Every Sunday we are supposed to prepare a talk and then the branch president announces who is giving talks in church right before it is time to speak. This means we all have to jeun beih (prepare) every week! Last week's topic was the atonement. I didn't get asked to speak, but I really loved preparing for this talk. I focused on David Bednar's talk about the enabling power of the atonement. He said, "The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity."
I know I could not handle the busy life of a missionary by myself. But I know that if I rely on the Savior and do my best, that he will make up the difference. In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul writes, "By the grace of God, I am what I am...I laboured more abundantly than them all yet not I but the Grace of God which was in me." So if I have faith in God, he will give me the ability to work harder and longer than I ever have! And he can also help me love the people of Hong Kong more perfectly than I have ever loved before!
1 John 4:14-17 says, "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world...And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect." I am so excited to develop my love for the people I am going to meet. As long as I do as much as I can, I can trust that God will keep his promises.
My goal for this week is to be more prayerful. I need to"lean not unto my own understanding" because really, what do I know? I am learning more and more about how little I know. This is the most humbling experience I have ever had, but I am so grateful for it. Every day I pray for the ability to be more teachable and open to criticism. I want to learn, I really do, but I still wince whenever someone corrects me! But I am trying really hard! I just keep remembering Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, then will I make weak things become strong unnto them." I want to be a strong missionary one day, and I know God is going to help me do that! The getting-there part might just be a little painful.
On a different note, I have collected several new nuggets of wisdom while being here (isn't "nuggets" an awful word?):
"Any excuse, no matter how valid, weakens the character." President Spencer W. Kimball
How awesome is that? WOW. Ever since reading that,I have been trying to cut out all the excuses, even the ones about me being sick or tired or hungry or cold (which I have always considered very valid.)
And here is one more:
"Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days--the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race." Winston Churchill
I love his optimism, his no-fear-in-the-face-of-overwhelming-odds attitude. There are some unhappy things going on in the world today, but there are so many wonderful things too!
Here is an example of my daily schedule (the class times and gym times and study times change a little between days, but this is a pretty typical day):
6:30--wake up and get ready
7:30--daily planning (we schedule what we will do during study times)
8:35--gym time (I usually go running and play sand volleyball, but sometimes we go to the gym and use the bikes while watching church movies. It is great, but one is only so motivated by a church movie...and it is pretty embarrassing to tear up in the middle of working out, but it happens whenever they play the Joseph Smith movie!)
10--language computer lab
11--additional study time (whatever we need to work on)
11:30-personal study time (I read scriptures, church talks, and Preach My Gospel)
12:30-lunch (I usually get a wrap)
1:20-- language study (I do flash cards or practice speaking with my class)
2:35--classroom instruction (our teacher helps us with grammar structures, pronunciation, teaching techniques, etc.)
6:20--classroom instruction (more teaching or we teach an investigator)
9:30--return to room and get ready for bed
Yes, it is a very busy, full schedule, but it is effective! I am learning all the time and (for the most part) I enjoy it!
I miss you all so much and I am so grateful for your letters. I love you.