So this last week has been the hardest week yet on the mission for me. But rather than dwell on the hard things, which benefits neither you or me, I want to write today about a lesson I have learned about faith and hope.
But first let me tell you about the string cheese part of this email. :) So as I said, this last week was hard for me. But I kept praying that somehow, something would make it better. I prayed that I would feel some peace and happiness to bring me back up to my happy self. :) Well, God answered my prayers with a bag of string cheese. Now, if you know me well, you know that I love string cheese. It is my addiction. Chewy and I would share it all the time at home. :) In Korea, cheese costs SO MUCH. Missionaries cannot afford it. String cheese costs about $1 for one stick of cheese. This member in our ward gave us a bag of about 30 string cheeses. There is no way we could possibly afford that much cheese, so I was SO happy. Though it is kind of silly, string cheese truly answered my prayers. And I cannot thank that ward member enough for the bag of string cheese that lightened my week and my mood. :)
So now I will tell you my story about faith. Last week I was sitting at my desk during personal study, pondering the difference between faith and hope. I kind of had this little epiphany moment when I started comparing faith and hope to a bridge.
Hope is the first plank of the bridge that we lay down, the very basis of faith itself. Before we can truly have faith, we must have hope. Once we have laid down the first plank of wood, we can start building our faith. As we grow in the gospel, as we study the scriptures and attend church, we can build a stronger bridge. We continue adding planks of wood and support to make the bridge stronger. But God will test our faith in a variety of ways, and it is not always easy to keep our bridge strong. Sometimes God allows someone to jump on our bridge, maybe a large truck drives across it... all these things test the strength of our bridge of faith, and it is our decision on how to deal with it. We can allow the bridge to break under the weight of the truck, or, we can add more planks of faith to our bridge to strengthen it. We can turn to God in times of trial, and rely on Him to help us through, or we can just give it all up and let our bridge crumble. It is up to us.
I don't think that anyone in this gospel can say that they have never had doubts. We all have doubts here and there. Those of us that choose to turn to God in times of doubt can feel the strength He gives us as our faith bridge becomes stronger, and somehow we come away with a more sure knowledge than we had before we even doubted the truth. But some of us also turn away from God and succumb to those doubts, letting our bridge of faith crumble beneath us. Then we find ourselves lost in the void beneath our once strong bridge, and we must start building again or stay lost and confused.
But then there is also hope. Hope, as I said, is the very basis of faith. Before I personally knew this gospel was true, I hoped that I was true. I hoped that my family could truly be together forever, and I hoped that there was life after death, and I hoped that God was there always listening. I hoped that everything the gospel is about is actually true. But as I began to hope, I also began to believe. I decided that if I was going to invest my entire life believing something, this gospel is what I want to believe. This gospel is happier than any other gospel on this earth. I would not want to spend my life believing in something that is sad or depressing.
And that is where my very own testimony began. I hoped that the gospel was true. And I put that hope into action. Now I have faith that this gospel is true, and I know that it is true. I love this gospel so much and without it I would seriously be lost in the void. My faith bridge is getting stronger every day, and that bridge is what is bringing me closer to God. :) I just want others to feel this happiness more than anything else in the world. I love you all and I hope this email made sense haha. Sometimes things are hard to put into words! :)
LOVE YOU ALL! MISS YOU! :)
Love, Sister Maughan
NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.