So, with this being my final week at the MTC and whatnot, I've had a whole bunch of people asking me all sorts of questions. All of which, however, fell in line with this one general question: "What's the biggest lesson you've learned from your experience here at the MTC?"
Well, the MTC is a place of much learning, that's for sure. In the last two months of my life, I have learned countless lessons that all contributed to one big lesson: at times, I cannot; but at ALL times, the Lord can. Before I embarked on this grand adventure, I picked Alma 26:12 to be the theme of my mission. (Okay, go ahead and read that scripture before reading the rest of this.) I had no idea how much that scripture could really mean to me until I arrived here. It's impossible to learn as much as we have learned in the short (yet somehow seemingly-endless) two months we've been here; yet, we did it. I was blown away every single day by the progress that was made both spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And this is just the beginning. There has not been a single day that I have spent here where I have not felt completely inadequate. That being said, there has not been a single day that I have spent here where I have gone to bed without a smile. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done-- but that's what makes it the greatest thing I have ever done. I'm a mere mortal who is susceptible to failures, mistakes, and shortcomings. Yet I am the daughter of a God who loves me enough to lift me up out of my own imperfection. Not a day has gone by where He hasn't helped me to be greater than I could ever be on my own. And that's what I have learned. I am not really that great. But the Lord is. And because He loves me, through His love, I can become great. This is the Lord's work, if we tried to do it on our own, we would surely fail. But I know that He is with us, holding our hands every step of the way. We may stumble but He will not allow us to fall.
I was standing in line in the cafeteria a few days ago when one of the elders from the younger dongi ended up in line behind me. He looked a bit troubled. So, I turned around and asked, "Hey, are you doing alright today, Elder?" He just furrowed his brow and looked at me for a moment before replying, "Yeah. I'm just feeling contemplative today." I raised my eyebrows back at him, which caused him to continue by merely inquiring, "Now that you're at the end of your journey here at the MTC, looking back, is there anything that you regret?"
Without even hesitating, I responded, "No. I don't believe in regrets." And I don't. I don't regret any experience I've had here at the MTC because I have done the best that I can and because every experience, whether it was good or bad, was a learning experience. Everything happens for a reason, the test is how you choose to respond to the circumstances that come your way. Yeah, there were tough days, yes, there were days when I felt extremely useless, but those were the days in which I learned valuable lessons that helped me to understand how to be better later. So no, I don't have any regrets. I have only hope-- each new day is a new opportunity to be better!
On the first page of my journal, I created a list of goals that I have for my mission. It wasn't a list that I just sat down and wrote all at once-- it was a list that I continually added to as I've been here at the MTC. I don't really know why I'm sharing this right now, but I feel as if it could help someone. And if anything, it will help me to be accountable for my goals.
1. I will always be the "best" companion I can be because every missionary deserves to have a good companion.
2. I will never let a frown conquer a smile.
3. I will always remember that, at times, I cannot; but at all times, the Lord can. It's HIS name that I wear upon upon my heart.
4. I will conquer every negative thought that creeps into my mind with positive thinking. After all, it's impossible to think more than one thing at once.
5. I will be the arms that hug, the hands that help, and the ears that listen for my Savior. I will help His children because so many of His children have helped me.
6. I will be fearless, faithful, and fierce.
7. I will strive towards being fluent in the language of the spirit; I will see Korean as a tool rather than a barrier.
8. I will remember why I chose to be a missionary in the first place; especially when challenges cause me to stumble along the way.
9. I will do everything I can do to always speak Korean.
10. Exact obedience; if sticky situations arise, I will immediately remove myself from them.
I'm going to be stepping off the plane in Korea in just a matter of days. I suppose you could say that at this point in time, I am left with a decision to make: I can choose to either walk in fear or to walk in faith. In 2 Nephi 9:46, it talks about how fear causes us to shrink. In comparison, faith helps us to grow. When we walk in fear, we are living below our potential. Heavenly Father has great and wonderful things in store for each and every one of us and He promises to help us become great but we must first learn to trust in Him. The greatest things in life require us to take a leap of faith; when we look upwards and trust in the Lord enough to jump and reach for things that may seem far out of reach, He will give us the wings that will carry us far higher than we have ever before been. No set of difficult circumstances seems quite so difficult when you've got the power of the heavens giving flight to your wings of faith.
I'm taking that jump.
And I know that the Savior won't let me fall.Each of us has a leap of faith that we can take in our lives...
My challenge to all of you this week is to just jump. Faith works miracles.
He won't let you fall, I promise.
사랑으로 (with love),