Yashashiibur: desu ne? (Long time no ocean)
Sorry that it’s taken so long to get y’all another blog entry. A lot has been going on! Let me start by catching you up on all the news.
Well two weeks ago Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife came to talk to us about the Book of Mormon + The Restoration of the priesthood. Belnap Shimai and I finally go a chance to chat a bit at the meeting. Afterwards we had a Zone Devotional Review and Testimony meeting with our new Nihonujin. This group is a lot more shy then our last Nihoujin districts., but once the Ishikawa decided to be brave and bare his testimony, many more opened up to us. Let me tell you, there is nothing more moving than the testimony of a Japanese Latter Day Saint! After the meeting, the district leaders, zone leaders, and Rogers Shimia left to do some kind of orientation or training or whatever missionary leaders do. This left the rest of us with an hour to socialize and introduce ourselves to the Nihoujin. That was a lot of jun, and we finally got the chance to test our Jananese knowledge a bit! This group will depart the MTC at the same time we do, but more on that later.
On the following Wednesday, the Sinpai (senior) districts were assigned to host the incoming missionaries. Essentially what the entails is smiling as an SUV pulls up to the curb, greeting the family, helping with the baggage, and defusing mom’s anxiety, all while trying to get the missionary off and going in about three minutes. You then have about sixty seconds to build a relationship with the missionary because when you get him to 1M (the front building), you inform him that you will be taking two years of his possession and sending him into the building along to be injected, inspected, detacted, elected, selected and all kinds of stuff the they’ll be doing to him at the thing there. Okay, all the do is give him a name tag, ID card, and take his picture, but what do you do if you see a deer in the headlights? That’s right, you turn on the brights. (Kidding guys, Jeez, lighten up) Last of all you pick the missionary up on the other side of the building, carry their bags to the residence, take them to get their books, then drop them off at their classroom to meet their district (and to watch their face when they discover that their companion has the maturity level of a six year old, and his teacher doesn’t speak a word of English.)
So yes, hosting is a great experience, but it pretty much makes me useless for the day and the day following. Hosting takes the time of my personal study and gym time. Personal study is the time of the day where I can treasure up much needed scriptural nourishment, and gym time is where you trade your emotional exhaustion for physical exhaustion, emotional “detox” if you will. You see, you are trying to give all of your energy to the Lord, the people so when you don’t have time in your routine to recharge that energy, you become spent emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, rendering you entirely unable to focus on the your purpose. It’s amazing to me how much further you can push your body then you think you can push you will. This really illustrates to me the extent to which I rely on the Lord to sustain me. I miss one Book of Mormon study or a few jumping jacks and it’s game over. This is clearly not a work that I was meant to accomplish by my own power.
Well last week my Dojro and the other foreign missionaries go to go to the Salt Lake Temple and welfare square. The rest of us had to pack up own classroom and move out of 18M and into 7M, alternatively called the Heber C Kimball buildings, and alternatively called “the ghetto” . These buildings may have been new when my father used them in 1977, but they’re falling apart now. But on the other hand, not having to climb five flights of stairs eight times a day going to and from our classroom is nice. Plus we’re closer to the food.
Which reminds me, yes, I’m finally gaining weight. I had a good run eating healthily, avoiding soda, and doing P90X and jump training at gym, but the ice cream here is REALLY, REALLY GOOD!.
Had a devotional with President Daines of the Provo Temple. He’s awesome! He came to the Institute once last semester. He really knows his stuff! The thing I miss most about pre-mission life is . . . well, flirting with the pretty females, but second only to the that, I miss being able to research deep doctrine like President Daines was talking about, especially when it relates to the temple!
Our district hosted again last Wednesday. When we asked why we had to do it for two weeks in a row, we discovered that the missionaries who came in with us on April 4 have been here longer then any other missionaries (except for Elders Fernandes and Da Silvia, who came in two weeks before us to do an English program). I saw my aunt Lori while I was hosting. She had just dropped of her daughter Rachel, who I’ve seen a time or two since. It’s exciting to see this MTC family grow. Then shrink. Then grow.
Not that this is immediately relevant to anything, but sand volleyball is epic. And I’m getting pretty good if I do say so myself. Yesterday we went undefeated in a tournament. We beat the championship game 25-6. In the words of Ludlow choro, it was “redonkadonk!”
On Sunday we (all the departing districts) had a combined with the Branch Presidency where we addressed some practical concern about this week and going to Japan, Because, in case you have your own life and haven’t been keeping track, a week from now I’m going to be on the other side of the world. So, as you may expect, we had few question. I’ll be leaving at about 4am Monday morning hopping a flight to Dallas then Tokyo, and a connection to Osaka. Yeah. (Change in plans. I’m now going to Seattle and then directly to Osaka.)
This has been an amazing adventure, and it’s really only just beginning. It wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about it here, but suffice it to say that I have seen miracles in this place. And I’m not redefining the word “miracles” to suit my purposes. I have seen things here that can only be called the power of God . I have no doubt that the work I have been called to is the Lord’s work. I have witnessed His power’ I have felt His love. H pray that I may be a service to Him.
God be with you ’til we meet again.