Because we are the farthest from Bangkok we took a 14 hour train ride down. And it is a sleeper train! The only problem is that our air-conditioned car was more like a freezer so I didn't sleep too well. But we woke up and went to MLC, which was very different. It was President Johnson's first one and he's focusing on letting MLC be more of a council instead of a training. We had lots of long and very important discussions.
Two major points:
Being full purpose missionaries and preparing to learn with an Apostle.
Then we got on a bus and went to Phitsanulok to train two of the districts in our zone.
We slept over at the Elders' house there, gave the training, and got on another bus back up to Chiang Mai. We then gave the training to the rest of our zone and just got to work in our area, because we had been gone for 2.5 days.
We got to go visit two less-active members and share the First Presidency message on "All is well".
Our first visit was to a member who runs a beauty parlor. She was about to do someone's hair but asked the customers permission if we could share our thought before she started. She agreed and said she was Protestant. This woman didn't seem super interested in learning with us but it was cool to share doctrines specific to our church with her. We could tell it was new to her and the Holy Ghost got that chance to start working with her. She'll be a member of the church one day. :)
The second was a wonderful man who has really bad health problems and feels like he has to work on Sunday to pay for his medication to stay alive. It's hard for him but the message about optimism even in our trials lightened his day.
This week I interviewed with President Johnson to renew my temple recommend. I took the opportunity to ask some questions. Here's a summary of the question I had: It is natural for people to be jealous and envious. When others are successful, something deep in our flesh either wants to be better than them or to tear them down. And when others don't find success something in us wants them to stay that way. This is the natural man. Always exalting himself. Abasing others.
To some extent each of us have this natural, prideful man inside of us, some more than others. I have been recognizing pride and envy slip into my thoughts recently. Of course I know I shouldn't think that way but it seems to be my natural response, my first response. I've been trying for so long to change that trait in myself, but I can't seem to "root this evil spirit out of my breast" as Lamoni's father would say it.
I asked President Johnson, "I know the trait that I struggle with, and it seems that as I try to overcome it, my traits aren't changing in the way I want them to. How do I become the person who is always trying to lift others above himself?"
His answer was simple, "You need to pray for the complementary trait. If you struggle with envy, pray for Charity, which envieth not. If you're prideful, pray for humility."
This morning I broke apart how a humble and charitable person acts. What they do and what they don't do.
I studied three talks, "On being genuine", "Truly good and without guile", and "Meek and lowly".
Elder Maxwell had an insight that rang very well to me:
He said that when Christ invites us to take His yoke upon us for He is meek and lowly of heart, he promises rest unto our souls. That rest is not just a rest from work, it is a rest of the mind and soul. This is the rest we're all looking for, and the rest I've been looking for. If we can always remember that He is the Master and we are the disciples, we can't carry a particle of pride.
That's what I'll be working on.