those who choose to follow Him, I can't imagine why we would ever NOT want to follow Him. But because we're human, we do have those moments. We have those moments when we would rather say that sharp word than not, or let that person know exactly what we think than not, or think for once about yourself than take one more request for help. We have those moments when we would rather sleep than pray or instead of daily scripture study doing something that seems more enjoyable. We see doing those things that are the steps to following Christ as a plate of vegetables that we HAVE to eat in order to be healthy. Heavenly Father understands that, and so He has promised that as we choose to sacrifice those things we want in order to choose to follow the Savior, that we will strengthen our faith in Christ beyond measure and truly DESIRE to follow Him. And I testify that there is nothing that will make you happier than following Him.
As Christmas is coming closer and closer, we have a precious opportunity to ponder more on the Savior and how He was the first gift ever given. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "Christmas is a time of reflection on what we can become because of God's sacred gift. As we discover the gift, we learn of the immeasurable love of God and our absolute need for a Savior. As we embrace the gift, we strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, and desire to become more like Him." If there is anything that I know with certainty, it is that Christ lives. He came to earth, lived, died, and lived again so that we too can live again. Death has no sting. Sin has no lasting stain. There is no mistake, no weakness that we cannot overcome through the gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives, and because He lives, we will too.
I love you all so much!