Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Week Thirty-Five

Dear People, 

I love you :D

Just so you know, even though I will never be able to write about or tell in the future all the little things that happen each day and all the little ways that my conversion is deepening, it is happening. Every day.

I was having a pretty hard time last week feeling the joy of living the gospel and being a missionary, but even though I wasn't feeling it, I kept going. I kept doing all the little things, kept working hard, thought back on the happy times and eventually it passed. I don't know exactly why I felt that way, but I am so grateful that I had the habits in place that helped me to decide to keep doing the dance even though I couldn't seem to hear the music. It would have been so easy for me to slip into sin and have to go through pride cycle like we all do so many countless times. If I had, I would have been very humbled, been brought to fervent prayer and repentance and I would have certainly felt the savior's love, but I know that when I faithfully get through those rough patches that feel like abandonment, I learn so much more and feel the savior love so much more that I would have if I had used it as an excuse to fall into disobedience.

This morning I read the talk by Ulisses Soares, and a quote on this subject stood out to me: 

"In these moments of trial, the adversary—who is always on the lookout—tries to use our logic and reasoning against us. He tries to convince us that it is useless to live the principles of the gospel. Please remember that the logic of the natural man 'receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.' Remember that Satan 'is an enemy [of] God, and [he] fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth [us] to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.' We must not allow him to deceive us; for when we do, we falter in our faith and lose the power to obtain God’s blessings."

If we were always feeling ecstatic about living the gospel we wouldn't actually be exercising much faith. Walking  obediently when we don't know exactly the results is when the real blessings can come in the long-run.

So three general authorities visited our mission this week including Elder Choi, Elder Gong, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and their wives. We're so indulged. I shook an Apostle's hand for the first time! Elder Oaks had us all line up to shake his hand and greeted us by name. I thought I was wearing my Korean-only name-tag and was expecting him to ask my name or just say "Elder" but he just said Elder Brown nonchalantly and I was convinced he straight discerned my name until I looked down and realized I had my English name-tag on. Boring.

It turns out Elder Oaks is . . . a really goofy person. His whole body shakes really hard when he laughs at his own jokes and his huge smile is really contagious. He literally quoted Nephi 3:7 as "Nephi 3rd. . .15  or something" It was so cool to see God doesn't expect even his Apostles to know everything, There are things much more important that knowing every scripture reference and church history date or being perfect teachers or many of the other things we sometimes worry too much about as missionaries but he does need us to faithfully and consistently love Him with all our heart. I watched him nod off twice during other people's talks and then jerk awake and smile really big. General authorities are just people too, they share all our weaknesses, but that doesn't take away from the powerful reality of their callings. God calls the weak and the simple. I know that a prophet of God spoke to us this week. My prayers were answered by his words I was brought closer to Christ.

Life is so good. Read general conference talks. Read the Book of Mormon everyday and pray about it. Prayer is the most reliable way to learn spiritual truth.

I love you.

-Elder Brown

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