Mission Purpose



Favorite Scripture

Alma 29:9

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some sould to repentance; and this is my joy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Week 4 (Christmas in the MTC)

Well, it's a little weird being away for Christmas. But Christmas here in the MTC hasn't been so bad.  The dart guns were a great idea. Elder Mattson was so excited. Also everyone is impressed with my sweet harmonica skills, so it's been a pretty good day.
Elder Nelson came and spoke to us today. It was a pretty awesome devotional. It was funny. At one point, he started talking about rumors and how you shouldn't spread them. Then he mentioned the rumors that "people are getting called to one mission for a year, and then going to some other mission that's closed right now for two, like China." Then he mentioned that rumors like that were completely false. So... I think I take his word over those friend of a friend stories... :P Last night for Christmas eve, they had a little nativity show thing, and then we watched "A Christmas Carol". It was hilarious because I was sitting next to the two Nihonjin Elders we have here, and since it wasn't in Japanese, they didn't really get it. I talked to them like the whole time, and we were all just laughing. It's hard to communicate with them, but I'm getting better. To bad that they're leaving next week along with the rest of our Senpai.
Anyways, back to Christmas. They've given us 20 minutes today to email about Christmas, which I'm not sure if it stacks with our 30 minutes on p-day or replaces it... but I just wanted to let you all know that I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas, whether you're my family reading this from the email, or friends reading it on a blog.
One thing that's really different here in the MTC is that you don't really get the commercial aspect of Christmas. It's all about the actual meaning of Christmas. For example, right after this, we've got a meeting to talk about the meaning of Christmas. It's going to be way different these next two Christmases. Next year will be a christian holiday in a non-christian country. But it'll all be good. I've got to send pictures. I know I can send and receive a few from this email, but I might just send the whole SD card. Thanks, by the way, for the awesome pictures of my family in that binder. Oh, and my Japanese stuff too. (Which reminds me, the binder only had my Japanese 1 stuff in it. Can you try and find my Japanese 2 stuff or something?)
Christmas here has really been a good spiritual experience. I really like it, and even though I miss being with all of you, the Spirit in here is way strong, and I love it here too. Plus, just imagine how awesome that Christmas in two years will be. It'll be a nice thing. But until then, it's just a party here in the MTC.
One thing that really impresses me is the fact that this is a day to celebrate Jesus Christ. He's given us so much, and we're forever in debt for the gifts that He's given us, like the Atonement. But how great is it that I get to give just a small part of that back to Him, being a representative of Him as I prepare to teach the people in Japan. I love thinking about that. There's a reason the second largest name on my name badge is His. Even if it is in Japanese. I love being a missionary, and I can't wait until I'll actually be able to be in Japan, helping bring people unto Him. Also I can't wait till I can actually communicate with people that live in Japan, instead of the broken Japanese that I can speak, but that'll come. I really do have a testimony of the many gifts that we're able to receive. The gift of tongues is going to play a huge role in my mission. I already have a testimony of it. Before my mission, I couldn't say the Japanese "r" sounds. I tried hard. I asked people how to do it. I watched YouTube videos, read articles on the Internet. Nothing. It seriously stressed me out. It's why I never really spoke a whole lot of Japanese in class. For a few weeks leading up to my mission, I would pray about it. like "I know this is a really stupid problem, but I can't say the R sounds, and it's stressing me out." And then, on the first day in class, Evans Shimai just expected us all to be able to speak. I kept repeating all of the things we were supposed to say, and then suddenly I realized that I was able to say them. It wasn't even a problem. I know that my prayers have been answered, even if this is just a small example.
Christmas is all about giving and receiving gifts, right? Well, not exactly. But it's sure turned into that. But if you think about it, Christmas is about Jesus Christ. And He has given us many gifts. We just need to be willing to receive them. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that through His Atonement, we can be clean and receive comfort and gifts for anything we want, if we put the work into it. Try and remember the real meaning of Christmas today. I love you all so much. Enjoy today and have fun. Even you Dad. I know you don't like Christmas, and it's probably way hard for anyone to have fun without me there ( :P ) but just have fun today anyway. Love you all! If I get another chance later today, I'll send you another email. But if not, I'll write you next week!

LATER THAT DAY...Hey, so I probably won't be able to write very much again today. Want to hear a sad story though? The iPod you gave me is broken. :( It makes a weird clicking noise, like the hard drive we had did, and then it shows an "X" and says to go to some website for support. I think I'll have to send it back to you to get it fixed. I saw that there were pictures on it, and I tried to check those and then it wouldn't show any. Also I looked briefly through the music. No Jon Schmidt? :P Just kidding, I'm not complaining. But it'll have to be sent back anyways. I think it got damaged in shipping or something. It's weird. 
Anyway, not a whole ton has happened this past week except for Christmas. Mattson Choro and I committed Ohama Shimai (our investigator, played by Evans Shimai) to baptism on the 12th. If I'm still district leader by then, I'll have to ask her baptismal questions. I can barely speak Japanese! ha ha. Oh well. Its been fun here in the MTC though. Now I have to go get everyone else's mail for them. Being District Leader is weird cause now everyone looks to me for answers and stuff. I had a big discussion with one of the elders, because he's been having a hard time in his companionship. I'm glad for the chance I had to help him though. It was really nice.
Oh, on Wednesday, a lot of new missionaries came in, which makes all the lines a real pain to get through now. I have to wait forever for my food and then to put my dishes away, I have to wait another eternity.
New Missionaries remind me that I want to congratulate my friends who are getting their calls. Kallie's dad found me in the cafeteria and told me that she was going to California, Fresno Spanish speaking. And then Annie Mack (I worked with her at the Orem Owls) came to my sacrament meeting because her dad is my branch president. She's going to California too! Anaheim, English speaking. And then today I checked my email and saw that Jared got his call to Calgary Canada English speaking! That's so awesome for all of them, and I think they all enter the same day. (don't quote me on that) Also I saw Bean and my friend Elder Knudsen the other day. That was way nice.
Anyway, times pretty much up this week. I'll make sure that I write you next week. I'll try and get the letters I didn't get sent sent out. I wrote like 12 letters last week.
Oh, just for Lauren. I forgot a smiley attack in the last one. Here's one for you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Missionary Christmas

(author unknown)
I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and socks...no fun.
I've bought him all white clothes because...
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November's Ensign, Felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because,
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion, their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence,
I'll miss his smile a ton for two years we will pray for him,
I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one.
I'll put my faith in God's hand, This year,
I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter;
I think I finally understand Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done.
My gift has taken years to make, This year...
I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there's One who understands, the sacrifice I'm making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, The toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before Greater love - there could be none.
For years ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, The hands I taught to pray;
Now knock on doors to find the ones who will listen to what he'll say.
Because I know Christ needs him, Until all the gathering's done,
My gift has taken years to make. This year...
I'm giving Christ my son.

Week 3

Hey Mom,

I'll just start off by giving you answers to those questions that you keep asking. My district is Me, Mattson Choro, King Choro, Yoshida Choro, Malcolm Choro, Wood Choro, and Webber Choro. (Both the o's in choro are long sounds, I just can't do them on this computer.) Elder Mattson is my companion, and he's pretty cool. He's big into sports, and he's just a loud kinda guy. :P King Choro is a wrestler, and he does like jujitsu and stuff. He's always really nice and super relaxed, and an awesome roommate. Yoshida Choro is also one of my roommates, and even though he's half Japanese, he knew absolutely no Japanese coming in to the MTC. He always does really random things. Like, REALLY RANDOM. Like, putting body soap in his mouth so he can blow bubbles. But he also has this spiritual side that is really deep and awesome. Malcolm Choro was our first district leader, and he was the only other one that hadn't had any Japanese before he came here. He's a really small person, haha. I'll try and send pictures. I'll probably just end up mailing you my sd card. Wood Choro is from Payson, and he is seriously a buff guy. We started working out as a district every week, so who knows? Maybe I'll be buff when I get back. :P I can already do THREE whole pull ups now. that's three more than I could before I came here. Anyway, Wood Choro is always happy, and its awesome. Webber Choro is also from Payson, and he's pretty much a Japanese pro. I always ask him questions about Japanese. He's kind of the serious one that keeps us all on task.

My schedule is a little different every day, but basically I have 2 three hour blocks where I'm in class with a teacher, either Fowers Sensei or Evans Shimai, and we learn Japanese, study the gospel, and teach our investigators. (We have two now. Going to challenge one to be baptized tomorrow.) And we also have another 3 hour block that includes an hour of gym, an hour of language study, and an hour of the TALL (technology assisted language learning) lab, where we get on computers and use a program to help us learn Japanese. These 3 blocks are switched day to day, but we basically have a planning session, breakfast, one block, personal study, lunch, another block, dinner, another block, bed. Devotionals on tuesdays and sundays, workshops on saturdays. P day on tuesdays. There's my schedule in a nutshell.

I'm not sure that I'll be able to email next week, and I know I won't get to call. It's Christmas, so to everyone reading this, Merry Christmas in advance. I've pretty much just been writing letters today. SO. MANY. LETTERS. Even to people who I haven't received a letter, just as a little Christmas present thing.

Oh, by the way, I'm the District Leader now. It just happened on Sunday. Lots of responsibility, so I hope I can do it. I learned that in January, our little branch of 28 people, (formerly 7 people) is getting 64 people just in January. Isn't that insane? Also, I guess the branch presidency aren't really sure if we're here for 12 weeks or just 9. we're on the 12 week curriculum, but they might end up kicking us out at week 9... :-/

Hey Dad, you should start studying Japanese! That way, when I get back, we can have like, secret conversations and stuff. One thing you can do is come volunteer at the MTC. Every saturday, they have this thing called the TRC where we go teach volunteers in our language. You could use that as practice to brush up on your japanese. Just wait for me to leave, because I doubt they'll let you do it if I'm still here. Also, remember the oil vial that you gave me to take? Well, I had it on my keychain, but one night I looked at it, and only the lid was there. It must have fallen off somewhere. I'm sorry for losing your vial. :'( But I bought a new one, so I don't need another one.

Once again, I'm really grateful for all the support everyone has given me. I just keep getting letters and some packages, and it always brightens my day. I really can't believe its been 3 weeks already. At this rate, I'll be home tomorrow. It'll definitely be a bitter-sweet thing. It's been really fun here on my mission, and its only been 3 weeks!

By the way, I saw Craig, Joe, and Izak... well, I mean Elder Channell, Elder Talbert, and Elder Erekson, this past week. They all left the MTC today, so now it's just me, haha. Pretty exciting stuff for them, right? I'll be out there pretty soon too. I just can't wait for some real food. MTC food is SUPREMELY average. Like, it's averageness is above average. None of the food really stands out at all. But that doesn't mean you need to send more food in a package. I've got so much! Today we just sat around and wrote letters while eating all the food.

Anyway, I've basically just been rambling for half an hour. My email time is up, and my clothes are almost washed. Theres a possibility that I'll be able to email next week, but if not, I hope everyone has a good Christmas. Love you all so much!

This smiley face attack is dedicated to Lauren. :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c: :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ c:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Week 2

So Jordan pulled a fast one on me yesterday. He always teases me, and knows that I am very gullible and will believe anything. This is what he sent at 3:00 pm.

Well, it's been another week here at the MTC. Nothings really changed. Hope you guys have fun at home! Hopefully more exciting stuff happens next week. I'll write you then.

Needless to say, he had me in tears thinking that this was all he was going to send. I had hoped that he would have responded to the many letters we had sent over the week. I responded with: That's all I get? Did you get our letters? Anyway...after about 20 minutes I received this. (3:28 pm)

Hahaha just kidding! See, I can still have a sense of humor here. :P This past week has been pretty intense. Our investigator that we've been teaching was committed to be baptized. And now we don't teach him anymore. He teaches us! I guess the whole time, we've had two teachers, but one of them has been pretending to be an investigator. So that was a pretty unexpected twist. Japanese is coming along all right. Last night, Mattson Choro and I were teaching a lesson to Evans Shimai, who is now being our investigator. We told her that with the gospel, she can have an eternal family. Then she told us that her family wasn't very happy, and that it wasn't a very peaceful one either. She is pretending to be a mother of a four year old kid. I felt really bad, but I couldn't say anything to help. She also told us a sad story about how she had prayed once, but something bad happened. I didn't understand the majority of what she said, so I couldn't reply. We kind of just heartlessly moved on with the lesson. :-/ Its been a real indicator that I have lots to study. I didn't come here to just ignore people. I want to be able to help them with whatever concerns they might have. I'm definitely going to work hard to become the best I can be. (I want to be the very best. Like no one ever was. sorry. Pop culture reference.)

Anyway, you set up a blog? So now I can't just post anything private? Everything that I type is just easily accessible by anyone? Right this very instant, one of my friends could be reading this.... O__o haha, I'm just kidding! That's really cool that my friends care enough that they want a blog. Now, if only they would reply to my letters... :P Only Bean and Michael have responded so far. Michael's family sent me a nice package with... wait for it.... MORE FOOD! :D I'm seriously going to have to work out instead of play four square if I keep eating like this. Today, I really haven't done anything. P day is a blessing and a curse. All I've done is go to the temple and get my haircut. Haven't even written any letters.

By this time, I've got your response to my last email. haha. Yes, I did get your letter. Feel free to find awesome pictures of my friends and family on facebook or something and send them to me. And my friends can do the same if they want. I can get like, a little binder or something and put all the letters, pictures, random notes or drawings, and other things I get from people in it.

It's kinda weird here. I still feel like after a while, I'm going to go home, eat some real food, pull out my phone, text my friends, head over to one of their houses, and basically live life like normal. It really hasn't set in that I'll be here for two years... But if it goes by as quickly as this last week has, then I'll be home in no time!

Remember how I said that all the Elders in my district were jealous of my letters? Well, they still are. There hasn't been a day that I haven't got a letter. Hahaha I feel super popular!

Well, I've got to get my laundry out of the washer soon, and my half hour is pretty much over. So to all my friends and family, I'll write you next week!!

Have some more smileys. :D :D ^_^ O__o -___-

I was missing Jordan's dry humor, so I guess wishing that he could come lay on my bed and tease me came back to bite me in the butt. The tears paid off though, and he still gave me what I really wanted most, and that was to hear that he is doing good, and that he is enjoying the MTC life. Love you Jord!!! 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Week 1

Hey Mom! Not sure how long I have on this, so I'll just write the whole family's letter here. So, P-day is tuesday for us. They've also got computers in the laundromat so I'm typing this while my laundry is going.

After you dropped me off, everything happened so fast that I didn't really have any time to react. I was just slightly overwhelmed with everything. My guide and I went to get all the books they got for the Japanese elders. It seriously has 18 or so books in it. I got dropped off in my classroom and met my teacher, Evans Shimai. Shimai is sister in nihongo. Nihongo is Japanese in Nihongo. :P I'm so glad that I have the foundation (small as it is) of Japanese that I do, because from the moment I met her, my teacher spoke Japanese nonstop. No english at all. It was hard at first, and very intimidating, but by now I've been able to really pick up on it. President Hadfield was right. By the end of day 2, we were praying in Japanese. Day 3 we were teaching an investigator in Japanese and bearing our testimony. I think that teaching him is one of the hardest things that we've been doing. The first lesson, I'm pretty sure we spent 10 minutes just sitting there with awkward stares because we had no idea what he was saying. My companion is Elder Mattson. He's a big guy who likes football and stuff like that. Imagine him next to me, haha. But he's really cool and we've become pretty good friends. There are 7 people total in my district, and all but two have had Japanese classes in the past. Sometimes during study time, its hard to concentrate because we're all such good friends already, but we're working on it.

On wednesday, 21 Japanese missionaries entered the MTC. One of those was me. There were only 6 elders and 1 sister before we came, and now theres 24 elders and 4 sisters. The Japanese branch is probably the best branch here. We're all friends already. I was really sad about leaving my friends and family, and even though they're no replacement, my branch feels like friends and family now too. Everyday, we've got about an hour of gym time. The majority of the Japanese branch plays four square, and it's really fun. We're all just friends here.

Don't worry about me. Everything here is good. Some days I feel a little overwhelmed, a little sad. But It never lasts long, and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I was going to bring my journal so I could remember everything I wanted to tell you about, but I forgot it....

Arynn and Dad, thanks so much for your letters. I've got a lot of letters from friends, and I think the other Elders are jealous. But I don't care. I really enjoy them and all the love and support that they bring. Also, Lauren, thanks for the huge package. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all that food!! And Mike and Camille sent me like 12 cupcakes. I'm going to have to share all this food with my district. I spent like all day today writing letters. I sent five of them out today. 

Thanks for the little clip of facebook. haha it really shows that I'm loved. I've honestly never felt so popular until this last week before I left. It really seems like twelve weeks in the MTC is going to take forever, and that two years will never end. People say it goes by quickly, but I haven't really felt like that yet.

I really don't know what to say. I've kinda been thinking about this email all week, but I don't even know what to say. Just know that I love you lots. I only get 30 minutes of email a week, but I can read letters all week. I like the quotes but also you can do what Dad and Arynn did and write a letter, because then I can read it whenever I went. Dear Elder .com or whatever is cool because it's free. 

So far, I've seen like a million people that I know here. Izak, Craig, Joe, Danielle.... the list goes on and on. 

Do you think you can send me my Japanese binder? I forgot to bring it, and I think it would really help. Also, if you could send me pictures of my family and friends, that would be great! Then I can put them on the wall and let everyone see the people I love so much. 

Well, my time is growing short. Mom and Dad, just know that I love you, and that you will be getting another email next year. I miss you guys so much, but usually I'm too busy studying or working to let that get to me. As for my beautiful sisters, I hope that I'm setting a good example for you while I'm here. I'll miss you guys so much too, but I'll be home before you know it. I really can't say it enough. I love you all. I hope you don't miss me too much though. There's no reason to be sad. I'm doing the Lord's work, and so He's going to be with me. Don't worry. I'm in the best hands. Every night I pray for you guys. Love you so much! Until next week!!!!! :D :D :) :) ^_^ smiley face attack.