This week was a pretty good week. We had a fun New Years! Well, we just worked but that was fun enough haha. On New Years Eve, we had to come in early and do our weekly planning because the mission didn't want us out past 6 o'clock. It doesn't really get "crazy" in Sammamish but I could definitely understand why they wouldn't want missionaries out past 6 in places like Gehtto Seattle and Downtown Seattle. I can only imagine haha. January 1st was a normal proselyting day for us.
We had the opportunity to kick off the New Year right though with a surprise visit from President and Sister Choi. On the 2nd, President Choi felt inspired to come and visit us to do an apartment check and conduct personal interviews with Elder Pulini and I. It was inspiration because it was way needed. Our apartment was a mess. It wasn't "dirty" because I clean everything multiple times a week but it was not picked up and organized at all. Most of it was my companion's stuff but I won't blame him for it. Its just as much my fault for not saying anything. It was a pretty big surprise for us to have President Choi show up. As I said, my companion isn't the most obedient so when he walked into our apartment, I was studying but my companion was in the other room on the couch in his pajamas. I don't know if he was studying or not but it surprised him quite a bit. President Choi interviewed us each individually and then together. He told me he was disappointed in the appearance of the apartment and proceeded to question me about my companion. Elder Pulini's interview was a bit longer and from what Elder Pulini told me, a lot more chastening went down. I guess President told Elder Pulini that if he doesn't shape up, he's getting sent home. Now, I have to text President every night an obedience and disobedience percentage for each of us individually.
I learned a lot from this encounter with President. One, was that he is truly inspired and truly loves each of his missionaries. I have been struggling with my companion for awhile and it wasn't really getting any better. Two, I learned that I need to be a better leader. I'm not sure how yet, but I need to. This has been an interesting transfer so far. I have learned a lot and made a few mistakes a long the way, but you grow the most during your trials.
Something I learned this week comes from my study of the Book of Mormon and from the guidance of a previous leader. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and was inspired to look back at my notes. I remembered specifically a single phrase "Don't get stuck in Bountiful." Now I don't mean Bountiful, Utah -- I'm sure its a great place -- but instead it comes back to the land Bountiful in the Book of Mormon, the Bountiful that Nephi and his brethren came across just before building a ship and crossing the ocean. Now Nephi and his brethren had passed through 8 years of hardship "yea, even so much that we cannot write them all" (1 Ne 17:6) before reaching the land "called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey" (1 Ne 17:5). Bountiful was a fantastic place. It was a seaside vacation! It had much fruit and honey, things that were scarce to this nomadic family. Yet, the Lord had promised them a "promised land" that would be even better. How easy would it have been for them to stop (in fact Laman and Lemuel wanted to) and say "life is good enough". The Jaredites did exactly that when they took their trip to the promised land. They postponed their blessings for 4 years waiting around in Moriancumer before finally being chastened enough to repent and put their faith in the Lord (Ether 2:13-15). Yet it took faith in the Lord that he would provide something better than Bountiful and Moriancumer. Nephi and his family as well as the Jaredites could not see this promised blessing, for all they could see was an ocean. For all they knew, there wasn't anything out there except a watery grave. Yet by placing their faith in Christ, "nothing wavering" (James 1:6), that faith took them to the promised land where they found a greater abundance of everything and a blessing greater than that of Bountiful (1 Ne 18:24-25). Have faith in Christ and "Don't get stuck in Bountiful".
I love you! I hope you've had a fantastic week!
Elder Connor M. Garriss