Monday, August 4, 2014

Little Hut of Heaven

August 4,  2014

Pizza Hut--The best way to celebrate a year of missionary service.
-They started us off with pickles and garlic sauce. We just pretended americans eat it like an appetizer
-Only about 35 american dollars for a medium "Chicken King"
-Yes it was pizza hut. Yes there were green beans, no chicken, beef strips, and cream cheese cubes.

All in all, an incredible experience. SOOO good. Savored like bites of gold. I love korean food to death, but.....there's nothing like a good ole american(ish) pizza. 

Yes, this week I clocked in 365 days of service as a full time missionary for the Lord. In limited time, I'll try summarize the myriad of thoughts buzzing around this buzzed head. 

--The first year of mission work was hard. I encountered lots of difficult things, I had to work really hard at adapting to the culture, to learning the language, to acquiring skills, attributes, and really struggled to become a missionary. After a really hard first year, this second year can be easy. I know enough korean to get by, I know the scriptures well enough, I've developed teachings skills, I can get by. I can use that first year of difficulty to make this second year one of ease. I can coast. Or.....I can climb. I can make this second year harder than the first. I can assimilate more of the culture, I can frantically study more of the language, I can diligently immerse myself in the scriptures. I can go farther, climb higher, push harder. I can really dig in, and kick. And that is what I will do. It would be so hard to grow as much in the second half as I did the first. But I will. 

Why coast when I was born to climb?

--I think one of the ways to do that, is to make the second year focused outward. I've spend all this time working on my own progress, but now it's time to turn outward. Elder Bednar said, "Your second mission is to the other missionaries." I need to really fulfill my role as a leader and selfless serve my fellow laborers.

--When I try to remember what's happened the past 12 months, I see mostly rejection. Our days are mostly filled with people telling us no thanks, go away, or just ignoring us. Before my mission, I thought the "good moments would outnumber the bad." Well....that's totally untrue. But the good moments outweigh the bad. Though my days are full of rejection, I can't really remember many specific instances. But I can remember with stark clarity soooo many happy moments, so many miracles, so many wonderful people that we've taught. My head is full of names of people I will love forever. Full of memories that assure me the Lord watches over us, directs this work. When I look in retrospect, I see mostly rejection, but I just feel happy inside. That, I think, is the joy of the work. 

--I've recognized how much I've learned and grown over the past year. Comparatively, I was pretty big tool back in the day. Prideful, self centered.....the list goes on. I am SO different from who I used to be. My character, my very habits and self, have been changed through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through His enabling grace, I have been stripped of so much worldliness, pride, selfishness, impatience, slothfulness, etc. More than just what I've done, it's who I've become that makes me happy. I'm still so far from perfect, but I've come a long way. 

--A few specific things I've learned:
--Humility. Not thinking less of yourself, just less about yourself. Not comparing others. Not putting others down. Seeing God as the source of all your goodness. Such a liberating principle when you embrace it. 
--Following the Spirit: it's gentle promptings are soooo prevalent in your life if you invite them. if you heed them you always feel good. I've learned that more than any specific dictated directions to the mind, I feel the spirit through generalized feelings and urges to the heart. Just uncomfortable when there's something you need to do. Unsettled until you do it. 
--Studying: really how to feast upon the words of Christ. To embrace the scriptures, to thirst and be filled. To seek answers and find them. To find the daily revelation I need.
--Obedience. I always wanted to be obedient, but know I have a super strong testimony of it. Obedience is eternally related to our personal happiness. 
--Faith. It's SOOO deep. So simple. So crucial. I can't put into words how much I've learned about this topic. Definitely the thing I've studied the most. 

It's been crazy. It's been a blessing. I wouldn't trade it for anything. But now we're onto the second lap. Starting the kick. Feeling the burn, but just getting faster!

Love you all. I know this is all true. This is the Lord work. He still speaks to men today, as He did in times of old. 

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