Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Just Feastin'

ahhh, just back on that pday email scramble grind... Yes I am fine. Yes, the Lord's taking good care of me, yes the Korean is hard.. awhh, there really isn't much to complain about living in a bubble. Other than the fact that I miss you all! I ....ran... into my two very best friends last week on my way into the temple.. OH MY GOODNESS. Tender mercy galore. I am so very grateful for both my family and friends.. for all of your incredible examples to me.. I have so much to look forward to in life.. so much to work hard for. Thank you!

If I wasn't gaining so much faith and hope each day I might say I don't think I will ever have as good of a week as this last.. Not only did Elder Richard G. Scott come to talk to us, but as did 3 other members of the General Presidencies. I am saying Hongumar sentences like jackie chan, I got the best chips and salsa.. Kudos to Tina. We get to sing at GENERAL CONFERENCE and I can honestly say I am not only a step, but steps closer to being the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be. This might sound absurd, but I never want to leave. The MTC is this glorious dedicated earthly heaven.. and I refuse to leave. I hate talking about this.. but It's already been over a month.. and I'm sitting here crying thinking about the fact that I only have 17 more of these. I once thought I never wanted to leave Jerusalem.. ya, that was pathetic compared to this. 

Even though every moment of our hectically mapped out days is beneficial... I have been able to gain more out of a sole hour of personal study here than I have in all of my life's study sessions prior. The difference between reading and feasting is HUGE. Especially when it comes to the Book of Mormon. Every year towards the end of November we gather up our families for this holiday we call Thanksgiving. We spend all day working up a sweat.. whether it be through cooking, running turkey trots, playing sports until someone breaks a nose hahah... and then.. we feast. We eat until our hearts content, until we can't eat another kernel of corn. And then what do we do? Bounce right out of it and play more sports?? NO. We sit and we converse, being completely overwhelmed with our feasts that often times, it hurts. We are so grateful and then we help one another in cleaning.. and we leave each feast better people and with more love. What's the difference between this feast and the one the Lord asks us to do every day? 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for people, it's about their progress and their ability to move forward. Hopefully, moving upward. Moving upward is slight differently from moving on a continued flat surface.. First of all, it takes about a fraction of the energy.. and second, it doesn't push us. Although there are moments in my life that I wish someone could just push me up a hill.. (I once tried this with Mak hahhaha).. I can assure you that it doesn't work. We need to put in the energy. We need to feast. How are you feasting on the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

I will admit, whenever I am feeling the least bit discouraged... I am the first to resign, clam up and take the back seat. I absolutely hate letting people see me puffy eyed and tear stained.. It's incredible what measures I find myself taking to avoid letting anyone see me cry. (blinks blinks blinks) And why go through such large and extreme measures? Because I know that I have been blessed with a happy disposition on life... I am not allowed to be sad... what type of missionary would I be without a smile on my face??? Ya ya, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SISTER WILLCOX??? A mission is HARD. Well, a friend once told me of a pivotal moment of their mission.. the moment they realized how much people pay attention to our emotions.. A very similar experience happened to me at the start of this week and I remembered that story when an elder gave my companion a high five and told me I didn't deserve one since I wasn't always smiling. I don't know exactly how it feels to receive a bullet through the heart.. But I would assume it's pretty similar. 

No, I wasn't expecting this to be easy. Nor did I assume my pillow wouldn't catch a few tears at night.. But how could I? A mission isn't anything like what I had imagined.. I would have never imagined the fatigue, frustration, temptation... the happiness, joy and love I have received.. It isn't something one could ever explain. I half wanted to punch, half wanted to hug the Elder that refused to give me a high five. This is hard.. living the Gospel is hard. learning a new language is hard. putting in 100% effort each day does not come without a toll. But what is it that I am doing? For what purpose am I learning Korean? Why am I putting in every ounce of energy I've got??? Because I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Because I have a testimony of my Savior and His atonement for all mankind. Because I know that God sent us to Earth to be tried, tested and proven worthy to return to His presence. I know exactly how to achieve eternal life, not only for myself.. but for my family and loved ones. This life, however hard it may be, is not the end. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SISTER WILLCOX??? why AREN'T you always smiling?? Although this lesson was hard to accept... my mouth now hurts in the corners and I will probably need surgery to remove the smile off my face when I return. Rejoice family! We have the Plan of Happiness.. not the plan of rules, trials or lessons.. .But the Plan of Happiness. 

I need to learn to stop limiting the Lord. With Him ALL things are possible. (Luke 1:37) And guess what? That promise isn't only for missionaries. I know that if God doesn't fix something, then He will carry us through it. He has promised to be on our left and on our right.. continuously bearing us up through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Do you understand what that means??? Our choir director shared a very intricate universe, stars, galaxies message to us.. And since I refuse to butcher it.. I'll just share one specific quote I know I got word for word... "The Lord is as personal as He is grand." He knows your life, even more than I do.. He knows your strengths, potential.. just as well as your weaknesses and trials.. He has and continually prepares you for these experiences.. Rejoice, the End is Eternal Life and the Lord is here to direct and lead you to it! I may not be superstitious, but I am a little stitious.. and sometimes, I trust in myself only... But each day I learn more and more how much He LOVES us and wants us to return to Him and receive Eternal Happiness. I know that with every step we take in drawing closer to God and becoming more like our Savior, is an equal step closer to happiness. I want people to recognize me as the happiest person they know.. I know that goal is a looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng way down the road.. But I know who's helping me down the path. I know who we can trust.

We are not on the Lord's side, the Lord is on ours. As He died to make men Holy, I will live to make men free.
All my love,
Sister Willcox

I am constantly being teasing for my small feet... And for flipping my hair behind my left shoulder. (hello, my name tag needs to be showing) Also, the native Koreans came into the laundry room today with sheets covering their faces and pushed each other through the laundry room. I think Korea is going to be a treat. I'm always praying for you. 

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