This week was incredible. Okay, so it started out kind of rough. I went to our apartment after district meeting with a fever and congestion up the wall, but I just slept it off and I am going full fledged missionary strong again (with a just a hint of a cough). :) Sometimes you just have a moment of, "Oh yeah, I am actually human and do get sick," moments on the mission. I mean 11 months with no sickness is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. The Lord does bless His missionaries. ;)
Anyway, so this week we had a special conference with President Whiting, the Asia North Area 70 president. He said the closing prayer in general conference just in case you were wondering who he is. ;) But the conference was SO GOOD. It opened up my eyes and my heart to seeing things in a new way. He stood in front of us and told us that he was standing in for the apostles, because they themselves couldn't be here. He told us that everything he would tell us that day was straight from the apostles, prophet, and straight from the spirit. He would deliver the message that the apostles wanted him to, but he would deliver it the way the spirit wanted him to. And let me just say, if there was one apostle in particular that he was representing, it was Elder Holland. Elder Holland says just enough to "singe your eyebrows" but he does it with love and emotion that you can't really deny. That is exactly how President Whiting delivered his message.
He basically started out by saying that the apostles love the missionaries in Korea and Japan, and that they are great missionaries. They have the ability and qualifications to baptize thousands. But they are not. He said that when Elder M. Russell Ballard visited the area, he, slightly frustrated said, "Why are they not baptizing?"
Faith. 신앙. That is what we are missing. That is what Elder M. Russell Ballard, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband decided when they reviewed the area (before they were all apostles). So many people say to us, even in the mission field on a daily basis, "serving in Korea is hard, huh?" When I got my call I remember thinking, "Dang. Korea? Korean? When I said I wanted to go foreign I never expected this..." When I first got to country, people told me that Korea is kind of a slow place to serve. No baptisms, no investigators. You just keep chugging along and hope for the best. But here's the thing, somewhere along the line I, just as almost every other missionary serving here probably, lost faith. I accepted that I wouldn't baptize anyone on my mission. I accepted that I wouldn't have a lot of investigators. But why accept this?
Heavenly Father can do ANYTHING. In the Book of Mormon, there are so many stories of unrighteous cities being converted to the truth because the missionaries, like Alma and Amulek for example, had faith enough to work miracles. I don't know where my faith went. But I am going to bring it back. As soon as the conference was over, I looked at my companion (we were on exchanges at the time, so I was with Sister Workman who is a greenie), and said, "You ready to go apply everything we just learned?" She looked at me with determination in her eyes and courageously agreed. We set out to talk to everyone we could, and we did. :) We talked to this girl who was 16 years old. We found out she had been curious about religion but didn't have one. She had prayed before but didn't really know how. She was super cute. :) We gave her our number and we are praying that she will call back.
Yesterday, we were on exchanges again (stake activity), and my companion at the time, Sister Holt, and I decided to pray on every street corner to know where to go. We had a feeling to go down one street, so we did. We found this lady whose brother's son was a missionary for our church, and he served in none other than UTAH. Both me and Sister Holt are from Utah. ;) We talked to this lady for a while, exchanged numbers, and she said that she is going to come to the family history activity that is going on at our stake center next week. She was super nice and seemed SO prepared. Plus, finding someone in Korea who is related to a church member is a bit of a rare opportunity. SO COOL.
Through faith we can do anything. President Whiting promised us that if we could find our faith again, it will be possible, according the the words of the apostles who were given revelation for the Korea and Japan missions, for each of our companionship's to baptize one person a month. I am learning to find faith again, and it is making me PUMPED to be a missionary. :)
Love you all and miss you always!
Love, Sister Maughan
This is a picture of the Incheon airport. It is amazing!