I am aware that I am repeating this theme, however, I can't help it because it is so true. This week has gone by so fast! If this is how my whole mission goes I am going to be home before I feel like I've even begun. I received some great news this week, (well I think it's great others might not think it's that important), Korea has $4 dress shops!! And according to natives they have really good stuff. Just thinking about the possibility makes me smile. Hello my name is Annie and I'm a shopaholic... There I said it. It's not a secret, but I have never admitted it. Before I entered the mission I had the notion that I would leave all of my clothes in Korea and pack my suitcase with all things Korean. The news of this shopper’s paradise has just solidified that idea. I can't even wait.
I have been exhausted this whole week. Up until now, most of my life has been spent in school, but my brain has never felt so over taxed. There is just so much to learn and so much to remember that at times it can feel overwhelming. Every day it's something new. Every day we're expected to improve and become better. Some days it happens, and others it doesn't.
I've been thinking a lot about improvement this week. In class we are expected to speak in as much Korean as we can and I have noticed that it is easier to tell myself I don't know how to say something in Korean and instead say it in English without ever really trying. In the lessons I teach I keep my sentences very simple as well, not because I can't make them more complex but because simple sentences are comfortable and I feel confident doing them. As I have been thinking about improvement I have realized that this is not the way to progress.
When learning a language, and also in other life tasks, we cannot stay where we are comfortable. Rather, we must stretch and reach for something higher, something greater. That is progression. We need to constantly be telling ourselves that we can do better and that we can be better. Then reaching for those goals creates a path of progression. In the devotional on Tuesday night Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy said something that made me think deeper about how I view the time that I spend working toward the task of learning a new language. He said, "You've been preparing for this mission since before you were born; so don't waste a minute." It is such a simple statement, but it made me realize that I wasn't doing everything I could, that I could try harder and do more in the language and in my gospel study. I thought about not just how hard I have worked in this life preparing for a mission, but my time spent doing the same in the preexistence. I thought, “what a colossal waste of time if I squandered the opportunity now that I had been given to take advantage of such intensive instruction.” Similarly, I also saw the parallel to our life on earth as a whole. Before this life we lived with our Father in Heaven and we chose to come to earth so that we could have the chance to become like Him. I grew and progressed there. I must have made wise choices with my time, and now I am on earth shouldn’t I be doing the same? I asked myself, is what I am doing in the MTC exactly what I should be doing in my daily life? Shouldn’t I be trying to progress, gaining more knowledge, and striving for become something greater? Shouldn’t I be trying to become the best I can be so that when I return to live with my Heavenly Father I can tell Him I used my time wisely? When I put personal life progress in that perspective, and change the quote a little bit, it could read "You've been preparing for the mission of life since before you were born; so don't waste a minute."
We haven’t been sent here without instruction. Jesus Christ is our example in this life to pattern our life after. He was perfect and he showed us the way we should live. If becoming like Christ is my end goal, if it's what I am trying to progress towards, why would I want to waste one minute not doing what I know I am supposed to? What is the purpose of that wasted time?
The promise of eternal life with my Father in Heaven and my family is an unparalleled motivator, and yet I know I can't get there on my own. I know that there will be times when I am reaching and trying to climb that I will fall. Sometimes I will be trying to hold on and my fingers will just give out. But I also know, without a doubt, that in those times Jesus Christ, through his Atonement, will be there to catch me. In Moroni 9:25 Mormon writes to his son, "may Christ lift thee up". I have faith that Christ will catch me and I believe that he will do the same for every single one of us. It is up to us to recognize that we have been caught and accept it. I know that it is through Christ and His Atonement that as we strive to progress in this life he will offer a pathway that will guide us toward perfection. Let Christ catch you. Let him lift you up.
I love you all and hope you are well,