Opposition is so real! But we love it!
Hello friends and happy Wednesday! Our preparation day was changed to Wednesday this week because the sisters who are going home soon are currently seeing Wicked. We get to see Wicked once on our mission so that’s pretty cool!
So much has happened in the past week and a half since I last emailed. Honestly, I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with Jan for all those who remember him. I was teaching him in Hyde Park 2. Our prayers have been answered and he got a job! His job is in Germany, so we said “see you later” this week. I love him so much and his faith through this trial has been incredible. He is meeting with missionaries in Germany and is determined to get baptized!
YSA continues to be awesome. Since I’ve been in this area, there has been a baptism each week. The Lord is truly hastening His work and it’s been incredible to be a part of. Also, I love Asians. They are so trusting and excited to learn about God. And the YSA Ward is such a family! All these 18-30 year-olds are so willing to serve and truly love each other. I love them. Ah it’s all so great!
And as I already mentioned, opposition is real guys. But embrace it. I’ve continued to learn more and more on my mission that there is an adversary and he’s got some power. But God has so much more and so do we. The other night I said, “I just wanna kick Satan’s bum.” And Sister Kerr said back, “He doesn’t have one.” We’ve already got that on him; we have a physical body while he does not and he’s quite jealous about it. And so though I can’t really kick Satan’s bum, that guy sure deserves a spanking.
Regardless of that, I really do love opposition. It is frustrating when things don’t work as planned, or when everything seems to work against you. But the Lord’s work will not stop. I cannot begin to describe the emotions I’ve felt on my mission. My heart has been broken over and over again but never been so full. I’ve cried and laughed and hugged others and been hugged myself. It’s a crazy roller-coaster that sometimes I’m amazed we volunteer and pay our own way for. But it’s because this work is true. Because this is the Church of Jesus Christ. Because there are people seeking for the truth. And because the gospel of Jesus Christ provides and is the way to true happiness.
In my studies this week, I came across a scripture that hit me more than before. I was struck by the concept of happiness as I read in the Book of Mormon about Alma counselling his son Corianton. While being disappointed with his son’s unrighteous actions, Alma expresses the famous statement that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).
However, the following verse is what stood out to me. Alma continues, “And now, my son, all men that are in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11).
It’s quite simple- God’s nature is happiness. If we are without God, we are without happiness.
I think we are all desire true happiness. We want to know what happiness is to us specifically and how we will achieve or find happiness. Well, as one of my favorite quotes says, “Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.”
Therefore, what is the happiness we are seeking? When Alma describes wickedness as never being happiness, he is referring to the what the world has to offer as “happiness.” The carnal state Alma describes is of those who are of the world. Societies view on happiness seems to differ quite extremely from God’s nature of happiness.
I have noticed that the world seems to provide what appears as temporary happiness. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “While [people] may take some temporary pleasure in sin, the end result is unhappiness. Sin creates disharmony with God and is depressing to the spirit.”
However, because God loves us, is the source of true happiness, and wants us to have eternal happiness, He has given us commandments. President Monson taught this as well. He said, “God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey.”
(Y’all should read his talk because it’s really so great- https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/keep-the-commandments?lang=eng)
I found this interesting as we taught two of our friends some of the things that can make us really happy. First we taught about the Word of Wisdom, which is simply a law of health. It teaches us what foods and substances we should and should not use to maintain the health of our bodies and to keep us free from evil influences. As we keep this commandment, the Lord promises blessings of health, strength, protection against evil, and greater receptiveness to spiritual truths.
More specifically, as part of the Word of Wisdom we are to avoid harmful substances, including alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee and other harmful drugs in any form.
The friend we were teaching had read a pamphlet about the Word of Wisdom prior to us teaching and even meeting her. As we taught her this commandment, she mentioned how though she hadn’t been taught it yet, she was aware of it. When she would go out with her friends and have a drink or smoke, she realized now how unhappy those substances made her. In the moment she found temporary happiness. But in the long run, the next morning she didn’t feel happy. She has begun to commit to living the Word of Wisdom, and in doing so, she has already noticed the blessings and long-term happiness.
The second teaching we shared was about the Law of Chastity, which includes abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage.
As we told another friend about this beautiful law, it was so humbling to hear her response. With her small English that she knows, she said, “Well yes, we should do this because otherwise we can be sad.” She explained how we are likely to get hurt when we have casual sexual relationships outside of marriage. It was amazing to see how she already knew that keeping this commandment will keep her safe and happy.
The world has tried to convince us otherwise; that there’s nothing wrong with addictive substances or that sexual relationships outside of marriage are acceptable. Alma witnessed this himself in the year 74 B.C. However, this temporary happiness that the world and the adversary has tried to convince us of will be only that- temporary. It is in contrast to God’s nature and God’s eternal plan of happiness.
God wants us to be happy. He knows how we can be happy. Though some may tell me otherwise, I have noticed in my life that I have been the happiest when I am abiding by God’s commandments. He has given them to us because He loves us and so we will be happy!
I would invite each of you to begin to ponder on what true happiness is. As you do so, try living these commandments. They may be difficult to follow at first, but the Lord will strengthen you in your sincere desire to live these commandments. As President Monson recently said, “We need to work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve. We need to know God’s laws and live them. Only by so doing will we obtain true, eternal happiness.”
Love you all and BE HAPPY 🙂