Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MTC week 8

September 10, 2013

Hey Family and Friends!

I'd like to thank everyone who's sent letters!  They are coveted at the MTC and so many people have written me and it means a lot to me!

Ok so to start out, I'll tell about the rest of Tuesday:  Because of time issues, we decided not to sing in the choir.  It was very weird since I had done it every other week, but it was cool to get a taste of what we sounded like.  I remembered a quote today that the choir director said a few weeks ago so hopefully this is the first time I’ve written it, but if not, it’s so good that it bears repeating.  He said basically that we aren’t worthy or good enough for this work.  We cannot do this work.  But luckily it isn’t our work.  We’re just God’s helpers and tools, and we are good enough and worthy enough to be that.  So there’s no reason to be overwhelmed by the work, cause we’re not actually doing it, we’re just helping.

Wednesday:  So today our service assignment that we get every week (usually cleaning our residence hall) consisted of some differences.  Instead of vacuuming like we usually do, we were recruited to help clean out a room full of pillows.  It was only 4 of us, but it was pretty cool!  Sadly I didn’t get to jump in the pile though…  Maybe next time.  Hosting wasn’t quite as fun as usual, but I’m hoping that for my last week I’ll get JD!  I also remembered another thing the choir director said.  By the way, he’s an institute teacher so that’s why he has all of these great quotes.  So he was talking about how we are refined like metals, like it talks about in the scriptures, but he went into a little more detail.  He said that in order to make sure that you get the exact right temperature to heat the metal, you have to know exactly what type of metal it is.  If you get it too hot it’ll be brittle and will break.  If you don’t get it hot enough it’ll go back into it’s original place.  But if you know what kind of metal it is, then you can heat it just right so that it’s strengthened.  Well God knows exactly who and what we are.  The trials He gives us are just hot enough to make sure that we don’t go back to how we were, not too hot to make us break, but just right to make us even stronger.  So think of that when we have trials and things’ll go better!

So Thursday:  So we have a Brazilian Elder in our district who lived in Japan for 5 years, and came in with the first set of Nihonjin.  Well he’s had 3 surgeries (ankle and both knees0 so he’s had to stay until he’s healthy enough to go, but he will be coming with us for sure.  Oh and he’s going to Sapporo.  So that’s pretty sweet!  Anyway, he’s still trying to learn English and sometimes will say the funniest things.  For example on Thursday, he said, “What the heck I did!” when he meant something like, “What in the world did I do!”  So I thought that was kind of funny.  But he’s only spoken English for a year and understands basically everything so it’s pretty cool.  He’s a recently reactivated convert too so it’s awesome that he’s on a mission.  He had another quote that’s actually really profound.  He said “I never tell God that I have problems.  I tell my problems that I have God.”  I thought that was so true.  Our problems shouldn’t matter because we have God.  Also, my teachers have shown me that I’m not the first to deal with hardship on a mission and I definitely won't be the last. : )

Ok so Friday.  Before you read this, know that I’m doing a lot better.  So Friday was really rough.  We got our travel plans which was super exciting, but just the overall day was rough.  I felt like I wasn’t doing as well as I could with things and that my companion and I could do better.  However, I talked to my branch president and he boosted me up and so that helped a ton!

Saturday:  Well Saturday was amazing compared to Friday!  We had 2 great lessons and that helped a bunch.  Then we had a sub for the last hour of class and it was a recently returned missionary from Sapporo.  He told us all about it and our first few days, what it’s like there, and just super exciting stuff that made me want to be there so badly!  Also our other Sensei told me something that I should’ve written immediately, but he said that achieving your goals isn’t what’s important.  What’s important is that we’re working towards them.  Also from the MTC we could hear some of the cheers from the BYU v. Texas game so that was kinda funny.

Sunday:  Sunday was pretty good.  We had our Departure District Devotional where we learned what we were going to be doing packing wise and just getting ready to leave.  Honestly it made me even more excited to be gone….  But I’m still going strong!  We also got a bunch of pictures as a district and Dai Sempai so you’ll see those soon!  At the Devotional that night the speaker talked about prayer.  He said that “Prayer is on of the key parts of our message.  Because if they’re not praying, then nothing is happening,”  Prayer really is so important.  Make sure that you’re praying multiple times each day!  Also you should watch the Mormon Message titled, “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father.”  It’s amazing!

Monday:  Monday was great.  By the time we woke up though, we officially had less than a week left.  Crazy!  Also, I’ve really found that the scriptures seem totally different as a missionary.  And not just the scriptures too.  Like everything is seen through missionary eyes so it’s different.  It shouldn’t be that way I don’t think, but I guess that’s just how it happens.  I just want to try to keep this perspective after my mission and throughout my life!

Well that’s all for this week, but I’ll try to write my weekly letter before I go to Japan so that it won’t be two weeks!  I love you all and you’re in my prayers!  Thanks so much!

Elder Stephen Bickel

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