Well,was a really special day! One of our sweet investigators got baptized. Since the moment I met her she has been such an example to me of endurance and diligence. It has been an honor to have been given the opportunity to meet with her and help her make that next big step. I think one of the special things about helping other people prepare to be baptized is the opportunity we have to look back upon our own baptism day and remember the commitments we made to Heavenly Father. What's even cooler is the fact that we are given an opportunity each and every week to remember those promises as we participate in taking the sacrament.
Speaking of the which, we were able to teach one of our investigators about the importance of the sacrament this week. (She is this adorable thirteen year old that I can't help but to love!) That really meant a lot to me because I always seem to learn the most when I am studying on behalf of other people. There's something special about the way you learn when you are studying as a means of preparation to teach someone else. But, long story short, I am so grateful for the opportunity we are given each week to partake of the sacrament. If I remember correctly, the last general conference we had actually put a lot of emphasis on the sacrament. It's something that we should look forward to doing each week. I think the best word there is to describe it is the word "renewal." It's a time to reflect upon the events of the week, whether good or bad, and to look for ways to be and do better throughout the upcoming week. I'm so grateful that I am able to "start fresh" each and every week.
We had a combined zone conference with another zone this past week. It was an awesome conference. It's always good to see old friends and to be given instruction and guidance from our leaders. This last conference was really neat. I actually got to meet the doctor who worked with me throughout the time that I was sick. He and his wife live in Japan, so when I was sick we just talked with him via phone calls. Meeting him in person was kind of a surreal thing thouugh. He came to our mission and did training in all of the zone conferences that happened this week. I didn't think I'd ever actually be able to meet him during the course of my mission. But hey, what do I know?
President Morrise shared a really cool analogy with me this week that I wanted to share with you! So I shared with him a couple of frustrations I've been having over the past couple of weeks and this was his response:
"Sister Bagley, back at my home in America, I remember always looking at my front lawn and thinking, 'Man, why does my lawn look so bad? There are these brown spots all over.' Every time I'd go outside to examine it, all I'd see is a bunch of brown spots. One day, however, after I had crossed the street to visit a neighbor, as I turned around and proceeded to head back to my own home, I saw this green, lovely, beautiful lawn. Sure, when I got back to my yard and began to examine it closely again, I could still see the brown spots. But what I learned from that experience is that we are the ones who examine and judge ourselves from a very close perspective. What we don't realize as we're doing that, is the fact that when we see the brown spots in our own lawn, all our neighbors (who have a very different perspective) can see is a well-kept, beautiful green lawn."
As the imperfect humans that we are, we have the tendency to be harsher on ourselves in our imperfections than we are on anybody else. We see the little brown spots when others can only see the green. I think that too often we expect more of ourselves than our Heavenly Father expects of us. As a missionary, I always feel the need to be better at Korean, better at teaching, better at everything, really. We expect all of these things from ourselves and yet all that our Father in Heaven expects of us is that we do our best. So it's silly to focus on the little brown spots when there is so much more GREEN. We should recognize our imperfections, but we should recognize them as opportunities to overcome ourselves and as reasons to rely more fully upon the Savior and His atonement. Our imperfections are not what hold us back-- they what motivates us to move forward.
A LOT has happened this week. Being a missionary is so cool. Seriously, my job is just to work hard and in return Heavenly Father shows us countless miracles each and every day. This is His work, this is His gospel, and we are His children. I've never been more sure of it.
I hope you're smiling lots and helping others to feel His love this week. I'm happy and well, don't worry about me.
I love you to the moon and back!
p.s. it's been cold, but like kind of a warmer-cold for the past couple of weeks. Butit all of a sudden started snowing like crazy and now Korea looks like Christmas. IT'S AWESOME.
also, double p.s. Sister Giles and I ended up buying these grandma dress pajama things. And mine is officially my NEW favorite thing. Like, it's softer than any soft thing I've ever felt in my whole life. It's the best.