The subject of this email comes from a scripture I came across in my personal study the other day. It's in The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5:27.
"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness."
This part of the scriptures seems to describe my life right now more perfectly than my own words could ever do. In this part of The Book of Mormon the Nephites are having to start all over. And they are working super hard to build a new life. And shortly after describing their labor and all the work they've been putting into living we have this scripture where it says they were happy.
This week was much of that. A lot of work. A lot of rain. And a lot of difficult experiences. But through it all I truly found that I was and am living after the manner of happiness. A particular experience that comes to mind from this week was our attempt to find a referral that lived 3 hours away by bike. In my experience of being a missionary for the past year (yikes!) I have learned that there a lot of lessons to be learned from riding a bike. This week I learned that we just have to press on. So Current Shimai and I were riding to try to contact this referral. And we were riding in some interesting places, not really knowing where we were going. It was quickly getting dark. And it seemed that with every inch that the sun would go down the rain would only pour harder. We were lost, and after attempting to try to find this referral, and riding 3 hours away, we never found it. And then it was time to go home. There were many times that night where I could have sat down, gave up, cried, and waited and hoped for something better to happen. But we knew that the only way to get home was to pedal. Even in unfavorable, rainy circumstances. We knew that if we didn't press forward there was no way we were ever making it home.
I feel like our mortal life here on Earth is much of the same. Sometimes we are bombarded with unfavorable circumstances. We don't know when they will end, and sometimes it feels like they last forever. But I know if we press forward, relying on our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we can make it to the end of our trials and hardships and see that He was with us all along. And I know that even a midst the difficult times in our lives we too can live as the Nephites lived, and live "after the manner of happiness."
I know this church is true. I know Jesus Christ lives for you and me so that we may be able to turn to Him for support in the middle of our afflictions. I testify that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it has the power to change lives. I love being a missionary, I love this gospel, and I sure as heck love all of you. Remember to press forward and live "after the manner of happiness" and I can promise that no matter what life throws at you, you will be able to endure it cheerfully.
I hope you lovelies all have a happy week and remember that your Heavenly Father loves you!
Love your Japanese Friend,