December 17, 2012

Unforgettable week

Well.   This last week was an unforgettable week.  As often happens, I'll be leaving out the personal reasons that really show why, and just put in the more general stuff.  Really, it was marked by some serious challenges, which really seem to have changed me.  More and more, I see how my mission has changed who I am.  

Lately I have been reading my journal for about 10 minutes a day during studies.  It has been a good chance to review what I have done, make some notes about details I left out, and reflect on my time.  I see so many things that just seem so distant.  I feel like I have become a missionary.  Before I was a missionary, that is, I did the mission thing.  I wanted to do it of my own testimony, but I just was doing it.  Now, I do all the missionary things, but I do them out of nature.  I'm changed.   It also is a good chance to further repent by praying about the past.  I have no doubt that through Christ our very natures can be changed.  I have truly felt so.

Zone conference was really special.  It was moved last minute, and started with a special announcement.  We would be going to a mountain as a zone!  Wow!  It was super cool. The details of that portion are in the pictures.  Just amazing.

We talked about talking and teaching everyone.  It was really good.  The more I am focused on other people like Christ was, I am just deeply happy.  The meeting was not very long, and the role-plays even got cut out for time.  However, we were able to all bear our testimonies at the end.  That was really great. I realized how most of us don't really seem joyful when we bear testimony, or listen to testimonies.  It is a solemn occasion, but should be one of the happiest.  I had a big smile on.

Zone Conference was P. Senior's Christmas gift to us.  It was surreal.  After the conference, we lit off huge lanterns as a zone.  That was really neat to light off so many, as well as such huge lanterns.  Afterwards we were taken out to eat at a very nice hotel buffet.  One of the best meals of my life.  I'm proud to say I was the last person up.  Everything was so incredibly delicious.  I adopted the strategy of trying a little bit of everything.  Nothing was bad, most of it was unfamiliar.  Even the sushi was good.  For someone who doesn't like seaweed, that's getting up there.  Over all, the entire day was a well planned wonder.  It really was heavenly.   A "Christmas" that I will never forget.

Me and Elder Berbert (Who I will be with for this next transfers as well) were talking about prosperity.  I realized I understand how material prosperity works.  It's not about how much you have.  Or how much other people have in relation to what you have.  It's about how you are.  I am financially prosperous as a missionary.  I can't change my 'income,' but I have a mindset that makes me honestly feel like I always have plenty, even though I don't have any more or less than before.  I just live within my means.  (I actually live a bit less than my means, but still feel I have more than enough.)  Isn't it this the way to be happy?  We learn to be happy how we are.  

Me and Elder Berbert just get along fine.  We don't have problems, we don't have tension.  I'm sad to not go to moves meeting to send off the dying Sisters, but I am glad to still be here with Elder Berbert.  We'll have a great moves together.   

I am pleased to be spending Christmas in ลําปาง (Lampang).  It isn't as cold as เชียงใหม่, but it is still cool in the mornings, with a nice fog over the city.  Going to church was super cold.  If it gets colder I'll buy a long sleeve shirt I can use as a jacket, I can't be out in it for very long.  Really neat.  It is looking like a white Christmas.

I know that Our Savior lives.  As Christmas approaches, I have a tradition of reading both the birth, and the death of Jesus.  The great miracle of his birth was fulfilled by the death and Resurrection of Christ.  I testify that he lives.  I know that as we spend our lives according to the manner which he lived, we will find we have bought the greatest blessings we ever could imagine.

We are all extended a part of salvation, without price.  Really, what we do is become changed by Christ, changed in Christ, and that is where our good works come from.  The fountain of all good works is indeed faith, hope, and charity.  I have found no better way to be happy than to learn of Christ, to seek him, especially in how I live, and in how I love.  There is nothing greater than the love of God, and that is indeed what we celebrate this season. May you all feel of this great blessing, in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Merry Christmas,

Elder Robert Buss



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