Okay, sad news first. We called and talked to OJW's mother to get her signature for OJW's baptism, and she felt that it was all moving really fast. She wants to wait make sure that she is ready. So, she won't be baptized this Saturday. I admit, I was super disappointed at first, because OJW really was hoping to do it Saturday but it will still be okay in the long run. Her mom was very kind, so hopefully she will feel good about it soon! We will just keep teaching working with her. The more that we have thought about it since then, the more we feel that it could be a good opportunity. As we were teaching her yesterday, it did all feel very rushed and like she didn't necessarily understand some things completely. Now, we will be able to make sure that OJW is really prepared before hand, and that she really understands the lessons and the gospel.
Goodness the members here are just wonderful. We have eaten with several of them this week, and at every one I have thought, "I am so grateful that I know these people." I love their personalities, the thoughts and love that they share with me, and all the service and devotion that they give. We had asked one of the members at one lesson to share with us the principle for the Bud Program that he had been studying. He pulled out the book, "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" by Clayton Christensen (in Korean of course), and started talking about how both missionaries and members should be diligently engaged in the work. It was so good. He had even come to English class the day before just to try to support us and connect with the English class members. The members are so loving and caring to me too. Their acts of kindness mean so much to me. When I first came to Gyeongsan, I made a little paper with some information about me on it and hung it up on the bulletin board, as all missionaries here do. I didn't think anyone would really look at it. However, with my birthday coming up, I have had so many members come up to me and mention it, seen it marked on their calendars in their phones, and even in the announcements in family home evening. Just for one little foreign missionary! These members are so loving.
We had a branch activity on Saturday, with kind of a talent show and then we all ate dinner together. Sister Lee and I worked really hard on trying to get people to come. We invited everyone we knew, and were super excited for them to spend time with the members. We had five investigators come! Two of them are the mom and the daughter I mentioned last week, another college student from English class, HSH (the middle school girl who came to the branch picnic a while ago), and OJW. It was INCREDIBLE. We had a super fun time, and almost had too many investigators there! (Not really a problem at all :) ) Sister Lee and I were split up and sitting and talking with different investigators the whole time. After the talent show part, we had a wonderful dinner, and I went and sat with the mom and daughter. I talked with them a lot, and then as the dinner went on the members starting coming over and really talking with them. It was SO GOOD. I could tell they were enjoying talking with the members, and they seemed to really connect with them. YSE, the daughter, even exchanged numbers with the Stake President's daughter. The Stake President was talking with the mom the whole time, and as other members came they talked a lot about church things too! One of the sisters invited them to come to church tomorrow (HALLELUJAH!) and while they can't come tomorrow, they said they will try to come next week! One thing that the mom says all the time when she comes to English class is that "it has a good feeling." When she was at the activity she said, "It feels like a family!" Well that's somethin'. Anyway, they really seemed to love the activity, and the other investigators all had a good time too! I am so happy. I could seriously go out and do a dance in the rain right now. Our members are literally angels helping in this work. They have worked so hard to help us, and are ESSENTIAL.
The little talent show part was so fun too! I was able to sing with some of the sisters from the branch, and I sang tenor for that! Also, the Elders and I sang "Helaman's Army" with Sister Lee playing the piano. All the other talents were so fun, with everything from the Cup Song (which OJW and LJS did) to Elder Peterson showing off his ridiculous Taekwondo skills.
Funny story, Dad. We were eating lunch at the Stake President's house, and he asked what you did for your job. I told him that you were a professor, and taught about terrorism (which in Korean is "Terror"). He looked up from his food with a shocked look on his face and said, "TERROOOR?!" with his voice going up about two octaves. It was super funny. At English class too this week, a man asked what you did, and when I told him, he had me write down your name so he could look you up. I guess he recently read a book about terrorism, and is really interested in learning about that right now-especially why people think and act the way that they do. Anyway, everyone here is super impressed with you.
After we talked with OJW's mom yesterday, I was kind of depressed thinking that the baptism wouldn't happen this week. We had been preparing and looking forward to it so much. However, when we were in a stake women's meeting right after we talked with her, one of the speakers had us watch the Mormon Message from one of Elder Eyring's talks-the one about looking for how we have seen the Lord's hand in our lives. As we watched that, I thought back to what we had done that day. We had gone to church and spent most of the day with our wonderful members. We taught Ohm Ji Won, and listened to her pray. I was able to partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants with Heavenly Father. I could definitely see the Lord's hand in all of those things. After watching the Mormon Message, the meeting's closing hymn was "Each Life That Touches Ours for Good". In English it says, "What greater gift dost thou bestow, what greater goodness can we know; than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways strengthen our faith, enrich our days." I could feel God's love so much when we sang that hymn. I have been so blessed to associate with these members and people. I feel so grateful to just know them.
I love you all so much!!! Thank you for the Birthday wishes! You are the BEST.