July 5, 2013
Dear Mom, Dad, Elder Bonney, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Andrew, Eve, James, Miriam, Anna, Joseph, Rebekah, Abigail, Esther, Peter, and everybody else!
If I had to be in the MTC for a holiday, it definitely would be the 4th of July. Which is awesome. Cause I really didn't have a choice on that one. Anyway, our district had a great 4th of July yesterday. All the elders kept randomly shouting "I love America" and "God bless America" in Korean, and we sisters dressed up in our most patriotic clothes. Last Sunday, we were told we would have a "special program" that night, and when you have those kinds of announcements, you're not really sure whether it's special because it's actually special or special because we're missionaries and we're INCREDIBLY easily entertained. (When you spend 10-12 hours a day in classroom, it doesn't take much...) But it was really great! They had a great musical number and a speaker, and then ...............wait for it................... WE GOT TO WATCH A MOVIE! I know. Oh my gosh. Next thing you know, missionaries are going to be using facebook and sky diving on their P-Days.
We got to watch 17 Miracles, and it was so humbling to hear the stories of these handcart pioneers. I got out of there and thought, If they could give up everything for the gospel, even their lives and their families, I can give up 18 months. My favorite line from the movie was, "It will all be worth it if my posterity keeps the faith." Although I do have handcart pioneers in my family history, we are all the posterity of the pioneers because through their sacrifices, the Church was able to thrive and grow to fill the earth. Without their sacrifices, there would not be 70,000+ missionaries or 140+ temples (even Elder Holland can't remember so... yeah) or the Book of Mormon translated into languages I'd bet good money you didn't even know existed. I'm so grateful for the sacrifices those who have gone before us have made. Not even just the pioneers, but converts who have been disowned and members of the Church who have sacrificed so much in order to recieve temple blessings not available in their own country and so many others. We can continue this legacy of faith! But we must be willing to live our lives for the Lord. And in the end, it will all be worth it.
I love my district so much. Even our branch leaders and our teachers have told us they think our district is one of the strongest they've ever seen. The other day, Brother Perriton, a counselor in our branch presidency, told the elders in our district, "How blessed are you elders to have such wonderful sisters!" But I thought and later told the elders, that we were the ones who were blessed to have such valiant elders. I couldn't have imagined a better district. And our elders are absolutely wonderful! Elder Clark has the most unique sense of humor. He loves to Korean-ize American words and tell us gangsta version stories from the Book of Mormon. (Go back to get the plates? Nephi's all about that obedience life.) Elder Wilson is the nicest elder ever! He helped me learn the First Vision in Korean, and he's always so sweet to everyone. Elder Hansen is just hilarious. He just sits in class making comments the whole time, and I'm pretty sure his constant commentary keeps everybody sane and happy. The other day an couple of elders were having a difficult time deciding how to say something and he just says, "Looks like Laman and Lemuel are arguing again. Better go dwell in my tent." HA! Elder Jackson is seriously THE nicest guy EVER. He's our district leader right now, but this Sunday a new one is getting called and yesterday he kept joking that I was going to be next. Elder Jackson struggles with the language, but he works so hard, and he's always lifting others. He's definitely one of the greatest examples in our district.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand as I said before, I MEMORIZED THE KOREAN FIRST VISION!!!!!!!!! Like. A. Boss. Elder Hansen and Elder Wilson did it, but I'm the first sister, and I'm ridiculously proud of myself. I've been working on it since Monday, and I finally finished it this morning. Since it's in scripture language (King form - the SUPER respectful one) hardly any of the words translated directly, which meant it was basically memorizing random sounds. But I did it! I could not have done it without the Lord's help though.
At our Tuesday devotional this week, we had Elder Richardson of the Sunday School Presidency speak to us. He spoke about becoming a missionary instead of just serving a missionary, and it really inspired me to truly realize how I am changing because of my mission. Even in the five short weeks I've been serving, my mission has changed me so much. When I first got here, I had such a hard time truly loving others and expressing it. I fought to be positive and see the joy in each moment, but as I have prayed and pleaded with the Lord to help me, I can feel Him changing my weaknesses (SO many more than those two) into strengths. I had a few experiences this week where I could truly feel the Lord working through me to touch others and these were other missionaries, not our investigators. It was so powerful, and I realized that more than anything else, I want to be a conduit of His love. I want others to be able to come to me and feel the love the Lord has for them. I know as I do this, I will be able to live up to my call to be a representative of Jesus Christ. A sister in my district, Sister Wadsworth, said something this week that really touched me: "We need to be the examples that others need to see." Who is a better example than Jesus Christ? I want to live my life worthy to be an instrument in the Lord's hands so that when others look at me, they will see a part of Christ. I'm so humbled and grateful that the Lord uses us. What a privilege for each of us to have the opportunity be used by the Lord! We're all a bunch of flawed misfits, but the Lord works with us patiently and lovingly. I know we are Heavenly Father's children. I know that He loves us. I know that He knows each one of us personally, and I know that if we turn to Him with all we have, He will reward us with so much joy and happiness. I'm so grateful for this gospel, and I know that it is true with all my heart. The Savior lives!
I love you all so so so so much!!!