Elder Sam Lee: California to Korea and Finding Joy in the Journey

Elder Sam Lee in California

“It’s crazy to think that I’ve been a missionary for eight whole months now. As almost every missionary will confirm, time moves in a very strange way on the mission. After spending half a year in the field in Southern California, I finally got my visa to head over to Korea.

Although I studied Korean every day in California, I still can’t speak the language. I’ll tell you what though, the last three months I’ve spent in California have come to be brighter than the first three months. Being a reassigned missionary, you are inadvertently and unfortunately faced with a short-term mindset. Once I was able to recognize that and take steps to improve my outlook on the mission, I saw my joy increase. There is no greater joy than helping others recognize their divine potential. The divine potential of others is not something that’s merely existent in the short-term. There is nothing more everlasting than that, nor is there anything more everlasting than the means to obtain that—through the means of Jesus Christ.

Missions are hard in ways you wouldn’t expect them to be hard. They challenge your patience. They may challenge your faith. No wonder Paul triumphs almost ironically in tribulation, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience and experience; and experience, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Why is there hope? Where is it? Hope is found in Christ. There would be no means to triumph save it be for Jesus Christ. He is the healer of all wounds and the succor of all trials. There has been a direct relationship between my personal faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement and my ability to teach others about the very same principles. I do not doubt God’s timing. While I am quite excited to assist the Lord’s work in Korea, I will not dismiss nor forget the impact California has had on me, and hopefully, the impact I was able to bring to others. I am sad to leave Southern California. I’ve learned so much and gotten through so much. Korea is yet the challenge laid ahead. “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail” (D&C 6:34).”

The photo at the bottom left shows Elder Sam Lee in Korea, while the other photos were taken in Southern California.

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