My District is also composed of: Me (District Leader) and Elder Murdock (Lived together in Geumcheon for a transfer) Elder Helms (My old companion for one transfer in YeongDeungPo... and also served in Geumcheon right before I got there) and Elder Dayley (My son Elder Ellsworth's MTC group) Sister Kim Shin Yeong (from Yeosu, like a few of my relatives) and Sister Zippro (a new missionary!)It's going to be amazing. We all have cool connections and already have great unity. ..It's just a little terrifying being the oldest missionary here, trying to fill the biggest shoes in the universe (Elder Thomas was an AMAZING missionary). But, here we go!
* When we foster a culture of obedience within our own lives, we begin to live in such a way that God (and others) can then trust US.
* When we are sensitive, our hearts and minds become more open-- more willing to hear and see the miracles around us-- as well as allowing us to more courageously act on the spiritual promptings we can then more frequently recognize.
* And, lastly, patience -- when God lets us struggle and grow, in order to reach our full potential.
These four attributes make up only a small (yet important) part of something called Character. I've learned along this journey that "Character" is one of the most important things we possess.
So, back to character. Who WE ARE is more important than anything and everything the world could offer. Think about all of the influences you've had in your life, good or bad, and all of the decisions you've made based on WHO those influences were, if not based on who YOU were. Character is woven patiently from threads of trust, obedience, sensitivity, and.. well, patience. and is the manifestation of what you are becoming. God uses our faith to mold our character; we come to the edge of our understanding, and as we dip our toes into the pool of uncertainty, we exercise that faith, receive answers, learn, and grow. We spend our lives constantly learning, growing, and becoming. Our character is strengthened, and we begin to understand more and more what we can, and progressively will become.I have recently learned that strength of character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation; that is when it is used. The bedrock of our character is integrity. Worthy character strengthens our capacity to recognize circumstances and act obediently. When we come to develop strong character, it becomes more important than anything we own, anything we have learned, and any accomplished feat or goal. It becomes us. The consistent exercise of faith in those critical moments, as well as the ordinary moments, is what builds strong character.After a time our character will become fortified; expanding our ability to exercise faith, --thereby improving our capacity and confidence in conquering trials in this life. ..How rad. It's a strengthening cycle. The more fortified, the more capable we become.
We are often drawn into the battle for our souls each day, but we must be valiant in the struggle for the character that we have tirelessly forged, and that was forged for us, in the beginning. Our character is being solidified every day by constant, correct choices. Neither Satan nor any other power can weaken or destroy our growing character. ..Only WE can.
But of course, there is no guarantee that life will be easy for any of us. ...Life isn't easy, right? (....right??) ..We are here to prove, develop, and overcome. And as we learn and grow more rapidly by facing and conquering challenges we need to remember to constantly think, make the right judgments, and act righteously. Don't fumble the ball of life by justifying deviations, rationalizations, temptations.. etc, just to get ahead in the "game of life". I pray for my siblings and friends (as I'm sure you do for your sons or daughters) that they might find or recognize people in their sphere of living that provide righteous, encouraging, character-strengthening examples to help motivate and inspire them to do good. That can be US. Strive to always live for honesty, integrity, chastity, virtue, and will. You will never go wrong when you trust in the Lord and in his promises, no matter how severe the challenges.
Our Eternal Father stands.
Our Father, a timeless smith is He--
With large and gentle hands.
His hair is crisp, and white, and long
His face, warm like the sand--
His brow is wet with honest sweat--
He owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn' til night
You can hear his bellows blow.
You can hear the song of his heavy sledge
With each measured beat and slow.
Thrust right into the flaming forge
He molds the great and good--
With fire, time, and temperance
Licking at the wood.
Since nothing’s worth the making
If it does not make the man,
We too, bear with heart his piercing strikes
To fill a greater plan.
It sounds to him a symphony
As he listens to our lives
And with a large, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing--
Onward through time he goes.
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees repose.
Something attempted, something done,
With no room left for naught
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Man is built and fortunes wrought.
And so on his sounding anvil shapes
Each burning deed and thought.