This week nothing all that exciting happened.. but we had a lot of just amazing devotionals. My notebook is just filled with pages from each devotional and I just love it. I'll share some of my favorite things. Sunday's devotional was by Stephen Allen. I think he work here at the MTC, but we've heard him speak before (being here almost 8 weeks we get repeat speakers haha) Anyway, he is very energetic and a lot of fun to listen to! One of my favorite things he said was while he was quoting Alma 26:28 where it talks about being patient in our afflictions. He said "When your heart aches, it stretches and makes room for greater things." I absolutely loved that. As missionaries even just in the MTC we are stretched and pushed sometimes far beyond what we think we can do. But somehow we end up being able to do those hard frustrating things that we didn't think we could do. It's the same in day to day lives. We have to stretch ourselves, because if we don't we will miss out on amazing things. Push ourselves to do something that we don't think we can do. There will be heart aches a long the way, and frustrations, especially with yourself and with others. But if we keep going and doing our best we will be filled with such great experiences. Another thing Brother Allen said that I thought is something that everyone should be reminded is that Satan KNOWS us. He knows us personally.. just like Jesus Christ. And just like Jesus Christ he knows our weaknesses. He knows how to push our buttons and dangle your weaknesses and insecurities in front of you. Don't let him do it! This may sound so silly as a 24 year old to say but sometimes when I am feeling insecure or annoyed at myself I will out loud tell Satan to just go away. Recognizing that it is Satan helps so much. One thing I have learned especially while I have been here that joy overrules sadness. If I go a day where I am so frustrated all morning, and I don't feel adequate and I can't do anything right, and then have one hour of happiness and a tender mercy from Heavenly Father saying "you can do this" then that frustrating morning doesn't even matter because in that moment I realize that I'm not doing this for myself, or (and especially) on my own. The joy of that one moment makes that morning of frustration worth it. Trials and frustrations and feeling inadequate, and those times where you have no idea what you're doing in life. Those things are in our lives for a reason. It's so that when we do realize the blessings we have, they will be so much more noticeable in our lives. I just love that I know that. I feel so blessed constantly to know that no matter what, after any trial I will be blessed if I just can hold on and make it through it. (Ketsui ga arimasu ;) I have a commitement for you! Read Alma 26 and think about how it can apply to your life, right now. Brother Allen said that it was Ammon's homecoming talk :)
Another thing that I have started doing this week is starting in the very beginning of the Bible (old and new testament) and the Book of Mormon at the same time. I'm reading them next to each other and it is just amazing. Reading 3 different books (a long with all my study books ..I have a language book that is like 700 pages that I want to try to read a couple times that is all about grammer. ehh) felt like it would be a little bit of a chore, but it has been the biggest spiritual blessing. It's just true. All of it. Seeing the similarities and the insights I gain from all three of them. It is so amazing and I am so excited to continue to do it. I am so grateful for scriptures! I have totally become a scripture snob and if I have any spare time I am reading one or the other.. or the other. Sometimes I'll spend too much time in one and then I have to get myself to read the other, and then I end up spending too much time in that one haha, and its a vicious circle. its a rough life ;) It's just the best. Being a missionary is the best. What other time can I just completely dive into the gospel of Jesus Christ all day every day?!
Okay one more devotional story and then I'll be done. I promise. on Tuesday night for our devotional we had someone named L. Lionel Kendrick (usually are speakers are former mission presidents) speak to us. And the coolest thing happened. So our Elders were sitting up in the very top of the balcony, and they could see that Brother Kendrick was using a teleprompter so that he could give his talk without looking down (like they do in General conference) Anyway, at the very end of his talk, he gave us all a priesthood blessing, every missionary in the MTC (I don't know how that works but it was super legit) and he blessed us with the following: That we will be willingly obedient and teachable, we will be receptive to the spirit, we will have joy and success in our missions, that we will have an added measure of the spirit of discernment and that we will have the special ability to dispel darkness including doubt, discouragement and depression. The spirit was so strong in the room. And the reason why I told you about the teleprompter was because the churotachi said that as he gave that blessing, they noticed on the teleprompter that he was supposed to just close and end his talk, but instead he went off script and felt prompted to give this blessing to all of the missionaries.
Being in the MTC is one of the most amazing things that I have ever been able to do in my life. The spirit here is constant. Everyone loves each other so much, even when we may not really like each other (haha clique) I get to go to Japan in 11 days and I will miss being here so much. My district have become my family, and I will miss them so much when we are split up (but thankfully we are all going to the same mission so I will still see them!) We get our flight plans tomorrow so it's actually happening! I'm so so excited for Japan. I am nervous because I know that there will be heartaches and trials that I can't begin to understand, but I know it is going to be the best thing, and that I will be so grateful the rest of my life. It's already become the best thing of my life. I was talking to a sister in my district and she said that if she had to go home right now, she wouldn't ever want to be the same. The gospel of Jesus Christ changes people. It has changed me. We just have to allow ourselves to be changed. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has restored his true gospel on the earth with his true priesthood power and ordinances. If you are struggling to find reasons to go on, or if you are struggling to have faith, or humility, or charity, if you are struggling with anything. Give it to the Lord. He knows. He loves you. He wants you to be so happy!
I love you all!! If there is anything I can ever do for any of you please let me know!!