As for the purpose behind the blog, over the next eighteen months I will be traveling to Utah (not exciting, I know), Singapore, and Malaysia (much more exciting), two countries I honestly didn't know existed until recently. I will be learning to speak Malay, a language that seems about as real as Klingon. No, I'm not backpacking through the jungle or becoming a Buddhist nun; it's better than that. It's life changing not just for me but, hopefully, for many, many others, as well. I have decided, and received a call from the prophet, to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and our Heavenly Father's Plan for all of us as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a the "Mormon" church). It's cool, it's really cool. It's also a little nerve-racking, partially because communication is limited to emailing home once a week, short phone calls to family on Mother's Day and Christmas, and the ever reliable "snail mail," but there's also the part about being submerged in another culture and teaching an incredibly important topic while speaking a language I don't know - and that's a little intimidating, too.
It's exciting, it really is, but exciting doesn't really do justice to how I feel. In fact, it's more than exciting but also different.... I actually don't think there is a word for this, but I want to explain how I feel and, hopefully, if I explain how & why I feel, it can make up for the words I can't find; and so it will show what I feel.
I'm about to spend a year and a half dedicated to, basically, nothing but teaching about Christ all day, with no work or school to distract, in a foreign country where they speak a language I don't even know how to say "hello" in. Often times, I can't even commit on which smoothie to order, so how am I able to commit to something like this? It feels big, really big; so, why?
It's true. This is the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ on this earth.
I know this because I've searched for this answer. I've grown up in this church, yes, but that doesn't mean I haven't had my times where I wondered if I was only living this gospel because the people around me were, because it was just normal life. I'm not perfect; goodness knows I've been a doubting Thomas before, but the apostle, President Uchtdorf, was more than wise when he said to "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." In the Book of Mormon the prophet Alma teaches that if you treat your faith like a seed by planting it, taking care of it, helping it to grow, you'll know by the fruits of the tree whether it's good or not. In other words, if you doing the things to help your faith grow, read the Book of Mormon, pray to your Heavenly Father, keep the commandments, and test these things out, then you'll know by how you feel and by what these things bring whether this church is true. The prophet Moroni promises all of us that if we do this we will know if it is true. I've done these things, heck, I've done this over and over again in my life so I can know, and I do. I know it's true, I know it's right, I know it's good.
Everyone wants to be happy, right? Everyone searches for those things that will make them feel good, loved, fulfilled. We naturally search for these things; we naturally search for peace. I've found it. That's why I want to serve this mission! Because through the true gospel of Jesus Christ, through His Atonement I find peace and happiness, and, now, I want to share that with everyone so that they can feel that joy. There's no way to describe how incredible it feels when the Holy Ghost is with you, speaking to your heart and testifying how much your Father in Heaven loves you personally, that the Savior suffered and died for you, and that God loves you so much that He sent you to earth with the ability to return and live with Him again, and not alone, either, but with your family for all eternity. The Savior died for me me so that I can be forgiven, and it doesn't matter if it's for swearing when I stub my toe or for whatever else; He will forgive me, He will love me, and He will comfort me when all I can do is cry. He is my Savior and He's yours, too.
How wonderful is that? There is nothing more beautiful than this because it is not worldly; it's divine. I'm going to these countries because I want the whole world to know these things. I want everyone to be able to feel this happiness, a happiness that can't be found from a trip to Hawaii or a shiny, new iPhone or anything from this world because it's a joy that comes from someone much, much greater than anything here. This knowledge isn't something you can keep to yourself; it just wouldn't be right.
So that's it ~a lot of words to explain the one word that says what I feel, a word that doesn't exist. I guess if I had to be a little more succinct to describe this gospel, how it feels, why I'm going on a mission, and how it feels to know I can live with my family for all eternity and be with our Father in Heaven again, I'd say this ~ it's just plain beautiful.
This blog is where my weekly letters home will be posted. I'll be sharing my experiences, my testimony, pictures, and maybe even some exciting stories, but no promises!