Wait... it's 2014? How weird is that!? Last new years seems so far away and yet it feels as if I was just barely making snow angels in Jill's backyard at midnight in celebration of the coming of 2013. Where has the time gone? It's so interesting to think back to who I was just a short year ago. I laugh at the absurd thought of the present me (aka 선교 서 [missionary] CaLea) going back in time and telling the CaLea of January 2013 all about who she would become over the next year of her life. The events that have taken place over the last year are events that I never imagined I would experience. But now, as I'm sitting here in the Provo MTC, I can honestly say that the Lord has been guiding me every step of the way.
I'm officially halfway through my stay here at the MTC (which baffles me because I swear I haven't already been here for four and a half weeks...) and OH how I've grown! The Lord teaches us in so many interesting ways and I am constantly amazed by it. I'm not going to lie, the thought of leaving the MTC is both exciting and sad: exciting because... Korea... but sad because I don't know what on earth I'm going to do when I have to say goodbye to my other half (also known as Glauser).
But you know what? I know without a doubt in my heart that God is watching over me and that He will help me accomplish the things that He has asked me to do. I was reading in Words of Mormon this week and I came across verse seven. I LOVED IT. I have no idea what God has in store for me but I am learning to just rely on the spirit. God knows all things. So really, I have no need to worry. Thank heavens for a Father in Heaven who is all-knowing and a perfect brother who has promised to help me every step of the way.
It's hard to be completely immersed in a language and not have the ability to express myself the way I want to. The most frustrating thing is understanding a question that a 구도자 (investigator) asks and knowing how to respond to it... but not knowing how to communicate your answer in 헌국멀 (Korean). That being said, it's impossible to not feel inadequate as a missionary. It is completely unavoidable. In the devotional on Christmas, one of the missionaries anonymously asked, "Why do I feel so inadequate?" In response, Elder Bednar said something that will remain with me for the rest of my mission, "It's because you have a sense of what you've been called to do. The feeling of inadequacy will never stop. We cannot do all that we have been called to do so we MUST learn to rely upon Him." One thing that always makes me feel better when I'm thinking too much about Korean is this thought: If God could instantly cause hundreds of people to speak hundreds of languages at the tower of babel, then He can definitely help me learn a little Korean. I may just have to struggle a little bit along the way.
As human beings it is so easy to get caught up in what we can't do that we forget to recognize all that we CAN do. We've been learning Korean for a mere four and a half weeks-- that's it. And yet we can understand and say so much! (Granted, we'll feel like we haven't learned a thing-- even more so than we already feel now-- as soon as we get to Korea... but I try not to focus on that...) I came across Mosiahon a day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed. I realized how silly I was being. I was getting down on myself for "not knowing enough" and that was hindering my ability to really progress and become better. So then I got to thinking, "What do I expect of myself for this mission?" And instantly, I had a list full of things sitting in front of me on my desk. Then I thought, "What does the Lord expect of me for this mission?" And only one thing came to mind: He expects me to do my best. Why should my expectations for myself be higher than the Lord's expectations for me? He doesn't expect me to be perfect, He expects me to do my best. Through the atonement, He will take care of the rest.
So, I trusted.
This week has been a result of that. I've been working so hard and praying (기도 하다) every step of the way. And I have seen results. As missionaries, it's not our job to teach (거르치다); it's our job to invite. We are conductors of the spirit so that the spirit can teach through us. So, we love, we plan, we prepare, and we pray and the spirit does the rest. We invite others to come unto Christ and we invite the spirit to teach the truth of our message to those that we teach. It's so neat.
Cool moment: I bought a tiny paper-back Book of Mormon (몰몬 경) from the bookstore here at the MTC this week. On the title page I wrote down a question that I had that I wanted to learn and study more about. I have never, in my whole life, had a cooler experience with the Book of Mormon. The whole purpose of reading THIS Book of Mormon is to answer my question. So I've been marking it and inserting sticky notes with thoughts and feelings as I've been reading. I love it so much. I was reading 1 Nephi 8:12-18 earlier this week and a set of verses struck me so deeply that I wanted to take a moment to share what I learned. In verse 12 it's Lehi talking about how he had tasted of the fruit and that it filled his heart with so much joy that he immediately wanted to share it with his family. So I thought that was pretty cool-- anyways, as I kept reading, in verse 15 he talks about how he beckoned unto his family to "come unto [him]" and partake of the fruit. In that moment he sounded so much like the Savior that I couldn't help but to go back and start reading at verse twelve again.
God gave Lehi, who was an earthly father, the opportunity to get a glimpse of what it must be like to be a heavenly father. And likewise, God (하나님) gives every man an opportunity to be not only an earthly father, but a heavenly father someday too. He has been where we are and He has overcome what we are working to overcome. And now, because of the joy He feels, He wants to give each of us, His spirit sons and daughters, an opportunity to experience it as well. Which leads to why He gives us commandments (or the Word of God). The commandments are there as a guide to help us safely navigate through the mists of darkness without getting lost. They aren't there to be restricting-- they're freeing. How cool is God? Super duper cool. Can you imagine how hard it must be to stand at the base of the tree of life beckoning to your children to come unto you only to see them try and navigate their way through the darkness by themselves? I think that's where missionaries come in: we've got a GPS system (scriptures), a guide (Holy Ghost), and the light of Christ to help us fight our way through the darkness in order to go out and find our brothers and sisters and bring them back to the iron rod.
Well, I'm running out of time but I just want to let you know that I love you and I think about you always. I'm pretty lucky to have such a great support system back at home cheering me on. I owe you humans everything. And you know what? I guess I'm pretty lucky to be stuck with you for the rest of forever.
서렁으로 (With Love),
Sister (저매님) CaLea Bagley