Monday, September 28, 2015

Weakness is NOT sin

I always think of things to say right here that would be funny or serious, never works.  I think I'm giving up on it, its only been like 22 months.... 

Anyways!  This week was pretty dang awesome!  We started off this week with an awesome and surprising trip to the DMZ again!  Sick!  I thought it was awesome the first time!  It was great again the second time!  
I'm not fat.... its just the shirt.... maybe I can lose a couple of pounds...

It was a pretty sick even again!  More information, more love for the Korean people!

Then on Thursday we were called by a member to help translate for him at the police station.... Definitely didn't feel super comfortable but it was fine.  We were able to help him out and get his whole car accident situation taken care of.  (Side note: Translating at the DMZ for the Koreans all of the military words like Defect and Land Mine, NOT EASY.  In the same week translating police words like CAR INSURANCE, and CLAIMS, etc, also NOT EASY.   Thank Heavenly Father for the Gift of Tongues.)

Then the fun part began, Friday was our cleaning day because of the Korean holiday Chuseok.  We were able to clean our house all day, and then had a coordination meeting with our ward mission leader, in street clothes, while he was in full ACU.  Exciting.  

Saturday we had the awesome experience of going and celebrating a little bit as a mission!  We all went bowling together and then had a conference.

  Never have we felt sooo much love for the Korean people.  We learned more about the Korean war, and also about our missions history.  Seeing some of the big names come out of our mission is really great!  Elder Whiting called the Korea Seoul Mission the Cult mission.  People like Clayton M Christensen, Mack Wilberg, and others have all served here.  And it was awesome to hear their stories.  And to see the Church develop and flourish here because of the hard work of sooo many missionaries. 
 After the conference, I felt so bad.  I felt like I had failed my time in the Korean areas and so that's why I was sent to an English area.  I talked to president about it during my temple recommend interview and he (being the businessman that he is, very short) gave me a couple of words: "Elder, you're being short-sighted, stop."  Inspiring!  Haha, What a way with words this man has.  It would go on!  As we continued the interview, he asked me all the basic questions, and I felt they were all fine. Answered ok.  Then he asked if I felt  that I was worthy to go into the house of the Lord and perform the ordinances there.  And I choked up.  I couldn't get the words to come out.  Let's be clear, I haven't done anything wrong, but I just didn't feel it.  I'm not perfect, I still sin.  How could I go into the Lord's house when I am so weak and still sin?  To which (again great words!) he responded "Elder, The question is not 'Are you perfect?' the question really was 'What direction are you headed?'"  And as he had said that, the words of a great missionary from my home ward came to my mind "By following the steps in the addiction recovery manual, you will eventually be led straight to the steps of the temple" What a great reminder!  I had been working in the program to help one of our members who is struggling with pornography use.  Doing all the steps, and really trying to get into it so I can feel how he feels.  And I remembered this and thought, "Maybe this is also for me.  Maybe it's not just to help him, but to make me grow as well"  

So after a second of thought, I confidently turned to President Sonksen and responded "I'm headed to the temple!"  He smiled and I felt great.  

We all have weaknesses, we all sin.  But Gods question to us isn't " Are you perfect?"  It's "What direction are you headed?"  I have learned these past couple of days the difference between weakness and sin.  

Weakness is God-given, it's a blessing, a gift.

27 And if men come unto me will show unto them their weaknessgive unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then willmake weak things become strong unto them.

These weaknesses are given from God so that we may learn to rely on him and to receive help from him.  They are to help us grow so that we may become like him.  They are blessings in disguise. 
Sin, on the other hand, is willful disobedience to God's commandments.  It is evil, and from Satan.  

So we can see that although weakness leads to sin if we let it, it is up to us to overcome our weakness, to make it our strength, and to become like heavenly Father.  And so like Paul of the new testament I rejoice in my weakness.

 And lest should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest should be exalted above measure.
 For this thing besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for theefor my strength is made perfect in weakness.Most gladly therefore will rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 10 Therefore take pleasure in infirmitiesin reproaches, in necessities, in persecutionsin distresses for Christ’s sake: for when am weakthen am strong.

I know the gospel is true, I know it blesses families.  I know that Heavenly Father loves us and wants each of us to return to him as families.  I know that sin is from the devil, but that weakness is a gift of God. 

If you want to read more, It Isn’t a Sin to Be Weak
Love all of you!
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Elder Yamagata
Northern Military Branch, Korea Seoul Military District

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