こんにちは！Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various places? I am doing quite well here in 都城 日本(Miyakonojo, Japan)!
Transfers have come and gone, and I am still here and Elder Jensen is still my companion! Yay! As I mentioned last week, both Elders Smith and Nara transferred, and nobody is replacing them this transfer! 😦 Our apartment was already very large (much, much larger than most missionaries’ apartments, which I discovered first-hand over the weekend, but I will get to that in a moment), but now it feels massive! There is just so much space, we don’t know what to do with all of it! Maybe more balloons. 🙂
This week has been so wonderful! As I just mentioned, I discovered the true size of a Japan missionary’s apartment over the weekend. We had District Conference on Saturday and Sunday as well as Zone Conference on Monday, so I had my first mission "sleep-over" in Kagoshima with our Zone Leaders and the other Kagoshima companionship. There were six of us in all, so it was somewhat tight sleeping in there. I definitely have been quite blessed to have such a large apartment. It will be missed when I transfer!
District Conference was wonderful! Saturday night’s conference was all in Japanese (except for Sister Gustafson’s talk, which she gave in English while somebody else translated it into Japanese), and I understood a lot but am still working on piecing things together, and still have a long way to go with my tango (vocabulary) and bunpo (grammar). The Sunday session was a broadcast from Salt Lake in which Bishop Stevenson (Presiding Bishopric), Sister Oscarson (Young Women General President), Elder Walker (currently in the First Quorum of the Seventy, formerly Area President of the Asia North Area), and Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke. It was wonderful. I learned about placing spiritual safety first, keeping the three parts of our lives – family, church, and work/education – balanced, that we are never too young to receive a testimony, and that the prophet asks only a few things of us, but those few things are very important (so heed the prophet’s counsel).
Zone Conference was also wonderful! I learned more from these conferences than I have time to list; all of it was great!
I think the biggest thing I have learned from these District and Zone Conferences (and from my mission in general) is how inadequate I am! I have so many weaknesses. However, I believe that the most important thing that I have learned is that as I rely on the Lord, my weaknesses do not matter. This is the Lord’s work, and He has no weaknesses. If I yield my will to Him and allow Him to work through me, then He can teach me how to be who I need to be despite my weaknesses. The Lord has made many promises to those who are faithful to Him, and as long as I am faithful to the promises that I have made the Lord is bound to bless me according to my obedience. I know that I am imperfect, but I also have come to realize that it is alright that I am imperfect! Prior to my mission I was weighed down by my imperfections, and especially fearful of how they might affect my ability to be the instrument that the Lord needs me to be. However, as I have served and have come to realize even more just how imperfect I am, I have come to cherish my imperfections. I am grateful for my imperfections. That is not to say that I do not strive to become better, because I definitely do every day. However, I have come to realize that (for example) my inability to speak Nihongo very well during these first few months of my mission has been a great blessing to me. I would not have desired to know Nihongo perfectly the first day that I arrived, because then I would not have experienced the struggle which it has been to learn Nihongo. I still am far from pera pera (fluent), and still have much struggle to go through before I ever get there, and I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father that He is willing to allow me to continue trying, because it is in trying, failing, trying again, and eventually succeeding that I am able to learn and grow. I love my Heavenly Father so much! He is so wonderful! I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I am grateful to be one of His representatives here in 都城 日本.
I love you all! You are such wonderful examples to me! I continue to pray for you every day, especially for Grandma Koetitz.
They ended up in reverse order, but oh well…
A member drove us to a famous shrine relatively nearby. It is called "Kirishima jingu":
This is where you was your hands and drink some water.
This is a part of a tree branch that looks like a guy with a shield (it’s not a figurine and has not been carved; it is just how that part of this little stubby branch grew):
A "king-size" bowl of food that I ate. It is from a restaurant called "Sukiya." It was a lot of food.
Well, that’s all, folks!