Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Change. Obedience. Becoming Perfect.

First of all, I'd like to make it clear that I have NOT seen Conference yet -- we Asians get it a week later than everybody else. But the Elder in International work took it upon himself to text the whole mission last Sunday and announce the earlier departure permission for prospective missionaries. I was thinking about it over and over, thinking what a change it will bring to missions all over the world. Elder Farnsworth and I have speculated that there will be an immediate initial wave of new missionaries, and then when summertime comes a second and larger wave of new missionaries will enter into their best two years. I can't deny that my first thought when I read the text was "Trevor Hazen." Dude, pick up them trousers and fasten them suspenders, ya'll got some work ahead a ya. Oh, and I'd also like to wish you a happy birthday, which I am completely aware is nigh on the horizon. You may or may not need to expect a package coming your way from the Orient.
I've been hit in the face with a lot of changes this past week to be sure. That announcement from the First Presidency only just followed some big changes to our mission under the direction of President Hawks. He is a very, very visionary man. Last friday our whole mission had special Zone Meetings where we discussed new rules and new changes to the China Hong Kong Mission. The week after next, P-days will be on Mondays. All except for the 30minutes of morning exercise, if we must wear other attire other than proselyting clothing, we MUST where jeans. No shorts allowed. We can only go to the Temple every quarter instead of every move. We need to emphasize teaching in people's homes rather than at church. We can no longer congregate into large groups of missionaries unless it is inside a church building. And starting November 1st, regardless of the weather, we have to wear suits everywhere we go until April General Conference. Mom, I think I'm going to be buying a new suit pretty soon.
President Hawks is a man who is very quick to observe. He really believes in us and believes that even the small things matter and make a difference. I honor and respect that man and have a lot of faith that he was sent to help this mission in this time to progress and to help Zion be established among the Chinese people. Rules are easy. Yeah, I'm going to sweat a lot more in the coming months and my suit is going to start smelling pretty rancid, but in light of our vision to increase our faith and see miracles begin to happen, even the small things will make a difference. Naaman thought it was nitpicky to wash seven times in the dirtiest river in Israel, but in the end his trust in the Lord and the words of the prophet saw him cleansed of his leprosy. Let's be honest with ourselves, who isn't a leper?
Obedience is a law of independence. When we comply with the rules and the laws which are set for us, we relieve ourselves from constant supervision and are allowed to grow. When we break laws, we're always on the run. Law must exist; without them, God Himself cannot exist (2 Nephi 2:13). Some laws are laws simply because they are true, and God provides law and the requirement of obedience for our own safety and progression.
Perfection is not necessarily omniscience. As I've studied Christ's life and His growth from the young Boy in Nazareth to the Man that suffered in Gethsemane, I've come to think perfection must be the ability to observe exactly and completely what is either said or done, understand it, and then apply it. Of course, being mortal and limited in our finite perception, exact observation and application is impossible for us. However, it does not mean that perfection for us can't be practiced and improved upon. We must learn to be quick to observe, to progress, and become like our Savior. Change, if done right, just means we have a clearer path ahead of us. Change is just practicing to be perfect. The First Presidency is changing things to help perfect the Saints and prepare for the Second Coming of our Savior. President Hawks is changing things to help perfect the missionaries in Hong Kong in their pursuits to bring people to Christ. And I, as faithless and weak as I feel so often, am doing all that I can to remain exactly obedient to fulfil Christ's command to become perfect, even as He and the Father are perfect. In this life, I will never fully achieve, but I treasure the eternal life that awaits us all, His willing servants.
There is nothing we cannot do, if we are just faithful enough to be obedient to the Lord. If we are faithful enough to do the hard things, and to change, the blessings will come. I have been reduced to tears several times as I've tried to summon this kind of faith; it's hard, and I'm weak. I love this work, because it is true. Whatever it is that you need to change, even if you aren't sure why you are doing it or even the seemingly foolish things you feel you have to do in order to change, trust in the promise that Christ will lift you up at the last day, even as He was lifted up that we all might have eternal life.
I know that Christ lives. I know that God is our Father. I know that quick observance and willingness to change and remain exactly obedient to the Lawgiver will bring us more happiness and peace than we can ever bring to ourselves. I pray that everyone can open their hearts to this infinite truth, and come unto their Savior. He loves us all and beckons us all the day long. I know it.
All my love,
Elder Hazen

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