Elder Wedam begins the year in Suwon with new year's goals in mind! I am certain the Lord will help Elliott realize the wonderful Christlike characteristics he hopes to develop. May each of us thoughtfully reflect on our heart's desire, make a plan to help realize that desire, and then work hard. There are so many willing to help us, especially the Lord. mw
December 31, 2012
So, funny story. I'm no longer in the little three-some. I emergency transfered north on Friday morning (your Thursday night). So, the last few days I haven't been in Gwangju... I apologize if you Google Mapped in hopes of finding me walking about. Alas, I'm in Suwon now, serving in the Shingpun ward (since I hate romanizations of Korean words... 수원 싱푼). I now live in a four-man house. My new companion's name is Elder Miller. He's half Japanese, half American and hails from Provo, Utah (but he's lived in Japan, Hong Kong, and in a few spots throughout the states). He's nice, helpful, and committed to doing missionary work. And the other companionship we live with is Elder Campbell (one of the AP's when I arrived) and Elder Paskett (See the MTC saga... apparently, we're roommates for life). It's different up north than it was down south. It's colder. And there's this pretty tight wall that surrounds part of the city. Google map it... it'll show Suwon better than I can describe it. Oh, and fun fact, one of the wards in our zone meets in a building that's part of the Seoul Mission... that threw me for a loop.
I love New Years. It's my second favorite holiday (after Christmas). It's just fun being able to reflect on the past year and see all that's happened. And 52 weeks goes by fast. Really fast. But SO MUCH HAPPENS. This time last year, I was at the Brouillette's New Year's Bash with Grant, Jordan, and Nichole, and this year, I'm on the other side of the world. Turning 23 (Korean age... how I love it. Fun fact. I'll spend a good solid 16 months of my life being 23... and a good solid 20 months of my life being 24. Hope they're a good age =P... or something like that. I'll work the math out later. Maybe.) And a time to set new goals. Or more like a yearly mission statement at the very least.
I know what things I want... I want to be charitable, patient, humble, diligent, and full of gratitude. The thing is, I don't know a good action plan yet. Whenever I plan, though, I remember the story of the Brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord. In Ether 2, we find that the Brother of Jared wants his people to have light when they cross the waters to the promised land, and God asks him, "What will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" What a good question... God asks us to make a plan to accomplish our desires. And He doens't tell us, "Do it on your own," or even, "I'll do everything for you," but He asks, "What would you have me prepare for you?" He's willing to help us - to make up the difference of what is needed to accomplish our goals and what we actually have. I imagine all the cliche stories of children wanting some toy that they don't have enough money for, then confiding in their parents what they want, and the parents telling them to work hard. And as the children earn money, they still fall short of having enough, but miraculously, they count their money again with their parents, and there's enough money all of a sudden (because the parents slipped it in). That's the same principle. It's the principle of grace - we are saved by grace (or we receive divine help) only after we do all we can do. In my own case, I imagine Heavenly Father asking me, "what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may learn charity, patience, humility, diligence, and gratitude?"
And, what does the Brother of Jared do? In Ether 3:1-6, we find that he has come up with a plan. He has found 16 clear stones ands asks God to touch the stones so that they would bring forth light. God does, and the stones bring forth light. I love this passage for a couple of reasons:
First off, when I was younger, I thought that this was a terrible plan... it didn't seem like a good solution to the problem at hand... but we read in this passage that the Brother of Jared says in his prayer, "Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men." Having God touch the stones may seem like a terrible solution to the dilemna of not having light, but it only seems terrible because it's so simple. And, because it's so simple, the result may seem dismissable. It's not a large miracle by any stretch of the imagination (don't get me wrong, stones giving off light would be fairly impressive to me... but compare that to the plagues of Egypt or to Jesus raising the dead, or Elijah calling down a pillar of fire... it sorta pales in magnificence), but it's a miracle nevertheless, and it's what the Jaredites needed at the time. That is, God gives us what we need if we ask for it, and even though it may not seem all that impressive at first, it has personal meaning to us. The miracles in my life haven't been super big, but they were exactly what I needed when I needed them.
Second, the humility of the Brother of Jared. I'm sure he recognizes that his solution wasn't the most extravagent, but it's the best he could come up with, AND HE STILL ASKED. He swallowed his pride and asked God to make his plan work. He also knew that the Jaredites weren't perfect (see verses 2 and 3), and HE STILL ASKED. And despite the the plea and the Jaredite's spirituality, God still answers. A good principle here... are we willing to consult with God with everything we do, despite how uneloquent it may sound or how unworthy we feel? I can add my own testimony that He does answer. He does love us. He wants us to succeed, and He wants us to progress. We may not see the finger of the Lord, but we can see miracles every day (interestingly, this was the only sentence I could understand in Sacrament yesterday... We can see miracles everyday).
I love you all, and I wish you a happy new year. Time goes by fast. I'm hitting my 5 month mark super soon. As you set goals and make plans, I invite you to ask yourself, what are your "clear stones" that you take to the Lord as you strive to accomplish your goals? I don't have a plan yet, but I'm working on making on to be more humble, patient, chartitable, diligent, and gracious. Take Care!
-Elder Elliott Wedam