Monday, January 27, 2014

"And thou has not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments." Helaman 10:4

Before I begin I would just like to apologize for being basically the worst blogger ever (okay that is just a little hyperbole, but it reflects how I feel about it). I know it has been far too long and I wish I had a good reason, but I really don't. I just seem to get so busy, and the hour I have to write goes by far too fast. However, I promise I will try and be better. 

So many things have happened since I last wrote. I have a new companion who is adorable and I love her, although I miss my old companion terribly.  I also got voted off the island. Well, what I mean is that I was transferred off the beautiful island of Jeju, but it feels like I have been exiled. I loved that area so much, and I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t mind if I had stayed there for the rest of my mission. If most of you in the US have never heard of Jeju you are not alone. However in this part of the world it is considered one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. In fact it is protected by the Natural World Heritage Sites. Honestly, for a little while after I got the call that I would be leaving I was upset. Of course I knew that I would eventually be transferred, but I effectively ignored it.  I thought "I love it here, things feel like they are progressing, I feel like I'm doing so much good here, so why do I have to leave?" As I read back these lines it sounds a little whiney and self-absorbed, and that is how I felt about it…a little whiney and self-absorbed.

This was on my mind as I was studying over the last few days (maybe a little bit longer). Trying to keep an open mind for personal inspiration I came to this realization; as a missionary you should have trust and confidence that you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be and with who the Lord wants you to be with. 

If it had been up to me I might have chosen to stay on Jeju for the rest of my mission. However, I need to trust that the Lord knows better. He knows exactly what I need to experience, who I need to meet, and where I need to go so that I can grow into the person that He wants me to become. As I thought on this further I realized that growing hurts. That's’ why we call it "growing pains". To grow one must go from a smaller state to a larger state, and it's neither easy nor painless. If I think of growing as building both my strength and stamina then I would choose that over what would be the result of not growing, which would be stagnation, or even decay. Even though I acknowledge that I want to grow it is still difficult to do the things that will take me in the right direction. In fact, it's been a little rough accepting that maybe this is where I need to be, but I know that if I can manage to align my will with God's then perhaps He will help me see why I am here. I think the real test of faith is that I may not know why until after the struggle has passed, it may even be many years before I understand exactly how this transfer will have affected me.

As I have pondered on these things, I do see that there have been times in the past that I did not want to change something because it would cause discomfort or require an extra effort on my part. However, experience has also proven to me that I have grown the most when I have pushed through those times with determination and resolve. This is what gives my faith hope. Sometimes growth is measured in inches and feet, sometimes it is measured in leaps and bounds, but it always measures a move forward and upward. I want to grow closer to my Savior and I want to continually progress, and it is usually the comfort of the familiar and the fear of the unknown that holds us back. So, as I end this today I am determined to embrace the changes around me, and seek to do His will without fear. As in all paths of change and growth,I know that through keeping His commandments I will come to learn the lessons He has planned for me. 

I love you all and I hope you had a wonderful New Year!!

Sister Annie