Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's been A Year!

Well, it has been a year since I finished my mission. I guess I have to write something......My mission truely was an important piece of my jigsaw-puzzled life. It expanded my eternal perspective.I have seen more than a glimpse of God's hand in His secred work. Eventhough I cherish my mission memory, I know the better is yet to come.

I have heard so many RMs who said they wish they could go back to their mission. I love my mission, but don't want to feel like- finishing a mission is like walking down the top of the mountain. We look up there and see the glory and feel like there's nothing down here..Vice versa, I want to look back and would be able to smile and gain more strengh to climb up the mountain just to gimpse the next accomplishment.

Well... There are so many things that I could do, and surely so many of them have helped me experience the same joy I did on my mission. In fact, I don't really miss my mission at all. Why? I guess maybe because our "mission" that has something to do with people whom we love will never end. This must be the reason the "sisters" who taught me 13 years ago still write me and follow up on me :)

I went on my mission in hope that my life might touch others and to share with them the blessings, and the miracles of the living gospel. To my surprise, I'm touched and blessed by the love of those whom I'm called to served. They became my family, my friends. I was lifted while I thought my hands were lifting others.

The best part is that I gained best friends from my mission. Friends, whose friendship is developed out of the testimony. We shared spiritual experiences, testimony, Christlike love,we could talk forever about some wierd things like second coming, outer darkness, etc. while I cannot do the same with my nonmember friend. This is a bond that is stronger than any other.

I've seen a lot in my mission. I've seen enough of the lives of others-invertigators, families (happy ones and broken ones) , members,other missionaries etc. As a missionary, I'm trusted by them to give counsels. I shared with them how to build faith, deal with chalanges and hardships in life. What so funny is that.. when it comes to my life now. Will I be able to live the same way I've taught others to live? To trust the Lord, to pray unceasingly, to attend 3 hour church every Sunday, to serve unselfishly, to forgive and forget, to do so many other things that are much easier to tell others to do than do it yourself.

Well, I think i've done fine so far this past year:) Yes, there are so many that I have to improve still ...

Speaking of mission, I remember that the sister who taught me wrote me many months ago and asked me this question I didn't get to answer her yet...The question is:

"I have a question for you. why do you think so many Thai RMs go inactive. It has puzzled me for 10 years and I just don't understand. I loved and served with so many of them and now what? They just don't care? I would love to hear any insight you may have."

Yes, this past 13 years I've seen countless of Thai RMs go inactive even the one that first introduced the gospel to me. In my first area that I served. I did visit that sister who first taught me the gospel. I talked to her, looked into her eyes and I knew she knew it is still true. I don't think she doesn't care. But as we know, we all can lose our testimony and faith. I believe no one can forget a testimony, I've never forget mine. There was a time when i stopped coming to church. I went inactive but I did know the truth. However, the truth is no good to those who have no faith - faith comes when we plant the seed - through excercise our faith to grow that seed. When we have faith in something we will act upon it. In the scripture it said that "man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." Without faith we have no motivation to do it.

I believe so many of them stop coming to church and stop doing the things they suppose to do because they are not enticed by the spirit. So the truth they still know, but spirit is what they lose. That's a reason anybody go inactive. For the Thai RMs, however, life is especially hard..since our family/society is not in full support in what we believe. If we are not valiant in our testimony, anything could happen...Not just go inactive know? but even go contrary to the way of the Lord and sin

Why is that?

I believe many of them were not well prepared to serve their mission. Many Thai members want to serve because they are impressed with missionary" image" things. Most of them that went on their mission were just new members. That's one of the problems. As a new member, the first 2 years in the church is a "honeymoon" period. Everything is new, fun, fresh, and great! Then, they wish to share this great experience they decided to become a missionary. Little did they know what they are expected to do in a mission. I myself, found that mission is not what I expected to be. Eventhough mission could be fulfilling, it's not fun all the time. We have to work hard, focus, give of ourselve and even forget ourselve. How could I/they know since we saw the missionaries like 2-3 times a week and they seem to have a great time doing what they are doing. Some of them just believe hanging out with farangs and other missionaries would be fun!

Then, in mission...some of them did develope their testimony , become a great missionaries. If they did, they will more likely stay active in the church. On the other hand, many struggled throughout their mission. Having fun playing around, unfocus, and be a burden instead of a blessing. However, mission was still great for them since they didn't have to worry about anything. They were having fun "doing missionary things". So, the mission time was somehow is a honeymoon period still. What happen after they finished their mission? They faced the real world. Things have changed. Some haven't finished college and have to go back to school. And to catch up with things was not easy at all. Some dreamed that they might be able to get a better job, get married and even go to the States, and it didn't happen. They woke up...and there... so many other hardships......which they were not prepared to meet...... these did undo them.

I'm lucky I was through the honey moon long time ago. I faced many trials and even went inactive once. I'd been through so many things which made my mission is just another great experience that helped stregnthen me.

How can we prevent this inactivity of the Thai RMs? Maybe if we help prepare them for their mission, there might be a chance to save them. We all know though that the Lord would permit anybody who "have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work" (D&C 4).... He did told us how to save our soul when he said in the next verse that : "and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;" A missionary, indeed, has a responsibility to save others and his own soul as well.

No matter what reason that caused any RMs to go inactive, I still know what keeps us active is as simple as praying, reading scriptures and going to simple as that....

“The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. If you do not have it, how can you stand?”

Life of Heber C. Kimball


Iggy Bloggit said...

Wow, as always I love your way with words. I think you speak English better than I do. I miss staying up all night talking to you (even though we were supposed to go to bed at 10 or 10:30... don't remember which!) I really admire your views and ideas.

It's so interesting that you say they still know the truth but have lost the Spirit. it is sad to imagine hundreds of sweet souls, spread out across the earth, knowing the truth but not feeling the Spirit that they once had. it must feel like they have lost everything. but they cannot deny that they know where to regain it. we humans are cruel, and we are cruelest to ourselves, denying ourselves of happiness.

I also like how you describe friendships that develop out of testimony. those friendships don't die... and i think that often, people come back to the church through those friendships.

What happened in your life to bring you back to the church after you were inactive? was it anything specific?

Thank you for writing this!

Iggy Bloggit said...

by the way... just in case you don't know who iggy bloggit is... it's me!

L Blodgett

Jamie said...

Hi Jim,
I found your blog on your facebook.
I have often wondered the same thing about Thai RM's and am now especially worried about sweet little Angkhana. (I looked in my journal and her nickname was 'Taay (like grataay in rabbit). I wish I could stay in Thailand so much longer. My heart is aching to go visit so many people that I know aren't active anymore.
choogdii na!