I just spent a long time writing a really reallly long thing about a specific experience I had. If you're low on time today, I don't expect you to read it. But it'd be wack if I just deleted it all or something, so I'll keep it in :)
This week was really good! We're still meeting with Bo-Yun, we had a realy fun lesson while sitting on the steps to the church building while eating ice cream :))
We're meeting with Jarek still!! He's literally my best friend ever, and his faith in prayer and reading the scriptures are so precious and amazing to witness. This week we're working hard with him to have the courage to talk to his parents about being interested in Christianity, because his family is mostly of Buddhist beliefs, and he's worried that they will not be approving if he tells them about his interest in going to church on Sundays. So, we hope to have good reports about that next week. Jarek is a modern day pioneer :)
We've also seen miracles with finding! This week is going to be CRAZY!! The most appointments set up ever! So I'm very excited about that :)
We had a really awesome experience of talking with one of Bo-Yuns friends, and we were having a really really normal conversation with him. And then he started asking us questions about our mission and our church. And we talked about that a lot and how we're different from other Christian faiths. Then we got on the topic of family. He was saying that he really wants a family. And we talked about how in our church family is so important. And then we talked about the Book of Mormon, and how it contains the fulness of the Gospel, and that the Gospel blesses individuals and families. All of the sudden he had to leave, but before he left he came back and in English asked "Can I have that book?" WOAAAH!! I felt very warm inside seeing his curiousity, and we promised him awesome blessings :) I hope we have more to share about him in weeks to come.
I'm really excited for General Conference!! I know this is a special time where modern day prophets are preparring sacred messages for us to learn from and act upon in these latter days. And I know that when we spiritually prepare ourselves in advance, we can have ever more eye-opening expereinces during conference weekend. So I hope everyone has a meaninful week of preparring, praying, and thinking of questions to find answers to this weekend. So cool :)
If you have a difficult time connecting with and understanding others in communication, whether in a foreign language or in your native language still, I recommend you read this next section. Maybe my meager experience can be a source of answered prayers of wisdom or of simple peace and assurance that, hey, you're not alone friend :)
During our adventure last week of being in the middle of nowhere, there was this really. old. poor. looking Korean grandma sitting on these benches outside of a gas station. While walking past, she was waving at us to help pick something up off the ground for her. It literally looked like a piece of litter but I grabbed it for her anyways. Then she recognized us as missionaries and we started talking. And we ended up listening to her for probably 30 minutes. It was the most Christ-like I've ever felt. Not necessarily because of what I, Elder Kent was doing, because I couldn't understand 99% of what she was saying. I felt this automatic love in my heart for her. It was obvious she's had a long, hard life. And I just thought of Christ stopping for the one, the poor, the outcasts, the sinners, the dirty....I was so humbled to be the instrument God used to show that woman His love for her. And I know it wasn't like, me I guess, because I couldn't understand anything she was saying, but I don't think I've been more engaged in a certain conversation ever before. After some time we talked about our church and if she had ever heard of the Book of Mormon. She mentioned earlier that she believed in Jesus at one point in her life, and she said that she's even heard of the Book of Mormon before. But after so many attempts of baring my testimony to her and saying that we wanted to meet her again, the idea of what she was saying was "I know everyone needs Jesus, but I'm not ready right now." And after a long time of her declining to accept our phone number, we gave a very loving, somber, respectful bow to each other.....
If the whole world had disappeared, with no one else around me, the feelings of my heart in that moment would have driven me to my knees and weep.
I've always thought that I would be a really good missionary if I could speak English. And after really, really hard days of thinking "wow I can't believe I'm slll struggling this much with the language and understanding," I ponder deeply about why God has sent me HERE. Obviously I know that I'm needed here for a wise purpose, and I can already see the many lives I've been able to richly bless. And I know that I've already grown so much in the language, and by the end of my mission the language will click so much......but,, after that really, really, heart breaking moment,, it felt like torture. Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a really big peoples person, and I love peeling the layers back on peoples lives; I crave to understand people. I think that's the biggest reason I want to study psychology in college. And so, the fact that I was in this situation (by the way this is not the fisrt time I've felt like this, this was just a very prominate experience) where spiritually, I could feel so much love for this human soul, and something inside of me just wanted to spend the whole day with her, be someone she can talk to, but intellectually, I have hardly a notion of what she's describing, and in result it's very hard for me to know exactly what her concerns or issues are or how I can help in the best way....PURE. TORTURE.
But through that pain, I discovered some very beatuiful things.
1) Christ perfectly understands every soul from their very center and to their furthest corners. Christ is the Empath, and the more connected we are to Him, the more connected we can be to others. This power, this love, has no boundaries, even through different languages we were communicating His Love.
2) While it may be true that I could physically teach better in English, I could express myself more, I could use artistic vocabularly, I could make sure there were no misunderstandings, I AM NOT THE TEACHER!! The Holy Ghost is!! What I, Joseph Ellis Kent, does, whether I give a miraculous poetic soliliquy or say 2 sentences a kindergardener could understand, without the Holy Ghost to carry the message to their heart, it would be words drifting away in the wind. So if you feel the Holy Ghost, then you've done it, you've connected with them & you've shared God's love with them - You're doing your absolulte part.
3) Isn't it amazing when God gives us unexpected or unusual opportunites to try something new in life? Isn't it so cool that God is giving me this opportunity to TRY to help others come unto Christ in a different language?? LIke that's incredible! If I were not serving this mission, then I would only know how to help others in English. Isn't it wonderful that he's giving me this opportunity to try to do it in anothher language?? To give it my honest effort to help people in the far corners of the world?? That's pretty miraculous.
4) That woman is not lost, she was rediscovered, and I know with every fiber in my being that was not the last opportunity she has to return to Christ.
So if you're a missioanry struggling with a languae, maybe even if you're teaching in your native tongue but are have a difficult time with the language still,, please know that God is carrying you to incredible heights, and no act of faith will go in vain. And the spirit you carry with you as a set apart representative of Christ is shining bright to people.
"Waiting upon the Lord can be a sacred place—a place of polishing and refining where we can come to know the Savior in a deeply personal way. Waiting upon the Lord may also be a place where we find ourselves asking, “O God, where art thou?”—a place where spiritual perseverance requires us to exercise faith in Christ by intentionally choosing Him again and again and again."
- Amy A. Wright (April 2022)
Have a lovely week 여러분 💜💜
- the most amazing art piece
- the awesome gazebo and park where we met with Jarek
- last zoom call with our awesome district
- the best purchase I've made in a while
- homemade 삼겹살 (Korean BBQ)