Read His Mind, Do His Will

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi & Sister Bon Koo Choi

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi & Sister Bon Koo Choi

General Authority Seventy, Second Counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency

Devotional
March 29, 2016
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My dear brothers and sisters, Aloha! What a great honor for us to come to Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Thirty-two years ago, Sister Choi and I were students here. We developed our academic skills, nourished and strengthened our family, and were trained on this very campus to lead and build Zion. It was the perfect place for us, as a young family, to learn how to read Heavenly Fathers mind and apply His will in our daily lives. This campus is a holy place and it is our home of Aloha. Let me share what we have learned throughout the years regarding the ability to Read His Mind, Do His Will.Find His WillFrom the beginning of my conversion, I learned how to choose the will of the Lord through trials and challenges. I joined the Church with my family when I was 16 years old. Three months after my conversion, my bishop, Cha Bong Kim, asked me if I could speak at stake conference. I was honored to be assigned to share my testimony in a stake conference. I said yes immediately, although I was a little nervous. However, it was a big challenge for me to accept that invitation after I heard what the topic of my talk was to be: How to Prepare for My Mission.Sister Choi:From the age of a young boy, Elder Choi dreamed of becoming a general in the Army and prepared in many ways, including physical strength and academic courses, to be able to pass the entrance exam for the military academy. After he joined the Church, he learned that missionary work was a duty for all young men; but it was not the first priority for a recent convert. He would have had to abandon his lifetime dream in order to serve a mission because, in Korea, to be excused from the military academy for any reason was not possible. He told the bishop that he could not speak on that topic at the stake conference because he could not give up his dream. Although Bishop Kim knew what his plan was, he asked him to pray about it for a week and then talk to him again. During the next week this young Elder Choi prayed and listened for an answer, asking Heavenly Father if he should prepare for a mission, striving to gain a testimony regarding the matter so he would be able to speak at the stake conference. He prayed and prayed and prayed every night and every day. In spite of praying for a whole week, he could not change his mind because he could not imagine his future in any way except as a military career. His worldly desire was stronger than his focus on the will of the Lord. He went back to the bishop and said he could not speak at the stake conference unless the topic assigned to him was changed. The bishop kindly told him that he would ask another young man to speak instead. However, Elder Choi was very uncomfortable with this decision because, for the first time, he did not obey his bishop. This unwillingness to accept an assignment was very hard for him. After that time, whenever he thought about a fulltime mission, he felt that his mind was confused and his life was complicated. The situation continued to bother him to the extent that it adversely affected his life, not only as a member of the Church, but in his school work, as well. He was neither happy nor content. He was reminded again and again that a fulltime mission was the duty of all young men. About three months later, as he became more humble, he sought the will of the Lord and the ability to change his mind regarding his chosen career. Finally, he committed to serve the Lord for two years and promised himself that his rejection of the bishops invitation to speak in stake conference would be the last time for the rest of his life that he would decline to accept a church assignment.Elder Choi:When I was 19 years old I was called to serve in the Korea Busan Mission. It was a glorious time. Unfortunately, my mission was interrupted by the call to serve my country. Military service is mandatory for all Korean young men and we are required to join the army once we have been called by our country to do so. Therefore, I needed to be released from my mission after one year and serve my country for three years. After I finished this three-year assignment in the military, I wanted to serve a mission again, although I was honorably released from my mission. However, many people, including my parents, told me that I didnt have to serve a mission again because I was honorably released in order to serve my country for three years. They said that was enough. That sounded okay to me and I started thinking about my future as I continued to seek the will of the Lord. Later, when I had a chance to visit with Sister Choi, who was a member of my ward and a good friend of mine, I asked her opinion about my going on a second mission. Surprisingly, her answer was not the same as others. She was the only one who thought differently about another mission and about me. She said,Sister Choi:I know who Brother Choi is. He is the one who will serve another mission.Elder Choi:What a great compliment and confirmation for me! She had high expectations for me and this helped me have the desire to elevate my thoughts more completely to find the will of the Lord. I recognized my loyalty was to the Lord and was so happy to get her support for a second mission. I turned in my missionary papers again and was called to serve in the Korea Seoul Mission for one year, a mission location different from my first mission. I learned that to find and do the will of the Lord is simple when we humble ourselves sufficiently to elevate our thoughts and read His mind.We read in Isaiah 55:8-9, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."[1] However, a way to read His mind is available to us. In Jacob 4:8 we read, Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.[2] Let us heed the words, Save it be revealed unto him. Heavenly Father reveals His mind and His will to men when we elevate our thoughts. Look UpSister Choi:One time when Elder Choi was a young father and a student here, and we were living in Temple View Apartments (TVA), he had an overwhelming day after discovering we had no money left in our bank account. He was the head of our family, making less money than we needed, facing bills that were due, being weighed down with schoolwork and exams as a full-time student, and lacking sleep because of our new-born baby. He could not find a solution to our financial difficulties and was unable to focus on school work. He found no joy that troubling day and struggled to find the faith he needed. Amid doubt and fear, he spent a sleepless night.Elder Choi:I went out to walk alone in the middle of the night. I did not know where to go but just wanted to be away from TVA for a time. I walked and walked, carrying all these concerns in my heart and heavy burdens on my shoulders. I did not know how long I walked but at last I found myself walking towards the light of the Laie Hawaii Temple. The temple was so bright and beautiful when everywhere else was dark. The light of the temple led me to look up rather than at the dark world around me. As I continued to look up, I saw the beautiful stars in the sky. At that moment I realized, like the stars in the sky, I could not count the blessings I had received. Suddenly, those blessings were clear to me. Heavenly Father had given me a beautiful wife and precious boys. I was studying in the Lords school where many instructors were teaching, not only academic subjects, but lessons of daily life in the gospel; and I had made many friends at this school. I realized how many times I had seen the hand of the Lord in my life, especially during those times when I could not find a solution. When I realized how much I had been blessed, I felt that I needed to return home immediately. I ran to our apartment at TVA. Sister Choi was praying for me because I left home without telling her anything. I hugged her, apologized to her, and shared what I learned when I looked up at the temple and the heavens. Sister Choi:We counted the blessings again that we had received and refreshed our faith. This faith brought us hope and the confidence to manage all things. The same challenges were no longer heavy. We concluded that we could never find the answers to our challenges from the world, but we could always find the answers from the Lord. We decided to focus on the spiritual things more than ever before. To look around the world and be confused was easy, but to look up to Heaven and be happy was also easy. When we look up, we can have faith to trust in Him. With faith, we can read His mind and do His will. This was a great lesson in humility for us in our early married life. Doubt Not, Fear NotElder Choi:I applied for several jobs in Korea before I finished my masters program because I planned to go back home as soon as I finished my education in the United States. Although I was asked to be ready for interviews from some good companies in the computer field, I had no final offers before we left the United States. Many people said how silly I was, as the head of my family, going back to my home country without any money or job. Many people did not go back home after finishing their education. We were going back, anyway. The choice was not difficult for me because I felt, even before becoming a student that I needed to return to Korea once I completed my education. That feeling was confirmed during my new-student orientation at BYU-Hawaii, where I understood clearly that we would need to go back home to serve our home country and to strengthen the kingdom of the Lord, in accordance with the counsel of the prophet, Harold B. Lee, in his General Conference address on April 6, 1973, entitled Strengthen the Stakes of Zion.[3]Yes, I had great fear to go back home without money, home, or job. I doubted whether or not I was making the right decision when I thought about those worries. In addition, I found many opportunities and excuses to stay in the United States. Fortunately, my faith to do the will of the Lord was stronger than my fear and doubt. The Lord said, Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not. (D&C 6:36)[4]Sister Choi:As Elder Choi mentioned, we did not have money. We did not have our own home when we went back to Korea. We started living with his parents. We thought he would be hired in a short time, but all his job applications were rejected. He had more than twenty interviews, but all ended up for nothing. He could not find a job for two months.Elder Choi:I was patient and faithful until then, but it was hard to be patient anymore because I expected to find employment easily and quickly with my credentials. I was very disappointed, hung my head with shame, and started doubting myself. What did I do wrong? Is this the result of listening to the words of the prophet? Should I have stayed in the United States to look for a job there? It would have been easier to find a job there. What shall I do to support my family? How can I take care of my wife and my two little children? My friends who told me to stay in the States will laugh at me. Does this mean I should go back to the States? I couldnt find the answer at all and thus I was not happy for a while. In spite of that difficult time, I did not miss a single day to pray, to study the scriptures, and to hold weekly family home evening. As I did these basic things, I found the energy to push myself to continue to be faithful.One day I went to the Church Distribution Center to buy a book and met a senior missionary couple. We introduced ourselves to each other and they learned that I was looking for a job. They said they had a friend who was the general manager for Data General Korea and he was looking for a manager. Data General was an American computer company opening an office in Korea. After two months of rejection and waiting, I was so humbled that I told them I did not have any work experience except part-time jobs on the university campus. I meant I was not qualified for the position he was trying to fill. They said, Lets see if theres any other position. I received contact information and called the general manager in Korea that day. He wanted to see me the next day. When I interviewed with him, he said he was looking for a person exactly like me who knew the cultures of both America and Korea. He was looking for someone who could be a bridge between headquarters in Boston and New York in the United States and the Seoul Korea office. I told him I did not have enough experience, but I would work hard and do my best. When he asked me how much I wanted to be paid, I submitted the least amount and told him I did not mind how much. He said, Do not underestimate yourself. You studied hard and you are qualified enough for this position. I found a diamond in the rough. He then offered me a salary that was double the amount I would have gotten from any of those companies that had rejected me during the previous two months. I also received more benefits with better working conditions to spend more time with my family and church responsibilities. I repented for not being patient during this process of learning how to be more humble. Soon, I was called as the Young Mens president in my ward and became a young bishop one year later. My job at Data General was the perfect job for me to fulfill the needs of my family and my church assignments. This job was the blessing and the reward for my decision to listen to the will of Heavenly Father and return to my home country. He prepared the best job for me, but I didnt know His plan for me. Our living prophets still invite us to gather to Zion. President Russell M. Nelson said, The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. . . . The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. Scripture foretells that the people shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.(2 Nephi 9:2) Every nation is the gathering place for its own people. The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. (Ensign, November 2006 The Gathering of Scattered Israel)[5]As we listened to the promptings of the Lord and relied on the words of the prophets, we were led to return to our homeland. However, at times some of us may feel inclined to look for information from social media or other sources rather than rely on these dependable sources. In the last General Conference, President Uchtdorf mentioned a situation in which he went to the internet with medical questions to find more satisfactory answers than those he had already received from his doctor. He said, Of course, researching things for ourselves is not a bad idea. But I was disregarding truth I could rely on and instead found myself being drawn to the often-outlandish claims of Internet lore. (President Uchtdorf, October 2015 General Conference It Works Wonderfully!)[6] Brothers and Sisters, let us listen to the voice of the prophets. Let us not disregard truth. Let us rely on the words of God. That is the way we can read His mind and do His will without fear and doubt. Christs ExampleSister Choi:Jesus Christ showed us how to read Heavenly Fathers mind and how to do His will. He prayed constantly and sincerely to His Father in order to know His Fathers mind. He prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)[7]Elder Choi:May we all pray constantly and sincerely in order to read His mind.Sister Choi:His life was filled with doing His Fathers will. He said, I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will (D&C 19:24).[8]Elder Choi:May we all fill our lives with doing His will as Jesus Christ did. Sister Choi:He knew He was doing the right things because he sought the will of the Father. He said, I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30).[9]Elder Choi:May we all know we are doing the right things by seeking only His will.Sister Choi:After He was resurrected, Jesus Christ could tell the world, . . . I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things . . . (3 Nephi 11:11).[10] Elder Choi:May we all glorify our Heavenly Father by suffering His will in all things. BlessingsSister Choi:As you heard, blessings are promised when we find the will of the Lord and do His will. We may say BYU-HAWAII is just a small university on this hot and humid island with no air-conditioner in any Hale or TVA, foreign students cannot exceed 19 hours of work each week, and we hear more than 60 different accents of English. On the other hand, you may talk about the same school differently when you read the Lords mind. Because of the size of the school, you have very close relationships between teachers and students. It is easy to make friends because you see them almost every day. You can make friends from over 70 different countries, and even foreigners can get a job and work legally on campus or at the Polynesian Cultural Center. At least each classroom has cool air, sometimes too cool to stay without an extra jacket. You are not the only one who has a weird English accent. Do you see the difference? When we read Heavenly Fathers mind, we understand that . . . [H]e who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19).[11] What a big difference when you read His mind and see things as He sees them! What would you choose?Elder Choi:This school was built to bless each one of you, especially foreign students like us. In his inauguration remarks on November 10, 2015, President John S. Tanner stated, . . . I see a school that takes special care of the academic orphan and stranger in the land. I see a school that serves an alma mater (meaning a nourishing mother) for its students, especially for students who are poor, late bloomers, first-generation, international, non-native English speakers. Sister Choi and I were also poor, late bloomers, first generation, international, non-native English speakers. We came here with almost nothing, but we were blessed to be able to finish our education without any debt. In this school we learned the things the Lord wanted us to know, prepared ourselves to be a righteous father and mother, to be leaders in the Church and the community, and to build and strengthen Zion in the land of our inheritance.Sister Choi:Brothers and Sisters, Heavenly Father sent us here because He loves us. His mind is full of love for us. He wants us to return to Him and to be like Him. When you find the will of the Lord, you will elevate your thoughts to see yourself as the Lord sees you. When you look up, you will have hope and you will find the faith to do what He wants you to do. You will want to do His will because you love Him. Elder Choi:President Uchtdorf said, "Oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we areand who we will become." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2009 General Conference "The Love of God")[12]Brothers and Sisters, Read His Mind, Do His Will. Remember the words of King Benjamin, . . . [T]he Mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view (Mosiah 2:9).[13] I bear a special witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ who is a perfect example of one who does the will of the Father. He is our Savior and His redemption is real. His atonement works for all mankind as we humble ourselves, turn our hearts to him, and follow in his footsteps. Heavenly Father loves all of us as His precious children. Although we each have our own desires of what we want to accomplish in the world, I promise that we will be richly blessed by listening to His guidance and following His way, which is the only way to live with Him again someday. Let us read His mind and do His will. We love you and admire you for all the things you are doing according to the will of the Lord. I bless you and pray for you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. [1]Isaiah 55:8-9[2]Jacob 4:8[3]Harold B. Lee, General Conference, April 6, 1973[4]D&C 6:36[5]Ensign, November 2006 The Gathering of Scattered Israel[6]President Uchtdorf, October 2015 General Conference It Works Wonderfully![7]Luke 22:42[8]D&C 19:24[9]John 5:30[10]3 Nephi 11:11[11]D&C 78:19[12]Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2009 General Conference "The Love of God"[13]Mosiah 2:9