Monday, October 27, 2014

"Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, andendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20

Well…I never thought this day would actually come, and to be honest it still doesn't feel like it has. I still have yet to even begin packing (I'm sure to my parents dismay) and though everyone keeps telling me I only have a week left it has not actually registered. Intellectually I understand that I will be leaving Korea next week (maybe to never see it again), but emotionally I feel like this is my home, and I feel like leaving it is unimaginable. The funny thing is that while I recognize that I “look” out of place here, I “feel” at home here. I think these feelings have allowed me to continue doing missionary work without having one foot out the door. That said, something happened recently that has made me reflect back on my time here as a missionary. 

As I was studying this week in the Book of Mormon, I read this verse in 2 Nephi again (as I have read it so very many times on my mission). It was as I was reading the passage about about “pressing forward feasting on the word of Christ” that initiated my reflective attitude.  When I started my mission I made a personal goal to read the Book of Mormon as many times as I could during my mission. Well now that I have almost reached the end I am able to see now how much that decision and that goal has blessed my life. 

I read the Book of Mormon before my mission, but admittedly not like I should have. Elder Robert D. Hales explained that to feast upon the words of Christ, one must absorb and incorporate His teachings, just as one absorbs and incorporates a meal. He went on to say, “As with voices from the dust, the prophets of the Lord cry out to us on earth today: take hold of the scriptures! Cling to them, walk by them, live by them, rejoice in them, feast on them. Don’t nibble." Too often before my mission I tended to only nibble on the Book of Mormon, never truly letting myself feast. However, now I cannot even begin to imagine how empty my testimony would feel if I had not been gorging myself on the word’s of the Book of Mormon.  It is hard to imagine what my life, and my testimony, would be like without the knowledge that I have gained through the Book of Mormon. 

I have far from ingested all that there is to learn from the Book of Mormon and that is the blessing and the miracle; there is always more to learn. The source of nourishment will never dry up. It will never stop producing. Each time we read we will find something new, something that we need at that particular time, something that we never saw before. Each time I restarted the Book of Mormon I marked meaningful passages in a different color. Each time I began again I would find delicious, soul satisfying morsels and think, "how in the world did I not see that before? How did I pass over this feast? It’s so amazing." The miracle is that each time I re-read it I found the exact nutrients for what my soul was lacking at that moment. The Lord has set a bountiful table just for me and I will forever be grateful to Him for the things that the Book of Mormon has taught me. 

I hope you don’t just sample the Book of Mormon, but really indulge yourself in the fruits of the gospel. It is a sweet and savory table that satisfies a troubled heart and soul. It supplies the energy than enables our testimonies to grow, while filling our hearts with love beyond measure.

I love you all and I am excited to see you soon! 

Sister Annie

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" D&C 78:19

"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" D&C 78:19

To be honest, this post is very difficult to write, not technically though. It is just that as my time here in Korea is coming to a close I feel it to be harder and harder to spend any time on things that add no, or little, value to what I am doing here and now. I find that my time left is becoming more precious and I am very conscientious of using it wisely. However, I am determined to finish what I started, so here it goes.

Everyone keeps reminding me I'm going home, whether it's other missionaries or friend and family, it just keeps coming up. And yet, as often as it becomes the topic of conversation, I still don't feel like it's actually happening. It seems as though transfer day will come, and I will simply go to another area with a new companion and keep going as I have been for the past 18 months. 

As I have thought about this feeling of “mission continuity” (that’s what I’m calling it for the lack of a better name). I realized that this is exactly what will happen. I will go home, (my new area), see all my friends and family again, (my new companions), and seek out new opportunities to share the gospel. And though the process won’t function exactly as it does in the mission field, it will be my new responsibility to figure out how to do missionary work as best I can in my new area with my new companions. 

I had an experience this past week that helped me realize that it is my attitude that will enable me to continue to find opportunities to share the gospel. On Saturday nights we teach an English class at the church building, only one or two people usually come to this English class and sometimes no one comes and we have to cancel. Well this week there was also a church youth activity scheduled for the same time. We had agreed to help with the activity before heading to English class. As we were spending time with the youth I found myself hoping that no one would show up to our English class so we could just continue having a good time at the activity.  About 5 minutes before the class was to start one person showed up. It was a woman, so we as sisters went to teach her and the elders stayed with the youth. 

Looking back I admit that I was a little disappointed. I was even feeling a little unhappy that we had to go teach English. The woman who came that night had never been before. As our lesson progressed and we got to know this sister I forgot about the youth activity. This woman was so sweet, and we were having such a fun time teaching her that I realized I was actually enjoying myself more at what I was doing than if I had stayed with the youth. When we came to the end of the class my companion shared the spiritual message and talked about prayer and how and why we pray, her testimony touched me deeply, and I recognized how the Holy Ghost could be present in such a simple place and time. Before my companion could finish her thoughts the woman asked my companion how our church is different from other churches. It turned out to be a wonderful moment where I could share my feelings with her and we were able to teach her a little bit about the Restoration of the gospel and the Book of Mormon. We were also able to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon. It really was a great opportunity that I might have missed had I been committed to being disappointed. If my attitude had been bad and had we both just felt like giving a quick emotionless spiritual message and a quick answer to her question so we could get back to do what we had wanted to do in the first place, this precious opportunity would have been lost, partly because our attitude would have driven the Holy Ghost away. 

Afterward, while studying the scriptures, I found the verse in the Doctrine and Covenants that I used to title this post. It made me think again about how many opportunities Heavenly Father gives us to share the message of the gospel, and how many opportunities we can miss if our sour attitudes keep us from seeing them. When we are thankful in all our circumstances, we become thankful for every opportunity that comes our way. These are the times when we will find success in sharing the message of hope. Like the verse says, through our thankfulness we can be made glorious. That’s exactly how I felt as I walked away from the church that night, like I was trailing a little cloud of glory.

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

Sister Annie