Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MTC Week Three Letter

Earlier this week, I was feeling kind of stressed again for the first time since the beginning.  (It just goes to show you that we need a constant reminder with everything we do.  We can't just gain a testimony of a principle once.  We have to exercise it over and over again until it becomes an integral part of us.)  We were supposed to be teaching, and I didn't have a clue how to say anything I wanted in Japanese, and our lesson from the night before had not gone as I wanted it too!  I knew that I needed to focus on having the Spirit with me and relying on the Lord, but I didn't know how!  I went to bed that night frustrated, but then remembered a scripture in Alma I found during Book of Mormon class last semester: Alma 29:4 "I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm degree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction."  What this says to me is that God gives us what we want, whatever we want (to an extent).  If we really want money, then one day we'll have it.  If I want to have a good time here, then I'll have a good time!  But, by wanting these things, I am hindering myself from receiving greater blessings that God is willing to give me.  That night, I got down on my knees and told the Lord my desires.  I said, "More than anything else tonight, I desire to have thy Spirit with me.  I desire to be able to focus on and trust in thee rather than focusing on Japanese, and if I don't desire it enough, help me desire it more, because I know with all of my heart that thou wilt help me.  I desire to be a good missionary."  The next day was one of the best days I've had here at the MTC.  I didn't even do anything different that I could tell, but the Spirit was more strongly with me, and I was able to testify more strongly, and our lesson went really well.  Our investigator was left with a deep and sincere desire to pray and from a relationship with his Father in Heaven.  I promise to anyone that desires anything righteous, whether it is to be more charitable or understand the scriptures more, that if you desire it, and pray for it, that God will help you.

We had our first TRC (teaching resource center) this week and we were absolutely terrified.  We're "teaching" real members, and we are still kind of useless at Japanese.  We got a Hawaii'an guy that Tenney Shimai knew from some Polynesian friend of hers (I swear, everyone from anywhere Polynesian knows everyone else), and it was actually wonderful!  We started our really rocky, having absolutely no idea what to say, but once we began talking about the Atonement and sharing scriptures, it was wonderful!  The Spirit was there so strongly!   And when our guy was speaking, he would repeat more difficult words in English and help us say what we wanted to say in Japanese.  At one point, Sister Tenney was sharing an experience about the Atonement and I had no idea what she was saying, but I had a feeling that I should look up and share a scripture I had read earlier that day: D&C 19:16-18 "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they  might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink."  Apparently, Tenney Shimai was talking about how being an older sister helped her understand the Atonement better, and how she would take any pain to stop her little sisters from suffering, and this backed it up perfectly.  It just goes to show that this work is important enough that God really is watching out for us...even when we're completely clueless. :)

We had a district picnic today, which was just about the best idea ever.  We all gathered outside of a building, got sack lunches, and brought all of our food from packages out to share and goof off.  Our district is so great!  you've probably gotten that from all that I've said and the pictures I've sent, but we really do have the best district ever.  Every single Elder and Sister here has a firm knowledge of the truth of this gospel and a great desire to share it.  After devotionals, we're one of the few districts that has a real discussion instead of a one by one testimony meeting, and the spirit is so strong!  The comments that everyone makes range from deep and insightful to artistically simple and ringing of truth and testimony.  Every day these Elders and Sisters edify me.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be here!  I love this gospel so much, and I can't wait to bring the people of Japan to our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, who knows and loves us each individually, one by one.

The Church is true; the Book is blue.  Tell your friends. I love you all!

Love, Sister Whitney Harris
Kobe, Japan bound

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