Thursday, June 25, 2015

Turn Outward

Gnoh ge Gatihng!!! 
I love and miss all you so much. This is my first letter from the Provo MTC and I love it here. I love my companion Elder Guinn. He is the greatest. He's from Spokane WA and is a rock. He has a little Cantonese down already from before the mission which is extremely beneficial (because now he is my personal tutor). My district is great! There are 12 of us from all over. Elder Brandse from Melbourne, Elder Clegg (no not my family) from Orem, Elder Jensen from Katy, Texas (where my favorite John Waynes are filmed), Elder Sharp from Montpelier, Idaho (he hunts in the same spot we do, don't worry Cade and Wyatt I didn't let anything on), Elder Rawlins from the Springville area, Elder Vandyke from Pocatello ID, Elder Hatfield from St. George, Elder Cox, Elder Larsen from OK, and a certain Elder Fields from WA who happened to be in the same ward as the Nortons and has been knocked out cold in a basketball game from my cousin Max. What a small world. I also see Elder Larsen and my cousin Elder Curtis regularly as well as Sister Killpack who is learning Korean in the classroom across from mine! I love making all the connections with so many new friends. We dorm in rooms of four with Elder Clegg and Jensen and there is never enough time. We are constantly studying in comp and personal study or language study, they always have us doing something. There is absolutely zero down time. The food is great! I stuff myself three times a day with all I can eat, but then I do miss my snacks at periodic intervals during the day to keep me going. The classrooms are cooled so we only have to brave the 100 degree heat when we do our temple walks. I'm always low on sleep. Bedtime at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30 and you're tired all day long. My brain is legitimate mush. Elder Guinn and I were called to be sacrament coordinators in our branch for all the South Asian language speakers. (President Weaver is the second Counselor in the Branch Presidency, he used to be a mission President in Washington and knows Bishop Mike Norton very well as well as Grandpa Mike!) I love the Branch Presidency already. They are spiritual men who are called of God and I look up to them (however I do miss Bishop Baird and President Davis ;) 

The language is difficult and I have truly had to humble myself before the Lord. Never before have I been as humbled as I am now as I sit in a computer room in the MTC. Sitting in a classroom with a teacher who won't speak English to you for hours on end is hard. Then having others around me understand while I sit and wish I knew what was going on was even harder. Now, five days later I can testify of the Gift of Tongues when, and only when, we truly humble ourselves before Him. There is no way I could speak the limited Cantonese I do right now if I didn't have His help. What more can H e help us do if we submit ourselves to Him. Only when I truly humbled myself did I begin to pick up on the language. Please keep me in your prayers, I need them greatly as I work as hard as I can to learn this language. The work is great! We have had two lessons with a girl named Christina. In Cantonese. Did I mention IN CANTONESE? I have been here for less than a week. I spoke a little and Elder Guinn spoke a lot, haha he's amazing. 

Yesterday was difficult. I have been on and off frustrated with my progress in the language and to top it off it was Father's Day as well as my Dad's birthday. Our Zone Leader Elder Noyce had a nice idea to have our Zone watch the Character of Christ after our Sunday night devotional. It is a talk given by Elder Bednar to the MTC on Christmas morning some years ago. It was better than any motivational speech or clip than I have ever seen. 70 minutes of spiritual uplifting and motivation. In 70 minutes I began to see what could really change my mission. That is to turn outward. Turn outward when the natural man and every one of us would turn inward. When we feel bad for ourselves and want to use the word I or me, turn to the word you. Turn to help someone else, because only in the Lord as we lose ourselves, can we find ourselves. We CANNOT have eternal joy in pursuit of ourselves. We won't be looking for it, but we will find who we are as well as eternal joy. Work. I will do the work. I will strive with the whole of my being to serve the Lord. In all difficulty we must strive to find the Lord and find ways to serve others. There is no trial we cannot overcome, no pain we cannot endure, no person we cannot love. For "You receive no confirmation until after the trial of your faith." Elder Bednar. We must take every day with faith in a the Lord that he will help us endure any trial we must overcome. I must have faith without guile as I work harder than I ever have to learn a language that most people haven't heard of. I promise you that. Only then with I receive a confirmation of my faith, because I have felt it already. 

To the future missionaries. Come humble so that the Lord can do what He needs with you. Come prepared to learn and love. Love your companion. Love the work. Put your head down and do what the Lord called you to do. 
* And wash all new towels so that you don't get fluffy stuff all over you when you shower. It's a must. 

Please send emails via so I get the mail in letter form during the week. The letters help. I love you all.


Hah Jeung Louh

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Game Time

I sit here today on my last Sunday as an unordained Elder, wondering what to tell my family and friends that I love so much. You all have been examples to me beyond what any of you know. Your love for me has gone beyond what I deserve and I can’t imagine how I would have turned out without you, it is a blessing I do not deserve. I’m excited to live another culture and speak Cantonese for two years! I feel it a great blessing that I have the opportunity to go on a mission. What an opportunity to serve the Lord and the Chinese people.

In a talk I listened to last night by a certain President Sargent, the analogy of the garden was used (by the way he did GREAT in the both the adult and general session). I thoroughly enjoy this metaphor for all the many avenues of thought that it opened up in my mind. There were so many different branches that the analogy had the opportunity to take. As gardeners we have never been extremely fruitful in all of our years trying to raise crop. We plant, water seemingly well, and weed when we feel desirous to (which is never, but I cant watch my sweet mother weed by herself). When the end of the season draws near we look forward to harvesting the fruits of our labor. We generally get more spaghetti squash then we could ever dream of eating and then a real mixture of everything else in various quantities that is never really up to par with what we were desirous to attain at the end of the season. Where do we go wrong? As my dad explained in his talk, the location, amount of water, and amount of love (generally expressed in weeding) all add up to determine the end result of your final crop. I sat and pondered on how I nourished the seeds in my heart. Where do I plant the seeds and are they seeds that bear good fruit? As we go throughout our lives are we planting seeds of faith and love in our heart that benefit us or are we saving the fertile soil in our hearts for seeds of unrighteousness? Do we water the young seeds with the words of our prophets and scriptures? Do we weed the garden of unclean things that choke out the good? We cannot, at harvest time, look to the Lord and say, “Lord, I weeded when I felt like it and watered when I had time.” No, this is not what the Lord expects of us. We are to study and nourish the seed that it may grow to its full potential that it may benefit the rising of the kingdom of our Lord and Savior. When I think of my goals for my mission I can only think of one. It is that I do not let down my Redeemer. That I do what ever it takes to serve him to my utmost capability. That is what I desire. I hope to love the people as my family and serve them in a way that they choose to hear the word. I strive to be clean so that the words of the Lord may flow from my mouth and that the Holy Ghost can bear witness to them that this Church is true, so that they may make the steps towards Gods Kingdom.

I know that this church is true. I know it with all of my being. The goodness and glory that I receive from it truly is overpowering to me. I know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins that we may be clean of all of our unrighteousness. I know that he suffered that he may lift us up in all of our trials and enable us to do things we did not think possible. I love our modern day prophets and sustain them in their callings as seers and revelators as well as those of the past, especially the prophet Joseph Smith. I testify that keys of the priesthood, sacred covenants, the translation of the Book of Mormon and ordinances therein were all restored through his humble and willing hands. I love the Book of Mormon and testify of its truthfulness. What greater book has there ever been written? I have a firm witness of missionary work and the blessings that it lays upon those who are willing to listen and submit themselves to the will of the Lord and enter the waters of baptism. It can change lives. I know that as I assist in the planting of seeds in the hearts of the people I serve that they will have to agency to nourish that seed or let it become choked out or withered in the sun. I can’t wait to become a FULL TIME servant in the garden of the Lord.

I can’t wait to see you all in two years, but I am ecstatic for the work to be done prior to. I love you all with a magnitude that swells in my heart. I urge you all to participate in missionary work in your everyday lives. There is a work to be done all around us if we but open our mouths. What good can we do if we just share. We can share the blessings of temple marriage and forever families. We can share our knowledge of Christ and the opportunity to become perfected in him through the atonement. It is my fear that I will let the Lord down and say, “Lord, I did not open my mouth. For I was afraid, and I did not share the good word.”

Again I love and will miss you all,
I say these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love, Elder Sargent