Just some thoughts
Life is so full of change. It seems like we're always saying either hello or goodbye. This week we went to the Temple in Korea and had a wonderful time. I learned though, that a few of the friendliest faces at the temple won't be there the next time we visit. Elder and Sister Kim, and Elder and Sister Park will be finishing their temple missions and be returning home to Provo, and to Australia. (They're native Koreans so I was surprised to find out that they live in not-Korea.) The Parks always helped us when we would do baptisms for the dead in the temple, and Elder Kim usually works the check-in desk. They're great and it will be weird next time for them not to be there.
We also got to say hello to Elder McAllen (not sure how he spells) who is serving here on the island with us. He's from Texas and seems like a great missionary. He flew in from the MTC about a week ago, and will be trained by Elder Huffman -- the legend. We're going to have a great transfer.
When we finally got back to Sakhalin after all our travelicous adventures Elder Thellmann was sick. We were hoping he'd get better before Church, but it didn't really work out. So we took a sick day. Basically all day we sat and read scriptures, took a little nap, and then woke up to read and study more. It was cool to be able to just study and try to better understand the scriptures that we have. The more I study the longer my list of questions seems to get. I'm always amazed at the complacency that some people have in relation to the word of God. "I know everything" or "What could I learn from a book when I have already lived a long 45 years?" Those are the kinds of things that people say when they want to fluster Elder Fife. We have to knock if it's ever going to be opened to us, we have to seek in order to find. Wisdom doesn't come as a gift that accompanies age. You have to work for it, you have to seek knowlege by learning and also by faith. Those are the rules.
A mission is a really humbling thing. I know for a fact that I wouldn't be able to see success convincing people to believe in God and that there is a prophet somewhere in America who had a book of gold. There is no doubt in my mind that without devine help I would have failed and went home in discouragement long ago, not even being able to understand the words of rejection hissing at me in a foreign tongue. But that isn't the case. The Lord has blessed me to speak and understand the Russian language. He has sent his Spirit to bear witness to the hearts of his children, to reveal himself and the truth of his works to them. He has lifted me up through discouraging times and blessed my paths. There are miracles happening in the lives of individuals all over. You'll notice them too when you look close enough at your own experiences, and at the lives of those in your immediate circles. You don't have to look very far to see the hand of your Maker.
It baffles me to know that He who made worlds without end, who created all living things and each of the stars in the heavens, He who is without beginning of days or end of years, knows Elder Fife, loves him, and is concerned about the things that are happening in his life. The miracle of salvation happens on an individual basis, and takes place deep within the heart. So many people waste time and energy looking far and wide for miracles, when the most profound wonders take place within us.
I hope those thoughts might touch someone. They help me to keep things a little bit more in perspective at least. I know that God knows you and he loves you. You haven't done so many terrible things that he will turn away from you. He invites you to "repent, that [he] may heal you." It's great to know that we have a friend in the heavens.
I'm thankful for all of the prayers offered for me. I know the Lord protects me in answer to your pleas. Have a great week ya'hear?
Elder Sam Fife