Sunday, August 6, 2017

Week Forty-Two

Dear People,

My area is the second hottest place in Korea and we be 'proaching the hottest time of the year... for the last couple of days we've been walking in a "real feel" 109 degrees. Sweat's flowing freely.  A couple days ago a random guy literally pulled us off the street into a convenience store to buy us a drink. "It's too hot! You're going to die!"

This Sunday we were asked to teach gospel principles class and we chose the topic of repentance. As we taught, I learned something about the principle of confession. When we don't confess in prayer our shortcomings, we are showing God that we believe we can overcome sin on our own. Changing undesirable behavior is not repentance. We must recognize our sin and confess the exact nature of it with no justification of our actions in order to repent of it. Changing our behavior does not remove the effect of that sin. Christ does.

 This week has been really hard, probably the hardest of my mission so far, but I wouldn't trade this for anything. The church is simply true. The Book of Mormon is simply true. It is seamless. It is the surest channel of the Spirit. It is a map to lasting happiness.

Insight about missionary work I got after failing to properly introduce our message to a man in an ice cream shop and trying to impress him with ourselves rather than our message:

Anyone who sees us will recognize these things: These sweaty teens are in a foreign country. They are learning a difficult foreign language. They are wearing very uncomfortable clothes. They must have a motivation to be doing so. Something very significant have compelled them away from family, school, friends, and their country. 

There are a couple possible compelling forces:

1. Money. They are either getting paid a lot of money, or through this mission thing they will eventually make a lot of money in their church. 

2. This is a study abroad. They like travel and want to see the world.

3. It's a mandatory thing. If they don't do this they have to do something harder, like military. 

4. It's a social/family/cultural thing, if they don't do this they will be estranged from their religious community 

5. They have discovered a glorious truth and can't bear to sit still until the whole world has had opportunity to partake of it's blessings.

If the missionary commandment to "open your mouth in proclaiming the gospel" is not upheld, our very presence in the field becomes a paradox. If we don't quickly and genuinely bring up our desire to share our message with everyone we come in contact with, our reason for being in the country will never be recognized as reason number 5. We must do everything we can to obliterate the possibility of people thinking we are here for reasons 1-4.

I am very very guilty of not displaying reason 5, but it's been an important step for me to recognize this problem. I am going to do my best to repent every day and love the Lord enough to open my mouth.

Heavenly Father lives and is anxious to bless us. He is doing literally everything in His power to help us return to Him, but the choice is up to us.

I love this work and I love you.

-Elder Brown

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