Monday, May 26, 2014

When all of our appointments cancel...

So we've been doing pretty great these past few weeks.  We've found tons of investigators, taught lots of lessons, committed people to baptism, and our stats are better than ever - we're actually achieving the goals we set at the start of the transfer (P.S, that never happens).  Of course, because things are going so great, President Shin had Elder Skinner and I stay together again through the transfer and we have at least another six weeks to look forward to.
Well awesome! Another 6 weeks of non-stop appointments, miracles, and laughs!  Why not?  Excited and confident, Elder Skinner and I went into this last week ready to keep the flame going.  And then, on Monday, our evening appointment cancelled.  "Oh that's fine," we thought. "We'll just use the time to find people on the streets.  We've been so busy, we haven't had time to do that in a while..." and so we did.  But then on Tuesday, the same thing happened.  "Oh I guess that's fine.  How about we do some less active visits?  We've been so busy, we haven't had time to do that in a while..." and so we did.  Then, on Wednesday, it happened again.  "Okay God, we get it.  We were getting too confident" we prayed/laughed.  "We'll take the humility blow and be as productive as possible...." and so we were.  By the end of the week, we only had 3 investigator lessons (compared to our usual 10), but we had 8 awesome street lessons and 6 less active visits (that's 8 and 6 more than we get, haha) and we had wonderful experiences through them all.  Here's a funny snippet from my journal about 2 different people we met on the street back to back.
We were walking by this guy on the street who looked a little crazy, but for some reason I blurted out "Annyeonghaseyo!" and started to talk to him.  Turns out he was from Vietnam, was lost, and was looking for an internet cafe.  He couldn't speak English, but was fluent in Korean.  Instead of accepting my attempt to help him find it, he right off the bat started to argue with us.  He asked us what right we had to be in Korea teaching the things we are.  I said that we are just missionaries with a message that makes people happy, so we want to share it.  He said "Oh I'm sure!  So what's the message!?  That Jesus lives??"
ummmmmm, yes!
With a smile, I told him that our message is exactly that.  That Christ lives and that through him we can find joy and peace in life.  That's when he erupted.  He went all on this big rant about there being horrible people in the world and how there's killing and murdering and slashing and smashing and bombing and raping and everything.  He said that we religious people believe in miracles, but if God really was, then he would stop the bad people from doing those things.  We tried to bring up the whole agency and choice thing, but he just continued.
"What would I happen if I just snatched this boy up (pointing to a kid walking right next to us), took him to the top of the mountain, and killed him?!" he screamed.  "Would God save the boy!?!"
"Maybe, maybe not" we said.
"NO!" he jumped in.  "Because it happens all the time!"
Elder Skinner jumped in and tried again to explain that God gives everyone the choice.  Sometimes He may intervene, but most of the time he doesn't.  Even though it's sad at first, the child would be with God and the evil people will eventually receive their reward" (Alma 14 anyone?).
Then he just began screaming again.  "SO what if I just grabbed you right now" as he grabbed my shoulder and brought me in "and MURDERED YOU RIGHT HERE!?!?!" making the arm motion of stabbing me in the gut.
"Please don't have a knife" I thought.  Haha, the guy was crazy.
"Then I would die and the world would still go on.  God gave you and all mankind the ability to make choices.  But you will one day receive your judgment"  I said.  Basically, the conversation was going nowhere.  We changed it back to that we know God exists, if you pray to Him you can know too, and said goodbye.  Let's hope that is the first and last death threat I'll get on the street, haha.
The next story happened a little later in the evening.  As we were walking home from a night filled with visiting less active members, Elder Skinner said, "Let's talk to that guy" pointing to a man about 50 feet ahead.  We got there and I gave him the standard:
"Hi, where are you headed?  Oh that's great, we're going this way.  Actually, we're missionaries, have you ever seen missionaries like us before?  Oh I know, there's a lot indeed.  Well you know, the reason why there's so many is because we're sharing a special message with everybody.  Through this message, we can find joy, happiness, and peace in life.  Would you happen to have time for us to speak with you for a bit about this special message?"
When the guy said, "Sure, why not?  But let’s go over there where it's not as loud," I was stunned.  Already, he was starkly different from the first guy.  We went over to a quieter street with him and taught him about God, Jesus, and that because they love us, they have once again given us further knowledge to follow them more perfectly: the Book of Mormon.  He had lots of questions, but they were all faith-driven.  After 20 minutes of talking to him, we ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and said it was a free gift from us to him.
He took it gladly from my hands, but then proceeded to do the most interesting thing.  He closed his eyes, took the book in his hands, and slowly scanned it up and down a few inches from his face, nodding his head and inhaling and exhaling with the slow up and down motions of the book.  Basically, he was yoga bowing with the Book of Mormon.
Three times.
A fourth.
Then he opened his eyes.  "This is how I can tell if it is God's words or not."
"Through that method?" I engagingly asked.
"Yes, through this method." and he proceeded to do it a fifth time.
"So......" I said, trying not to laugh "......what do you think?"
After the sixth time, he opened his eyes with a smile. "It's God's word" he proclaimed.
"Wonderful!" I said. "Your method worked!  But, you know, prayer is also a good one too..." and flipped to Moroni 10.  The man left with our book, number, and church address.  Maybe we'll see him again.
 So that's a snippet from this week.  Appointments cancelled, but experiences out the ying yang.  Bring it on for another 6!
 Elder Graf

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