Happy Birthday Mom! I'm sorry I haven't written. I really will try to do that. I keep trying to have a p-day where we don't do anything so I can get caught up but my district just wants to do activities. They insist on it even if it is a game of uno. Dang it. I want to prep on prep day!
To answer your question I haven't received any letters from the family yet. I have received some letters which I will respond to (eventually). I should be able to get a camera next week.
Conference! I loved General Conference! The entire stake, including our whole zone, came to Masan to watch conference. We got to watch the whole thing in English with the other missionaries and a few more English speakers. It was weird watching as a missionary. Afterward we were talking to a member who was surprised by how few of the talks were about missionary work. I was also surprised because I thought most of them had been about missionary work.
If you get Will's letter I also noticed the same trend about internalizing commandments. If we see them as someone else's ideas we are going to resist them. (Will is a friend from our ward who is currently serving in Brazil. This is what he said in his last letter home that Tristan is referring to.) "Something that really stood out to me in conference is the importance of internalizing goals. You have to want something for yourself. Even if your mission president, your companion, and God all want you to be obedient, if you don't want to be obedient... you're probably not going to be. That's the beauty and struggle with agency. It's all up to us. So, I've been working on internalizing the things that I should do as a missionary... not because everyone wants me to, but because I want to. I want to read my scriptures, I want to work hard. I want to help people gain greater faith in Jesus Christ."
(Back to Tristan's letter)
I also really liked when they talked about repentance. Recently I have been studying the Gospel of Christ more in depth and I have learned so much. It is the most basic of doctrines but there is always more to learn. It helps when you are studying with other people in mind. As I think about how this would help our investigators I learn more that I can also use for me. Awesome.
I loved Elder Ballard's talk about missionary work, Put Your Trust in the Lord. Here is my favorite part; "Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and the full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities. Then, we must demonstrate our faith and watch for opportunities to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father’s children, and surely those opportunities will come. These opportunities will never require a forced or a contrived response. They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters. Just be positive, and those whom you speak with will feel your love. They will never forget that feeling, though the timing may not be right for them to embrace the gospel. That too may change in the future when their circumstances change."
After hearing that I thought about a section of chapter 10 of PMG. It is about listening and includes an amazing quote from Elder Holland (pg 185). Take a moment to look that up. Okay so, if we are prepared by study and prayer and if we listen with love we will find an opportunity to testify about the Gospel as we talk with others. Obviously this isn't just about missionaries and investigators (notice the use of the word "friends" in that quote). My goal as a missionary is to be able to sit down with an investigator and just talk with them. Help them out and invite them to Christ without them ever realizing that they are being taught a lesson. This can be your goal as well outside of the mission. You don't have to use special language when bearing testimony (I'd like to bear my testimony. I know.....). Just talk from the heart. We love the Gospel. Why wouldn't we talk about it?
Anyway. I think that is the thought I'll be using in member visits this week. Thanks for the support. Be happy. I love you,