Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Not IF, But WHEN

Hey everybody!
     It's been a great week over here! It's been super busy with the start of a new transfer but it's been great. This week we were able to commit a man to be baptized, and he's preparing for baptism on February 12th. He's very poor, divorced, lost his kids, and we're hoping that his desire will continue to increase as we get closer. This week, I also had to send my companion of nearly five months home as he finished a faithful and successful mission. I'll sure miss him, but so grateful that I got to serve with him. It's been a really special, spiritual week for me.
     A few months ago, I helped a new sister unload her two large suitcases as she made her way off the train. She had just barely started her mission, and was going to be serving in the same area as me. Me and my companion grabbed her bags and took them home for her. She was quiet and didn't say much, overwhelmed by everything, as most new missionaries are. When missionaries start in Korea, it's really difficult, and it was no different for this young sister. A few weeks into her mission, the companionship asked if I would give them a blessing, so I did. I can't remember what I said, but I had a neat experience this week with that young sister missionary again.
     The sister missionary, having experienced medical problems on her mission, had to return home this week. Working in the office, we were there to help her with everything. The night before she left, we were in the office doing work and she turned to me and quietly asked, "Elder Roper, do you remember giving me that blessing?" I looked at her and said, "Of course I remember." She then looked at me, and again quietly said, "You foreshadowed me going home in your blessing." I didn't really know what to say, and asked her if she remembered what I had said. She said that I told her in that blessing that, "One day, she would have to make the decision if she would keep serving or not." 
     Right now, with the medical conditions, she will have a choice to return back to the mission, and she said that the blessing was true, and that she would now be faced with that decision of if she would keep serving. I stood there speechless for a minute, not exactly knowing what to say. As I've thought about the situation, I've realized in our lives, there is an everyday choice of "if we will continue to keep serving the Savior or not." 
     In Ether 12:27, the whole scripture depends on one word, and that word is IF.... And IF men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. And IF they humble themselves, I will make weak things strong. The word IF is a word of doubt, of skepticism, and lack of faith. IF is the deciding factor of this powerful, and life changing verse. So when we take out the word IF, and replace it will a word of certainty, and hope, and confidence, we can personally read. "And WHEN men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. And WHEN they humble themselves, I will make weak things strong." In the scriptures Christ always uses words of certainty. "I WILL not leave your comfortless".... "I WILL send angels on your right and left".... "I WILL come to you." 
     In our lives, each and every day, we are faced with the word IF... IF we will do this, or that. Instead of "when I do that," or "I will do that," we all find ourselves in the category of IF sometimes. I looked at this young sister, and I shared that verse with her. I've seen her progress, her faith grow, as well as her testimony, and with that, I looked at her and said, "It's not a matter of if you'll continue to serve, but when, and what you will accomplish." But of course, like her, it's all up to us in the end to replace our doubts and fears of the word "IF" with the certainty of the words "when and will" as we decide to continue to keep serving. 
     I leave you with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a miracle. Each day we decide to serve, to love, and to help others. It is my humble prayer, that as Jesus always has, we too like him will say with certainty when others are in need of it, "I will come to you." I know He lives. Our Savior, our Redeemer, our Teacher, our King. I love serving Him in Korea with His name on my chest, right next to my heart.
     I love you all, and miss you dearly. I pray for you and your families. Know always how grateful I truly am, and always will be. Till next week!

Elder Roper

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