This week I had the incredible experience of watching General Conference in the MTC. Despite the hard MTC chairs, each session seemed to fly by as I listened intently to the inspired messages that were delivered. One of my favorite addresses came from Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Seventy. Of the many great principles he shared, perhaps my favorite is summarized in his statement: “Don’t look around, look up! Look up to Christ.”
As we go through our daily routines and experiences, so often everything can become rote and routine, and we can forget to focus on the things that matter most. Then, when difficult experiences or trials come, we struggle to overcome them or find peace in them because we’ve lost a proper perspective. In the same way a talented athlete or student could be hindered by his own discouragement after a poor performance or an individual may become overly concerned about one difficult aspect of their life and thus be unable to appreciate the great relationships and successes that surround them at the same time. Having a perspective like this can limit our potential and become very discouraging. But as we strive to broaden our perspective, and remember all the many things with which we have been blessed, our lives will be filled with greater joy and light. One of the greatest blessings of the gospel is the incredible hope that it brings into our lives, because it allows us to “see things as they really are.” It allows us to remember that the difficulties and struggles we are beset by in this life are always temporary. As a missionary its easy to forget the broader, more eternal perspective of our purpose and become overly focused on the specific, day to day tasks of our busy daily lives. But the more I strive to increase my understanding by focusing on what really matters my joy increases, and I become much more successful.
We also had a very special visitor for our Tuesday evening devotional this week. Elder Martino, the Area authority of all of Eastern Europe came, and gave an address that felt tailored made to our zone. After the devotional, he asked to speak to the few dozen missionaries serving in his area, and expressed an incredibly uplifting message of encouragement to us. Preparing to go to a place where people are often regarded as cold and closed off, especially in Russia, where proselyting is illegal, it was wonderful to receive such personalized instruction. He and his wife shared their incredible love for the Eastern European people, and I’m more excited than ever to live in such an incredible place for the next two years.
Thanks for the emails! It’s always so nice to hear from everyone at home!
Love you all, have a great week,
Lithuanian Mission Region