Konnichiwa, mina san! O-genki desu ka? How is everybody doing in there various locations? I am doing quite well here in the Provo MTC. I can hardly believe that it has already been 1 1/2 months. It seems like just yesterday that I entered the MTC. How time flies.
Actually, yesterday I was reminded very well of what it was like entering the MTC, because our zone was asked to "host" for the first time, which means that we were able to greet the new missionaries at the curb and get them to their destinations. It was a beautiful day for entering the MTC, and it was nice to be outside for those two hours. One of the missionaries I hosted is going to the Japan Tokyo Mission (I don’t remember whether it was north or south), and he said that he used to be fluent in Japanese but has not had anybody to practice with over the past couple years, so it has fallen off a bit. I imagine he will do very well.
In the MTC some of our senseigata (teachers) roleplay as "Progressing Investigators" for us to teach. One of our senseigata, Taylor kyodai (Brother Taylor) has been roleplaying as somebody he taught in Japan named Yoshida san. Apparently Yoshida san’s daughter, Yoshida shimai (Sister, Yoshida; Yoshida is the last name) is currently an senior as an exchange student at one of the local high schools, and she showed up the other night while our other sensei, Wylie shimai, was teaching. She texted Taylor sensei (who was at a dinner group), and he arrived a few minutes later for a nice reunion with Yoshida shimai, whom he had taught in Japan along with the rest of Yoshida san’s family. It was the first time they had seen each other in person since his mission two years ago. This experience has built my testimony that Kamisama (God) guides his children to be where they need to be so that he can provide us with such joyful experiences. Ten no Otosama (Heavenly Father) loves to bless us and provide us with opportunities to find joy.
Yoshida shimai came that night to volunteer for TRC (Teaching Resource Center, where we have the opportunity to teach Japanese-speaking members). She ended up staying with our class the entire time, but is going to return sometime next week and will bring a Japanese dessert when she comes, which will be wonderful. Speaking of Japanese food, everyone we’ve met has said Fukuoka has the best food in Japan.
We also were able to do Skype TRC for the first time last night. In Skype TRC we have the opportunity to teach members that actually live in Japan. There were some technical difficulties because they were not expecting so many missionaries to be teaching all at once, but it was a great experience nonetheless. My Nihongo (Japanese) is still fairly horrible, but I am continually striving to improve. Everybody in my district is excited to leave for Nihon (Japan) in eighteen days!
On Sunday Elder Alan Ashton and his wife, Karen, (President and matron of the Provo Temple) spoke at the fireside. Subarashi deshita (it was wonderful). Sister Ashton spoke about the experience she had when they were called to be President and matron of the Provo Temple, which is a very busy temple. She testified that the Lord is in His temples, and He teaches and works miracles there every day. Sister Ashton also spoke of the "Balm in Gilead" and testified that the "balm" is the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the Atonement is made most apparent in the temple ordinances. It is very true. I love the temple! Sister Ashton also referenced Elder Bednar’s talk about making pickles, and said that the most concentrated "spiritual brine" is found in the temple. Therefore, if we desire to become more spiritually-minded, go to the temple! It is truly holy ground, and there is so much to learn there.
President Ashton taught about preaching "nothing but repentance unto this generation", and that the reason we are asked to do so is because repentance is the only avenue through which we can find true heian (peace) and yorokobi (joy). Another thing that he pointed out is that when we partake of the sacrament each Nichiyobi (Sunday), we can also make that a personal time to renew our temple covenants as well as our baptismal covenant. He also stated that as the Lord’s senkyoshi (missionaries), the angels have charge over us, and "They that are with us are greater than they that are against us."
Tuesday’s devotional was also wonderful. Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis (of the Seventy) and his wife Luisa spoke. They are Brazilian, and are both very happy people. Aidukaitis shimai quoted from D&C 123:12 and told her conversion story, which is that after returning from his mission Aidukaitis choro (Elder Aidukaitis) fellowshipped Aidukaitis shimai (they were not yet married), taught her the lessons, and then contacted the chorotachi (elders) in his ward and told them he had an investigator for them that was ready to be baptized; the chorotachi only needed to interview her. Then they were married. 🙂 Anyway, Aidukaitis shimai testified that there are many who are already prepared to receive baputesuma (baptism). All we have to do is find them.
Aidukaitis choro also spoke of the many people who are already prepared for baptism. He quoted and dissected a few (of the many) scriptures concerning missionary work. One of the scriptures that he began his talk with, and which I love, is D&C 31:3, in which it says, "Lift up your heart and rejoice; for the hour of your mission is come." That is very applicable to myself as a senkyoshi (missionary), and is a great scripture to read and think about whenever you be emotionally low. God has commanded us to lift up our hearts and rejoice. So do it!
Throughout his talk Aidukaitis choro dissected the following scriptures, which teach about the blessings and requisites that come with missionary work: D&C 31:4-7; 75:3-5; 33:7-11; 11:21; and Alma 26:22. Many of these scriptures speak of the field which is "white already to harvest", meaning that the seeds have already been planted and are ripe for the picking. He testified that these truly are the last days, and that we have had about 6,000 years of planting. Now is the time for harvesting. One of the promises he focused on is that we will be "laden with many sheaves", will have "the power of God to convince men", and will "bring thousands to repentance". He testified that these are not empty promises. Interestingly, he even singled out Japan when testified that despite what we may have heard about our respective missions and their low baptism rate (such as Japan), it need not be that way for us. Aidukaitis choro quoted D&C 82:10, which says, "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise." If we do what the Lord says, He must fulfill His promises to us, and we can help many come to a knowledge of the truth.
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is led by Jesus Christ through modern prophets, seers, and revelators. You can receive personal revelation in your own life, and through the Spirit you can know for yourself that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this church is true.
One of the last things Aidukaitis choro said is that Heavenly Father has called you into the world now because of the great faith which you displayed during the council in our Pre-mortal life. Do not falter on that faith now.
I love you all, and I am grateful for your examples, prayers, letters, and love for me, my brother, and all of the other senkyoshi throughout the world. Thank you!
p.s. Mom, I received the package yesterday. Everybody enjoyed the Pringles, and thank you for the ties. They are grea! The other elders in my room are a little jealous. I love you!
p.p.s. I know that prayer works. This past week I have been praying that Kyle’s FBI papers would get to Mom and Dad soon, and they did! Kamisama loves us, and He especially blesses His senkyoshi. I know that Kyle will continue to be a subarashi (wonderful) senkyoshi wherever he serves. Thank you for your example, Kyle! I love you!