July 30, 2013
Family (and Friends),
Wow, what a crazy, crazy week! Wednesday we had our first service assignment where we cleaned our building. We were going to play Fugitive for our exercise that day in our building with the Dai Sempai (6-9 week missionaries) and Sempai (3-6 weeks) but they all had a departure meeting so Fugitive was canceled. Basically we were going to try to make it from the second floor of our building to a room at the top floor so I was a little disappointed when it was cancelled.
Wednesday I also had an interview with my Branch President and he asked me what my favorite part about being here was. Naturally I said “the amazing spirit I feel all the time. Then he told me to look up a scripture. It was Alma 13:12. I’ll let you read it, but after I read the scripture he shared with me four points from someone’s talk. I can’t remember who’s but it said this: “In order to be filled with the spirit we need to do 4 things. 1. Have meaningful daily prayer. 2. Have daily scripture study. 3. Think about the commandments and repent constantly, and 4. Do service.” He then said, “Keeping that in mind is it any wonder missionaries have the spirit?” He then told me that even when I’m off my mission I can still do those things and keep the Spirit.
I’m worried I’m actually gaining weight for the first time in my life. I’m trying to eat less fried food and more fruit. I’m also exercising as much as possible even if it’s just sand volleyball (which I’ve found I really enjoy and am ok at!).
My district is really getting close which is great! They’re all so amazing and I’m really lucky to be with them! One of the sisters in my district had an amazing comment when she said, “The Atonement is the hardest and best thing to understand.” Like I said, amazing district!
For personal study I’ve been reading Jesus the Christ and it is absolutely amazing! It is really superb and I’ve read 342 pages already! During class one of the days we were told to teach the Restoration to someone in our district, in English luckily, and it was so cool! I felt the spirit so strongly and I just wish I could do the same in Japanese, but I know that’ll come.
Sunday I was actually pretty sick. I “tossed my cookies” and didn’t feel great. So, being surrounded by my district full of Elders, I asked for a Priesthood blessing! I felt so much better afterwards, but after the blessing I still took some medicine just in case! So don’t worry about that! Sunday night I went and got a picture with a bunch of my high school friends but forgot my camera so you’ll just have to look around for that one. It’s weird for me to think that some of them are leaving or have already gone while I still have about 7 weeks. Oh and since my district is still one of the newest Japanese districts, we’re called Kohai, but soon we’ll be Sempai, which will be nice!
Monday, the playing field was closed so we couldn’t’ play sand volleyball, but we still got to go to the gym, so it wasn’t too bad. Earlier in the week I started feeling like I had a better understanding of Japanese but then our lesson Monday, dashed that hope. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve got the Lord’s help so I’m not worried.
Today, (Tuesday) actually was a pretty perfect day. We woke up, got breakfast, and went to do laundry. Surprisingly, right as we walked in, we found just enough washers to accommodate us, just waiting for us. It’s like they knew we were coming and it was so nice! We then wrote emails, got lunch and had the amazing, rare chance to clean the temple. I was thinking about it and I’m guessing the percent of missionaries who get that opportunity has to be less than 0.0001% because it is rarely closed and they pick 2 districts to come clean it 5 days a week so we are super lucky! Because we were cleaning the temple I didn’t get to finish this letter in time to mail it today so I’ll mail it tomorrow.
For the devotional tonight, we got to hear a great talk by President Richards from our Stake! He did amazing and I really enjoyed what he said. The choir sang “How Great Thou Art” and yes I did sing in the choir even though I’m still recovering.
I love you a ton Mom and hope you get better soon! Dad you are such a great dad and I look up to you so much! You are an example of what a dad should be and I’m going to try to be as good as you. Katherine, I think I beat you this week! Daniel, I hope your summer’s going well and that trek was awesome. Spencer, same to you. Peter, remember that you’ll wish you played less video games so go do something fun! Learn how to do a Rubik’s cube even! I should have a mini one in one of my nightstand drawers, probably the top one in a plastic wrapper. Consider it. Well I’ll write again next week!
Elder Stephen Bickel