Monday, April 7, 2014

March 24, 2014

Burton Bunch,
     Hah. . .Sorry.  I'm not really sure how you will scan this thing into the computer but I really just wanted to write a giant letter.  Guess what?  Our little Gimhae branch (which is not quite so little anymore. . . we had 123 people come out to church on Sunday) has just been make a WARD!  I have never served in  a ward before.  I'll have to try to get used to saying "bishop" rather than "branch president" and such things like that.  There was quite the shuffling of callings and such with the new change and that will be quite exciting.  Our members here are incredibly wonderful.  We are teaching 5 recent converts right now and they were ALL referrals.  Our progressing investigator PINK is a referral too.  And next week we ave so many meal appointments. . . two of which are with potential investigators that our members want to introduce us to.  We are very excited.
     Last week we did exchanges and I went back to Gupo for a day!  Wow, how to explain what that felt like?  Especially walking back into that tiny one-room that was my very first home in Korea.  And that tiny bathroom. . .that little room is a sacred grove to me.  I walked in there and was flooded with memories, bitter and sweet, of all the times that I knelt on that wet floor in tearful prayer.  Going back, my eyes were suddenly opened to how mush I really have changed while I've been here.  I could feel it so strongly while I was there because I just felt so different.  The proportions of everything were different.  I felt that there is something that has expanded inside of me that could not quite be contained in those old emotional and spiritual dimensions anymore.  I learned alot on that exchange.  Thee are things from the Gupo days that I could not understand then -how I could feel so at peace when I'd make so many mistakes and when so many things had gone wrong.  But that was my feeling when I left. . . no regrets.  I pondered on that alot on exchanges, especially as I talked with my temporary  companion who is serving there now and listened to her thoughts and her struggles.  It has been something that has bothered me the last few weeks as the days spin by faster and my time here shrinks threateningly to smaller and smaller slices.  What if I go home and I have regrets?  What if I feel like there is something missing?  Something I didn't do or something I did?  How can I go home with no regrets at the end of my mission?  How when I am mot perfect and I do make mistakes? But the answer has come with such perfect clarity.  I cannot write it right because the spirit did not teach me in English, but straight to the core of my heart.  I left Gupo with no regrets and such an assurance of peace because of the Atonement.  Because not only can we come home clean from our sins,   but we can come home clean of the regret that comes with them.  There is a quote from a great talk by Brad Wilcox (ah, I wish I had is with me) that says that the miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home to God,  but miraculously that we can feel at home there.  If you read in Alma36 - in verses 14 & 15  Alma says "The very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror. . . " But then you look just a few verses later in 22 and Alma looks toward God and heaven he says "my soul did long to be there".  In those few verses what Alma had done didn't change, but his understanding of the Atonement and what his Savior had done for him did.  That was what make the difference,  God loves all of his children, oh, he loves us all so much!  And he wants us back with him.  But he know that we will not be happy there, that we CAN"T be happy there in the presence of someone so pure and perfect when we are covered in muck.  So we need the Atonement.  We need our Savior to scrub us clean, and then we can come home without any regrets.

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