Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mission Letter 2/29/2016 Leap Day

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was great. Though there wasn't much that varied from the norm, just being a missionary in itself is awesome. 

​CAPTION; The four of us missionaries that serve together in the Sanxia ward. This was at a National Monument in Taipei during Preparation Day.

The mission has dramatically changed at least one part of my personality: my outgoing-ness and willingness to talk to strangers. That has been one of the best things I think, for myself, to actually open up and be willing to talk to strangers, and more willing to talk to friends. Before, I did not dare open my mouth to say anything to most people, and I would avoid looking at  people, and talking to strangers, or being friendly if someone chose to talk to me.

But now, I've been here for over a year and a half. And the change is almost frightening. I'm ready to talk to literally everyone, almost regardless of where they are or what they're doing. And not just talk to them, but talk about the gospel. And that's an amazing privilege.

I remember back to before I was a missionary. Anything which involved putting myself "out there" or talking to any non-member about the gospel was truly frightening. Giving a pamphlet or church material to anyone at school seemed like being asked to go to the Lamanites (who wanted to kill you) to preach. And, especially as missionaries, we're always trying to help members be better missionaries themselves. And, while it's very natural for us missionaries to talk to any random person about the gospel, we forget what it feels like to be a member, comfortable in the church but timid about sharing. And we're like, "Come on, this isn't so hard! Just invite them and us to dinner," or, "Just give them this tract," or, "Give us a referral." But it's scary! Sometimes sharing is hard.

But once we have our own testimony in place, and we understand why the gospel is so important to us, then we have a greater motivation to share it with all the people we know. Once we realize the blessings of the gospel in our own lives, then we can be even more confident in God and in sharing the gospel with others. Alma taught,

Alma 5:26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

If you cannot feel so now, do what you need to to get that feeling back! Do an experiment. Close your eyes and try to imagine what your life would be like right now, if you had never come into contact or been a member of the church. What are the differences? Especially for youth, the difference is enormous. As we consciously take the time to ponder our blessings and the difference that the gospel has made for us, we can start to increase our motivation to help other people (family, friends, neighbors) enjoy those blessings.

These are just some things I've been reflecting upon recently. I don't have much more to write about today. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission