Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." Doctrine and Covenants 122:7

Good Morning!! Well it is morning at least as I write this. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day! I hope you felt lots and lots and lots of love, and shared some in return. 

This last month has simply flown by for me. Another transfer is coming to a close this week and yet it feels like it has just barely begun. I hit the point a few weeks ago where I was halfway through my time as a missionary. As I have reflected on and thought about my time as a missionary so far I have come to realize a few things. 

The first will not come as a surprise to most reading this blog, and that is that missionary life is not easy. I think that I was as prepared as best as I could possibly have been (my father kept telling me that although it is wonderful and life changing, it is also tough, and to not romanticize it). When you make the choice to become a missionary you willingly give up a lot of things (personal life, school, boyfriends or girlfriends, comfortable beds, personal space, lazy Saturdays, and well…I digress). In accepting a mission call you promise to give yourself over to the work. However daunting this may sound I can promise you that your commitment brings too many blessings to count.

Second, serving a mission has changed my life. I can never mentally or spiritually go back to where I was before my mission. I have grown in so many ways. My heart and my mind have been expanded, and my testimony has grown by leaps and bounds.

Third, that however life affirming it has been so far, it occasionally magnifies the fact that if not for my service I would not experience some really tough trials (ones that seen from a current perspective I would rather do without). There is the temptation to take the attitude of, "I'm working hard, I'm giving up so much I shouldn't be having trials, this shouldn't be happening to me. Why oh why should I suffer in any way?" I know I sound a little whiney, but trials are very personal and I feel that I have had some difficult trials on my mission, and I know that I am not alone. Every missionary has trials they must deal with.

This brings me to my last epiphany. Just because we are serving the Lord it does not mean that we will be exempt from trials, because those are what teach us the lessons of life. In the January Ensign (thank you mom for sending it to me), there was a talk about enduring well to the end. There was a quote I particularly liked it says, "We should not expect the Lord to remove our challenges just because we promise Him that we will always be faithful if He does. Rather, we are to endure well, and then we will be blessed."  I have come to learn that as a missionary (or even a valiant member of Christ’s Church), as we are striving to give our all that is when we can learn the most from our trials. During our trials we tend to pray more earnestly, read the scriptures more intently, and hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost more clearly. It's not that I am welcoming new unidentified trials, or that my attitude has completely changed, but because of my past growth from them I find that when the trials do come I try to look at them differently. Rather than plop down on my uncomfortable Korean floor (no comfy couches or slouchy chairs here), I try to assess my trial and try to find the lessons that might be learned from it. 

If nothing else, a year in the mission field has taught me that it is through our trials that we grow.  And it is through our trials that we come to appreciate what we have been given and recognize all that we have been blessed with. I can't recall where I found this, but as I was flipping through my planner I rediscovered a quote I had written down that says, "No one can ever stand before the Savior and suggest that too much is asked." 

I hope we will look at our trials as opportunities for growth. I pray that through your trials you will recognize all the blessings in your life. I know that if we will view our trials as opportunities to learn lessons, gain talents, and develop a more personal relationship with our Savior then we will emerge stronger, better, and more capable for whatever lies ahead. 

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Annie