So I'll start with a funny story that was a little awkward for me this week... I was riding the bus this week, sitting in my seat, when an old woman came onto the bus. I looked back and saw that all the seats were taken, so I got up so she could take my seat. I got up and grabbed the bar to stand there, and the old woman reaches out and grabs my butt! Not like a little tap, but grabbed me! I turned to my companion with what must of been huge eyes, and he simply looked at me, laughed, and said, "You better get used to it, that's how they say hello over here." Well... guess I'll take that for what it's worth right? Nothing like old women here in Korea (;
This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with another missionary. However, it was an extremely unique exchange. We were both TRAINEES. Together, we had been in Korea for less than four months. Somehow, we were supposed to spend the day together, teach, and testify with little language skill, and honestly, little confidence. However, we did it. We taught an entire family along the ocean together, and was able to teach a lesson to my bishop. We have little to offer, but try to give everything. Although both trainees, the spirit is strong when you have two young men who are away from home, relying on faith, and purely relying on Christ, together. This missionary expressed the struggles of a mission. How hard it was, and how at times he didn't think he could do this. I sat there and thought, "I've thought the exact same thing." We've both had times when we truly weren't happy. When we feel like there's no end to the struggles. But however, there's also days when we feel a joy that can't be described.
Earlymorning we were getting into personal study. We had gone through the normal routines of exercise, getting ready, listened to music, and the normal routine of an everyday missionary. We sat down and went to bear testimony before personal study, and the young man said, "This morning as I listened to the music that was playing, I know that I've forgotten the basics." He mentioned the particular hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," which is my favorite hymn. I thought about the words. I thought about my Savior. Like this young missionary, and like myself, we often forget the basics. That we have a loving, and guiding Father in Heaven who lives for us. Who lives to lift us when we're down, when we're depressed, when we struggle. What greater comfort can we receive than to know that "Our Redeemer Lives."
"Tys, find your happy place." I'd look up to my dad in the stands, where he'd give me the thumbs up. With that thumbs up, I received a feeling of confidence, a feeling of peace. I knew exactly what my happy place was. When I was in my happy place, I played athletics a lot better than if I wasn't. A simple phrase, given to me by a man I deeply love, and words that will forever last with me a lifetime. But what's the difference of a happy place when stepping on the pitcher's mound, the batter's box, a basketball court, and now... teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ half a world away.
When life got hard for me before my mission, I simply had to think of my dad's council. "Find your happy place, Tys." I hear his voice and see the look on his face as he gave me that sense of comfort and peace. Like my dad teaching his young son a true lesson of a lifetime, our Heavenly Father grants our happy place when we follow Him. All we have to do is follow the basics. Always remember our Savior, follow Him, exemplify His example, strive to be better, and when we fall short, use His grace and infinite atonement. It may not be the temporary "happy place" I tried to find playing sports, but instead, it's the permanent and eternal happy place of abiding with our Savior.
I know He lives. I know my Savior, and I know that He knows everyone of us individually. I've never felt so loved in my life by my Savior. He's always been there, but it took me going back to the basics to realize that He's always been there. I know that as we turn to Him, we'll find our eternal happiness that is waiting for us. "Oh the joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives."
I love you guys and can't wait to talk to ya'll next week. Thanks sooo much for everything. Love you guys! I have the best support!