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The Weeks Go By…

Sometimes it feels as if I have a ton happen in a week and have a lot of thoughts, but as I sit down to write them, they disappear somewhere. It must be a sign that I’m old if I even misplace my thoughts.

There are some people who I hear about and feel motivated. One such is president Washington. He was a man of such character and valor that he is easily revered as the best president we’ve ever had. I find it interested, though, that as a military general, he wasn’t the great. He didn’t actually win many of his battles and as far as prowess and special ability, he was generally nothing special. However, though willpower and grit, he was able to be a great leader and accomplish great things. It kind of gives me hope too when I think about my abilities. It’s less important what we’re able to do, but the kind of person we are. I hear this a lot on campus too. Professors and hirers will often say they are less interested in people with exemplary skills, but more interested in people of exemplary character.

While most of the time I can’t remember all the words spoken, but can I can always remember the feelings that I have when I feel inspired. On Sunday, there was a powerful quote on prayer and asking for help. I can’t really remember at all what was shared, but I do remember it gave me a greater desire to pray more earnestly and sincerely and since then, I have done better with my personal prayers. I feel my relationship with our Heavenly Father increase and feel a greater desire and motivation to attend the temple, read my scriptures, and others.

A powerful spiritual thought that I can across this past week was from Elder Holland’s talk, Be ye therefore perfect, eventually. The topic of being enough whether it be good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, spiritual enough, etc, has come up frequency lately. It always seems that people judge themselves based on the perceptions of others and measure themselves up to some sort of made up scale that is impossible to actually achieve for the scale is always set higher than we are currently at.

The truth of this is, like Elder Holland emphasizes, is that God expects us not to actually be perfect NOW, but to choose good. He expects us to excel by choosing, not just our performance. In the scriptures, it says the blessings of God will be given to all those who keep the commandments, and to those who strive to do so. God looks at what we choose and what we are trying to do more than just what we’re actually able to do. We are awarded for our efforts.

Don’t need to be perfect in GPA or body image. He cares infinitely more who we are than what. In addition to this, He cares more about our eternal progression than simply our temporary, temporal standing. Meaning, God is going to give us challenges and trials and without answers from us sometimes and make us endure hard things without immediately making the burden feel light because He knows that what we will become from these things will be what makes us into the types of people and sons/daughters of God that will be able to live up to the great divine potential that we have. If God were to ensure our lives were easy, comfortable, and okay all the time, we would NOT be able to grow and NOT be able to actually progress. Be thankful for what you have. Make the most of your trials and choose to grow.

This week, we also had another Nerf war with the UNFF. It was fun, as always. I was able to sell some Nerf guns. Midterms are still hard. I’m sure stressed, but hanging in. Next week, we’ll be able to go see the open house of the new Meridian Idaho temple. I’m sure excited.

This past week marked the one year mark of the death of the king of Thailand, too. There was a giant funeral ceremony. Everyone got the day off and watched the ceremonies. It was a super emotional time for Thailand. I, although not a Thai person, was sad too. I remember hearing the news of the King’s death a year ago and felt a type of connection with the Thai people and had much sympathy for them. Let me just say, many kings and leaders don’t do much. They kind of govern and are respected. The king of Thailand was not one of those leaders who just led. He was a father figure to all of Thailand. He served with the people. He labored for them. He cared for them and loved them. Not as just a leader, but as an actual father. As I learned more and more of what he did for the Thai people, I, too, felt inspired, grateful, and loved the king. As this period of time happened, I pondering about role models, kings, and the Gospel. It is tremendously sad when people we love pass away or have bad things happen to them. However, we have knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. We know what happens after this life. We know that this life is not the end. It is not the end of the love, support, or influence of those people. We can live our lives in remembrance of those who pass and can continue on to strengthen others. It’s not always necessary to do exactly what they did or to sacrifice as much as they did, but the WAY we live our lives is a showing of how we feel. We don’t need to be a policeman, firefighter, soldier, doctor, nurse, full-time volunteer in order to give back. We can give back in many small ways every day. Take a look at your life and realize you’re doing good. Your influence is felt. It’s felt by many, many more than you realize.

When I think of a role model or great king, I immediately think of our real king. The king of kings. Our savior Jesus Christ. While there have been many great, noble, noteworthy, amazing, loving, dedicated, selfless leaders, none have done as much, have made as large of a sacrifice, are as selfless, loving, dedicated, or are critical and essential to each and everyone of us all the same than the one who was directly sent by God himself. The very son of our Eternal Heavenly Father. Sent to die, but not only that, sent to LIVE for us and because He lives, we all may live again too. I know that this is true. I’m so thankful. All the love, respect, reverence we may have for others, all pale in comparison to our savior.

Short and sweet,
Derrikk Sun

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School has been…bearable for the most part. Homework is manageable with the help of study groups, online resources, and some late nights.

I’ve decided to try to actually take selling Nerf blasters a bit more seriously and am looking into an etsy shop and really spreading the word. I’ve added a new page to my blog, this blog, with a little online store. Take a look! I’m going to try to really keep on top of updating it regularly.

I think the only thing I write about is how stressful life can be and that we need to stay calm and focus on what’s important, but I can hardly seem to be able to do that. Haha.

One big highlight this week and the reason why this post is so late is that this weekend we had a Field Training Exercise with ROTC. We went out to Camp Williamson and lived life in the shoes of soldiers. We ran practice runs of formations and lanes. We practice iterations of ambushes, crossing linear danger zones, platoon attacks, sleeping outside in the cold in patrol bases, established objective rally points, ate Meals Ready to Eat, repelled, shot M16s, got instruction from some sergeants, rucked, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was a great experience. When we got back, the wives of some of the soldiers, cadre, and cadets made a whole bunch of chili for us. We had rolls, cookies, pumpkin bread, and tons of chili. Despite just being able to eat free food, what was really touching was seeing the reaction of all of the people who were excited to see each other after a day or two of being apart. You could really see and feel the friendship, bonds, and love that they had. I am of course talking about the families, wives, and girlfriends of other cadets. While waiting in line to turn in some gear, some cadets were talking about how sometimes it’s awesome to go out with the guys on a great trip, do fun things, have freedom and not have anyone else to worry about, but they accepted and said after wards that, “but it’s times like these that make you kind of want a good relationship. Coming home and having someone waiting for you, someone to come back to and have someone there is just such a great feeling.” It reminds me of the lesson we had in relationships and dating class in Sunday school. It’s not that we can’t be happy if we don’t have someone else, it’s not that we can’t live alone and be happy, but having someone else to share our feelings and experiences with will help add to what we have now. We take our happiness and add it to someone else’s.

In life of relationship or marriage, we need to endure and have patience. Sometimes a lot of patience. Day by day, we have a lot we have to endure whether it be missing each other, disagreements, keeping commandments works through other problems, family, school, work, learning, living, finances, careers, children, etc, etc, etc the list goes on an on, but I love how the Gospel applies to everything. No matte work, school, relationships. We have to faith and believe, but if we make a mistake in something, we repent and try to earnestly do better. We make covenants with ourselves and others, and receive guidance from our Heavenly Father, we are patient and endure to the end, keep building up our faith and continue in this cycle as we strive to improve our selves. I love how much reassurance and support we receive from the scriptures. Alma 26:27 “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” D&C 24:8 “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” God is always with us and will always give us strength if we place Him first and seek His help. As we read our scriptures, pray, fulfill our callings, and strive to become more Christlike everyday, we’ll be able to see more of His help in our lives.

Sorry for cutting this week short. I’ll try to make up for it later in the week.

Love you!
Derrikk Sun

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Find the Joy in the Journey

Here’s a mid-week thought. These are notes and things I’ve learned in my BYU religion class and at church. My most spiritual moments have been when sitting in my religion classes.

We do not earn or do anything to deserve salvation. All is through the merit of Messiah. Man cannot merit anything of himself. Keeping commandments helps us receive grace. God will save us through the mercy and grace of His son, but we have to keep the commandments. I honestly feel that if you were to take an investigator and sit him down in the middle of the religion classes at BYU, they would be converted before the end of it. I love being able to learn secular things, and also spiritual.

Heavenly Father gives us an opportunity to become like Him through commandments. At the end of our days, it’s not like we’re going to open up a briefcase, lay out our accomplishments and say I’ve made it into heaven. Here’s my missionary call, my Young Men or Young Women’s awards, this a list of all the callings I’ve had, these are all my tithe and offerings slips, etc, etc. Those things don’t qualify us to enter into heaven. They are only there and given to us in order to change us. It’s through the change we undergo through Christ that qualify us to return to God’s presence.

We don’t sing hymns because they sound good. We sing it because it’s true. I love the hymn I Need Thee Every Hour. It’s true. Christ is the center, or should be, the center of our lives. In my religion class, our professor shared an article written by a Non-Mormon about Mormons and their thoughts of Christ. I recommend you give it a read. It stuck out to me that the center of all we do is Christ. It’s called “Mormonism Obsessed with Christ” by Stephen H. Webb. He gives great reasoning and examples of how some other Christians view Mormons. The truth is we’re obsessed with Christ.

After this, our professor shared an experience where he presented his lesson plans for the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon to the church education board for review and feedback. He said the the reviewer said his lesson plans were overemphasizing Christ. He was shocked. I’d be shocked too. How can you overemphasize Christ in a book that is a testament of Christ. They explained he overemphasized Christ because he never mentioned Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father was our first relationship. Christ’s role is to invite us to Him so he can cleanse us, make us pure, prepare us, and then present us to return back to our Heavenly Father. Christ did not come to do anything but give all glory to the Father. This realization was so profound.

I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love Him. I want to follow Him.

If a prophet was coming to our home, how would we react. If our hometeachers were coming, how would we respond. We often view and react to people based on their status or position, but God is no respecter of persons. Does the God we worship pay attention to worldly titles and possessions and standings and positions or worldly prowess? God is not a respecter of persons. God does not pay attention to skin pigmentation, DNA, pedigree chart, or standing in the world.

If we are ever in a phase of life where we’re feeling cut off, we don’t know what to do, and we start to feel more and more withdrawn from heaven. We try to pray and it seems like it’s just bouncing off the walls. Think, where is our relationship with Heavenly Father? Are we out of balance in our life. Are we placing our priorities on anything other than placing Heavenly Father where He needs to be, at the head. I’ve felt like this has been a big theme in my life the past few weeks. Things have been hard. Life isn’t easy. There’s little growth in the comfort zone and little comfort in the growth zone. It can be incredibly overwhelming. My apologizes for getting personal. When things get hard, never forget to turn upwards. Never forget to keep God close. All the time. Not just during the times when we need Him, but especially during the times when we need Him. If we are not careful and diligent, we can find ourselves all of a sudden being further from Him than we thought. This happened to me. But it’s never too late to get back on the road that He wants us to. The road back to Him. You’ll get past the point of pseudo memorized prayers and get to a point of starting to actually talk to your Heavenly Father.

​The greatest battles you will fight will be in the silent chamber of your own soul. Ask and you shall receive, but sometimes we are too prideful or scared to ask. Take courage. Don’t be afraid.

We need to trust in the Lord, but we’re the ones who make the decisions. We can’t be afraid to act. It’s okay to make a mistake and have to get back on track. We’ll learn and be able to make better choices. Must have skill to make decisions and skill to listen and follow.

Doctrine and Covenants 90:24. “search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good”. God will not allow anything to be to our downfall. He simply won’t allow it in the end.

Conference theme: trust God. I’d encourage everyone to diligently listen and ponder the words of the Prophets from this past general conference. I know you will be enlightened, feel of God’s love, be filled with the Spirit, and be given the strength and direction needed for this time in your life. I know I have.

Happy mid-week,
Derrikk Sun

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It’s approaching MIDTERMS…….

As things go along, we’re getting closer and closer to midterms. It’s a kind of stress that I’m sure makes many people go grey.

Somethings I’ve thought about are reemphasized from an Engineering Council Advisory meeting we had a few days ago for my ME EN class. We had people come in from several well-known companies and gave us advice into the hiring process and how to get started in engineering careers. A piece of advice they all shared in common was to find what we like to go and go for it. To be confident and go after whatever our dreams were. Or to get a dream if we didn’t have one. It made me think of a song from a certain Disney movie about people having dreams. Bonus points if you can guess it.

Because of mid-terms coming up and how likely it is that school is going to kill me, I find myself also thinking about how Heavenly Father will help us. We often hear if we have faith, we can see miracles. I thought of Joseph Smith’s teachings on faith. In order to have true faith and see miracles occur from our faith, we have to have three things.

1. A belief that God is real. This often isn’t hard for too many people. Many people already believe in some higher power.
2. A correct understanding of God’s character. God loves us. He is our father. He is able to help us and guide us in whatever it is we’re striving for. This understanding is often a bit harder for people to acquire.
3. A knowledge that one’s actions are in-line with God’s desire for them. We do what we can in order to follow Christ and to become more like Him. We are obedient, have charity, and are striving to do what He would view as right. This is the hardest to do.

We believe in God, we believe that He is capable of helping us, but are we doing what we need to in order to have real faith? In order to receive help from on high for our school work, Heavenly Father’s will for us would no doubt be for us to do all we can in order to achieve the grades we want. He will, of course, help us along the way, but requires us to do our part as well. “for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith”. The obstacles and trials that we face will be able to be overcome, but it always requires us to have hope, believe, and exercise faith through diligent action.

Also, General Conference was sooooo good!!! I’m going to try to study a conference talk a week and share what I learn here.

For ROTC, we practice procedure for what to do if contact is made with a hostile force. We simulated with paintball guns and went up in the mountains. It was a really fun, engaged exercise.

I’ve also finished some blasters that people have bought this past week. I’m still behind on some.

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Nerf, conference, mid-terms, etc

It’s been a great, fantastic week! Things have been chugging a long and don’t show any signs of slowing down. Both good, and bad.

The workload from school continues to progress and increase. Midterms are getting closer and closer and the number of project and essays is increasing. ROTC is still taking up my Thursdays and trying to take my weekends, my job takes my mornings, I have class through the afternoon, and homework taks my evenings. I have little time for much else.

This past weekend was General Conference, my mission reunion, several Nerf events, and I had numerous people contact me about buying Nerf guns from me and having me build them for them. It’s been busy.

Friday night I went to a Mod Party where a bunch of people came together to modify and build Nerf guns. I finally learned a little about modified flywheel and electric blasters, but most of my time was spent helping others build homemade blasters and trying towork on commissions that people had bought from me but hadn’t been finished yet. I worked on these through the night and the following Saturday morning, we left early to take part in the first Human vs Zombies event of the UNFF. It was amazing fun with A TON of running. I was a human for half of it and a zombie for half. One great thing was I was able to be a ‘spitting’ zombie for some of it and was still able to shoot a little. I ran around with a sword and a small pistol which was a ton of fun. We then played NIC (Nerf-internet Community) rounds with higher powered blasters and I was able to give out my blasters for loan and the people who took part had a ton of fun. Sadly, a lot of regulars weren’t able to make it so it wasn’t a large group, but was definitely a good start for NIC with the UNFF. We went to eat at Famous Daves and in the evening we went to an arena of a new UNFF member, Derek. He came to see how things were run, but ended up having a really great time. We played with stock, unmodified blasters in the small arena and played games such as Murder and Trouble in Terrorist Town (TTT). It was a full, entire day of Nerfing from Modified blasters with HvZ, highpowered blasters with NIC, and stock with indoor. A full variety and a ton of fun. If you’re free, come join in!

On to General Conference. I wasn’t able to watch the Saturday or Priesthood sessions live, but have been catching up. The talks that stood out to me the most were on family, getting through trials, growing from tribulation. I felt so uplifted by conference. With all the unfortunate and challenging things that are happening day-by-day, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Despite this, God knows who we are, our potential, and how to help us. For example, families. All of the major things that you see people struggle with. The big things and often life-changing things, there are guidelines and help that He has given us. I felt the Spirit urging me to pay attention to the talk(s) on covenants, the temple, and families. The center of the Church, the purpose of the Gospel, and what Heavenly Father wants for us is to have celestial families for eternity and have true joy. He has given us clear direction and divine revelation through the Family Proclamation and other sources.

I was also very impressed with Priesthood session. Everyone time I listen to, read, or hear stories in conference and the talks, I am reminded about who I am and about what each of us Priesthood holders have in terms of responsiblity and power. We’re constantly reminded and warned and exhorted to never forget the divine calling that we have, that each of us have, as holders of the Priesthood, as children of Him, as members of the Church, as people who know truth, as those who have testimonies, and those who have made covenants. He has given us tremendous responsibility and tremendous trust. He loves us. He has entrusted us with His power and gifts of the Spirit. It’s up to us to live up to that. I remember a general authority mentioned how we may want to curl up under the covers and be afraid, but He has also enabled us to accomplish and live up to our potential. We can do it.

I’m so excited to be able to continue to study these talks over the next months. As I walked to school, was at work, or working on Nerf blasters, I’ve switched to listening to these conference talks instead of just listening to music. I’m so thankful for the words of living prophets that we have that guide us in these latter days.

Derrikk Sun