Hello to everyone on this beautiful September morning. I can’t believe it's September already. The weather is cooling down and some of the trees are already starting to change color in the mountains. Korea in the autumn is beautiful. I'm so glad that I can see it one more time.
Last Monday was 추석, which is the Korean Thanksgiving, it's one of the biggest holidays that they have in Korea. To celebrate, our mission president organized an activity filled P-Day at the mission office for any missionaries that wanted to come and participate. Beforehand, he announced that they would be holding a 5K race for all those who wanted to run. I was excited, and also somewhat apprehensive about this. I used to be able to run 5 kilometers without a problem, but unfortunately that was quite some time ago (pre-mission). Now I consider it an accomplishment if I can propel myself to run 15 minutes without stopping in the morning. However, there was no way that I was not going to run this race, so I signed myself up.
Monday came and it was hot and humid, (weather that I've never never liked), but I was mentally psyched to run. I knew that it wasn't going to be easy but it was actually harder than I thought it would be. I really think the only thing that kept me pushing to the end was my pride. I just kept telling myself, "gosh dangit you were a soccer player. You wanted to run a marathon, don't you dare start walking." I was actually having a conversation with myself as I hit the 2-mile mark. It went something like this: "I want to walk... You are not walking. I want to walk... Stop being a baby. I want to walk.... You made it this far there is no way." So I made it without walking. My only goals for running the race were to not walk at all, and run it under 30 min. Even though, during some stretches, I ran so slow that the technical definition of running was negotiable. However, I made it in 28:56. That’s about 6 mph, definitely not competing time, but not terrible for being ridiculously out of shape. I came in 2nd out of the sisters so I wasn't too disappointed in myself. But I definitely felt it the next day, proof that my body has done nothing like that in a long time.
Thinking back to the race, I remembered seeing others running and realizing that they did not know how to prepare for a race. Some took off as fast as they could in at the start, but then later when I passed them they were walking. I thought about the old cliché, “Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon”. The same is true about missionary work. The test doesn’t come just by going on a mission, it comes in enduring to the end, in keeping strong even if you feel like you can't take another step forward. I know at the end of the 5K I thought I was going to just fall down. All I wanted to do was to sit down and have a nice cold drink of water. But deep down I knew that I could do it, I knew that I was strong enough. I also knew that I had committed to do it and I wasn’t going to let myself down. So even though it was a slow and tired finish, it was a finish, and It felt good.
God does not expect us to be able to sprint through life. He knows that sometimes we're tired, sometimes we feel like we can't go on. What He expects of us is that we keep going, that we give all we can, and do our best to continue to move forward. When we push through the times when we think we can’t go on, He accepts our pace, however slow and plodding. As long as we don’t give up and give our heart and soul, whatever we give is good enough.
I love you all so much and hope you are well.