Well, hard to believe it's another Monday. These weeks are becoming a giant blur. So much happens. So much learning, growing, and, well, everything in between.
I've been in country officially for a year as of last week. And, in a pleasant turn of events, the Osan Military Branch had their Primary program yesterday. Some really cool parallels. My first Sunday in country consisted of a confirmation and a primary program. Yesterday consisted of a confirmation and a Primary program. Weird, right? If history is destined to repeat itself, then I shall be enjoying some fried chicken and rice near the coast on Thanksgiving, and well, I may be emergency transfered on December 27th to 신풍. But all speculation aside, it's been quite a year in country.
I know I've grown a lot. I even know it from the emails... I'm less concerned about what happened during the course of the weeks in terms of things that I did, and well, I'm much more interested in sharing what tender mercies gone miracle happened in the course of the week (although, dragonfly bites and toilet museums had to be reported on). But I think I want to share testimony. Let me explain. When I was companions with Elder Anderson (a year ago... weird), I stumbled on the coolest paper ever. It was a list of ways to be a successful missionary that I think President Furniss trained on at some meeting before I came to the field. Among all the bullet points, I remember 4 of them, 2 of which come into play right now. One was "bear testimony often" and another "don't write stupid emails home." Well, bearing testimony today feels like the most least stupid email I can send home, and well, most everything feels like it would pale in comparison.
I really love missionary work. It has been and is by far the hardest thing I have ever done up to this point in my life. This work isn't about gonig around and always talking about church and Christianity. I honestly believe that our job is to help people who want to become better than they are now better. I can't force anybody to change, and I can't force anybody to accept the gospel. But the gospel helps people. One of the many things I struggled with before the mission is how circular the service we render in the church felt... serving in church callings felt like it wasn't actually service, it felt more like a duty, and assignment. We would always talk about serving in the Priesthood, but I didn't fully appreciate how great of a service the ordinances of the gospel really are. The gospel helps people. There is no question about that. Through the gospel, people receive light and hope. And we're not talking a fleeting happiness, we're talking a type of happiness that can withstand any trial or heartache. We're talking about hope in it's purest form... the hope that gives people power to act and not be acted upon. And when you understand this fact, that the gospel brings a lasting happiness to people that can't be destroyed unless we somehow let it, the question posed in Alma in the Book of Mormon, "why interrupt the rejoicings of the people and say there is no Christ" (I can't cite the exact reference or verbage... sorry. But it's in there), takes on a new meaning. If the gospel brings happiness to people, why would anybody seek to destroy it?
If the answer is that the gospel can't be true, then I would recommend reading the Book of Mormon. I've read it. I've prayed about it. I've testified of it. And every time I've read it, prayed about it, and testified of it, the Holy Ghost has testified to me of the truthfulness of the work. I can honestly tell you that some of my most treasured experiences on the mission have been when I've been able to testify of the Book of Mormon, both in English and in Korean, and to have the Holy Ghost tell me, mid testimony, that what I'm saying is true. Read the Book of Mormon, find out if it's true or not. If it is scripture, it proves that Christ is the Son of God, that God is our Heavenly Father, and that He is a God of Love, not anger or hate. If it's true, it's a book of the utmost value, for it teaches of things pertaining to eternity. If it's not true, well, then it's a fraud. Simple as that.
I know the gospel is true. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Jesus Christ's true Church on earth once more. God still speaks to us; we can listen to a prophet speak, we can determine the truth of his words, and we can choose to accept or reject them as God's word. I know God lives, and that the day of miracles hasn't ceased. A miracle needs not be parting the Red Sea or raising the dead. It can be as simple as a prayer being answered. It can be as simple as a heart being softened. And God does work miracles; He does answer prayers.
I love this work, I love this gospel. I love my Savior. And I love you.
Until next week,