Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Praise to the Man

This week Elder Dallin H. Oaks  https://www.lds.org/church/leader/dallin-h-oaks came and spoke to us for the MTC Devotional on Tuesday night. I was singing in the choir and I love it so much! We sang "Praise to the Man" (see this link for a video of a MTC choir in 2012 performing this song http://www.lds.org/general-conference/music/2012/04?session=2&song=13&media=video) and the words penetrated my soul. The hymn has become one of my favorite songs. The thing about participating in the choir in the MTC is that it is not just singing. It is singing and learning and being spiritually edified at every rehearsal. The choir director helps to make the song personal to us. He tells stories that help us understand that this song ties in with our missionary purpose! This song is a testimony that we bear to the world. He pulled out one line of the song for us: "Wake up the world..." because that is what we are doing! I am going to Japan to wake up the world and bring them to a knowledge of this gospel and the gospel that Joseph Smith restored to the Earth. There is no greater work than the work of salvation. I am bringing salvation to souls! Is this really even a sacrifice? In our devotional, Elder Oaks said if people understood the blessings that come with missionary work they would be lining up to serve. His wife also spoke and said that our personal joy is directly proportional to the amount we immerse ourselves in this work. I can see that on a large scale, and on a daily scale. The days that I am most immersed and most focused are the days where I am most joyful. These are the days when I can feel the spirit with me every time I make a decision - even so simple as what section of preach my gospel to study. 

Daniels Shimai, Grundvig Shimai, Violette Shimai and
Elders from District
Also...I think that I maybe have a third investigator? Somehow, it seems like this is something that I should know...but I am not sure if Iida San is a temporary investigator or if he is our third progressing investigator! He started out as a "one time lesson" but then the lesson went so well that our teachers have let us teach him a few more times. This week we taught him the First Vision  . I guess I had never really thought about the first vision in depth until I had to teach it. I have known it is true, but more by default than by personal prayer and experience. I have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, but teaching of him is such a powerful experience! I have started memorizing the first vision in Japanese (memorizing things in Japanese just is generally harder than in English) but I love it so much! There is such power in the words written by Joseph Smith: "Watashi wa jibun no maue ni...." (Joseph Smith History 1:16-17). There is power in these words because they are true, and when we teach true doctrine the spirit will testify. 

Wednesday this week was a little bit of a hard day. Violette Shimai had been struggling to sleep every night, and so Wednesday she was a little frustrated because she felt so tired and couldn't stay awake during lessons and during study time. For class in the evening, Wilkes Kyodai had us turn to each other and teach each other. We were focusing on "teaching people, not lessons," so he said teach your companion as themselves. They won't be a "fake investigator," they will be themselves. Teach to them. Pray for the spirit to know how to help them. I don't know if our Chorotachi loved this as much as we did, but I learned so much. It is hard to know if I am teaching with the spirit, or by my own desires and thoughts. This lesson helped me to know- absolutely- that the spirit can teach through me. Each of us was taught something entirely different by our companions, but it applied so personally. During Daniel Shimai's lesson, she shared a few things that were bothering her. I felt like I should open to D&C 50. As I opened up to D&C 50 I saw verses 40-41 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/50?lang=eng , which I had not remembered. I shared a thought and then had her read the verses. Tears came to her eyes (and mine) as we read the verses together. Heavenly Father is aware of each of his children. He puts us in places every day where we can touch someone else, where we can be an answer to a prayer. Daniel Shimai and Violette Shimai shared 1 Chronicles 28:20 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/1-chr/28?lang=eng with me - which is basically a better version of Joshua 1:9. I am convinced that Nike snagged their logo from 1 Chronicles 28:20....but it was such a strong reminder to me to just do what I can NOW. I can't worry about if I will be fluent in Japanese in four months...or if I will struggle to understand a word my investigator is saying, all I can do is trust in the Lord, forget myself and work. And that will be enough. 

Daniels Shimai and Grundvig Shimai
Friday, Daniels Shimai started feeling sick, so we went back to our room after the first hour of class so that she could sleep. It was really weird to be in my room during the day...I liked having time to study what I hadn't been able to on other days, but it also helped me to appreciate my hours of class. I am not self-motivated enough to teach myself this language. I read through about 30 pages of a grammar dictionary before realizing that this was a dictionary...and not meant to be read straight through. So I stopped that idiocy and started studying some of our other workbooks. The whole day was different - but really incredible. Brother Willes, a member of our branch presidency, happened to run into me when I walked back to our classroom with a few other shimaitachi to grab some of our study materials, and he asked if Daniels Shimai needed a priesthood blessing. After Meg woke up, we walked back to 7M to find Brother Willes and he gave her an incredible blessing. She hasn't had a headache sense, and she was blessed that she would know how to handle her headaches. This morning she pulled out one of her headache medications that she hasn't been taking as regularly and looked at it for a second and said: "I think I should be taking this every morning from now on." It was really neat. And we all laughed a little bit about getting a spiritual prompting about taking pills - but our Heavenly Father is so aware of us! He knows exactly what we need! There are so many tender mercies every single day that testify of this to me! 

Aishite Imasu!!!

Grundvig Shimai

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