Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Can Ye Feel So Now?

  Wait! Stop! Turn around! turnaround and go south!

South? but that'll take you past Isengard...

Yes. -insert part I can't remember- The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm. It's the last thing he'll expect.

Hmmmm... That doesn't make any sense to me. But then, you are very small...

Hello everybody! So... This was a really a great quote for everything going over here in South Korea. I'm sure you all have heard about the nuclear tests that are being run and the tensions that are building up and so on and so forth, but we had a little bit of fun yesterday, for a zone activity. We went and visited the DMZ. That's right, the DMZ. The border between North and South Korea. Were we nervous? Well, yes, quite. We had had this planned for a little bit though so we thought we would go and visit regardless of all that fun stuff going on politically speaking ^^ Love It! I'll be honest though, we were kind of bored after fifteen or so minutes of it ^^ There wasn't much to see where we went. You see there are actually two or three main DMZ points and we went to the one that iw on the east coast, so there really wasn't anything there. Lots and lots of rocks though. It did really cause us all to ponder on what those people have to live with over there though, it was fun going there, but the ride back was a little more somber than the ride up.

And before I get into this next part, I just want to acknowledge something. Yes. I am fully aware that the challenge I issued to you two weeks ago was worded in the lame format that a lot of people like to put on their FAcebook posts. It was worded that way deliberately. I now ask you, how many of you let that become an excuse not to follow through with that challenge? I am genuinely curious as to how many of you read those words, but did not stop to think about the feeling that I was putting behind them? This is what I think is one of the saddest and most difficult things about maintaining spirituality in this day and age. How desensitized we are to the spiritual. One thing that has impressed me is how often we just say things without contemplating their meanings. To just name a few, "I'd like to bear my testimony..." "I know that..." "I bellieve that..." Have any of us thought of that? Have you thought about the meaning of the word 'testimony'? In a court, for example, the testimony of one individual has great power. One eyewitness to a crime is enough to substantiate a claim. To bear testimony is to, in a sense, put true conviction ib the line. To show to the world that you are putting yourself as a witness to the world of your conviction. 'to know' in my mind means to have no doubt as to something's existence or truth. And to declare that one believes, I think, may be one of the most powerful of them all. I am guilty of thinking to myself before my mission, that if someone says, "I believe..." it meant that their faith was weaker than those who said "I know.." To say that one believes, though, is to act with much greater faith. It is truely to say with great feeling that, "I don't know this, but I have a hope. I have a strong hope 'for a better world' I have a faith strong enough that even though I do not enjoy an assurance of knowledge, I will stand here in fron of you to express this belief, in hopes that one day, I will know." The statement of belief truely seems to me more powerful than many things.

I love you all so much. Please forgive my weaknesses in writing and pay attention to the words that have been whispered to your soul as you read this. For I know you have had words whispered to you. Follow them.

Good Luck, God Bless, and God Speed,
Sincerely Yours,
Elder Annen

Saturday, March 9, 2013

When Spirit Converses With Spirit

You Sailor!
Cotton, sir
Mr. Cotton! Do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of an almost certain death? ... MR COTTON! Answer man!
Ah, he's a mute sir, poor devil had his tongue cut out, so they've trained the parrot to talk for him! ... though no one's yet figured how...
... Mr Cottons parrot... Same question
Ark! Plenty of sails, plenty of sails!
Mostly we figure that means yes..
Of Course it does! Satisfied?
Well you've proved they're mad!

What is up everybody?! I hope everyone's week has been absolutely fine and dandy! We're doing really well over here in Korea, We've just had a really crazy announcement, the mission here is splitting up... I can't believe it, we were all incredibloy shocked and excited. I'm both happy for that and also wuite sad. That means a lot of the missionaries I'm good friends with will be in a different mission in a few months... unbelievable really. This was a fun quote for me, sometimes this is how I feel when I talk to people. I feel like the branch president or someone tells everyone over the pulpit that " Ah, he's a foreigner, poor guy grew up only learning english, but they've trained him to speak a little Korean!" and then after I try to speak they're all thinking "mostly we figure that means yes" I love it though ^^

This one is going to have to be a lot quicker than some of my other ones, terribly sorry. Things are still on the slow side in my area, but we're working hard! It's going to be great!

I heard a general authority speak on the subject of John 20:27-29, where it refers to the story of doubting Thomas. Christ makes an interesting comment there, he says Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yethave believed. He points out that the phrasing of this statement is interesting because it seems to place priority, it seems to place secondhand knowledge above actual experience, as though we were better off not having seen the risen Lord, as though it were better that we just believe someone else than finding out for ourselves. But then he makes his point. He says that later on, when adversity comes along, and mighty winds, shafts in the whilrwind, hails and mighty storms come with it, we will doubt even our very own senses. But then he says that the one power even beyond sight, that can Sear doubt out of us, is the Holy Ghost. The other senses can be fooled, messed with, distorted, twisted, but the simple speaking, the conversation of spirit speaking with spirit is enough to sear any doubt out of us. These are now my words that I add. This is why the testimonies of the witnesses are so powerful. This is why particularly the testimonies of the Three Witnesses are so powerful. Have you looked into the story of the Three Witnesses? Do you realize that all three of them left the church? Do you realize that they all became personally disaffected from Joseph Smith? AND THEN, do you understand that notwithstanding their own apostacies, not ONE of them ever at any time denied that witness of the Book ov Mormon. NOT ONE of them ever claimed that Joseph Smith had deceived them, that they were mistaken, there was no angel, there was no voice of heaven commanding them to bear witness of the plates which they see. NOT ONE of them. Do you understand the power behind such a testimony? Their testimony was not one of sight. Their testimony is not powerful because of what they SAW, nor of what they HEARD. Their testimony has power because their souls conversed with God. The Holy Spirit spoke to their very souls. I challenge anyone here and now, if this is not a witness you have obtained, to do so now. Half of you that read this will say that you don't need it. Half of you that know you need it won't do it. And Maybe even after that there will only be a few that care enough to actually try. I challenge you to do so.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Annen