Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sammy's final (?) letter from the MTC - August 8

Hey guys!
Jina im jema (mom and dad) If you have like the pronunciation for God be With You Till We Meet Again in Korean, that would be incredible. We're singing it in all of the languages that we know the day before we leave. We have Tongan, Fijiian, Bislama, French, Spanish, Samoan, Hebrew, and hopefully Korean! Also I am now thoroughly disappointed you never taught me Korean as a kid. SMH.
We got our travel plans this past week and I leave from the MTC on tuesday at 6:30. We take the frontrunner up to the Airport and our flight leaves at 11:57. We fly direct to Hawaii along with all the people going to the Marshall Islands (they stay the night in Hawaii). I don't even know how to describe how I feel. It's like leaving home all over again. I'm excited to go, but it's sad to have to say bye to all my friends I've made here.
During our devotional on Sunday one of the messages the speaker shared was the power of bearing a testimony. He said that bearing testimony allows the Spirit to speak to our investigators and causes them to re-remember truths they already know. He told us that when an investigator hears our lessons they think "hey that sounds familiar" and that's because it is. They have already known the truth of our message, we just need to help them re-remember. By leading others to see what we see, know what we know, and feel what we feel our investigators can receive that witness which will bring them unto Christ.
Stories and legends are a big part of Marshallese culture, so I'm going to share one that our teacher told us. There were 10 brothers who were all vying to be Irooj, or chief/king, of this atoll. They asked their mother how they would decide who among them would be a king, she decided to hold a canoe race from one island to the other (about 20 miles) and the winner would be the king. Right before the race was about to begin, the mother went to the oldest son and asked if she could ride in his canoe. She was holding a big jaki (mat) bundle and he told her that he didn't need any extra weight holding him back, but that his younger brother would take her. All of the brothers continued to say this same thing, until she came to her youngest son, Jebro. He figured he was going to lose the race anyway, so he agreed to let her come on. The race started and Jebro quickly fell behind. Once he could no longer see any of his brothers, his mother told him "you helped me, so now I will help you". She unrolled the jaki and began to pull ropes and beams out. She told him to tie ropes to certain places and put beams in others. He replied he didn't have time for that and that he needed to be paddling to try and catch his brothers, but she told him to just trust her. He did as she said, tied a rope here, and placed a beam there. He thought the work useless until he pulled on one rope and it raised the sail. He sailed past all of his brothers, but when he got to his oldest brother who was at the front, his brother accused him of cheating. He demanded the sail, so Jebro's mother gave it to him, but not the rutter. He sailed off in the wrong direction and Jebro won the race and became Irooj.
Marshallese people tell this as the first story of someone to sail in history, but I want to relate it to the gospel. First, we must let the Lord in. He doesn't force himself upon us, but simply asks if he can come with us. We may feel hesitant at first to take upon us the Lord's burdens or "unneeded weight" in our canoes. This added weight will, at first, hold us back. It may get to the point where we feel all hope is lost, until we can no longer see our brothers, but it is at this time of our greatest despair that the lord will help us. He will guide us subtly, but constantly by the power of the Holy Ghost. We may want to keep going on our own, to tell Him that "we don't have time for this and we need to keep paddling" However, when we turn to Him and allow him to step into our lives, that is when we see miracles. But, he will not simply do everything for us. He will provide us with the necessary tools and instruct us every step of the way, but will never do the work himself. The steps taken individually may not make any sense, but when the project is completed and the big picture is seen, we find that the Lord has helped us immensely in ways that we couldn't even have imagined. By obeying His advice, these burdens may become our greatest strengths. In our flawed state we truly have no hope, but with the Lord's help we can become Irooj ro (kings and queens).
Hope this message will brighten your day when you feel weighed down.

Elder Merrill

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