Week 2: Rise of the Jedi
My companion and I decided to name our weeks after movies so that we can remember what week we're on, because the days pass by slow here, but the weeks go by really fast. So we had our first real Sunday this week. My companion and an elder in our district sang and she is just so talented. Really, she is an amazing singer. We also just had the best devotional on Sunday. Quick side note: when you are in the MTC you must join the MTC choir. It doesn't matter if you can't sing, the director is awesome and it just brightens your day to be there. Also, the devotionals are the best. Keep a devotional journal, with only notes on devotionals on it. Write down your feelings so that you can understand them when you read them later.
Anyways, we had a devotional where the guy who came and spoke was in charge of media for missionaries on the mormon.org website. And he showed us some really awesome stats, and told us what the church is planning on doing for Christmas. (We got a bit of a sneak peek) He told us about all the tools that are available to us as missionaries and how much the church is trying to help us find those searching souls. He said, "The purpose of the lds website is to direct people to you, so that you may lead their soul to Him." And I was just hanging on the edge of my chair dwelling on every word he said. But ya, shows you how important devotionals are in the MTC.
Also on Sunday morning our district broke the cereal eating record. It was 34, but now it's 53. I wasn't able to participate because I was fasting, and so were two other elders in our district, but we are re-doing the challenge on Thanksgiving, so we'll see how high we can get.
The next day was pretty normal, studying, class, and teaching. However, there was one thing that was really cool that happened that day. That morning I was trying to plan out a lesson for TRC where we teach volunteer members of the church, and we had to teach it on chapter 3 in PMG. I remember praying before to be led to what Heavenly Father wanted me to teach, but as I was flipping through the pages, nothing was speaking to me. And I hadn't felt any strong desire to teach anything earlier either. So I picked the restoration, because I had already taught that in a previous lesson and as I was writing, I just didn't know where I was going with my lesson. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally study time had ended and I just kind of looked at my completed yet directionless lesson and shrugged my shoulders saying at least I had a lesson. But later that day when we were preparing for our lesson with Brother Murukami (our teacher pretending to be an investigator, not a real investigator) I had accidentally translated the wrong lesson. I had translated a lesson we were going to teach later that evening to the members. So when we walked into the room to start teaching, I also realized that I had forgotten my ninja (it's a dictionary/lesson translator) so I couldn't look up any words either. I just looking at my companion in panic and we carried on best we could. She mainly carried us through the whole lesson. I didn't want to talk afterwards, because I knew she felt overwhelmed, and I knew it was my fault for not being completely prepared. So I silently dwelled upon my disappointment. I went through class as usual, getting a bit nervous about the lessons I would have to teach later that evening because my afternoon lesson had gone so terribly. I at least knew I had a lesson plan, and now it had been translated because of the mix up earlier that day, even if I wasn't feeling super stoked on the topic and clarity. But I at least knew I was prepared, and I was taking great comfort in that. However, 10 minutes before we were about to go teach the volunteers I get a feeling that I should change my lesson to the Book of Mormon. I remember looking up and thinking, "Really? I just went into my last lesson blind, and you want me to do it again?" I remember pulling at my hair as I hesitantly flipped the page of my notebook from my completed lesson to a blank page. I had just enough time to write one line, "I love the Book of Mormon." We were being rushed out the door to go and teach TRC. I was so nervous I just wanted to pace around the campus. And as we were walking I was trying to think about as many BoM things I knew. I had recently been re-reading the book of Mormon with a new method approach. I try to notice the attributes and try and insert myself in the story and visual what is happening and what people are thinking as I read. And I am enjoying the Book of Mormon like never before. But I was still as nervous as ever then when I walked into our first lesson, the investigator was so nice. He was native Japanese and was studying English here in the states. I felt an overwhelming peace as we got to know him, no worry even passed through my mind. We then asked if he was having any struggles in his life as far as the gospel, which is a question we had learned during our class time on how to start a lesson. I remember him thinking about it and thinking about it then he said something that was an answer to my prayers. He told us he was having trouble pondering about the book of Mormon and if we had any methods that could help him. I almost stood up. But I calmly clasped my hands together and gave him a smile that communicated oh, do I have a method for you. The lesson went to smoothly, we spoke in broken English and Japanese, but he understood. And afterwards I was probably shaking his hand so hard that I broke it. I just couldn't thank Heavenly Father enough and I remember a distinct feeling saying, "I will always come through for you, if you but follow me." And then I laughed, anyone who says God doesn't have a sense of humor doesn't know God like I do. So glad I followed the spirit to say the least.
The next days were pretty ordinary. The MTC put up pictures in all the classroom on campus. And our elders, being elders, went and stole pictures from different buildings to hang up in our room. But our teacher told us we had to return them. But our teacher also has a bad back. And anyone who is anyone knows that the European and Tongan buildings have really nice leathers rolly chairs and big desks in their buildings. The building is named after some with the last name "Rich". It is literally the Rich building. We have desk-chairs from a junior high school from the 70's. Our things dont' even stay on our desk because they are all slanted downwards. My lunch tray is bigger than my desk. So we returned one of their paintings and stole one of their chairs instead. Our teacher doesn't really complain because he likes the chair, so that was pretty fun.
In conclusion, I am loving it here in the MTC. It's hard, but I have learned more about myself here than I have anywhere else. I like to think of the MTC as a self conversion/reflection because in the field all you will have time for is to study and think and pray about your investigator. Which is fine by me, because I think I'm getting to know myself too well out here. But all is well here, my roommate and I had a party last night and we stayed up until 11:30 because I'm the best senior companion ever. Just kidding, but it's hard and just great. I know that this church is true. I know that anyone can be converted to the gospel through prayer, love, and the scriptures. We are currently sending off our dai-sempai (the district in our zone that arrived 7 weeks before us) and I can see their excitement to serve. We also just got in some greenies (we're not at the bottom of the food chain anymore!) so we are super excited for that. I love getting letters and hearing how everyone is doing! I appreciate all your prayers and hope that all is well on the other side. I have learned service like never before and am truly basking in the light of Christs love. I know this gospel is true and that this is the work he needs from me right now. I love you all!!
PS. Sorrry if my stories don't flow nicely. I only have so much time to write and so much journal to summarize. Also prayers would be appreciated for my companion Sister Packard. Her family is going through an ordeal and I would appreciate any prayers for her strength and comfort.