Hey friends and family! This will be the last post before Elliott leaves the Provo MTC and arrives in South Korea. Because South Korea is 16 hours ahead (ahead of PDT) I imagine he will arrive sometime Tuesday. Hopefully the Mission President or his wife will let us know he arrived safely. I don't expect him to have time to send an e-mail until his next p-day (preparation day) there, which is probably the following Monday, October 29. Until then, enjoy the strong testimony borne in this uplifting letter.
October 16, 2012
Alright, so before I dive into the fun stuff, I've got some super important information that I'd rather that you get today rather than whenever my letter would come.
First, I fly out next Monday. I'll send the flight numbers in the mail so if you really want to track my progress, you can. However, what's more important than flight numbers is that missionaries are allowed to call home from the airport before they leave. Why this is important... I'll be arriving in San Francisco around 7:00 am. I need to check in to my gate, maybe grab some breakfast, and then locate some pay phone to call. All in all, expect a phone call sometime between 8-8:30. Now, I just need to know which phone number I should call. Considering how crazy the last couple of weeks have sounded from the DearElder letters, I just need to know where you will be. And if it's elsewhere besides dad's office or the house, then I'll also need the phone number to go along with it.
Second, Dad, your email last week made much more sense when the package came. I really enjoyed the cinnamon roles and the candy. Thank you so much! And mom, that pie was really delicious. Not as good as yours, but still, pretty good.
Terry, I'll be sure to tell Brother Kim what you told me. Don't take it personally; we've caught him sleeping in our lessons too =P Joke. Sort of. It's been more of an exercise in seeing how our 구도자 responds to the message. I consider it a personal vicotry when he looks engaged and interested in what's being taught.
Speaking of lessons, yesterday may have very well been the best lesson Elder Bowman and I taught. Ever. Here's the context. The 구도자's name is 신주영, and he's not a member, but the rest of his family is. We've been talking about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and were planning on teaching him about Joseph Smith. However, when we got in there, he told us that he got into a fight with a coworker that day. So instead, we taught him about how God loves us so much that if we ask in faith, He will answer our prayers. We shared Moroni 7:35-37 with him... essentially, Moroni teaches that "the day of miracles" aren't gone, that God is a god of miracles, and through our faith, He works miracles. I could really feel the Spirit in that lesson - I walked away from that lesson feeling edified. I really hope that 신주영 felt the Spirit too.
I want to talk about that scripture just a little bit, and add my testimony that I know that God still works miracles in our day. He really does work miracles according to our faith... I love that the Savior teaches multiple times that He works miracles according to our faith. Yes, that might sound terribly redundant, but I know that it's true. Here's some more background:
The past few weeks, I've really been trying to figure out how to offer sincere prayer. I've realized that it requires at least two things: humility and faith. The times that I have felt the Spirit the strongest have been when I asked God in faith... believing that He would give me an answer, or that He would help me. I think back to senior year when mom and dad were in Texas for a class and I got a flat tire at about midnight. I remember that I was really quite stressed out, and I remember that I asked God to help me to know what to do and for help. Then, I called mom and dad... I felt really bad since it was 2 am in Texas... but mom answered. Both mom and dad helped me out... mom later told me that it was a miracle that the phone rang as it was on silent. It really was.
Or there was the time right after Vera was born and I ran out of gas on I-5 coming back from Portland. It was past midnight. It was foggy. I knew I was within 20 miles of Eugene. I had no idea how far the nearest exit was. And I just ran out of gas (the gas light never turned on...). I remember pleading with Heavenly Father that I would be able to get the car started again and be able to make it to the next gas station. I tried to turn the car on, and it started. It turns out, I was less than 2 miles away from the nearest gas station. But my prayer was answered.
What's more important than the outcome of these two experiences is what happened before the miracle, no matter how small they may seem. I prayed, asking in faith. The reason why this is significant; I remember that my mindset was different when I prayed these times. The difference was that I knew that there was nothing more I could do and I knew that I needed Heavenly Father's help in order to get out of a bad situation. That is, I trusted in Him completely, and what resulted was the miracle I needed at the time.
I know that Heavenly Father is a god of love. I know that if we ask in faith - trusting competely in Jesus Christ - and if we have done all that we can and come as far as we can, then it is through the grace - or divine help - of God and Jesus Christ that we will receive an answer to our prayers.
That being said, I may take Brother Heiner up on his suggestion to study the topic of grace. I love 2nd Nephi 23:25 (or 25:23... dyslexia may or may not be killing me right now)... it is through grace that we are saved only after all we can do.
Alright, I've got to go. I'll try to send a nice, hand-written letter today. Can't make any promises since I have a ton to do.
I love you all so very much!