Wow. 18 months have passed since I was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many people have asked me if it went by quickly – well the time really flew by but if I think about all of the special experiences I’ve had and everything I’ve learned, it feels like I’ve spent more than half of my life as a missionary.
I leave Korea on July 4th and arrive in New Zealand on July 5th! I have over 24 hours of travelling with all of the lay overs… and I will be all by myself!!!! Crazy!
Just in the past couple of weeks, two of my companions had to go back home because of injuries – so I’m kind of getting used to sending other missionaries home but now that it’s my turn, I don’t really know how to respond. To be honest, I thought I would be way more excited to go back home and see my family & friends, but the past couple of weeks have been an emotional time for me. I guess I am excited to see my parents and be able to have proper conversations with them now that my Korean has improved haha, but at the same time I feel like I’ve just reached a stage on my mission when I am starting to feel like I know what’s going on.. but I guess it’s time for a new challenge now! I’m really nervous and I look forward to the challenges of the future.
The past year and a half was a life changing experience for sure! I met a lot of people, learned a lot and hopefully I’m becoming someone the Lord wants me to become. One of the first things learned on my mission is that being a representative of the Lord is not going to be easy. In my eyes, I lacked faith, gospel understanding and pretty much in every aspect. Even though I had many friends who were returned missionaries – it was just not what I had expected. The first few weeks, every night, I prayed hard for more strength and faith to work hard the next day. I pleaded with the Lord that He’d bless me to be able to do this. I tried my best to follow my trainer’s example and get to work, but I was still missing something. Then one night in my third week, I was lying in bed after I’d just closed my nightly personal prayer. I thought about the things I’d just prayed for. I surprised myself because I realised that for the first time in my life, I’d only prayed all for others in my own personal prayer – investigators we were teaching, less active members we were working with and members of my area. Till then, I had been so focused on myself that I forgot that it’s not about myself. From that night, I tried my best to always focus on others. I was being obedient and doing everything I should be doing but things started to get mundane. I started to feel a lack of genuine intent behind my actions and I was struggling to feel the spirit. During that time, I had an interview with my mission president and I was able to explain the situation to him. He shared a scripture verse in the Book of Mormon with me that completely changed my perspective.
Moroni 7:45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and enviethnot, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
He gave me a commitment to study this scripture and apply it to my ministry. As I studied this verse, I was able to learn the true meaning of love. All my life, I’ve been very awkward when it comes to expressing love for others – just because it’s not something I grew up with and I didn’t really understand the true meaning of it. But I realised that love isn’t this weird, awkward feeling but that true love includes all of the 13 attributes listed in the verse.
As I tried to develop each of the attributes of love, I was able to understand and connect with the people we met on the street and people we taught a lot more. I was able to do things with real meaning behind it. I was able to see things from God’s perspective and not just my own. I was able to love my companions more. And most importantly, I was able to feel the Lord’s love more strongly then ever before.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared about this perfect love in his talk in the last General Conference."Christ’s perfect love allows us to walk with humility, dignity, and a bold confidence as followers of our beloved Savior. Christ’s perfect love gives us the confidence to press through our fears and place our complete trust in the power and goodness of our Heavenly Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ.
As we fill our hearts with the love of Christ, we will awaken with a renewed spiritual freshness and we will walk joyfully, confidently, awake, and alive in the light and glory of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ."
God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are His children. Because He loves us, he sent us to earth and gave us our families. Because He loves us, He sent us prophets so that we can learn about Him. Because He loves us, He sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ to earth. Because Jesus Christ loves us, He took upon himself all of the sins and pains of the world and performed the Atonement for us. Because He loves us, He restored the full gospel of Jesus Christ through our prophet Joseph Smith. Because He loves us, He gave us the Book of Mormon so that we can continue to feel His love. The Restoration is an evidence that He still loves us today.
I may still lack in faith and knowledge but I know that God loves us and I love him. I now know that I can do anything He wants me to do as long as I am sanctified and have His spirit with me. I love being a missionary and it’s time for me to continue as a member missionary!! I am excited to help the missionaries in New Zealand and continue to do his work there. I am so grateful for my parents who have raised me in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for their example and their support. I’m grateful to all of you for all of your prayers and support!
See you on the flip side!~