Well…I never thought this day would actually come, and to be honest it still doesn't feel like it has. I still have yet to even begin packing (I'm sure to my parents dismay) and though everyone keeps telling me I only have a week left it has not actually registered. Intellectually I understand that I will be leaving Korea next week (maybe to never see it again), but emotionally I feel like this is my home, and I feel like leaving it is unimaginable. The funny thing is that while I recognize that I “look” out of place here, I “feel” at home here. I think these feelings have allowed me to continue doing missionary work without having one foot out the door. That said, something happened recently that has made me reflect back on my time here as a missionary.
As I was studying this week in the Book of Mormon, I read this verse in 2 Nephi again (as I have read it so very many times on my mission). It was as I was reading the passage about about “pressing forward feasting on the word of Christ” that initiated my reflective attitude. When I started my mission I made a personal goal to read the Book of Mormon as many times as I could during my mission. Well now that I have almost reached the end I am able to see now how much that decision and that goal has blessed my life.
I read the Book of Mormon before my mission, but admittedly not like I should have. Elder Robert D. Hales explained that to feast upon the words of Christ, one must absorb and incorporate His teachings, just as one absorbs and incorporates a meal. He went on to say, “As with voices from the dust, the prophets of the Lord cry out to us on earth today: take hold of the scriptures! Cling to them, walk by them, live by them, rejoice in them, feast on them. Don’t nibble." Too often before my mission I tended to only nibble on the Book of Mormon, never truly letting myself feast. However, now I cannot even begin to imagine how empty my testimony would feel if I had not been gorging myself on the word’s of the Book of Mormon. It is hard to imagine what my life, and my testimony, would be like without the knowledge that I have gained through the Book of Mormon.
I have far from ingested all that there is to learn from the Book of Mormon and that is the blessing and the miracle; there is always more to learn. The source of nourishment will never dry up. It will never stop producing. Each time we read we will find something new, something that we need at that particular time, something that we never saw before. Each time I restarted the Book of Mormon I marked meaningful passages in a different color. Each time I began again I would find delicious, soul satisfying morsels and think, "how in the world did I not see that before? How did I pass over this feast? It’s so amazing." The miracle is that each time I re-read it I found the exact nutrients for what my soul was lacking at that moment. The Lord has set a bountiful table just for me and I will forever be grateful to Him for the things that the Book of Mormon has taught me.
I hope you don’t just sample the Book of Mormon, but really indulge yourself in the fruits of the gospel. It is a sweet and savory table that satisfies a troubled heart and soul. It supplies the energy than enables our testimonies to grow, while filling our hearts with love beyond measure.
I love you all and I am excited to see you soon!