So it's not like I'm counting or anything like that, but I only have 17 days left in the MTC! I'm not sure if I have ever been more excited for anything in my life. Korea here I come! In all reality though, it's way too early for me to be counting down the days until I leave, but I can't help it. We will be getting our travel plans next Friday and I can't even talk about it because I get so excited. Picture if you will, a Chihuahua when it gets excited, how it starts shaking and jumping, that is basically me when I start talking about Korean travel plans.
This week was wonderful. Wednesday I was a host for the first time to the new missionaries entering the MTC, which was so fun. It was strange to be out on the curb watching it all happen and not being a part of it this time. It was such a different experience from when I was the one being welcomed. However, it did bring on a little PTSD. Apparently, there were some memories I tried not to think about, (feeling like I was abandoned by my family). Okay so I might be exaggerating a little bit, but it was an interesting perspective to experience from the other side of the curb.
Before this week we had about 35 people in our branch, which comprised all the people in the entire MTC that were going Korean speaking. This week alone we got 68 new missionaries who are going Korean speaking. This is incredible. It is amazing to me how much growth there really has been in missionary work in the past few months.
Here comes the inevitable part of my post where I talk about learning the language. It's still hard. I'm not sure if you were expecting me to say anything different, but I have to tell the truth. It's haaaard! This week we went over the more complicated sentence structures, like indirect discourses and indirect questions. It seems like every time I start feeling a little more comfortable with what I know in Korean they bring out something new and I am right back where I started. I am grateful for that though, it keeps me from becoming complacent. Heavenly Father knows that I need to be kept humble - and He knows just how to help me stay that way. Even though it is a difficult language I have come to appreciate Korean so much more than I used to. It really is a beautiful language that is both rich and complex.
This week I've been thinking about what being on a mission really means as it applies to my life AM, (after mission), as well as how it is impacting both my personality and my desires for personal accomplishments. In doing so I've started to realize that this time isn't mine, it’s the Lord’s and His brothers and sisters in Korea. This mission isn't for me. I have faith that I will be blessed for my efforts and service, but that is not the reason I am here. The reason I am here is to serve my Savior. To serve the Lord and to serve those people in Korea who I will meet and who I will teach. In a devotional a couple weeks ago by Mary Edmunds she said, "In order to be disciples we need to be servants." I believe that. In order to be a disciple of Christ I need to serve him in whatever way he needs me to. And I need to be whoever he needs me to be. In accepting my call as a missionary and coming on a mission I have promised the Lord everything. For the next 18 months of my life I promised Him everything that I am. I promised everything, so I need to give everything. Now that I am here I can't go back and rethink the promise I've made. Mary Edmunds said something else that I really liked, "You said yes to your call. Continue to say yes every day." Every day when I wake up I need to promise the Lord, and promise myself, that everything I have that day will go towards serving my mission and moving the gospel forward.
In Doctrine & Covenants 59:21 it says, "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things" In thinking about promising everything to the Lord I realized that what I am doing is promising what is already his. Everything I have in this life came from God. Even the air I breathe. I see every day as a gift. How can I keep anything back from the Lord when he has given me everything, when I was purchased through His atonement?
Since everything comes from God, through Christ, I need to make sure that I am using all of the incredible gifts he has given me for whatever purpose He desires, not only using them, but also using them wisely. With this epiphany I have made it my goal to rededicate the gifts I have been given to Him, and to use them for a good purpose. I feel a renewed consciousness to serve by bringing the gospel to His children, to give them the tools to find their own way back to Him. I also want to just serve as a fellow human being who is aware that life is hard, and we need each other, regardless if we accept the gift of the gospel or not. I recognize that God has given me so much; my life experience so far has been relatively easy and carefree. For this I am humbled and grateful and because of it I feel an overwhelming need to give back to Him through others. I know the way to do that is through service. It is just as it says in Matthew 25 :40, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
I pray that we can all take time out of our busy lives to serve, to look at our blessings with perspective, and to thank God for everything that he has abundantly blessed us with.