The Reason for the Hope in Me

(see 1 Peter 3:15)

It’s been an interesting week. Being with an American companion is just so different. A lot of the hard things are easy now and the easy things are hard. It’s like working out a totally different mental/emotional muscle group. It’s frustrating because some people say my Mongolian is great and others choose to not understand a word of what I say. We were looking for a new family’s house yesterday and I asked like 4 people directions very simply and they all made “I don’t speak English” faces at me and hurried away. I guess that’s why we have to take our validation from above and not sideways.

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Inside the front cover of the March 2016 Liahona there’s a picture of a fraying rope and Alma 36:27. That’s my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon and I always read it when I need to feel better. I tend to kind of gloss over that particular verse because I haven’t literally been delivered from prisons and things. But when I saw that it struck me that I have. We all have been delivered from sin and death by Christ and the Atonement. Remembering that, we can trust that He will still deliver us from any kind of trial imaginable.

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My experiences the past two weeks have made me want to boast in my God a bit. It’s amazing the power and support He gives to His missionaries. I wish I could explain this better. I marvel that I can even speak this language. I know that every time I understand someone it’s a gift from Heavenly Father. The gift of tongues is real. Even though there are times I struggle I always know enough to accomplish the task. It’s crazy sometimes to remember I’ve only been here’s 6 months. I took Spanish for 5 years and can’t speak even slightly as well as Mongolian. I know that Heavenly Father is making it possible for us two to get around and teach His word. The only way He can give us that kind of power is if we are humble and ask, trusting in Him. I never understood humility before. True to the Faith says that we can be humble and courageous because it’s recognizing where our true strength lies. It’s not feeling bad about ourselves but knowing we can do ANYTHING because we have an all-powerful and all-loving God on our side. (James 4:10, D&C 112:10 are my pemderizing scriptures this week.)

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Last week I referenced “Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying” because we shared it with our investigator Badamgaraw who got baptised this week. Her grandson got baptized in January but she had a smoking problem to get over. She used to smoke 2 packets a day, then she got a Priesthood blessing and from that day on it cut down to 2 cigarettes a day. Finally she was able to cut them out completely. She works at a newspaper stand and it was so tempting to smoke as she worked. But she started reading the Book of Mormon when she felt the urge. She’s on her second time through now. There is so much power in that book.

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Having to go on the weird English splits means not having my study materials a lot, so I started reading the Old Testament. We think of Abraham as this pillar of faith, but reading it I realized that despite being promised several times before, he and his wife laugh when God tells him they’ll have a child. Sometimes I feel the same way. It’s easy to see the things God asks us to do or promises us as completely impossible and ridiculous—because they are, to man. It made me realize that even though Abraham wasn’t perfect and felt like just a regular man, Heavenly Father saw his great righteousness and potential and called him to be a prophet and father of many nations. He knew he would raise children in righteousness and lead the church. I know that we can’t see our own potential and it’s important to just trust in God and know He can do with us whatever he chooses. He can work with imperfect people. We just have to listen and trust and be willing to sacrifice like Abraham.

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We’ve been in Mongolia six months today, so we’re getting Burger King.

I’ve been thinking about goals for the second half of my mission becuase Thursday is my 9 month mark. In Mongolian, the words “purpose” and “goal” are the same, which used to be really annoying and confusing. But I realized that that’s how it should be. I’ve set a lot of random language and personal goals, but my goals should really be the same thing as my purpose: invite others to come unto Christ. It doesn’t matter how many words I know if I can’t teach the lessons well. It doesn’t matter if I’ve finished the standard works if I don’t know the scriptures people need. So I’m going to focus on my teaching ability as much as I can from now on. After all, that’s why I’m here. I invite you to think about your purposes here on earth and you various roles and callings (see Alma 34:32 if you need help) and make sure your goals are focused on that. It was a real eye-opener to realize I sometimes forget my own priorities.

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The only thing we really have to do on missions and in life is pray to find out the will of the Lord and then go do it. We’ll always be the happiest that way. I love you all!!!!!!! I hope you’re praying as a family every day. You can try talking about the things you need help with before someone says the prayer so that it’s more meaningful.

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