Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2 Weeks to Go

Sorry about the low amount of contact last week. We get an hour of email time in the field, but in the MTC were limited to 30 minutes in a computer lab, and last week all the computers were freaking out and counting down our times while our emails were frozen and automatically quitting out. It was frustrating. And I haven't done a very good job of writing down addresses so if there's anyone who doesn't email me that wants a letter I need their address, I finally found an address book page in one of my journals I can write them down in.
Well this week wasn't super eventful, maybe I've just been here so long I don't notice anymore. Still learning Japanese, so that's fun. I did have my birthday 2 weeks ago, sorry I didn't say anything about it. I really appreciate all the gifts sent to me and last P day I found out how bad I am at chess, but I'm getting better. Hopefully today I'll win a couple games. Apart from the gifts not too much happened, there's really not a lot you can do to celebrate in the MTC. I've made sure to share the abundance of junk food I get with my district, and they love me for it, so thank you for everything you send!
We've been teaching a teacher who roleplays one of the investigators she taught on her mission, and she is a 95 year old woman who's husband died about 60 years ago. We talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation and its cool to see how much comfort it can give people. I do want to make sure I understand it more though so I can be confident in all the little questions people bring up sometimes that we don't usually think of.
During some of our short blocks of "Additional Study" I've been able to watch some of the new Life of Christ Bible Videos and some of them are actually really good. They're all really short and many quote the bible word for word, but I like them. You should take a look at them if you haven't yet. I also read some of the new February 2013 Ensign, and the First Presidency Message is really good. It talks about being a better missionary, whether full time or not. There are 4 tips Elder Uchtdorf gives to people who may be hesitant in sharing the gospel, and he goes into each a little more in depth but they are:
1. Be a light- set a good example and be a source of happiness and joy in others lives.
2. Be conversationsal- don't be afraid to bring up church experiences. They don't have to be deep doctrinal sermons, but small seeds of faith can be planted through the smallest testimony.
3. Be full of Grace- love one another, always strive to be kind and avoid contention with everyone.
4. Be full of Faith- do what you can and trust the Lord to do the rest. We do not convert people, people are converted by using their own agency to listen to the Holy Ghost, we just show them he's there.
There was also another good topic from Elder Bednar I believe about spiritual gifts. He recommends to read D+C 46:11-26 along with you patriachal blessing if you have one, and to pray to know which gifts you have. Then more importantly, pray to know how you can use those gifts to serve others. The thing that stood out to me the most is that it doesn't matter who has more spiritual gifts, because they're really not for us. We have our gifts so that we can use them to bless others, not ourselves.
Anyways, I've gone over my time as usual, even though I only wrote 3 emails, I apologize to anyone else who expected one, send me a dear elder with your address telling me to write you and I will, its just hard to remember everyone with so much going on here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3 Weeks Left Before Departure

Well It's been a pretty awesome week. Elder Holland came and gave a devotional last Tuesday and it was really motivational. He also gave a dedicatory prayer for 3 buildings that recently were rennovated. I am finally getting a little bored of the MTC, and I'm looking forward to going to Japan already. It's soon though! We had a group of Japanese missionaries come in yesterday who will leave to the field the same time as us. Its been both encouraging to see how much we are able to communicate and its also discouraging to see how much I can't communicate, if that makes sense. It will come with time though and it's good that I don't get too confident or else I won't learn as much.
A couple of these Japanese missionaries have really cool conversion stories.
The first: Elder Chiba, had an LDS friend he was in Jr High school with, and he was going to go to a different High school on a baseball scholarship, but ended up breaking his shoulder. Because of that he went to the same high school as his LDS friend, and after 4 years of investigating was baptized. He said he didn't really belief the story of the First Vision, but after reading the Book of Mormon (Morumon Sho) and following up on Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5 he knew that it was true.
The Second: Elder Onizuka, lived in Tokyo and was an orphan. The missionaries tried to talk to him on the street and he said he wasn't interested, but then the said they had a message about eternal families and he stopped and listened. He was only baptized a year and a half ago.
I'm super excited to get out there and be a part of these people's conversions.