So also before I tell you about my week I want to share with you what I learned this week:) "Our search for happiness" - 'What makes you Americans think you can come here and teach us anything about Christianity?' It was a common question, and a legitimate one... unless we could offer people spiritual insights and understanding they couldn't receive anywhere else, there really wasn't much reason for them to listen to us.
Also from 1 Nephi 11 "and I said unto him; I know that he LOVETH his children; NEVERTHELESS I DO NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF ALL THINGS". l love this scripture. Especially during hard times I know understand the ways of the Lord. But I am thankful that Nephi teaches that we don't need to understand the "why" but we can know the only thing we NEED to know. that God loves. Oh does he love us. So much. We can not comprehend. THEN!!!! guess what. I found the answers to ALL my needs as a missionary. My questions are always' 1:What can I teach that will give desire to those I meet? 2: What can I teach that will meet the needs of all my investigators? 3: What is the greatest gift I can give my investigators? 4: What is the most important thing to teach my investigators? 5: What is the answer to all my investigators questions? Deep right... well I found one answer. And through MUCH study I understand this to be true. The answer is GODS LOVE.
1Nephi 11:16"Knowest thou the condescension of God?". Verse 21 "Knowest thou the meaning of the Tree?" Verse 22" Yea, it is the LOVE of God"... "Wherefore it is the most desirable about all things." Verse 23: Yea, and the most Joyous to the soul". Later I learned more from reading chapter 11. Jesus Christ. THE savior himself taught, ministered, preformed miracles, taught with power and authority and yet, he too was "cast out from among them". I have been thinking A LOT about the article of Faith #11- we claim the privilege of worshiping almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may?. I think about this scripture and Christ's ministry combined. I have been thinking a lot about the work Christ did. Christ was THE missionary. He ALWAYS taught with love, the spirit, power, authority, etc. He taught and did perfectly, yet people STILL abandoned him and continued to "worship"/ "live" the lives they always have. God and Christ gave us free agency. Yes they and me would like everyone to come and join. But Gods children have free agency. Yes it is sometimes heart breaking. But us missionaries and God "allow all men the same privilege , lot them worship how, where or what they may". Christ changed the world. How? Through the greatest act of love ever done- The Atonement. Though we want everyone to come into the fold. We can not force. WE can only invite with that love, spirit, power and authority. BUT we, God and Christ CAN bring something to ALL those we meet that will bless them. And that is LOVE. The gospel is LOVE. God and Christ are LOVE. The Atonement is LOVE> The plan is LOVE! that IS what we CAN bring to everyone no matter what, who, when or how they worship/ believe. And it is through that love that their spirits are awakened and desire to change for the better through repentance. Sometimes I feel like in my weaknesses, God does not have much to work with. ha ha ha. BUT I do have love. Oh boy. ha ha ha. I've got some love to share. And I realized where I got that love. it was through the atonement. I was changed by the act of love. The Atonement made me worship and believe the way Christ spent his ministry pleading for people to worship and believe. It is through the Atonement that we change people. There is the cleansing part of the Atonement but also the ENABLING power of the atonement. So what can I bring the people i love so much here in Mokpo? Christ Atonement/ LOVE. I cant control a lot of things. But I can control that. And I know, with all my heart that it is ONLY through the Atonement and understanding that love, that people really change and KEEP CHANGING. If there was one thing I wish I could give everyone, it would be to have a glimpse of the Love God has for us. That would change the world. I know it. And Guess what else is love. My message. I get to give away love for free. I get to give away freely the most priceless gift. Love. Christ.
So this week was good because I just focused on that love and was overwhelmed with love. I just LOVED everyone I met. And with that love we found 5 new investigators. And it was not just that but that I just love these people. We even got a referral from a member and 2 referrals from investigators. And then we met the Egyptian man, Shady. Oh Shady. He fell in LOVE with the church website which is available in Arabic. I don't know what this gospel will do for this man, but I am so excited. It was so funny as we were walking to dinner with him and our other investigators and missionaries and members from English class he said "I am so sorry I just want to tell you everything about me. And I don't know why. I am just so happy." I KNOW HE FELT THAT LOVE. Me and Sister Scott (LOVE HER) have been focusing on that love and just working so hard to give it in everything we do. With that goal we have found that our lives are filled more with the spirit and more people are catching on to it. Juliet was the first investigator that I feel I loved like a family member. Like my sister. And I know I changed her life. She tells me all the time in texts how much she misses me and that spirit. But that she just cant do it because of her Boyfriend. So I know I just need to give that same love that I gave to her, to....well... everyone. ha ha ha. And so we have tried that and it is easy and contagious. Yes we are still turned down and have times where we feel ...sad... but we quickly are picked up by that love we have for the next person we see.
I wish I could explain the change I have felt in my life because of this love. Christ's Atonement has swallowed up all my hopes, desires, wants, wishes, sadness's, happiness, calm, hyper, etc, feelings and I am just filled with this love. It is ALL swallowed up. I'm so thankful for it. More that I can write in words. I am thankful , sometimes (ha ha ha), that it took some heartbreak to get here, but I'm thankful for where I have reached. God Loves us. Christ loves us. WE are SO loved. People don't understand that like they should. And they cant fully understand it until they meet us. IT IS ONLY THROUGH THIS CHURCH THAT WE WILL FEEL THAT LOVE BECAUSE WE ARE THE ONLY CHURCH THAT UNDERSTANDS CHRIST. Yes other beliefs believe and they can even have felt a fraction of that love through prayer or song or some other way but they will not know it like the NEED TO KNOW IT until this message is in their life. That's why God calls missionaries. To go and give that love. Give the gift that no one else in the world but his members can give. We've got the good word. So though we believe to let everyone worship how they desire, that sure is not going to stop God or his missionaries or his members from sharing LOVE. Sharing the thing we have that the rest of the world is DYING to have but can't find. We have it. I know we do.
Sorry this was a novel. I was just so thankful this week and overcome with love that I have to share it with the people I love. I love you to the moon and back.
Sister Cole Ensign