Sunday, August 19, 2012
This last week included August 17th. August 17th was the day I reported to the MTC last year. It was fun to be here in Singapore for it, because four or five of the Elders who were in the MTC with me were also there. We all talked about it, about how FAST this last year has gone and how different we all are now.
I remember the day I went into the MTC as if it were four months ago instead of twelve. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what a mission was even like. But I was excited and I felt that God wanted me there. I can't believe that was a year ago.
At the same time, though, so much has happened. I feel I have aged (matured) at three or four times the normal speed. On my 22nd birthday, it felt strange to be turning 22 because I feel that internally I have been 24 all year. I still have a lot to learn, of course, but I have seen and experienced things this past year that I never knew existed. Feelings I didn't know I could feel... people in live situations that I never knew about. People in spiritual places I never knew anyone could be in (good and also very bad). I am still growing up but I feel that in many ways my mission has made me an adult, made me a woman. It's given me a chance to see the world through spiritual eyes, to see the world for what it really is.
This week we visited an inactive part-member family... the husband is an American and hasn't been to church in at least 15 years, probably more like 20+. He married a Catholic Singaporean. She passed away earlier this year, but their three children are still Catholic and are brought to church every week, from what I understand, by their relatives. He told us that he wants to wait until the kids are old enough, and he'll let them follow whatever religion they want when they're old enough to make the decision. It was interesting to spend some time with them. They have a good relationship with each other, from what I can see. They joke around that seem to like spending time with each other. He says that sometimes he tells them Book of Mormon stories, and he keeps the Book of Mormon by his bed. I started to ask him questions about what his concerns are why he is not living the Gospel. I wanted to ask him more questions... but he said he felt gloom in the room so he was going to change the topic, which he did. That gloom was the Spirit (or absence of the Spirit) teaching us about how we should not let others' sins or mistakes lead to our own personal apostasy. I didn't say that to him, but it was a good learning experience for me. I wonder what will happen with this family. We want to teach his children so that they CAN make that choice, and make it with an understanding of what they are choosing. We'll see how it goes.
I know that the Gospel is true and that God is real and loves us. He gives us commandments so we can be happy and have His Spirit with us. I've experienced that firsthand in my life--that obedience brings the Spirit of the Lord into our lives.