Family are you ready for the twelfth and last transfer announcement? Where will I be spending my final six weeks?
So I'm staying. With my same companion. But there's a twist. We're receiving a third companion. And a second area. So up until now I was serving in Shibuya Ward. It's a Japanese service. I was living with two sisters serving in what's called the Tokyo First Ward. It's an English service. It's close as well, but smack dab in the middle of all the embassies of Tokyo. While most of everyone there is American, there are Chinese, Brazilian, Peruvian, Filipino, and Indian friends in attendance. Now, I am no longer a Shibuya sister missionary alone, but a Tokyo 1st one as well. Two wards, two bishops, two teaching pools, two of about everything else. This isn't the first time I've been the missionary of two wards, and at least these two sacrament services are in the same time block so it doesn't mean six hours of church but WOW. God just wants to run me into the ground. He won't let me get trunky even if I wanted to.
Every day of my mission I've thought of my own summary of a mission.
Here are my best drafts.
1. Missions are simple Today I experienced my final transfer call, and it was sad. Yes, it's strange that every six weeks we could be summoned to some random part of the mission. It's last minute and sudden. We get this phone call on Monday, mind you, and have to be moved out by Wednesday. But at the same time, I've never had such a rigid lifestyle. I've never lived in such a strict pattern. I know that every single night I will sleep for exactly eight hours, wake up the next morning and study for three hours. Every week I know I'll be at church on Sunday and in English class on Wednesday. Every aspect of my day is completely predictable, I know exactly what to expect. What a sad day it will be when I have to leave it behind. Things like school, work, family and marriage will easily interrupt my eight hours of sleep. When these six weeks end, I will not know where I will be one week down the road, three weeks down the road, or a year down the road. How beautiful it is to know that for this next few weeks I will be a missionary of Jesus Christ and nothing else.
2. Missions are happy I found the most beautiful quote in "Jesus the Christ" that distinguishes the happiness felt in the mission in comparison to happiness felt before the mission. It's really a miniature essay on pleasure versus happiness but it's the same thing. I'm adding my own inserts so it doesn't seem like I'm cheating by simply copying and pasting.
“Happiness includes all that is really desirable and of true worth in pleasure, and much besides. Happiness is genuine gold, pleasure but guilded brass, which corrodes in the hand, and is soon converted into poisonous verdigris. Happiness is as the genuine diamond, which, rough or polished, shines with its own inimitable luster; pleasure is as the paste imitation that glows only when artificially embellished. Happiness is as the ruby, red as the heart’s blood, hard and enduring; pleasure, as stained glass, soft, brittle, and of but transitory beauty. “Happiness is true food, wholesome, nutritious and sweet; it builds up the body and generates energy for action, physical, mental and spiritual; pleasure is but a deceiving stimulant which, like spirituous drink, makes one think he is strong when in reality enfeebled; makes him fancy he is well when in fact stricken with deadly malady.
Sister Goldsberry insert: At the end of even the most exhausting day, the only thing that keeps me going is the happy feeling I feel when I help others. My desire to feel happy is my motivation. It's the only thing that really could keep me going because even now as I'm the best cook I've ever been and eating the most protein I ever could and stretching every yen as far as it would go, and I'm still exhausted, it's vital to be happy. Happiness is essential to finishing strong. I might come home crawling on the filthy airport floor, but I'm coming home smiling.
“Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and, if indulged to the extreme, it brings degradation and destruction. Sister Goldsberry insert: Of course happiness has no depressing reaction! I cannot and will not finish my mission down hearted. Of course I'll miss my mission and my name tag but I know that I will not slip into a depression because I found true happiness on my mission and that is something I can keep forever.
“True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave a barbed sting, which, like a thorn in the flesh, is an ever-present source of anguish. Sister Goldsberry insert: God promised me in Alma 37:26 that "But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, (for you must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them) behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words." “Happiness is not akin with levity, nor is it one with light-minded mirth. It springs from the deeper fountains of the soul, and is not infrequently accompanied by tears. Have you never been so happy that you have had to weep? I have.” Sister Goldsberry insert: AMEN! Never have I been so happy, but cried so much.
More next week. My mission ain't over yet.
See you soon,
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