Hey everybody! Another week already flown on by??
What a crazy week here in Korea! A week full of miracles, of disappointments, and everything in between. Our week started off with miracles unlike anything we imagined. We prayed for faith, for miracles, and for blessings to come our way. We prayed, and fasted, just hoping somebody would be put into our paths. This week we had an experience that we prayed for somebody to teach, and found a man not even thirty seconds after. We found a man who committed to come to church after having only talked to him for two or three minutes... but he didn't show. There were miracles all around Jinhae this week. It's all according to our faith, believing that Jesus Christ can and will do what's according to HIS will.
This week I can honestly say that I received my first "broken heart" of the mission field. The experience that everybody seems to talk about in the mission field finally happened to me. We've been teaching a man for nearly two months. I've seen this man grow sooo much in the gospel. His life has started to change, and I've seen his light shine with the gospel. This week, knowing he could be ready for baptism, we extended our second commitment to him to be baptized. We taught him in such a strong spirit, and the spirit led us to baptism. In his life, he's experienced divorce, nearly drowned, he's lost his kids, and he's now living alone, all in the hopes of finding what his life is about. As the spirit prompted me to ask the big "B Word", I waited for his response. He waited for a minute before saying, "Elder Roper... I want to be baptized. I want to join your church. I want to be a member, and I want to live the gospel... But I can't. There are too many things I'll lose if I get baptized. I hope you can understand."
My first instinct was to ask ,"Why?" You know the gospel in true, yet you won't take the steps and do what Christ asks. I wanted to start throwing scriptures at him of having no fears, no doubts, and only believing. I wanted to tell him that he was making a mistake and that he had to baptized. That he needed it more than anything. Instead, with a heart full of love towards this man who I've so diligently taught, testified, prayed, and fasted for, I simply said, "Yes... I understand."
In my mission, I've had to learn that some things are out of my control. I wish I could baptize every single person I've met, or teach every person I passed by. But instead, I've had to leave it to a loving Heavenly Father. I've learned to stop asking the question "why" and start asking "how". Instead of why aren't things working out, how can I have a greater faith to fulfill your plan for me as a missionary. It's been hard, but I know that Christ's plan is greater than mine is, for both me, and my investigators.
Despite the hard working demands of a mission, the stress of bringing people joy, and everything in between, I can say that right now I have such a love for missionary work. More than I ever have. I've tasted what it's like to care for investigators, to testify of the perfect love of Jesus Christ. To know that He's with me every single step of the way. I know He's there for me each and every second, guiding my path. May we all learn to ask the question, "How can we submit to your will," instead of asking Father, "Why won't your will fit to mine?"
I know Jesus Christ lives. This Christmas season is so different right now, but it's filled with Jesus Christ half a world away. It's been incredible to feel the spirit of Christmas as I've taught and testified. I know He loves us more than we can comprehend. How grateful I am that I have a loving Father in Heaven. This Christmas we can give Him just a little bit more. We can give Him all we can, and know that He'll love every effort we're making. I love my Savior more than words will ever be able to describe.
Thanks everyone! Love you all I'm so grateful for all the support I get out here. I wouldn't be able to do this without your help. From the sincerity of my heart I say thanks. I love you all! Thanks again, can't wait to talk again next week!