Hello Family and Friends!
This week's been great and I am still so surprised that I'm on my 8th week already! But I'm super excited to get out there!
Also, one of the Elders who came in with the Nihonjin the 2nd week I came is now in my district because of the surgery's he's been having. He had a surgery on his ankle, as well as 2 surgeries, one on each knee, so he's had 3 surgeries in the past 2 months basically. However, he IS going to be coming to Japan with us, and he's going to Sapporo! He is so cool, and we've gotten very close actually. I think we may have been friends in the Premortal Existence... He is a convert, but went inactive, and is now active again, and on a mission. But he has a strong testimony and I say that we're spiritual brothers. :)
So here comes the rundown for the week!
Tuesday: Tuesday was a very good day! Elder Neil L. Anderson came and spoke to us about love and sacrifice. He said that "No missionary who does his or her best will ever be a failure." Which goes along with the quote, "the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." I think those are awesome! He also talked about not focusing on ourselves and one of the sisters in my district said, "turn I to あい(ai, the Japanese word for love, pronounced the same way)." Speaking of love, One of the other sisters said "Charity is the power and purpose of this work." And I realized that that is so true! One other thing he said was that "After hard trials, we receive great blessings" so everything that's hard is preparing us for blessings, so thank goodness! Lastly he said that "We sacrifice for the things we love, and we love the things we sacrifice for. Also on Tuesday we had to walk back from the Marriott Center in a downpour so I got my first experience being a missionary in the rain! I realized that we need to enjoy each moment cause you can never get it back, so you might as well make each moment wonderful.
Wednesday: I got the opportunity to Host again which was very fun! I got to see Nate Paul and True DeMille while I was walking down to pick up another new missionary so that was great! I seem to find friends everywhere I walk here! So Wednesday we actually got to Skype some Nihonjin people in Japan for our TRC(Training Resource Center) Experience so that was awesome! It made me super scared to go to Japan, but super excited as well! Not much else happened that day so we'll move on.
Thursday: I got my new nametags today which was super exciting! Sadly we're only allowed to wear them during class though and even then, we usually don't because it's depressing to take them off... ;) In one of the classrooms that I went into today I saw a picture that said "Love is key" and I thought that was very very true. Again not much else happened.
Friday: Today I finally saw Sister Wilkinson while walking back over to class so that was good! It took a week and a half, and she only had about 5 days left, but I did see her! I found an amazing scripture today that says exactly what I want to be able to say at the end of my mission. It's 2 Timothy 4:6-7 and it says, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." That just says it all, perfectly. I want to be able to honestly say that when I leave, so I need to keep it in mind!
Saturday: Ok so Today was very rough. I felt like back home I had people who cared about me, were receptive to what I said, and showed their love for me. Here I felt like I had none of that. So basically a really rough day right? Well during gym I tried to run off those feelings instead of playing a game, but it didn't quite work. Soon though, my prayers were answered by 2 people in my zone. I immediately felt better, I felt loved, and I knew that God was watching out for me. I also got a blessing from my companion and that helped a ton too! The Priesthood works! Also my Sensei talked to me and told me that he appreciated me and that he thought I was a great missionary so I felt a ton better by the end of the day!
Sunday: Wow! What an amazing day Fast Sunday is, everywhere, but especially at the MTC! The Spirit is so strong, and it inspired me to write a few things. First was this poem type thing about God:
"I feel his love everyday.
I know that he cares for me and loves me.
He answers every single prayer and question that I have,
no matter how small or insignificant it may be in the scheme of things.
I feel that God pays special attention to me because he loves me more than I can comprehend.
At times I feel like I am the only person he cares about because he loves me so much.
But God isn't like a child.
He will not, and has not picked favorites.
He loves every one of his children as if they are the one he cares about most, because he is perfect.
I want to be like God.
I want to represent Him with all that I do and say.
I want to make each and every one of His children feel his love like I do,
but also show His love through me.
I want people to see God's love shining in my eyes when they see me.
I want them to feel like they can trust in God, as well as in me.
I want them to know that He loves them and that I love them.
I want them to realize that they too can have God's love, and that when they do have it, that they will share it with someone that I can't.
If I do this, and if they do this, soon God's love will cover the earth,
Peace will reign,
The World will be happy,
And we will all rejoice.
When His love fills the earth."
So that's that one and I thought that it was good, but I can't make a widespread rating since a) I'm the writer, and b) I'm only one person. ;)
Monday: I basically wrote down the things that I couldn't fit in my journal on Sunday for the entry on Monday. So I'll just write what I wrote. An Elder in my district inspired this one, with the help of the Spirit. "I really miss my family and am saddened by the thought that I won't be able to live with them or see them for 2 years. But God loves each one of us perfectly., How must He feel to know that part of his family hasn't chosen the gospel, or made the choices that will allow them to live with Him again? That He won't be able to live with His whole family again. That is why we're out here. Not just for the people of our missions who we will teach about being able to live with their families again. But it's for our God, so that we can bring more of His family home. So that He can live with more of His family for eternity. That is what we must remember if we are going to succeed in this work. That is what we must know, deep in our hearts, if we want the Holy Ghost to testify to those we teach and love. Only then will we be happy, and only then will we have success." I thought that was pretty sweet too.
On Sunday I also thought of this during District Meeting. "Companionships aren't meant to be 2 people. They are meant to be 2 humans, and the Holy Ghost. If we don't have the Holy Ghost with us, then one of our companions is gone and we're breaking the mission rules. Also our missions are supposed to be lifetime missions. So we need to always have his Spirit with us to have that mission feeling." Crazy right?
I also watched Elder Holland's talk about Missions are forever and he had this poem that I'll quote here.
" 'Come to the Edge,' he said.
'No, we'll fall,' we replied.
'Come to the Edge,' he said.
'No, we'll fall,' we replied.
'Come to the Edge,' he commanded.
So we came to the Edge.
He pushed us...
And we flew."
I thought that was so cool and I really loved it!
Tuesday (aka. today): Today we've just done emails, gotten haircuts(thank goodness!), written letters, done laundry, and are going to go to the temple soon! So I'm always excited for that. I'll talk more about today in my letter next week, but for now, this is it!
I love you all and am so thankful for all of the great examples you are all to me! I know that I am in your prayers and that you're thinking of me(otherwise you wouldn't be reading my letter ;) ). This church is still true, and will never be false so don't doubt or question it. It will only make you unhappy, and will cause you to miss out on a lot of blessings. I know that prayers are answered. They're answered in so many ways that we can't even begin to imagine. I realized the other day that there is no "perfect timing" there is only God's timing. And since God is perfect, his timing is perfect, so that IS "perfect timing". I am so grateful for this gospel and for my chance to be doing this work! You're in my prayers!
Elder Stephen Bickel (ビケル著路)