Less than a week ago I arrived home from Sweden as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m still unsure of what I’m doing with myself or my life since but here’s a list of things I appreciate here in Australia. My infinite love for Sweden and adoration writings will come soon enough but I thought it would be good to write about the things that are temporarily good here and now.
No income, no license, no phone= glory
My license expired a couple of weeks ago and I wasn’t able to renew it without a hassle overseas. It’s a good feeling. I don’t have a job or income. It’s a good feeling. I haven’t had a phone for a week now. It’s a good feeling. While in the process of getting things up and running my family have been very giving (as they have been, my entire life) and I love them infinitely more. People are so good.
Time Zone Confusion
I don’t have a body clock, again, again. I fall asleep where I am tired and wake up where I am awake. It’s a good place to start.
I love everyone I already loved even more than I initially loved them
I see my family or friends I used to think were already beautiful or good to be around or just had incredible or attractive qualities, and feel so much more love than initially known or intended toward them. I don’t know what eyes I’m seeing with anymore, but humans are so much more attractive than they’ve ever been.
Snakes, spiders, dead possums, dog cuddles
I have no words to describe my being-back-in-Australia-I-just-served-my-mission-in-Sweden-and-adored-it-ness. Christ lives and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to represent and serve Him in my mother’s homeland (which I have every desire to do for eternity, wherever I may be).
Keeping the online thing light for the time being, mainly because it’s a muscle I have to retrain and limit and test to see how it fits so here’s a photograph or two or three. I probably like or even love you.
As many of you may or may not know, I am serving as a full time proselyting missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I am training in Provo, Utah and then will be over to the beautiful land of Sweden. I won’t be on my main social media accounts for the better part of two years.
For my first six weeks between Dec 8th 2015- Jan 15th 2016 you have the opportunity to send free online letters all of which I will endeavor to reply to promptly!
How to Write Me:
- Go to dearelder.com
- Click “Select Mission” > “Provo MTC- FREE”
- Click “Write a Letter” and fill out the form! Your details in the above section, mine in the below. Then write whatever you feel to share 🙂
All letters are printed and delivered at midday Provo Utah time (UTC-07:00). The only information that needs to be correct on the form is my name and in “Mission Code or Mission” write ‘Sweden Stockholm’. All other information doesn’t matter and it will still be delivered regardless.
If you put your email address in your letter I will be able to reply to you when I write my weekly emails.
From Jan 19th 2016- mid 2017 you can email me at:
I love the Saviour and The Book of Mormon is the word of God. So much love, can’t wait to hear from you all x
To dig straight into it this last month or so have probably been the hardest this entire year. I haven’t had anything to write about because I’ve been busy in my mind and unable to articulate it. I’ve tried to make sense of it and I’m coming to an understanding that it’s all really boiled down to discouragement more than anything. I’ve had the most challenging and rewarding year of my life thus far. I’ve become closer to the person I’d like to be than I have ever been and for the first time I know I am not regressing. Everything is working, I am doing the right things. I am doing what I need to do and I am being what I want to be. But apathy has kicked in. Things I’ve loved have become mundane or routine-like and I’m trying to differentiate between the life I had two months ago to the life I have now.
First up I’m in the final however many weeks until I leave to serve a mission. There is nothing I want to do with my time more than this. There is nothing that brings me greater joy than to see the light shine through a person’s eyes when they understand the joys of living a Christ-centered life as I have discovered myself. This is true. Nothing makes my soul happier. I have witnessed this for myself, first hand, and I have witnessed this in the eyes of others, first hand. I remember the specific day I went to the mirror of my apartment and saw myself properly. I looked into my eyes for the first real time. I looked so different. And I liked who I saw. I have seen the change in people’s eyes when they are no longer in darkness. It is a real thing and it is the most beautiful thing you will ever see on Earth.
Being called to the land of my heritage makes me feel a deep sense of responsibility. More than anything. I just want to learn everything and know everything and be everything I can be because this means something to me. It means something to my family. It means something to God. I literally have been given every tool I need to succeed as far as being an effective missionary goes. It’s not a competition obviously, but I expect so much more of myself than others. I’ve been given more than others. So I find myself giving myself tasks and objectives and lists and must-do’s, all achievable might I add, but it becomes like a heightened sense of failure if I don’t tick every box. I find people often saying, “Well don’t be too hard on yourself,” or “Relax a little.” In all honesty, and with my appreciation and the knowledge these people have good intentions, I disagree. Only because I know how relaxed and consciously lacking in usefulness I have been for a number of years. I guess it’s almost like I’m trying to make up for the person I was.
I’m coming to terms with how much I can give myself before I leave and how much I can handle -but still stay sane, enlightened, and still let myself feel that deep sense of responsibility but also know my purpose. I want to be converted, every day. I want to come closer every day. I guess I tend to write when I’ve reached some kind of tangible conclusion or know I am in the process of coming to it. That’s really it.
As members of our faith there are two General Conference sessions held each year in which messages from the Prophet, Apostles and leaders direct us by means of revelation as to how our faith can be strengthened and how to better live a Christ-centered life. A few things really stood out to me that helped my current mindset in which I’ll lightly address. (I can’t give specific references because I’m terrible at location or names of speakers -just working off memory alone)
The first thing that really stood out to me is to ‘get an education to bless the lives of others’. I never understood the need or the appeal in tertiary education- anything sufficiently serious, that is, until now. In this last year, I have dedicated my time to the study of the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and can honestly say I have learnt far more than I have ever been able to learn in my life. I never knew what study was until now (and even now, I probably don’t know what it is.) Prior, since I finished high school I have studied nothing but the arts from almost every angle, media/ performance based. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t expect to go anywhere as an actor without being qualified or marketable or talented. I can’t say art or performance are not serious. The most serious times I’ve had in my life have been in front of a camera or in the audition room or studying a person’s mannerisms or purpose or relating my life to theirs or just feeling in general. That’s really what it is, honestly. Acting is the study of living. Artistic minds are, and cannot be without, intelligence. So in order to bless the lives of others I need to somehow incorporate a higher level of education after my mission. I still want to write, I want to write things that are real and not on some little dainty blog site either. I want what my mind has to offer to mean something, and to change something. The possibilities make me really excited (now that I know how to study, ha). The sky’s no limit.
It’s been written in scripture that ‘faith without works is dead being alone.’ Which I wholeheartedly agree with. Anything quotable makes it easier to remember, so when the phrase was switched in one of the talks it actually made me think a lot as to why I’ve been feeling this way lately. It was said, works without faith is dead. It seems so simplistic but it really affected me. I’ve been doing all these works mundanely, routinely, ramming all this knowledge into my brain but forgetting the beauty or reason as to why having this knowledge is good or why it should make me feel good. It’s like I’ve been applying my faith without having barely any. My energy had been so focused on tasks that the beauty I’d found in having faith in good things coming to pass had almost been forgotten. Made me realize, again, as I always do- temperance. I’m going to be working on temperance for the rest of my life and throughout the eternities. Moderation, prudence, temperance.
And the final thing I remember (which I just thought was really sweet) was the idea that ‘You don’t marry perfection, you marry potential.’ As life goes and each person we meet or perhaps have only platonic friendships with- to remember we are not forming relationships with perfect people but we are forming relationships with work-in-progresses. The way to be prepared for a lasting friendship and relationship (in whatever form) is most genuinely living a life based wholly on the teachings of Jesus Christ. For myself, the most attractive quality I can see in a person is the desire to serve Him. And nothing will bring you greater happiness than doing so, I promise you this.
In conclusion to these probably less specific and direct thoughts than usual is the following I wrote in bed (probably at 4am) a few nights ago. I want to write and narrate a screenplay but mainly my brain’s all kookey when I’m half asleep. Keep yourself alive and keep on keeping on -how long can rolling waters remain impure x
“I don’t think I’ve ever just straight up seen two dimensional beauty. I feel like there’s some form of criteria that needs to be met in the split second before I decide something is beautiful. Beauty as I understand it has everything to do with intelligence, something left to the imagination, something pure. Anything denoting the existence of Deity. Everything with a soul. When you let your eyes see what you desire to feel everything manifests beauty. Everything matters. Beauty is without reservation. Existence is glory.”
With the multiple connections I tend to have on various forms of social media, I receive (a magnificent amount of) love in the form of comments and discussion throughout the posts I create and leave open to the public. I am so grateful we have the technology today to be able with connect with humans who resemble our lifestyles and thoughts and who are seeking truths as we are, and they have the ability to reach out in ways in which they could not have only some 30 odd years ago- in all parts of the world. However, on the odd occasion, a person I do not know nor would have met may write on something I post with an impolite comment or response to my actions or my faith.
The following I know: I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are also known as ‘Mormons’. The best way to truly know what we believe is to ask an active member of our faith. I cannot condense all my thoughts and feelings and knowledge in a one post-wonder in the attempt to have you understand what I know. It would not do this knowledge justice. Truly, meet with us. Human interaction is the most viable form of human communication and it is deeming to be obsolete in these years. Don’t let it be! However, I will express the following:
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. When I began to live my life according to His principles and teachings as pertaining to the fullness of His gospel- and nothing less- I genuinely experienced improvements in every portion of my life. I cannot express the aforementioned any more plainly. It became as clear as daylight the way I needed to continue to live as soon as I started living it. The more focus I place on making my decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ, the outcomes have been truly miraculous.
Every day is a genuine miracle to me. I have struggled for years and sometimes decades with weaknesses and adversaries I never- I repeat, never- have been able to overcome or change until now- when I decided to actively apply gospel principles in all aspects of my life. This to me created a very clear depiction in my understanding of the foreknowledge, intelligence and love of God. If you read that He loves us- He actually does. If you read that he knows all- He actually does! A God who directs me to do something, and when I do that thing- I am happy? He knows how it works. He knows how humans work. He knows us individually and collectively. When people tell me of how unhappy they are and they then adopt the concept that God is not loving- perhaps they misread Him. Perhaps they are blaming one who they do not listen to. If they were to submit their lives to His direction- they would be happy. It is really a ‘listen to your parents’ concept to yield to. Your parents love you, and when they ask you to do something- it is not because they do not want to do it themselves. It is because they have an increasing desire for you to learn. It is because they know the immense benefit, understanding, confidence and self-sufficiency earnt through learning said thing. They know and have learnt for themselves the happiness that could be earnt through learning that could be achieved in doing what they have asked of you. With their knowledge of the possibility of your happiness- they direct you to do certain things. If somebody wants you to be happy I would only assume it’s because they love you! Divide that concept and apply it to God and realise He actually loves you.
If you understand the above concept, you begin to recognize the freedom that comes from having far greater understanding in life. You comprehend the importance of having those enriching experiences that you would not have had had you not listened to your parents. You understand you have been asked to do these things in your life- not to prove to them that you are in favour of them, even though that is a worthy motive- but for them to demonstrate to you that they are in favour of you. They are in favour of your happiness. My parents made me learn piano as a child. Initially I had asked to, but then, as soon as I understood the work involved in maintaining the skills required to pass examinations, I no longer desired to continue. I couldn’t stand exams, they made me feel incredibly nervous and the outcomes of the exams rarely portrayed how I felt as a pianist of my level at the time. However, I continued to press on. I continued to work hard, and get nervous, and get terrible exam results, and get sad or frustrated with the system or my lack of ability. I did something I did not wish to do for many, many years. Now, as a result- I can play piano! I really feel like it’s a skill that is necessary to be obtained in one’s life. A staple instrument, a profound talent, a genuine necessity that I find comes in handy on a regular basis. Not just the initial skills acquired but the understanding learnt. I can read music. I haven’t any idea how I can but I just do. I sing and play both hands on the piano at the same time while reading music and listening to people next to me. I haven’t any idea how I can but that’s just the skill I have acquired as a result of what I perceived as many years of hardship. Music is a universal language- how many nations speak exactly the same language? No two. Music speaks the same in every country. What a blessing my parents gave me to learn this instrument! I would not take a second back of those seemingly hard times. In fact, I’m at this point where I ask my parents why I wasn’t forced to do more things. I’ve said things like, “Well I’m going to force my kids to learn piano, I’m going to force my kids to learn other languages, I’m going to force my kids to be fit- because I know had I done these things as a child I’d be far more advantaged now, as an adult!” Their response is always much like, “Emma, there are things we tried to have you do- but you would refuse.” You can direct people to do things to a degree, but in the end the person themselves need to actively do what they have been asked. We personally are given the ultimate choice as to whether or not we wish to listen to one with far more knowledge than we. So as my parents, in doing this thing, they were not interested in anything but their desire for me to be happy. This was not for them, it was for me. God does not give directions to you for Himself, He does it for you.
When you live your life centred on Christ, you are genuinely far happier than you would have been otherwise. I am not perfect, and I am not Him. I would like, however, to the best of my ability attempt to be as close to Him as possible or be the best representative of a follower of Him as possible. I am learning every day, and I try to do so every day. He is the first thing and the last thing on my mind. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I believe in a loving, intelligent, objective, just and understanding God. These qualities we comprehend in other human beings can in fact be found in our creator. These qualities are inherently from Him. He should make sense. If God is not these things to you, you do not understand Him. If God doesn’t make sense to you, seek understanding.
The way I live my life and the reason I follow this particular faith is really simply put: it makes me happier than I have ever known. I care about the truth and I care about what makes sense. The truth sets one free- and I am genuinely free! There is nothing I am willing to do more than to defend this knowledge for the rest of my life because I know these things are true. Have thoughts illustrating questions of your soul you wish to know? Feel free to speak with the missionaries:
I promise, if you listen and ask, with a true desire to know what you must do in your life in order to be happy- you will most genuinely receive your answers. True happiness is so obtainable and I’m in no position to restrict anyone from achieving it. It is my delight and my goal for all people to know the things I know and be as truly happy as I really am. I find happiness every day, even in the midst of turmoil or amid conflict in my life’s adversaries or afflictions. I am happy, my soul is at peace, I am free, and I genuinely desire for any and all people to know they can feel this way too.
I received the following two weeks ago:
“Dear Sister Wilson:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Centre on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Swedish language.”
I know at this time in my life this is where I am meant to be going and this is what I am meant to be doing! There is nothing more prominent and sure to me than the existence of our Saviour and the active pursuit of bettering one’s self through His teachings every day. When I came to this realisation, I have genuinely found improvement in every area of my life, each day- and consistently find peace even in the midst of turmoil, each day. Because this brings me greater joy than anything I have ever known- there is nothing I would love to do more than immerse myself in this calling and share this message of happiness with the people of Sweden and all else who are seeking peace and understanding.
To meet with missionaries in your area feel free to visit http://www.mormon.org/missionaries