This week was wonderful. The weather was beautiful and that always makes me a little bit happier. Being able to study outside is the highlight of my day sometimes. Exciting news of this week, Elder Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us for our Tuesday night devotional. It was so good. Something that he addressed made an impression on me, it was about our time on a mission, and our time on this earth: "This isn't a place for people to rest, it's a time for people to progress." I loved it. Sometimes, even though all I want to do is take a 14-hour nap, I have this time that I have been set apart as a missionary and it is not a time to rest. It is time for me to dig in my heels and work, like I have never worked before.
This week went by so fast. Sometimes when I sit down to write I can hardly believe that an entire week has gone by. I'm very excited to now be able to say that my time here in the MTC is officially halfway over. On the one hand I get giddy simply thinking about finally getting out of here and being in Korea, however on the other hand I have what I can only describe as utter terror of the unknown. Contemplating I will be in an entirely different country in approximately 4 short weeks, where let's face it, I can understand almost nothing of what is being said scares the curls right out of my head. Don't misunderstand me, I want to be there so badly it hurts, and my Korean is improving every day, but sometimes it's far too easy to think that I can't do this, that it's too much, and that it's too hard.
My post today will be somewhat similar to what I wrote last week. When I start to think about what I want to write I think about questions and problems that I have. I need help preparing my thoughts on those things, and that forces me to make a plan to search for scriptures and gospel principles that will help me say what I feel. So apparently I did not learn my lesson well enough last week.
In my day-to-day life at the MTC, as well as back at home, there are plenty of things that can be frustrating to me, things that can cause me to become upset. I will give you two very quick examples from my life here at the MTC. Living with girls 24/7 is not easy for me. I feel as though I am a little bit too independent to have someone around me all of the time, yet here that is what I must do. It's not always fun for me, and some days I get a little frustrated. I love the girls in my district and usually we get along well, however, there are those times when personalities grate just a bit and then I have to bite my tongue. I need my space. Another frustration is my language study. Similar to needing my space, most days go along fairly well and I feel pretty good about Korean and about the pace at which I am learning. Then those bad days come along. The days where I feel like I haven't learned anything in the past 4 weeks or that I just cannot seem to grasp a concept. Those days aren't fun and they usually aren't productive either. Frustrations tend to build up over time, but the day they come to fruition seems to negate all the positive days, which far outweigh the other.
When these periodically frustrating days happen it is very easy to let ourselves become stymied, to hold on to the little things that go wrong and not move on. I have recognized in myself, and in those that I come in contact with here, that holding on to that anger or frustration only holds us back. It bars us from progressing by causing us to dwell in the past.
Last week I mentioned that the Plan of Salvation is a plan of happiness. God does not want us to dwell in unhappiness or frustration. It is Satan who wants us to give up for whatever reason, or to feel like we can not do something. He wants us to get frustrated at little things, like if so and so doesn't read their scriptures. Then with anger in our hearts, we fail to get anything out of our own scripture study. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to shed that anger, and leave that frustration and discouragement behind. That is one of the reasons we have the Atonement, Christ suffered all of our discouragements or frustrations. He knows exactly what we are going through and He can help. If we seek to apply the Atonement in our lives and turn to Him in sincere prayer, asking for help, I know we will receive it.
Ultimately it is our choice. It is up to us to decide if we will let ourselves get upset or frustrated, or if we will turn to the Lord and continue to press on, with a happy attitude and work as hard as we can. Just as it says in 2 Nephi 2:27, "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." Being frustrated is captivity.
I want to end with one more quote from Elder Nelson. He said, "When you meet people for the first time do so with a smile. Men are that they might have joy -- Look like it!" (2 Nephi 2:25)
Men are that they might have joy. I hope the next time you choose anger or frustration you remember this scripture, and instead, let it go and turn to the Lord. I know that I want to try my best to do so.
I love you all and hope you are well.